On the internet, you will discover dream sellers and realists. From consuming the content, you will realise that my business is in the realist camp.
The reality is that it takes years of patience, commitment and hard work to build a successful online business. It does not happen overnight unless you have a large marketing budget or high profile contacts.
Here are the business mistakes you should avoid making.
Helping people to become remote workers is such a wide net to cast.
Initially, my focus was to help people quit their job to work remotely and travel. Within a few months, emails started to arrive from people needing help landing a remote job.
My focus was changing and that’s not a good move when you’ve invested time and money on creating content for a different target audience.
It is important to step back and re-look at your business plan when trends like this start to appear. Within weeks of making the change, the first coaching clients started to arrive. The outcome was positive but, with more research, the hiring of freelance writers could have been better spent.
My mistake was not completing enough research to find the niche within remote working that needed the most help.
Never assume what your target audience needs help on. Many entrepreneurs lose focus for many reasons: They think of another idea, or self-doubt starts to emerge because results aren’t instantly appearing.
It’s a risk to change focus, so make the right decision.
SETTING UNREALISTIC GOALS
While planning the content strategy, my initial goal was to publish two articles, three videos and a podcast episode, every week. This was alongside, curating my weekly email and creating content on social media.
Within the first week, it became apparent that the goal was impossible for one person to achieve. As a solo entrepreneur, you’re also responsible for bringing new clients onboard and business development activities.
This content strategy would have burnt me out in a month and the enjoyment of building an online business will quickly disappear.
The solution is either to be realistic with the time available or, hire someone to focus on other parts of the business. In my situation, there was very little income so, bringing someone in to help was a no-go.
The only option was to create a realistic content plan.
It’s important to evaluate your plan and make sure that the content you’re creating is driving people to the pages you want them to take action on, i.e. sign up for your email list, purchase a product or service.
CREATING UNNEEDED STRESS
Back in May, my contract as a Quality Assurance analyst came to a sudden end. Thankfully, while working for the company, a percentage of income was transferred into my savings account every month.
Rather than rushing out to find a new contract, I decided to build an online business and live off my savings for six months.
In all honesty, this was the worst decision.
My stress levels increased because income was not coming in as fast as it was going out of my savings. Building a business where the focus is on making money from day one is not a good idea, at all. It’s the worst idea.
It takes time to build trust with your target audience and they have to feel that you can help them achieve their goals.
In hindsight, searching for part-time contract work should have been the main focus. When not working, the time could be spent on building the business.
Don’t give yourself added stress, and quit your job before you have started to bring regular income into your business. This cannot be stressed enough. You will fail if you go down this route.
SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s rather addictive, isn’t it? Scrolling through post after post on Facebook Groups, browsing your Twitter and Instagram feed.
Having a positive mindset is important when building an online business. Spend time on social media and you are going to consume negative content. Or, you will start to compare yourself to better entrepreneurs who have more contacts and resources.
We’ll touch on procrastination in the next section, but social media for me was harming my mindset and confidence.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
What’s unique about your business is you, and never forget that. It’s your unique experiences and stories. Limit your time on social media and use tools to measure how effective that time is.
Has your social content increased engagement with your target audience, brought new subscribers and visitors to your website?
Evaluate the amount of time you’re spending on social networks.
After looking through my analytics, it became obvious that Facebook was not performing. The algorithm was making it near impossible for people to find my content. Yet, hours were spent every day on the platform.
The group and page were closed and my attention was put into LinkedIn, which has seen a hugely positive impact on my mindset and income.
Please note that you do not need to be on every social network.
PROCRASTINATION NEARLY KILLED MY BUSINESS
The headline sounds a little drastic, but it’s the truth.
As mentioned earlier in the article, within six months my business could have failed. A mix of stress, lack of focus and procrastination was stopping me from moving the business forward.
My morning routine used to consist of taking a shower, eating breakfast and then browsing the internet for inspiration on what content to create. A few hours passed and nothing was achieved.
All it took was a mindset and routine change.
Having a work routine is critical when you’re working remotely.
Without one, you will not create the perfect work-life balance and spend more time doing the things that you love.
Firstly, scrap the to-do list because it causes procrastination, at least it did for me. Instead, towards the end of the working day, a list of 1-3 tasks was created depending on how long they would take to complete.
This would be the focus of the next day.
Using Trello, a board was created to itemise each task, along with bullet point style notes. So, if an article had to be written, the title and details of the content would be included, along with the goal and target audience.
The result of this change was increased productivity. No procrastinating, browsing websites for inspiration, wasting time watching YouTube videos.
Hopefully, you will learn from my mistakes because combined they cost me financially, mentally and slowed down the launch of my business. To add, we all make mistakes, we’re human after all, but what’s important is that you learn from them.