When you first got the idea to start an online business, did you realize how incredibly vast and expansive this new journey would be?
For me, the thought didn’t really cross my mind. I made a decision to start an online business of web design and was like, “Yeah, I got this.”
Little did I know that it would take almost two years before I opened for business.
Most online entrepreneurs will tell you that they had no clue what they were doing when they got started, and that’s pretty accurate. We all want to create freedom in our own lives and we just start making moves.
Still, there are so many things that I wish I knew when I started my online business. Keep reading to discover what you know and what you might find out.
10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Online Business
1. Predicting an Startup Budget
Who knew there was more to starting an online business than paying for a domain name, web hosting and maybe some business cards? I thought I could get started for a few hundred dollars.
While it’s totally possible to get started on a shoestring budget, it’s also a good idea to figure out what that is. Is it $500? Or $1500? Or $5000?
As online business owners, we’re lucky that we don’t have to take out business loans of several thousands of dollars to get started, we still have to start somewhere.
It’s more than a good idea to know how much money you’ll need to get started. A budget of at least $2000 is not unreasonable, and that’s being super frugal.
2. Don’t resist unplanned expenses
Even when you do have a startup budget in place, you will come across unplanned expenses. There’s always another premium upgrade for a cool free business tool, a legal requirement or template to buy.
When I first started, I would become resentful when I had to pay for another new thing, but I had to let that go. In the long run, not shelling out the money meant that I couldn’t move forward. That wasn’t an option. Turning my vision into my reality was the bottom line.
It’s important to reframe your mindset. Instead of “spending money,” think of it as “investing in your business.”
[click_to_tweet tweet=”10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Online Business” quote=”I learned that avoiding paying $29 here or $97 there was really just a form of procrastination and it was slowing me down. “]
3. If you’re not spending money, you are spending time
That statement may seem like common sense, but it is so true when you’re starting an online business. If you don’t have the means to invest in services like a web designer, online courses or digital marketing services, be prepared to devote your time learning how to do it yourself. When you’re on a DIY budget, it will take longer to get things done.
4. There’s always one more hat to wear
I still have a DIY spirit after all is said and done. At this stage in my business, I don’t need to delegate anyone else. That means, I’m all the Chief Officers of my own company.
Luckily, I’m nerdy enough to enjoy all of those responsibilities. And, I look really good in hats! It was just funny when I realized that I was my own boss, which meant I was also my own employee and coworker, too. So many different dynamics!
5. Get comfortable being in learning mode
Every day there is something new to learn. So often we want to be in performance mode where we are booking work, selling products and creating content.
I didn’t know how to actually execute any of those things, which meant I had to figure it out. If you’re impatient like me, it can be frustrating to be learning and not doing, but that’s all part of the journey.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Online Business” quote=”Once I was able to admit I was in learning mode, I stopped getting anxious and started being in the moment and enjoying the new experience.”]
6. Create a proper work space
Once I became self-employed, gone were the days of getting my employer to hook me up with all the ergonomic furniture and gadgetry. It turns out that working on my laptop from my bed or my couch for hours was not the best thing I could do for my body.
Make the most of whatever space you have, whether it’s a dining room table, spare room, or even a desk in a quiet corner. It will make you feel like you’re serious about your business.
7. Your loved ones probably won’t “get it”
Most people are unaware of the whole online business industry, and your loved ones are no exception. They probably will have no idea what you’re talking about when you try to explain what you’re doing. They’ll just see you on the computer watching another video or surfing the web when you’re really studying online tutorials and searching for business solutions.
Yes, their eyes may glaze over whenever you talk about what you did at work today, but just remind them to be supportive because you’re putting in the work.
8. There are lots of online entrepreneurs out there
When you do feel like no one you know understands what you’re doing, you can always find your tribe online. There are literally thousands of bloggers and online entrepreneurs actively participating in Facebook groups, mastermind groups, Slack channels and Instagram pods. You are definitely not alone.
Get curious. Join a group. Ask questions. Give feedback. Make connections. You’ll pick up so much info when you start discovering people who are doing the same thing you are, even if they are targeting a different niche.
9. Subscribe to other people’s mailing lists
Once you start finding other online entrepreneurs, join their mailing lists. If they are giving away freebies, opt into the offer.
When I realized I didn’t know how to make a mailing list freebie, I started opting into everything I could find so I could collect examples. That also introduced me everyone’s marketing emails, which gave me great examples of how to write my own.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Online Business” quote=”It makes me feel good to support people who are making their dreams come true, and I feel like what goes around will come back around to me eventually. “]
10. Blogging is super necessary
When I was building the website for my web design business, I almost didn’t include a blog page. I didn’t see the need for one, because my business was about building blogs for other people.
I later came to understand that blogging is practically the cornerstone of any good online business, because it’s such an essential way to market yourself.
You can use your blog posts as a reason to post on all social media platforms, and you can send them directly to your email subscribers. All of that activity is critical to any digital marketing strategy.
The top priority for any online entrepreneur is figuring out how to brand yourself so your target audience can find you. Blogging is an instrumental part of that.
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