The One Piece Of Advice I Would Give Anyone Looking To Start Their Own Online Business

I think there are a lot of people that have dreams of starting their own business.

The positives seem so amazing and dreamy.

I mean think about it, you can make your own schedule and work when you want, be your own boss, control how much money you make, take vacations whenever you want…

Really the list can go on.

Trust me, I’m a fan of all those things too. But, the reality is, it’s not that easy.

Just like the old saying goes, “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”

While you can say that’s cliche (which it is), it’s totally true.

It’s amazing how many hours, months, and usually years it takes for a company to become an ‘overnight success’.

So what’s the magical piece of advice that every entrepreneur and business owner needs to know when they are starting out?

You have to learn to truly love the grind.

I think that so often when you’re looking around the internet and reading different articles, whether it’s for inspiration or trying to learn something, people just always talk about working hard. While I’m essentially saying the same thing, I think that when people hear or read about working hard they tend to blow right past it or not pay much attention to it. It’s talked about so much that it doesn’t seem new or different to anyone.

Everyone will agree with the idea of working hard to create success. But, I think there’s more to it.

Starting your own business and being successful at anything involves the grind.

Can you keep pushing forward when people laugh or doubt your idea? Can you keep pushing forward when you feel completely overwhelmed and want to give up? Can you keep pushing forward when you completely screw up an opportunity? Can you keep pushing forward when you feel lost and unsure of what to do or where to go next?

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These are just a few of the questions that every entrepreneur and small business owner faces at one point or another. And anyone that tells you different and that they haven’t felt that way is lying right to your face.

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it before, or how successful you’ve been in the past, those feelings are real.

Only those that truly love the grind, and can embrace the struggle, will be able to push through all those tough moments.

And I really believe that simple fact is what separates the successful people from the unsuccessful.

So if you really believe in yourself and your business, and you’re willing to embrace the grind that comes along with being an entrepreneur, you’ll be successful.

You’ll find a way.

You’ll push through when most people will stop.

You’ll keep grinding and never give in.

You’ll one day be able to look back and realize that it was definitely all worth it.

The Key To Being Successful With Social Media

We hear about social media all the time. It’s literally everywhere we look, and studies show that most people spend nearly two hours on social media everyday!

That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. But, if I’m being honest with myself, I would say that that stat is pretty accurate.

No wonder brands and companies put so much time, energy, and resources into their social media.

If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, then I’m sure you’ve thought about the possibilities for your company, or brand, through the use of social media.

However, what seems so easy in theory (social media) is definitely a lot more complex than it appears on the surface.

On the surface, social media is so attractive to businesses because of the low barrier of entry (most are free to use) and also the massive amount of potential customers that use these sites everyday. I mean Facebook alone gets over 1 billion users everyday!

If you’re anything like me when I first started out, I had the thought that I would simply post a few things on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and then sit back and watch the flood of customers come to my site to buy.

Well I can assure you that that never happened.

Social media is a complex beast.

It’s complex because of a few reasons.

Number one, it’s complex because even though there are so many daily users of social media, it becomes challenging to stand out from the crowd.

And number two, in order to be successful with social media you have to have an actual strategy and be consistent with your content.

The reality is that consumers have become smarter over the years and have become less interested in being sold things. This has also led to shorter attention spans on social media.

So how do you combat this?

A clear strategy, commit for the long haul, and be extremely consistent with your content.

All three of those things can be related back to building an actual relationship with your consumers, or target demographic, not just looking to get inside their wallet.

Like we’ve talked about before, people buy from people, or companies, that they trust.
Trust isn’t something you gain overnight, but if you can provide your followers consistent value, you will also be gaining and building their trust. This trust created over the long haul is what will eventually lead to sales, a following, and a successful presence on social media.

Do you have a social media strategy that you use in your business?

Why You Need An Email List

By this point, I’m assuming we’ve all heard of email lists and I’m sure you’re signed up for a few yourself. But, have you ever wondered if you need an email list for your business or service?

The short answer to this is a big HELL YEA you do!

If you have a business, regardless of what field or niche you’re in, you need an email list.

The biggest regret that I have in all my years of business is not starting an email list sooner. I went the first couple years without ever starting and growing an email list. *smash my head into my desk*

But, I’ve learned from my mistakes.

Now, with any new venture that I start, building an email list is one of the first things that I do.

There are a few important reasons why an email list is so important and that’s what I want to talk about in the rest of this post.

First off, an email list gives you a way to connect with your audience. Whenever we start a business, or service, we all think that we know exactly what our customers will want (or at least I always did…). The reality is that’s not always the case. But you know who does know exactly what they want from your business or service? Your customers, that’s who.

When you have an email list you can personally connect with your audience and ask them what their looking for from your service. In other words, what would help make their lives or business easier, or what problem can you help solve for them?

The quicker you can build a list and make that personal connection, the quicker you can fine tune your product or service to actually serve your customers.

The next reason that you need an email list is because it helps you build trust. This piggy backs off the previous point about connecting with your audience. In my opinion, trust is everything when it comes to building relationships in business. Think about the people or companies that you buy from? What is the one thing that they all have in common? I would say it’s trust. Trust can mean a few different things, but generally speaking the companies we all buy from have built a sense of trust in their product quality, their service, or the real good ones have built trust in both.

The other thing to think about with trust, is that it helps you charge a higher price for your service. The better relationships you can build with your customers and the more that they trust you, the more you can charge for your products or services. The king of this is Apple. How many of you reading this right now own at least one Apple product? I’m going to bet that the majority of you reading this could raise your hand.

I would consider myself a very frugal person. I’m not really into owning and buying things that I don’t really need. However, I own a bunch of Apple products. Why? Because I trust the quality of their products, have always had quality customer service experiences with them, and can therefore justify the higher price of their goods because I honestly believe that even though I’m paying a higher price for their goods, I am still getting more than my money’s worth in quality.

That is what building trust with your customers is all about.

And one of the best ways to start building that type of trust with your clients is through an email list.

One final reason why building your email list is so vital to your business, is that it is building a long term asset that you have control over.

Now some of you reading that might be giving that look of “what the hell is that supposed to mean?” So let me explain…

In this day and age, a lot of people rely solely on things like Facebook ads or social media to connect with their customers or drive traffic to their site. While these avenues are awesome, and I use them all myself. What happens if for some reason they shut down (highly unlikely) or your account gets hacked or suspended? All the sudden your business is suffering because a service, that you don’t have full control over, isn’t giving you access.

With building an email list, you’re creating an asset that helps protect you for the long term. Even if you use social media to drive the majority of your traffic and connect with your audience, if something happens and you have an email list then you’re still able to communicate, and more importantly, run your business.

At the end of the day, have a purpose behind your email list. I hope I’ve established why we all need an email list, but now it’s up to you to figure out how you can serve your list and continually give them a ton of value on a consistent basis.

My last piece of advice is to truly care about the people on your list. Remember that every email that gets opened is an actual person sitting on the other end of that computer or phone. Focus on providing the most value possible and leave your customers feeling like they get something out of every email you send.

The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Business

Have you ever tried to make the perfect decision for your business?

Maybe you made a pros and cons list, or did hours of research looking for all the right facts.

And then after all that time and “work” you decided that you’d get a fresh start on your idea, or new plan of action, tomorrow.

I’m sure if you’re being totally honest with yourself, you’ve done this before just like I have.

Some people call it paralysis by analysis, others call it being well informed, but I just call it an excuse.

The single most important thing you can do for your business is take action.

That doesn’t mean that you don’t do some research and think about what it is you’re doing, but rather, that you spend more time taking action rather than just thinking about what could happen.

I remember a few years ago when I had this idea to start a clothing company.

I had the idea in my head for at least six months, had already created designs, and had a lot of the essentials done and ready to launch.

Then instead of getting the clothing line out to the world, I waited and tried to research everything that there was to know about launching a clothing line, outsourcing the production, fulfillment, shipping, what platform to use, what types of 3rd party integrations were necessary… the list can literally go on and on.

I ended up stalling for months because of instead of taking action, I was stuck in ‘research mode’.

Long story short, by the time I ended up launching the clothing line and website, I didn’t even end up using 90% of the things that I spent months researching. I finally got my head on straight and realized that it didn’t have to be perfect to start, but rather just needed to get out to the world.

I could always make adjustments along the way, which of course every business is going to do anyway.

So while I know it can be scary as hell to put yourself, and your business, out there, it’s truly the only way to make it happen. As entrepreneurs and business owners, we all have to conquer that fear of rejection and getting laughed at. In a way, it’s almost like a right of passage to really be able to call yourself an entrepreneur and business owner.

Don’t let fear control you and don’t let stagnation kill your energy and momentum.

I’ve had tons of failures throughout my life, but honestly, the only ones I regret are the ones where I failed to take any action. At least if I took action, then I could look myself in the mirror and say that I tried. And the truth is also that most of the best lessons I’ve learned have come through trying and failing.

So if you catch yourself going down the black hole of research and analysis, remember that nothing great comes without action.

Three Reasons You Should Hire Someone To Build Your Website

Let me describe someone and see if you can relate…

You have a new awesome idea for a business. You whip out your computer and start googling different phrases that are related to your potential business and service and start to imagine how you might be able to fill a need, fit inside of a niche, or solve a problem.

Excitement starts to build.

You start to be able to see yourself helping people, making a difference, being successful, and making more money than you’d ever imagine…

Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about… I know I’ve personally been there countless times before.

Then comes the day where you decide to take the plunge and go for it. You start making lists of all the different things you’ll need to do and where to spend your (often limited) budget.

Company name, logo, mission statement, marketing, mapping out your services and prices… then comes the decision on a website.

By this day and age, I think we all know (and agree) that if you want to be taken seriously as a business then you at least need to have a website and some social media presence to legitimize what you do. Because think about it, when you hear of a new business or service what’s the first thing you usually do? You google them. You find their website and try to learn more about what they do and what they have to offer.

So if you’re thinking of skimping on your website then I think you’re making a mistake.

I speak from personal experience on all this. I used to be the guy that didn’t want to spend money on a website, and instead, just pieced something together.

In my case it worked out because I discovered that I love building businesses from the foundational level, and thus found my real passion in helping people (like you) build their websites and get their businesses launched and off the ground.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of you reading this right now don’t get fired up and excited about building a website. No… just me huh? Well that’s cool.

So if you’re still on the fence for what you should do about building your website then take a look at these three reasons for why you should hire someone.

  1. Do it right the first time. How many of you out there have tried to save a few bucks here and there by doing something yourself, only to later realize that you really don’t know what you’re doing and end up having to pay someone to come and either fix your mistakes or completely start over? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m not the only person that has done that.

  2. Focus your time and energy on what you’re good at. Being an entrepreneur, or small business owner, means that you have to wear many hats in your business. If you’re anything like me when I first started you’re in charge of all of the following things: CEO, Sales, Accounting, Technology, Head of Marketing, Head of Inventory, Lead Designer, Customer Service, Shipping and Receiving, Office Administrator… I think you get the picture. You should be focusing on the things you’re good at and let someone else take care of your website.

  3. Time. Our most valuable asset as humans (and business owners) is our time. Is it better for your business to piece together a website over the course of a month or two to save a couple thousand bucks, or use that time to be acquiring customers and growing your business? It’s one of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn as an entrepreneur. Maximizing our time is the fastest way to success. Don’t get bogged down with things you don’t know how to do in hopes of saving a few pennies in the short term. And remember, when you start to catch yourself thinking that way just refer back to tips number one and two.

Learn from my mistakes and take a step back and make sure that your short term decisions are helping you reach your long term goals.

Good luck with your decision, I know you’ll make the right call.