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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting A New Business on IG

instastart Oct 16, 2020

I started to grow my business on Instagram® exactly a year ago. I've got to tell you, I've made tons and tons of mistakes along the way. In this post, I'm going to walk you through 5 mistakes I made and how you can avoid them.

Starting your business is daunting, and starting to grow your business on Instagram® is even more daunting. I remember the moment I decided it was time to hop on to Instagram®. I had been on freelancing sites for a while, and I realized it wasn't helping me get the traction I needed to sustain myself financially.

I knew Instagram® was a good place to start, given that so many solopreneurs on there were successfully selling their services. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. I mean, why not? I had been on Instagram® for about 3 years, using it for my personal reasons. I had close to 2K followers on my personal account (At the time. I brought it down to 700 now, but that's a story for another day), so I didn't think twice about growing my business there. 

Boy was I SO wrong about that. If you'd like to hear the story of how I chickened out the first one month and used my personal account instead of starting a new business account, then this podcast episode is for you. But for the purposes of this blog post, let's talk about what happened AFTER I got started on my business account.

The learning curve was ridiculously crazy. I quickly realized that growing your business on Instagram® is so so so different from growing your personal account.

The expectations are different, the content is different, the approach is totally the opposite and yes, it can become overwhelming in a matter of few hours.

So here's my compilation of 5 mistakes I made when I first started out, what I did to overcome it and how you can avoid it!

If you’re looking for a 1:1 marketing strategy consultation to scale your business, click here to check out the packages available.

Don't undervalue your products/services

Okay, right off the bat, I want to say, I get it. You're starting out new, and you're afraid of charging your worth. You're afraid of what people might think. You're worried people might say no and you'll never ever get a project. I can't tell you the number of times I have thought and rethought a certain price point, only to change it 5 seconds later.

Here's what I've come to realize -

Your price point will always be "too high" for someone.

All you have to do is attract the right kind of audience who will realize what you bring to the table, understand your worth, recognize the transformation you can deliver and be willing to pay for it.

Another thing I realized is that, unless I was absolutely sure of my worth and my price point, no one else was going to accept it. 

So I took some time to understand the value I gave my clients. I even took a survey of my clients to figure out what they thought my price point could be. Their review of my work and estimation of my price point did give me a little confidence and I was able to hold my ground when it came to my price point.

Yes, the number of interested people drastically reduced, but on the other hand, I was able to attract clients who truly valued me and my work.

Don't work from a place of fear. Fear that you won't sustain your business. Work from a place of security. Secure in your abilities to find the right people. That mindset change helped me a lot.

If you’re looking for a 1:1 marketing strategy consultation to scale your business, click here to check out the packages available.

Don't start without an actual plan

So when I first started on IG, I just thought I would do 'whatever it takes' to grow. I thought I'd figure it out along the way. Unfortunately, a vague plan like that doesn't work.

A good one month in, I hadn't grown much, and I was all over the place. I didn't even know what exactly were my posts trying to do for my business.

I took some time off from IG for a good one month. I was happily vacationing in New Zealand, but whenever I got the chance, I was planning out my IG strategy. After I came back, I implemented my plan, and things flowed like butter.

Here's where I recommend you should start:

Identify the 3 topics you are going to be talking about on your page. I highly recommend sticking to only 3 topics when you're starting out. Too many topics can overwhelm your audience and your potential followers might not understand if they want to follow you or not especially if your content is all over the place. 

When I first started out, I had a total of 15 topics I covered. I'm not joking. Each post was about one area in marketing, ranging from email marketing, to consumer behavior to website seo etc.

A potential follower would like my post on email marketing, and then see my page filled with different content, and they would walk away from my page. 

Protip: If the number of profile visits is huge, and the number of follows is way too less for that week (on IG insights), that means something is wrong with your feed, and you gotta change that.

Today, I just focus on Instagram®, and very specifically, getting started and growing on IG. That's helped me narrow down my audience, my messaging, my post topics and best of all, my time spent on IG.

Figure out how much time can you dedicate to Instagram® per week. Based on the that, plan out your time for content creation, scheduling, engagement and other misc activities on IG. Think about the goal for each month and what do you have to do to achieve it.

Don't overspend your time on IG

During the initial stages, I focused all my time on IG. Creating content, scheduling, engaging with my audience, then repeat cycle.

I ended up spending too much time on IG, and not enough time managing my business or even getting leads for my business.

Here's something that people don't realize - IG is a great place for you to find connections, build a network, and prep your audience to be ready when you sell BUT

It takes time. A lot of time.

You can't expect to be getting leads within a week or even a month of getting started on IG. 

The reason it takes time is because people need to be consistently provided value. This consistency helps them trust you, your expertise and the services you offer. 

When I first started out, I dedicated all my time to IG because I was in a hurry to sell to my audience. I thought if I spent more time on IG, I would be able to quickly convert my audience into clients. I burned out often and was taking frequent breaks from IG in between. I wasn't able to show up consistently for my audience this way.

Time spent on IG needs to be little by little, on a consistent basis. It's all about finding the right balance between your work, your other lead generating activities, and not overwhelming your audience.

Once I realized this, I started keeping a dedicated time slot for IG. I was able to focus on other areas of my business and even my existing clients for that matter. Even though I was on a restricted amount of time, I showed up consistently and that's what mattered most to my audience.

Don't overthink it

This is definitely something I catch myself doing from time to time too. I've definitely gotten better with it over time. When I first started out, I was a mess.

Constantly looking at my follower count, posting something then removing it within seconds, then second-guessing everything I said or did whether it was on my stories or in the DMs.

During the break I took in December, I was able to calm my thoughts down and see things from another perspective -

Don't think of your followers as just followers. Think of them as people, just as human as you.

The reason I was overthinking so much was because I felt there was someone on the other end, judging me for every step I took. I was worried about not meeting their expectations.

I soon realized that the people on the other end were human too, and they weren't there to judge; they just wanted to learn something from me.

Even if I made mistakes, they knew I was just human too. Once I came to this mindset, believe me, it transformed every single action I took on IG. 

I was more raw about myself. I let my personality show. If I wanted to say something, I would say it. In other words, I let my followers in and I trusted them to accept me for who I was.

A year later, I can safely say that a huge chunk of followers follow me because of who I am and because of what I, as a person, as an individual, bring to the table.

That, believe me, is so so powerful. So if you're worried about what you're posting, or how you would be perceived, don't.

Be yourself. Don't overthink. Just like in life, the right followers will gravitate towards you.

Don't be afraid to fail

I think this ties in with the previous point. Most of us fear failing because we're worried about how our failure is perceived by others.

First off, no one is keeping count. Second of all, failure is a huge part of this journey.

I'm not afraid to admit that there is something or the other I fail at, every single day. It's the course of action you take after the failure, that determines how successful you actually were.

Honestly, I don't even think of it as failure.

Every post that doesn't perform well is NOT a reflection of your abilities, your intelligence or even your potential.

It is, however, a reflection of what your audience wants to see or in this case, does not want to see. The minute you understand this, your next course of action becomes more clear.

Especially on IG, the number of times you fail will be exponential. Maybe your first launch didn't go as expected or maybe a particular post you worked so hard on, didn't get the reaction you were hoping for. If you choose to, you'll find multiple reasons to bring you down on IG. But that's not the right way to go.

Think of each as a way to understand your audience better, and you'll be in a much better, and healthier mindset.

Well, that's a wrap from me for this post. I hope my experience and advice makes your journey on IG more enjoyable!

Afterall, the best thing to happen to you, is happening right NOW and if you can't enjoy the journey, then what's the point of it all? ☺️



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