Online Business Woes: 10 Things To Know Before You Begin

Every online business begins with a few mistakes—lessons anyone can learn from. Here are 10 errors I wish I didn’t commit in my online business.

I don’t really feel any particular sort of pride in talking about mistakes. I mean, who would? Normally, we like to talk about our successes, or the things we did right. (Incidentally, here are 5 things I did right when I began my online business journey, which I think you can incorporate into your strategy as well.)

However, I do think there is tremendous value in looking at past mistakes, because you can learn from them and learn how to avoid them. So today, I’ll share with you 10 things that I wish I knew when I started my online business: mistakes that can seriously hamper your journey to entrepreneurial success.

Online Business Struggles: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Getting Started

Mistake #1: Not realizing the value of having a niche.

I know it’s tempting to just keep putting out as much content as possible, regardless of niche or specialty. Many online creators who are just starting out think that the race to grow their follower count is the only thing that matters.

However, it’s important to understand the value of focusing on a particular product, on a single avenue or track. This makes sure that you’ll attract the attention of the right people. You want your followers to form a tight community of people who want to listen to what you say. These are the people who’ll find your content legitimately helpful.

Remember: Successful people don't want big numbers; they want the right numbers.


Mistake #2: Not delivering consistent content.

Once the initial rush of putting out your first few pieces of content dies down, it quickly becomes a struggle to keep up with the pace that you set (or were hoping to set). In an ideal world, content creators can stick to their schedules all the time, never slipping and consistently delivering.

If you don’t take time to carefully plan a realistic timetable, you’ll quickly find yourself out of breath in this crazy race right out of the starting gate.

In fact, I daresay that consistency matters more than perfection. (A bit more on that later.) People will recognize the value that you bring to the table if you consistently deliver.

Running a weekly podcast? Make sure you release episodes weekly. Setting up a “Webinar Wednesday” like ours? Make sure that you actually do hold webinars every Wednesday (and not “this week Wednesday, next week Thursday, next next week Wednesday” or anything inconsistent like that).

Sure, it takes discipline and commitment to pull this off. No one ever said that this was easy, though—and it’s the things we work hard at that really deliver the sweetest victories. 

Whether you’re a podcaster, a video content creator, a vlogger, a blogger, or even an internet marketer handling a brand, you must meet your own expectations. Consistently deliver the content, and the results will speak for themselves. 


Mistake #3: Aiming for “perfect” instead of “done.”

I want to clarify something here: I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for perfection. Far from it: We absolutely want our content to be the best possible output we can create, with minimal errors.

However, your high-quality, compelling content can only be appreciated by your audience when you actually publish it—and when you focus too much on perfection, there’s a very real danger that you won’t get anything done at all. 

This is especially the case if you are publishing high volumes of content. Let’s be realistic here: you can't make each piece of work a work of art. At some point, you’ll realize that production work has to become an assembly line of sorts.

As I mentioned earlier, consistency plays a big role in your success. So don’t lower your expectations, but set realistic ones that will help you deliver quality content at a pace you won’t have trouble keeping up with.

Mistake #4: Not putting together a mailing list.

People tend to roll their eyes the minute I mention the words “mailing list” or “email list.” That doesn’t change the simple fact that your mailing list is the single most important asset of your online business.

Even if you have thousands of followers on your various social media platforms, they aren’t yours. If Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram decide to go out of business (or worse, lock you out of your own account), your link to your followers is automatically gone.

If they’re part of your mailing list, though, you can continue to nurture your relationship beyond what your social media platforms permit you to do.

Mistake #5: Not having a
segmented mailing list.

It’s not enough to just have a list of emails, though. If these aren’t the right kind of people, you won’t get any good results no matter how many emails you send.

That’s where the value of segmenting your mailing list comes in: Knowing where and how people came into your email list, what they’re interested in, and why they’re following you will help you serve them better. 

Mistake #6: Not having a content roadmap.

Jumping into the world of content creation without a content roadmap is basically flying blind. And it’s not just about knowing what you're going to be talking about; it will also help you schedule and prepare properly, know what you need at a particular time, and monitor whether or not you’re on track in terms of achieving your objectives.

Mistake #7:Not focusing on just one platform.

As much as possible, stick to one platform when you're starting out. If you’re a YouTube creator, set aside your desire to expand to Facebook or Twitter; nail your video content creation first. 

No matter what kind of new, shiny social media platform comes along, resist the urge to get distracted. Concentrate on your platform until your roots are firmly established, and you will reap the benefits. 

Mistake #8: Not devoting more time to understanding the user experience.

Admittedly, when we make content, we do it from our perspective as content creators. But what about your viewers?

When I was just starting out and people started paying more attention to my website, the user experience was… well, let’s just say I’m being charitable when I call my website a dog’s breakfast.

There were just too many things going on, and I was involved in too many different ideas. Basically, there wasn't any real sense of direction. People kept coming and visiting my website, but I ended up confusing them: Is Steve Dotto a productivity guy or a marketing guy? And you don’t want that to happen to you.

Mistake #9: Not letting a specialist work on the brand website.

As I like to say: Let the singers sing, let the dancers dance. Being a jack of all trades and master of none is not necessarily a good thing, and it’s particularly a bad thing when you’re an online business. The best example of this that I can offer is, perhaps, my website.

I built my website at the start, which proved to be an educational experience for me. Unfortunately, my eye for design and my user interface capabilities were, in a word, terrible.

Had I availed internet marketing services from a competent design and marketing agency, I would have gotten much better results early on. Learn how to compartmentalize and delegate, and focus on what you’re good at.

Mistake #10: Not working with a predefined format.

It doesn’t matter if you're writing blogs, creating videos, or developing a podcast: Create a format for whatever the content you create, and more importantly, follow that format. This makes it far easier for you to meet your goals and objectives of producing good work on a consistent basis. 

Without a format, every piece of content you create is art instead of production work. And while art tends to be of higher quality and value, it also takes more time and energy to create—two resources that, if you ever hope to put out content consistently, will be in severely limited supply.

That’s it—if you want to watch the full video, you can find it here: https://wearethegreywave.com/10-things-tq/ 

I’m also inviting you to join our Webinar Wednesdays – an excellent opportunity to learn something new every week – by clicking here: https://members.dottotech.com/webinar-wednesday-registration-page/

That’s it – have fun storming the castle!