Now, I know what you’re probably thinking…
“Wow, that title is soo original. Like I’ve never seen an article, claiming to know the ‘#1 secret to success’ …what’s up all the clickbait these days?”
First, allow me to say: your thoughts (and objections) are valid. There are oodles of articles all over the web that talk about what you should do in order to run a successful online business—and usually, their conclusion is that you should either “try really hard” or, if you don’t feel like trying, then take their unique and powerful “success program” for making “tens of thousands per month” without breaking a sweat …for $99.99/month. Heck, they even throw in a money back guarantee if it doesn’t work. Seems legit, right? Yeah sure.
Let’s just say, you’re probably better off trying really hard. Yet still, there are also oodles of online home business owners out there that also tried really hard and got nowhere. So what defines a successful internet home business, and a not-so-successful one? Well, that’s what we’re about to discuss. But first, I’d like to know a few things about you and what you want out of all this, before we start giving away trade secrets.
(Hint: the secret isn’t going to cost you any money, because it’s actually ridiculously simple.)
First, Let’s Ask Some Targeted Questions…
The trade secret to which I’m referring is a bit of a personal one that requires a bit of self-evaluation in order to completely understand. This is one reason why it’s necessary to ask a few questions and draw a few subsequent conclusions, before divulging. My reasoning is that, running an online home business is made up of equal parts business venture and lifestyle preferences. Meaning that we’ve got to cover two main factors here:
1. Zeroing in on the brainy-business side of your plan to run a home business.
2. Fully grappling with your heart-based lifestyle reasons for running a home business and assessing those reasons for their seaworthiness.
Because becoming an entrepreneur can either be an easy cruise through the bay or a battle against the waves, depending on what constitutes both of those factors. However, here’s what I’m not going to say in this article…
● Running a home business is not an excruciatingly difficult process that only the savviest business minds can handle. It’s actually quite intuitive to human nature, once you learn the ropes. Not everybody can do it, but most people probably could if they were so inclined.
● If you are running a home business, and you feel like it’s nothing but easy money and martinis by the pool, then you might want to look into the legality of said business model. Just saying, but good people can accidentally bumble into some strange schemes (that are run by some not-so-good people).
With that out of the way, let’s get down to the questions…
Why Do You Want to Start an Online Business?
Pawel Reszka of Lifehack Money posed a very interesting point, which makes a ton of sense. Essentially, if an internet business was simply a matter of finances and mechanics, then there would be very few cases in which a startup doesn’t succeed. But of course, that’s not the case:
“…the “how” of Internet business isn’t important – there are enough different Internet business models out there to suit any particular combination of strengths and weaknesses. What really matters is the “why” – that is, why you should consider pursuing online business in the first place.”
There is no real wrong answer to this particular question, because the answer will vary from person to person. If anything, this comes down to the power that a future small business owner places behind the “why”. It could be anything from the desire to stay at home with the kids or that you’d rather be your own boss—and many successful entrepreneurs have been driven by both reasons.
Ultimately, the power behind your “why” must overcome the risk factors and personal time/energy investments inherent to running an online business.
What Are Your Expectations From Your Online Business?
As I said before, if you’re expecting your small business idea to manifest a jet-set lifestyle in a month or so, then you may want to reevaluate, unless you just discovered a chest of gold coins whilst deep sea diving last week (and if that’s the case, then have at it!). On the other hand, it’s important to visualize your expectations and really evaluate what you think will happen once your online store or service becomes publically available for purchase.
In some cases, the business turns out to require a truckload more work and time than previously expected. In other cases, it’s not so bad.
Depends on the business. Depends on the owner. Depends on cash flow and scheduling …and that is going to influence your profit margins and if those are going to sustain the lifestyle that you’re accustomed to…
According to Suzanne Kearns, blogger for QuickBooks,
“Technically, when your revenues exceed your expenses, you’re making a profit. But there’s profit and then there’s profit. The phrase “ramen profitable” describes a business owner who is barely making enough to earn a small salary and pay living expenses.”
Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you have a very solid understanding of scheduling, because that will dictate how and what can be accomplished in a day. If your business idea will have you working 70 hours a week, and that sched isn’t something that appeals to you, then it’s back to the drawing board.
What Makes Your Home Business Idea a Winner? (Because Losing Ideas Are Everywhere)
Honestly, the longer I’ve been in business, the more I feel like this question is a bit overrated. Necessary, but overrated. So, I’ll just move through this one quickly.
Now is the time when you evaluate your business idea, and see if it’s something that can remain solvent in the marketplace. One reason why I feel as though this question is losing its meaning largely has to do with how the web is making the world a smaller, more accessible place. Obviously, completely off-the-wall ideas may need a little tweaking, but 2016 has offered us a marketplace in which two brothers can create a profitable online ‘prank candle company’. I am not making this up: for $11.95, you can purchase a candle that starts of smelling like pine trees and then starts smelling like a skunk, because the internet is hilarious!
But let’s just start off with the basics. Forbes Contributor, Shawn O’Connor, put it brilliantly in his article, Step 3 For a Successful Startup: The Importance of Market Research, when he wrote:
“The potential market for your products or services can be defined as the pool of consumers or businesses who would consider purchasing them. In other words, they have a need that your business might help them address.”
Because of the internet, online home businesses now have a “pool” of customers that’s the size of the entire web-connected world, and if your idea can solve a problem, fill a need—whether artistic or utilitarian—then your customers await your opening. If anything, your business’s win comes down to your willingness to make it happen. Which brings us to our next question…
Are Your Daily Rituals Going to Allow You to Succeed?
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney
If I had to pick the most important question from them all, this would have to be it. Sounds strange, true, but I have to ask: what are your daily, weekly, and monthly rituals? Now, here’s how I would define what a “ritual” is…
A ritual is a minor, single activity that has become embedded in your lifestyle, which occurs on a regular basis, thereby affecting major and multiple outcomes throughout the course of your life.
For instance, one ritual may be one in which you always wake up at 5am and immediately head to the gym to work out for an hour—or, your ritual is to stay up until 4am, smartphone surfing Facebook until you find yourself asleep on the couch at 1pm. Also, you may have many rituals that regulate the timing of your day, or your rituals may deregulate that timing.
Whatever the case may be, we all have rituals, and those rituals will always define our ability to succeed. You may have the most solvent business idea known to the global marketplace, but if your rituals sap your energy, your drive, and disorient your ability to manage the MASSIVE project of running a small online business, then success will probably not come easily.
This is one reason why the CEOs of…
…all wake up at the crack of dawn, around 5am, to get a head start on their day. Chances are, they were probably doing that before they got to where they are today. Here’s a bit more explanation from an influence of mine, Anthony Robbins:
[Embed video: https://youtu.be/8ngClfVU950]
Granted, you might only be looking to run a blog or an Etsy business, selling homemade eco-friendly dolls that look like astronauts, and not looking to run the next Yahoo. Either way, successful people don’t make strong rituals; strong rituals make successful people.
If It Were So Easy, Then Why Isn’t Everyone Doing It?
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” -Confucius
This question is one that also sticks out from the bunch, because it doesn’t ask something from us, but instead, it causes us to take a look at the world of online business and how we might fit into it. Extrapolating on my last point about the rituals, let’s get past one of THE MOST COMMON misconceptions about running an online business: it’s easier than being employed.
How does all this connect?
Running a small online home business is not easier than being employed. If anything, it probably constitutes the same amount of effort, except now, what you’re gaining in freedom will be accompanied by risk and responsibility. You create your own schedule, but that schedule will determine the success or failure of your company, and with it, your income and standard of living.
So again, this comes down to rituals. One of the absolute best ways to ensure your success, as an online entrepreneur, is to realize that small incremental steps are what create big steps; however, big steps are what most people erroneously use to identify a successful business. A small business owner makes a million dollars in profit because they got good at all those little tedious details that had to be done every single day. They committed themselves to strong rituals and never stopped accumulating small wins before 7pm, for 5 days a week…
…and likely put in only a little more effort and time, as they would if they were employed. Except now, it’s on their terms, and that is something to be proud of.
Alrighty, it’s taken awhile, but we’re now ready to divulge the great secret:
Your value of time will determine your business’s success.
Time can never be returned and it’s always spent, which is why employers make you trade it for money. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, trade money so that they can leverage their time. For instance, if we were to compare, hour-for-hour over the course of a career, an entrepreneur’s time-value, it will increase exponentially, whereas an employed person’s time-value will only increase when their boss deemed them worthy of a raise.
All those questions come down to figuring out if your business idea’s risk- and startup-investment can be overcome by the “why”, and if that “why” can keep you working just as hard as you would if you were employed. The secret to success lies between those two “why” factors, because that’s what will define your daily rituals, and if you’re simply spending time …or investing it.
So that’s my take on the #1 secret to internet home business success, but do you have any secrets of your own that you’d like to share? Feel free to leave a comment below and tell us about it!
And as always: keep it savvy, my friends.