It’s funny how easy it is to mess up something that you’ve been building for months or even years. Although maybe funny is not the word I’m looking for… Peculiar – that’s the one!
Anyway, today it’s all about taking a broader look at our businesses and our personal behavior as online entrepreneurs. All this so we don’t have to witness our efforts go down the drain one day.
Quite surprisingly, most of the serious business-related problems are of internal nature rather than a result of some external happenings. In other words, WE are the most common reason of our business’ failure. It’s not the competitors, the market, the audience, or whatever else you might be thinking of.
This list is exactly about these internal problems that lead to the failure of your online business. In short, it’s how we can prevent ourselves from ruining our businesses.
1. Thinking you’re unique
I don’t know who am I stealing this expression from, but one of the most predictable aspects of human nature is that we all think we’re unique. And even more predictable is the fact that when you were reading the previous sentence, you got the impression that it was still about other people because you are truly unique nonetheless.
Well, here’s the thing. We’re all much less unique than we think. And the same thing goes for our businesses.
Chances are that no matter what your business offers, other people already came up with a similar idea in the past. More than that, they are probably still here figuring out how they can outperform you. So, the only way you can succeed is not by thinking how my business idea is going to make me win, but how my execution of the idea is going to make me win.
This is an important mind shift and it actually makes us much more aware of the situation we’re in. Once we abandon the idea of being unique, we can focus on other much more important down-to-earth aspects of running a business.
Time flies. Like hell it does.
Chris Rock – one of the best stand-up comedians of our time (my opinion) said one interesting thing:
“When you have a career, there are not enough hours in a day. But when you have a job, there are too many hours in a day.”
Even though the way he says it still makes it funny, it’s as true as it can be. And the quiet killer in this whole thing is the mindset of doing things “tomorrow.” And I don’t mean that consciously planning things to be done at a later time is bad. No. I mean that treating the practice of postponing things as a way of solving them is nothing but walking on thin ice.
Tomorrow never comes. If you want to get something done, get it done today.
3. Too much focus on education
We obviously need some business education. But the keyword here is “some.”
Information overload really is a plague these days and it’s really REALLY easy to get completely lost in consuming yet another blog, another article, or another e-book. And you do all this without actually taking any action along the way.
This is something I was guilty of doing at the beginning of my career. I felt like a shark in a suit… like I knew everything there is to know about business. The only problem was that I had nothing to back up my “expertise.” I’m quite embarrassed to admit that it took me way too much time to get out of this mindset.
Anyway, in short (catchphrase definition):
Disregard education, take action.
Which brings me to:
4. Pursuing the next big thing
This was my other problem some time ago (damn it, I don’t know what I was thinking back then).
Basically, anyone who’s just getting into business or is experiencing some sort of difficulties in business later on (in general) is very prone to any “magic-bullet solution” that’s being advertised to them. This is a consequence of focusing too much on education. Quite simply, by going after a lot of information every day, you will inevitably stumble upon some magic-bullet solutions sooner or later.
The simplest way of not getting tricked into believing that this particular thing is going to save your business is to ask yourself a question: Does it sound too good to be true? If so, then it most likely is.
5. Acting like you’re a big shot
In any business, no matter what your niche is, you will come across different types of people. There are people who are just starting out, people who already have a position on the market, people who actually are big shots, and a small number of top players – the rock stars.
Now, for some reason, almost anyone who’s somewhere in the middle of their journey thinks that they’re a big shot already (it probably has something to do with the idea of being unique). And sadly, I can see this happening all the time.
Just to give you a simple example, if you’re a little guy, writing to Darren Rowse and asking him to exchange guest posts with you won’t probably play out all that great. Another similar scenario is reaching out to Neil Patel and offering an email marketing cross-promotion.
The thing is, if you’re just starting your pursuit of online business greatness and you want to do something with the big guys, you will have to offer them significantly more than what you’re asking for in return.
6. Disregarding your peers
I wish I knew this earlier, but growing together in a small mastermind group or even with a close business contact is significantly easier than doing it alone. Whatever stage you’re at, find your peers, reach out to them and propose some kind of cooperation that will benefit all of you. Create a syndicate or something, I don’t know.
The idea is that once you are all big shots, you will have a great team to do business together, instead of having to look for new contacts from scratch.
7. Believing; without taking action
Last but not least, I want to tackle this “law of attraction” bullshit. And I don’t even have the energy to elaborate on this. I just have one thing to say, here goes:
If anyone thinks that all they need is to believe in success then it serves them right…
Here’s a better idea, one that actually works: Don’t think. Do.
Okay, I should probably apologize for making this sound a bit negative. But I’m really sad to see people who can’t find any results in online business purely because they spend way too much time researching things, planning things, believing things, learning things, buying things, content-marketing things, thinking about things, postponing things and so on.
As counterintuitive as this might sound, sometimes doing things first and thinking later really is the superior way.