I’ll be honest: I am relatively new to the online business space.
It has only been 12 months since I started my first online business. I’m 24 years old, and there are definitely other individuals who have more experience under their belt than I do.
However, I believe the fact that I haven’t “made it” yet allows me to give a different perspective. I haven’t lost touch with what it feels like to be in the trenches, living paycheck to paycheck, and being looked down upon by friends and family who think my ambitions are too high. Why? Because that’s exactly where I am today.
I have lost many thousands of dollars in the online business world. I have made mistakes, and a lot of them. But one thing I have gained is the knowledge of what to do better next time. The following are 5 things I wish I would have considered more carefully before I started out:
- Become Clear On Your End Goal
It is important to think about why you want to start an online business in the first place. Do you want the freedom to travel? Do you want to work from home so you can spend more time with your family? Do you want a side income to supplement your day job? You probably already know the reason.
What many people don’t know, however, is what that ideal day would actually look like. What will you do? Where are you located? Who are you with? How much money are you making?
You should focus on gaining utter clarity of your end goal. Close your eyes and visualize the success you will have. Take note of how you feel. Become aware of the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and tastes. The reason for this is two-fold. This will not only give you inspiration when times get tough, but it will also force you to zone in on exactly what you want, giving you a target to shoot for.
- Invest In A Mentor
As great as we all think we are, there will come a time when we may not know the next step forward. There were several times when I was unsure, and decided that I would just try something, hoping it would work out. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you do just have to jump in, take action, and learn and adapt as you go, but when you are just starting (like I was), this was not the best option.
I had several opportunities to get in contact with a mentor over the last 12 months. However, because it cost me extra money, I would tell myself that it wasn’t worth it. I could use that money to actually grow my business, instead of getting advice from some guy who may or may not be able to help.
Boy, was that a mistake. Only later did I understand how critical a mentor can be. They allow you to shorten your learning curve by weeks, months, or even years, due to their ability to guide you in the right direction, while also alerting you to potential missteps. Assuming you seek out a mentor in your same niche, you get the advantage of working with someone who has gone before you, who has already experienced the ins and outs of the exact journey you are on. Best of all, even though getting a mentor will generally cost you some money, the cost will far outweigh the money you might lose if you venture out on your own (if only I knew this one year ago!).
- Be Prepared To Invest Money
You may have heard the saying, “you have to spend money to make money.” I disagree. What I believe would be a better saying is, “you have to invest money to make money.”
The distinction is subtle, but it is a game-changer. Here’s why: having the right mindset is key, and unless you shift your mindset to see everything you are doing as an investment in yourself and in your business, then it will be very difficult to endure the valleys that you will inevitably experience over the life of your business. During the lows, and especially if you are struggling to turn a profit, it is easy to get down on yourself, thinking about the money and time that you have “lost.” You need to have the awareness to realize that you are not truly “losing” anything. Rather, you are making an investment – through your time, efforts, money, experiences – that will pay off in the long run if you have the will to see it through.
- Accept That You Will Make Mistakes
As a 23-year-old, testosterone-fueled guy, about a year out of college, I felt that I was unstoppable. I knew exactly what I was doing, and no one would get in the way of me accomplishing my goal of making money online.
Silly me. I made just about every mistake I possibly could. I won’t bore you with the laundry list of things I did wrong, since frankly, it wouldn’t be that valuable, as each of us will have our own unique path that we choose. However, the overarching idea is the same: stay humble. You probably don’t know everything there is to know. I certainly didn’t. And that’s why there are mentors available to help guide you.
Also keep in mind, making mistakes does not equal failure. As long as you are continually learning, taking action, and refusing to quit, you are never a failure.
- Understand That It Takes Hard Work
Nearly all of the major success stories that you hear about have this in common. They all worked extremely hard to get where they are. This is something that cannot be overlooked. It is worth asking yourself, “Am I willing to put in the work to achieve this?” and “How bad do I really want it?”
This is something that I assess often. Every few days, I do a mini “audit” of my life. I look back and review how efficiently I am using my time, determine what activities haven’t really been necessary, and figure out a plan that lays out how I can make the best use of my resources going forward.
The point is, building an online business will require work. Like anything in life worth doing, it’s not going to be easy, and the success is not just going to appear out of thin air. You will have to work at it, but the reward will surely be worth it.