You know, I've been building businesses online for many, many years now, and over that time I have learned A LOT.
I was thinking about this today, and about how different me and my business is from even just a year ago, and that led to me thinking about mistakes I have made.
Now I am quite sure that I am not done with making the mistakes yet, but I wanted to share the ones I think had the biggest negative impact on my business.
The ones that slowed me down, got in my way and basically blocked me from having the result that I wanted so that perhaps you will be able to avoid the same mistakes that I made.
Now when I first started out building businesses, I wanted to create an income that would allow me to give up dentistry. I wanted to be able to set my husband and I up for a glorious future. And to be totally honest, I was totally stimulated by the challenge.
I started with traditional businesses. A dental practice, and then a bathroom renovation business.
It was the things I learned from having these businesses that drove me online and to my first rocket scientist idea of writing books.
Unfortunately, I was a little alter to ride the full Amazon wave. I had some success. Some very nice monthly commissions. Which just made it all the more depressing when that wave dumped 99% of the self-published authors onto the sand.
That let me to start trying to find other ways to create an income online, which is where the mistakes I want to discuss now began.
10 Mistakes I've Made Building My Business Online
1. Not having anything to sell
This one sounds weird I know. And I think it happened more because with my traditional businesses when I bought the business, I bought a product to sell.
In my online journey, I started trying to sell $2.99 books, and then, when I realised that was not going to predictable get me my golden future, i started learning to market online.
I bought all these courses and learned so much, but then I would get so exhausted and frustrated from implementing attraction marketing and not getting anywhere. But in reality, I wasn't actually selling anything.
2. Not doing any actual money-making activity
I'm really good at creating stuff.
I have lost count of the number of membership sites and websites I have created. Of the business ideas I came up with, of the branding I did.
Each time one failed to produce an income I would discard it and move on…
But the truth was that any of those businesses would have worked if I knew what I know now.
The truth was I was getting exhausted in the creating, and lost in the need for perfection, but I was never actually doing money-making activity.
I was never relationship building or putting my stuff out there, I was caught up in the lie of, If you create it, they will come.
So when they didn't come, I would move on.
3. Thinking I could have success overnight
I think anyone who has started out online has probably been guilty of this.
We expect to go from zero to hero as soon as we show up online. But the truth is that any online business where it is our services that we are selling takes time to grow.
You have to push shit uphill for a long time before you start to see the rewards.
Once you realise that and accept it, it stops being frustrating and starts getting exciting.
This is not just about what we have to offer…
it is about who we are as the person who is offering it.
And becoming the person who is strong enough, and knowledgeable enough, and tenacious enough, does not happen overnight.
4. Thinking I could just use paid ads to make it
I'm going to be totally honest. I never wanted to do the whole build-a-following thing. I just wanted to build a business.
And maybe if I had stuck to eCommerce that might have worked.
Probably not though.
But I have always been driven to help and inspire others, so I was always going to end up in the coaching arena, which meant I was always going to need to build a tribe.
Now I'm not saying that paid marketing doesn't work, it does, but if you are a one-trick pony, with nothing online to back up what you are saying in your ads, then chances are the return on investment is going to be low, and your ad spend high.
You need to create social proof to give people confidence in you once they come across you in your ads.
Maybe you might get lucky the first time you try an ad campaign. But if you take that whiff of success, and build your entire business on that, it is really only a single tactic that you are using to build your business…
Which is dangerous!!!!
I realise now that organic exposure is a crucial part of the foundation of your business. You need to be able to make an income doing that consistently and reliably before you even think about scaling with ads.
Either that, or be prepared to lose a lot of your hard-earned income.
5. Not having systems
So once I realised paid ads weren't going to get me to where I wanted to be, and that I needed to be showing up consistently online, I went into a bit of a tailspin.
I didn't want to do it.
The thought of having to create new content every day was sucking my soul.
I was staring down the gun of giving up on my dreams when I had an idea about an easy way I could start to create content.
Which led to my initial social media system.
Since then I have built out system after system, which I then gleefully am able to hand over to my VA's.
I actually get a kick out of the whole content creation thing because of these systems.
More about that later…
6. Not giving value
This links back to my mental friction about creating content. I knew I had so much that I could help people with, and then I was confused by the fact that they didn't know it.
I would be putting out CTAs to jump on my calendar and then wondering why no-one was taking me up on the offer when in reality I had never given them a reason to.
Now I'm concentrating more on the giving value part, and less on the CTA part.
Yes, there will be CTA's, but at the moment I realise I need to nurture my audience and show them how much I have to offer them.
The bonus of this is that I am no longer making my past success mean anything about me. I realise this is a process, and that knowledge has freed me up to work faster, more efficiently and to be more excited about what I am doing.
7. Not networking
I have facial blindness. It means I don't recognise people's faces unless I know them really well.
(Seriously, my early dating years were like a series of blind dates!!!)
Now, I didn't realise this was an actual thing to a few years ago when I saw an article on it. While it was a relief to finally understand what the hell had been going on for the past 45 years, I was also able to look back and see how I had naturally shied away from networking because of it.
Walking into a room full of people you have met before and not recognising any of them can be pretty embarrassing.
Anyhoo – I digress.
This fear of networking flowed over into the online space, and was probably one of the things that drove me to paid ads.
But the truth was that I didn't actually start seeing real growth in my business, and myself, until I started networking with others who were on the same journey, and even better, who were ahead of me.
When the only people you socialise with are your friends and family who don't understand what you are trying to do, and just don't get why you would want to do it, then you are tying a sea anchor to your ankle.
When you hang out with like-minded people you get to see that what you want to achieve is actually very possible. That made a huge difference to me.
I'm not saying you shouldn't hang out with friends and family who don't get it. You should absolutely. They are your friends and your family!!!
But don't let their comments drag you down, and don't feel the need to defend yourself to them if they just don't get it. Just ask them to support you in your crazy journey. Buy them some cheerleader pom-poms and a bag of popcorn.
And make sure you find a group of people who fill up your entrepreneur tank to spend time with. You aren't going to get this sort of group just by buying courses.
Which brings me to my next mistake.
8. Just buying courses
I admit it. For a long time there I was totally addicted to online courses. A bit like a junky, I would watch a webinar with a sweat breaking out on my forehead, wanting whatever it was they were going to pitch at the end before I even knew what it was, and then feeling ill as I waited to hear how much it was.
Like a wild horse, I would shy away from any sort of one-on-one mentoring.
And then one day, I sat down and looked at all the courses I had bought, and I tallied up what they had cost me…
And then I went and lay down for a while.
I was well up towards the 6 figures, and all I has was a heap of tactics with no idea of what I should be doing.
I didn't have any support…
I didn't have anyone to bounce my ideas off…
I was very very alone.
And then was when I realised if I was to get to where I wanted to, I was going to have to do more than just a course. I was going to have to get some coaching and a mentor.
I jumped in a little too deep initially and spent a lot of money on a program which did not give me what was promised.
But it didn't matter. Because I had gotten something so much more important.
I realised that I believed in myself. And that I was worth it. And that changed everything.
Since that day I have sought out the higher end coaching programs and worked with mentors to get me to where I want to go. Because I realise that the most important thing I can invest my money in is me.
9. Not working on my mindset
I'm a pretty driven person. So when everybody else was blah-blahing on about the importance of mindset, I was just getting shit done.
But the thing was that after a while, I realised that the shit I was getting done was not giving me the results I wanted. Which got me thinking…
Why when I wanted something so bad that it hurt, and I was working so hard, was it just not happening for me?
I started working with a hypnotherapist and soon it all became clear.
Even while on the surface I believed I could do it, underneath the surface layer I didn't.
I actually thought that the universe was against me and that I was cursed never to succeed.
(Yes, those words actually came out of my mouth. 😉 )
It was like trying to swim against a strong current. No matter how hard I tried I wasn't getting anywhere because that belief that I was doomed to fail meant I was self-sabotaging.
Now I meditate, am studying and doing hypnotherapy, and I spend time doing yoga and things that allow me to connect with myself.
Before I was a rat on a wheel, now I am heading in the direction I want to go.
10. Not realising it was all a part of the journey
One of the most interesting things about building a business online is that it is not actually that hard. It certainly isn't rocket science, and yet so many people quit before they have success.
And while everything I spoke about above is all a part of that reason, there is one overriding thing that you need to realise.
Anyone can do the tasks required to build a large online business, but not everyone will have success.
The journey is not so much about the learning what you need to do, as it is about becoming the person capable of doing it.
You need to give up on perfectionism, stop caring about the haters, build resilience and resistance, create a strong work ethic, conquer your mind, learn to create systems so you can leverage, be able to give up control to others, and realise that at the end of the day your duty is to serve at the highest level.
Once you have learned all of that, then those mundane things that you need to do on a daily basis will actually start to work.
I know when I was talking about systems I had created, I mentioned there was more on that to come. Well, I'm going to be doing a training in my Facebook Group, The Fully Booked Coach, on the Saturday the 5th December 2020, during which I am going to share my screen and show you the different systems I have created that makes creating content super easy.
All you need to do to catch that is join the group. https://donnajoyuusher.com/fully-booked-coach
We will be adding it into the Training Videos area under Units so if you don't catch it, and can't find it in the thread, you will be able to find it there.
In Your Corner