Yesterday, I was speaking with a friend who recently started an "online business" after having some success selling products "offline." My friend was complaining about the struggles of running an e-commerce store, the difficulty of managing a website, and all of the woes that come along with trying to achieve success on the web. I made some suggestions and offered some advice, but I came away from that conversation with an even greater understanding of what separates the successful from the unsuccessful in online business...
The Myth Of Web Business
For some reason, pretty much everyone who is NOT running an online business thinks it's so easy and so glamorous to "make money online." Somewhere along the line, this mythology became commonplace in our culture. I suppose what most people perceive is you have this website that makes money while you sleep and while you travel the world. But what they don't actually SEE is all of the persistence, hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears that go into building, growing, running, managing, and maintaining an online business.
The main reason I'm writing this post is to remind you, my fellow Small Business Owner, that it's NOT easy! Despite what the mythology would have you believe and despite all of the reasons you started your own online business, there's simply no reason for you to ever lie back and think it's all going to be easy.
It's Not Cheap Either!
And here's another thing (while I'm on my soapbox here) often I hear complaints about cost from these same folks who complain about difficulty. Yes, it's not "cheap" to start, run, and maintain an online business. I often scoff when people complain about paying $200-$300 per month for a tool like Infusionsoft. First of all, this one tool has the potential to make you 10x, 100x, even 1000x of your money back. That's how business works! You spend money to make money. And second of all, please compare the $200-$300/month to the cost of hiring a full-time team of employees to do everything this type of tool can do for you.
One suggestion I'm always making to friends, colleagues, and clients who run web-based businesses is to optimize their web hosting platform and get some kind of Dedicated Hosting or VPN solution. The cost for this type of service can run between $100-$300 per month or more depending on your website and the hosting package. But this is your website we're talking about here! Wouldn't you want to ensure the best possible uptime, the greatest possible speed, and the smoothest performance?
Ok clearly I'm on a rant in this post, but I think it's mission-critical that we constantly remind ourselves that this isn't supposed to be easy.
If business was easy, everyone would do it and everyone would be successful. I'm not saying business can't be fun and enjoyable. Far from it! I'm not even saying that you can't eventually MAKE it easy. You can!
What I'm saying is the road to success in online business or any type of business is hard. There's a lot to learn, lots of mistakes to be made, and lots of challenges along the way. But if you stay motivated and stay realistic about what to expect, you'll increase your chances of success.