Are You Really Running Your Business Like A BUSINESS?
I'd like you to imagine something for a minute....
Imagine you are someone who has always dreamed of starting your own business. Ok, well, I guess you don't have to imagine that part. ;) But pretend, for a moment, that instead of starting an online business, you decided to start a restaurant. What, exactly, would that entail?
Well, for starters, you need to have the proper resources. Starting a restaurant is extremely time consuming, so you would probably need to quit your current job in order to free up the time needed to run your business. You would also need a lot of start-up capital as starting a restaurant has some big up front expenses. In fact, you might even have to risk your entire life savings AND go into debt by taking out a small business loan just to be able to open your doors.
In essence, if you want to open a restaurant, you have to risk just about everything.
Take a second here and just imagine what it would feel like for you to start a restaurant. Try to get into this and really imagine what that would be like. You're about to risk absolutely everything. Your finances, your career, the free time available to spend with your friends and family, your ego / reputation, the unknowns, and basically every aspect of your life is about to change. Think of how difficult and stressful that must be? If I really concentrate and put myself into that situation, I start to feel anxious, even though it's just pretend.
Due to the incredible risk you're about to take and the stress you feel because of it, you decide to mitigate the risk by doing some research.
You investigate the competition in the area and learn about how profitable different restaurants are. You determine the cuisine you want to specialize in and research the perfect building in the most perfect area you can find. You determine who your target audience is and you figure out how to get those people into your restaurant.
In fact, you do so much research before you risk it all that you create an entire business plan. Your business plan includes all of your financials, your revenue projections, specific reasons why you have chosen a certain town / building site, specific startup as well as ongoing cost estimates, what your menu will be, where you will source your food and supplies from, etc. Heck, without that business plan, no bank will ever give you a loan anyway.
So, with your business plan in hand, you finally feel confident in your restaurant idea and pitch your idea to 15 banks. One of them decides to take a risk on you, as long as you mortgage your home, put up a huge chunk of the funds yourself, and agree to paying interest rates for the privilege of taking out a loan from them.
At this point, after all of this research and all of this risk, you've been approved for funding and your new restaurant is about to open. Think you're home free? Think again. A conservative estimate in the United States is that about 60% of all newly opened restaurants will go out of business within' 3 years.
Think about that. All that risk. All that effort. All that planning. And STILL, most new restaurants fail.
On a best case scenario, even successful restaurants take about 3 years before they see a single penny in profit. After all that risk, it took you three years of hard work, determination, and effort before a single penny of profit hit your cash register.
Back To Reality - How Are You Running Your Online Business?
With that story in mind, let's get back to reality here. You didn't start a restaurant, you started an online business. This, in a way, makes you brilliant. Why?
Because you don't need to risk everything. You don't need 10's, 100's or even millions of dollars in start-up capital. You don't need to beg a single bank for a loan. You don't need to quit your full time job. You aren't tied to one location or to certain hours.
Starting an online business is almost a risk free venture. You will certainly need to invest your time, but other than that, it's a risk free endeavor for the most part.
But there's a downside to that. Due to the low risk nature of building an online business, people do NOT treat it like the BUSINESS it is. People get complacent and expect way too much from way too little effort.
I'm asking you to be totally honest here and I promise I won't tell anyone. ;) Have YOU really been treating your online venture as a BUSINESS? Did you sign up here at Wealthy Affiliate because you just wanted to "dip your toes in the water" and see what this was all about? Would you "dip your toes" into opening a restaurant or other type of business? Are you really treating your "website" as a BUSINESS, or is it just a website?
If you had started a restaurant, you would have to be all-in. But with online businesses, many people seem to give it 1/10th of the effort that, say, a restaurant owner puts in, and yet, they expect 10 times more money 10 times as fast with a guaranteed success rate.
That isn't how a real BUSINESS works!
The Biggest Barrier To Entry In This Industry Is PATIENCE
Every industry has what are called "barriers to entry". Some industries have very high barriers to entry. For example, it would be extremely difficult for you to create a car that competes with the Ford Mustang or a soda that competes with Pepsi or Coca-Cola. There are too many barriers to entry for those industries to even list here.
Other industries have lower barriers to entry. Owning an automatic car wash, for example, only really requires a financial investment and doesn't require any real expertise or talent. Baking amazing wedding cakes for high net worth clients doesn't really require much in the way of financial capital, but it does require a unique skill set and expertise most other people don't have.
So, what is the biggest barrier to entry for online businesses? Without any question, the biggest barrier to entry is PATIENCE.
If you started a restaurant today, would you expect to be earning profits in your first 6 months? What about your online business? Assuming you're working on it part-time, do you think you'll be raking in the profits in 6 months? Or do you think that like all other businesses, it will take longer than that?
Are you willing to write content nearly every day for possibly 1 or 2 years before you start earning a full time living?
How bad, exactly, do you want this? Do you have the patience to break through that barrier?
I see so many people complaining that they've been working on their website for X number of months and haven't made any money yet. Well DUH!! :D
I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, but I do find it a bit disheartening that people get into building online businesses and end up shocked when they don't make money within a few months. This could take you YEARS. Are you ok with that? Again, I mean no offense, but if you're not ok with that, you should seriously reconsider whether building an online business is really the best path for you (and if it's not, that's ok, too!).
Why The Effort And Patience Is SO, SO, SO, Worth It!
Now that I've just told you how time consuming and difficult online BUSINESSES can be, let me end on a positive note by sharing my own personal story (the short version).
I remember back when I first started my online business. I started in 2009, but didn't get serious about it until 2011. I was a full time truck driver working 70hrs per week and I knew nothing about making money online. My only real goal was to write ONE article for my site per day, or a minimum of 3 per week. That's all the time I had. Here's me next to my truck....
But let me tell you... Nothing was going to stop me from succeeding. NOTHING! In fact, I didn't expect to be able to quit my job for 5 years.
Every time I was driving on the expressway and would get passed by an RV, I would think to myself, "pretty soon, that's going to be me." That was my motivation. The thought of being able to travel where I want and when I want while being able to work from anywhere was my dream.
So, any free moment I had, I was writing articles, working on my site, learning new things, going through training, or doing something to advance my business.
Then it happened....
One day, my truck broke down and I was in the World's most disgusting motel room while my truck was being fixed. I logged into my computer and saw that I had earned my first commission online ever, $7.20.
I don't think I've ever yelled so loud in my life. It was that moment, 2 years and 6 months after I wrote my very first blog post (on a site I didn't even own) that I realized I could really do this. If I could make one sale, I could make 100. And if I could do it on one site, I could do that on a dozen sites!
I now had a new goal. I wanted to earn just enough where I could quit my trucking job and get a local part time job while I continued to grow my business and work towards that RV. I visualized it. I could see it. I could feel it. It was at that moment that I KNEW this was going to work. I just knew it.
....Man, I'm actually getting emotional just thinking back and writing about it.
As the commissions continued to roll in at an exponentially higher rate as the months went on, I started to reinvest the profits into a second site that I hired freelance writers to write for. I was able to quit my full time job in November of 2011 and I took up a part-time freelancing job. About one year after that, I quit my freelancing job and was officially earning a full time living with my own legitimate business, Rogers Concepts, LLC.
In 2013, I bought that RV I dreamed of so many times while driving down the road in my truck. The first time I passed a big-rig on the expressway in my RV I nearly had to pull over. It was like looking at myself from the other side of the mirror. Just a totally surreal moment. That's when I really realized that I made it.
Since 2012, my dog and I have explored the entire United States on our own terms. I've been from the Atlantic to the Pacific. From the deserts, to the mountains, to the plains, and everything in between. I've been to all the big cities and so many of the small rural towns that dot this amazingly beautiful country I'm fortunate enough to live in. Here are a few of the places we've been...
While touring the United States, I've been able to work from wherever I want, whenever I want, as long as I want, and I've now been able to outsource just about everything I DON'T like to do while still being able to do the things I do like to do, and my income keeps growing. Just like I imagined in my dreams.
I'm the one that got away.
I always feel weird about telling my story, because I don't like coming off as a guy who's bragging or tooting his own horn. I tell my story because I'm nothing special. I was a horrible student (even failed the first grade, really), I literally had no money in my bank account when I started, I was working 70+hrs per week when I started, and I knew absolutely nothing about marketing or how to build websites. I'm telling you, if I can do this, so can you.
....But you have to treat this as a business. You have to realize that this is going to take time and effort and it isn't always going to be fun.
On the other hand, you should also realize that when you DO make it, it is just as good as you imagined. Each morning I wake up, I feel like the luckiest person in the World.
So please, I'm begging you, do NOT give up at this business. As tedious and difficult as you may think it is right now, when you do make it, your dreams just might come true.