Want to be successful online? Here are 10 Deadly mistakes to avoid for online success, so if you are serious about online success you must read this.
In my previous post, I told you about the core business principles that you need to be successful online.
Just to recap, those are:
Sadly, lots of companies and online entrepreneurs make the mistake of ignoring these very important, basic principles. Because of that, they end up compromising their business.
Sad but true, these mistakes are a small number of mistakes, but they are repeated over and over again and they are responsible for the majority of companies and online entrepreneurs failing.
Before we go to the 10 deadly mistakes to avoid for Success Online, here’s an infographic for you to save for future reference (right click save image as…)
Now, let’s go over to the 10 deadly mistakes you should avoid if you want to be successful online in detail:
Mistake 1: Not solving a problem or need
You should create value as I already mentioned in the core business principles.
How do you know if you’re creating value? There is one easy way to see whether your product is creating value or not and that is by evaluating whether it solves a real problem or address a need.
Sometimes you might get so over excited about your ideas that might forget to do this primary reality check.
A great example of this is the Iridium project that was launched by Motorola in the late 1990’s. At that time, the mobile market was filled with excitement and service operators around the world were fighting to get the increasing number of mobile subscribers.
But most mobile networks that was only able to cover a couple of kilometers. This obviously limited the range where operators were able to give their services.
So, to address this limitation, Motorola tried developing a network that would completely cover the whole world. Obviously, this looked like a great innovation. The management team was enthusiastic about the fact that people would then be able to talk anywhere and everywhere, from the North Pole to the desert. They believed that this would seriously create value for their customers.
But for this project they would require 7 billion dollars and 88 satellites placed into orbit around the Earth.
The network was in place and they started selling their services. Remember those bricks, the handsets were clumsy and huge (especially if you compare it to today’s mobile phones). This was because they required more complex technology.
Get this, they were selling for a whopping $3 000 a piece and call charges were outrageous, but remember, those devices would allow users to communicate anywhere in the globe!!
Then, a couple of months down the line, people started to realize that it was not necessary to make calls from a remote city and so the novelty wore off. For Motorola this was too late, they missed the sales expectations by far and they were forced to keep on paying the maintenance of the satelites. This expense was approximately 200 million dollars – monthly!
Motorola invested in what the managers thought to be a promising innovation. At that stage, there was no customer need that had to be met or a problem to be solved, so in 1999 the Iridium project filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.
We know today the mobile phone is ruling our lives, but who would have guessed that in 1999?
Here’s how to know: Look around you, see and listen –
- what are people complaining about
- what products or services ar they asking for but unable to find in the market
- what do you know that very few people know
Mistake 2: Lack of focus
The internet is exploding with possibilities and opportunities are everywhere.
It only takes an idea and passion to build a website around it and within a few months, you have a real business on your hands.
Interestingly enough, this abundance of opportunities is also what leads a lot of online entrepreneurs to fail.
Because they end up trying to pursue too many things at the same time!!
As I mentioned in my post about 5 ways to make money online that really work, you should not try too many of them, otherwise you will spread yourself too thin.
It goes like this, new idea or new passion – new website. Promoting affiliate programs, creating mini websites for AdSense and on top of that, do multiple Freelance jobs or start a consulting service.
The result: Average, mediocre results for every one of the activities.
If you really want to create something powerful, you must concentrate all your efforts on it. Most things in life works this way. Think about a laser light. When light beams are dispersed, they are not so strong, but concentrate them and they become super powerful. Actually, they become so powerful that they can cut steel.
It’s fine to test out different business models and ideas, but when you decided what direction you want to go, you must focus all your time and your energy on that.
I don’t know if you know this yet, if you’re just starting out, most probably you don’t, but the online market place is heavily crowded. There are thousands of blogs in every niche and hundreds of websites on every single segment you can think of and there are dozens of online companies that offers similar services.
If you are serious about being successful online and if you want to be profitable, you must be the best at what you do. The only way you can achieve this is with laser sharp focus.
Obviously this does not mean that you’re going to have to stick with one project your entire life. Once your business is grown effectively, you will reach a point where your online business will walk by it’s own and you will have a chance to step back a bit and pursue new ideas.
But, until you reach that point, you must focus all of your time and energy on that one single project.
Mistake 3: Not finishing what you start
Running out from the previous point, if you lack focus, chances are you’ll have a hard time finishing what you started.
Maybe you have a friend in your life where you can see this happening, she loves crochet. But she has four projects she is working on at the same time. She’s making blankets for the winter to donate to the church, while she does that, she is busy making something for her daughter and a little warm jacket for the pet of the family. But don’t forget, she has a new grand-child on the way and still has to make a baby jacket and baby booties too. Needless to say, some of these projects might not be finished before the end of the winter.
Of maybe you have a friend who loves starting a new diet, but after only a week, she decides it’s not for her and drops it.
Needless to say, these friends are going to have a hard time reaching their goals.
This same principle applies in business.
If you’re an entrepreneur who can’t finish what you start, sadly, you won’t go very far.
People who start too many projects at the same time, will complete only a few if any.
Even someone who who can stay focused on a single project, can still make the mistake of not finishing what they started.
Let’s suppose someone has a social media marketing business. He makes his living by helping other companies reach customers through social media. He starts building a blog where he will write about social media. Here he showcases his expertise and starts building an audience. Every day, he writes solid articles. After a couple of weeks, his posting frequency starts going down. Within two months, his blog is abandoned.
Then, he figures that if he writes and releases a free report about social media marketing, he will generate some buzz and attract a lot of new customers. He starts to write this awesome report…after ten pages….no more words. No more flow, he decides, maybe it is best to put this idea on hold.
But he knows there are other things he can do. He starts running a pay-per-click advertising campaign on Google AdWords and spends $50 buying clicks. When his campaign is finished, he doesn’t analyze which keywords were converting better or how many customers he got out of the campaign. He doesn’t even look at what his return on investment was.
As you might have guessed, his chances of making a success online is super small.
Mistake 4: Underspending
I keep on saying this and some or the other time it must sink in – it takes money to make money.
Whether you’re planning on starting a blog or an online company, at some stage, you will need to spend some money.
New technologies and web 2.0 tool certainly brings down some costs to set up and manage any kind of business, but that does not mean that you should start your with zero investment.
It’s possible to start a business online with zero investment, but with this comes risks and hard to optimize.
Sadly my friend, people who underspend on their projects often have a doomed venture right from the start.
For instance, creating a blog, which is one of the simplest and cheapest forms of publishing on the web.
It’s so easy to decide:
I’ll just buy any available domain name, get some cheap hosting, load a free WordPress theme and start writing.
Theoretically, you can do it, but it will take longer and will be much harder for you to make such a blog profitable.
Why? Here are a few reasons:
1) Good domain name
With all the very short domain names already taken, it’s getting harder and harder to find a good domain name that’s still available.
Chances are you will have to be content with a long and boring domain name that will not help your brand to stand out especially if it ends with [dot]wordpress[dot]com or [dot]blogspot[dot]com.
I would recommend, even before you consider buying your domain name that you get this free eBook from Yaro Starak as I mentioned in my page about Building websites. You must have clarity before you start.
2) Overused theme
When you use a free WordPress theme, chances are your site might look like thousands of other sites, again, hurting your brand and making it more difficult for you to stand out in the sea of internet marketers.
This also makes it more difficult for you to communicate credibility.
Just imagine, you write this killer article, everybody loves it and shares it all over social media. Your article is so popular that you reach the front page of a social media site…and then….your cheap web hosting can’t handle the traffic load because you’ve got the baby plan with only 5gig storage. Because your web hosting is unable to sustain the traffic load, your server crashes and people think you’re a fraud.
But they don’t know, you took the small plan. Now will they ever trust you again or want to read your posts?
I don’t know, do you?
Who would I recommend?
There are many web hosting companies, but these are at the top of my list:
Compared to what it would cost you to set up shop in the offline world, you can with minimum investment, purchase a nice domain name, hire a designer to draw your logo and customize your WordPress theme and get a decent hosting service.
It can cost you less than $400 for all of these things combined, but it will make a massive difference in terms of your blog and how you stand out from the crowd.
You can even try out SBI, Site build it. Want to know more about them? Read this post What can SBI do for you?
Just go talk to any shop owner of a local business in your area and ask him what it cost him to set up his shop and what his monthly rental, phone and electricity accounts are.
Compare that to what it will cost you to start your online company and you will realize that it is not a lot at all.
As you can see, I’m not talking about investing tens or thousands of dollars on an enterprise software solution and consulting service. This will be the other extreme.
I’m talking about at least investing the minimum amount of money to ensure that you will have a professional setup that will help you to reach your goals and not work against reaching your goals.
Stay tuned to Success Online Site and you will still learn in future lessons about the different items you might need to invest money in like your domain name, web design, web hosting and some software solutions, where I will explain to you how you can maximize your results while you control your overall budget.
Let’s go over to mistake number 5 of the 10 deadly mistakes to avoid for online success.
Mistake 5: Overspending
Obviously, chances are that you would rather underspend than overspend, but you won’t believe, it does happen.
It especially happens with people who has money that comes in from somewhere else, for instance, offline entrepreneurs that want to start doing business online, the 9 to 5 worker with a big savings account or some startup that raised money from venture capital firms.
Now I know what you must be thinking, why on earth would having too much money laying around be a bad thing?
For this simple reason: Money dumbs us down. Here’s just a few examples of what might happen:
- When you have too much money, you become too comfortable.
- You will hire people to do things, even if you don’t need to.
- You will invest in marketing campaigns without doing proper research.
- You will not work hard to find as many clients as possible
And then, when all that money is gone, you’re stuck with a business that can’t stand on it’s own and does not bring in the income necessary to sustain even the basic expenses.
On the other hand, when money is a bit scarce, you will literally have to get off your butt and learn to do some of these things yourself.
When I started out, I didn’t have money for much, but I did buy my domain name and hosting from D9 for All-about-life-tips.
I continued paying for it out of my own pocket for well over a year and because I did not make any money yet, I had to learn to do everything myself. It was tough, but I had to literally get of my butt and learn to do these things.
With the first money I made, I let LogoNerds create my WordPress header, but I did change it later 😥 . Why? Because I have to show people where to find the free eBook on All-about-life-tips, which was not there then. So, think about your design carefully before you buy.
In the end, working on a budget will also help you to get things done quickly and efficiently as possible, because you will find creative ways to reach your users and promote your services and you will take every client serious.
You will put double the effort in to close every sale.
So, if you do happen to have too much money laying around, please donate to a good cause 😆 for instance at Fundrazr .
Or otherwise, you will need to limit it. Create a tight budget for your projects and stick to that budget religiously.
After all, your business will need to run itself and pay its own expenses and not be dependent upon you injecting money from an external source all the time. Initial startup costs if okay, but don’t go overboard.
Mistake 6: Trying to avoid competition
For some or the other reason, people think the secret to building a successful online business is or to making a lot of money is to find a market with absolutely no competition.
I don’t know, I haven’t found one yet, but there might be an untapped opportunity out there somewhere. It would be very hard to find one if it does exist, but waiting for one to appear is not even an option you should consider.
If there is a viable business model with known consumer needs, it is most likely that there will already be companies or people trying it.
Even if, don’t know how, but bit IF you managed to find a market where there is absolutely no competition or if you’re able to create a market where there is absolutely no competition, before you know it – there will be other companies jumping in and do the same.
So, you can’t beat competition. Now what are you to do?
Beat it!!! That is the whole point of playing this game, you must beat the other players.
There is one big misconception that may lead people to want to avoid competition and that is the theory that the first mover has advantage.
This theory states that the first company that enters a certain market or niche will gain a massive market share and thanks to the competitive advantages he developed, he will be able to defend his leadership position from any and all new entrant. No matter what.
But over the years, many academics have defended this theory.
Do I have any evidence to back this up?
Well, not quite, but what I can say is was that Google was not the first search engine. Ebay was not the first online auctions website and neither was Amazon the first online bookstore. And MySpace and Facebook came into the social media networking market long after classmates.
There are of course some situations where the first mover advantage theory is still true, for instance natural monopolies like the first company that built an oil pipeline. They do enjoy some advantages for being the first. But in most cases and especially on the Internet, being the first to enter into a certain market is not the most critical to be a success online.
Mistake 7: Trying to reinvent the wheel
Good artists copy; great artists steal – Picasso
Now please, don’t misunderstand Picasso’s quote. Some people might misinterpret him by thinking he meant that they should rip off the work of their fellow painters. But that definitely not what he meant. He meant that great painters should go beyond imitation.
He meant that they need to identify, understand and incorporate the traits and techniques of other successful painters.
After doing that, the painter obviously still needs to develop his own style, for for you to neglect the advancements of other people would be a foolish mistake.
This is true for business as well. Trying to reinvent the wheel for every aspect of your business will only ensure that you have a difficult time on your road to achieve success online.
This point is very important and essential if you want to be successful:
- You must analyze your competition.
- Identify what they are doing right
- Understand how they are doing it
- incorporate that into your own business
This is not a quick copy formula, please don’t understand it that way! Obviously you’re still going to have to be innovative if you want to build a successful company.
For example, let’s say you want to build an online store selling chairs. You could start by trying to develop the store layout and purchase process completely from scratch, but would that we necessary?
This will be a waste of time and energy and the result at the end?? Who knows, maybe disasterous?
Here’s a smarter approach: Analyze how an established chair store organize their products and handle the purchase process and then adapt that to your specific requirements.
Don’t you think that will make things a whole lot easier for you?
And not only that, it will give you a solid starting point and you can always innovate on top of that, which will give you a leap ahead of your competition.
Mistake 8: Trying to do everything yourself
The most difficult thing for an entrepreneur is to learn how to delegate work.
If you’re struggling with delegating work or want to learn more about delegating work, this post on Time Doctor about The Importance of Delegation of Authority and Task Allocation in Business is an excellent resource for you to look at.
You think as long as you can control everything yourself you have control over every detail, which includes quality and deadlines.
Actually when you do this, you are limiting the growth of your business to the extent of what you are able to do in a day, a week or a month.
But, when you pass the work on to other people, there might be uncertainties that comes into the picture.
Just think about it, even with a offline business, you can’t do it all alone. There are too many things that has to be done for one single person to handle, no matter how hard working you are.
That is why being able to delegate work is essential for your business and you should start doing it as soon as possible.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Are you suggesting that I start to hire people?”
Nope, that’s not what I’m suggesting, that would mean you have to pay a monthly salary without even generating income yet.
I do believe in you and know you’ll be so successful that your online projects will be so big that you will need full time employees, but until then, get help from freelancers and part time contractors.
For instance, let’s say you’re an excellent writer, but you have absolutely no technical skills, then you can hire a freelancer to setup and design your blog for you. Yes it will cost some money, but this will save you a lot of time and struggle, this time you can use to do what you are best at doing.
Once again, stay tuned to Success Online Site for future lessons, where I will cover several resources and websites you can use to find specialized work over the Internet.
Mistake 9: Inflexibility
As I have mentioned before, you must have a strong and clear vision about what you want to achieve, but it is also important that you don’t become inflexible when it comes to how you will achieve your vision.
So, your vision is the what and that should be rock solid.
But when it comes to the how, there can be various strategies and action plans for you to use on your way to achieving this vision. They are the ones that should be flexible and crafted as you go.
Let me give you an example, take a look at the disk drive industry for instance. From 1976 to 1996 there were about 130 companies that entered into this market segment. In 1997 there were only 20 of them still left in business. Almost 85% of those companies ceased to exist. And most of them because they were inflexible about how they pursued their vision.
In the first years of the disk drive industry, the only ones that were available was the 14-inch ones that supplied mainframe computers. There were two important performance parameters for those drives and those were the overall capacity and the cost per megabyte. Early in the 1980’s some new companies showed up that developed the smaller 8-inch disk drives. Between these companies were Micropolis and Priam. These were only 10 to 40 megabytes while the mainframes required 400 megabyte drives. So naturally, the companies that produces the 14-inch drives decided not to produce the 8-inch ones, because they were not what their customers wanted or needed.
But Micropolis and Priam did not give up, they continued searching for potential customers for their product and they found them. They were the producers of minicomputers, for instance HP. They were willing to have reduced disk space and higher cost per megabyte in exchange for a smaller size.
Just a few years later, minicomputers were dominating the market and mainframes were on the way out.
By that time it was too late for those producers of the 14-inch disk drives to start and most of them went out of business.
This same pattern can be seen when Seagate introduced the 5.25-inch disk drive. Again, the capacity was too low to supply the minicomputers so it was ignored by the leading disk drive manufacturers because their customers would not want it. Seagate went on to search for potential uses for the drive and found one in the personal computer. Here again, the personal computer could afford to have a lower capacity and a higher cost per megabyte, as long as the size was small enough.
Once again, moving a few years along, personal computers were everywhere while minicomputers were becoming rare. So the leading producers of the 8-inch disk drives lost their top position because they were ….inflexible.
They did not want to explore new uses for their existing products or new product innovations and so they were forced out of the market as a consequence of their inflexibility.
So like I said, your vision – carved in stone.
Your strategies that you will use to achieve it – flexible.
Over time they will have to change with evolution fo the marketplace and to the changes of your customers.
And then moving over to last but not least, mistake number 10 of the 10 deadly mistakes to avoid for online success.
Mistake 10: Not testing and collecting facts
Although trusting your intuition can be good at times, relying on your intuition or just being lazy or careless when it comes to being a success online can be fatal.
You must test and collect facts instead of trusting your gut feeling.
For example, if you look at the demonstration below from the book Mind Sights by Roger N. Shepard, which table to do you think will fit through a narrow door?
Just looking at them, you can see clearly that the table on the left will fit through a narrow door.
Wrong… measure them and you will see, they are exactly the same size and shape.
Because it’s an optical illusion that is created, you think that the one on the left is longer and narrower, but this just shows my point.
Always whenever you need to make decisions for your business or when you have to draw your strategies, you must do an assessment to see if it’s possible by collecting facts beforehand.
Of course, this will take work and use up some of your precious time but this could save you a lot of time and heartache if it would have been the wrong move.
What to do from here:
Have you brainstormed business ideas yet?
Go to those business ideas and evaluate –
- do they solve a real problem or address a real customer need?
- are there people looking for what you plan to offer?
- how much will they spend on it?
Are you working on several online projects?
Do you have several ideas that you would like to kick start?
Choose only one of them and put all your focus, time and energy on that one.
Testing out some of your ideas and checking out everything you can about it before you make a decision is fine, but try to choose as soon as possible and stick with your choice.
Make a habit
Do your best to make finishing what you start a habit.
This counts for everything you start, from large projects to you small daily activities.
Be sure to make a list of the basic items that are necessary to get your idea off the ground.
- your domain name,
- web hosting,
- CMS (content management software like WordPress)
Then, list the items that would definitely be worth investing in because they would give you some competitive advantage or strengthen your brand.
- professional logo design
- professional website design
- custom coding of an application
Evaluate the competition
Take a look at all the competition that you will encounter in each one of your business ideas and projects.
Consider that if there is no competition for some of your ideas, chances are that there is no market for that idea.
The best practice will be to, instead of trying to compete with your competition, rather learn from them before you try to beat them.
Identify and incorporate the best practices of your market segment.
Remember the stories? Always remember that our vision should be rock solid, but your strategies must be flexible.
Stay on top of changes in your market place.
Before you make any decisions – always check and collect facts.
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