The #1 Mistake New Entrepreneurs Make

Jan 25, 2022

There's one mistake I see new entrepreneurs making over and over again. It's nothing to do with their skill level...nothing to do with their ability to cut it as an entrepreneur...but it's everything to do with what tasks and tactics they focus on. In this episode I show you where most entrepreneurs are mistakenly spending their time, energy, and money, and where they should be spending it instead.

 Hello, and welcome to the Client Attractor Show. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, client attraction coach and author of the brand new book Client Attractor. If you've not gotten your copy yet, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or you can get it at

Today's topic is the number-one mistake that most new entrepreneurs make, and it's one of those mistakes that you really can't be blamed for, because a lot of the mainstream entrepreneurship and business-growth coaches and consultants and gurus out there are actually telling you that you need to do these things. What it really comes down to is all of the shoulds and have-to’s of starting your business, that if you're starting your business, you have to start with building a website, building your email list, creating these email sequences, Facebook ads, start a podcast, start a blog—all these different things that everyone is telling you that you should be doing.  

And ultimately, that's really just self-serving on the coach’s or guru’s side, because the people who have had really good success with email marketing, that's what they're touting. And the people who have had really good success with Facebook ads, that's what they're preaching. And so all of these people are ultimately just sharing their area of expertise and claiming that that is what you need to do to get the results that you want. But that's not the entire story, because it's not just about the sometimes gross and self-serving nature of the business-growth industry. It's really more about the types of tasks that you're doing, as they relate to where your business is at any given point. 

When it comes to growing your business, there are really only two types of tasks that you'll ever be completing. No matter what you're doing, no matter what task it is that you're spending time on, it's going to fit in one of these two categories: builder tasks and driver tasks. Now, most of these coaches and gurus out there who are trying to get you to build these million-dollar email sequences and stuff like that, they're trying to get you to spend your time on builder tasks. And builder tasks are exactly what they sound like. These are the tasks that don't necessarily drive immediate results in terms of getting you new clients and sales, but they work longer term for you. They're part of building that long-term business. So these are those lead magnets, landing pages, email sequences, all these different things that really help you more effectively leverage your time and communicate at a higher scale. 

Now, these tasks are great and important, but they work better in the longer term. And as entrepreneurs, we know that we really have to be in it for the long haul, and plan and build for the long term. However, the downside that comes up here is that these things don't immediately bring in new clients. A classic example of a builder task would be optimizing your website for search engine results, or SEO, search engine optimization. Now, this is a great thing that everyone should, at some point in their business, spend their resources on. However, it usually takes a long time to start to see those results. If you're really intentional about your SEO practices, you might start seeing significant results in six months, nine months, even a year, so the downside is you're investing all this time and energy at the front end, but you're not getting any clients for as long as another year. 

That brings us to the second type of task here, which is driver tasks. These are the tasks that drive you forward in a much more immediate and concrete way, really propelling you towards getting new clients sooner rather than later. These tasks function really under the simple philosophy that the quickest and most efficient way to attract new clients is to connect with them on a personal level, to have those conversations with them, to have conversations about your offer, and to bring them on as clients if it seems like a good fit. So examples of driver tasks could include posting and engaging on social media, whether that's on your profile or in various groups and communities, starting conversations with prospects, reaching out to prospects who were previously not a good fit. These tasks produce much more immediate results, because they're so focused on driving those results. 

Now, the downside of these driver tasks is that they're less scalable than builder tasks. So while these driver tasks are really effective, and can really easily get you to that 10-to-15k a month, relying on them to get you beyond that is less reliable. And that's because as you build your business, driver tasks become even more time consuming, to the point that they're just not sustainable, because the success of your driver tasks is directly correlated to the amount of time you spend on them. If you spend an hour focused on booking five discovery calls with prospects, it will take you two hours to book 10. And that's fine to get started, but when you move to scale your business beyond that, and you need to book five strategy sessions a day, that means you're spending five hours just on that booking side of things. But because builder tasks don't leverage time in remotely the same way, they're excellent for scaling. 

This big mistake that happens is so many people, so many new entrepreneurs, are getting really caught up in the trap of focusing only on these builder tasks. They're focusing on getting that website up, building that email sequence, sending out these email newsletters, when in reality, those are not the things that are immediately generating conversations. Now, when we're talking about builder and driver tasks, one is not inherently better than the other. Each has their place, because they're both really important. If you're just getting started out with your business, you do want to put most of your energy into these driver tasks, but that doesn't mean you want to ignore the builder tasks until you absolutely have to scale. So it's really about splitting your energy between the two, which is based on where you are in your business. 

If you're in those beginning, early, early, early stages, then yes, you almost certainly want to focus 100% on driver tasks. If you have started to bring on a few clients, but are still struggling to get that consistent flow of clients, then yes, still spend, say 90% of your energy on driver tasks, and 10% on builder tasks. And then as you grow, as your business starts to progress, and you gain even more momentum, and make even more progress, that's when you'll start to focus more and more energy and time on those builder tasks. And the good news is that this means that you don't have to focus on creating a massive, scalable business from the get go. You don't have to build every offer or process in a way that is going to be scalable. You can do that when you're ready to scale. But when you're just getting started, it's so important to get that jumpstart to start getting clients immediately. 

It's so commonly accepted that most small businesses fail, and the reason small businesses fail is they don't make sales. They either get stuck in the planning phase or they get stuck with these builder tasks, but they don't focus enough on what's going to get them their immediate jumpstart, to get cash in the bank, to make their business more sustainable. So if it sounds like driver tasks are a good idea but ultimately aren't great for the long term, it's actually entirely opposite, because the truth is that these driver tasks really set you up to be able to plan and implement for the long term. 

In a lot of ways, every brand new business is running against the clock, in a sense, because with your business, you can go on for X amount of time—maybe that's a month, maybe that's two months, maybe it's a year—without making any sales or without making enough sales for the business to support itself. And that's kind of the reality of it, that there is oftentimes for us this finite period of time, where we know that we're either going to make the business work or not. And so if you're finding yourself in that window currently, however long it is for you, for the love of all that's holy, I beg of you not to focus entirely on these builder tasks, because in that situation, if you're likely to see results from it in even two or three months, that's a builder task. And your focus should really, really be around not what's going to drive results in two or three months, but what's going to drive results this week, next week, and the week after. 

Because at this point, it's not about creating a long-term, sustainable business off the bat. It's about putting yourself in the position so that you can create a long-term, sustainable business in the long run. Thank you so much, again, for joining me for today's episode of the Client Attractor Show. I really appreciate you joining me, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow for our next episode. Take care and have a great day.

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