3 Lessons I Learned Starting My Own Online Business
I can't believe that I'm at that point in my life where I can say that I have started a business. But holy smokes, here I am. My small but mighty business is one of the most exciting things happening in my life and a total dream come true. Ever since I moved to the US, I wanted to start a business. I mean, after all, the USA is the land of opportunity. It's the perfect place to learn how to and have the opportunities to start a business. When I was younger, I always thought that I would have a brick and mortar business, a restaurant, or a boutique store, where I could ahem costumers and regulars. With the world constantly changing and the new realities we live in, having a business has mostly moved online. Here are three things I learned in the beginning stages of my online business.
Start before you're ready.
I had the dream of starting a business for so many years. I just never really felt ready to do it. I always found some kind of excuse not to go through with it. Whether it was people judging me when I put myself out there, or no-one resonating with my ideas and my message, I waited until I was ready. I wasted so many years thinking and planning about my business instead of letting it shape on its own and starting to build my audience. Eventually, the universe began to send me signs and point me in the right direction. I started to go to conferences and workshops, took online courses that paved my path, and clarified what I wanted to do. If I had waited until I was ready to start educating myself and to start putting myself out there, I would still only be thinking about my business. Business is about progress, not perfection. If you're going to wait until you have all the details right and all the pieces to your puzzle, it's probably not going to happen. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're in for a lot of disappointment and missed opportunities if you wait that long to put yourself out there. No one is perfect, and if someone is portraying that picture of perfection, they're lying to you. I genuinely believe that to start your own business, you just have to start. Start before you're ready. You will probably make a million mistakes along the way, as have most successful business owners, but that's how you'll learn.
Show up consistently.
Decide on how you're going to build your audience. So whether you start a blog, you start a podcast or start a YouTube channel, no matter what you decide to do, do it consistently. Before you can have a business, you need to have an audience. You need to be trustworthy. If you post every other month, or every few weeks, it will take you much longer to get that trust and that bond that relationship with your audience. It's going to take you a long time to establish yourself as an expert in your field, which is ultimately one of your business goals. If you want to convert people into paying customers, you need to show them you're trustworthy and know your stuff. If you don't show up consistently, that's going to be extremely hard to do. Yes, it's time-consuming to post every week or a few times a week, but if you want to have a successful business, you need to know it's going to take time and trust.
Build your e-mail list.
An e-mail list is the backbone of your business. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you think you are building your business on Instagram or FB alone, you are wrong. You do not own your followers. They can be taken away from you tomorrow or in a few years. I know so many people who strive to get those numbers on IG up and get to those first 10,000 followers. Yes, it's great to have a following online. Of course, it's part of your marketing strategy. But in reality, only about 6 percent of your followers see your IG posts. That's right, only about 6 percent. That's a tiny number. In fact, your post lives on for about 24 hours only, and then it's forgotten. Now, if you have a blog, or a Pinterest account or a podcast, those posts live on basically forever and will continue to bring followers right into your business for years to come. Now they will not deliver your followers per se, because you need to remember to get them to sign up for your e-mail list. Don't forget to do that. I can't stress how important this is. And don't expect people to give away their e-mails for free either. They won't just sign up for your newsletter to stay in touch. I mean, they might, but the chances of that are slim. You always want to deliver value. Come up with a freebie. It could be a shopping list for vegan pantry items if you have a plant-based business, or a guided meditation, or a mini-course, anything that your ideal customer would want. Don't forget you own your e-mail list of subscribers. No one can take that away from you. It's the absolute backbone of digital business.
There you have it. These are the three lessons I learned the hard way when starting my own online business. If you're thinking about starting a business, don't ever think it, just do it. Start before you're ready. It's about progress, not perfection. Show up consistently and add value to your ideal clients' lives. Do it weekly, or if you can't handle that much pressure then biweekly. Tell your audience when they can expect to hear from you and then deliver. And for Go** sake, start that e-mail list. Do it today. You'll be so happy about that later. It's the most critical thing you will do for your online business.