5 Bad Business Habits and How to Break Them

Every working person is trying to make their business habits as useful and efficient as possible. No matter how hard you’re trying to become a meticulously pedantic business owner, you can always improve your habits.

What’s also intriguing is the fact that many freelancers or small business owners are highly likely to grow the same set of bad habits. We’ve put them together in this guide and tried to give some handy solutions that should help you improve them or curb their growth in the first place.

Rushing into new projects

We’ve all been there – you’ve finally quit your mundane and suppressing 9-5 job and now you’re finally your own boss. Of course, you’ve already grown a substantial client list, so that you can cut to the chase of real-stuff entrepreneurship.

And then, all of a sudden, you find yourself trapped between dozens of different projects you can’t cope with at the same time. The risk of solopreneurial burnout is pretty high, which is why you should bring some clear rules from day one. Here are some practical ones:

Set your work hours – I’ve seen people who are available 24/7 for new tasks, corrections of their old projects etc. Working that way doesn’t mean that you’ll be more successful in business. Therefore, set your work hours and leave some time for rest and leisure.

Divide projects into milestones – When you break down bigger projects into smaller chunks, it will be easier for you to organize your time, plus the clients will have a chance to make their payments in several installments.

Learn to say ‘No’ – Don’t accept any new projects if your daily schedule is already packed with the unfinished ones. Learn to say ‘No’ and you’ll be more satisfied with your work.

If you manage to choose your projects wisely and don’t rush into new ones, your overall business experience will be more pleasant and you’ll be more likely to last longer as an entrepreneur.

Hiring people without proper background checks

If you decide to hire some co-workers or outsourcers, then you can accept more projects than you can do on your own. Having a team of employees or business associates by your side will enable you to perform more tasks per unit of time.

Nevertheless, this procedure isn’t as simple as it may seem. It’s been reported that a bad hire can cost you up to 30% of that employee’s annual salary. Of course, a solopreneur or a small business owner might not hire people as full-time employees, but they can still have substantial losses if they make a wrong choice.

Because of that, you should always check the candidates that apply for the vacancy. Read their portfolios, do some online research to find out more about their accomplishments and visit their profiles on social networks, especially LinkedIn.

Apart from that, search the mainstream freelance and outsourcing platforms, so as to find the potential employees or collaborators there.

What’s also important to take into account is the expenses you’re going to have when expanding your business team. It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons of hiring people as full-time employees vs. working with them as your outsourcers.

Only when you conduct all the listed background checks should you make your final decision and add new people to your business adventure.

Neglecting the power of networking

No businessperson is an island, to paraphrase the old saying.

Therefore, you should perceive yourself as a member of the global business community and not a lone wolf who is working isolated from the rest of the pack.

“You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit. – Jim Rohn”

Neglecting the power of networking might not lead your business to demise, but not leveraging it might slow down your progress.

In order to improve your networking, find the groups relevant to your field of work in various social media. The influence and global presence of these networks will ensure that you easily connect with dozens or even hundreds of people around the globe.

Apart from groups, work on your business portfolio. It would be smart to create a website portfolio so that you can easily embed it and share it via various online channels. You can learn more about it on this free and short course on making online portfolios.

What’s more, you can join one or more professional associations of business professionals in your niche. This membership can bring you numerous contacts and potential business opportunities.

Postponing the big tasks

This is one of those eternal business questions: should I start my workday with the hardest task or ease my way into the workday with a less demanding project?

If we’re to believe Mark Twain, eating the biggest frog early in the morning is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day long.

In other words, if you deal with the biggest task of your work day first, you’ll have the rest of it for more relaxed duties.

As opposed to that, some people simply can’t concentrate well at the beginning of the day. If you’re one of them, first schedule a few easier tasks as a warm-up activity and then cope with the most complex one.

The worst thing you can do is leave the most time-consuming and complicated obligation at the end of your workday. You’ll neither have energy nor concentration to do it properly. It’s a bad business habit that will generate some unnecessary stress, so do everything you can to eradicate that work habit.

Scattering your accounting documents

When the taxman knocks on your door next month, it’s better for you to have all the accounting documents painstakingly stored in one place.

Of course, it’s a bit too late to do that for the current tax year, but make sure to start the next taxation period in an organized way.

The easiest way to keep all your accounting documents in one place is to get the right accounting tool for your business. This solution will help you track all your accounts payable and receivable, as well as calculate your tax obligations.

What’s more, if you enrich your accounting crew with a top-notch accounting app, you can scan all your business-related receipts, especially if you want to ask for tax deductions.

On the other hand, scattering your accounting documents in many different locations on your computer or on the Web will wreak havoc in your business accounting, as well as in your tax reports.


Developing bad business habits is something that can happen to anyone, especially if you’re only beginning your career outside a structured company.

What you can do is change these patterns fast, given that you notice them on time. There’s no need to accept dozens of projects if only a few of them can ensure you a fine living. Also, when you need additional staff, feel free to hire them, but do it in a careful way. If you connect with other pros from your niche and keep your books organized, you’ll nip bad business habits in the bud and become a pretty efficient business professional.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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