For me, creating a business has been about one part gut instinct and the rest trial and error. Early on in my career, I thankfully learned that you must be willing to pivot in order to survive in business. It doesn’t matter if you work in the corporate world, or as a solopreneur, keeping current in your knowledge and being willing to change course in your journey is key to remaining marketable. I’ve learned so many things over the last 25+ years in my career, but three things that I wish I knew when I created my first online business are:
1) The pretty stuff doesn’t matter
I got so hung up on finding the right company name, URL, logo, and website colors. So much so, that I simply couldn’t take any action until I had those decisions made. I felt that until I got those things in place, I wouldn’t FEEL like a real business or entrepreneur.
Now looking back, I was embracing the “fake it -till you make it” mentality a little too much. I was letting my lack of decisions in the “pretty things” become barriers to action. My advice is to spend your time on providing valuable information to your potential clients / customers. Whether you are an online shopping space or a consultant, connections are key and providing value will be the way to make them.
2) Narrow your scope
When stepping into the entrepreneur lifestyle, I cast as wide of a net as possible. I thought that I needed to appeal to all people. I reasoned that this was the way to bring in the money. My logic was providing something for everyone would equate to dollars here with this group and dollars with that one. The actual result was that I was spread super thin and my messaging didn’t resonate with anyone.
Narrowing your scope to one specific, fantastic customer type will make a better connection and any other potential customers, who somewhat meet those characteristics, will come along too.
3) Technology will change very quickly so don’t commitment long term
The online business world moves at an increasingly rapid rate. For those moving from the traditional (aka slow to change) business world to the online fast as lightening life of an entrepreneur on the World Wide Web, the pace is daunting. Early on, I thought my choices of long term commitments for hosting, URL vendors, and online software providers were smart.
This is where the cash conscious entrepreneur should save her pennies right? That’s wasn’t the case for me. The flood of online providers is increasing and the options for the newer, faster, better options for technology and online tools increases daily. I’m not advocating that you invest in all the pretty, shiny objects you see online, but to simply keep in mind that what is cheapest (and usually comes with long term commitments or contracts) is not always the best. What you may find is that to stay current, you must remain with an outdated antiquated option for an extra year or two before you can move to the newer more improved one.