You have leaders and you have followers. The leaders are more likely the ones who are the risk takers, they are willing to fail in order to succeed, they are not afraid of hard work, they know success takes effort, and they teach others lessons from their own trial and error.
In building my own sustainable online business, I’ve learned a lot of things that come from being willing to stick with this long enough to have made plenty of mistakes, had plenty of successes and be considered one of the leaders and experts in my industry. Today I’m going to share ten of them with you.
Lesson 1: People don’t always understand until they walk a mile in your shoes.
It is not uncommon for someone who has not done any product development, Internet marketing or building a sustainable business to understand the full scope of what this entails. Those of us who do, know what it’s like and we know that there is always more to it than meets the eye.
Lesson 2: Technology is great…to a point. All things have “hiccups”.
Although we love technology for all it can do, there are definite “downsides” to it. For example, email is great to a point, but the fact is, sometimes emails get lost in cyberspace.
Everyone counts on receiving and sending emails, but occasionally they will go into the spam folder or for unknown reasons not make its intended location – your inbox. There will be times, no matter how many checks and balances you have in place, something isn’t delivered.
Often, this is not a big deal. However, if someone bought something from you and it doesn’t get delivered, ouch!
You can do as much as possible to prevent this from happening, but there will still be occasions when you are delivering information and someone doesn’t receive it. Most people are pretty rational and kind in their response to this, but occasionally you get someone who immediately accuses you of something you would never dream of doing; shorting them a eBook, an MP3, an eReport or any number of things. In other words, trying to rip them off.
Even if they’ve been getting your information for a while, it’s as if some folks are waiting for you to “slip up.”
Oh yes, dear reader, there are people who immediately attack rather than sending a message or making a call to let you know they didn’t get what they purchased.
The longer you conduct business online, the more likely it will be that something goes wrong and cyber-mud is flung at you. Be patient if someone sends you a snippy message. Once you get a message or two like this, it is much easier to empathize when you don’t get something you paid for.
99% of the time a very simple message resolves the issue.
Lesson 3: Consistency is essential to one’s success
Success isn’t a haphazard event. It is a step-by-step process — some big, some small. When you are taking the steps you may not see immediate results, but as you look back over a period of months (or years), you see some amazing progress. That is, if you have been consistently moving toward your goal of success.
Many people foolishly buy into the “get-rich-quick” mentality. Sure, there are occasions where one can experience a windfall and mistakenly believe this will always be the case.
The fact is — a solid foundation is essential as are daily action steps moving you toward your vision.
Lesson 4: Investing time and money is an absolute in building any business.
Some people think they can buy one eBook, read one or two books, listen to one teleseminar and presto, they will make money hand over fist. It doesn’t work this way.
There are investments all of us who are in business have made and will continue to make.
Some are fixed investments such as subscription fees, automation software that requires a monthly payment, ongoing services of experts who can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and utility bills.
There are other investments such as a specialized training, a coach or mentor, attending a conference, and services such as design work, editing, postage and other such things.
As your business grows, so will your monthly expenses (investments). I currently pay more out each month than I used to make in a month. However, I also make a heck of a lot more now than I did in the past. And yes, I have those windfall $10,000 – $20,000 days. But I have worked for this. I didn’t expect it to happen without effort.
Don’t believe for a minute that you won’t need to make investments. However, before spending money, evaluate how necessary the purchase of a product or service is.
If you have a “gotta have” feeling, sit with this for a day or two and if you still feel the same way, then make the purchase. If you have a business partner, set a rule on what amount of money you each need to discuss spending before doing so. This often will eliminate impulse purchases that are not necessary.
Some people will buy program after program without getting into more than a thimbleful of information compared to what they bought. Don’t make this mistake.
When you buy programs or join membership clubs get as much value out of your investment as you possibly can. To not do so is a huge waste of money.
Lesson 5: All work and no play makes you boring, stressed out, lackluster and not fun to be around.
Yep! I speak from experience. The first few years of running my business, I went overboard in how much time I put into my business. I ate, drank, slept and talked business all the time. To the point that friends and family told me I needed to get a life.
This is not how my life is today. Now I find time for other things like exercise, family time, hobbies, spiritual development, my pets, and much, much more.
A life that is only focused on business is not a life of true success. Balance is the key here.
Lesson 6: Those who have been in an industry, had a hobby or a passion for any length of time likely have more information inside them than they realize.
It’s amazing how much information most people have. Often, when they develop their first product, whether it be an ebook or a short report, they realize they have more where that came from.
It’s very exciting to see the big Ah Ha! when they do realize that they have a vast knowledge base that can be packaged in a number of different ways.
This is where repurposing can be so valuable. You can take information you put into one format and create a completely different format for it. The possibilities are endless. It simply takes focus, vision, belief and application to see what is really possible.
Lesson 7: Automating is essential to take your business to the next level.
One of the most important lessons I learned very early on is to automate whenever possible. Early on (and I’m going back several years) I sent out my first ezine one message at a time. Arghhh. It could take all day to do what now takes the press of a button.
The things that are most important to automate are your opt-in subscriber list, shopping cart, product delivery, recurring payments, much of your social-media marketing, and anything that is extremely time-consuming for no good reason other than to save a few dollars.
In reality, not to automate can lose you a considerable amount of time and money.
The nice thing is, there are lots of free automation tools available. For those on a tight budget, this would be a nice solution. However, as you grow so should the sophistication of your automation.
Lesson 8: You have to know when to outsource.
One of the best things I ever started doing was outsourcing tasks that either took too much of my time, things I don’t know how to do and don’t have the time to learn, and tasks that are repetitive.
Often, again to save a few bucks, solopreneurs may try to do all the tasks of the business themselves. Initially, you may have to do a lot of your own work, but set aside a percentage of what you bring in to outsource a little at a time.
As with any investment, think through why you are outsourcing and what the benefit will be for doing it.
Here’s a partial list of what to outsource:
-Article submission
-Design work
-Physical product fulfillment
-Transcription services
Lesson 9: Surround yourself with the winners.
Who you hang out with is just as important as what you do day in and day out. It’s easy to consider ourselves successful if we surround ourselves with low achievers. The true test is to surround ourselves with high achievers.
Get involved in mastermind groups. If you are in a mastermind group and it is not a productive experience, be willing to find another group.
Be willing to pay people to mentor you. Over the years I have invested a lot of money for the knowledge a mentor could teach me. There are times when free is not the way to go. Sure, there are plenty of free opportunities, but if one is always on the lookout for the cheapest way to do something, he or she is not being stretched.
Ask any successful person if he or she invests in mentors, coaches, mastermind groups, etc. and the likely answer will be a resounding YES!
Know that you are worth it. But as with anything you invest in, use the information you gain.
Lesson 10: You will be called LUCKY when you succeed.
I love this one. “I am an overnight success and it only took me 15 years to get here.” Many a successful entrepreneur will share a similar story in what it took for them to succeed  — years of work, dedication and effort.
Yet, many “outsiders” look at someone who is successful and rather than finding out what they did to succeed, they flippantly call them lucky.
The fact is, the harder you work, the luckier you get. If you have been applying each and every lesson you likely are seeing some results from your efforts.
If you are not, you have to ask yourself, “What will it take for me to get serious about this?”
Success is not something that happens through osmosis. It is something that takes time, energy, learning, mentors, investments and vision. It also takes being able to manage the ups and downs of emotions and the willingness to hang out with the winners.
The winners are those people who are not letting outside factors determine their success. They understand that they need to maintain a positive outlook on what they are doing. And they are willing to pay the price.
As my good friend, Dr. Joe Capista says, “You can have anything in life you want, if you are willing to pay the price.”
Are you paying the price?
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What is your #1 lesson about business? Feel free to post a comment and also retweet.