Are You Really Running Your Business Like A BUSINESS?

Last Update: Oct 18, 2016


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.


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Recent Comments


Mike well said.
You are just showing others ,what can be achieved thru hard work and perseverance. Your Website has lots of good nuggets of information.

Thanks Rall!! :)

Thanks Mike, what great motivation. If your first grade teacher could see you now!!

Haha, right?! I'm glad you liked my post and thanks for the positive comment!

Thanks a lot for sharing, Mike!! It's very inspirational and it's given me food for thought

All the best =)

Thanks for the kind words Miren! Just started following you. :)

Hi Mike,
I love this, you are spot on with treating it like any other business and that is lost sometimes so a great reminder. I also find your story very inspirational and motivating - Thank You.
Best Wishes, Nigel

Thanks Neigel! I just started following you. :)

This was so awesome to read! It's inspiring, motivational and you're a great writer. Thank you for sharing your amazing story and the part about treat your business as a business.
You. Are. Awesome!

Thanks so much for such an awesome response!! I'm glad you liked it and I'm also so glad it provided a bit of motivation. I'm following you now and please keep me in mind if you ever want to chat, exchange ideas, or just want some feedback on something. We're all in this together. :)

Such a fantastic blog Mike .. very inspiring and very real. Thank you so much for writing it! Cheers, William.

So glad you liked it William! It has been an amazing journey for sure. I just followed you and please feel free to contact me anytime!

Mike, I LOVE THIS! Thank you for sharing about the ease of taking an online business with complacency, and kicking the expectation right, and persistence.

I am smiling as I write this, and I wish you all the best!

And I'm still smiling as I write this after reading your response! Thank you so much for the kind words and I'm really glad you found this to be helpful. If you ever start feeling stuck or unmotivated, please don't ever hesitate to contact me. :)

Great blog! Thank you, Mike!!

You're most welcome! :)

This is a brilliant article! I really enjoyed reading it! Don't worry I have no intention of giving up! You have given me a lot to think about, including a business plan. Do we need to come up with one because I have no clue how to start a business plan?!

Hey thanks for the kind feedback! As far as a business plan, it certainly can't hurt. If you do want to create a traditional business plan, there are lots of free examples and even programs out there to walk you through the process. If you want to use a paid program, I've used Business Plan Pro before. It's pricy and I honestly used a friends account (don't tell anyone!), but it really walks you through it in a very easy step-by-step process while they make all the fancy charts, graphs, etc.

With that said, I don't think it is entirely necessary. An online business is a unique business. The training you go through here essentially does help you build your business plan. Doing industry research, keyword research, learning about SEO and how to get traffic to your site, etc. - all of these are a part of your overall business plan.

I suppose that's true! I confess I rushed through the training from course 5 because I felt like I understood it quite well :) I am planning to go back and do it again to make sure that I didn't miss anything!

Well, I have a little secret. I rushed through the training, too! When I first got started, I used a different service called Site Build It! (SBI!) which I no longer recommend. The training program at SBI was a 30 day course. I wasn't supposed to set up my domain name until day 30. Well, I set it up on day 2. LOL!

Due to the fact I rushed things and didn't go through the training like I should have, I did end up paying the price. I made a ton of mistakes very early on which I'm still now paying for almost 6 years later. I had to go back and redo a bunch of stuff and almost start completely over. I even started 2 other sites right after my first one that no longer exist. I ended up going through the full training probably a half dozen times over the course of a couple of years and I learned something new every time.

With that said, it really is a fine balance. You can't spend months upon months upon months "training" and preparing to start your business. You will never really know when you're ready. There's a quote that I really love...

“Do not wait: the time will never be 'just right'. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”

― Napoleon Hill

The reason I love this quote so much is because it sums up my own business so well.

Wealthy Affiliate offers some amazing training. It is certainly worth really spending some time going through it and understanding each lesson. If you do that, you'll be able to build a great foundation for your business. Once you get started, you'll run into all sorts of questions, but you will find all the tools and resources you'll need as you go along.

Awesome blog bud! You might have been a bad student, but it sure doesn't show in your writing, Mike. For me, it's either success in this business or death, giving up just ain't an option:)

Hey thanks a lot! :) The funny thing is, while I failed spelling class in 4th grade, writing has always been one of my stronger points. Anytime we had an essay test instead of a multiple choice test I knew I would be able to write my way to a decent grade. Unfortunately they don't have essay tests for Algebra.

Thanks for your kind words and please don't ever hesitate to reach out!

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