The decision to start an online business can be daunting by itself, let alone challenges you’ll come across once you start. There might be lots of conflict within yourself to get out of the way first. Is this the right path to follow? Do I have the right skills to succeed at this? So many questions and doubts but few clear answers.
Life will go on nonetheless. Therefore you’ll have to find a way to quieten your inner voice and carry on if it means something of value to you. Success is not guaranteed, but you can increase its odds by keeping a few things in mind.
Focus on your goals
I’ll assume you’ve been using the internet for a while. Then you are aware of the sheer volume of distractions present.
While goals do not have to be an intricate, 100-page business plan, you need objectives to work towards. It can be an idea at the back of your mind. If you write them down, the better.
When I started blogging some time ago, I’d come across several sites and sales pages that promised quick returns if only I did ABC. I refer to these as ‘shiny objects’ meant to distract you. They are so compelling that it is easy to abandon your plan altogether. People who’ve been down that route will tell you it will only end in regrets.
The biggest distraction of our time is social media. Notifications always going off on your smartphone is bad for focus. Switching between two activities will not get you any nearer to your goals. You are better off blocking some time to work and turn off the device.
Have realistic expectations
Have you ever been so enthusiastic and engrossed in something and then a day or a week later not realized the intended outcomes? It’s heartbreaking. You no longer want to hear anything about it as you now perceive it as a total waste of time and effort.
It usually happens when you do not consider everything about it upfront. Take some time before starting and try to envision yourself living the experience. While this might not cover all the bases of the actual tasks, it more than makes up for a great deal of what the work and outcomes can be.
Another way to temper expectations is to read or hear accounts of people who’ve already launched online businesses. Whether successful or not, it will give you a realistic picture of what’s needed. Or what to avoid.
Research the market and audience
Some time back, I was watching an episode of the Undercover Billionaire. The main character (I can’t recall his name) visited a business bureau. The bureau does research and collects lots of information about businesses in its vicinity.
The show’s objective is turning $100 to $1m worth of business in 90 days only. The character intended to find out what types of trades have the highest and quickest ROI.
I believe you can now see the relationship between objective and what’s needed to achieve it (before action) – research.
I’ve given a simplified example above. The objective was clear enough, and another entity acted as a one-stop shop with the analytics. Your case might not be as straightforward as you might have to visit several sources and consult widely for an objective brief.
Before selling, you need to understand your target audience – their expectations and preferences. This step helps to sell the right products and services as far as money is concerned. You’ll not want to promote petrol engines to a crowd that is pro-electric vehicles! Doing research is the only avenue to uncover such biases and clients’ needs.
In the online world, you have access to keyword research and analysis tools to slice and dice different segments of audiences. Consequently, you can target these audiences when it comes to content marketing.
Watch out for scams
Closely associated with the first point on ‘shiny objects’ are scams. Elaborate scams have permeated all corners of the web. While not a top consideration, you need to have it at the back of your mind when going around the internet.
For example, you might be contemplating outsourcing some work. There are all sorts of providers out there enticing you with all manner of discounts and charms. If you are not careful, you might pay for substandard work or lose your money to cons. Assuming you were on a tight budget of time and money, this is undesirable and disorienting.
Follow the experts
I once read somewhere the reason we read books is to avoid the mistakes of others. It makes sense if you think about it. Authors have put out millions of publications covering any sphere of knowledge imaginable.
These could be studies done over many years to uncover certain fundamentals in a particular field of study. Since our time on earth is finite, it only makes sense to utilize and build upon these studies. Just look at the history of the world since the Stone Age to understand this. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you only need to make it more efficient!
I digress, but I believe that makes the point clear. When considering launching your first online business, look into what others have done. You will learn a lot about the dos and don’ts. You will save a lot of time, money, and effort.
If possible, face-to-face interaction with seasoned entrepreneurs gives the best experience. However, in most cases, these people are halfway around the world and are just not accessible for whatever reasons. Fortunately, most of these entrepreneurs maintain blogs, have a social media presence, or have written books from where you can lift off their business-building expertise.
Over at Wealthy Affiliate, there is a large community of online entrepreneurs who have built successful affiliate marketing businesses. There are hundreds of blogs published on the platform on how to go about creating one, including the whole gamut of skills needed, challenges to be faced, etc.
Additionally, the platform has well-laid out, practical courses that you only have to check out for yourself to understand. The classes range from selecting a niche, building a website, writing engaging content, promoting your blog to receive massive traffic, and so much more.