3 Deadly Traps That Wantrepreneurs Fall Into

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In 2011, I went from working at a restaurant making $2.17/hour (plus tips…) to launching one…then two…then THREE successful, profitable businesses with literally no startup capital.

How did I do it? Did I come up with the next Google or get a loan from a rich uncle? Hell no. I simply learned how to take skills I already had and create products and services that people would pay me money for. Then, I leveraged advice from experts that I befriended to help me grow my businesses explosively.

Read on to find out exactly how I did it — and how you can use the same step-by-step process I used to create a brand new business or take your existing business to the level you’ve always dreamt of. (This will be a 2-part article)


I can remember very clearly now, the precise moment my mind underwent “the shift”.

I was in the back of the kitchen at Longhorn Steakhouse in Atlanta, scooping little clumps of butter into those round plastic containers so that people would have something fatty to slather all over their massive basket of carbs. Delicious.

Photo 1

My manager walked up behind me and peered over my shoulder.

“Do it again. Those balls look like shit.”

“Excuse me?” I said, looking down at my pants to make sure I wasn’t exposed.

“Those balls, re-scoop them. They look like they were scooped by some kid on the short bus. You’re wasting .007 micrograms of butter per day with those uneven portions. That’s probably costing us $5.00 per year. Do you want to give me $5.00?”

What I wanted to give him was 500 punches right in the uterus.

In reality, that type of nitpicking by management happened every day. It was nothing special. But that day…something very different happened in my brain. A light went on (or perhaps several lights…) and a very strong voice filled my head with a potent question:

“Why are you wasting your potential at this job that means nothing to you, around these people who don’t inspire you?”

And for the first time in my life, I was speechless…I couldn’t even answer myself.

It’s weird, isn’t it? We come into early adulthood so full of the hope left over from our adolescence. Anything we want can be ours with the right amount of work and a little luck, right? But then, weird shit starts happening.

College has been over for a few years now…so friends start moving away and we see them less. People start getting married and having identical babies that dominate our newsfeed.

Photo 2

We try to settle into our new lives as adults and “figure things out” but it feels awkward, because to be honest, we still feel like kids. And before you know it, we’re 24, 25, 26. 30 is around the corner and we feel like things are starting to end before they even began.

Where is the time going? Stop this train.

And all of this time, we haven’t really made any progress towards our dreams. We may have gotten a few degrees or promotions (yay, mom is so proud)…but they feel empty. We feel empty. Something’s missing.

(Did anyone catch 2 John Mayer references in 3 lines?)

We’re stuck in this weird limbo. It’s like the holding pattern that fighter jets fly in before they’re given orders to strike. We’re told that it’s ok not to know what we want out of life yet…but deep down inside, we feel anxious because we don’t know. Not knowing what we want, or how to get it, makes us feel powerless.

“What if I never know what I want out of life? What if this is it?”

So we just keep doing what we’ve been doing, day after day…year after year…because it’s safe and we don’t really know what else to do.

When we see people in the news who are doing amazing things with their lives, the first thing that we do in our heads is come up with all the reasons why it’s easier for them than it would ever be for us. I know I used to do this ALL the time.

  • Well OF COURSE Zuckerberg was able to make Facebook. He went to Harvard. 
  • Well OF COURSE it’s easy for her to travel the world. She got a bunch of scholarships and her parents probably helped her.
  • Well OF COURSE it was easy for him to launch a startup. His family already owns a few businesses.

Haven’t you done this before?

Haven’t you made excuses for why OTHER PEOPLE have a much easier time being successful…and why it’s so difficult for you?

Deep down in your core, you know you could be doing something spectacular with your time…like starting your own business, or growing the one you have explosively…but you just feel like you’re missing the keys to the ignition. So you make excuses for yourself and live for reruns of America’s Next Top Model.

I’ve been there.

But that day, in the back of the kitchen, with gross (butter) balls all over my hands…I decided I was done making excuses for myself, blaming other people and flying in the “holding pattern”. Yes, yes…this all sounds very “self-helpish” and corny…but I really did have a huge mental shift that day. I was ready to ditch my 9 to 5 forever and find something that could make me a lot happier AND a lot richer.

Or I was at least willing to die trying.

Have you had your “mental shift” yet?

Now, this isn’t the part where I ride off into the sunset on a unicorn cackling and clicking my heels, clutching a pot of gold. Far from it. This is actually the part where it gets even shittier.

See…here’s the thing: understanding that you are capable of starting a new business is fine and dandy.

Everybody knows they CAN, ostensibly, start a profitable business. Shit, if Kim Kardashian can start an empire…you’re probably capable too.

The question is HOW.

HOW do you come up with a good idea, turn the idea into a business that people will PAY you for…then launch that business in a way that sets you free? Especially if you basically have no money…

Funny you should ask. Before I tell you how I EVENTUALLY figured this out, I want to tell you how NOT to do it. I want to tell you how I almost DESTROYED all three of my businesses before they even got off the ground.

Just one of these traps is enough to crush you — they’ve destroyed people much smarter and richer than me. As luck would have it, I got hit by all 3 of them. Please take the time read these carefully. Are you already falling into one of these traps?


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About the author: Under30CEO

Under30CEO is the leading media property for entrepreneurs, inspiring the world’s next generation of business leaders. Under30CEO features direct interviews with the most successful young people on the planet, profiles twenty-something startups, provides advice from those who have done it before, and publishes cutting edge news for the young entrepreneur.

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