“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
— Karen Lamb
If you want to set up an online business, now is a great time to start. Don’t let a lack of confidence stop you.
Your experience with entrepreneurship is likely to be as unique as you are. Once you take the plunge, you’ll be determined to do whatever it takes to make things work. But the fear of putting that first step into the unknown might be holding you back.
We have given you various resources to guide you into online entrepreneurship, such as this free eBook on setting up an e-store and practical tips on starting your first online business. We cannot guarantee the success of your venture; only you can do that. But we can bring you some time-tested advice that will allay your fears and give you the confidence to launch your first Web venture.
Listen To The Right People
“What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.”
— Paulo Coelho (The Witch of Portobello)
It is natural to turn to your family and friends for help when you’re facing a major decision such as starting an online business. They can give you the moral and financial support you need, but informed and reliable advice — not so much, unless of course they’re entrepreneurs themselves. You need input from others who have been there, done that.
Reach out to fellow entrepreneurs of all levels. Each one of them has some valuable insight to share with you. Networking with the right people will teach you about business technicalities, give you a sounding board for ideas, fetch you potential partners for your business, and make it easier for you to deal with obstacles and risks. Find a mentor as quickly as you can (if you’re lucky, he/she will find you first). It’s amazing how many strangers will help you and root for you if you muster the courage to contact them.
Get Your Goals In Order
“Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
— Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
If you begin without specific and measurable goals, you’re inviting trouble. As you set up shop online, the Web will lure you with endless ideas and opportunities that promise great things for your business. Like a kid in a candy store you’ll be tempted to chase down all of them. Pretty soon, you’ll end up with many unfinished side projects that weigh your original venture down or drag it in a direction that you’re not happy with. To avoid this, grab a pen and a notebook, and put into words your vision for your business and your definition of its success. Highlight what’s acceptable to you and what’s not. Ensure that your business and your lifestyle will not be at odds with each other, as such a conflict of values can be a source of stress later on.
Creating a blueprint upon which to base your business-related decisions takes your confidence level a notch higher. It reassures you that no matter what hurdles you might face on your journey, you’re already equipped to deal with them sensibly.
“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”
— Tom Hiddleston
Writer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits is a great example to demonstrate the wisdom and power of starting small. In 2006, he began blogging about the problems in his life and how he went about overcoming them. He made helping his readers top priority. Instead of dwelling negatively on the fact that he was a debt-laden individual struggling to make ends meet and provide for his large family, he focused on making tiny changes wherever he could. His efforts accumulated over time to transform his life for the better, and gave him a thriving online business. The best thing he did was start small.
In our era of glossy brands and grand gestures, it is easy to believe that the success of your business depends mainly on launching it with a big bang or having a stunning website. I’m not discounting the need for a good marketing strategy or an attractive visual identity. But there is another element that surpasses these in terms of importance — the value and quality of the product/service that you’re offering. If you strengthen this factor and nurture the core of your business, you have got the basics right.
Work On Your Skills
“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill.”
— Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull)
Competence is the most effective confidence booster, and not just in business either. Strive to gain it in every way you can. Keep your eyes and ears open for information and opportunities of every kind. Direct your efforts at learning more about your chosen field and about running a business. Invest your time in resources that enhance your understanding of entrepreneurship. These free online courses are a good place to begin. As your level of knowledge and experience increases, so does your ability to make choices that are right for you. This creates a positive cycle of good decisions, achievements, and increased confidence in yourself.
Have A Simple & Sensible Plan Of Action
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Stepping into a fast-paced arena like online entrepreneurship can be daunting to say the least. You’re bound to get cold feet at the sight of the big picture. But focusing on the enormity or difficulty of your goal will only paralyze you into inaction, and so will the ideal of perfection that you might be inclined to pursue. Negate this resistance by formulating a solid plan for your business.
Break down your major goals into manageable actions steps. Keep your destination in sight, but on a day-to-day basis, dedicate yourself to executing the next step of your plan. Before you know it, you’ll be making that first sale or signing that first contract. No matter how miniscule or insignificant this achievement seems, treasure it. It is the most positive sign that says, “You’re on the right track. You can do this.”
You Are Ready To Start Your First Online Business!
If you have the willingness to learn and experiment, you have what it takes to start an online business. Remember, your entrepreneurial achievements will be determined not by adhering closely to the rulebook (if there’s one), but by showing up and chipping away at your goals everyday.
“Know what you want, work to get it, then value it once you have it.”
— Nora Roberts
Which barriers are stopping you from starting your first online business? What measures are you taking to cross them? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: JD Hancock via Compfight cc, woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc, Steve Snodgrass via Compfight cc, pennuja via Compfight cc, FutUndBeidl via Compfight cc // All images are derivatives of their originals.