It’s not uncommon for confusion to replace enthusiasm when a budding entrepreneur comes to realize just how many moving parts there are in a successful online business.
It’s all too easy to get discouraged when earning that first dollar takes longer than expected.
If you’re still wondering how to get your online business off the ground, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. The key is to identify the things that are holding your business back so that you can work through them.
There are six common reasons why you might be struggling in the early stages of your online business.
1. You’re Stuck in the “Research Rut”
You want to learn everything you possibly can about launching a successful business, but there are so many things to learn! You end up moving from one course or book to the next, and you never actually start implementing anything.
This is what I call the “research rut.”
It’s true that in business, you’ll never stop learning, no matter how experienced you are. But you need to make room for implementation, or else nothing can happen. Learn enough so that you can get started, and then start.
At that point, you should scale back on learning new things to a set number of hours each week.
Remember, too, that your business will never be perfect. If you wait until you’re 100% satisfied with your website, product, or service, you'll never launch. You can always tweak and refine as you go, but you need to embrace a “done over perfect” mentality.
2. You’re Trying to Focus on Too Many Things
Multi-tasking scatters your focus and prevents you from zoning in on the things that are going to best benefit your business now.
I get it; it’s hard to know what to focus on sometimes because everything seems important. You need to learn social media platforms, find leads, create products, set up a website, build an email list, wrap your head around SEO – the list goes on and on.
But trying to work on multiple projects at the same time kills your productivity. This is what entrepreneur Todd Herman refers to as “context switching,” and it might be what’s preventing your business from getting off the ground.
Stay laser-focused by writing out all the things you want to do for your business and prioritizing them from most important to least. If you’re having trouble doing this, ask yourself which items will help you make money the soonest! Then zero in on the top one or two projects until they’re done before moving onto the next.
3. You’re Letting Fear Hold You Back
Even if you decided to start a business, fear could be sabotaging your efforts.
For example, many people are afraid to put themselves out there, or they’re worried about actively selling their product or service. Yet, this is mandatory for anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur!
Ruth Soukup, entrepreneur and New York Times Bestselling author of Do it Scared, has provided the answer right in the title of her book.
You need to push through the fear and do it anyway.
The first step is to identify your fear archetype, which helps you understand where your concerns stem from and how they’re holding you back.
Once you understand your fears, it becomes easier to deconstruct them!
Related Content: How to Transform Fear into Action
4. You’re Not Making Connections
Networking is a vital element in every business. It helps you form professional relationships and become a part of the industry’s community. Some connections may become mutually beneficial, while others could lead to clients or new skills.
It’s the “know, like, trust factor.” If you’re not maintaining an online presence or making an effort to connect with potential clients, no one is going to think of your name when they’re ready to invest in the product or service that you offer.
These days, you can do a lot of great networking without even leaving your house—although there are benefits to in-person networking, like tapping into local businesses.
If you haven’t already, join some online communities that are related to your industry. Show up consistently and participate in the discussions. Ask others about themselves, and try to be helpful.
Remember that you don’t need to be constantly pushing your products or services. I like to think of it as being part of a community where you help out where you can and get to know the other names in the industry.
5. You’re Trying to DIY Everything
Yes, there’s a time for bootstrapping and doing as much as you can yourself, especially in the early stages of your business. But if you’ve been spinning your wheels on the same roadblock for weeks or months, it could be time to invest in some help.
In fact, you might be losing money by not investing in help.
For example: If it took you four months to figure out how to create a lead magnet, how much money could you have made in that time if you had just hired someone to teach you in month one?
Whether help comes from taking an online course or contracting an expert to help you with a specific task, investing in your business is never a waste of money if it enables you to grow.
Related Content: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Your Business
6. You’re Not in the Right Business
Unfortunately, not every business idea is a good idea. If you couldn’t relate to any of the previous stumbling blocks and you’re still having trouble getting your business off the ground, the problem might be your business itself. Especially if you started it without doing much market research beforehand!
Reach out to your ideal clients, ask a mentor, or join a mastermind group to gather feedback on your business model and the marketability of your offerings.
Based on what you learn from these discussions, you may need to pivot to something new to be successful in online business.
Although it may feel like you’re back to square one, you’ll have gained valuable experience and will be that much closer to finding the right online business for you!
If you can relate to one or more of these stumbling blocks, write out an action plan detailing how you will address them so you can finally get your online business off the ground. Personally, I find that physically writing it out in a notebook makes it more tangible and achievable!
Just remember that building a business takes time and patience. There will always be failures and setbacks. But if you persevere and learn from your mistakes, you will find success eventually!
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Corrie Alexander is a content creator and logistics nerd from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. As an alumna of both Horkey Handbook's Freelance Writing and Virtual Assistant courses, Corrie loves helping other bloggers and small business owners grow! Visit her website, thefitcareerist.com.
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