A lot of people, more than ever before due to the rise in the idyllic looking ‘digital nomad’ life, are looking to start their own online businesses.
For those that are currently employed, they dream about being able to wake up and stroll into their home office and work at creating their own legacy in their PJs with a cup of coffee in hand. For those that are already entrepreneurs, starting an online business seems like a simple and rewarding business idea to bring in more income.
Speaking from years of experience having my own online businesses, having an online business certainly does give you the sense of freedom you’re looking for, and it’s incredibly rewarding to know that every day you work, you’re choosing to grow your business, improve your lifestyle and increase your finances.
However, there are some things I wish I had known before starting my own online businesses, and I think it’s really important to discuss them, not only to give those that are planning to start online businesses the help and guidance that they need, but to also share the reality of being an online entrepreneur – it’s much less relaxing and stress-free than people make out!
So, in this article, I’m going to be sharing the 6 main things you should know before starting your online business, so you can hopefully learn from the mistakes of previous online entrepreneurs and start your business really knowing what to expect.
1. You Probably Won’t Experience Overnight Success
Creating any business, including an online business, requires hard work and dedication. Although a very small percentage of businesses might be successful overnight, this most likely won’t be the case, and as long as you accept that you’re going to have to work hard for a short while until your business does become successful, then you will be successful.
One of the most frustrating things about seeing people run online businesses is that they often expect success so quickly, and then give up when it doesn’t happen for them as soon as they would have liked, not knowing that if they had just worked hard and kept the faith for a few more months, success would’ve been right around the corner.
If you’re thinking of running a blog or online publication, you should be looking at 6 months to one year to make any kind of success, and online businesses such as eCommerce businesses may take longer. Of course, the timeframe and how you define success is all dependent on how you run your business and when you think you’ve reached a successful point, so it’ll be different for everyone, but these are rough guidelines.
2. It Can Be A Lonely Existence Since You’re Working Alone
As much as you might want to run away from your office life to get away from having people around you all the time, having to attend group meetings, and enduring coffee chats with coworkers, the truth is that you will probably miss all of these things once you’re running your own online business. Running this type of business is often very lonely, with most people just having their laptops to keep them company whilst they work towards their goals.
Just like any business, to get it to a point where you can actually enjoy time off and reap the rewards of the business, you first need to put in a lot of hard work. This means that for at least the first few months of running an online business, you need to be working pretty much as often as possible, therefore making you feel even more isolated and lonely.
However, there are things that you can do to avoid this feeling of loneliness. You should network with people in your industry or those that are also setting up online businesses, and you might even want to find yourself a mentor. Working in a coworking space might also be a good idea if you feel too excluded from life by working at home or if you feel more motivated around other people.
3. Running A Business Is A 24/7 Commitment
Unlike being employed by someone and knowing that when you clock off at 5 pm (or whatever time!) you know that you don’t have to even give a thought to work, running a business is a full-time commitment. Rather than simply shutting your laptop at the end of the day and walking away from the workload, you’re constantly going to be thinking about how you can better your business, continually going to be bombarded with emails, and frequently going to feel like you should be working.
Of course, this is the case with any entrepreneur. However, when you run an online business, people from all around the world are going to be interested (hopefully) in your site, your products, or your content. This can often mean you’re going to receive emails in the middle of the night or people are going to expect you to available at strange times due to different time zones. In addition, even when you’re “off the clock” you will most likely be spending time online or on social media, which once again reminds you of your business. Essentially, it’s hard to ever feel like you really switch off!
The good news is, you can have other people take care of a number of things for you, meaning you can reduce your stress levels and 24/7 commitment, and of course, things such as AI chatbots can help your business profile look as if it’s online at all times, even when you’re not. It’s also a good idea to set your own boundaries of when you will be available for people to contact and when you will be in ‘work mode’ so that you don’t have to feel like you should be working 24/7.
4. In 2021, Running An Online Business Could Get Harder
There’s rarely an incredibly great time to start businesses, and most of the time the advice is just to get to it and start! After all, procrastination is a killer! However, 2021 is like a double-edged sword for those wanting to start online businesses.
Firstly, you have people spending more time online than ever before due to the various lockdown’s all over the world, which can greatly benefit your online business. However, the problem is that the Google algorithm, and indeed social media algorithms are getting harder and harder to figure out, and the growing number of online businesses are saturating the market.
I am, of course, not trying to deter you from starting an online business, but what I am saying is that you need to understand how to run a successful online business before even starting one. You need to make sure that your business stands out, and you also need to have an adequate understanding of digital marketing and SEO.
Before even starting to create your online business, it’s a good idea to have a real business plan – just because your business is online, it doesn’t mean it’s not a proper business. So, make sure you know exactly what you’re doing before diving in.
5. It Takes Time To Make Good Money
It definitely takes time to make good money when you run an online business. Just like you shouldn’t expect your business to go viral or have hundreds of thousands of website hits in the first few months, it’s also important not to expect the millions to be rolling into your bank account immediately.
Although you might see people claiming to have made $100,000 in their first year of running an online business, it’s not likely that this will happen. It’s not unheard of, but it is rare. Instead, you should think about realistic income goals and work towards them.
For example, rather than deciding that you’re going to start a blog and writing your first post, do your research and know exactly how you’re going to monetize your blog, as well as when monetization will be able to happen on a timeline and estimate roughly how much money you will be able to earn from monetization.
You can make money, of course, otherwise, no one would run an online business!
However, it takes commitment, research, a real business plan, and time to make an online business profitable.
6. But, It’s Worth It & There Are So Many Possibilities!
Ultimately, running an online business is so worth it, and there are so many different possibilities with online businesses, you can literally go in any direction you want to! You can choose to start a blog and monetize it, you can start an online course, you can sell products, you can become an investor, etc.
The biggest bonus is that once you have your online business set up, you can actually use it to make passive income. This is the income you earn without actually doing much (or any) work. So, you’re free to either start another online business or live your life with full freedom.
Are You Ready To Start An Online Business?
Hopefully, this article has helped those of you that are thinking of starting your own online business.
You should definitely be aware of the points I’ve made in this article before you start your business because it’s not going to be a walk in the park-like you might expect it to be. However, with some hard work, determination, lots of research, and advice, your online business can not only give you financial freedom, but the freedom to live a life of your choosing.
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