5 start-up tips the founder of Mashable ignored-You should too

The other day I went to a friends house for a cookout. While I was there, we struck up a conversation about our upcoming vacations. We were both going to Florida around the same time, and were complaining about how we needed to hit the gym in order to get beach ready.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by the opinions of three other party-goers. They couldn’t wait to tell me their get fit advice. I heard everything from eat brown rice to just do squats. I started to try to mentally log all they were saying, but then I looked around at who was giving the advice.

Let’s just say they weren’t exactly the poster child for Crossfit.

I wondered why this always happens. There’s always someone with a list of things you MUST do in order to get to your goal. And it’s hard to tell if the information is true, or an incorrect trend that’s easy to spread.

This type of advice doesn’t just become hall passes in the world of health and fitness. It happens in business too.

There is advice that has been spread for so long that it has become a staple. The problem is, it’s wrong. Yet you’re encouraged to spend all your energy trying to accomplish this stuff.

Below are five of those incorrect staples that not even Pete Cashmore did. It’s a good thing too. Maybe if he followed this bad information, he wouldn’t have one of the most profitable blogs.

  1. Blog all the time.

In Mashable’s early stages Pete wrote 1 to 5 articles per day. This beast mode of productivity did contribute to the blog’s freakish growth, but mainly because it was one of the first technology blogs; and there wasn’t many other places providing people with the same information about the fairly new ‘web’.

What increased Mashable’s growth to 10 times its initial amount was its position with other names. Its blog posts and indexing were about names bigger than it was. When Mashable wrote about brands like Facebook, Mashable generated more traffic.

Basically, the 80/20 rule and strategies like it, which are about writing less and marketing more, are the things that really work.

Now you can detach from your laptop, delay carpel tunnel, and go enjoy your life.

2. Write a business plan

Mashable didn’t start with a business plan. It started with a blog post. This route of hands-on experience gave Pete the opportunity to see which of his interests resonated with people. Once he knew this information, he ran with it.

Writing a business plan before you even start means you spend a lot of time writing a vision statement and a five year forecast for something you don’t even know works yet.

The correct method is to start small. If you see interest, move forward. If you pick up some speed, make a plan. At this stage you’ll know what works, what doesn’t, what you like, and what you don’t want to spend time on.

Plus, the plan won’t just be another document in a forgotten file on your laptop.

3. Find the right investor

When Pete first got started, he didn’t get an investor to bankroll his idea. He created the resources to start his idea, even if that meant borrowing a computer.

Nowadays, everyone wants you to have a following before they’ll even talk to you. Even book publishers want you to already have an audience before they’ll discuss a deal. Advice about getting an investor as the first step to getting off the ground is totally wrong. The correct answer is simple, and I cover it more in a free guide at alltrepreneur.com

4. Create the perfect website

I’m not saying throw up garbage, but don’t spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on web design. There are tons of free templates offered by Wordpress.

Your first web design is a success if it’s easy to read. After you generate revenue, you can upgrade to bells and whistles.

Mashable’s initial site got followers. It wasn’t until later that Pete redesigned it.

5. Say goodbye to your social life

So if this advice is correct, anyone with a significant other, children or friends to care for should just give up on their dream of becoming an entrepreneur. WRONG. Balance is the answer.

You ever notice the day before you go on a trip you get a ton of stuff done? It’s because you’re focused on things you need to work on, and ignore what’s not important.

Maintaining a balanced schedule works the same way. If you’ve restricted yourself to work on 3 things that pertain to your business in 2 hours, so you can make that dinner date you’ve been promising your spouse for the last 2 weeks, you won’t waste time checking instagram or changing the background color of your website for the 5th time. You’ll bang out the tasks at hand. You’ll actually become more efficient and less of a recluse.

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