Humans are creatures of habit--for better or for worse. When you're an entrepreneur, there are a few common bad habits that are easy to get mixed up with. Maybe you're following outdated advice (or advice that just doesn't work for you), maybe you heard about a freak success and are trying to follow in impossible footsteps, or maybe you just got caught up in a particular entrepreneurial merry go round that you can't get off.
The important thing is that you recognize your bad habits and take active steps to break them. Here are some of the worst, most common offenders:
You're a Patent Addict
If invention is part of your entrepreneurial spirit, collecting those patents can get addictive. However, this is kind of like being a dreamer without an ounce of "do-er" in you. There's no glory (or cash, or career) in getting as many patents as you can. Often, patent collectors are wary of taking the next step and use patents as a buffer. Choose one of your patents and make something happen with it.
Working Around the Clock
This is doubly worse if you work from home where business is just a few steps away. Some people excel at time management, and others struggle with it. If you find yourself seemingly working 24/7, it's time to establish a schedule and stick to it. You need decent chunks of time where you're 100 percent in non-work mode--at least if you want your sanity and relationships to survive.
The business plan is the bane of many a founder's existence, and generally "planning" isn't the most fun part of being an entrepreneur. However, it's crucial and you should never skip it. If you need help, start by checking out the Small Business Administration (SBA) office closest to you where there's free help on everything from mapping out a capital gains plan to drafting that business plan you've been putting off.
Expecting Instant Results
Amazon wasn't built in a day. Entrepreneurs need to be realistic about what to expect--and understand that sometimes it can take several years before you break even. It's one of the major reasons why most startups fail, and you need to be prepared to weather the hungry years. That's why having a nest egg and (preferably) an other half who's able to provide a little support goes a very long way.
Choosing the Wrong Partners
It doesn't matter if it's your first entry-level employee, your co-founder, or your CPA. "The weakest link" is a very real phenomenon, and sadly many entrepreneurs don't make the best partner choices. They're prone to picking friends who they "want" to work with, not the best professionals in their budget who have the skills and fit the company culture who they "need" to work with. Mixing business and pleasure (such as tucking in for a Mario Kart session with your best friend cum partner during lunch) is rarely a good idea.
For the best chance of success, focus on good entrepreneurial habits like solid morning rituals and mapping out daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals. Just like chewing your nails, bad habits can get kicked--but sometimes you have to get creative. Masking tape over fingertips, anyone?