In 1935 something new happened. On May 24th a Major League baseball game took place in Cincinnati at night using electric lights.
A few other baseball games had been played under lights in other leagues from time to time, stretching all the way back to a demonstration by Thomas Edison himself. But in 1935 the technology got to the point that it was adopted into Major League baseball.
That led to a new distinction in our lexicon: the Day Game. Since a game could suddenly be played either day or night, every game previously played suddenly fell into the new category of being a day game, not a night game. But irrespective of being day or night, it’s exactly the same game.
This is where we are with online business. We suddenly need to make a distinction regarding online and offline business. (Or brick and mortar business, or legacy business.)
But you know what? Technology moves very fast these these days and that distinction is blurring already. Your lawyer and accountant very likely have websites full of information. Does that make them online businesses? In fact, can you think of a business that does not rely on the online world to augment its exposure to the market?
So irrespective of where the business is conducted, online or off, all the identical principles apply.
Soon – like 10 to 20 years – I don’t think the term “online business” will even exist. Because all businesses will be online to some extent. And they will be as completely online as they can manage because of the economies and advantages online enterprise offers.
Not only that, a huge slice of the population – your kids, nieces and nephews, neighbors, pals, and work colleagues – will all have their own businesses, at the very least as a ‘side hustle’ to bring in a few thousand extra dollars every month as a way to keep their lifestyle afloat.
These are still early days. Opportunities are everywhere. And in 10 years when the ‘early majority’ are just catching on to the possibilities (and perhaps the necessity) of having their own flexible source of income, you’ll already have a mature business that has put you in a strong, safe, and resilient lifestyle.
If you’re getting started now, try to avoid these mistakes:
1. Forever Collecting ‘More Information’
If you and I end up working together, one of the things I’ll repeatedly remind you of is that your mailing list is the backbone of your business. I won’t go into the reasons why, but it’s a foundation of online marketing. The other thing I’ll be telling you is that more than 90% of the people on your mailing list will never buy anything your offer them at any price. Ever.
For the most part, these are the people forever stuck in the “gathering information” phase of their project. Because ‘gathering’ is the most anonymous and requires the least real effort, it’s the easiest place for people to stay year after year.
Every person I know who has an online business is busy finding new ways to try to get people in that 90-plus percent to take action and move to the next step. Some people hammer away for years and never make significant progress.
So, if you truly want to have all the lifestyle advantages of owning your own online business, don’t allow yourself to get stuck with the vast majority.
See yourself as a person who takes control of your life and moves toward your goals. Don’t keep telling yourself the story about how you just need a little more information. Instead, tell yourself that you’re a person who takes action and achieves your goals with the information you have at hand.
Like a car’s headlights at night, you see your way 100 yards ahead at a time and ultimately drive 1,000 miles that way, while the majority is still looking at a map for years.
2. Believing the ‘Easy’ Hype
I got a recent spam email with information about an online method for making money. It said: “Learn the secret to making $23,183 per month for 10 minutes effort, using free software.”
You know, spam exists because it works. Which means enough people click on that ridiculous link and then pay some amount of money for the “secrets” so that it makes it worthwhile to keep the scam running. And there are thousands of similar pitches, as I’m sure you know.
Look, a business that makes money is a major financial asset. Without going into all the math, a business that reliably makes you just $3,000/mo is worth at least $100,000 and perhaps twice that if the business is growing.
For many people, that would be more than the equity in their home. And think of how much money and work your home is as an investment. You have to pour time and money into maintenance, renovation, insurance, and taxes. You have to put tens of thousands of dollars down to just to buy it. You have a big monthly payment hanging over your head for decades. It ain’t easy.
So why would building an online business that’s worth more than your home be as easy as 10 minutes with some free software?
In my opinion, building an online business requires a lot less money and effort than home ownership does. But it still requires smart, creative effort and a relatively small amount of money. The downside risk is easy to limit, yet the upside is beyond what a family home can offer financially.
Don’t look for something on the basis of it being ridiculously easy. Roll up your sleeves and build something that is engineered from Day One to be a business you’ll be delighted to work on for years. Believe me, that’s the most liberating, fulfilling work you’ll ever do in life.
‘Easy’ is for suckers. Meaningful and fulfilling is for those of us who want enduring happiness.
3. Remaining for Years at: “I don’t know what business would be good for me.”
This is perhaps the #1 mistake people make. It’s certainly by far the most common reason I hear for why people never even start.
The tragedy is it’s a completely avoidable psychological trap.
There are a hundred times in life when we’re in this situation. Heck, I have roughly zero fashion sense. So when I need a new suit I rely on the advice of a good tailor. He knows what a guy my age, my build, and with my personality would be happy with. He’s not going to put me in an purple blazer meant for a hipster.
Same if I want to incorporate a limited liability company in a foreign country. I don’t have that knowledge and expertise so I find a guy who does.
If I told you I really, really wanted a new vehicle but that there are so many choices out there I just haven’t been able to make a decision for three years, what would you say to me?
You’d likely start with some questions. What do you need the vehicle for, Pete? Driving the family around? You and Connie touring Europe? What’s more important to you, performance or comfort? What can you afford? After some back and forth, you and I would have a very good idea of what vehicle to start looking for.
And it’s the same with finding the right online business for you.
If you and I talk about things related to what your personal interests are, what life skills you have, what you’d really like to be doing if you already had all the money you’ll ever need, and a few other things – it’s not long before I can spot the lucrative opportunities inside those parameters. Once we find the thing that makes you say, “Hell, yeah! That would be great!” then we know we have a starting point for you.
Again, the #1 roadblock is completely avoidable. Once you understand that, the excuse evaporates.
4. Relying on Generalities When You Need Specifics
This one is a bit tougher. As we all know, the internet is absolutely loaded with information on every subject. Online business and marketing is certainly no exception. In fact, there are hundreds of courses, webinars, and video presentations that are intended to teach anyone how to start and operate an online business.
The courses are usually pretty inexpensive, a few hundred bucks or so. Many of them probably deliver the value of their price. And if it’s all a person can afford, that that’s the way to go.
The problem is, by definition a pre-recorded video course has to be general in nature and can’t get into the granular detail you’ll need to get your cashflow up to speed as quickly as possible.
And when you get into the specifics of what your product or service should be, how you present it, what “your story” is to your prospects and customers, how you should construct your email autoresponder for maximum conversions in your sub-niche, what keywords and hashtags will deliver the most bang for the buck with your very specific target market, and dozens of other factors that need to be addressed, you realize there is just no substitute for working with a real person who knows those answers, has been doing this stuff for 15 years, and is basically on your speed-dial.
In just the last few weeks, these are some aspects of client’s businesses that I have been asked about:
– “When I send a personalized report to a golfer, what should I put in it?”
– “Where do I find people over 40 who have a knee injury?”
– “How do I get a busy financial website to feature my article about being an expat?”
– “I need two dozen messages for autoresponder emails aimed at people with no retirement plan. What should I say to them and when?”
– “Should my workout video go into a lot of detail, or is it better to create separate, specialization videos sold individually?”
– “I need to create a free giveaway for students of English, what should I offer?”
– “I’m really interested in the prepper niche, but I need an angle that gives me a sub-niche I can dominate. How can I find that?”
– “My plan is to get this business up and running, then operate it from Mexico. What special considerations should I be aware of now?”
The fact is, every client I work with has dozens of these granular questions. Video courses and seminars can never be expected to deliver that kind of individual attention. And without those answers people are left to either wallow in a trial and error process that robs them of cashflow and income for a long time, or they throw up their hands in frustration and walk away.
Working with a mentor is the gold standard of learning new things. It costs more than a video course, but it’s worth it when it leads to earlier and greater income from your new business.
If you want my help, your first move is to break away from the 90+ percent who will never create their own online business. START HERE