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5 Mistakes To Look Out For As A New Entrepreneur


Article Summary

In this article, Erika Lucas shares her insights on the 5 myths and mistakes that new entrepreneurs often make. As an investor who works with startups, growth phase and mature companies, she's seen it all and boils it down into 5 things to watch out for. All entrepreneurs fall into these traps but once you know what to look out for, you can prevent staying in them. Both Amanda and Erika share personal examples of each of the mistakes to ensure you don't feel like you're the only one navigating the tough times in entrepreneurship.


  • Avoid falling into the trap of focusing on vanity metrics instead of metrics that really matter

  • Spending money before making money is not a good option, you need organic growth first

  • Remember that there will always be challenges in entrepreneurship, no matter your level of success

  • Detach your personal identity from professional roles and find your core values and purpose.

  • Be aware of the fear of missing out and prioritize activities that align with your goals and values.

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #229). If you'd like to listen to this conversation, use the link below.

Ep 229 - 5 Mistakes To Look Out For As A New Entrepreneur (Erika Lucas)


While many first-businesses fail, the research states that "29 percent who tried again were more likely to be successful the second time around" - Schrager (Bloomberg Businessweek)

"But if you apply all that you've learned in your first business, to your second business, you're most likely to succeed." - Erika Lucas

Entrepreneur Mistake #1:

Focusing on vanity metrics

Whether it's social media or the 40 Under 40 List, focusing on these types of metrics can take all your energy in the wrong direction.

"At the end of the day revenue and cash flow is going to be Queen." - Erika Lucas

"If you tell me that this piece of content went viral on social media I'm happy for you but it doesn't tell me anything about the health of your business." - Erika Lucas

"The real metrics that I care about are revenue, cash flow, burn, churn, how many customers are you obtaining, how many customers are you retaining. Those are the key, core metrics that tell me how your business is performing." - Erika Lucas

"In my opinion, any metric that other people can see is a vanity metric." - Amanda McKinney

Entrepreneur Mistake #2:

Spending money before making money

It's easy to do but a mistake you want to avoid if you're in this for the long-haul and want true success.

"In order to make money through ads, you have to spend a lot of money. And if you're not making money already, what's the point?" - Erika Lucas

"I believe in organic growth because you learn so much during this phase. It's not scalable but it's key to the early stages of your business." - Erika Lucas

"We all tend to spend on swag at the beginning but who is going to want to wear your brand before anyone knows what your brand is." - Erika Lucas

Image of a computer, notebook and glasses on a desk

Entrepreneur Mistake #3:

Thinking problems will go away when...

There will always be problems in our entrepreneurship journey but it's a mistake we can all fall into to think that they will go away after we hit another milestone.

"We all do this, we think 'if I just solve this problem' then all my problems will go away. But the reality is that problems are part of life, they never really go away, they just evolve into other problems." - Erika Lucas

"The more you feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable, the better you'll be served." - Erika Lucas

"This doesn't mean 'always be hustling' culture but rather 'I'm always learning and growing'." - Erika Lucas

Entrepreneur Mistake #4:

Attaching your personal identity to your company

Your business is something you care about tremendously but we have to be careful not to connect our self-worth to the title of entrepreneur.

"It's very easy to attached the success or failure to yourself." - Erika Lucas

"You're more than your title. The company is bigger than you and you're bigger than the company." - Erika Lucas

"Figure out who you want to be at the core. What are your values? How do you want to be remembered? That is bigger than the company and any other title you hold. Who are you as an individual?" - Erika Lucas

Whenever you experience a win or a loss, be sure to catch yourself if you're attaching yourself to the actual accomplishment. It's helpful to ask "what contributed to the win/loss" and hone in on the actions or lack of actions that led to the result versus taking it on personally.

Entrepreneur Mistake #5:

Fear of missing out

There are lots of opportunities but please remember you don't have to be involved in everything or try and be on all the social media channels. Catch yourself if you're falling prey to the fear of missing out.

"I found myself struggling. What happens when you do so many professional events is that you're too burnt out to do personal things." - Erika Lucas

"Honestly, if I look at things that I did because of the fear of mission out, they really didn't add to my core key metrics." - Erika Lucas

Ask yourself: am I doing this because of the fear of missing out or because it truly impacts what you're trying to accomplish in my business?

Take Away Message / Action

Go through the list of 5 mistakes and commit to catching yourself when you fall into one or multiple of the traps. There is likely one or two that jumped out at you more and if that's the case, make sure to really pay attention for those specifically. And remember not to be mad at yourself if you fall into the mistake but rather know we all do but by catching it, you're less likely to be impacted long term.

Until next time, give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them, and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.

About Erika:

Erika is the Founder of StitchCrew, an organization providing capital and resources to women and minority entrepreneurs. Erika also founded VEST, an investment fund and peer network for women professionals. In this capacity she invests in women-led companies supporting women, working parents and inclusive employers. She also connects women professionals across industries, regions and career levels. Erika is a LinkedIn Top Voice on Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship and Strategy. She is on the Board of Directors of Arvest, the Diversion Hub, and the Oklahoma City County Health Department as well as a member of the Latino Corporate Directors Association, Familia VC and LatinxVC. Prior to StitchCrew and VEST, Erika was a Partner at a Private Equity Firm and Global Director at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Erika's Links:

Other Resources:

Ep. 229 - 5 Mistakes To Look Out For As a New Entrepreneur (Erika Lucas)

"The real metrics that I care about are revenue, cash flow, burn, churn, how many customers are you obtaining, how many customers are you retaining. Those are the key, core metrics that tell me how your business is performing."

- Erika Lucas


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