If you’re here, you might be planning to start a new business. The opportunities to grow an online business have grown exponentially and you may be ready to seek the opportunities the digital space is offering.
However, because many people are turning to digital businesses as a source of income, there is a misconception that it is easy.
The reality is that your business success will depend largely on building the right business mindset. In this installment of my series Transition: From Corporate to Entrepreneurship, Manu (founder of Your Social Team) and I discuss what it means to build a successful online business.
From having the courage to start your business to investing wisely, we discuss some of the mindset shifts you should be making to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Overcome the Fear to Start
In our talk, Manu mentioned that there may be fears or resentments that prevent some people from moving forward. She saw this when she was laid off after 15 years in the corporate during a massive lay off at her job.
Despite the initial feelings you may feel if you were laid off like Manu or because of other fears, overcoming fears as an entrepreneur is part of building a business mindset.
Research has shown fear can have both a positive and negative impact on entrepreneurs. If your fears are about your ability or the potential of your idea, it is more likely to prevent you from taking action.
Instead of feeling paralyzed by fear, reframe your situation and think about the advantages you hold depending on where you are in your journey. As someone who started a business at 40-years old, Manu is aware some see it as “too late”, so she shared how you can reframe concerns about age for both older and younger people.
Manu explains the stakes might be higher for older individuals since they are more likely to have a family. This was the case for Manu who has two kids.
This might make starting a business seem daunting, but, as she explains, the benefit of starting at a later age is your work and life experience.
Acknowledging the experience you have can make the process of starting less scary.
On the other hand, a younger person is likely to have less experience but is also less likely to be financially responsible for supporting a family. This means they can take risks without that added stress.
Regardless of your age, taking an objective assessment of your skills and situation will help you overcome the initial fear.
After this, you can focus on leveraging the skills you already have and do the work to grow.
Start a Business from Nothing by Focusing on YOU
Doing the work is crucial to a successful business, especially in the digital space where many people jump on trends for the promise of quick money and build business models that are not sustainable or true-to-them.
Looking to others and trying to be like them rather than having a true-to-self social media presence may lead you to miss facts like these people’s background.
Manu points out, some people who are doing well on social media now may have grown an audience because they were doing something different before like being a travel blogger. This is my experience.
Travel blogging is not my focus anymore, but it played a crucial part in my journey to help me understand I want to help freedom-obessed women develop profitable brands, so they experience the same freedom I feel by being location-independent.
My own journey trying various jobs, including testing 1:1 coaching, taught me skills I now use in my brand development program. Unfortunately, not everyone does the necessary work.
One of the most problematic issues Manu and I discussed is the trend of people offering consulting or coaching services without doing the work first. They want to teach other people strategies they themselves have not tested.
Another problematic trend resulting from the increased discussion of passive income in the digital space: the increase of digital products. Similarly, there are people who do not want to work with people or test out strategies but want passive income with a digital course.
They end up wasting time and money building a product that nobody buys because they have not built their audience. If they do sell, they sell untested strategies that make the digital space appear like a pyramid scheme.
This impulse to follow a trend without assessing if it is right for you, ends up hurting you and other people. Instead of creating a business based on trends, build a sustainable business that is true-to-you.
Focus on specialized skills you already have (e.g. design if you are a designer) and build a brand, so your audience knows who you are. If you decide to offer coaching after having more experience, your audience will be ready because they will see you are doing the work.
[Bonus Tip: In your digital presence, remember that “how to” tips are not the only way to offer value to your audience. Offer your point of view on a trend or concept in your industry to show your expertise AND values. Learn more about how to build your personal brand in this guide].
Invest Your Time and Money Wisely
It is important to mention that doing the work does not mean subscribing to the grind culture. Hard work is not the same as overworking to the point of burnout. You are your business’ biggest asset.
The best way to avoid burnout is to focus on your zone of genius and invest in both your education and support for your business. One of the biggest mistakes beginner entrepreneurs make is investing in the wrong things such as a website or logos.
Instead, work in your zone of genius to develop services and products that make use of your innate skills. Investing in yourself will bring higher returns of investments because you will be able to offer higher priced items or develop business models that scale without taking more of your time (e.g. membership business model).
While you may DIY many parts of your business in the very beginning, and it will be a lot of work, the goal is to generate money to both sustain yourself and your business, so it is important to be mindful of how you spend your money, time, and energy.
If you can learn something that is not in your zone of genius, but it is going to take hours of your day for weeks or even months, step back and evaluate. Decide if it is best to deprioritize it and postpone it, or if it is important to hire someone to complete the task.
If it is not in your budget, figure out how you can better use the hours you would have spent learning the new skill to generate income instead and cover the cost of hiring someone.
Like Manu says, there might be fear when you make your first big investments, but as an entrepreneur, it is about making the necessary investments to grow.
If you are ready to grow, clarify your messaging, and build a cohesive brand that feels true-to-you, join the vivacious brand development program, or sign up to get your customized social media branding package.
Remember to see the complete interview with Manu for more tips on how to start your online business. And checkout the rest of the Transition: From Corporate to Entrepreneurship series to help you set up the foundation for a successful entrepreneurial journey.