Hope it helps someone out there as well :-)
1. Leaping before I looked
There's a certain level of leaping before you look that's good for your business. Some risks have to be taken if you wanna get somewhere. However, this shouldn't blind you to the consequences of the risks you're taking and the results you're expecting from your efforts.
I've set up sites, products and other things without thinking the business strategy through. Heck, I've started blogs for no damn reason except because it sounded like a cool idea at the time.
What that does is is that it WASTES time like nothing, and takes the focus away from the business - not cool.
Some due diligence is always good, and no matter how cool your idea appears to be at 2AM in the night - wait till the next morning before snapping up that 'I-just-have-to-get-this-now' domain that you thought about.
Saves time and money.
2. Being busy, when I actually wasn't
There's this innate tendency to say that you're busy with your business, when you're actually doing nothing productive (Facebook, Twitter being the usual suspects). This sucks - for family, for friends and for yourself. I'm guilty of being concerned with 'appearing to be busy' while I actually wasn't.
You end up taking time away from your friends and family by being busy being busy, and you do nothing for your business in the meantime either. I am changing this by keeping a check on what I do while am online, and making sure am not busy for no reason.
3. Not hiring enough help
That being said, I also made the big mistake of trying to do everything myself. There's only so much time everyday, and only so much energy you have to spare. Spend it learning something new (personally or for your business), try to come up with ways to build your business.
Let your workers/help/VAs worry about the little things.
"But I don't have enough money to..."
"I'll hire someone to work on Site X when I begin earning enough from Site Y"
Businesses don't run like that.
It's good to have the skills to set up a site, write an article, create some banners or video or whatever, but there will come a point where you hit a ceiling. To get past that, you've gotta hire others who are good at that thing - so that you can monitor them while you worry about growing your business.
This article really drove the point home for me:
Step-By-Step Guide: How I Doubled the Value of Websites | Flippa Blog | A blog about buying and selling websites, domains and apps.
4. Thinking everything will go right (or wrong)
I'm a very optimistic person. So it goes without saying that in my mind, everything - no matter how messed up the situation is - is gonna work out.
This is good, as long as you don't let it affect your ability to see failures as real failures. When your site or your product or your service is not working as it should be, any amount of being adamant that it will work out well if you just do X isn't gonna help. What is going to help is to see why it isn't working, and either solve that real issue or not continue down that route anymore (ties in to #1 - you shouldn't be where you are if that's the case)
The opposite is true. X doesn't work, Y is too tough, I could never do Z - these are nice excuses, but crappy business strategies. Get out there and do something. Even you cannot think it through (all the way of course), jump in and get things done. See what works, see what doesn't. Nothing is worse than not acting on your ideas.
5. Not generating enough traffic/leads
If you were looking for property in a mall, you'd take the front shop because: footfall. Online, you gotta figure out where traffic comes from. You need to be where your target audience hangs out.
This could be a forum, blogs, social networks - any place where your audience is, you gotta be there.
And it's not always gonna be free. In fact, I found that spending a few dollars to send targeted traffic to my page which DIDN'T buy was way better than trying to find a way to send free traffic to my page which bought sporadically. Why? Simply because the paid traffic showed me that my page actually sucks almost immediately.
That gives me more time to CHANGE and reduce those losses. BIG time saving. I've pledged to get big on lead generation and learn everything I can to drive more people to my page - any page for that matter.
Hope this helps someone out there too.
What are some other things you'd add to the list?