Common Mistakes When Starting An Online Business

This was a question I got asked to answer via Quora. It is something that I have a lot ofexperinece with and a useful read for anyone thinking about starting thier own online business. This is what I said…..

There are several common mistakes people make, and I can vouch as I made them too! So, I am speaking from my own experience and therefore may not cover everything.

The most common mistake, in my opinion, and one that I certainly made, is thinking that an online business, is a quick and easy way to make a lot of money. The internet is flooded with people claiming they have made millions, overnight or in a very short space of time, and with very little effort. Whilst there maybe a handful of these stories that are true, unfortunately most are not. And even with the people who have had quick growth and success in their business, most of them have a long back story which is based on years of difficulties and struggles.

I genuinely believe an internet business is a fantastic way of making a lot of money and is definitely quicker and easier than a lot of other methods. But it does require time and effort from the person building the business. When starting on the journey of creating and growing your own online business you must be realistic about the work it is going to take. It took me a long time to understand this, and as a result I moved from one business opportunity to another, giving up as soon as things got too hard or difficult or stopped fitting in with my idea that it should be quick and easy. In the end I realized it was my mind set that had to change!

The second mistake that people make is related to money. This breaks down into 2 different sections, and again I am guilty of both.
The first is the belief that you can create and grow a successful online business with no financial investment. Despite what you read on the internet; this is just no true! You would not believe that you could start a bricks and mortar business with no financial investment, and it is the same online. Whatever your business is, you need to have ‘shop window’ or website where people can view what you have to offer and you need to be able to communicate with your customers and potential customers and they need to be able to communicate with you. So, at the very least you will need a website and domain name and software that collects email addresses. If you want your business to look professional, you will need to pay to buy these things and have them hosted.

Some will argue that you can do all of this for free on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, and they are right, you can. BUT you are then at the mercy of the platform and if they decide to terminate your account or block it or put restrictions on it (which they do, a lot!), you don’t have a business anymore or access to you customers. This is why paying to have your own blog or website and paying for software that will collect your customers emails addresses so you can communicate directly with them, is a financial investment that is completely necessary. This does is not a significant investment, but it does mean you have to spend money before you start making it.

I say ‘this is not a significant investment’ to bring me to the second part of the money related mistakes. And this is people spending too much money when they are getting up and running. I got my self into loads of debt in the early days, thinking I needed to have the best of everything; a business mobile, the best hosting packages, busines cards, you name I had to have it, and to be honest, I never used any of it and I wasted so much money. You do not have to have the best of everything, and you only need what you are you are going to use. Spend enough money to make your business professional and functional. Once you start making money you can upgrade and update things as you need them and as you can afford it.

And finally, it is important to have a clear vision about what you want your business to do and what you want to achieve it from it. For a start, start a business in something you are genuinely interested in, otherwise when it gets hard (because it will) you won’t feel passionately enough about it to get through the challenges. So many people start an online business with vague goals and unclear role of what their business does and who it is aimed at. This then means the message you give off as a business is vague and unclear and you will not really appeal to anyone. By working with something you love and being clear about what you and your business does, it is easier for your customers to be able to relate to you and your enthusiasm will shine though and naturally make you a better business person.

I hope this helps 😊

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