Let’s jump straight into it – if you are reading my blog then you either already run an Internet business, you want to run one or you dream about running one (or you are stalking me!). With this article I hope to help you move from the “I want to start a business” category, to the “I am running a business” category. Here we go…
I Have A Business Idea (or several)
If you fall into this category and you already have ideas for Internet businesses but you haven’t actually started one yet, then I have some very simple advice for you – just do it! Put something into action, get some results even if the result is no result (that’s a result still!) so you can actually start to move forward. Stop dreaming/planning/thinking and start doing.
If you have several ideas and you don’t know which one to run with, pick the one that you can best leverage your existing skills, contacts and resources and do some testing. You may think one idea has “more potential” or you might earn more money from it, but that probably also means you face more risk and a longer learning curve. The thing with long learning curves is that if you don’t already have the chutzpah to even start a business a long learning curve is just going to be, well, too long for you. You don’t have the motivation or the courage or the experience or the conviction or whatever it is to push you through the slow process of failing that you must go through in order to succeed.
If you choose the perhaps less grand idea or the less risky business in the short term – the one that you can best leverage what you already have – you won’t face such a long learning curve and will earn results quicker. This will give you positive reinforcement and experience earlier – it will build up your chutzpah – and then, if appropriate you may be able to start up your original riskier or unique idea since you will have the confidence from the success you have already earned.
Think of it this way – a software programmer could have some amazing Web 2.0 idea which she could start, or she could do some software consulting as a self employed business owner. One business model is clearly riskier but potentially much more rewarding. However in almost all cases the low-risk consulting job will bring in financial return and positive reinforcement a lot quicker, while the end game with the Web 2.0 might be a huge superstar company, resources will be consumed (money, time) long before rewards start coming through. Obviously it comes down to your unique position and personality, but if you are having trouble even getting started then the path of least resistance is probably best for you – at least for now – you can still dream big for the future.
I’m not saying you can’t chase the biggest, baddest, craziest idea right from the start – some of the best entrepreneur stories start like this – but often the character behind the idea has some special qualities, those pure, somewhat deluded concepts that hardcore entrepreneurs have where they “just know” they will succeed no matter the odds against them or the reality of the present situation. That sort of blind faith motivation usually leads to one of two outcomes – tremendous success since the person never gives up, or tremendous failure since the person never gives up. It’s a fine line.
I Don’t Know What Business To Start, But Gawd Damn I Have Plenty of Information Products Full of Ideas, If Only I Would Pick One!
Ahh, the serial information product purchaser. I love you guys. It’s you opportunity seeking folks that keep the online marketers pockets laden with money – your money. They keep coming up with ways to make money online, release ebooks, videos, DVDs, courses, seminars, mailing lists, membership sites, all promising riches, and you lap it all up – all of it!
Yep, you are a crazy lot but there is one clear thing about you – you are not afraid to put money down in order to make money and you believe in education, either that or you are a sucker for a good sales page!
If this is you, you need to stop buying info products. Honestly, stop it now. If your computer and bookshelf is laden with online business ideas, all of which you have studied with enthusiasm but never gone much further than one or two steps into actually implementing something before you snap up the next “great online money making concept”, then you have to break the pattern.
Here’s what you need to do. Stop buying products, look at what you have already, what you have learnt and where you think you could best leverage your skills. If you like writing content and setting up blogs or websites then perhaps AdSense is the way to go. If you have something to teach other people and that doesn’t have to be in the Internet marketing arena, it could be any niche, online or offline, then maybe setting up a membership service or writing an ebook is the way to go. If you don’t want to bother with making a product yourself but you like the idea of selling products then perhaps drop shipping or affiliate marketing will be good to you.
Here’s the important part though – whatever idea you finally pick, you have to stick to it from start to finish. Complete every step in the course/book/tool you bought. Every step and then evaluate your position. And I can tell you, if you truly did complete every step that a quality information product teaches you to do then you are almost guaranteed success. Why most people don’t succeed is because it takes time and energy and let’s face it, unless we see money coming in immediately most people have a hard time sticking to something for longer than a few weeks – at most!
Realistically if you were to follow Internet business information products and implement all the steps you are looking at months and months, even years of work before you really can say you did everything well. That usually means completing long term search engine optimization on your website(s), setting up, testing and tracking a comprehensive pay-per-click advertising campaign, implementing other traffic strategies, networking, forming relationships and doing joint ventures, testing and tracking conversion on your website(s), writing content, blogging…there is so much to do to truly have success online. While it might be nice to blame the information product and accuse it and the author of being all hype and no substance – most reasonably good info products really do teach good stuff, there’s just a lot of work involved to do it all successfully – so the only person to blame for failure is you. It’s harsh, but it’s true.
Next time you buy an information product in the hope that it will be THE big idea for your online business (like all the others that have gone before it) be absolutely certain that you are prepared to implement everything it teaches, otherwise you shouldn’t buy it. Go back and implement the techniques in the other products you bought but never got around to using properly first.
Best of all, if you actually do implement well and create a business, you can then buy all the great info products that come out, write them off as an education expense in your tax and know full well that you will be capable of implementing the nuggets of advice you learn, increasing your income by leveraging the success you already have in your existing business.
Positive habits tend to reinforce themselves. Once you start implementing and getting results you will find that you want to keep doing it. The experience you will gain will give you confidence and awareness of the long term benefits of implementation and replace your old “get rich quick” opportunist thinking mentality, where you bought products because you were caught up in the promises being made and did not consider the reality of the effort required to make things work.
I Have Too Many Commitments – I Can’t Quit My Job To Start My Dream Business
Okay, you may be right, you have a lot of commitments and pinning your financial requirements on a new enterprise is too much to handle. My advice – don’t do it, do both. Start your business and keep working your job. In this case you need to have great time management and structure your life well so you maximize your work efficiency (of course this is a good strategy for anyone, but it’s particularly important for someone who wants to transition from working a job to running a business where the short term involves doing both at the same time).
Let’s think 80/20 rule. If you get 80% of the outcomes from only 20% of your efforts then you really only need to focus on a core few functions to handle this situation. You need to keep working your job so a good chunk of your day is gone to that. Then you have all the other “life things”. In my case that realistically probably leaves about 2 hours per day of real productive time for your new Internet business. You could start sacrificing sleep to get more hours but I’m not known to do things like that – you might be.
Two hours, you may be surprised to learn, is more than enough to get your business going, if you are 100% productive during that time and that two hours is spent on your 20% core productive functions – those things you need to get done in order for your business to start generating cashflow. After all it’s dependable cashflow you require so you can reduce the amount of time you spend at the job office and increase the amount of time you spend at the home office. Most people don’t spend much more than two productive hours in an eight hour working day anyway so you will be ahead of the curve if you can stay focused on your 80/20 activities for a full two hours.
From that point on you juggle. You balance your activities with getting your new business running and slowly change the ratios so you do less “job” and more “business” until that great day when you have enough business cashflow to finally quit your job. Of course that’s only the beginning of building your business, but at least you are past that not-really-that-scary-yet-it-stopped-you-for-so-many-years period where you were afraid of not meeting your commitments without your job.
It does take a leap and definitely a commitment but to be really honest with you, the only real obstacles you face are psychological, they are not reality. You don’t believe you can start a business because of all the fear that your commitments generate, which are tightly linked to your job income since it currently keeps those commitments at bay. Since you believe that it becomes your reality. Once you lose the fear and take action you realize the reality of the situation is not that scary and with some time and efficiency management anything is possible – you just got to believe and take action kid!
Reading over the paragraphs I just wrote above it’s pretty clear that there is really only one piece of advice you need to follow to finally start your online business – you need to take action and do something. Everything else boils down to the way you think and the way it causes you to act but generally as long as you are taking action to move your business forward (and start something in the first place!) your outcomes are always good because you are learning and gaining experience, which all lead to greater motivation, better decisions and more taking action – a guarantee of success!
So go do something already!