I remember once somebody came up to me and asked what I did for a living, how I made money. I told them I have an online business and they looked at me dumbfounded. “No,” they said, “I mean like a real job!”
That comment, as much as it hurt, hit the nail on the head, and it really got me thinking about what I was actually doing. My online business wasn’t thriving, not like it should have been, and as hard as it was to admit it, the truth was I wasn’t committed to it. I was treating it like a hobby.
If you look at online entrepreneurs, all they have is their laptop, an internet connection, and an idea. But if you look closely there are a number of things that they do differently that make them different than just a hobbyist.
Here are a few suggestions I have since adopted to stay committed to my online business.
1. Show Up
This sounds pretty obvious but it’s extremely important and is the most important way for you to stay committed to your business. Just show up. Just like you would if you were running a traditional company. Arrive at work, stay there and leave when you’re done. This will help you stay focused and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll get done.
2. Focus on Your Business
To be focused is to know who you want to serve, what you want to serve, and how you will add value to their lives. Occasionally I’ve looked at a company and wondered how they make any money and then realize they are filling a need and they’re adding real value to their customers’ lives. What value are you adding to your customer’s lives? What are you doing to achieve this?
3. Create quality content and Get it Out There
Content is king, as they say. You need to have content on your site that keeps people coming back for more and your users must want to share it and pass it on. This includes industry tips, comments, and customer interaction. You can accomplish this in any number of ways such as with a blog, product comments, and reviews, etc. Don’t forget to always remain true to your brand, make sure your style and tone are consistent with the service you provide.
4. Make marketing a priority.
People think about marketing as something for “down the road” or “when we’re more established,” but the truth is, you need to start your marketing on day one. I would even say have a marketing plan before you start. A marketing plan should be part of your overall strategy. If you have a sound marketing strategy prior to launching, a plan further helps build a little suspense and anticipation. Sign up for Google My Business, it’s free marketing!
Getting the word out about your online business is key if you intend to make any money. You need to leverage every contact — every acquaintance, friend, family member, co-worker, teacher, mentor… anybody who will listen. Some might even hire you and help you spread the word. This could turn into referrals, and next thing you know, you’ve got customers knocking at your door.
Word of mouth is probably the oldest way to advertise, and still one of the most effective.
These are the most basic steps you can incorporate. Check back for the most important steps that will turn your online business into a huge success. (See what I did there?)