In this article I am going to share the top 10 mistakes to avoid when building your own internet business. This is based on my own experience of attempting various online enterprises over the last 10-15 years. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments section below.
I started thinking of using the internet to make a side income several years ago. At that time I had a dial up connection which was pretty awful at the time, especially when it came to bidding for an item on e-bay in the last seconds! I would often miss out because my connection speed was so slow! You can read more about my e-bay adventures in this article: how I made money with ebay first starting out.
When I came to the decision that e-bay wasn’t working for me, I had tried several e-bay ideas, the most successful of them all was buying misspelled items and re-selling with an improved listing. See my Misspelled ebay auctions guide for more information on this.
I decided to look to affiliate marketing after this because it offered the opportunity to sell other people’s items and receive up to 40-50% commission on items which I could sell and promote online. I also tried using Google Adsense on various websites which I created. However, this was a constant battle with Google and after a while I decided that affiliate marketing was the way to go.
Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Building Your Own Internet Business
To get to this point in time I had tried various systems and strategies. Some of them had given me success and some had not. Over the course of 3-5 years I had learned a lot but made very little money. This was the first mistake I had made which brings me to:
- newbie mistake #1 – Shiny Object Syndrome – Jumping from one ‘shiny object’ to another and looking for the ‘magic bullet’ which will bring instant riches.
This is common for people looking to build their own internet business and it cost me a lot of wasted time and money. Of the top 10 mistakes to avoid when build an internet business, this one has to been one of the main problems for newcomers. I was so sure of some of these courses that I worked away like mad building my castles on shifting sand. Some of the methods I tried relied too heavily on Google to rank my websites. I build a lot of websites which simply didn’t get any traffic. After 6 months of pouring myself into one system, I realised it wasn’t working so found another and then another. Each time I was disappointed. At this point I would imagine most people giving up! This brings me to newbie mistake # 2:
- newbie mistake #2 – Giving up too early – It’s easy to give up when nothing is working. It’s much harder to look into why it isn’t working and persevere. I know we’re not inventing light bulbs here but a Thomas Edison quote is called for:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
You need to remember that an internet business is no different than any other business. Would you expect to be able to hire out a venue, throw a few posters up and draw a crowd in a physical business within a few months? Or send a few letters out, declare that you have something of value, and then just show people to Amazon.com? This is newbie mistake number 3:
- newbie mistake #3 – Expecting miracles without much work – It is true that an internet business can automate a lot of the process, you can reach a global audience and sell thousands of products through a single platform. However you need to remember that with a global platform (or website) you also have global competition! It still takes time, effort and hard work to learn and implement all the necessary skills. There will be difficulties along the way. Everyone dreams of the outcome from an internet business, but not everyone is prepared to put themselves through the process which brings results.
When you hit the difficulties which inevitably will come, you need to remind yourself why you want an internet business. Many a time came when I wanted to throw the computer through the window! I sacrificed a lot of time and energy on some ideas which simply failed. When I hit these times I need to remind myself why I keep coming back to the laptop and keep persevering. Here are some of my why’s:
- An internet business can be run from anywhere in the world.
- It gives you a flexible lifestyle which isn’t based around a ‘normal’ job or physical location
- It offers an opportunity to be your own boss
These are some more ‘why’s’: 10 reasons why you should become an internet marketer.
- newbie mistake #4 – not reminding yourself of your ‘why’s’ when times get tough. Building any business is not easy. It takes time and dedication. An internet business offers the kind of freedom most people want but are not prepared to sacrifice any time for. Most people are too ‘comfortable’ with their life just as it is. Often it is severe hardship, difficult life situations and dogged determination which makes the difference between those who achieve and those who give up.
Most jobs are hard too and hard in other ways. Not liking your boss, but having to keep turning up and biting your tongue is hard, especially for the long term. Dealing with poverty and debt is hard, especially when you don’t see a way of your situation. These kind of circumstances lead people to want to build their own internet business. If you have it cushy then you’re probably not motivated to change your life. If you have a fall back plan, you will give yourself an easier time of it and lack commitment. You need a why and you need to commit:
- newbie mistake #5 – Not fully committing to building an internet business. It’s easy to start ‘playing’ with your internet business. I used to treat it like that. I would do a flurry of work, watching videos and learning. I would spend hours at the laptop one week and then get busy with other stuff for a week. When I came back to it nothing much had changed. You need to make your internet business a commitment in your life, spending time on it every day, for it to develop. Otherwise you just have an expensive ‘hobby’. Take your internet business seriously and it will pay you a serious income. Treat it like a hobby and it will pay you a ‘hobby’ income – or none at all!
Time is more valuable than money. This doesn’t seem the case when you’re completely broke and miserable. But there is only a finite amount of time in our lives. Spending your time wisely on your internet business is therefore utterly important. I spent years trying one thing after another, experimenting and testing. I could have saved a lot more time if I had better knowledge.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe – Abraham Lincoln
The ‘axe’ of an internet business is your knowledge. Your time is spent according to what you know. With a normal ‘job’ you can ‘get away’ with spending time doing unproductive activities. You get paid regardless of how useful you are in many jobs – if you can ‘get away’ with it! With an internet business the time you waste is your own! Equally you don’t get paid for that time. This is another one of the top mistakes to avoid when building an internet business:
- newbie mistake #6 – Being a busy ‘fool’ – You need to account for your time on your internet business. Being at home working on your own business is a great idea in theory. If you have a full time job the idea sounds marvelous – sitting in your pyjamas on the laptop.
However, it can be very easy to become distracted: you browse social media and chat with your friends, 1 hour gone. You send a couple of emails and look through your inbox, 2 hours gone. Take a break and have a coffee, perhaps a bit of television, 4 hours gone. Right, let’s get down to business, you start to watch a training video, 5 hours gone.Before you know it the whole day had vanished and you haven’t done a single productive action on the internet to move your business forwards. Learning is one thing but implementing that knowledge is the thing which will actually bring you results. This leads to the the next one of the top 10 mistakes to avoid when building your own internet business:
- newbie mistake #7 – Getting stuck in education mode – This is a similar mistake to number 6 – being a busy fool. However you will need to learn new skills in order to get the right knowledge so this is not a waste of your time. However it still consumes your time so you must start getting into the habit of actually doing things which will move your business forwards. Implementing the knowledge as you go is the best way to get into the habit of doing this. Concentrate on doing money producing activities on a regular basis.
More Mistakes to Avoid when Building your Own Internet Business
Constantly looking around for new and exciting opportunities is an easy way to become lost – see mistake#1 – Shiny Object Syndrome. Find a path which works and stick to it. You may have early successes but it may also take time. Build faith and trust in what you are doing by becoming more knowledgeable. If you are unsure of your direction find a mentor and stick with them until you see results. When wavering go back to the basics, keep learning and developing and doing positive actions – money producing activities. People with successful internet businesses didn’t get there overnight and neither will you. But if you take enough positive action steps in the right direction, get the right education from the start and keep going for the duration, you will too. This leads me to newbie mistake #8 – one of the most important and top 10 mistakes to avoid when building your own internet business:
- newbie mistake #8 – Not getting the right education before setting off – The internet is swarming with over hyped promises and golden ‘tickets’. It is difficult to know who is fake and who is genuine. There are many ‘guru’s’ promising to show you the way. I found several of them and tried many different strategies.
For some of them I didn’t stick around long enough and work hard enough for them to start working. For others they were doomed from the start because they were flawed strategies – some were based on Google rankings which continually changed. However, getting the right strategy, education and knowledge behind you from the start is a massive, massive advantage. Not doing this is a recipe for almost certain failure!
It wasn’t until I found a community of people to be my ‘go to’ that things really changed for me. I had had some successes with selling digital products online, but nothing that could be called a real business. The problem was I was spending time doing all the wrong things. I was even trying to create my own products in the beginning, spending hours writing e-books with no thought as to how I would market them. I learned a lot of skills like building websites, choosing domain names, linking to digital products etc. But it took a long time before I really made money. Selling the odd item is quite exciting when it first happens and my first real goal was to do just that. However, joining a community of similar online entrepreneurs made me consider the real power which an internet business can offer. Here’s newbie mistake number 9:
- newbie mistake #9 – Trying to do everything by yourself – I don’t know how many people are attempting to make money online but I’m guessing it numbers into the hundreds of thousands. Most of these will fail and give up – simply because they don’t have any support and are trying to do it all by themselves.
I spent far too long building websites which failed to get any traffic. I would learn techniques for selling items through a website, build beautiful sites which delivered products automatically, had payment buttons and all the rest. Basically I was stuck in ‘education mode’ and wasn’t concentrating on money producing activities: mistakes #6 & 7. The best product in the world is no good if nobody sees it. I threw up countless websites and impressed myself with my growing knowledge of how to build them so quickly. However, I never got any visitors as I didn’t know how to get traffic to them. I would throw one up – populated with affiliate products and email opt-ins and then move on to the next. I thought I would have all these money making websites selling products on autopilot. None of them ranked on Google, or had anything useful to offer. Google didn’t rank cheap, useless affiliate sites and still doesn’t! Don’t forget as an ‘owner’ you need to manage your time well doing productive activities – and the power of ‘outsourcing’ work to others so you can concentrate on the bigger picture.
Over all the time I spent working desperately to make money from the internet, the most painful lesson is that I forgot to build a life. I got too focused on ‘success’ and made life unpleasant for people around me. I was pretty miserable and had some bad money problems which fueled my desire to create something I could be proud of and which I could be good at. Avoid this mistake. Work hard but don’t work so hard to the neglect of the people in your life! Don’t forget to enjoy the journey and build the rest of your life as you build your internet business. Friendships, and family can’t be replaced but you can always start again with a business. This leads me to the last of the top 10 mistakes to avoid when building your own internet business:
- newbie mistake #10 – Letting your business run you and forgetting to build a life – It’s great to be passionate about what you are doing and to work for something which you have never had. I love having a business I can work on whenever and wherever I like. The danger of an internet business is that it can take over from everything else. Don’t forget to make space for the important people in your life. Remember why you wanted a business in the first place. Was it purely so you can work all the time or are there things you would like to do? Put your business in context with your loved ones. When you look back on your life will you feel happy that you loved, lost, shared and experienced real life? Or that you spent it sitting in your pants staring into a computer screen?!
Thanks for reading the top 10 mistakes to avoid when building your own internet business. I hope it has been helpful. If you have anything to ad please comment below!
Get the right online education from the start and avoid many of these mistakes plus years of hard work and struggle! This is the education I should have found years ago and you can gain access here. If you genuinely want to build a legitimate, long term and sustainable business from the internet get started here.