The 3 Most Important Things You Should Know Before Starting a Blog or An Online Business
Running an online business sounds easy in theory. You lay the groundwork, you start making passive income, and then finally you begin scaling your approach to make more money every month. In practice, however, things rarely go this smoothly. Chances are, you’re going to have to deal with all kinds of things that you could never anticipate when you first planned everything.
Starting an online business—especially in a sector as saturated as blogging—is something that requires careful consideration. You can do it, if you are consistent enough. However, it can take months or sometimes years to get things off the ground and to see substantial income coming in.
The nice thing about an online business is that you can start one for practically nothing; the downside is that exactly because of this low barrier to entry, you have a lot of competition. Finding your niche is key, as well as keeping these three important factors in mind:
This is probably the most important element, not just when it comes to online businesses, but when it comes to any business in general. Persistence is absolutely essential. You can make a million mistakes and you can build a bunch of websites that don’t product a dime, but if you’re willing to just keep trying and learning from your mistakes, eventually you will almost certainly succeed. It’s only a matter of time, really. Almost every success in the world was built with many failures.
Determination is more than just a feeling of joyous motivation, though. Those spurts of excitement don’t really last long. In fact, determination shows itself most clearly when we run into problems and are painfully resisting that urge to quit. Tackling every setback head-on is what will really shape you into a competent businessperson. It will make the challenges easier to overcome as you and your business grow because you will become stronger.
On the other hand, if you flee at the first sign of problems, then I’m sure you know what happens. The world is filled with plenty of people who quit too soon and then declare that a certain task is impossible.
There is just no way to start a business without running into obstacles. That’s just the way it is. It’s a lot of work, and you will have to learn a lot of new things. If you were counting on it being easy, linear, or something that wasn’t going to challenge you at all, then you need to rethink things and prepare yourself.
Be sure that you’re ready to pursue the business no matter what jumps in your way. If it’s something that you really want, keep at it—keep writing, keep blogging, keep researching. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Being determined means having the flexibility to alter your plans.
“Begin with the end in mind,” as Stephen Covey said. All of your actions should culminate in the end goal of what you want to create, so all of your actions should be in line with your vision. To do this, you need to be able to play the psychic a little bit and see the future of the business in your mind’s eye. Holding this in your imagination will also help convince your brain that your goals really will become reality, which certainly improves your confidence. That confidence will help you act without fear.
Have a vision of what your blog or online business will be like. Just like a “real life” business, you have to be able to see the people lining up to buy whatever it is that you’re offering. If you can’t imagine that or it seems too far fetched, then chances are you haven’t come up with a compelling product or service yet. If deep down you can’t bring yourself to believe that customers will be eager to buy your product, how do you expect other people to believe in it?
Some beginners run themselves in circles peddling products that they don’t really think are that great, and so their pitch amounts to begging people to buy. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the kind of vision I would want for my business. To really make a splash in the marketplace, you have to know for a fact that you’re providing value to people.
Vision is the fuel that will keep you going. It will feed your brain the motivating thoughts that you need to keep yourself from getting off track and falling into a cycle of procrastination. Have something to aim for, and you will feel like it is all worth it, even if you run into obstacles. One of the main challenges of starting your own business will be your own internal struggles with believing in yourself enough to take action.
Support can come from many different areas of your life. Maybe your spouse and your children act as a friendly ear for you to talk about your progress and frustrations. Maybe your friends and business contacts encourage you to push forward when you’re facing particularly difficult challenges. People who are more accomplished than you and run more profitable businesses can offer advice or an inspiring model of what you yourself could achieve in the future.
The fact of the matter is that you’re probably not going to be able to do this alone. Even if you can, you will be at a distinct disadvantage. For many of us, our egos like to tell the story of how we did it all “on our own,” how we didn’t need help from anyone, how we rode romantically into battle to face our dragons without a single ally.
That sure makes for an exciting story, and it definitely makes you look good, but it’s rarely the truth. Good luck succeeding without the support of the people around you—seriously. Good luck making a business work with a social circle that drags you down.
When you’re first starting your journey, the number one most important thing that you can do is build a support network immediately. Find like-minded people who are also into online business. Make friends on forums or in real-life meetups if you can. Exchange ideas and get advice from people who have been where you are. The value of this may not be immediately obvious to you, especially if you’re the loner type, but the vast majority of people who succeed in life—when it comes to anything—have a social circle that supports their endeavors.
Another thing to consider is education. One way to give yourself support is to simply absorb as much knowledge as you can. Take online courses, and read plenty of articles and books that will teach you about the next step you’re taking. Be serious about learning. A lot of information about the basics of starting an online business is readily available for free, so there’s no real excuse anyway.
You would also do well to consider technological support. You want to have the right tools to do the job. Even just very basic tools like keyword research software can save you hundreds of hours of time and allow you to concentrate on more important aspects of your business. If you find a tool that will save you effort, buy it. Don’t be cheap about this; in the end, it will be a great investment.
Now, all of this might sound complicated to you. It can seem like yet another list of to-do’s if you have to find people to network with, start absorbing tons of information, and find the right tools that will work for you. Thankfully, you can cut out the uncertainty and get all of these things in one swoop by joining a program called Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate is free to join and I highly recommend it. One of the most important things that it gave me was a huge community to bounce ideas off of. Everyone in this massive social network of Internet entrepreneurs is so kind and so eager to answer all kinds of questions. Having so many mentors at your fingertips for free is extremely important, especially if you’re only just starting out.
In addition to the community, WA offers a free course and hosting for two free websites when you sign up. You can follow their course step by step and learn the basics of using WordPress and some of the most important tools for online businesses. It takes the guesswork out of what you should learn first and helps you start building your first site immediately. The results speak for themselves. Get into their bootcamp program and give it a try.
WA really takes the uncertainty out of starting your website and helps you create that sharp vision in your mind for what you want. Things are less nebulous when you use a program like this, and you can actually see the end goal.
The best part is that once you are a little bit more experienced and have learned the ropes, there is an easy path to upgrading. WA will grow with your business. When you’re ready to really start making some money, their premium account (which is only $49 per month) offers a ridiculously generous package that you won’t find anywhere else. They will give you:
- Hosting for up to 50 websites. Yes, 50! Try finding another host that will let you run 50 websites on their servers for less than a dollar per month each—you won’t.
- Website backup, security packages, and other hosting essentials. Their hosting is extremely reliable and they offer great up-time.
- Video classes, video walk-through, and advanced training that builds upon what you learned before with the free membership.
- Website feedback and analytics.
- 1-on-1 coaching.
- Much, much more.
In addition to all of these goodies, you can also start making money right away with their great affiliate program. If you’ve never done affiliate marketing before, it’s one of the best ways to monetize a website, and the WA affiliate program is an easy way to learn. Basically, you can build a website that will help promote WA, and you receive a cut of the revenue when you sign someone up for a premium account. In other words, you can learn how to build and manage your first website while possibly making money at the same time.
Best of all, Wealthy Affiliate offers some of the greatest customer support I have ever experienced. In spite of all of the training material and walk-throughs that they provide, you will have access to 24/7 support from them. They answer every question and help you solve every problem. I was shocked at how responsive they were when I first joined. You really get a lot for the money—even when you only have a free account!
Of course, if you already know everything there is to know about online business, then Wealthy Affiliate may be too simple for you. They have so much information that you would probably still learn something new, but if you’re the type who likes to do things on your own, then you might be annoyed by how much they hold your hand and spoon feed you every last detail.
On the other hand, if you are just starting out and are confused about what to do, I can’t recommend WA enough. Without any exaggeration, they changed my life. I already thought I knew a thing or two about having an online business, but they really showed me a whole world of ideas that I might have never been exposed to otherwise. The community that they have built is probably their biggest asset, too. It’s like a Facebook for online entrepreneurs.
If you need any help, or even if you’re just curious about starting your first online business, then I highly recommend checking them out.