This article is guest posted by Hendry Lee.
This month, I’ll be celebrating my tenth year in online business. Looking back how I started, I couldn’t help but smile at the blunders that I made. As a computer geek with no business and marketing experience, I was a slow learner in this field. It took me a few years before I earned enough to replace my salary. But it has been a very worthwhile journey, I should say.
Other bloggers may say that you’re in a much better position today. You have all the information you need. Free articles and blog posts. How to guides. You name it. You can find it within three seconds using Google. In one way, they are right. But make no mistake though, it could become more of a liability than asset. Why?
Because people tend to spend time consuming rather than doing. They are overwhelmed and confused. It’s paradox of choice, if you will.
To help you fight this, let me give you 5 of my best tips that I wished I knew during my early years:
1. Be realistic about the growth of your business
Forget about those glowing success stories. Unless you think you have better chances at winning a lottery than everybody else, building a business or blog the “normal” way is more likely to get results.
However, every one of us has different idea about what considered normal. After reading all those stories, I guess we can’t help but believe perhaps we could also make a million dollars in 90 days. I sure did. In hindsight, that explains why I jumped from one opportunity to another.
Being realistic about starting and growing a business will force you to plan, to take it seriously, to expend real effort, and to forget about shiny objects.
2. Get involved with the market immediately
While I value education and training highly, they are no substitutes for interacting with the market.
No matter what a “system” tells you, no matter how good you are at following the step by step process, the feedback from the audience is more important than them all. By a long mile. You can always start simple (see tip 5 below) but you are not doing it right unless you hear what the audience says.
Forget perfectionism. Don’t over analyze. Find a way to stop them. And just join the conversations right away. Don’t presume you know the audience. Chances are, you don’t. This part is so easy nowadays, fortunately, with social media.
Tip 2.5: Listening to the audience is a mix of art and science. The art part means you have to practice. Delve deeper and discover instead of just scratching the surface. And oh, also filter their feedback. Some of the things you’ll hear come from people you want to avoid at all cost. They are not your ideal customers. Or they represent the minority of the market.
3. Keep a strong work ethic
My grandpa baked cakes and pies. He woke up during dawn, kept himself busy, and only stopped in the evening.
Knowledge workers, a term coined by Peter Drucker, have different notion as to what considered work. They usually exhaust their mental energy at the end of each day, instead of physical energy. (As bizarre as it sounds, too much mental work for a long time without working out causes low physical energy. So knowledge workers drain both!)
Either way, this dreaded word is not optional if you want to achieve anything, let alone your dream. Here’s the good news though, most of the work that you do right now may not be necessary. You can focus on a handful things that matter and make real progress, if you know what they are. (Again, see tip 5 below.)
4. Find motivation inside and outside
It still amazes me how many people don’t understand about making money online and online business, even until today. That made it rough for me in the early years, as whoever I talked to suggest that I should find a job instead. It took a lot of self motivation to overcome that feeling and stick with your dream.
Fortunately, nowadays you can find like minded community easily. Meeting real people in the real world, through something like meetup.com, will help keep the fire burning. Add networking as a side bonus, although that for many people will be more important as it can potentially open up new opportunities you otherwise would have missed if you don’t meet people.
5. Concentrate on the Big Three
OK, with a hundred moving objects all trying to grab your attention, it is far from easy to decide which is of higher priority and which is not.
Here’s how you gain an edge though. Focus on the important but not urgent tasks. Both Steven Covey and Harvey Mackay agree this strategy will pay off in the long run. Most people focus on urgent, but not actually important, stuff.
In building an online business, the Big Three are 1) traffic, 2) list, and 3) offer. The term list has grown beyond just email list. It could be your Facebook or Twitter followers.
If you’re just getting started, start with affiliate products for the offer. That will cut the time you need to deliver to your audience. (Also see point 2.) Nowadays, I doubt it if you can’t find valuable products or services in any market. Begin with one traffic source, one offer, and build a list of audience.
I really hope this article isn’t just one of those few hundred blog posts that hit your RSS reader (or Twitter or Facebook). The only way you can truly benefit is by using it. What have you learned over the years that you think can help others? Feel free to share.
Feel overwhelmed? Get your dose of underground online business strategies from Hendry Lee. While you’re there, download Online Business Framework for free. It’s the simplest way you can make money online and build an e-business.