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The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When You Start an Online Business

Usually when you read such articles, you read about various mistakes related to marketing principles or some technicalities related to operations of business.

I’m going to tell you something different.

The mistake I’m talking about comes way before any of the mistakes that are usually talked about.

The mistake I’m going to talk about is the root of all the mistakes that appear later on on the surface.

And that mistake is not asking yourself one very important question, which is:

CAN I DO THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

This is not just applicable to a business. It’s applicable to any kind of project, be it a job or any other kind of work.

If the answer to this question is Yes, then you know you’ve won half the battle because your project/business/idea is coming straight from the heart.

You’ll know you are in the game for the long run.

I see a lot of people, especially in the online marketing world, try their hands at all kinds of short-cuts.

Unsurprisingly, they don’t last long.

In fact I was one of them.

Let me give you a few examples of my own mistakes when I started out.

Here are three of the many online projects I tried:

  • Love Master India – A website where I was to be a dating guru and give advice to men on dating, grooming, romance, relationships, etc. My earning model was relying on the hope that the people who will come to my website would sign up for a dating website that I was affiliated with, thereby earning income as commission from that website. This website made me Rs.Zero with a capital Z.

 

  • Soccer Quick – A website where I wrote tutorials on how to play soccer and earned income by referring a video tutorial product that was I was affiliated with. I ended up selling this website for $1000 on Flippa.com.

 

  • Bowflex Blaze Review – A one –page website where I wrote about a home gym called Bowflex Blaze and then placed an affiliate link to buy it from Amazon. For a long time, this website was ranking on top of Google because of the SEO tricks I used and was making me pocket money every month. In June, 2016 my hosting provider emailed me saying that Bowflex wanted me to take the website down on the grounds of copyright violation. It’s funny because I was actually selling their product. Maybe they were scared that I would keep outranking them on Google and that it would hurt their brand.

Now why did none of these work?

Because they were all half-hearted short-cut projects.

Was I really passionate about dating? No.

Was I really passionate about soccer? Yes, but only while playing or watching it, not starting a business around it. In fact, during my MBA days, I even did a marketing internship with a Soccer club, where I lasted exactly one day.

Was I really passionate about selling home-gyms? Hell no.

Then why did I start all these projects and many others that I have not even mentioned?

Because of only one thing – to somehow make money quickly without doing much work so I can quickly retire and live the rest of my life sipping on martinis on a beach in Thailand.

The plan didn’t work out quite well.

The biggest problem with all these projects was that the answer to the aforementioned question was a resounding No.

I was NOT willing to do them for the rest of my life.

I see the same mistakes being made by a lot of other people. For instance, when I conduct any sort of digital marketing workshops, a lot of people come to me after the workshop and ask me questions like – How can I use Facebook ads to promote CPA offers or some other type of others? My friend does that and makes a crazy amount of money every day. Please tell me how to do it.

I usually don’t give an answer because of two reasons:

  • I don’t know how to do it myself
  • I know that such ideas are destined to fail

Why?

Because of simple supply and demand equation.

If a business model is as easy as jumping on to Facebook and running ads to make money, you can rest assured that a lot of people will figure it out and jump on the bandwagon.

And when they do, lot of things will go wrong, including:

  • Facebook ad costs will go up.
  • CPA offers will have higher barriers to entry (application process will become strict).
  • Affiliate commission from these offers will be reduced.

Basically, you’ll make some quick money and then everything will go south.

The trouble is that you can apply all the great marketing tactics in the world and they all still won’t be able to beat the biggest and the most proven marketing tactic – CONSISTENCY.

Consistent effort is what makes a business successful.

And to be able to be consistent, you need to do something that you like to do.

For example when I think of my photography business, I get the feeling that it’s something I can do for the rest of my life.

Whether it works or not is not the question here.

The only question is whether I get the feeling of me being able to stick with it.

At this point, a common question is – how can I determine if I like something?

Here’s the answer I like to give:

  • Find an area of interest that you like. It can be some hobby you like or some topic you like reading or enquiring about. In my case, I chose photography because it’s a hobby I absolutely love. And my second business (this one), I plan to make it revolve around blogging/Online business topics/self-improvement/psychology because I love reading and listening about these things.

 

  • After finding your area of interest, what is equally important is that you align it with your natural strengths. For example, though I love doing photography, I really don’t enjoy doing professional or commercial shoots that much. I enjoy teaching, so my business revolves around teaching photography. In the same way, I rather research about and teach online marketing principles than starting a digital marketing agency. Teaching comes naturally to me and is something I love to do. You make me stand in front of 1000 people and I will thank you for that, not get scared or intimidated. It excites me. I talk about this aspect of finding your natural strength in the article – Why Follow Your Passion is an Incomplete Advice.

 

The basic point is that you should try to visualise all the daily activities you will be required to perform in order to grow your business or perform in your job. And you should love or at the very least not hate them. At least not the majority of them.

Sometimes we are all required to do things we don’t enjoy but those activities should be rare.

The majority of activities should be enjoyable to you.

Even if things don’t work out for me in the entrepreneurial world, I know that I will be doing something related to teaching or training because it’s one of those fields that I can picture myself doing for the rest of my life.

This puts me at great ease because it makes detached from entrepreneurship.

Tomorrow everything can go wrong and I won’t be too disappointed since I know I can always get a teaching job and I’ll still be happy. And once I’m settled again, I can give entrepreneurship another shot.

Ideas that have an aura of eternity relax you.

So I suggest you play the longer game and start asking yourself the question that we talked about.

Whether or not your business/job will work because of it is for no one to say. But one thing that will happen for sure is that you’ll feel at much more ease overall.

More importantly, you’ll know that you are being authentic.

And that authenticity is bound to, at one point or another, shine in the form of excellence.

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