Top 15 Mistakes When Starting a Creative Business

Worried that your creative business will fail? Find out the biggest mistakes companies make and how you can avoid them when starting your new company.

15 min read

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Table of Contents

It’s not easy to start a creative online business. You have to do all the things that a brick and mortar store needs to do, but you also need to account for the fact that your customers are scattered across the world.

If you’re just starting out, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what those first steps should be when launching an online business. Fortunately, there are some simple mistakes to avoid when starting your creative business.

Here are 15 mistakes most creative business owners experience when they start their own online business so hopefully this article will help you avoid having any significant problem when you begin your own business.

1) Not Having a Business Plan

To be successful, having a business plan is the first thing you need to do to start an online business
Photo by geralt from Pixabay

When you first start a new creative business, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. It is normal to feel stress because you are now your own boss, you have great business ideas, but there are a lot of things that need to be done in order to get your new online business started.

Once you have a business idea and know what problem your business solves for your targeted audience, you must put in the necessary time and effort into planning your marketing and advertising strategies to sell your product or service. If you just start a website and hope people will stumble onto your site, it's not going to happen.

Not only do you need a plan on how you will attract customers, but you also need a plan on how you are going to keep them coming back.

Without a business plan, you won’t be in a position to effectively sell to your customers. You need to be constantly thinking of new ideas on what your business requires in order to grow so you can begin making money. All of this requires planning ahead of time, and by creating a business plan that is tailored to your business, you will be able to see the potential problems so you can avoid them.

What is a Business Plan?

Most startup companies that do not create a business plan fail because they don't know what they are doing wrong or where their business needs improvement.

If you want to start a creative business online, a business plan will allow you to see how your company can succeed. In addition, it will find weaknesses that will help you avoid mistakes that can result in failure.

If you're just starting out, make sure you take the time to develop a solid plan and market your business effectively. It may seem like extra work in the beginning, but thorough planning will pay off in the long run.

What is the Purpose of a Business Plan?

An organized business plan will help you figure out what to do first and which order to do it in.  

  1. What are you selling?
  2. Who is your niche audience?
  3. How will you generate sustainable revenue?
  4. When should you start your social media marketing?
  5. Who will handle inventory and quality control?
  6. What about email campaigns?
  7. How will you attract new customers without spending too much money?

Many business owners wait answer these important questions. If you fail to answer these questions at the very beginning of the process, you won’t know what to do with all your business data once you start getting it. You need to be constantly thinking about how the data will help you grow your small business and this requires planning ahead of time.

For more information on creating a business plan, check out this post on how to create a business plan for your creative business, where you can learn just what goes into a business plan.

2) Procrastination and Ignoring Necessary Tasks

Creative startup businesses cannot procrastinate when it comes to working hard as a sole proprietor
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Like traditional businesses, when you start an online business, it requires constant attention. You cannot afford to spend time on things that will not benefit your company while ignoring necessary tasks because it will slow down the growth of your business.

Make sure that when starting out, you set aside some time each week to plan ahead. This will make your life much easier in the long run and prevent you from wasting time running around in circles trying to figure out what’s next.

3) Not Having a Multi-Layered Plan for Customer Acquisition

Having a multi-layered plan in place for your online business will allow you to succeed
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Another mistake that many people make when starting a creative business is not having a multi-layered plan for finding more customers.

The first question that must be answered is how will you attract people to your online business? Your goal is to figure out the best way to get customers, whether it's organic search, affiliate marketing, or paid marketing campaigns. You can't afford to spread yourself too thin and only focus on one type of customer acquisition because it will make you less efficient.

Not having a multi-layered plan for customer acquisition means it will take more time to get customers because you're constantly switching between marketing platforms instead of leveraging the ones currently working to bring in customers.

When you do not have a multi-layered plan, it can also lead to burnout because you're constantly trying different things to find the best way to market your business. You'll end up running yourself ragged and will also lose money by not marketing more efficiently.

It's much better if you take the time before launching your business to develop a multi-layered plan for customer acquisition because you'll save yourself much more time, effort and money in the long run.

4) Failing to Create a Marketing Strategy

Creative businesses will only succeed if they create a marketing strategy to a targeted audience
Photo by Slidebean from Unsplash

When starting a successful creative business online, you need a marketing strategy in place before your online business begins selling products or services.

If you don't have a marketing campaign, or don't know what it is, or keep changing your marketing plan every month, it will be difficult for you to grow your business because you won't know how to reach your target audience.

Starting an online business is not as simple as choosing a few keywords, putting them into a Google AdWords account and watching the sales roll in. You'll need to have a marketing plan in place to reach your target audience so they know who you are and what types of products or services you have.

5) Not Using Email Marketing

Online business owners can reach potential customers by email marketing
Photo by Solen Feyissa from Unsplash

You also need to have an email list so you can market directly to your target audience. Email marketing is an excellent business opportunity. Start today by setting up an email subscription form on your website or blog where readers can sign up to get future blog posts delivered straight to their inbox.

You might offer something in exchange for signing up, like an e-book or a free webinar. Once you receive your customers' emails, you can keep in touch with your customers so they remember to visit your business. Learn how to create an effective marketing campaign in this beginner's guide to email marketing, and check out 50 different subject line methods to help you improve your email marketing campaign.

Another mistake when it comes to email marketing is trying to do it by yourself. There are a number of tools out there that will help you automate your email marketing campaign, such as Moosend. Moosend is a powerful email marketing platform where you can create beautiful, professional email campaigns for your creative business. They have a drag and drop builder and offer a 30 day free trial.

You may also want to try GoDaddy Email Marketing. Not only is GoDaddy a great way to find a domain name, they have a very easy to use email campaign platform. It's a great way to build relationships with customers and prospects, promote your brand, and drive sales. GoDaddy's Email Marketing provides everything you need to create newsletters, coupons, or other email campaigns you may need. You can get 1 month free and no credit card is required.

6) Trying to Do Everything Alone

A creative online business will only succeed if you delegate responsibilities
Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels

One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is feeling overwhelmed by trying to do everything yourself. When you try to do everything, it can quickly become exhausting and lead to burnout.

Remember you are not alone. There are plenty of people who can help you out. When starting out, it's a good idea to put together a team of people who can help you with different aspects of your business. You may feel that you cannot delegate your work like larger companies, but delegating some responsibilities can help you feel less overwhelmed. It will also allow you to focus on what you're good at, while leaving the rest to people that are qualified to handle those tasks.

Thinking You Know Everything

One of the biggest mishaps business owners experience is believing they know everything about running a business. There are plenty of resources available online and in books that can help you out.

Don't feel like you have to learn everything yourself because it will take up too much time. Instead, focus on what you're good at and let the experts handle the rest.

When you allow others to help, it will ease some of your stress so you can focus on starting your business.

Unwilling to Hire Staff and Contractors

When starting an online business, you need to consider the time involved in finding, hiring and training new employees for your online business. It's not as simple as picking up the phone and calling friends or family members because they may not have the right skills for your business. You'll also need to train any new hires and that takes time, which you might not have if your business is still growing.

Make sure that the people you hire are qualified for their position and can do the job in an efficient amount of time. This way, you'll save yourself a lot of stress in the long run because they'll be able to handle things much more efficiently, which means you'll have a better business.

7) Failing to Stay on Top of the Online Business

Businesses fail when they fail to take care of bookkeeping, marketing, customer service and product development
Photo by Carl Heyerdahl from Unsplash

All business owners must have personal discipline in order to spend the necessary time and effort to maintain the business, whether they are traditional brick and mortar businesses, or online businesses. This means staying on top of things like bookkeeping, marketing, paying attention to customer needs, as well as product development.

A small business that does not put in the necessary time and effort will quickly fall behind and begin to lose money. You need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry so you can continue to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.

Cutting Corners

Staying on top of things also means not cutting corners on customer service. If you don't have a plan for dealing with complaints or refunds, if you have a tendency of dismissing negative feedback, or cannot satisfy your customer, it will quickly become overwhelming and you'll lose money. Put a system in place so you can handle issues more efficiently and prevent your business from failing.

8) Failing to Find the Perfect Domain Name

Finding the best domain name for your creative online business is critical for success

Having the right domain name is an important detail that many new business owners tend to rush into when starting their website or email marketing e-commerce campaign. Choosing the right domain name will keep you from having problems later, so take time to think about what it will be before you actually purchase it.

Finding a domain name that isn't taken is becoming increasingly difficult for small businesses, but this is the first step in creating a brand for your company. A domain name should be easy to remember, simple, and catchy. For email marketing e-commerce, your email address should be the same as the domain name you chose for your email marketing e-commerce.

How to Choose a Domain Name

When choosing a domain name, keep in mind:

  1. Make it relate to your brand
  2. Make it relate to your business niche.
  3. Create a short, rememberable name.
  4. Don't use numbers, hyphens instead of spaces between words or abbreviations
  5. Avoid misspellings and slang terms.
  6. Choose a .com or .org for email addresses
  7. Check domain availability with tools online
  8. Use the same email address for every site on which you are an email owner (e.g., business email, website email, social media email)
  9. Don't use special characters such as & and # and don't use all capitals unless it's part of your name.
  10. Be original and creative!

Using Godaddy to find a domain name is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have a name that fits your business and brand. You can also get an email that matches. Godaddy has a special right now for 30% off your first year.

9) Website is Not Designed for Your Customers

Online businesses fail largely because they do not effectively design their ecommerce websites
Photo by Pankaj Patel from Unsplash

Designing a website for your new creative business that is user-friendly and looks good can be difficult, but with the right tools, you can create a website that really makes a good impression. This will be the first thing your audience sees, and it can be the difference between launching a successful creative business and failing, especially when you have tough competition online.'

If you are not quite sure where to start when it comes to designing a professional and attractive website, you can hire a web designer. Unfortunately, for most small creative businesses, the cost is too high. Therefore, finding alternatives to expensive web designers is a must.


Many choose to set up their own website, using companies like BlueHost, which is one of the most popular web hosting companies on the market. It has a drag and drop builder that makes designing a website easy, even if you never did anything like this before.

When you're creating your own service or ecommerce website, using the BlueHost premium theme may be useful and relatively inexpensive. The key to a successful business is to write content that targets your ideal audience and BlueHost is able to help with the design and feel so you can convey that message.


If you are thinking of finding a domain through Godaddy, you can also use GoDaddy's WordPress Hosting where you can get a free domain.

They offer a simple solution to starting a website and it is perfect for beginners because it has pre-built templates, as well as a drag and drop editor. They have a lot of great features, especially for ecommerce sites.

Want to know more? See what else Godaddy, has to offer.


If you have a little more experience and looking for a better solution, Webflow is a fantastic platform that allows designers to create beautiful, responsive websites without writing a single line of code.

With Webflow, you can create custom designs, manage your website's content, and publish your website with just a few clicks. Plus, thanks to its powerful built-in CMS, you can easily add and manage your website's content, making it a great option for those who want to create a website with dynamic content. You can start out with a free account to see how you like it and once you finish your website, you can upgrade with your own domain.

They have a great community that can offer support and feedback, as well as templates and resources to get you started. If you want more out of your website and do not want to deal with WordPress, this is a perfect solution.

See for yourself what a powerful tool Webflow can be for your startup business.

10) Not Thinking about Customer Service

You have an excellent business opportunity if you pay attention to customer service
Photo by Jerome Quek from Burst

Customer service must be considered for all small businesses, but this is an excellent business opportunity. The ability to solve a customer's problem will determine if you will be successful because it will force you to ensure you are meeting your customers' needs. If your customer service isn't up to par, it won't matter how much time or effort you put into marketing or product development.

One of the biggest mistakes when starting an online business is failing to show that you care about your customer. Potential consumers will see that you don't care about your clientele and will look elsewhere for their business. Instead, by paying attention to your customer's needs, you will not only be able to avoid losing ideal customers, you will gain customers through word of mouth.

11) Failing to Monitor Your Competition

A creative business can only succeed if it spends time monitoring the competition to target customers

You need to have a system in place to monitor your competition. Like a traditional business, if your competitors are doing better than you, you need to know about it quickly so you can change things or increase marketing efforts to stay competitive. You'll also want to stay on top of trends and changes in the industry as well as innovations from other companies.

Understanding your competition will give you an advantage. When your competitor comes out with a product similar to yours, you'll want to know so you can quickly change your product or marketing material accordingly.

You also need to make sure that you're always innovating and coming up with new products because customers expect you to stay ahead of your competition.

12) Failing to Follow up with Current Customers

Make sure you follow up with your customers by phone, email or in person to make sure they like their products
Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst

One of the main reasons why new creative businesses fail is because they do not follow up with their current customers. This leads to companies losing money as a result because those former customers could have been potential future sales. Not following up also makes it difficult for businesses to build customer loyalty and trust, which are essential for long-term success.

To effectively use follow up marketing, businesses need to put a system in place for tracking consumer interactions. This could be done by setting up a CRM system or using customer service software.

When implementing a system to follow up with your customers, make sure your employees are properly trained on how to use the system. This will enable them to properly track customer interactions. If you don't train your employees, you won't be able to get accurate data and will lose future business.

Once you have a system, it's just a matter of following up after a purchase. This can be done by sending them an email or initiating phone calls. You could also use social media for this, but make sure your follow-up is well-timed so you have a better chance of them returning to your shop.

13) Failing to Create a Brand for Your Creative Business

Online business owners can generate potential customers by branding their business

When starting an online business to sell your crafts, many entrepreneurs fail to properly brand their company so they can establishing trust with their target audience. When online businesses create effective brands, they can grow their customer base much faster and increase their chances of turning a profit.

Building trust with your ideal customer is a huge part of online marketing, which is what the majority of creative businesses rely on for getting their name out there. The idea behind building trust is that if someone trusts your company, they're more likely to purchase from you. Providing quality products is one of the best ways to help build trust because it shows potential clients that they are willing to put in the effort.

There are a lot of different ways to build trust with customers. These include providing excellent customer service, having quality products, effectively marketing your business, being transparent, providing useful tools and information for free and much more. Each method will help establish trust in a different way so repeat this process as much as possible.

14) Failing to Implement a Social Media Strategy

Having a social media strategy is necessary to sell arts and crafts for your creative business
Photo by Adem AY from Unsplash

The use of social media, another aspect of online marketing, allows you to interact with a large number of people at once. If someone is interested in your business, they're likely to follow you on social media, which makes it easier for you to get that person's attention.

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it allows businesses to build relationships with consumers by interacting with them. For example, if someone comments on one of your posts or asks a question about your product, you can respond in a friendly and timely manner. This will help you establish credibility because you're demonstrating that you are willing to take the time out of your day to answer questions, and shows potential customers that you care about their concerns.

You will also gain another advantage when using social media. People enjoy sharing things on their own profiles. When someone likes or comments on one of your posts, it may encourage their family and friends to visit your business.

15) No Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

A Customer Relations Management System is essential to ensure you are doing everything to make a sale
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

There are several different CRM software programs available which help businesses manage their customer relationships by organizing information about each client in one place. Mainly, the purpose of using a CRM is to organize customer information so that you can do targeted marketing in the future.

The main benefit of CRM software is that it allows businesses to follow up with leads much more efficiently and effectively because all of your contacts are under one roof.

For example, if someone requests a free trial for your product, they might not sign up for a full membership unless you provide them with additional information regarding your product. CRM software allows you to see what specifically led that person to sign up for a free trial. You can then use that information in the future to follow up with leads who are interested in your services.

Less Annoying CRM

My favorite CRM software is Less Annoying CRM. Less Annoying is a CRM tool that can help businesses manage their customer relationships more effectively. It allows users to keep track of customer contact information, notes, and tasks in one place.

The platform also includes features for managing sales and marketing activities. Less Annoying CRM can help businesses improve their customer relationships and boost sales and marketing productivity.

The best part is it simple to use and the pricing is $15 per month per user. It is worth every penny, so give it a try and see what you think of Less Annoying CRM.

16) Get Your Business Up & Running

Now that you know the top mistakes small business owners make, you can avoid these problems when you begin your own journey.

What are your strategies to successfully launch a creative online business? Becoming your own boss is exciting, but starting an online business is a lot of work. It's important to remember you're not alone.

By writing a business plan and marketing strategy, you'll be able to succeed because you will have better focus on your tasks and will know when you need to delegate work to qualified individuals.

Furthermore, staying on top of your business will be much easier if you have the correct tools. These tools include finding the right domain name and website hosting, as well as the best CRM software program where you manage your leads more efficiently.

Want more tips and tricks for starting and running your creative business? Subscribe to our newsletter today to join our mailing list. Thanks for reading!