When I was thinking of starting an online small business I had no idea what I was doing. I was lucky enough to have some helpful people who guided me down the right path. Not everyone has that though.
I want to share with you some of the things I learned early on in my business as well as what I’ve learned up to this point. I believe that everyone who is thinking of starting an online business should consider the following things before taking the plunge.
#1 You will work harder than you ever have before
Over the years when I meet new people the natural question of what I do for a living comes up. I always found it easier to just say that I run a small business online out of my home. When I would tell people this 99.98% of the time the response was always the same. “Wow that’s awesome; I wish I could do that.”
I think what they really think is that it would be great to stay home all day and not have to be bossed around by superiors that you don’t agree with. I hate to break it to them but it’s not as beautiful as they believe.
I usually then explain to them that owning your own business is great but it takes a lot of work. Then I explain the reality of it and it doesn’t sound so great. When you own your own business online you have to be the CEO, the janitor, the accountant, the scheduler and every single job in the company. Even if you have employees you wear a lot of hats. Get ready for the grind.
#2 Throwing money at your startup will not make it successful
If you’re lucky you have money when you start up your business. Most people don’t though. Those that do sometimes have the misconception that having money to start means that you’re bound to be successful because you can invest.
Making quick decisions about what to do with the money you do have is not what you want to do. If you can’t justify buying something than you don’t need it, no matter how small of an investment you think it might be.
#3 No money means you have to get creative
Having no money to take your business online doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means you’re going to have to refer back to the first item on this list. You have to figure it out. I highly suggest reading what Mike Michalowicz has to say in The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.
What you don’t have money for you have to have to get for free. Free means you have limited options but you still have options. Do what you can with what you have and grow it from there.
#4 Learn as much as you can about online marketing
Technically I could say this about social media, blogging, branding, web development and a whole lot of other things. As I said before though you’re going to be wearing a lot of hats and won’t have time to learn everything about everything. If there is one thing you should learn though it is about online marketing.
Even if you hire an online expert to do your marketing for you, you need to study it yourself. That doesn’t mean you start telling your marketing professional what to do but it helps you to understand how, why and what marketing is online. Without an online audience your small business isn’t going to go anywhere, so learn what you can.
#5 Be different in the right ways
Recently I watched the movie Patch Adams. I’ve seen it before but I love watching it when I can. It embodies what I loved so much about being a medic in the Navy. I cared more about the people than I did about the medicine.
Take the time to read the story of Patch Adams on his website and you will see that he was able to run a free clinic for 12 years. Eventually they had to close due to not enough funding. That didn’t stop them for 12 years though. The people they reached, the lives they touched and the things they did mattered.
He was unique. He was different. He chose to do what people thought was crazy. It didn’t stop him though because he knew what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. He found a way and you need to find yours. Don’t be different just to be different, do it the right way; your way.
#6 Find the love in what you do
Any entrepreneur out there will tell you that it wasn’t all glitz and glamour getting to where they’re at now. There are going to be things you dislike doing. You are going to have to do them anyway. Maybe the entire online community is just something you don’t want to reach but you will have to in order to take your business online.
As you grow your business online you will find things you enjoy. Embrace those things and hold onto them. Learn to find love in what you do and you will be happier for it. If you’re not happy in what you’re doing why do it at all?
#7 You will feel like a big ball of suck
It’s going to happen, it’s inevitable. There will come a time in your online business where you will feel like you just can’t do it and that everyone else does it so much better. I feel like this is one of the most important things to learn in the very beginning of your business. Acknowledge that you’re going to fail, be bad and mess up.
Take time to really think about how it’s going to feel when that happens. That way when it does you can realize that you knew it was going to happen and you can move on quickly. Instead of focusing on the negative focus on what you learned and how you can avoid feeling that way in the future. Just listen to Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda, he knows what he’s talking about.
[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/Nq8loZlpa_8″ width=”500″ height=”300″ responsive=”no”]
#8 Your success is not determined by someone else’s highlight reel
This can lead to number seven on the list. If you constantly judge yourself by what others in your industry are doing than you’re never going to find your own way. Just listen to this quote:
[su_quote cite=”Albert Einstein”]”Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”[/su_quote]
The world’s smartest man really knew what he was talking about. We can’t judge what we do based on what others are doing.
There is a time and place to assess your competition. When you do it though don’t allow it to belittle your success or what you do.
#9 Be happy
Having a business is great. Making money is fine. Being your definition of successful is also an amazing thing. None of it matters though if you’re not happy in your life.
This particular tip is not in reference to happiness with your business. I’m talking about being happy in life. Your relationships are important to your happiness as a person. Don’t let your business stand in the way of that happiness. Be happy in life and that will carry over to your business success.
As my mother always said:
[su_quote cite=”My Mom”]”Life is all about love and relationships.”[/su_quote]