10 Reasons You Are Not A Successful Entrepreneur


  1. You don’t know how to manage money. Fancy offices and high salaries are great ways to blow money. You need to learn when to spend your money and when you should not. For example, if your employees want fancy desks or cubicles, when it will not help them do their job better, tell them no. But if a developer wants two monitors so he or she can be more productive, then buy the second monitor.
  2. You don’t have multiple game plans. You can’t rely on one person, one business model, or even one solution. Things you can’t predict happen, so the best thing you can do is have multiple game plans. Single game plans such as relying on marketing to make your website popular is a bad idea. If you hire a bad marketing firm, what are you going to do now?
  3. You don’t learn from your mistakes. It is natural to make mistakes, but good entrepreneurs make few mistakes. The easiest way you can reduce the amount of mistakes you will make is by learning from others. Find entrepreneurs in similar fields and place them on your board of advisors. By giving them a small amount of equity in your company, you will make fewer mistakes. And if you happen to make some big mistakes, don’t make them again.
  4. You aren’t agile enough. You have to be able to adapt quickly. If you aren’t able to adapt to market changes, someone else will.
  5. You think you know everything. The reality is, you know very little. So instead of thinking you know everything, find others who are smarter than you.
  6. You think you can do everything. There is only 24 hours in a day, and sleeping takes up a lot of it. I know you may be a jack of all trades, but find people who can help you out. By specializing on tasks you will become more efficient and get more done.
  7. You don’t network with others. If you meet new people on a regular basis, sooner or later you will run into people that can help you out. Surprisingly, there are tons of people out there who are willing to lend a helping hand for FREE. Make sure you go to industry events, local mixers, and join any entrepreneur groups.
  8. You don’t love what you do. Money is great, but everything shouldn’t revolve around it. You are more likely to succeed if you are doing what you love. Usually when you are doing things you love, you will spend more time and put more effort into it.
  9. You don’t have a good work ethic. Laziness is something many of us pick up from working 9 to 5 jobs. But when you are running your own business you have to be willing to put in time. And more importantly when you working, you have to learn to be productive.
  10. You aren’t aggressive enough. Don’t expect things to be handed to you or for doors to open up when you want them to. You have to be a go-getter and if you aren’t one, you better learn how to become one.

P.S. If you want help becoming a more successful entrepreneur go here.


  1. Good post Neil 🙂
    Actually, i myself am the most unsuccessful money manager, never know how to make the correct use of it.
    Networking is a good point included..

    And yeah, never stick to a single target, change the plans and come up with the trends.

    You think you know everything, You think you can do everything – The 2 biggest reasons for failures. Never be over-confident. Try to be a learner!

    Good post.

    • The money managing part is always hard. I got lucky because my parents taught me the value of money when I was a kid, but it seems that many people don’t learn about money management till their 20s.

  2. John Hoff - eVentureBiz :

    Hello Neil, found you through Stumble Upon (I’ll also stumble the post as well). Good top ten list. I talk about the journey of being an entrepreneur on my blog and these are all great points.

    To add to the list, I’d say also:

    – invest sufficient time in thinking about what you’re doing and where you’re going. Think about your target market and how you can better fulfill their needs.

    • I see where you are going. Tons of entrepreneurs think their ideas are great, but never really take time to find out if others like them. At the end of the day, it matters what the customer thinks and not you.

    • You don’t have a good work ethic. Laziness is something many of us pick up from working 9 to 5 jobs. But when you are running your own business you have to be willing to put in time.

  3. I feel you have been so blessed to have such wonderful parents who helped you learn many of these lessons so early.

    I can’t agree with you more about all of them. And yes, even famous brilliant people help you for free. 🙂


    • Thanks for the kind words! I was lucky because my parents pushed me hard when it came to entrepreneurship.

      You are totally right on the free help. Just look at how you have helped me. You drive almost 2 hours to come to my house just to do chiropractic stuff on my family. (much appreciated)

  4. I disagree with the fancy office part, or maybe our definition of fancy differs. If you make the office a place where people feel good and if people actually want to be in the office because they like it, they will be a lot more productive than if you put them in a cubicle farm. While this attitude also depends on factors other than their office equipment, it does play a big role.

    • Travis Seitler :

      Actually, then, it sounds like the two of you agree. Neil said you should say no when “it will not help them do their job better.” What you’re describing, Icheb, is making things fancy in a way that will help them do their job better. 😉

      • Icheb, as Travis stated, it is all about the benefit. If things have a ROI (direct or indirect), in most cases it is worth it. If everyone wants 5,000 dollar cubicles, when 100 dollar Ikea desks would do the same job, go with the Ikea desks.

      • If everyone wants 5,000 dollar cubicles, when 100 dollar Ikea desks would do the same job, go with the Ikea desks.

    • i totally agree with this point of view.sometimes it works but many times people take this as granted,,and thus they develop a friendly relation and they feel that their superiors dont ask anything

  5. Neil,

    Great post! The picture of the guy washing his car in the rain is classic! perfect image to relate with failure. I think the #8 is the most important and an important foundation for success. In entrepreneurship if you don’t love what you do, it just won’t work, you have to be passionate because its all you got to battle through the ups and downs of business.

    In business today, with the speed of the internet, its not the big who eat the small but the fast that eat the slow. Being a small virtual, lean organization, can give you significant advantages over a larger company.

    • I am with you on this one. A lot of organizations want to become big, but I prefer staying small. Both have their advantages, and I love how small companies are agile.

  6. Scott Fox, Author of Internet Riches :


    This is an excellent post. You’ve summed up years of academic training and real-life experience into 10 great points.

    I would highlight your points 6 and 9 as the most important.

    An entrepreneur’s most valuable (and irreplaceable) resource is him/herself. Spreading yourself too thin, even if it’s to save money, can kill your business.

    Discipline is also a challenge (as anyone reading this knows), especially for first-time entrepreneurs who are used to working on someone else’s terms or clock.

    For #3, I would also add that you need to be sure to learn from your own mistakes. Every misstep or failure offers a lesson if you are smart enough to heed it.

    Great stuff. Thank you.

    • Good addition. Learning from yourself is a must and if you can’t do that you will constantly make the same mistakes.

      • Discipline is also a challenge (as anyone reading this knows), especially for first-time entrepreneurs who are used to working on someone else’s terms or clock.

  7. Louisville Website Design :

    Neil, one of the few blogs I still read because when you do post it is worth my time to sit down and read.


    Justin Chelf

  8. Chris Leone :

    I think this is a good list, but your third point about mistakes doesn’t sit well with me. Obviously, entrepreneurs fail because they make too many mistakes along the way, but making them is something you should never be afraid of. When we play the ‘cautious card’ we devote our time to avoiding mistakes instead of trying new things – especially things we aren’t comfortable with. Mistakes are how we learn. Also, I strongly disagree that good entrepeneurs make few mistakes. It’s how they recover from them that makes them great. I would change your third point to: “You’re afraid of making mistakes.”

    • For the point on making mistakes, I agree that you should not be afraid of making them. You should take risks, but just try and avoid making mistakes when possible. This is why learning from others can be valuable.

      I probably should have been clearer on what I meant by “few mistakes”. The lesser the better, but granted some may make 1 mistakes while others may make 100 mistakes. The overall point I was trying to make, is that you should try and reduce the amount of mistakes when you can.

      I also agree with your recovery point. I kind of combined that with my “agile” point, but again should have been clearer.

  9. Great post. I think I’m reasonably well-covered in all the areas, but could also improve in all those areas too, if that makes any sense!

    • Reasonably well covered isn’t going to cut it. In one of the four areas, you need to be an outlier.

  10. Shun Jian | RichGrad.com :

    I think number 8 is one of the most common reasons why people fail in business. You’ve got to love what you do, otherwise you’ll find it really hard to do it.

    I have a list of 10 success principles that I follow to make an additional $1,000 every single month. Feel free to check it out:


    • Yeah I will, thanks for sharing the link. #8 is VERY important, you’re right. If you aren’t passionate about what you do, you will be miserable.

  11. I will add one more point to it which is know your employees and give them the right treatment. There are many bosses who give importance to idiots and totally ignore the ones who do the actual work. So proper management and the right employee-employer relation works wonders.

    • I would have to agree. Listening to your employees can do wonders for your business. If you hired them, might as well use them to the fullest extent.

  12. This is a great ..being a visionary is an important aspect of an entrepreneur..Can you see the unseen, I always ask myself

    • Vision is important, but you have to be realistic at the same time. If you get too caught into the vision things like sustaining a business maybe overlooked. None-the-less it is a good aspect.

  13. Karen Kramer :

    Great Words! I would change number three to: Not learning from your Mistakes…Some of the best Entrepreneurs have made some serious mistakes…but the key is they only made them once..

  14. The Happy Rock :

    You nailed it with the two monitors thing. For professions like software development rhere aren’t too many more things the company can do than get two or three monitors to make people more productive. $200 invest can increase an employee’s productivity significantly, yet most companies are so stingy when it comes to good hardware and monitors!

    • Yea, that is why I make it standard that every employee has 2 monitors.

    • anjan bacchu :

      Hi There,

      Can’t agree more with you. $300 can buy so much more productivity.

      Also, while we are talking about developers’ productivity :
      A lot of java web shops don’t buy their developers a decent Javascript debugger and their developers labor through very unproductive debugging techniques.

      A good build server can make the developers to move on to the next task without having to worry about breaking the build.


  15. Chris Desouza :

    I came here through John Chow’s blog post. Having read your version and reasons an entrepreneur is not successful, I think you hit the nail deep and on the spot in one hammer.

    But what impresses me the most is not so much the level of successes you have achieved thus far, but your acknowledgment of the role your parents played in your business and in your life. I respect and admire that thought a lot.

    You’d not be who and where you are, if not for them.

    Good stuff. They are blessed for it.

    Best to you and my regards to your parents.


    • Totally agree. My parents had a lot to do with my business life and they still do. My dad works for me now. 🙂

  16. Great read! I personally thing #8 is important because you have to love what your doing, or you won’t be doing it for long. And things like this take time.

  17. Matt Potter :

    Great post Neil. All ten of your reasons for not being a successful entrepeneur make sense. I think laziness is a major factor. Another one that I would add is not having a sense of direction.

    I’m not sure if this has been true in your experience but as a ‘rookie’ entrepeneur I’ve had plenty of people tell me my idea will not work. But having a sense of direction and believing in what I’m doing helps me push past the negativity. Great post.

  18. thank you for this post, I think this post help me a bit bring my spirit to blog and make money online again

  19. Brian Armstrong :

    Couldn’t agree more with the money management part. For anyone interested…here is a video demo on how to make your own financial statements each month in about 5 minutes. If you can’t afford a full time CPA yet this is a great start:

  20. I do not think you need to love what you do even thought that would help but you need to have the necessary knowledge in that specific field to succeed.

    • If you don’t love what you do, you can still succeed, but there may not be much to keep you going during the hard times.

  21. Thanks Neil, I really appreciated for sharing your tips.

  22. Gopinath Mavinkurve :

    Precisely what a guy wanting to be an entrepreneur needs to know. Appreciate the loads of things you say in such a short post!

  23. Great post. Youre so blessed to have good parents who taught the value of money. have a nice day

  24. Andrew Meyer :

    Great post. I would add another thing that I am learning to deal with as a first time entrepreneur. Ambiguity. If you work for someone or in a corporation, you’re told, to some degree or another, what to do. As an entrepreneur, you have to wake up in the morning, know what your goal is and figure out how to move forward to that goal. That you have to figure out a plan to do and then stick to it yourself.

    Is that something you’ve experienced?

    • It is. Problem when you work for yourself is that sometimes you can get lazy. When you work for someone else a boss may tell you when to do something, and you may be more likely to do it.

  25. Frederick Townes :

    Hey Neil, solid post. This sounds like the principles/foundation of our brainstorming sessions. We need to catch up soon. Don’t work too hard.

  26. Steve Kinsey :

    A very thought provoking list, my personal failure right now is definitely number 7, I’ve never taken the importance of networking seriously enough. I am working hard now to try and put that right.

  27. Very interesting but true points you have raised. So true when you reflect on them. Great post. I came here recommended to this blog and now I know why.

  28. It’s great if you make a product that ‘You’ really want to make, but make sure you listen to your customers and not refuse them what they want from your product.

    Know that you’re making it for them, and not just for yourself!


    New Kid on the block

  29. Rebecca Kelley :

    neil, you’re absolutly full of shit. please stop posting.

    • Sorry you did not like this post. I know I may sound like I am “full of shit”, but a lot of people find value in the blog posts. Appreciate your advice and will do my best to improve.

      • Chris Desouza :

        Neil man, stop kissing her ass and say it like it is. I hate it when someone kisses ass.

        That bitch should learn some manners. My network of sites get more traffic than that bitch’s company can ever improve upon on their own.

  30. Neil, several point isn’t appropriate for average people. Someone that have multiple game plan and a good adaptable ability the only have by extreme people. That’s why we’re all know not much success guys in the world.

    Ups.. I found an error message on your blog something say like this ”
    Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /var/www/vhosts/quicksprout.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/wp-cache-phase2.php on line 245″

    • I totally get that many of these points may be hard to reach for the Average Joe, which is why I don’t expect everyone to follow each point. I am just hoping that people can follow as many as they possible can, which will increase their chance of success.

      Thanks for pointing out the error.

  31. A great friend of mine once said that if you stick your head above the crowd, you will be the one the sniper takes a shot at.

    The fact that anyone takes shots at you, is strictly based on your keeping your head well above the crowd. 🙂


  32. GREAT post! I wish I could show this to my husband but that would start a major row!! If you are making a follow-up list, consider “You stopped learning” and “You were too proud”.

  33. neil,
    u r right about that money management!
    i was not taught anything by my parents – so i lost a lot in my business venture. now i am 44 and only now learning those skills!

    • It is a hard skill to master. Even with my parents teaching me it at a young age, I still haven’t fully learned it. Every once in a while I waste a few bucks when I shouldn’t.

  34. I wholeheartedly agree with #6. I think a lot of business owners are just too afraid to give up the reins of certain areas of the company. Areas that they know they don’t know much about, but they’re sure they know more about it than the specialist with years of experience. It’s hard for people to give up control, especially when it’s their name on the line, but I think delegating can be one of the most helpful and efficient ways to run a business.

    • I feel that if you don’t delegate you can’t grow past a certain level. We would have never had a big company in this world if people didn’t delegate.

  35. Great post, a lot of great points. I have even found myself buying the big expensive desk when it really didn’t help me at all, but it did make the office look more impressive which may also impress clients, haha.

    • If you want to impress clients, nice desks can provide a good ROI. But if it is just to improve the quality of your work environment, it usually doesn’t help.

  36. I like point #8, successful or not, you got to enjoy what you are doing.

  37. Very interesting post (made me wonder in which point would I fit in 🙂 ), I think the most important “weight” in success is this one: “You think you can do everything. ” by delegatinig many lazy people have become successful.

  38. I dont have any idea about other things in myself
    But i am aggressive enough to gaim some potential 🙂

    • Being aggressive is good, but you still need to learn the other tips. No matter what you think, you can change yourself.

  39. Successful people online have learned from their mistakes. Keep moving even if you have experience errors just because you are a newbie.

    • Totally agree. When I started my first .com business I made a lot of mistakes, but as I kept moving forward I didn’t make the same mistakes. Sadly, I made new ones. 😉

  40. CCNA Training Videos :

    All great points… probably the most prolific is you don’t learn from your mistakes.. it’s ok to try and fail, in fact it’s critical to success. That’s how you learn… you learn lessons the hard way, that stick with you.

    If you keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again however, you’re simply wasting your time.

  41. I find that you usually want to portray the image that you are a big company to customers and that you are a small company to your employees. Kind of keeps everything balanced.

    • It really depends. Sometimes portraying that you are a small company to customers can show that you care more about your clients and that you will go that extra mile that a larger company may not go. It is all about a personal touch, which larger companies usually can’t offer.

  42. Hi Neil,
    Great post.I think some of the rules can be applied in our real life also. I was thinking that you know and understand business batter, but I think you are managing your life in a good way.

    • Good point. I do know business some what well and I am very strict on how I manage my life. The problem is, I manage my life with extremely high risk.

  43. Make Money On Internet :

    Neil! You have made me ashamed of all the mistakes I have made in running my business. I hope to change all the business mistakes that I do so that does not happen again.

  44. Great post.I think some of the rules can be applied in our real life also. I was thinking that you know and understand business batter

  45. yes,you are correct sometimes we dont know how can we manage our money and we waste our money but we learn many thing from our failures.

  46. When i first started getting into Entrepreneurship i was like that alot. I was in a program called deca and i thought i new everything and i was always top my class then when i started internet marketing i thought the same way. today i still keep a cocky side but im alot better Entrepreneur then i was when i started plus i know more about online blogging and marketing then most people do taking a college course.

    • If you want to do well online, then it’s definitely a thing you want to learn and figure out. It should be a course that’s offered in college as a standard.

  47. Very useful list and article,thanks for sharing.

  48. Want to motivate your customers and your employees? Learn to appreciate them and sincerely thank them – a lot!

    After volunteering at two gay-run charities, I truly realized how important this is. I have never been thanked so much and made to feel so appreciated as I do working with these charities. Donate a few bucks? “Thank you so very much for your very generous donation.” Spend a few hours helping? Hug when you leave, and show up the next time (you definitely will), followed by a handwritten card or note, and probably an e-mail.

    The system worked so well I introduced it at my church, and it has gone a long way to motivating some very overworked donors and volunteers.

    I work with a bunch of crusty old truck drivers, and I know for a fact that nothing would motivate them like, “thanks for working so hard for our customer. We really appreciate you.” These guys would move mountains for that. Or a hat in appreciation.

    Want high turnover costs? Just forget to say thanks for a job well done.

  49. very interesting , i agree, i think the one that strikes me most is “you think you know everything” its so common to see that, even me can go there sometimes

  50. Best Laptop Review :

    Haha funny epic fail picture. But i can’t agree more with some of your points, especially the “you think you know everything” one. Sometimes it’s best to take egos out of the equation and not be afraid to ask for help!

  51. sell textbooks :

    I find I am not aggressive enough. But I don’t think it gets in my way all that much. I follow and I lead, but I don’t’ mind either one. I work with good people and I am happy.

    • Good for you, it sounds like your headed down the right direction. If you think your not aggressive enough, think about what you need to do to get better.

  52. earn and invest money :

    Hello, I would like to blog this topic in my blog? Is it okay for you? Please tell me so I could start writing about this post.

  53. thebloggernet :

    Actually I agree with the no.8 You don’t love what you do. So I think now I will do what I like..thanks for the post

  54. wonderful web site. thank you this wonderful publish. i love a lot.

  55. Outstanding post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!

  56. John @ Start Mission :

    Too many wannabe entrepreneurs ask me to comment on their start up ideas and whether they have what it takes to make it a success.

    I should just send them this checklist and have them determine the answer for themselves.

  57. Great post. I think I’m reasonably well-covered in all the areas, but could also improve in all those areas too, if that makes any sense!

  58. good point Neil. thanks

  59. Haryanavi Song :

    Really great information.
    I think you are right.
    I am sure about it.
    thanks for share.

  60. Gayatri Mantra :

    Well said. You really add value to your readers. Thanks.

  61. Hanuman Chalisa :

    Well said. By the way, I think proper planning and keep calm throughout the journey is also necessary.

  62. Anup Jalota :

    There are of course more reasons

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