Today, I want to talk to you about five business starting tips that people don't tell you about, when you're just starting a business as an online entrepreneur.
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This is somewhat off the cuff. I'm just going to tell you, I never thought about this before, but I'm playing a new game, where I read a video idea from my VA, and I roll with it.
A lot of people talked in the past about how they like my videos where I'm somewhat off the cuff and less formal and quirky. Evidently, I'm a little quirky. I don't see it. So, that's how I thought I would do today.
And the video idea from my VA that comes directly from you, the viewers, is, what are things that they don't tell you about starting an online business and being an entrepreneur.
So, I'm going to go somewhat off the cuff. Normally, I'd have prepared comments. Not today. This is a little bit different. So let's see. What do they not tell you about being an entrepreneur? Ah, that's a tough one.
Business Starting Tip #1 – The Honeymoon Doesn't Last
I'd say number one, they don't tell you that the honeymoon doesn't last forever. Vividly, I remember first starting my first online business back in 2005. It wasn't even an online business. I don't know why I said that.
When I first started my first business back in 2005, it was actually my law firm that I started. And I remember. I mean, this is back in the days when you had to order software from someplace, and have it shipped to your house in disks, or you could buy it online. But for lawyers, you had to order disks and have it installed on your computer.
And I remember getting that software, and starting to go in and play with it. It was my case management program. It was called Time Matters, which was cutting edge technology at the time.
By the way, way overkill for what I needed in my business. That'll be number two. We're going to talk about that.
But I remember just taking time and mapping out my procedures, what I was going to do when somebody called, how I was going to handle the client when they came in, what information I was going to put into my case management program, how I was going to track everything for that client and figure all that out.
I just remember being so excited. And then setting up my webpage, I hired a web designer. Again, and something else you don't need when you're just getting started now, but just being so excited about that.
And then getting my first client. I think this guy paid me $750 bucks to defend him on a speeding ticket. It was like a reckless driving on a motorcycle. And I actually got him off. It was pretty exciting.
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What they don't tell you is, that excitement eventually wears off. And then you realize that this is what you're doing. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that really focus on one thing. And as John Lee Dumas says, “You go an inch wide and a mile deep.”
And when you do that, number one, you increase the likelihood you're going to be successful. But number two, you also get extremely bored. The burnout is real, and that happens.
So, as you're building your business, I think the number one thing that I wish I had known when I was first getting started is, that the honeymoon period will end, and eventually, things are going to get real, and they're going to get hard.
You Don't Need to Invest a Lot of $$$ to Start a Business
All right. So number two, the number two thing I would say, that they didn't tell me when I was just getting started, an entrepreneur, that I wished somebody had told me, again, goes back to when I was first starting my law firm. And that is, that you don't need to invest a lot of money in your business.
And I've talked about this in other videos, but when you're just getting started, especially today, in today's age, in 2021, when you're just getting started with your online business, you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a business coach.
You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a website. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a copywriter. And you don't need to spend all these money on even the legal aspects of starting your business.
You don't need an LLC, you don't need a trademark, you don't need all these things.
All you need, quite literally, is this smartphone, your mind and your work ethic. That's what you need to get started with your business. Maybe a laptop. I think a laptop would probably also be helpful. But I don't really know anybody that doesn't have a laptop these days. Pretty much everyone does.
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If you've got those things, and you've got a good idea. Now, is that good idea going to translate into a business? I don't know. And the only way to tell is to test it and get out there and meet people virtually or whatever, however you're going to do it, and start working on your business. That's what it's going to take.
But you don't need all this other stuff. And I really wish that somebody had sat me down and explained to me, when I was just getting started, that, “Jim, you don't need to spend $300 on stationery.” I think I actually spent $700 on stationary, but who's counting?
You're Going to Fail. A LOT.
All right. Number three. I would say number three is, that you're going to fail. You're going to fail. It's going to happen. Put your head around it right now, you're going to fail.
You're not just going to fail once. You're going to fail more than once.
Think about how some of the most successful baseball players in history, who batted 300, or even 400. Do you know what that means? That means that they failed, six or seven times, out of 10, that they stepped up to the plate.
So, you need to understand, that when you are starting a business, and you're launching a business, or you're doing a product launch, or you're doing a webinar training, or you're doing a challenge launch, or whatever you're doing.
When you go out and just trying to launch that product or service to the world for the first time, you're going to fail. It's going to happen. You find me an entrepreneur that hasn't failed, and I'll find you a liar, because it just doesn't happen.
Last year, I started this program called the Online Business Legal Toolkit, where we teach my lock-it-down legal protection system. We take worried entrepreneurs and put them into legally legit CEOs.
I first launched that program about three or four years ago, maybe five years ago, as the Entrepreneur's Law School. It was a flop. I think I got three or four people in. It failed, hardcore.
But I learned a lot from that launch. And I learned a lot from that, about why it failed and what I could do differently when I launched this time. I think that's the third thing that you really need to understand is that, when you're just getting started with your online business, you are going to fail multiple times.
But the nice thing is about your failures, is that you're going to learn from those failures, and you're going to get better. You'll become a better business owner as a result. And it's only from failing that you're going to have true success in your business. Yeah, I think that's good.
Beware of Shiny Objects
Number four. Can I come up with five of these? It's really hard. I'd say the the fourth thing that I wish somebody had told me when I was just getting started, and people probably did tell me this, but I don't think I really listened, is beware of shiny objects.
And what do I mean by that? So, I already kind of alluded to this. The way to be successful is to go an inch wide and a mile deep. If you go a mile wide and an inch deep, you're never going to be successful in your business.
And that's what happens when you find yourself gravitating towards what I would call “shiny objects”. Now, what is a shiny object?
So, right now, I have a course platform in place. I use ClickFunnels (affiliate link) for my landing pages and templates. I use ConvertKit (affiliate link) for my emails. And I'm pretty well set. I've got these systems in place, and they do what they're supposed to do.
Yesterday my business coach, brought up this other program that does all three of those things, as a possible option to transition to.
That is called a shiny object.
I took about five minutes looking at the program. And honestly, if I was just getting started, maybe the software that he was sharing with us would have been a good option, if I was just getting started.
But I'm not just getting started. I'm in the middle of things. I'm going to be launching my course here again in a few weeks. I have my emails dialed in. I have my follow-up sequences dialed in. And I have my landing pages written. All these stuff is in place.
If I were to switch over to a new program right now, it would derail everything I'm working on in my business. And it would cost me a lot of time. It'll cost me a lot of money. And potentially, it wouldn't even work. Beware of the shiny objects.
It doesn't matter what project management software you use. I use ClickUp. It's free. Asana has a free version. Trello has a free version. It doesn't matter. Pick one and use it. Don't go back and forth from different software to different software. Find a landing page.
Find a course platform or an email software. If for some reason you love MailChimp, I don't know why you would, I used it, I found it to be really hard, then use MailChimp. If you like ConvertKit (affiliate link) or ActiveCampaign, then use one of those. Pick one, go with it.
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My point being, don't get caught up in the idea that you always need to be looking for the next best thing. Because it doesn't matter. None of this stuff matters. It matters what works for you. Pick one, go with it. Might just save a couple bucks here or there, if you switched to another one. Yeah, you might. But you also might waste weeks or months of time that you could spend on launching another product, or selling more of what you already have. That's number four,
The Only Way to Fail is to Give Up
Number five. Last tip. What I wish people had told me when I was just getting started with my online business. Oh man, this is hard.
I wish somebody had told me that the only way that you won't be successful at this, is if you give up. Because if you don't give up, if you keep pushing forward, and you keep pushing through those failures, and you ignore all the shiny objects, and you do the things that you need to do to move your business forward, eventually you will be successful.
And the reason I say this is, I've talked about this before, I believe, on the channel. Or maybe I haven't. But if I haven't, I'm going to talk to you about it now.
When I first got started with this YouTube channel, I was actually getting some traction on the channel. And then, I stopped posting, not for a month, not for two months, not for six months, not for a year. I stopped posting videos to this channel for over two years. Over two years, I stopped posting videos to this channel.
When I did that, I lost a lot of momentum. I lost a lot of, probably, subscribers. Even though I was getting new subscribers, it didn't matter. I'm sure I lost other people who forgot who I was.
I lost a lot of opportunity to really grow the channel, to grow the business.
And I just think about, every time I think, the two years that I stopped posting videos on this channel, and stopped really working at all on this channel, where I would be two years from now, if I continued to post every single week, like I do now?
That, I wish somebody had told me back then and say like… I wish somebody had slapped me and said, “Jim, don't give up. Don't stop. Keep going.”
Because here's the thing, you don't know what's going to work and what's not going to work. And when you give up and you stop and go back to your regular job or pivot to another business that maybe you think will work better, even though you haven't gotten successful with the one you're working on now, that's where your business is going to fail.
There's an actual a word for what I went through, and the reason I stopped posting. And Seth Godin talks about it. He says that's “the dip”, right? You go into this dip, where you think it's insurmountable. You think you're never going to get out the other side. And if you stop, you won't ever get out the other side. You're going to be stuck in the barrel of this dip, in the gutter of this dip, and you're never going to go anywhere.
I wish somebody had told me to just keep climbing, and to keep climbing towards the other side, because eventually, you will get out of the dip, and then your business is going to go. And nobody told me that, and I wish they had. And that's probably the best thing that I can leave you with today.
In the meantime, I've got another video right here that talks about some of the mistakes I've made as an online entrepreneur.