When I first decided to take the plunge and start my own online home business, I had all the wrong ideas. I had seen all the “businesses in a box” with their advertising hype such as, “make over a thousand dollars a week with a four-hour work week sitting at your kitchen table in your pajamas” and the like. So I thought I could just get a domain name, set up a web site, and then pretty much let my business run itself on autopilot. I suppose you could call it the “Field of Dreams” mentality – that “if you build it, they will come.” Now I realize that I was setting myself up for failure with that way of thinking. I have learned that, to be successful with an online home business, you need to have a certain kind of businesslike mindset.
First, you need self-discipline. You’re going to work your tail off sometimes. You’re going to have days when you’re staying up late and getting up early. There will be times when you have no idea how it’s all going to get done. And your new business is not going to start throwing money at you overnight. You should expect to be working long, often boring hours, especially when you are first starting your online business. Most online entrepreneurs work over 50 hours a week, especially when they are first establishing their business. At least 20 of those hours are devoted to marketing their business. These new business owners realize that they can’t just sit back and wait for their customers to beat a path to their door. They have to be where their customers are – on search engines, forums, blogs, email, and social media.
This need for marketing know-how leads into a second point – you need business management knowledge and skills. If you don’t already have those skills and knowledge, you may need to take classes, get advice, and educate yourself. An online business is still a business, and all the same business principles that apply to a brick-and-mortar firm also apply to an online enterprise. You need to understand profit and loss and how each is measured. You need to know how to use the various marketing tools, both online and offline. You need some understanding of business law. You need to be able to set up a business plan and make good business decisions.
Having an online business can be very rewarding. Being your own boss using your own computer in the comfort of your own home can certainly be a dream come true. Just don’t expect it to happen easily. Be prepared to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.