I don’t work a crazy amount of hours today but, I needed to put in that much effort to get it going, just like in any other business.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world.
But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven’t changed at all.
If you’re just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence.
If you’ve been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there’s a step you’re neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place.
Like every other person who stumbled into online entrepreneurship, I also fell for the surreal promises of working from a beach and traveling to a different city every other day.
There are tons and tons of people selling courses that are supposed to make you rich in a month with some magic internet formula.
Choose A Business Idea That Fits Your Lifestyle
If you really want to succeed at being an online entrepreneur, the first thing that you need to do is simply get started.
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In fact, this is likely one of the best reasons to get started.
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One of the things that I realized after becoming an online entrepreneur is that you have to try new things to diversify your income and see what you’re successful at.
It’s been countless hours, failures, successes, and more day after day – night after night.
I can’t even tell you how many times I almost gave up, but instead worked even harder getting closer to my goal.
Also, remember that your online business is how you get out of your current situation.
Whether you’re working at a full-time job that you hate, or you’re unemployed and want to build your own business from scratch, hard work is the cure to the problems.
Before you start an online business, you need to set a schedule for yourself and follow it closely.
I can tell you with certainty that the #1 regret of people who are successful in the field, including myself, is not getting started earlier.
Doing so will allow you to make better decisions because your finances won’t be strained.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the idea of leaving a full-time job and betting it all on a small business of your own.
The reason is simple, online business or not,45% of small businesses fail with in the first 5 years.
Often times I’m approached by people who ask me what I do for a living and when I tell them that I’m an online entrepreneur, their faces light up and they ask me a lot of questions.
The Real Guide To Being A Successful Online Entrepreneur
That incorrect interpretation has given an entire generation of ambitious people a deceiving target to aim for.
Despite the top line revenue, I don’t feel like I’ve “made it” or that I’m “done” or that my life “is a bunch of beaches,” though I have worked from the beach multiple times.
The entrepreneurship route is hard and lonely, and no amount of motivational posts or Instagram of Porsches makes up for that.
But what CAN help is having realistic expectations of what building a business means, which includes both the hard AND the fun parts.
Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second.
The internet offers us tremendous ability to do great things with a bit more ease, but the fact remains that business isn’t easy either way.
If you are considering dropping your job and living the laptop lifestyle, let me stop you for a bit and show you my lessons, scars and all.
The hardest part for me is being the grunt worker, the manager, and the entrepreneur all at the same time, in my spare time.
I think this difficult balance alone prevents many small businesses form ever getting off the ground.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand the realities of becoming an online business owner.
If you’re trying to understand how to be an online entrepreneur, realize that the “just-in-time” learning method will help you succeed.
This is even more important for those that have a family or are beginning their online business as a side hustle.
Breaking a revenue goal isn’t always indicative of a successful product launch.
Here’s how to measure “success” in your product launch plan.
I’ve been fortunate that I started blogging seven years ago and get a lot of my consulting clients that way.
Most of my consultant friends get their best clients through referrals, so work on growing your network now.
Which also means, if you’ve been head down at work or are just getting out of school, you may need to do some legwork first.
Create articles, videos or any other content that people will find useful.
Distribute that content through online article directories or social media sites.
Add testimonials from people who have used your product.
Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they’re trying to solve.
I often advise monthly or bi-monthly breaks.
Set your mail to vacation mode, and just rest.
I also advise the use of mild relaxants and stress medication.
Have a stream of income and customers paying you.
Regardless of whether you want to build a product or be a consultant, having paying customers makes it infinitely easier to quit the cubicle and go work for yourself.
You can tell yourself that you’d do it differently and find someone to run the other business for you, but let’s be honest.
Taking all that into account I’d take $1 in ConvertKit revenue over $20 in one-time book/course revenue any day.
I can build a massive business off of the recurring revenue.
And more importantly if we ever were to decide to sell, we can.
Steps To Become A Successful Internet Entrepreneur
You spend a lot of Thanksgiving figuring things out and rebrand two months later.
I don’t own a Ferrari, I work way more than 40 hours a week, and I’ve actually gained weight since going out on my own.
Offer related products on your “Thank You” page after they purchase.
Email marketing is cheaper and more effective than print, TV or radio because it’s highly targeted.
People use the internet to find information.
Provide that information for free to other sites, and you’ll see more traffic and better search engine rankings.
The secret is to always include a link to your site with each tidbit of information.
Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they’re doing to fill the demand.
Then you can use what you’ve learned and create a product for a market that already exists — and do it better than the competition.
Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but don’t have a ton of competition with other sites.
Follow this plan for attracting visitors to your small business’ site — and getting them to buy.
Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of benefits to being your own boss, traveling as much as you want, and earning a bit more money.
However, it’s not all roses, and it’s every bit a job as any other.
So while you pursue the perks, just make sure you have your head screwed on right.
Still, the internet is crawling with perils of its own kind, and you have to come in with a system for crisis management.
The pricey courses I had bought before making the leap had promised me crisis-free environments, but I was soon to learn the opposite was true.
Losing your laptop alone can be as deadly as a brick and mortar business burning to the ground.
Online entrepreneurship does give you the ability to work from anywhere, but don’t think for a second that you will be snacking on a beach somewhere.
If you ever find yourself on a beach, you would be staring down at your laptop.
It’s not all roses, and it’s every bit a job like any other.
It’s very difficult to grow large if you spend all of your time blogging, filming videos, handling customer complaints, or doing whatever else you can outsource.
When you do this effectively, you can grow your business exponentially.
Every single one of these companies required some investment at the start to succeed and the founders believed in their ideas enough to risk some of their own capital.
Once you’re done, put that paper or whiteboard somewhere that you work every single day so that you remind yourself and pressure yourself to achieve them.
You should do this because if you try to understand everything before you start, it’s unlikely you’ll ever start.
Choose an idea that’s fitting of what you’d like your lifestyle to be.
Regardless of the reasoning, if you’re looking to go full-time there has to be a reason or a set of reasons.
You can’t run an Internet business on auto-pilot, while you are out partying all night and sleeping till noon.
All successful Internet entrepreneurs possess a will and a drive, enforced by self-discipline, that allows them to work long hours and go months, even years, without taking a day off.
If you are not prepared to do that, this probably isn’t for you.
Surely you can relax now, maybe take a vacation?
Consult your business plan again and see what changes need to be made, and there will be changes.
Keep up with both your competition and technological development.
Always keep an eye on new digital trends and think about how you can incorporate them into your business because the competition surely will.
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail, it is as simple as that.
Making a plan and sticking to it is a key aspect of creating a successful Internet startup.
Your business plan will dictate everything else that follows, like how many people you need to hire and when, what are your key weaknesses and strong points, what jobs to outsource, etc.
No matter how well you have planned, along the road you will encounter some obstacles you couldn’t predict and you will need to adapt to them.
Many people jump into Internet business lured by false promises of all play and no work.
Once in, they have a nasty shock about the harsh reality that doesn’t conform to their expectations.
If you don’t have that mindset, you are only setting up yourself for a massive failure.
There are certain aspects all successful entrepreneurs have and you need to be honest with yourself when assessing your chances of success.
There are plenty of tasks that you need to perform when creating a startup, but usually, there are limited resources.
You will need to learn how to manage your time to do everything.
Identify the most important matters and focus on them, everything else should be delegated to your staff.
Establishing and running a successful startup isn’t all that different from doing it with a traditional brick and mortar company.
Most of the rules about good business apply in both cases.
As a matter of fact, most of the experience you may have in running a traditional company can help you with your Internet startup as well.
However, there are some peculiarities that you need to pay attention to in order to be successful.
Here we take a look at the steps you need to take to be a successful Internet entrepreneur.
Who are the biggest players, how did they succeed, what are common pitfalls you can expect, etc.
If you don’t, your career will be a very short one.
Read everything you can about your niche, even the stuff you are sure about.
Having as much information as possible will help you make smarter choices down the line.
The rule of a thumb is that the more profitable a niche is, the more completion there is.
There are niches you have probably never heard of that made some people very rich, just because they are very narrow and highly specialized.
Now, it is possible to succeed in a niche that is highly populated and competitive, but that’s very hard.
You need something that will set you apart from the pack and help you compete with established players that have been on the market for years.
If not try your luck with a less competitive field.
If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?
This is best achieved by visiting seminars or events related to your field.
Perhaps there is a partnership you can form that can help both sides move forward.
Remember, after all, said and done, it all boils down to human touch.
You need to create a budget and stick to it and you have to identify the best platforms for your advertisements.
At first, you probably won’t have enough money to plaster ads all over the web.
Remember that research we were talking about above?
This is time to use the fruits of that labor.
A good marketing agency can and will do all this leg work for you, but chances are that you can’t afford one at this stage, so it comes down to you and your team.
Focus on being really efficient and work your butt off with your head down as hard as you can.
Remember, every single second that you aren’t working, someone else is trying to beat you.
A great deal of internet entrepreneurs are addicted to stress medication and to substances containing cannabis.
It also doesn’t get you high, which has to count for something.
While you may not be able to replicate their success, understand that your business will require some capital, so don’t be afraid to invest within reason.
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My advice is to create a budget from the start that you’re comfortable with every single month.
If you do this every month for a year, you’ll have made a ton of progress and start making money online.
Some people spend most of their time creating goals and I think that this is a little silly because you really have no idea what’s going to happen a year from now.
It sounds cliche, but it’s almost an entrepreneur’s right of passage to start something and fall on their face.
That “failure” is really just you learning what works and what doesn’t.
For example, let’s say that you want to become a blogger based on my recommendation.
In other words, information overload is real in this industry.
To combat that, simply start your business first and then focus on learning everything you need to know.
Have a core support group around you that can help you through the hard times.
The hard times will come, and you will appreciate having a friend or two who you can call up at any time who can pick you up, dust you off, and get you going again.
If you have spent any reasonable amount of time trying out an online business, you already know that most of them are crap.
If you’re able to work on your online business, even for as little as an hour a day, these work hours compound and lead to a favorable end result.
The more I dug, the more I realized that people on the internet are telling you lies all the time about what being an online entrepreneur really means. As an online entrepreneur, my diet went downhill, and my general health declined.
Most of them were failures, but a few of them have been successful and it only takes those few to be able to sustain yourself as an online entrepreneur.
The major reason I haven’t started selling courses on making money through freelance writing is that I wonder if anyone would flip if they knew what was really involved.
He doesn’t teach others how to be a nomad, but rather builds tools for people who are or who are starting. So I decided to start running a freelance writing service with a few talented friends using the platform.
I’m not sure why people don’t get started, but I think most people are too scared to fail and decide that the best course of action is to never get started…therefore they can never fail. You have to remind people that you’re putting in the work and a lot of it.
The strain on the eyes from staring at a computer system for such lengths of time is equally devastating. That dream hasn’t died, I just paused it when I realized how much time I needed to put in to make it come true.
Personally, I recommend a minimum of one hour per day during the week and at least 3-4 hours on each weekend day. It takes a lot of time to make enough revenue to replace your day job, as shown in my own income reports.
I soon found out the benefits of my long walks to the bus stops every morning while I worked in my regular job. And, given that so many business owners fail, I think it makes much more sense to keep your full-time job when you begin and start everything as a side-hustle. Should i start with saving money with a job?
Himself a nomad and a software developer, Pieter has built his business while traveling the world. His business does very well, but he works a ton. The book is not about building a business with four hours a week.
I’m in the process of building my own full-time online income and it’s definitely the most difficult yet rewarding thing I’ve undertaken of this magnitude. He posts photos from Taipei, but I see him online all the time.
I did so much of this when I started, but once I saw momentum I let go of the shackles and just went all out. I understand this because when I first started my own business, I had the same concerns.
You have beat 90% of people who have started an Internet startup and failed.
I can absolutely relate to your sentiment of working FT and hustling on the side. Even at that time, I was barely getting by for months….
If that is your plan, you might as well save yourself a massive failure and stick with your cubicle job.
We do around $300k a year in revenue after 18 months in business. Like every other business, you have to put in the time. Understand that a business idea that’s great to someone else, doesn’t necessarily have to be great for you.
If you work for yourself online, you’ll be able to more easily travel to amazing locations whenever you want.
If I make $50,000 with book sales that’s good, but the next month I have to start over. When you finally do start making money, reinvest every dime of it.Don’t cut yourself a check for at least 6 months.
During that time, he’ve traveled to and worked from Mexico , Canada, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Japan. Also be relocating to the Philippines as soon as possible, so he can go full time even sooner than if I stayed in the USA.
Good Luck! Stay safe [COVID-19 Pandemic.]