I’ve been running my online store course for several years now and it still amazes me how much I’m learning about human psychology while teaching the class.
And after witnessing hundreds of students go through the videos and answering thousands of emails, I’ve started to notice a few patterns between those who make rapid progress and those who get stuck often.
As with any self paced class, a person’s chances of success are heavily dependent on how well they can learn and apply the material and how well they can focus on the important tasks at hand.
While I would love to boast a 100% success rate for my course, I’ve found that many new entrepreneurs often start off on the wrong foot or make simple mistakes early on.
Fortunately, most of these things can be easily rectified and I thought it would be interesting to point out a few pitfalls that I see quite often.
PITFALL #1: You Work On The Easy Stuff First Or The Things That Don’t Matter
Here’s a fun fact. This is just a rough estimate but I would say that a third of the students who sign up for my class rush to do research on incorporating their business or establishing an LLC before even knowing exactly what they want to sell.
And after that, they spend another good chunk of time worrying about the different licenses and permits that they “might” have to obtain for their ecommerce shop. A small subset of these students then go off and ask me questions about what expenses they can deduct on their tax return.
Steve, if I buy an iPad, can I expense it on my business?
None of this stuff really matters early on! You can incorporate or get your LLC at any time. All of the information on permits and other legalities that you need to obtain are pretty straightforward and easy to find.
And learning all of the tax implications is great but it’s not going to help you make money!
All of this stuff is trivial and easy to accomplish which is why most people work on these things first. They want to delude themselves into thinking they are making progress when in fact they are just dragging their feet.
Tackle the hard problems first! If you can’t overcome the difficult steps, then you won’t even have to bother with the easy stuff.
PITFALL #2: You Are Too Stingy With Your Business
What!?! Are you suggesting that I spend $25 a month on a fully hosted shopping cart? Didn’t you say that there are other students in the class running their shops for just $5 a month?
Everyone has different capabilities. There are some people who are adept with computers and learning new skills. Heck, there are many students in my class who joined without knowing a lick of HTML/PHP/CSS and now they are managing their own online stores all by themselves.
If you have no desire to host your own site or if you are extremely tech averse, it doesn’t make sense to go this route because you’ll struggle and never make consistent progress. If you lack certain skills, it sometimes makes sense to pay for services to compensate for what you are not good at so you can focus on your strengths.
If you are cringing at paying $25 a month for your online business, then chances are you don’t have the right mindset. Think about it this way. Starting a traditional brick and mortar store could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And yet you are worried about $25 a month? That’s ridiculous.
Even though I’ve been known to do a lot of things by myself, I still pay for plenty of expensive services that help me automate and further my business. For example…
- I pay $100s a month for professional webhosting even though I know how to run my own linux webserver.
- I pay $150 a month for Aweber, my email marketing provider
- I pay $100s every month for payroll services, software and other things I could do myself
It takes money to make money and you should not go into a business without being willing to spend some cash to do things right. Nothing is cheaper than running an online business. Don’t be overly frugal!
PITFALL #3: You Believe Too Much Of What You Read Online
Steve, I read on the warrior forums the other day that guest posting is dead. How am I going to get backlinks now?
Steve, I read somewhere that you can’t make money with Adwords so should I even bother running a campaign?
Now I’m not going to say that everything you read online is garbage, but most of it is. By the time you sift through all of the crap to get to the good stuff, you’ve probably wasted a huge amount of your time.
There’s nothing wrong with reading blogs or browsing the internet marketing forums but take everything you read with a grain of salt, especially the stuff on search engine optimization. Honestly, the only people who know exactly what is going on with SEO are Google search engine engineers. Most of what you read online is just speculation.
If you want to make better use of your time, you shouldn’t learn from random anonymous people on the Internet or even your peers.
You should study from the experts. These days, I tend to spend most of my time hanging out with people who are doing much better than I am, people who I am humbled to be around.
It’s easy to spend your time and make friends with people on the forums or people at your own level, but you won’t learn very much this way.
Once I started talking to other ecommerce store owners and bloggers who were 10X more successful than myself, I started doing a lot better.
PITFALL #4: You Are Waiting Too Long To Launch
I am constantly producing new content for my course so there’s always more to learn. But this constant flow of new information can be a double edged sword for some students.
In fact, there are some people in my class who have been there for a very long time and still haven’t launched their business even though…
- They have selected their niche
- They have their domain
- They have their suppliers lined up
- They have their website pretty much ready to go
A lot of us are perfectionists and I know it can be tough to finally launch your business and put yourself out there. But you need to try not to over focus on the tiny details. No matter how hard you work to make things perfect, something is going to go wrong.
So instead of focusing on tiny little details like how big your logo looks and whether your product verbiage is perfect, just get the thing out there and start gathering data.
Once you have real customer data, you’ll get a better handle on where you should be spending your time.
Even though I tend to see the same mistakes being made over and over, it’s really been a blast running my online store course and watching my students evolve into small lifestyle business owners.
As I gather more data and interact with more students, I’m getting better and better at dealing with the different issues at hand.
Anyways, I hope this post helps some of you who are on the sidelines waiting to take the leap.
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