Everyone makes mistakes. Especially in online business.
If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying. What’s most important is that you avoid the most costly mistakes.
Here are four big banana peels you need to step around when starting a business online.
Mistake #1: Quitting Your Day Job Too Soon
When I was just getting started back in 1996, I had a full time job. The Internet was really popular so I figured I’d do some research on ways to generate income.
This was way back in the AOL / Compuserve only days. There was no Google, no Facebook, heck there weren’t even many websites yet. And nobody was ordering online yet, so the info and software I was selling was by mail order.
I still remember the bummed out feeling I had every day I checked my mailbox only to find it empty. With all the classified ads I was running I expected to find at least an order or two. The wait for real, self-generated income was very difficult for me.
It’s a good thing I kept my day job until I figured it all out!
Eventually I figured out that finding high demand products with very well-crafted sales letters was the key to generating steady income. And six months later I was making more from my PC at night, than I was at my full-time job. So I “retired” from my regular job at age 32.
But not everyone does that.
In fact if you expect to hit pay-dirt in weeks or even months, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Yes, even on today’s Internet with all the competition you can earn some decent money online rather quickly. Whether you’re selling your own products and services, or working as an affiliate marketer, I’ve witnessed it over and over in many different niches.
You just have to be prepared for the long-haul going in.
Because a real, lasting business takes time to build. Accept that fact and you’ll be much better prepared.
Mistake #2: Trying To Do Everything Yourself
This is a trap I used to fall into all the time. I’d spend two hours trying to design a decent logo or header… another two hours writing a press release… two more hours submitting articles… and on and on.
There are only so many hours in a day and you just can’t do everything yourself!
Nowadays before I tackle any task, I decide what I want the end result to be like. Then I hop over to fiverr.com and find a provider with great reviews. I pay them five or ten or twenty bucks and have the finished solution within a day or two.
A job that would have taken be two hours is done the next day in most cases, and usually for just five bucks. My time is certainly worth more than $2.50 a hour and I’m sure yours is too. Plus, experts can almost always do a better job.
If you have not started using fiverr gigs in your business yet, you are really missing the boat. There are providers there for nearly every chore imaginable, from graphic design to voiceovers, to video, promotional tasks, even virtual assistants.
I even use fiverr for personal gigs occasionally. I had a Christopher Walken impersonator call my wife and wish her a happy birthday, and she said it was the best present she ever got.
Thank goodness she had no idea it cost me only $5.
Mistake #3: Not Building a List
This is a real business killer.
In any business, whether it is online or offline, it is challenging to find new leads and customers. It takes time and money in most cases. So when you do find a lead or a customer, you need to do everything you can to make sure you can reach them again. Get their contact info, especially their email address.
I like to do this using an autoresponder called Aweber. They store the email address, send followups emails and let me broadcast to my list when I have special offers or info to share. (Like this newsletter.)
No matter how you save your contacts, whether it be in a database or an autoresponder system, you need to make one of your main focuses to grow that list. And contact them regularly. Help them reach their goals and they will reward you with their business.
Mistake #4: Failing To Diversify
Early on in my business I refused to promote what I considered competitors products, thinking my own were enough. But when sales of my first info-product slowed I was left with little income.
Lucky for me I was able to finish a new product relatively quickly and ramp sales back up. But I learned my lesson.
I diversified more by promoting related products and services via affiliate programs.
Then I started offering advertising at my site.
Next I went into coaching via a membership site.
Even to this day I continue to diversify. Recently I added a complete done-for-you niche blog setup service and hosting with my 20 year old daughter who’s into web design.
I’ve heard from many of my subscribers who’ve been hurt by a lack of diversification as well. And many of them really suffered the consequences.
One fellow was earning thousands a week in Amazon commissions until Amazon decided to end their relationship with affiliates in his state, due to tax law changes. His income went to zero.
Another subscriber of mine was earning hundreds of dollars a day with Google Adsense until a Panda update obliterated his rankings. His income went to nearly $0 and it happened literally overnight. (I lost an income source like that too, good thing I was diversified!)
It’s stories like these that reinforce the need for multiple income sources online. You just cannot afford to rely on one big business like Google or Amazon. You also shouldn’t rely on just one monetizing method, such as just advertising income, or just product sales.
Strive to diversify your income sources over time, to include at least a couple of these and you’ll be in good shape…
- Your own product sales via multiple platforms (clickbank, jvzoo, etc.)
- Affiliate product sales via multiple merchants (including some residual income programs)
- Residual income from your own membership site or sites
- Web-based coaching services
- Web business services like graphic design, website and blog design, link building, copywriting, etc.
- Advertising income
- Product licensing and PLR
So there you have it. Four huge mistakes to avoid online. Steer clear of these and you’ll have a real shot at making money online, whether you want a full-time pay check or just want to supplement the household budget.