For starting an online business, especially if you are new to the industry, you will need both knowledge and personal skills to succeed. If you develop the following 10 guidelines as habits by referring to them regularly, they will help you stay on the straight and narrow for your journey to success.
The First. Let's look at what advantages there are to building an online business:
- It is always open, so we can work it whenever we want to.
- We need no office, it can be operated from home or anywhere there is internet access.
- Compared to an offline business capital investment is minimal and the process more controllable.
- Many of the duties can be done automatically, leaving us with more time for our family, friends and leisure activities.
- We are the boss, the work environment can be less stressful, and we control our own rewards.
- It is not get rich quick however, treat it as you would a traditional, offline business. It still requires interacting with people and selling. So focus on one area of opportunity, be committed, stay positive and don't expect to get rich tomorrow!
The Second. While it is naturally important to focus on starting an online business full-time, it is extremely valuable when starting out, to dip your toe in the water before you go for a swim. Have a look around, try a few opportunities, if out of your depth they usually have 60 day refunds. It is important to get to know the industry and have a perspective of what's on offer and to know the underlying techniques that are used. The latter can be quite complex but once learnt they don't change. Things that you will become second nature are:
- What is affiliate marketing
- Website versus Blog
- How to find, register and set up hosting for a domain name
- How to FTP
- What are HTML files
- How to edit your HTML files with free software
- How to create your own web pages
- How to use things like meta tags effectively
- How to do SEO
Getting into the habit of searching on Google and You Tube for answers will pay dividends here.
If you do these things in your spare time as a sort of apprenticeship before getting really active it will give you a smoother introduction to starting an online business. In saying this, however, action cures fear - so don't over analyze anything and don't be afraid to make mistakes. It would be wise not to sack your boss until you have the proof positive that you have the ability to earn regular income. There is a heck of a lot to learn but, trust me, if you are open to try stuff, and you are focused and committed, it will certainly be worth the effort.
The Third. Don't get distracted by bright, shiny objects - web announcements that promise fantastic incomes in no time at all, that require no work or experience, and that operate on autopilot. You know the story! If it looks too good to be true it most probably is. You will become savvy as to what is good and what is not. There are genuine people out there, with worthwhile products. Some signs of integrity of purpose are that they will have an email address or a contact option on the offer page. Try and contact them and see what the response time is like. You may have to wait a few days. Some just have an auto-response informing you that your email has been received. Support is perceived by some promoters as a hassle. You see there is no money in providing support, so often support is emphasized but............!!
The Fourth. If you are looking for opportunities in starting an online business, generally if they are above average in price then they may be worth investigating. Be careful of the low priced offers or those that state they are "newbie friendly" because although this is not always true, usually they are a waste of your time. I mean if you had developed a product that was "new" in that no one else had thought about doing it that way, are you going to give it away for $27? The sales copy can be very convincing but this is where your perspective and your apprenticeship will come in handy. OK they offer money back guarantees but it is the let down, the frustration, the waste of time that you can ill afford when starting out. I believe that only someone who has gone through the "newbie" stage i.e. starting from a point of total ignorance and become very successful, can produce a business plan that is truly "newbie" friendly. So be careful of "Newbie Friendly", "Secret Formulas", "Loop Holes", "Guru Secrets", "Completely Unused", "Underground Secret" etc.
The Fifth. Be wary of proof of earning bank statements or checks - static versions of these are easily faked. On line live video showing them entering their sites are usually more reliable - but make sure they show they are live on line. Unfortunately the same goes for things like letters of recommendation or testimonials. They can get colleagues to write them or they can be totally bogus. Sometimes offers to supply details on request add credence but again its buyer beware!
The Sixth. Keep a positive frame of mind and stick to your knitting. It is not ignorance of the industry or the lack of knowledge of the techniques that tests your resolve and confidence, it is the distractions of the bright shiney objects that promote uncertainty. Uncertainty that you are going down the right path is a killer. If you have carried out what you have read and been taught you will be on the right road in starting an online business - just remember there are many roads available and they are all OK - so focus on the one you have chosen! You will come to notice two qualities that are exhibited by the wealthy, successful marketers - they are dedicated and goal orientated. These people have had their share of failures, but that didn't phase them or cause them to quit, they had goals to achieve and their self confidence drove them on.
The Seventh. Because you will have a virtual office and most of your business files will be on your computer the need for organization is essential! Put some planning and effort in here before you need the space. It is very important to know exactly where email messages and files are, as well as and computer files including online files. When you consider that a lot of stuff will originate from email (document file and internet files) and the internet (websites and blogs etc.) you need to be on your toes. Ideally you should know where a file is and be able to have it on your screen in seconds rather than minutes. You will need to check your emails every day, maybe twice a day and don't put off dealing with what you see - delete, download, store. Don't procrastinate here! This is especially important when building websites - keep all the "bits" that are required to build the site in one folder, it will save heaps of time and frustration.
The Eighth. When you are starting an online business, make sure that your reputation is one of integrity. Stick to the basic, unwritten rules of the internet, be aware of the etiquette of Internet Marketing. Operate in the White Hat areas and keep away from the Black Hat stuff. Become a much liked and respected member of the internet community - just like in any business this is provides unseen recognition. For example, please don't send out high volume unsolicited emails (spam) - it's ineffective anyway. Observe the simple etiquette around sending emails. Another example, give people who will get on your list, the opportunity to unsubscribe if they so wish. Always read the terms and conditions when you join up to things like Forums or Article Directories, and then abide by what is written. Part of the internet business involves networking, and you will make some useful and helpful contacts during your internet activities but just remember, in the old terminology, "know your place".
The Ninth. Become disciplined about saving stuff. As you progress there will be two basic sources of interest you will get emailed: Business Opportunities and Business Tools. Most of the former will be chaff and you will know the ones you might want to look at, at a later date - they may involve a different process or different method than what you are using at present. The Business Tools can be helpful, but again, if you save each one that comes through, you will end up with so many of them that the probability of ever using them will be very low. Save only those that are particularly relevant, or those that will be useful to you as part of your future strategy.
The Tenth. One little tip that may save you embarrassment - don't leave large amounts of money in your online accounts. The internet is a very rapid and effective communication medium and if you were ever accused of stepping out of line (right or wrong!) then retribution can be swift and on the internet it is not about innocent until proven guilty, your accounts will simply be frozen until such time as the issue is resolved. Forewarned is forearmed!
These habits or guidelines are another piece in the puzzle to starting an online business. They are offered to help you on your way, and make your journey as pleasant and as productive as possible. Following the advice given will help you avoid some of the frustrations and dead ends that I experienced on my journey.