There is a lot to think about and plan for when it comes to becoming a successful online entrepreneur. To help, here is a guide to follow.
Entrepreneurship is a tough and lonely road. Anyone can become an online entrepreneur, but it’s an entirely different story to be a successful one.
Behind every success story is a seemingly endless line of failures, stumbles, problems, and restless nights. For many entrepreneurs, it isn’t just about working hard, having the right idea, or knowing the right people. It’s about how you handle adversity and misfortune and keep on moving forward.
There is still a difference between making the most of any given situation and repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Sure, attitude matters, and we know that people who generally think they deserve to be successful, and feel successful, work better. But it’s just as important to learn from your failures – as well as the failures of others. Here are a handful of important tips for making it as an online entrepreneur.
1. Find Your Inspiration
Entrepreneurship is difficult because you are ultimately the captain of your own ship – which you are maintaining, fixing up, and constantly manning every station of. You have a few minutes a day to catch a break, and there’s a potential leak to patch several times a day.
That isn’t to say that you are alone. No one can be a successful entrepreneur without the support of their friends, their family, their loved ones, and their closest partners. Even sole proprietors have people they can rely on, and reach out to in times of need.
But that doesn’t change the fact that there will be days when you do feel alone, soul crushingly so.
Having something to look up to or motivate yourself in those darkest hours is critical. Never underestimate the mental game at play here.
Motivation comes in many different forms. It might be a collection of speeches you listen to repeatedly. It might be a handful of movie scenes or one movie in particular. It might be something someone once said to you, a moment you hold onto and cherish forever. It might be an award from the past, or an ideal you strive toward.
We all need that fuel to keep us going and help provide the mental fortitude to rebuild when things fall apart, and pivot when ideas don’t pan out. The only important advice here is to avoid a very specific kind of inspiration. Life rarely works out the way we imagine it to and learning to recognize opportunities in places and times when you least expect them is critical to finding success. That means you cannot be married to any one specific idea of what your future might look like. Be flexible. Be open. And be inspired by the world around you.
2. Do Something That Excites You
Another important tip to remain consistent and “show up” day in and day out is to start your path as an online entrepreneur doing something you get excited about.
If you aren’t working on something that you can talk hours and hours and hours about upon being prompted to, then consider doing something else. A lot of entrepreneurs are in it for the money, and that’s absolutely fine. But you might not ever get to see that money if there isn’t enough passion backing your interest and work ethic.
As an entrepreneur, you’re solely responsible for the output of your business, as well as the customer service, sales, and marketing associated with it. You need to not only know what you’re talking about but sell everyone on what you’re doing. You need to believe in your own hype. You need to be intoxicatingly excited about what you’re doing with your life. You need to prove to others that you’re planning things that have never been done before, with an infectious attitude.
Sure, that’s a tall order. But it’s also one of the only ways of ensuring that you won’t be discouraged by setbacks and failures. Entrepreneurship doesn’t work without an almost self-destructive work ethic.
If you aren’t 100% in on what you’re doing, there’s absolutely no way to avoid burnout and frustration. You will inevitably reach the point where it all seems like an absurd fantasy, with no payoff. To the successful entrepreneur, those moments can still come, but they’ll always be rebuffed by the fact that, at the end of the day, you’re pouring your life energy into something you love.
3. Have a Steady Income
Of course, you can’t live off hopes and dreams. You will need to eat and pay for a roof over your head. But even more so, you will need some capital to invest into your business. If you’re in the nascent stages of a start-up, you shouldn’t expect to see any profits trickle down into your personal life for as long as six months, or even more.
In other words, don’t quit your day job before your company starts generating enough for you to live off, as well as start growing your business. That means spending nearly all your time working, but it’s one of the sacrifices of being an entrepreneur.
4. Learn, Learn, Learn
The biggest mistake you can make is assuming you know everything you need to – or even just thinking you know enough. You will need to pick up new skills, reconsider what you thought you knew, and question your understanding of things constantly. Of course, there’s also a need for a healthy middle way between believing everything and being too critical to listen to new information.
5. Leveraging the Right Work Environment
Where you work can actually have a massive impact on your mental wellbeing, the quality of your work, and your consistency as an entrepreneur. Chances are that you’ll start from home, and eventually look into branching out.
But consider creative coworking spaces as the ideal stepping stone from small-time sole proprietorship to large enterprise. Even in the early stages, where you begin managing a team and building your dream company, coworking spaces allow you to adapt your costs and space needs to the size of your business while opening the avenue for unexpected partnerships and networking opportunities.
These spaces also allow you to leverage the productivity gains that come from working in a vibrant and open working community, versus struggling to think and come up with new ideas at home.
6. Reinvest Your Money
It bears repeating – don’t throw away what your business is generating. Expect to reinvest pretty much every dime you can afford to for the first few months, and invest in people first and foremost. It can take an average of two to three years for a business to become profitable.
Entrepreneurship is all about getting things off the ground on your own, but it is also a completely unsustainable path. Your first objective should be to grow your team and surround yourself with people you admire – people who can do what you need them to do for the good of the business, and who share your passion for the subject.
Keeping your team small to begin with can help you continue to scale your business. Leverage coworking spaces to reduce your workspace costs, and adapt the workspace to your week-to-week needs as a business.