I’ve been dabbling in the online business world for a little over 7 years. The journey has been full of ups and downs, just like any journey is, but I don’t regret it.
I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve learned more from those than from the times I did things right. One of those mistakes was not building a business empire earlier on.
You see, I was an impressionable teenager when I started out, a little over 16 years old. It was more for fun than for profit, though the prospect of earning my first dollar was very exciting.
But, the internet is full of new information. You could be immersed in learning for months, or years even. I was. I learned a lot, but I also didn’t stick to one thing for long.
There were too many methods to try. There were too many businesses to start, and I wanted to start them all. And I did. I’ve pretty much dabbled in every online business I’ve come across. And the ones I didn’t dabble in, I learned about, with the intention of coming back to them when I had the time.
It took me a couple of years to realize that people don’t run successful businesses by jumping from one business to another. Don’t get me wrong. I did make money then, a lot more than people my age usually make, but I could have made a lot more, if I’d just stuck to one business. Or, if I’d not let go of one business when I jumped on to the next.
In pure childlike fashion, I wanted to try everything out. I’m human though, and I only had so much time in a day. I was also juggling my early days of university (it was brutal) with my business journey. So, when I tried a new method/business, I usually gave up the one I was working on at that time.
I’d given up scaling up and building on many businesses because I was bored with them (yes, you read that right) and wanted to try something new.
But that’s in the past. It was too long ago. I grew up. I rectified my mistakes, and learned the correct business practices. I wouldn’t change that experience for anything though, because I learned a world of knowledge from it.
But, it’s always good to learn from someone else’s mistakes when you’re starting out. That way, your path to success will be an easier one, and you’ll save a TON of time.
I hope you’d learn from my past mistakes, and make sure you focus on good business practices from the get-go.
1. It’s easy to switch businesses online
I’ve seen too many people jump from one thing to another. Earlier, Adsense and niche sites was hailed as the be-all and end all and everyone was jumping on the bandwagon. Then came CPA. Now, it’s ecommerce.
One of the common things online business friends ask each other if when they talk after a long time is “What are you working on nowadays?”. That is the very root of the problem. People don’t do that in the offline business world, at least not the successful ones.
You can’t start a restaurant, close it in 5 months, and open a bar next. That’s close to impossible in the offline world, unless you’re the offspring of a millionaire.
But internet has made starting a business very easy. Amazon started out as a small online store back in the day after all. You can imagine how much easier it is nowadays.
With less than a $100, you can get started on a new business. That’s why people don’t hesitate to drop a business and start something new. They’ve mostly already made profit from it, or if they didn’t, they didn’t lose much anyway. That was how I justified my actions as well.
2. Learning is an addiction – curb it
Yes. Learning is the worst kind of addiction. It can bind you down to an endless journey of learning new things while applying none of it. I’ve spent months reading book after book, consuming course after course, and at the end of it, I had nothing to show for it, except for ideas.
Ideas are necessary, but ideas alone won’t build your empire. Implementation will.
Also, if you keep consuming products that teach different methods, you’ll end up getting pulled in different directions. When you finish a book, you’ll want to try the methods taught in it. Then you’ll read another one that teaches a new business/method, and you’d want to try that too.
That’s how the addiction starts. The addiction to keep learning new businesses and keep trying new businesses. It’s a never-ending cycle if you don’t curb your addiction before it gets out of hand.
When you start out, sure, read as many books as you can to learn what’s out there. There are 100s of businesses you can do online, so there’s no harm in learning about, say, a dozen of them.
By then, you’d have an idea of which type of business would suit you. Your education, skills and interests would automatically make the decision for you.
If someone is making $100k with a business/method, that doesn’t mean you would too, no matter what they say. You need to choose the type of business that’ll suit your skillset and interests, or you won’t stick with it till the end.
Once you make your choice, stop reading about any other business type, at least until you’ve established yourself in your chosen method/business.
Now that you know the basics of the business, you need to focus on advanced trainings. So, your further learning should focus on that.
If you’ve decided to start a blog, read everything you can on writing blog posts, designing the best converting blog, monetizing your blog, creating products you can sell on your blog, getting traffic to your blog, etc.
Don’t start buying courses on CPA marketing with landing pages or running E-commerce stores just because someone says that’s the current fad right now. The topics are endless with any business. So, you’ll have enough learning material without having to switch to learning about another business.
There are going to be new popular businesses/methods that pop up every year, but you can’t establish any business if you try to switch according to every trend. Stick to your lane.
3. Are you a customer or a vendor?
If you want to be successful, you need to stop being a customer. I’ve heard of people spending $10s of thousands of dollars on pure learning, before they sold anything at all.
That’s quite unnecessary in the online business world. Online businesses became the go-to businesses because of the inexpensive training available and the less upfront cost it takes to establish one.
Start building your business from the get-go. Once you’ve chosen which business you want to start with, start working on creating it.
As you build your business, you would have to invest in advanced trainings, coaching and software tools. That’s a given. But, don’t do that before you have anything to justify your investments.
You always need to make sure that you are more of a vendor than a customer.
You’ll also save yourself from “information overload” if you keep this in mind. Learn, apply. Learn, apply. When you follow this formula, your brain would be constantly offloading what it learns, and you’ll have a clear mind.
If you focus only on learning, your mind would be a jumble of too many ideas, and you won’t know top from bottom by the end of it. Especially if you’re new to the business you’re starting out, don’t overwhelm yourself.
Information overload is the reason many people give up. They learn too many things, more than half of which they needn’t learn until they’ve established their business and their profits. Then, they start to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available on their chosen business type, and they see that they’ve not implemented any of that.
They’re afraid to implement anything at all now because they don’t know if they can do everything they’ve learned. Don’t do that. Learn the basics of a business, implement it, then learn more on it. Repeat the cycle.
You don’t need to launch a perfect business with everything in place from the get-go. It’s perfectly fine starting out something simple and making changes as you learn over time.
The frequent breaks from business I had during my early years were partly due to information overload. I always came back though, but not many do, and that’s a shame.
Running an online business can be fun, easy and profitable if done right.
4. Stick to a handful of businesses – maximum 3
To start off, I’d insist on sticking to one business. Try it out till the end. Whether it works out for you or not is another matter. But usually, if you stick with any proven business model that was started out with the right training and research, with a bit of persistence, you can start making a profit with it within a few months (power of the internet).
If you start more than one business at the same time, especially if you’re a new entrepreneur, again, you’ll get too overwhelmed. This will affect your performance and positivity.
You’ll also not be able to do justice to either of your businesses, because you’re still learning the basics of both. As we know, humans aren’t good multi-taskers at the best of times.
This is another one of my mistakes in my early days. I wanted to do everything, so I usually juggled multiple businesses, sometimes even 10 at a time. Every business of mine demanded that I dedicate time to it, and I’m just human. There are only so many hours in a day.
You could make much more if you focus on a single business at a time, than 10. Ask any successful business person out there, and they’ll swear all their money on the power of focus. Why? Because it works.
When you focus on a business, you’ll find solutions for your problems faster. You’ll find faster ways to reach success. You’ll get so obsessed with the business that you’ll achieve tremendous success from it within a much shorter time than if you had divided your time among multiple businesses.
But, once you establish a business, you would naturally want to add another one to your portfolio. When I say “establish”, I mean automation of some kind. You have a fixed schedule in place for the business already, and you have time to add another project to your daily schedule.
Or, you’ve achieved enough success that you can now afford to hire dedicated staff to take care of much of the business. When either of the above are true, start looking for a new business.
But even then, as a rule of thumb, I wouldn’t recommend handling more than 3 businesses at any point of time, unless you become so rich that you can afford to delegate every single task.
I say this because you’ll continuously be scaling up any business you start. You’ll continuously be adding new products, services, new avenue of making money from the business, etc. If you don’t, you could fall back on your progress. So, always make sure you have time to spend on your current businesses when needed.
3 full-fledged business (or should I say empires) are more than enough to make you all the money you want in the world.
5. Expertise is where the big money is
Rather than spreading yourself thin over a dozen businesses or methods or markets, choose a handful, or even 1, if need be. Build a business empire from it.
Be a recognized expert in that field. For example, if you love dogs, build a dog care and training empire. You could write a blog on the topic, offer free and paid training programs, provide one on one consulting, run dog supply stores.
You could even take your training and stores offline and charge more for your time and products. Now, you’ll have a business that is recognized both in the online and offline world.
Do you see what I mean? You stick to one business, or shall we say brand, but you’ll have multiple small businesses within it.
If you look at any huge business, online or otherwise, that’s how they run their businesses. They get themselves established as an expert in their field by providing more and more value in that field over time.
They’ll become unparalleled in their field. Whenever people wants a product or service in that field, they’ll go to that company. Look at the various fashion brands and makeup brands. Or the companies that produce household utilities.
If they had flitted from one market to another, or one business to another, they’d never have had the time to build their empire. That’s why I insist on not running more than 3 businesses at a time. Anything more, and you’ve spread yourself too thin, and you won’t have enough time to build on your businesses.
Would you rather build focus on building a $100k/year empire or 10 $10k/year businesses? Both would make you the same money every year. But, I’d choose the first option, every time. Why?
Because the 6 figure a year empire can easily be scaled to a million-dollar empire over time, as my brand’s recognition and expert status gets established. As my brand starts to dominate my industry.
This is the concept my blog will be focusing on. In tomorrow’s blog post, I’ll write about how you can build your very own business empire online.