Are you still committed to achieving your goals or has the momentum subsided?
Today, I’d like to talk about some common mistakes that new entrepreneurs make when starting their online entrepreneur journeys. Now, before we begin, it looks all glamorous and easy when you read blogs of most successful online entrepreneurs and their income reports. I mean, making $100k per month…that is more than most white collar jobs offer.
However, the truth is that there are many behind-the-scenes stuff that are usually not highlighted in the “success” blog posts. The most common one is FAILURE. You see, everyone likes to show how good they are doing and how they have “got” this online marketing thing. But behind the income reports, they don’t show the work put, the money lost and the lessons learned. Truth be told, everyone has their own fair share of failures…most people just don’t blog about them.
So, what I’m I driving to? ONLINE MARKETING IS NOT EASY.
Yes, forget the overnight success stories you’ve read. Behind every online “overnight success” are hundreds of hours of testing, failing, giving up, not getting traction and so on. Brutally honest entrepreneurs know it’s the boring work that counts. The attention to detail and keeping track of progress. It’s the small successes that eventually compound and become “overnight successes”.
The problem is, readers are usually not there when the entrepreneur is doing the boring stuff. You know, stuff like:
- Setting up the blog
- Researching the market
- Connecting with influencers
- Content marketing
- SEO & link building
- Customer surveys, etc.
Everyone just looks at the income reports and wows at how it must be fun making the money.
Yes, it’s fun making money. But you need to work for it. It’s the small boring tasks that lead to making money. Most of the time, if you can’t go past the small boring tasks, your project will be another of your long list of wantapreneur projects.
Now, back to the lesson at hand: mistakes you should avoid when starting your online journey. I made some of these mistakes and hopefully, by sharing my experience, you will avoid them too and move faster to success with your online journey.
Let’s get started.
1. Don’t Quit Your Day/Night Job
If you already have a family or bills to take care of and have a job, don’t quit when starting your online business. At least not just yet.
Startup founder and online entrepreneurs’ stories follow the same script. Someone was bored with his job. He found something that he was passionate about. He quit his job. Started his passionate online business. Made bank and now travels around the world in a yacht while working by the beach sipping pina colada!
The only problem with this narrative is that it omits many details, some of which may be different for you. For example, most people who quit their jobs to start their online businesses usually have a plan B. They have stacked up cash to keep them afloat at least 6 to 12 months, hence they have time to work on their business without worrying about bills. Some also move back to their parents’ home or a friend’s to keep costs down.
So, before you give your boss the middle finger and quit your job, think about your bills. How will you manage them? Do you have enough savings to survive on for at least 6 months?
If you do not have a family to worry about, your work may be easier. There are various hacks you can use to keep costs low. For instance, you can move to your parent’s garage (assuming they have one). Alternatively, you can move to a low-cost house or even get someone to share a house with to keep costs low.
The point is, don’t quit your job to start your online business when you don’t have enough savings to get you by. Your online business can take months before you make a sale. The last thing you will want is to go back to your former employer asking to be taken back. What a shame.
2. Take Advice from the Right People
Most people get interested in starting online after receiving an email like this:
- This software makes me $1400 per month with only 2 hours or work
- Make your first $299 today
- How a retired veteran is making $1400 per day with simple online forms
- Buy this report for $7 and learn my million dollar online secrets
You know the drill.
Most of the marketers who send such emails are simply scammers looking to make a quick buck out of the gullible or newbie online entrepreneurs. I mean, if someone had a system for making a million dollars, why would he sell the information for a mere 7 bucks? You be the judge.
When starting my online journey, I signed up for literally any “free report” or “free gift” that promised I would be making thousands of dollars with simple work. The truth is, they never delivered. Those days, I didn’t know about PLR (private rights label) products and the upsells they come with. Whenever I hear an IMer saying “the money is in the list”, I cringe at how many offers he will be sending for a $7 dollar “revolutionary software”.
I hope that by now you know you can’t really make a million dollars from strategies outlined in a $7 dollar eBook. You should be smarter than that.
But it’s not only on emails. IMers are pros at Photoshop. In fact, most of them would make a good career freelancing as graphic designers. Have you seen all those IMers announcing launches on their Facebook profiles? Here is one I came across:
If you cannot decipher, he basically Photoshopped his Shopify income but forgot to add a zero in the earnings.
Anytime an IMer shows you a screenshot of how much he is making, take the information with a pinch of salt.
Long point short, carry out your due diligence before buying a course, joining a forum/FB group or taking advise from someone. A simple Google search for the person’s our course’s name plus the word “scam” will give you some information that can be helpful.
3. Assuming It is Easy
Success is never easy. If it was, everyone would be successful. The more I interact with successful online entrepreneurs, the more I confirm that the hustle is real. Many online entrepreneurs work unconventional hours, most usually till late at night.
In fact, in my circle of friends, we are usually up until 2am – 3am ish.
Now, I am not saying that you have to stay awake until 2am as an online entrepreneur. But there are just too many distractions during the day. Moreover, there are literally hundreds of things to do. Time is a luxury that you can’t afford as an online entrepreneur, especially when starting.
If you are like most people, you may have a blog but have not made a sale for years. Sometimes, you may have bought the domain name but never got to installing WordPress on it. You may also have a blog but never got to writing content for it.
This are typical works you will need to do when starting. Of course, you can always outsource some of the stuff that needs to be done on sites like Fiverr et al. However, you will need to know some of the processes with time.
Life gets in the way. The journey of an online entrepreneur is set like is bound to be a failure from the start. The hard work is never seen until you hit the road running.
So, be ready for hard work. Long nights with coffee and missing the social life you are accustomed to. No watching TV. It’s the price you may have to pay to be successful as an online entrepreneur. It’s never easy. The hard part is never advertised when the entrepreneur dream is being sold.
4. Over Learning
I don’t know if there is such a word as over learning, but this is a trap many online entrepreneurs fall into. I mean, there is always the pressure to watch webinars, buy courses, join masterminds, etc. It’s as if our mind is conditioned to think that buying that $997 course will make us successful.
How many courses have you downloaded for free or have bought that are gathering dust in your hard drive? How many groups on online entrepreneurship have you joined but never acted on the information provided?
Success is simple. Small steps compound to massive success. Now, taking courses is good. Attending webinars is great. But if you are not taking action to apply the knowledge you are gaining, you will not earn. And what’s the aim of starting a business if you are not earning?
Learning is important…but so is application of the learning. If you are not applying what you are learning, you will not be earning.
Most people spend years learning and learning but never taking action on the information they learn. Before I started online marketing, I was a freelance writer. I spent three years learning and learning before taking action to publish my first blog.
Take action. When you take action, things start getting in motion. Sometimes, you will realize the hurdle you were seeing wasn’t really as tough as you may have thought.
Before I end this point, I would like to discuss the topic of motion and progress. Do not confuse motion with progress. Motion will keep you busy doing something but going nowhere. It’s like a treadmill. When you are running on a treadmill, you may be running very fast but going nowhere. You are in motion.
Progress on the other hand is different. You can be running slow on a track but going somewhere. You are moving forward.
You want to be making progress with your online entrepreneurship journey and not simply being in motion. Reading or taking courses is being in motion. Applying what you learn in the courses is making progress.
Think of all your business actions in that manner. Ask yourself; Will this action keep me in motion or make progress?
5. Don’t Go It Alone
When you get started, you will probably be the only one among your friends that will be in the online marketing space. Your friends will tell you “good luck with the venture”, with that tone that says they expect you fail so that they can tell you “I told you so!”.
Nearly all of my friends…the people I grew up with, neighbors or college friends have 9 to 5 jobs. So, they don’t get it when I stay the whole day staring at a computer screen. My mom doesn’t know what I do up to today. She just knows I make money when I have my laptop with me.
Anyway, don’t expect anyone close to you to understand what you are doing. They will probably discourage you. Keep your online journey to yourself or friends who will support you.
And now to the next point, you will need to get some new friends. At least virtual friends since it’s likely you will not meet with them. These virtual friends should be people that are also into online entrepreneurship. You can find them on Facebook groups, blogs, and internet marketing forums.
Having IM friends or people in the same journey as you are in is important for many reasons. To begin, you need someone who understands the struggles you are going through trying to start your business. You also need someone who can give you insight on the next steps to take with the business.
You can learn everything needed to be successful online on your own. However, sometimes advise from another IMer can shorten your route to success. You can avoid many mistakes on your online journey by simply asking for advice.
Make it a point to ask about things you don’t know. There’s a Swahili proverb that goes like this: “Kuuliza si ujinga” (Translation: It is not foolish to ask questions.) The proverb can also mean, “You will not be thought a fool when you ask questions”.
Asking questions can put you on the right path to success. Do not be afraid to ask about anything you don’t know or are not sure of when building your business. You will be amazed at how many people are willing to help you online.
So, make sure you join some relevant groups where you can get value from other online entrepreneurs. At these groups is where you can find friends that can help you with your business. Whether you need advice or a service for your business, you can find them in these groups.
5. Don’t Give Up Too Early
Another mistake newbie entrepreneur make is giving up too early. This is especially true in the online world where you may not know whether the inspiring blog posts from other entrepreneurs are simply hype or the truth.
Up to today, I still get questions on whether someone can make money online.
Most people that ask these questions are usually surprised by the huge income claims made by some bloggers online. Others may have bought products or courses in the past that did not deliver what was promised.
Everyone’s online journey is different. There are many variables that involved in your business and there is no way to guarantee you will make money within the first month or the first year. However, you should not give up to early. It’s always good to delve into your business and find out why you are not making any sales like you want.
For instance, you may find that your blog does not get traffic and hence you may not get sales. If this is the case, address the problem. Make a list of traffic generation tactics and apply them for your blog. Watch your traffic grows and see whether you won’t make any sales.
Before you close shop with your online business, find out the reason why you are not successful. It would even be better to get an experienced online entrepreneur to look into your website, audience, or product to provide directions on what you should do. Perhaps you have the wrong product or are in the wrong niche. Just because you are passionate about purple toothbrushes for cats does not mean there is a market for it.
There are many wheels and bolts that make an online business successful. If one of them is not working, you can be stuck with making money. You need to identify all the workings of your business to be successful.
Most Important Advice
I have discussed 5 common problems that newbie entrepreneurs make when starting their online business journey. If you are not going to take away anything from this post, I will only ask you to do one thing: take action.
Take action to start or grow your business. It’s the small actions and small wins that compound to massive success. If you are not taking action, your business is stagnant. If your business is stagnant, it is not making money nor growing.
So take action today. Resurrect that business you have been keeping at the back burner. Get the business moving with small actions. Small daily actions done every day will lead to huge success.