Eight Popular Myths About Starting An Online Business – Debunked
I see it every day, people wanting to start an online business and think they can do it by working 1 or 2 hours a day, with zero budget and no skills whatsoever.
With the Internet, there truly are a lot more opportunities to start all sorts of online businesses. But many still have misconceptions about what really goes into starting an online business. There are many get rich-quick-schemes and programs that promise overnight success advertised all over the Internet giving the impression that you could build, grow and run an online business with a click of a button.
Before you start an online business, consider the myths below and then ask yourself – am I truly cutout for this lifestyle?
1. You have to be an entrepreneur to start an online business
First, let’s make this one thing clear, having an online business does not mean that you are an entrepreneur.
In his book Awakening the Entrepreneur Within, author Michael Gerber sheds some light on this.
An entrepreneur is an inventor although few inventors are entrepreneurs. An inventor sees the world through alert wide-open eyes. An inventor lives asking what’s missing in this picture and then invents a new business around the missing piece of the puzzle.
Entrepreneurs do not buy business opportunities. They create them.
While business opportunities, such as franchises are more likely to succeed, they are only successful to the degree the buyer suppresses his or her inclination to invent… suppresses his or her entrepreneur passion. That is why entrepreneurs who buy business opportunities are doomed to disappointment no matter how successful the business is.
The passion of an entrepreneur is not to run a successful business someone else invented, but invent a unique business that becomes successful.
Business opportunities are invented for managers and technicians to run, who have no aspiration to be entrepreneurs… who have no aspiration to create anything of their own other than a successful job.
99% of online business opportunities are actually jobs for the people who buy them. They may sometimes be better jobs than the one the buyer had before, as they provide flexibility of time and freedom to work from home, but they are still jobs, not true business opportunities.
A true business opportunity is one that an entrepreneur invents to grow him or herself. Not to work in, but to work on. That’s the work of an entrepreneur.
WARNING: Quick warning before we continue…
While there are many genuine opportunities to succeed online, many get sucked into buying training, tools and programs that promise overnight success.
True story: One of my mother’s friends contacted me last year to review her business website. She bought the website for $400 from a company under the impression that it will generate a full-time income for her. They had setup a full WordPress site about beauty products, added few pages and blog post as well as a few items to a store page featuring products form Amazon and they handed over the website with no instructions.
She had no clue that she actually had to maintain it, update the content, add new products to the Amazon store, track her affiliate links and do some advertising to bring traffic. Skills that require a huge learning curve. They gave her the impression that the money will just come in.
When people contact me about building an online business, they think it is just as easy.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
2. You can work a part-time schedule and make a full-time income
This idea has spread like wildfire thanks to books like The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss and all the ads for hyped-up marketing training and guides. Don’t get me wrong, The 4-Hour Workweek is a must read if you plan to work online and want the mobile lifestyle. I highly recommend. Read it at least once a year.
But the fact is, I still have not met anyone living this lifestyle yet.
Even John Chow, one of the top bloggers in the world that has generated over $1 Million in commissions in less than 2 years from one of the systems he is promoting (the same one I am using now) says that he works only 2 hours a day. That is 14 hours a week. But I also know that he is so passionate about his business that it is on his mind 24/7 and he spends many days each month at live training events, seminars and conferences to learn, teach and network.
Like any new company, an Internet business requires hard work and dedication, especially for the first few years. Most of the online millionaires I know, poured their full energy into their business for two to three years before the magic of the compound effect started taking full momentum.
It’s fine to aim for goals such as passive income, but if you think you’re going to achieve that within a couple of weeks or months, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
3. Build it and they will come
If you are already a big hit online and have a huge contact list and online following in the thousands, then yes that can be true. But chances are you fall within the average person and have around 350 friends on Facebook, half of which you probably don’t even know that well.
Let’s face it. No one likes that friend on Facebook that is constantly pushing the next MLM and direct marketing company they decided to try. They are the ones that start swearing by the product and dishing out testimonials before they even fully tested it themselves only to start bitching and complaining about the company they decided to represent few months down the line
Just do a Google search on any keyword and you will see thousands if not millions of pages that show up in the searches. There is a lot of noise on the Internet. Unless you have a huge marketing budget and have an incredible unique value to offer, chances are no one will even know you exist.
If you want people to come, then you need to promote. You need to spend time, money and effort on marketing
4. You can start an online business for free
To some extent, this can be true.
It’s certainly cheaper by leaps and bounds to start a web-based business than a traditional brick and mortar one. You can avoid many of the costs that go into most businesses, such as paying rent, and other expenses that are required of a physical store location.
You could start by selling affiliate products you find on sites like Amazon, ClickBank or Commission Junction using free blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress.com or through free social media accounts.
You could also use drop shipping on eBay or Amazon, which doesn’t require a website or investment in inventory.
However, most online businesses require at least some of the following items: website, branding, products to sell, effective copy writing, social media presence, customer support, merchant account, product fulfillment, content development, researching and development and the list goes on and on….
No matter how you look at it, you will reach a point where you will have to dish out some money, either for outsourcing and support and/or advertising.
You are either investing your money or your time.
5. You can outsource everything
If you want your business to grow, then at some point you need to start outsourcing. Outsource all the design, technical and time consuming tasks that you can get someone on sites like elance, Odesk or Fiverr to do for cheap. If you have a bigger budget, you can outsource, copywriting, accounting and customer support.
However, you cannot outsource the company vision, direction, market research and product development, unless you are willing to dish out hundred of thousands of dollars to hire senior staff that will either eventually want a chunk of your company or demand 6 figure incomes.
You can outsource…but not everything.
6. Everything can be automated
True many processes can be automated for a period of time. You can automate your email auto-responder and setup marketing campaigns that run on autopilot.
As you setup and systemize your websites, landing pages and social media channels with apps, plugins and tools, many processes can become less time consuming over time.
But if you really want to succeed online, you will need to provide MASSIVE value in the marketplace. You will need to differentiate yourself from the masses.
You will need ongoing market research, training, new product selection, content creation, marketing, sales and customer support.
Even if you outsource some of these tasks, you must figure out exactly which activities will contribute most to your business and tackle them on a priority basis. As you get established you can automate and outsource many of the task. But first you need to figure out what they are and strive to offer new and fresh products and solutions to your market otherwise they will go somewhere else.
Think of your business like your child. You need to LOVE IT. NURTURE IT.
You can’t do that on autopilot.
7. Social media makes it easy to sell online
Hopefully your business and marketing plan involves something bigger than spamming your friends and family with your next business idea.
If you are planning to use social media to market and sell online…and you should…make sure you open dedicated social media business accounts and save your friends and family the agony of daily promotions. They already have to put up with the other advertising and promoted posts that are overtaking social media by storm. Have some mercy!
Avoid direct selling on social media and use it more to build a relationship, credibility and your brand. Provide valuable content that users will want to share. Use it to open a conversation and provide support.
DO USE target advertising to reach the demographic that fits your market and grow your following.
Follow this formula. 80% Give. 20% Promote.
8. Online Business Opportunities are a Spam
While there are many spams on the Internet and you should do your due diligence before dishing out your money, most of them are pretty decent otherwise no one would be buying them.
In general they provide value and make it easier for the average person to start an online business much faster than if they tried to do it all on their own.
Most of the online business opportunities I have seen offer a similar setup to a franchise where they provide the products and marketing material and it is up to the franchisee “the business partner” to open the business using the blueprint, tools and services provided and make the business work.
99% of people fail because they just don’t take action.
They buy the training or business opportunity to feel good. They may go through some of the initial training and setup process and don’t really take full action.
They don’t apply anything and then they put the program aside for a bit and say I will get back to it because life gets in the way. Well if you want to get that life that is in the way, out of the way, so you can have life the way you want, you need to be disciplined, you need to take action.
Its like buying a McDonalds franchise but not taking action to open the store, hire staff to run it, order supplies, maintain the store and keep the food fresh and in stock. The head office will not do that for you.
Yet somehow when people purchase an online business opportunity, they expect that they will push a button and it will all run on auto-pilot, for free and all they have to do is sit at the beach and check their emails 4 hours a week.
How crazy is that?
In summary, an online business is so much easier and more affordable than a brick and mortar business. Most people who are willing to put in some time, effort and/or money can do it.
If you want to be an entrepreneur and reinvent the wheel, it will take you much longer. Your chances of success will be lower. However if you are successful, the world will shower you with gratitude and rewards.
If you want to start an online business today because you want the mobile lifestyle, can’t find a job elsewhere or to supplement your current income, then join a business opportunity that provides you with all the products, blueprints and tools. Pick one that is innovative with new product releases, provides training, customer support, marketing material, supportive community and most of all proven case studies.
Once you have perfected the system and start becoming an online business pro, you can start other online businesses on the side and use your freedom, resources and skills to automate and systemize.
At that point you might get to spend most of your days at the beach and check on your businesses few hours a day, but I highly doubt you will only be working 4 hours a week.
To your success…