Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can earn a buck or two here and there. But the real challenge, for those of you who are taking this online-business thing seriously, is crossing over into that six-figure income territory.
That is the standard that a lot of people are shooting for with online business, and it is a very good standard to shoot for.
But the big concern about this is that this mindset, while optimistic and ambitious, can also give rise to a number of problems.
So in this guide, you are going to learn how to break those problems down and avoid them.
You are also going to learn a ton of other tips, tricks, and bits of information to help you make the most of your business today.
Examine the content you have been creating. Examine the methods you have been using.
And perhaps, most importantly, examine the spirit with which you have been publishing your content and conducting your business.
9 times out of 10, one or more of these mistakes is responsible for keeping online businesses from growing at the rate they ought to be growing.
Mistake #1: Focusing On Choosing The Product First
Many people start their business thinking “What am I going to sell?”
But this is 100% the wrong way to look at it.
Rather than thinking of the product first, you actually need to look inside yourself and, instead, focus on your audience and how you can help them first.
What are you going to bring your audience? What problem of theirs are you going to solve?
How are you going to bring real, measurable value into their lives?
This is where your personal story comes in.
You see, when you think only about a product, you are just thinking about how to sell that product. Sure, you think about all of its uses, features, and benefits… and you can try to sell it based on the value that it may bring people.
But trust me… that is not how to succeed in business nowadays!
Focus On What You Care About, What Value You Can Bring, And What Your Story Is
Before you sell any product, you first need to get a few things straight in your own mind.
Do you really care about this product? And if so, why? What personal trials has this product helped you to overcome? Can this product do the same for other people? If so, how?
Describe in your content how you were able to solve your own problems first. This is SO HUGE, it simply cannot be overstated.
Then, tell them how this widget, gadget, or course made your life better.
Sure, they can buy it from you. Put an affiliate link in your post.
But selling this product to your audience is SECONDARY to BRINGING THEM VALUE AND ANSWERING THEIR QUESTIONS!
Once you get this simple, fundamental mindset straight and scale it correctly, you will truly become unstoppable.
Mistake #2: Not Creating Content For Both Audiences
Contrary to what you may believe, you always need to create content for two very specific types of audiences.
This is more important nowadays than ever, and so many entrepreneurs fail because they do not learn to diversify enough to do this correctly
Humans And Algorithms Are Your Two Audiences
The first audience that you need to address in your content are the people who are listening to you.
This is your target demographic.
So you need to make sure that your content will help these people.
You do this by identifying their challenges and helping them to solve them. It is literally that easy.
You can also tell your own personal story. This helps to build trust and confidence.
But at the end of the day, the people who follow you do so because you have some of the answers they are looking for.
And it is very important that you create content to help these people if you want to succeed.
But there is also a second type of audience that you need to create content for… the algorithms.
Make The Algorithm Your Next Best Friend
You may be asking “What exactly does it mean to create content for the algorithms?”
Well, the short answer to this is that you need to create content that will help people to find you via the search engines.
SEO, Google, keywords… these are all tools that can help you to reach an even bigger audience if used correctly.
But the only way to use them correctly is to learn how SEO works, and then to weave the vital components of this throughout your content.
This means that you need to do keyword research. You need to research the tags you put into your YouTube videos. It means that you need to tag your podcast episodes appropriately so that people will be able to find them.
It means optimizing your website, making sure that your titles and metas are correct.
It means not violating Google’s rules.
It means knowing and understanding how each individual platform gets content in front of users, and then back-engineering those algorithms so that your content will be seen by as many people in your chosen niche as possible.
Now, a lot of people are really good at focusing on either one or the other.
Some people write 100% for humans, and some write 100% for the algorithms of their chosen platforms.
But if you don’t blend these together, you are going to end up coming short.
So many people fail at this simple skill. And yet, it is so important that it will literally kill your business if you don’t get it right!
Mistake #3: Focusing Too Much On The ‘Selling Game,’ And Not Enough On Value
This is actually talked about at length by an author/speaker named Jay Abraham.
This guy is old school. If there were ever a guy in the world of marketing consultants to look up to, it would be him.
He’s been in the game for 40-50 years.
Have you ever heard of the brand IcyHot?
Jay Abraham was part of an endeavor that purchased IcyHot, turned it into a $1 billion company, and then flipped it for a huge profit.
This guy is an absolute gangster… he is a boss, and one of the biggest contributions he brought to the world of marketing was the strategy of ‘preeminence.’
The Strategy of “Pre-Eminence”
So, the idea here is that most people in the world are trying to take, take, take.
And they do this by trying to sell, sell, sell.
Everything is about the sale, every single time!
Well, the truth is that a lot of this just becomes noise to most people. People overlook it, tune it out, and see through it.
As a result, they become disinterested in it.
And that is how many, many businesses begin to fail!
Instead, you need to focus on bringing value first.
First, you help people. You do this by publishing awesome content, by empathizing with your audience, and by doing your best to actually help them to solve their problems.
It is really, really simple actually. It is just a value-first mindset. That’s truly the biggest difference here.
So you provide all of this value, build up trust, and build a brand that people know they will get results from.
Then what happens? They eventually buy all of your products, because they know so well that you are going to help them that they don’t even question it.
They know this because…
You have done it for yourself
You have helped them to do it
You are also helping other people to do it
9 Problems You May Run Into While Starting an Online Business - Avoid Them At ALL Cost!
So, we’ve talked about the 3 biggest mistakes that destroy online businesses from the ground up.
But now, it’s time to talk about a few other ‘notable mentions’ that are simply not talked about enough.
Let’s go over a few of these. They are extremely important!
Listening to Fake Gurus
This is a big one. So many people run their businesses into the ground listening to the wrong people!
It is actually very, very unfortunate.
If you are going to listen to someone and take their advice, make sure that they are not just saying stuff to look like a boss and sell things.
There are more than a few fake ‘gurus’ who have managed to create names for themselves through huge amounts of advertising, and promising to make people rich.
But this is all pretty sketchy.
Before you take the advice of any ‘guru,’ ask yourself a few questions first.
Is this person putting ‘value’ first, or the ‘sale’ first?
Has this person actually done this themselves?
Is this person really who they say they are, or are they just ‘struttin’ online to get likes, follows, and sales?
Does this person try to impress you with their flashy cars, stacks of money, hot babes, huge house, etc.? Because if they are, there is a good chance that all of that is a tactic to get you to buy their products so that they will get ‘more rich.’
If you post content but never optimize it, you are obviously going to need to revise your strategy.
If you blog about three vastly different topics, all completely unrelated to one-another, on the same blog, there is a very good chance that you are going to have to change you strategy and niche down to hit that ‘sweet spot’ with your target audience.
Having an effective strategy in place to help you grow your business is super, super important.
Not Having The Patience To Stick With It
This is actually a really common problem that rears its head in the content marketing game all the time.
So many people start out strong and motivated. But then, after only a few months, after seeing only a little bit of traffic trickling in, they give up.
This is such a shame!
Why? Because it takes time to build up an online business. It took Melanie and I 4-5 years of steady grinding to get our business to the point where it created a lifestyle-change for us.
For all of those years, we hustled every night after work, on weekends, and on holidays. We built our business from the ground up, and never gave up!
To be really, really honest, you can be just about 100% sure that your business is NOT going to strike gold in the first 4-5 months. It truly takes time. You just have to keep after it, and keep hammering away.
This is something that far too many people get wrong!
You may watch shows, listen to music, watch movies, read blogs, read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos on YouTube, consume social media content, etc.
Well, one thing that many of the most successful online entrepreneurs have in common is that they make sure to create more than they are consuming.
Now, don’t misunderstand. You want to consume positive, motivational, inspiring content.
But where many of you go wrong is when you start scrolling through social media, or clicking on to the next video, without any real intention of doing anything productive.
Time wasting. That is what social media is really good for if you don’t manage it properly.
And when you start to get caught up in this cycle, two very dangerous things start to happen.
You get caught up in the ‘mostly’ mind numbing content that fills these platforms
You waste valuable time that you could be spending creating something else
The key is not to stop consuming altogether. The key is to balance consumption with creation, making sure to spend enough time and mental-energy creating, instead of wasting it on content consumption that isn’t going to actually help you in the long run.
Being In A Hurry To Clock Out - As If Your Business Were A Job
This is a very surprising, yet all-too-common mentality among many entrepreneurs.
It could stem from a lack of focus, a lack of motivation, or both.
But far too many online entrepreneurs just put in the bare minimum needed to get them through the day, and then are in this HUGE HURRY to ‘clock out’ and get on with the ‘fun’ part of their lives.
Then, after 5 years of success in the field, come back around to an online business template and start blogging about your experiences. Now, you not only have the training and experience to back up your content, but you also have a much better grasp on the topic.
This will enable you to deliver true, measurable value to your audience that could actually help them.
And that is huge!
Failing To ‘Niche Down’
This is a common problem that can be surprisingly difficult for some people to solve.
As a general rule, you want your content marketing/affiliate marketing business to be as narrowly niched as possible.
There are many benefits to this.
So, instead of making ‘wine’ your topic, focus down a bit.
Narrow it down to ‘collectible wines’
Narrow it down further to ‘collectible wines from small vineyards’
Narrow it down even more to ‘collectible wines from small vineyards that cost $25 or less a bottle’
Narrow it down even more to ‘reviewing collectible wines from small vineyards that cost $25 or less a bottle’
If your topic is just ‘wine,’ you will be competing with every other wine website. But even more than that, you won’t be drawing a particular crowd to your site.
So instead, you hone your focus, and you target a very specific demographic of people… people who are looking for collectible wines from small vineyards, that cost no more than $25 a bottle.
This is a much more specific niche, and will help you A LOT in gaining traffic and a foothold in your market.
Stopping “3 Feet From Gold”
This analogy comes straight from Napoleon Hill’s book, Think And Grow Rich. It comes from the story of a gold miner who spent all of his time and money digging for gold, only to get frustrated and walk away from the mine.
Later on, another company took over the mine, and ended up striking gold just 3 feet from where he gave up!
Had he just kept at it, he would have made his fortune.
But alas. He gave up, and learned a difficult, but powerful lesson in the process.
The lesson for you, however, is this…
Don’t stop. If you find your calling and you get started, don’t give up. If you do, there is a chance that you will stop ‘3 feet from gold,’ and lose everything you have worked so hard to achieve.
You never know when you might be close to striking gold. So stay true, and don’t let the long-term game discourage you.
Constantly Changing Niches
And of course, no list of online business problems would be complete without this one.
Constantly changing niches robs you of consistency, growth, and the ability to attract a dedicated, committed audience to your content.
Earlier, you learned about how to choose a niche by ‘niching down.’ That is very important, but another super important, and very related problem, is ‘niche-changing.’
You are going along in your niche. You are publishing content, you are doing your thing… everything is great.
And then… you see another post or video that inspires you. Or, you find that you are starting to get a little bit bored of the stuff you’ve been working on. Or, you see a guru online telling you that you really need to be talking about this or that, etc.
Suddenly, you find yourself questioning the niche you started with, and wondering if it is even the right niche for you.
To test this, you may start to switch your niche a little bit… just to see what effect it has.
But this is a very dangerous habit!
Shiny New Object Syndrome - What It Is and Why It Can Kill Your Online Business
No matter what niche you choose, there are going to be times when it is not going to be super exciting.
There may be posts that you need to write that you legitimately wish you didn’t have to write… even if you LOVE your topic.
Remember that there is literally no niche in the world that is always going to be fun, exciting, and engaging all the time.
So instead of bailing on your niche when the going gets hard, this is when you should be doubling-down and learning more about it. Attend a master class, read a book, or listen to a speaker to get a new perspective on the niche that you’ve chosen.
But avoid ‘shiny new object syndrome.’
It is very dangerous, and can actually hurt the work that you have already done for your audience.
If you start posting stuff that your audience doesn’t relate to anymore, all because you got bored of your niche and wanted to switch it up, there is a chance that you are going to lose audience interest. And that is a death-sentence in this business!
It is almost as bad as not publishing any content at all!
8 Powerful Tips for Successful Online Businesses
Alright. At this point, you have learned the 3 biggest mistakes that online businesses usually make, and have also learned 9 problems that online business startups tend to have.
In other words, you have learned a lot of what NOT to do. So now, let’s talk about what you should be doing to make your online business as successful as possible!
1. Don’t Just Treat It Like A Hobby And Dabble
If you want to give yourself your best chance at success, then show up for yourself and your business in a big way.
This will help you to convert powerful numbers of audience members.
You can also use landing pages, sales funnels, and sales pages on your website to sell your online products.
5. Focus On The Audience And Put Their Needs, Goals And Desires First
This should be a no-brainer, but a lot of internet marketers ignore it.
Don’t focus on selling first! Instead, focus on your audience.
What do they need, want, and desire? What are their goals? What are their problems?
Seek to provide what you audience needs the most to fulfill their own goals, and try to provide it to them in your content for free, as often as possible. Once you start doing this consistently, you will notice that when you do offer products or links, you will get much better conversions.
Push The Limits And Establish Yourself As A Trail-Blazer
Development is really important to the building-up of value on your site for your audience.
Whether you are publishing blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, or whatever, it is really important to keep finding better tools and processes as you go along.
You want to be a pioneer in your market. You want to be a trailblazer.
If your niche is based around collectible wines under $25 a bottle, be the first website to publish a blog about the top 100 wines in that market! Be the first YouTube channel to do in-depth reviews of every single bottle of wine in this category.
Be the first podcast to get exclusive interviews with all of these wine-makers!
Whatever it is, always be pushing forward, developing better processes, and taking your audience to places where nobody has ever gone before!
Find Quality Mentors To Inspire You And Motivate You
You heard earlier in this post that you need a healthy balance when it comes to consuming and creating content.
And generally, you want to create content far more often than you consume it!
But with that being said, you also need to strategically consume content that is going to teach you even more about your niche, so that you will have new information with which to help your audience.
It is also a huge help to find role-models and mentors in the world who will inspire you to keep that value-first mindset alive.
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Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.