CREATING AND RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS ONLINE – If you have ever wondered about starting your own online business then with just a little research you will quickly discover the web is full of ‘get rich quick’ schemes and some highly qualified advice. Sifting through all these and weeding out the wheat from the chaff can be an arduous task but if you are serious about creating and running a successful business online then it is essential you have the right ingredients and remember these golden rules:
There is no such thing as a free lunch
Get rich quick schemes are scams
Rome wasn’t built in a day
It takes real effort and hard work
Google is NOT your friend
Love what you do
VIDEO NOTE: Before we kick this article off take a look at the video above. This is a rare interview with Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. Both provide a valuable insight as to what it takes to make it in business.
There is no such thing as a free lunch
If I had just one dollar for every person that thought I was a billionaire just because I run a successful website then I would in fact be pretty well off. I wouldn’t be a billionaire but I certainly wouldn’t have to worry about money.
There appears to be an illusion that people running dot com businesses are all fabulously wealthy and this is generally fueled by the media as they regale stories of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, being worth billions. Recently David Karp, founder of Tumblr, sold out to Yahoo for a staggering $1.1 billion and of course let’s not forget the story of Facebook buying Instragram for $1 billion.
The truth is that if you took all the dot com billionaires and packed them in a room you would probably need less than 100 chairs while you could populate a small country with all the independent website owners who struggle from day to day attempting to scrap a living from their online business.
The truth is that those high profile and successful online ventures all had one thing in common; that is they brought to the table something unique that the masses wanted and in doing so secured vast sums of venture capital in order to launch their online presence into the stratosphere.
It takes money to make money and without a decent size financial war chest your venture is likely to struggle and eventually fold.
People are generally under the illusion that you can set up a website and make millions overnight and while there have been cases these are extremely rare and are always so unique in concept that they eventually get venture capitalist funding to take their business to a whole different level.
The truth is that there is no such thing as a free lunch and setting up and launching an online business will not result in millions of visitor flocking to your website instantly and making you fabulously wealthy in the process.
Get Rich Quick Schemes are Scams
Give me $10 dollars for every online webinar that promotes software that automates online sales that generate thousands of dollars a day and I’d be instantly wealthy.
There are literally thousands of ‘get rich quick schemes’ online at any one time and each will delude you into thinking that their product is going to help you give up your mundane job and retire on a super yacht within the next few months.
Ask yourself this… “If it’s so easy to make money with their software or other type of product, why are they selling it?” People by their very nature rarely give away secrets on how to make money; they keep it too themselves and make money.
During a piece of research I signed up to TrafficTravis.com. I didn’t sit in on the ‘live’ online webinars I simply waited for an email with a link to the full webinar.
So far I’ve listened to five and they all follow the same theme; that it over an hour of talking about how they have developed a new type of software than can generate vast sums of money on autopilot.
These types of webinars are nothing more than a sales pitch in order to lure the gullible into buying into their scam and the only ones that will ever make money from this software is those who are peddling it.
After sitting for over an hour listening to the creators of the software and regaling stories of those customers that have used it and made vast fortunes the killer punch line is then always delivered… ‘For the next 30 minutes you can get your hands on this incredible money making opportunity at a discount of 50% so act now.’
I guarantee you if you visit the website promoting the software a month later it will still be available as the discounted rate; it’s standard practice to get those gullible individuals to buy while all the glorious visions of being wealthy are still fresh in the mind.
Remember the only people making money out of these scams is the software owners and those running the webinar. If you do engage in making a purchase you will have joined the long list of gullible customers that these scammers target.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
If you are truly serious about making money from an online venture then you must remove the mist of delusion that all online business owners are wealthy.
I have a number of friends that run successful online business and each and every one of them will tell you that their success has been the result of years of hard work.
The second part to the title of this section is – ‘But Rome was burned to the ground in a day.’ This is design to show that if you are complacent about your online business then while it may take you years to build you can destroy it far easier.
The most vital element to your online business is your visitors and if you fail to give them what they want then you will quickly discover that your business will crumble quicker than a cookie being dipped in scolding hot coffee.
Engaging your visitors must be paramount if you want them to stick around and importantly keep returning.
Regardless to what you want to do online you must provide your visitors with a reason to stay on your website and keep them coming back for more.
The rule here is that you must ensure you are NEVER complacent about what your visitors want and you must deliver to their demands.
It Takes Real Effort and Hard Work
Above I said that engaging your visitors is paramount, which it is, and the way to do this is to keep your content fresh, useful and entertaining.
If you intend to sell a product then you need to continuously come up with new products. If you write content, as I do, then you must continuously write new and useful content that will engage your visitors.
The mistake I often see is that a web owner will try to please all of the people all of the time and yet this is simply an impossible task. You need to focus on your visitors that like what you provide and in doing so let them become ambassadors for your website.
If you look closely at social networking then you will quickly discover that your fans will spread the word and in return you will get more visitors.
If you produce content that you don’t sell, such as running a website that displays your photography as a portfolio or produces articles of interest, then don’t worry about any criticism that you may experience.
One of the best ways to engage visitors is through a ‘comments’ board on each page you produce that allows visitors to express their views and opinions.
Not all comments are going to be complimentary and therefore you need to have thick skin. I’ve had visitors tell me that my writing style is awful or they have admonished me for getting my facts wrong (in their opinion).
What you should do is to take time to respond to the comments, especially those who leave less than favourable comments. Note that you will always get internet trolls who are just trying to bait you into an angry response but whatever you do refrain from hitting back.
If someone doesn’t like what you’ve written that’s their prerogative and you need to accept that we all have differing opinions and views. However if someone does leave a negative comment you should politely respond by asking for more information; especially if they tell you that your facts are wrong.
This exercise can turn a negative visitor experience into a positive one and I have many regular visitors through this particular exercise.
Producing content can be a stressful and deflating task. I can’t count how many times I have written and article that I thought would get a lot of interest and yet it failed miserably. It is a hit a miss affair and I’ve written articles that I envisaged were a little too personal to get any interest and yet it was the exact opposite.
Producing content is really about perseverance and being able to continuously come up with something new. Therefore it takes real effort and hard work and if you are not prepared to engage in either then you will fail before you start.
Google is NOT Your Friend
Once again… If I had a dollar. The misconception of running an online business is that with proper Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Google will send you millions of visitors is a complete myth and one that is carefully crafted by those selling SEO services.
Google has a number of guidelines that it states webmasters must follow if they want their content indexed in Google search.
Unfortunately these guidelines are somewhat blurred as Google continuously updates its indexing algorithms in order to penalize rankings for websites it considers ‘low quality’.
I recently met a young guy who had been running his online business for six months and he said that his website must be of poor quality because Google doesn’t send him any visitors through search and he can’t even find his content when he undertakes a Google search.
Google, in many people’s view, has taken upon itself to ‘police’ the web and anything it feels is low quality it will penalize. Therefore Google is NOT your friend and getting a decent ranking is extremely difficult to do; regardless of what the so-called SEO experts may tell you.
When you first launch your online business Google is not going to index your content immediately but you can open a Google Webmaster account and submit your website for indexing.
Even when your website is indexed by Google don’t expect a flurry of regular visitors. Google will not allow you to rank for high profile keywords and it can take years of hard work and producing unique and quality content before this happens – if ever.
Remember the competition for ranking high in search is furious and therefore Google favours websites that have been around a long time with a very established reputation.
Warning: After your website has been active online for a few weeks expect to start getting emails from SEO companies. These almost always come out of India, it’s the SEO capital of the world, and they are prolific at filling up your email box with offers of pushing your rankings up the index into superstardom.
The real danger here is that most of these are only interested in your money and can and will invariably do more harm to your Google rankings than good.
There are two primary types of SEO – Black Hat and White Hat and unless you understand how SEO works then you should NOT engage the services of an SEO firm for any attempt at ‘Black Hat’ will almost certainly result in Google removing you altogether from their index on a permanent basis.
If you want my advice I would tell you to submit your website to Google and then forget about Google. You could end up spending more time trying to tweak your content for Google and as a result compromise the quality of you content; which your visitors will not appreciate.
Remember, Google is NOT your friend and Google is NOT the be-all and end-all of the web; there are other ways to attract visitors.
Start off by engaging with a few social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and StumbledUpon. Social networks are essentially run by its members; that is they propagate the content by sharing what they found and if you share your content then you will find others will do the same; therefore increasing the number of visitors to your website.
A friend of mine undertook a little experiment to see how content can or cannot flourish using Google and the Social Networks.
A small article was written: How to Rescue Dying Plants. It wasn’t an overly complicated article but it did give some very practical advice. The article was then shared on Pinterest and left for Google to index when it next crawled the website.
Here’s the results:
Day One: Google hadn’t indexed the page. Pinterest users shared the article over 700 times and delivered over 550 visitors.
Six Months Later: Google has indexed the page but it languishes on page two of the search results and therefore achieves very little in the way of driving visitors. Pinterest has now delivered over 10,000 people to the page and has been shared over 9,000 times.
This experiment was not a one off and in fact the website now pays no attention to Google, its guidelines or whether it indexes pages at all as it focuses 100% on driving traffic through the social networks which is almost instant and allows for content to be propagated to a wider audience through sharing.
Love What You Do
Finally you must have a passion for what you do. In the video interview above, Steve Jobs nailed it on the head by saying that any ‘sane’ person would never engage in business because its simply too much hard work and therefore you cannot view what you do as work but should view it as fun.
I’ve never heard a more truthful statement and while there are times I personally struggling to write something new and interesting for my readers I do manage to do so every days as I and continuously thinking of new things to write about. This leads me to believe that I am passionate about what I do and therefore love every minute – it is not work in the sense of having to get up and work a 9 to 5 just in order to put food on the table.
So, find something you truly love or you’ll quickly give up and languish with millions of other websites online.
What are your thoughts on the subject of creating a successful online business? Leave your comments below.