Starting a Business Online – Get Your Head in the Game
Starting a business online is something that more people than ever are considering and succeeding at.
Well, that’s not exactly accurate, is it?
I mean, people have been flocking online for a couple decades now.
I guess the point here is that there are more people trying their hand at business online now than ever before. So, you’d think with so many people setting cyber-sail for the distant shores of success that surely a litany would be overcrowding those glimmering islands.
Yet …it seems to elude many. It seems like the more people that decide to try, the percentage of success stays the same. How can this be?
Many believe there are fewer concerns with an online business. For the most part, I think they are correct.
This common misconception, this mirage, is the siren call that lures many of us that are seeking a “quick win”, an “easy victory” to our inexorable end - ultimately coalescing into a new level of cynicism.
Worse, those of us that fail, will often lend our voices to the cacophony of well-meaning, hate-filled utterances meant to “save” those naive enough to dare try.
So Much for Expectations
How dreary, and yet how true.
I offer a different perspective …something else besides the redundant hype that pervades both the on and offline pandering.
I offer you a way to understand what you are getting into. Something that will better help you set your expectations properly. A paradigm that will help you to reduce the myths that often prevail beyond good judgment.
I can summarize it for you simply…
It Ain’t Easy
Despite what the voices that are constantly telling you about how easy it is to get started online, it’s not.
Well, that also is not entirely true. It is easy to get started. But getting started is 0.001% of the battle.
Anyone today can get set up with a website, and I do recommend you get one if you are serious at all, and I’ll tell you why later.
But you need to understand that just like the offline “brick and mortar” world that you work in every day, there aren’t any free lunches online either. As is made clear by the following quote...
James, I've worked at the same place for the last 5 years, and I just found out my job is ending in 6 months. I need an income of blank thousand dollars a month by then or I'm going to be in bad shape.
That's a rough situation and it's not fair. But it is a wake up call. Too often we drift into complacency because our job, while not ideal, is taking care of things.
It's feedings our family, it's letting us do a few things, it's paying our debts (which you need to get under control).
But one day, when you wake up and suddenly the harsh light of reality shines on our life like it did for the poor soul that uttered those words, it just kind of sucks.
My advice to him? Start looking for a job. Don't give up your ambitions to get set up with a portable income that you control, but focus on it after you've done what you need to do to make certain your family is taken care of.
While it's absolutely possible to get set up and making good money in six months, that typically only happens when you've been doing this a while. That is to say, if you are brand new, it's not impossible, but it is improbable.
You must decide what you are going to do, develop a plan, and then stick to your guns.
When you’ve been at it for six months and you’ve got a pathetic trickle of people, even though you’ve been pounding the keys non-stop, you must persist. It’s not fair, but didn’t your momma tell that about life?
I can tell you that there are ways to get started and achieve small victory’s quickly, but I won’t lie to you and tell you that you are bound for success against all odds.
Chances are pretty high that many that have read these words will attempt …and fail.
But I intend to do everything I can to stack the deck in your favor.
Full disclosure: I don’t know everything there is to know. Not by a longshot.
At times, I’ll be learning with you. Sometimes we’ll be operating off of theory together, and sometimes we’re going to have to take a step (or three) backward to take one step forward. That’s business, whether you're online or offline.
Why Are You Painting Such a Dreary Picture James?
I want you to understand what you are getting into. Too many people think they’ll go set up a website …or something.
Then they’ll put stuff that is absolutely brilliant on that website …or something.
Next, people will swoop in from countries all over the world and they’ll be famous, and they’ll be rich, and they’ll be successful, and entire cultures will build statues to worship them for generations to come …and it will be glorious!
I can promise you one thing with absolute certainty.
If you think you’re going to put up a website and magically people are just going to find you, then like so many before you that have tried, you’re only going to end up crawling back to your personal Facebook numbness …just in time to catch up on the latest memes.
I've been writing three articles a week, I've been doing everything that I should be doing, and nothing is happening!
I've got no traffic, I've made $2.17 total, and I'm fed up with this, it just doesn't work!
That's an actual quote. To many of you, that might seem like a realistic perspective with justified outrage. To those of you that this resonates with I say to you, you're ignorant.
Being ignorant is not a bad thing, ignorance is nothing more than the lack of knowledge and information. Ignorance is something to be proud of, because you can resolve ignorance very easily!
If you were starting up a physical business with a storefront, chances are you would end up investing a great deal of cash in the operation.
You'd have to make sure that the appropriate people were staffing the business at the appropriate times, you'd need to make sure you had all the materials you need, a lease (or a mortgage), possibly a vehicle, and all manner of other minutiae.
So let me ask you question: Would you expect to be profitable in six months?
Again, it could happen, but it's unlikely.
With an online business, you don't have the expenditure to deal with that you do with the offline "real-world" concerns. But you are still in debt, just of a different sort.
You are starting from scratch with no followers, no audience, and no leverage to get traffic. It's a debt of eyeballs on your stuff.
It's going to take some time to remedy that. But, that said, there's a lot of hoopla about stuff that doesn't matter. Topics that will end up costing you time with little or no upside.
Enough! So, is There an Upside??
You bet there is!
For those with realistic expectations, those that understand that there’s no free lunch and that there’s going to be real work involved, there is hope.
In fact, there’s much more than hope. This is actually where it gets good …no …spectacular!
You see, there is some truth to the hype. Unlike creating a “traditional” business offline, the online world can be broached in a far cheaper way.
But like any business, you’ve got to spend what money you do have wisely. Chances are you don’t have unlimited funds, and the money you have needs to yield results.
Much can be done online for free, and this is the allure. This is the stuff that people get stuck on.
In fact, many get lured into the engagement of online business, only to learn the hard way what I’ve been conveying to you free of charge.
The trap is that by the time they’ve figured out that it’s not nearly as easy as they thought it was going to be, they’ve invested so much time that they decide to keep going, only to get mired in the swamps of analysis, or the unknown, and the myriad pitfalls that trap the unwary.
The simple truth is this…
Never at Any Other Time Has There Been More
It’s true. There are billions online. You can tap into a virtually infinite marketplace regardless of your interests or plans.
You are limited only by your own creative genius. You are limited only by the amount of effort and commitment you are willing to put forth.
Each lesson learned, each failure endured, is one step closer to that ultimate goal …your ultimate goal.
Maybe you’re interested in earning a little income with a side business, maybe a hobby. Or maybe you want to create something that will allow you the freedom to work from anywhere, at any time of your choosing.
Maybe you’re interested in creating a multimillion dollar business in five years or less.
All of this is possible and more online and with much more upside potential. But as I said before, it ain’t easy, and it also ain’t free.
Even if you could do 100% of everything you need to for free (which you can’t) your time is worth money. Get that through your skull right now.
What you are spending your time on right now is either getting you closer to your goal …or it isn’t. There’s no in between.
Why Do I Need a Website?
I did say I’d get back to that, didn’t I?
Actually, you don’t need your own website …if you’re a pro!
Many professional online marketers have made vaults of money without a website, but you are likely not a pro marketer, are you?
I can tell, because if you were a marketing pro you wouldn’t be here reading my words when you could be maximizing your profits without a website.
So, step number 1 is to go get a website, right?
Step number 1 is to think a minute or ten. Think about what I’ve said, there’s going to be a plethora of things that you are going to have to do.
Here’s the first one, and I’ll go into this and more in detail later, but let me just get you the gist.
Think About What You Are Going to Do
What is it that you want to do online?
I don't think I can do this James. I don't have a product to sell, and I'm not sure how I'd even go about making a product.
But that's the great part! You don't have to have your own product. There are tons of very worthy products just looking for exactly what you are going to be looking for... traffic!
It's your job to find that traffic, and as a result, people will pay you for that service.
Meanwhile, as you gain experience and knowledge, you will begin to understand how things work. Opportunities will begin to present themselves, and you may even end up coming up with the idea of your lifetime, which will result in a product or service.
It's okay if you don't understand all of this yet, you will. For now, you need to start thinking about what you are going to do.
Do you have a hobby that you’ve been working on for a while? Maybe you could teach people about your hobby, sell kits or instructions, and create content outlining how to do what you are doing and document what you’ve been learning.
Maybe you want to learn SEO or help people like I am to get started online.
Maybe you are a programmer and you want to figure out how to market your tools that you’ve been creating, that API that you’ve been working on, that Facebook app that you’ve been toying with, or any number of other possibilities.
Maybe you do have a product line and you want to increase your market beyond your local region.
All of these and more are legitimate. Seriously! You may have to get creative, but that’s the truly awesome thing about the online marketplace, there’s always a way, and if there’s one way, there’s probably 100!
Do NOT let self-hate get in the way. That little voice that tells you that you can’t, ignore it. When someone you care deeply about teases you, don’t let it stop you, show them the way.
Nobody cares about what I have to say. What do I have to offer that hasn't been said 1000 times?
You are your own worst enemy. When you get frustrated and “stuck”, that’s self-hate. When you ask yourself questions like “what do I have to offer?”, that’s self-hate.
We all have something to offer. We are at our best when helping others.
If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent van Gogh
That’s one of my favorite quotes, and it’s truth.
I guarantee that no matter how mundane you think something is, there’s someone out there that does not know what you know even if most do.
I also guarantee that you know something most do not.
I also guarantee that once you’ve started your journey you will begin to learn more and more, about things that fewer and fewer people know.
Foster an Attitude of Generosity
In order to do well in life, and especially online, you have to be willing to give.
I’m not saying that you have to do everything for free, remember, your time is worth something.
But in order to get, you have to be willing to give, and give freely.
I'm getting traffic to my page, but nobody is clicking on my links. Nobody is buying what I'm trying to sell!
The problem this person is facing is with that last sentence. Stop trying to sell people, and start trying to help people! Your goal is to help people get what they want, nothing more. You are filing a need.
Stop focusing on features and start focusing on benefits.
People have to trust you, they have to be willing to believe that you have something worth offering.
My point is that If you are willing to give away truly valuable information, then what in the world is someone going to get if they pay you!? That's the wow factor you are looking for!
If you are truly generous and can give someone what they are after by answering some of their questions without charging them, and without requiring an email address to sign up on some list, then the natural assumption is if you ask for money for other information, it's going to be even better!
Then of course, it needs to be even better, or that too is a violation of trust.
Karma, or whatever you call it, is a thing. Good deeds may seem to go unrewarded, but maybe you just aren’t yet gracious enough to take a step back and realize the opportunity.
Every action you take is going to create a ripple. That ripple may be just that, or it could end up being the next wave to sweep through the Interweb.
Get used to the idea of creating, and creating quality. Create so much quality that there’s nothing that compares and people will begin to take notice (once you get some traffic).
Create something truly great, then when you think it’s good enough, dig deeper and really throw some love out there in the world.
Every time I put something out there with the real intention to help people, it seems to get multiplied back.
Oppose this with expecting to get something for what you are creating, and you’ll soon learn that you’ll attract others of the same mind.
Contrary to what often seems to be popular opinion, we live in a universe of abundance, we really do. It’s a small mind that thinks that we occupy limited space, with limited resources.
Everything that you need, or want is available. You just have to be willing to work for it. You have to want it, you have to find what motivates you and embrace it.
I could go on…
I could talk about your passion and how you shouldn’t necessarily chase it. Instead, chase that which you lose yourself in. Chase the thing that gets you “in the zone” where you lose track of time.
Passions are all fine and dandy, but they are often something that burns bright, and when we try to make our passion our focus, we tend to burn out on our passion, killing it in the end.
I’m not telling you to avoid or ignore your passion in the context of earning your living. If you want to create a business around your passion, by all means, get to it!
Something is always better than nothing …always!
I think I’ve rambled enough, surely by now you get the gist.
The point of this rambling journey was to help you understand that if you want to make money online, or build a business online, that you should.
It’s something that could end up changing your life for the better, and I strongly encourage it.
I also wanted to give you something that you are unlikely to find out there, a hard dash of truth.
I wanted to set some realistic expectations so that you can make an informed decision, understanding that an online business is not just roses and candy corn.
I wanted you to understand that while an online business does not necessarily have to be as expensive as an offline business, it’s still going to take some cash.
Knowing what to spend and when will come later, for now, the intent is to get you thinking and get your juices flowing. Why?
Because you’re going to need it for what’s coming next. You’re going to have to start thinking in detail about what you want to do online.
I’m going to walk you through some things to cut your teeth on and take you through the startup phase so you spend your money strategically and sparingly.
Engage with Me, I Want to Hear from You
If you have any questions, or just want to say hi, then please do so using the form below.
I’d be happy to answer your questions regardless of what they are.
Let me leave you with one: If you had 1 million dollars in the bank right now, what is it that you’d be doing?