The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Working an Online Business
A few years back I decided to work for myself. Being a new mom, my main motivation was to be present as a mother at every stage of my child’s formative years. I started by offering in-person workshops for adults and kids on healthy living. After a while I decided to expand my horizon and wanted to reach a wider audience to share my message. However, I wanted to work on my own conditions with minimum travel and investment. The idea of reaching out to a global audience from the comfort of my house was really attractive. I immediately started transitioning my business to an online platform. Today, about 70% of my business is online. However, just like everything online business has its good, bad and ugly aspects as well.
The fact that I could be a stay-at-home mom, take my son to the activities he loves doing, didn’t have to hunt for the best day care or worry about taking a leave from work when my child falls sick, were some of the key factors of venturing into online business in my case. Working for myself online allowed me to cater my working hours according to my child’s schedule. I also realized that I was way more productive as well as creative working few hours compared to working the regular 9 to 5 job. Low operation cost such as saving on office rent, affordability and effectiveness of Internet marketing was also an important factor. Thanks to the power of social media, it’s so easy in today’s time to promote products and services to millions of people at the click of a button.
There are many more reasons online business is good, but I think that gets the point across just fine. Now let’s look at the bad…
The bad news is that online world is always changing. The moment you think you have mastered the art of selling on Amazon or Facebook, the companies will change the algorithm. Each year, Google changes its search algorithm used for search engine optimization (SEO) around 500–600 times. And Google is just one service! There’s Facebook advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, website conversion optimization, tracking and website analytics. Then there is another aspect of searching for the best platform to offer webinars, best portal to create website or landing pages or best tools to create sales funnel. The list goes on and on. To be effective in online business ones needs to be up to date with the ever-changing technology in this arena. And this could be overwhelming to someone working on his/her own.
The bad is bad, but it’s usually manageable. But we also need to talk about the ugly…
No one wants to talk badly about their source of bread and butter, so this is the most difficult and most unheard aspect of online business. But the truth is it’s not always easy. There is too much information out there. Too many websites, blogs, interviews, podcasts, courses, self-proclaimed online marketing “gurus” teaching how to become overnight online business success.
When I was a newbie I would end up registering for every webinar that talked about online business. I also ended up enrolling in way too many courses (which I never got time to study) and going after the wrong coaches. I would look at their sales pitches, get excited about their rags to riches system and fall prey to coaches who claimed to have the “success formula” to make it big with just their first webinar or first course. Even if the price was higher than I was comfortable spending, I would end up getting the program or coaching as I was tired of failure and wanted to make money once and for all.
With time and experience I have become more wise and judicious in putting my resources to the right use. Now instead of getting tempted to put in my credit card number at the first call, I do my research. I don’t get excited seeing 5000 friends on their Facebook profile or 100K followers on Twitter, rather I study their system, their methodologies, read reviews/testimonials and talk directly to people who have taken their courses or programs.
I also take a closer look at my business model and my needs. A guru’s system might have worked for them because they had a plan in place and a lot of background work was done ahead of time. It might not work for me because I need to follow twenty other steps before I can effectively replicate their system. Most of the time people show you the big picture and talk about overnight success but they leave out the nitty-gritty information that goes in building an online business. However, the small details are the foundation to a great business so now I team up with people and resources that walk the walk with me and help me build this foundation.
I am also wary of coaches who promise of scaling a new business to a milliondollar revenue within a year. They may or may not have a six-figure business themselves but they are certainly willing to teach others how to do that. Is that doable? Yes! Can I do it? Maybe! But at the same time, I am aware of my reality, my budget, my values, my freedom of expression and I know I cannot be happy following someone else’s cookie-cutter method to become successful. I am on my own entrepreneurial journey and I know I will be at peace if I follow my own path at my own pace with the support of programs and coaches who help me become the best version of myself rather than putting me down at every decision of mine.
The truth is that like everything else, there is the good, bad and ugly with online business and we need to know our “why” of getting into this business, see the good, cope with the bad, and stay away from the ugly.
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