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5 must-know tips before creating an online business

If building an online business is difficult and you're not on the overnight road to success like you thought you'd be - know that I have been exactly where you are now. In fact, it took me four tries to finally have a successful launch.
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Every time I had a business launch, I learned something a little different and realised a thing or two about what I needed to work on to fix my next attempt. Launching an online business isn’t a walk in the park, so I've shared some of those lessons below for entrepreneurs who might be struggling with fear, doubt, overwhelm, getting clients and more.

1. Kick self-doubt to the curb by establishing credibility

I teach business owners and entrepreneurs how to build their online businesses, and my first course was an absolute nightmare. My second course didn’t do as well either because I was afraid to put myself out there again in fear of failing again. I struggled with self-doubt; a chronic feeling like I didn’t have street credibility, the sense of imposter syndrome, and so many other mental and heart-related mindset blocks that overpowered my feelings of success and undermined my organised knowledge. I was continuously discounting the gift, skills, and experience did have due to my previous failures and false starts.

I've realised that entrepreneurs often feel like they have to be the 'guru of all gurus' when building their business, especially if their business focuses on teaching others. But the truth of the matter is, you absolutely positively don’t. In fact, I strongly believe that you only need a 25% knowledge gap ahead of your customers. From my perspective, if you're one step ahead of your target market in terms of what you know vs. what they know and you have results, then you have the key ingredients to become a successful entrepreneur with a sustainable business.

Another aspect of self-doubt was my anxiety about what others who knew me would think of me. Ever had familiarity stop you from moving forward? Well, I can remember thinking: “Who am I to teach this? I don’t have enough experience”.

Luckily, my mentor stepped in and gave me the best piece of advice: Don’t worry about what other people say, think, or feel about you because they’ve never walked a day in your shoes nor do they know what it took to get you to where you are. Keep showing up. And run this race at your own pace. When you do that, you’ll confidently put yourself out there and make an impact on the very people who need you most.

2. Give it your best from the very beginning

Because I had been fallen short from my first launch, I decided I would up and not give my second business the jump start it needed. But I soon learned that no matter what you should give 110% when chasing your dreams.

To be honest, I didn’t hit the jackpot during my second or third launches, but I did all the things I needed to do to get the ball rolling so that I could lay a solid foundation for long term success. In my six years since making a digital footprint in the online space, I’ve learned that you need to give it your all and once you get it right, you should do it once and then it’s done to be profitable.

Trust me when I say that laying a solid foundation for your business is the hardest part. I encourage you to take your time to study your market so that you know what they want even before they know that they want it. Even after your first failed attempt, you can make the changes based upon what your market really wants and what they’re willing to pay for.

3. Network and engage your audience to create like, love, and trust

A big mistake I made after the launch of my first business was not taking the time to build my list. Yes, I had a few hundred emails from my Facebook group, and another hundred or so who had opted into my business checklist and online course lead magnets, but after they subscribed, they never heard from me. I’ll blame it on not knowing what to do and in the right order at the time, but reality started to set in when I realised that I had spoken so little to my email subscribers leading up to the second launch that I was actually nervous as heck to email them. I later learned that the less and less that you email your list, the less and less they’ll remember that you actually exist.

The moral of the story: be consistent and show up weekly with new content. Your list, whether hot or cold should see an email from you every week in their inbox. Package up your bankable gift and provide those on your list with free content. The more they see you, the more they trust you. The bigger their problem is, and the more you keep delivering content they need, they will be ready to pay you when you ask them for the sale.

Keep it simple

Sometimes when you don’t believe in yourself enough, you’ll fall victim to give away more than you’re supposed to. When I first started in the online space, I would share every tip, formula, and strategy about launching an online business. I doubted that people would pay me what I was worth so it’s almost like I had to prove myself to them by sharing everything, from start to finish.

This mistake not only cost me clients because they’d walk away from a webinar or free training thinking that they had everything they needed to launch an online business. I actually did a disservice to them because while some were completely overwhelmed, others thought they could launch from a mini-lesson. It was my fault because I had given them so much in an effort for them to see the value of my services and products.

A very important lesson that I learned was to keep it simple, less is actually more. People just want results and the solution they need that will get them to the finish line quickly without the overwhelm.

5. Go live!

We are in an incredible era of being able to connect with our audience faster and with more authenticity via video. Your audience needs to see you. For so long I was so nervous about showing up for my market. It wasn’t until I did a campaign for a client where I mandated that they do weekly lives to turn their cold audience hot that I realised that this effort truly works.

For me, I waited entirely too long to do a Facebook Live or Instagram Live. I waited years to record a video that showcased my personality that could be shared with my audience. Maybe I was too shy or maybe I was too insecure. No matter my roadblock, I wasn’t visible. I quickly learned that everyone hates going on camera, but many do it anyway. I realised that more female entrepreneurs needed to see other female entrepreneurs remaining consistent and visible, even when they didn’t necessarily want to.

Being visible for your market on video will not just increase your presence but accelerate the growth of your market as you step out to intentionally build real relationships with them. The more you do it, the less intimidating it becomes, especially when there is a value exchange and your audience walks away with content, resources, and knowledge they need to solve the burning problems that they have.

Take things one step at a time and remember to keep showing up. That’s the only way that you’ll stay activated.

About Tracy Malone

Business coach and founder of the American Association of Female Entrepreneurs.

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