We’d like to share 12 insights that we’ve learned over the years, since we began working online (and subsequently became self-employed). These insights, or lessons if you prefer, can apply to new or established online entrepreneurs, or anyone else who works online.
They cover a range of topics, from avoiding common pitfalls to making strategic decisions and achieving rapid cash flow. We hope you find them useful – if you do, please let us know in the comments.
12 Important Insights In Brief
Of course, this is just a list. To delve deeper, please read on (or save for later).
Insights in More Detail
Insight No.1: Exceed Expectations
Since the start of our online journey, we’ve learned from many successful business leaders. One of the most important insights is to always go above and beyond, in anything we do.
Whether it’s exceeding customer expectations, surprising your employees with an unexpected bonus, or simply doing more than the bare minimum, this approach can significantly benefit your business. Strive to exceed expectations and this will set you apart from the rest.
Insight No.2: Action Speaks Louder Than Words
It’s common for entrepreneurs to dream big and envision wealthy, successful futures. But words alone won’t turn dreams into reality.
Many people fall into the trap of carrying out too much research and not taking decisive action. They invest in courses, amass books, and fill notebooks with great ideas, but still nothing materialises. Websites don’t build themselves, and adverts won’t run of their own accord. To accumulate wealth, we must prioritise doing. At the end of the day, results are what count.
Insight No.3: Continuous Learning Shouldn’t Halt Progress
In today’s world, where information is constantly evolving, it’s easy to get stuck in a constant cycle of learning. Aspiring entrepreneurs usually possess the basic skills required to build a thriving business, yet delay taking action in pursuit of the ‘next great course’.
There’s nothing to stop you building your business whilst continuing to increase your knowledge. But waiting for everything to be perfect before you start is just pointless. Progress means taking action, so embrace change and adapt your business as you go.
Insight No.4: Don’t Pursue Too Many Ideas
It’s natural for entrepreneurs to have many big ideas, but it’s essential to recognise that success often comes when we focus on a single project. Income won’t flow until at least one venture is launched, so prioritise bringing something to fruition before you dive into the next big thing.
Insight No.5: Don’t Underestimate the Importance of That First Earned Pound (or Dollar)
Every business starts with the first earned pound or dollar, regardless of any income targets you’ve set. The sooner you can achieve your first sale (which is a huge milestone), the quicker you’ll progress through the rest of your objectives. Action is the catalyst for success!
Insight No.6: Make Cash-Generating Projects Your First Priority
Try to work on cash-generating projects in the early days. If you can get some quick returns, you’ve got cashflow, and that’s the lifeblood of any business. You can work on bigger projects further down the line.
Insight No.7: Email Marketing Can Be Extremely Powerful
Ask many online entrepreneurs what their most important asset is (apart from their tech equipment and wifi) and they’ll most likely tell you it’s their email list.
Email marketing is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website, blog posts, affiliate offers, etc. If you can grow a loyal following (it doesn’t have to be huge), you have a way to convert people into paying customers. Social media can be a great source of traffic, but email marketing can definitely out-perform it, especially in regard to sales.
Insight No.8: Keep Overhead Costs Low
Optimise your operations and running costs, and keep your overheads as low as possible. That way, you’ll increase the chances of a healthy profit margin.
Generating income counts for nothing if your expenditure is too high, so be prudent with your spending. It’s exciting seeing money rolling in, but don’t be tempted to blow it on the latest shiny gadget, unless it’s absolutely essential for your business.
If you’re ever concerned about your finances, speak to a qualified financial advisor or someone at your bank.
Insight No.9: Keep On Top Of Accounts & Tax
This goes hand-in-hand with insight number 8: every business owner needs to prioritise their accounts and tax. No, it’s not exciting, but it’s critical to the success of your business. Fail to look after them and you could find yourself subject to fines and/or other penalties. Given the additional stress this incurs, it’s just not worth ignoring your numbers.
There are plenty of small accountancy firms and freelancers out there who can look after your books for you. The priorities need to be: keeping everything up to date, making submissions on time, and putting money aside for taxes (if applicable). However, even if you do outsource your finances, it’s still important that you keep a handle on things. You should always know your financial standing.
Insight No.10: You Don’t Need An Office Outside of the Home
This is fairly obvious, but renting office space isn’t a requirement when you set up a business. Digital nomads are becoming the norm these days, with people working online while they’re travelling. But even if that’s not your situation and you need to be based in one location, you can still start off at home.
Space can be at a premium in smaller modern homes, but as long as you can find a quiet place to work, you should be OK in the early days. (Of course, this is different if your business involves physical products, in which case you’ll probably already have premises.) Make the most of this digital era and vary your surroundings by spending a couple of hours working in a coffee shop or hotel now and again.
Insight No.11: Expect Delays
Most things take longer than we anticipate, so be patient and understand that delays are common. If you can, factor them into project planning, as this will help reduce any stress around deadlines.
Insight No.12: Marketing Rules!
You can’t get your business in front of people if they don’t know about it, so marketing is crucial. Consider marketing the driving force for your business. If you’re unsure how to do it, ask for help or employ a freelancer.
You can also find experts on sites like Fiverr* (but be sure to check reviews before you part with your cash).
So There You Have It: 12 Important Insights For New Online Entrepreneurs!
Here’s another bonus tip: spending hours online doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working on your business. Endless research, or scrolling through social media, can waste a lot of valuable time. Time that could be better spent generating traffic, building your email list, and marketing your business.
Do everything you can to maximise your profitability and your business is sure to be a success. We wish you the best of luck!
Thanks for reading!
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We are not financial advisors and any information provided is for educational/entertainment purposes only. Please refer to our policies and disclaimers for further information. Always consult an expert if you need financial advice.
*Not an affiliate link