EPP 088: 10 Big Mistakes To Avoid As A Beginner Online Entrepreneur

In this week’s episode of the Extra Paycheck Podcast we are talking about basic but very important mistakes that many beginner online entrepreneurs make.

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how to start an online business

Online business can be started with almost zero investment. You don’t really need to buy anything except a hosting plan and a domain name which will set you back only a $100 at most. However, just like any traditional business you will have to put in a lot of effort and time into building and growing your business online.

I know that you might be freaking out because you aren’t sure where to begin and what to do. I know because I’ve been there. Over the past 9 years I have interacted with hundreds if not thousands of online entrepreneurs on different scales of success. Unfortunately I have seen many people fail because of basic but fundamental mistakes. This is the reason I’ve decided to put out this episode this week. I will be turning this show notes page into a small post, however, to hear the full podcast episode scroll up and press the PLAY button.

How To Avoid The Mistakes That Beginner Online Marketers Make


1. Hoping for a quick buck.

If you’ve spent any time researching online business opportunities you’ve certainly stumbled upon some sites that promised instant riches and overnight millions in exchange of a simple payment of only $197 (or any other price ending with a 7). I know it sounds awesome but this kind of success simply doesn’t exist. If you need to make $4,000 in the next 30 days – go get a job or a few. You’re building a business here and success is not instant.


2. Learning everything there is to learn.

There is a lot of information available online when it comes to building an online business, starting a popular youtube channel, a profitable blog and everything in-between. Having access to information is great however it can cause a few issues. You might get sucked into the learning curve and end up learning new information for months and even years. Unfortunately all of that knowledge is useless unless you actually apply it in real life. Learned how to install WordPress? Stop right there and go install it. Learned how to create a blog post? Stop learning and go create your first blog post. Act while you’ll learning.

There is so much different information everywhere that you might simply get overwhelmed, I know I did at some point. So now you know that you need a site and content and traffic and an affiliate program but how do you put all these pieces together? You’ll need to find a person who will guide you alone or an easy to follow training. I started with the Wealthy Affiliate training in 2007 (and I am still a member there). Great online business training and support, especially for the beginners.


3. Lack of Consistency

This is a big one. Being self-employed is not a walk in the park. You’ll need to learn how to be motivated and organized. More importantly you’ll need to learn how to be consistent with everything you do. If you publish 3 new blog posts this week than don’t post anything for 2 months you won’t be seeing success any time soon. Make a schedule if you need to and follow it. Make sure you work on your business consistently. What if you showed up to your job whenever you want? Sometimes 8 hours a day, sometimes 3 hours a month – simply because you felt like it. Your boss would probably fire you and you won’t be getting a paycheck.


4. Looking for Perfection

When we’re looking for a website design or thinking of an app we want to create we tend to look for perfection. We want everything to be perfect before we even launch. And this search for perfection will do nothing else but delay our business by weeks, months and sometimes even years. I spent several months “researching” how to launch a podcast in a perfect way. I realize that I should have just launched it and think of improvements later on. All I did was lost 3-4 months. Ready. Fire. Aim. Launch your business first, improve it later.


5. Starting a business that sells everything and caters to everyone.

Let’s not kid ourselves, we won’t be able to launch the next Amazon (by the way do you know that Amazon has been out there for the past 22 years?). This is a huge mistake that many beginner entrepreneurs make. You need to find your perfect customer and come up with a perfect offer for them. You need to “niche it down”. Growing a profitable website in a small targeted niche is a lot easier than trying to build a website or a product that “everyone wants”. Trust me on this one, I’ve started a fair share of failed websites when I believed I should target everyone.


6. Monetization

Lots of folks fail to even set-up their website because they’re too concentrated on trying to monetize it. You can’t make money out of a website or a business that doesn’t even exist. Once again, launch your website, launch your business and the income will come later. You definitely MUST know how you will be making money (affiliate marketing? selling your own products? selling adspace? offering consulting?). However you need to start putting out the content and growing your brand exposure first. Also remember that these days most affiliate programs won’t even consider your application unless you can show a website that actually has content and some traffic coming in.


7. New Shiny Object Syndrome

Many of us are easily excited by new opportunities. Especially when we hear outrageous claims that we should start join the new opportunity right now. We end up jumping from one “business” to another, month after month. In the end we end up with credit card debt and no real business. Stop jumping from one business idea to another, choose your strategy and stick to it.


8. Staring a Business in an Industry We Hate

Unfortunately this happens way too often. You know that there is a lot of money to be made as a real estate broker. However, you suck at selling and you hate socializing. Would you still become a broker? Probably not. The same idea applies to your business. There is no point in starting a business in an industry that doesn’t interest you simply because it has “potential”. You can make loads of money in EVERY industry however, it’s so much easier to work in an industry that you’re actually interested in.


9. Failing at Email Marketing

“The money is in the list” – this is probably the most popular saying when it comes to online marketing. We say that because it is true. Email marketing works and you should start building your email list from day 1. You can start completely free. For only $10 per month you can also have automation (email campaigns sent out to your subscribers on autopilot). I’ll make it even easier for you, use my Mail Chimp affiliate link and when you sign up for an automation plan for $10, MailChimp will add another $30 worth of credit. I have failed starting an email list on several websites and I really regret it.

10. Getting Comfortable

Once your online business will start generating a good enough level of income you’ll feel really good about. You might even realize that the money is coming in regardless of what you’re doing. You can be making commissions while surfing the New Zealand coast, motorbiking across Vietnam or sipping cocktails in Hawaii. That feeling is awesome but most of the time it’s very deceptive. You feel like you’ve done a lot of work and finally you’re reaping the rewards (which you should be doing). However this is the worst time to STOP working on your business.

Even if you stop working your income will keep on coming in for month or even years, however the amount will start being smaller and smaller. A few months later you’ll realize that your business lost momentum and now you need to put in a full year of solid work to get it back on track. Don’t ask me how I know this 🙁

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If you do have any comments or questions, please do use the comment form below!

– Alex

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