5 Lessons Learned While Growing My Online Business

When I worked as a reservation agent for a wholesale travel agency I learned that you could make money online. I knew that you could create websites and make money but it never even occurred to me that you could do something else.

Then one day I landed on a post that talked about creating articles, putting them online and making money that way. The slant was that it was so easy even a bum could do it. It was even called Bum Marketing.

The seed was planted and I became obsessed with using the internet to make money. I always wanted to be my own boss so this resonated with me on a deep level.

So that day many, many years ago the overnight success started. 🙂 I had plenty of starts of what I’d do – brainstorming and coming up with ideas was the best thing in the world. It let me dream and dream big.

But that’s as far as it went – pen to paper – for quite a few years.

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At the time I had absolutely zero confidence in myself and so dreaming was all that I could do.

Then like most things life got in the way. I filed this dream of working online for myself into my heart for later and went about my life. Every once in awhile I’d brainstorm new ideas.

Then in 2009 at 8+ months pregnant I was laid off from my job. It sounds awful and the company might have been firing me because I was pregnant but that wasn’t the case.

They were a small travel company and couldn’t compete with the deals that people could get on the internet. So they were in the first phase of closing their doors and I happen to be part of that.

After I had my child I became a caregiver for my mom, but that was only a few hours a week. So I paid someone to come into my home and watch my son so that I could work on my business.

I learned a lot but I still didn’t make anything.

When I first started everything about working online stressed me out and was “hard”. I wasn’t sure what to write, how to write it or even where to put it. I followed, read and emulated so many people in those early days and still nothing.

I finally got a little traction when I found Squidoo. I’d create Squidoo pages and earn a few dollars but that success was AMAZING! 🙂 Then Squidoo closed their doors and I had to go back to the drawing board.

After a few more years I landed on something that was interesting and held a fascination for me – done-for-you content.

I had to go through all of this to get to where I’m at. There are so many things that I’ve learned during my journey.

1. Have To Be Ready

I think this is the biggest one.

You might want to make money online but until you’re completely ready and willing to do the work and stop making excuses you’re not going to get anywhere.

I honestly didn’t believe in myself or think that I could do it.

2. Faith

You’ve got to have faith that whatever you decide to do will work. This is extremely hard especially when you’re not making any money.

Faith also works when you’re switching gears. Over the last few years, I’ve built a business of done-for-you products and I know that works. I have assets (my products), I have a blog, I have customers and I have an audience – now I’m switching gears to a lifestyle blog and I’m starting from scratch.

Some of the same people might come over to my new blog and become my audience because they’ve got to know me but right now I have absolutely zero. This is where faith comes in.

Faith that the time, effort and love that goes into my blog will work.

3. Focus

You’ve got to focus wholeheartedly on one thing and work it until it takes off. Don’t switch from thing to thing. This can be extremely hard when you’re not seeing any results from all of your hard work.

It is so easy and tempting to start something new. Don’t do it. It is easier to continue to build your audience, your list, and your assets than it is to switch and start from scratch each time.

4. Work On Your Mindset

Creating a healthy mindset is essential because owning your own business is not easy. There are decisions to be made, challenges that are going to come, failures right around the corner and you’re going to have to crawl, walk and sprint through it all. When you fall you’ll have to dust yourself off, get up and keep moving forward.

Owning a business reminds me of homeschooling and parenting – the doubt never goes away. 🙂 You’re going to doubt yourself at every turn. Is this the right decision? Well, what if I do this instead? Should I move my business in this direction or would this one be better?

You’ve got to learn to make the best decisions and then if you’ve given them a try and they’re not producing the results you want – change what you’re doing.

5. You’ve Got To Do The Work

This might seem obvious but you’ve got to put yourself out there and do the work that is required. Unfortunately, there is no easy button.

When I was struggling the most I was determined to do everything with shortcuts. It took me years to realize that there aren’t any.

If you’re going to outsource – you’ve got to know what you’re doing first. The only way to do that is if you do it first. This was my biggest obstacle. I thought I’d just tell someone what I wanted and they’d do it for me. I’m not sure why but it NEVER worked out. 🙂

I’m not sharing all of this to discourage you from trying. Those that read this and still decide they want to go forth will likely see success.

I remember when I was working in the travel industry one of the people I worked with would always tell people not to get into that line of work because it is hard to get into and the pay wasn’t great. He would go into more detail. People that were interested in becoming a travel agent were shocked but he said he did it because only the passionate people who had a love for travel would continue and if what he said deterred people they weren’t right for the job. He is completely right.

When I first started online I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t try to earn money this way but now I do. Some people want the security of a job, some people don’t want to do all the work required and some people don’t have the desire.

If this is your passion you’ll get it done regardless of the challenges that you face.

Even though there are periods of time that are extremely challenging I wouldn’t trade what I do. If I don’t like something instead of changing a job I can change what I’m doing online. Plus I’ve created a lifestyle that offers us a flexible schedule. As long as I do the work – it doesn’t matter when. That means I can get up before my son and get my work tasks done so that when he gets up we can have breakfast together, do schoolwork and then visit our friends.

This didn’t happen overnight and I still work on it daily, but a few years to get that type of flexibility is amazing.

~April

P.S. What tips would you share about getting started online?

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