Building an online business isn’t as easy as some would have you believe, but if you have the right guidance and the right tools, it’s no harder than building a physical one.
In fact, in many ways, it’s more preferable than the latter because you not only get to create your own hours and achieve location freedom, but you also get a worldwide audience that gives you the opportunity to make money even while you sleep.
But a lot of marketers have adopted some really bad habits which keep them from achieving true greatness and success where their businesses or blogs are concerned.
In an effort to help you avoid those same pitfalls, I’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most common bad habits that most struggling marketers fall prey to.
Cos here’s the thing…
For those of you who have been following our blog, you know that blogs don’t make money but businesses do.
So the chances are that you’ve been building (or trying to, at least) an online business based around your blog. This is all great, but the problem is most marketers succumb to the obstacles that lie between them and their blog’s success.
In this post, we are going to discuss some of the huge stumbling blocks that a lot of bloggers and online business owners face out there and what you can do to avoid them.
But first, let’s look at J-O-B vs Online Business
There are lots of negative aspects to having a normal job, but the honest truth is that for some people, it’s easier than trying to build a business online (in the short term).
Having a job means that you have to live within certain confines that are laid out by another person and play by the rules they put in place. You have to do what you are told and do it well enough so that it justifies the paycheck at the end of the month.
Running an online business is uncharted territory for a lot of people, and when you go into it, you’re on your own.
Just like the pioneers of old. The rule-book goes out the window and you have to create your own rules if you want to meet with success because there’s no one there to impose any kind of discipline on you.
The J-O-B imposes some kind of structure, but when you decide to go independent, there’s no more structure to hold on to and you’re on your own. Needless to say, it doesn’t always go well.
You First Have to See The Problem to Solve It
The first step in being able to handle the problem is seeing the problem.
No matter how much training and support you are getting out there, and no matter how many great internet marketing blogs (like ours…) you read, the truth is that your success ultimately comes down to YOU and whether or not you’re conducting yourself in a way that is conducive for progress in your business or blog.
Often, people develop bad habits that stall their progress and impede the success and growth of their blogs and businesses, and they don’t even know they’re doing it. That’s why the first step toward stopping these bad habits is to become aware of exactly what they are.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Bloggers and Business People
Do you remember the first thing you did when you decided you wanted to make money online?
Probably it was to search ‘how to make money online’ or maybe, ‘how to make money blogging’. And the first thing you came upon was someone talking about how much money they make online.
For me, personally, the first person I came across was Pat Flynn, who runs the blog ‘Smart Passive Income‘. He publishes monthly income reports that will make you want to jump off a bridge if you’re a struggling marketer.
That’s the most popular feature of his site. I’ve noticed in the years since I became aware of his blog that a lot of other people have been doing similar things on their blogs.
But the thing is, while this may inspire some people, and give them hope that there’s a possibility of achieving their dreams and making the same amount of money or more online, it also leads some people into making comparisons between themselves and those ‘gurus’.
Chart Your Own Path
If you’re inspired to make money online, you shouldn’t try to do what I am doing or what everyone else is doing online. You should always chart your own path and not try to copy anyone else. That’s the only way you will be able to move forward because everyone is different, and so every online business is going to be different.
You just have to find out what works best for you.
For example, I may have ample funds to dedicate to growing my business through outsourcing tasks and paid advertising, but someone else may not – in which case they could still achieve great results through investing more time in their business and focusing on growing their blog through different strategies and creating streams of traffic from free sources.
But because we are doing different things, our blogs are going to grow at different paces.
For people who do not understand that, it can be pretty deflating to look at someone else’s blog and compare it to your own. Only use those figures to see what is possible in this business, and nothing else.
Know that you, too, will achieve that if you create a plan for success and stick to it (we have posts that can help you do all this on our blog).
Use other successful bloggers in your niche for ideas and knowledge only, but the only person you should be competing with is yourself.
When it comes to creating and growing your online business, always strive to do better than YOU did the day before.
Another important thing to bear in mind is that when you come across those blogs online, what you get to see is the public face – their highlight reel. It’s not the full picture.
Remember that before you make the huge mistake of comparing your own ‘behind-the-scenes’ situation to their ‘highlight-reel’ scenario.
2. Don’t Tackle More Than You Can Handle At One Time
The second major mistake that lots of bloggers make is trying to do everything at once. You don’t have to figure out everything to do with your business before you can dive in.
That is just what people like to do when they have a fear of failing:
- If your blog hasn’t been set up yet, then you’ve no business reading about how to create amazing Youtube videos.
- If you haven’t set up your landing page, then why are you trying to figure out how to conduct split tests?
- If you have not yet started building your list, then why on earth are you learning how to create opt-in forms that convert?
Stop getting ahead of yourself and focus only on what you need to know and implement at that moment. The next step is all that matters right now. If you have to set up your blog, just set up your blog. Don’t try to make it THE MOST AMAZING BLOG EVER!!! Just get it done.
If you are at the stage of creating opt-in forms, just focus on getting a form done – any form, and then move on from there. One of the secrets of success in this business is that you just have to get things done, even if they are not perfect. You can always improve later.
There’s actually an idea of JIT (just in time) learning, which means that you should only spend time on learning the things that you need in order to be able to do the next thing you have to do.
Everything else – just put blinders on it.
3. Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
In past blog posts, we have talked about the effects of consuming too much information when you’re building your online business. Information overload is one of the biggest pitfalls that most bloggers fall prey to and it leads to overwhelm and ultimately, failure.
But in most cases, it doesn’t have to be that way. Just stop reading so much information! You are responsible for the information that you consume.
Yes, it’s available all the time out there, but it’s up to you what you choose to pay attention to.
No one is forcing anything on you and there’s no need to be an information glutton. Choose a few people that you will follow and learn from online and limit the amount of information that you consume and you will be able to focus better on building and growing your blog or business.
4. Don’t Talk Yourself Down
We all become what we think about most.
And so if your thoughts are always focused on your shortcomings, then that’s what you will get more of. This applies to every area of your life, by the way, not just business.
When you repeatedly validate any problems that you have as the reasons why you cannot do this, you do yourself a great disservice.
You’re just affirming to your subconscious mind that you’re not able and eventually you will prove it to yourself by failing in whatever it is you’re doing.
At the risk of turning this into a metaphysical debate, it’s important to believe in yourself.
Your attitude is going to be a major determining factor in your success as an online entrepreneur. Just look around you. There’s more than enough evidence of others who were once in your shoes and they are now successful entrepreneurs, and if they can do it, so can you.
You just have to take the necessary steps to get there and never give up.
5. Don’t Try To Do Everything By Yourself
As previously mentioned, building an online business is uncharted territory for a lot of people, and on your journey to success, you will probably experience some situations where your skills are going to be lacking.
So what do you do?
Do you just throw in the towel?
When it comes to online marketing, a lot of people don’t have the technical skills required to do it all by themselves. So the options are to either spend hours, days, or even months trying to learn how to do something or to simply hire someone else who is qualified and experienced to do it for you.
Just think about it this way, in the real world would you fix your own car/TV/computer if it broke down?
Of course not.
You would call an expert who would give you a good result quickly. So why in the world would you want to fix everything yourself online?
Why pay the plumber or electrician hundreds of dollars to fix something in your house or business in the real world, but when it comes to your website you try to do it all yourself, even though you know full well that you’re not qualified to do so?
Get over the mindset that you have to do everything yourself online. The sooner you do that the better off you’ll be, and the faster your business or blog will grow.
I know what you’re thinking right now.
You don’t want to spend all that money on hiring someone when you’re not making that much from your blog, yet.
I get it. You may not be confident in your ability to obtain a return on your investment of hiring someone but doesn’t it make sense to spend a little to get something done which is holding everything back?
Besides, in today’s world, with sites like Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork, you can get virtually anything done for a few bucks. There’s really no reason for you not to get the help you need in building your business.
Bonus Pitfall to Avoid: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
This one is closely related to Pitfall Number 5 above. There are countless people who have done what you are attempting to do and they have left clues behind to make it easy for you to follow in their footsteps.
There are also numerous tools designed to make everything you have to do easier when it comes to growing your business or blog.
Don’t make the process harder for yourself just because you’re trying to avoid buying tools that are dedicated to the job. Whether it’s software or a course, if it’s something that you absolutely must have to move forward, then get it.
Don’t keep yourself from making some real headway over a few bucks.
For example, why would you try to hack a free website theme into something half decent when you could just use a paid tool like OptimizePress or LeadPages?
These types of tools not only make everything much easier, but the results look way better, too.
As you’ve seen there are a lot of ways in which many aspiring online entrepreneurs are holding themselves back from success.
Let’s hope you’re not one of them.
Or that if you were, you now realize your mistakes and will avoid making them again in the future so that you can get your online business or blog where you want it to be.
Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies.
Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published July 10th 2018
This Post Has 10 Comments
Hi Stvmnn; Your post is live and direct on real facts. I do agree that one can be one’s own hindrance. looking on others progress is really not the focus that we need. We are in a real world where there are various types of competitions, for one to compete successfully, our mindset must be self-reliant. no one knows everything therefore where there is a lack of understanding of how to do something, there should not be an issue to engage professional help for a cost.
Did you know that the biggest problem that can face you in the online business is when something that you believe is the simplest becomes a mountain in your way?
You cannot fix this issue all that you are trying, and no one seemed to believe that you can’t. On the other hand, you are not finding someone to hire to fix it for you.
Good to know you got something from the article.
Thanks for the comment DorcasW!
These are some familiar pitfalls that I faced myself when starting an online business years back. I was going all over the place and disorganized – diving into email marketing without content, doing social media without knowing who’s my targeted audience and blogging without a good understanding of keyword research. Needless to say, I became overwhelmed and didn’t achieve much. It was a good learning experience though and now I think it’s more manageable.
Experience is the best teacher. I think everyone spins their wheels in the beginning. Everything gets easier with practice though.
Thanks for the input Cathy!
Thank you. I needed this post.
You’ve pinpointed exactly the five biggest hurdles for anybody starting in on building a business.
What spoke to me most was the reminder that I am already involved in a lot of other stuff that impinges on the time I can commit to building this blog thing I’m doing. It does mean my climb up the mountain’s going to be slower than some.
Slogging on — taking it one step at a time — beats throwing a tantrum any day.
Glad the article helped.
Thanks for the comment Netta!
This is absolutely amazing!. With this one can be professional!
This post seems as an advise, more likely than its content! It really helpful for application. It has reduced how I do felt about some peoples blog, I never knew it has an effect. But this time around, I will only be competing with myself.
Thanks for making me to take this drastic step towards success.
Glad you liked the article and got some useful information from it.
Thanks for the comment Matron!
Hey i really enjoyed this article, it was very informative. I do have 2 websites but i decided to just focus on my main site so i can try to grow that then ill go back to my second site when i am ready. I try not to do too many things at once, there is still a lot to learn and a lot more i need to do to bring in more traffic.
It’s easy to get too ambitious and overwhelm yourself. I agree, focus on one site until you have some success then move on to site 2, 3, 4…
Love your ambition, don’t lose it!
Thanks for the comment Justin!