I just had a baby. Well, I didn’t but my wife did. She’s 3 1/2 weeks old (the baby, not my wife), so I completely understand that starting a business, once you’re rooted, is difficult. This article isn’t going to be fluff that tries to motivate you… only you can motivate yourself.
But I’m going to outline the primary reasons people never get around to starting their own online business and, through my experiences and infinite wisdom, help you conquer them.
Whether you’re unemployed with zero kids or working 60 hours a week with 6 kids, you should be able to use at least some of these practices to get started.
When you’re finished, I highly recommend going through my complete (free) Guides On Building A Profitable Online Business, which covers everything from start to finish.
Table of Contents
- No Business Experience
- No Good Idea
- No Money
- No Time
- No Technical Knowledge
- No Marketing Knowledge
- Get Started
Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of losing money, or just an overwhelming apprehension that you can’t handle it, this is the number one reason people don’t launch their business.
I just went to the dentist for the first time in 12 years. Gross, I know. By far the most difficult part was to pick up the phone and call followed by actually going in. On their new patient questionnaire, I basically said I’m an enormous wimp and please just be gentle and treat me like I’m 5. The doctor, in the first few minutes of meeting her, said, “congratulations, you took the biggest step.”
And she was right. It’s absolutely true that you just need to do it. Let go of all of your fears and the unknowns, and get started. In 2022, you can do this for very little money so there’s no reason to fear catastrophic failure.
I’ve had 8 websites I’d consider successful, and I sold 6 of them ranging from low 6 figures to mid 7 figures. I have about 30 websites that failed, made nothing, and are buried in the Internet graveyard. And here’s the thing – if only 1 or 2 of them were successful, I’d still have the financial freedom I have today.
Launch, launch, and launch again. Stop fearing it… it’s a website.
No Business Experience
I was actually surprised to learn through a friend of mine that “setting up a business” is a huge deterrent for people. I legitimately assumed everyone knew, for the sake of an online business, this is really simple.
In fact, I ran my first few hundred thousand dollars through simply my name. It turns out, yes, you as an individual can just make money and pay the nice people at the IRS their fair share. It wasn’t until a little later that I learned the legal benefits of an LLC. I also learned the word LLC even scares people:
- What is it?
- Do I need a lawyer?
- How do I know if it’s done right?
The legal world, in my view, is deliberately scary so that the layperson just pays a lawyer. While I don’t recommend this, I’ve actually sold two websites – $174,000 and $120,000, respectively – with no lawyer. Probably a dumb idea in hindsight, but I was very cheap and they were very straightforward deals.
As far as an LLC, just use LegalZoom. There are probably better competitors at this point, but they work and it’s really easy. You even have access to a network of lawyers if you have questions. But the bottom line is, you pick the name of your LLC, a registered agent (the entity that can accept tax and legal documents on your behalf… LegalZoom offers this), and fill in the blanks.
But again, this can come later. “Starting a business” is not scary anymore. There is no crazy thing that’s going to happen that puts you out there in all your cluelessness for the world to point and laugh.
No Good Idea
I’m particularly proud of my guide on How To Nail The Perfect Website Idea, so there’s the shameless plug.
I’ve spoken with so many people who have no confidence and tell me, “I just don’t have a big idea.”
Are you trying to build a jet that can fly Tokyo to New York in 2 hours, or are you trying to become financially free so that you can live the life you want? If it’s the former, that’s awesome and I hope you succeed, but I’m guessing it’s the latter.
You don’t need a blockbuster, world-changing idea to be successful. You need one good idea that solves a problem for one sect of people. That’s all.
Start by looking inward at what you know and what you love. When you’re in a free flowing conversation with a friend, what can’t you stop talking about? What do you think about during the down times? What are your hobbies and passions? Every single one of these is an idea.
Here’s a secret that is probably not a secret at all: you don’t have to be first and you don’t have to be the best in order to be successful. When you think about who invented the first car, you might think of Henry Ford. He actually wasn’t first at all nor was he even the best – he just brought it to the United States better than anyone else at the time.
There’s an incredible lack of confidence in aspiring business owners because they don’t feel like they’re smart enough. Most successful people online aren’t experts at anything other than learning how to position the information they’re passionate about in the right way.
Don’t let your knowledge or education stop you. There are no rules when it comes to who can start a business about any topic.
In the year 2000 or so when I was 18, I would read infinite books on making money in real estate. It was the most viable path to financial freedom that I could find, so I consumed myself with it. It requires money to get into the real estate game no matter what the fake gurus say, so part of my path was to incessantly save money until I could afford at least a down payment on a home.
I’d either rent it out or flip it, then continue scaling up. Over the next 6 years, the Internet came along and the real estate market took a giant dump. It worked out for me, but the bigger point is that starting a business online costs a fraction of what the “old” ways of making money cost.
This is how I’ve launched around 50 websites and a majority of them have failed without ruining me. Not only not ruining me, but barely even costing me anything at all. The speed and affordability at which you can launch businesses online is legitimately the greatest opportunity in the history of finances.
Hundreds of thousands of people earn their incomes independently through the Internet, most of which started with very little.
My first successful website that allowed me to quit my job was in 2006. I would scour the Internet for insane videos, post them to my site, and then link that video everywhere that would allow submissions. Because I put in the work and ensured I found great videos, these other sites were happy to link to me.
As it began to grow, I used some of the money to buy more traffic from reputable sources. This snowball continued for two years, during which I peaked at $55,000 per month. That came down to reality and I ended up selling 80% of the site and then the other 20% for a combined $500,000. My total up front investment was nearly nothing, but the quality content spoke for itself and I leveraged the initial income to grow further.
Money isn’t an excuse anymore. In my guide on How To Build A Website Quickly and Effectively, you’ll see you need a couple hundred bucks. But that ~$200 will get you what would’ve cost $20,000 15 years ago. You’ll be ready to roll from there.
Of all the reasons in this article, no time is the most valid. It can be really tough to find the time when you have a job, family, and other things you just simply want to do.
Most articles for aspiring business owners will tell you that you can do it! There’s no excuse! Make the time!
Okay, yeah. The first thing I want you to look at is whether you even want to be a business owner. Think about gross magazines aimed at young girls. They choose 6 foot, 110 pound models with faces sculpted by the gods, put $10,000 outfits on them, and then entice girls to look like them by purchasing their $12 makeup.
There’s no limit to the number of books, videos, and websites (including this one) telling you that you can make money online. Well, they all have one thing in common: they want your money. They’re selling you a dream of financial freedom where you’re driving lamborghinis and have a permanent smile.
As someone who doesn’t have to work, I can tell you that not working sucks. That’s why I’m writing this article and started this site. I don’t want to sip mimosas by the pool around the clock and, even if you think you do, you won’t feel satisfied.
So why am I saying all of this?
Because, if you want to become a business owner, do it for yourself. Don’t do it because someone sold you a dream. Do it because you want to take control of your time and freedom so that you’re not at the mercy of someone else. Do it because you want a few more things and a lot more security. Whatever it might be, just make sure it’s genuinely for you and not some made-up life someone sold you on.
There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else. In some ways, it’s better. But I assume you’re here because you want more freedom, time and/or money. Or you just really hate your job or going into an office.
Whatever it may be, here are my recommendations to find the time.
- Start with the guides I wrote on fast-tracking your business. You’re going to be able to get up and running in a couple of hours and save yourself thousands of hours.
- Make progress on the toilet. I’m serious. If you’re a fast pooper, this may not work, but you’d be surprised how much you can do in 20 minutes when there’s no distraction outside of the sounds of splashing water.
- If you commute, use it to make progress on your business. Even if you have to drive, get a voice to text app and make notes and plans for when you do have the time. I used to wake up an hour before work to put in some time, then I’d put in another hour when I got home.
- Identify your leisurely activities and cut some or all of them back. You can track app usage, so if you’re scrolling Instagram for an hour a day, cut it back to 30 minutes. If you’re watching Netflix for 2 hours a night, cut it back to 1. I’m not a believer in going cold turkey, and let’s face it: these apps are fun to use. But make several cuts to several different leisure activities, and it all adds up, giving you more time.
- If you sleep really well (8+ hours), shave off 30 minutes. This might be contrary to everything else you’ve read, but even a few minutes can go a long way.
- If you spent too much time “getting ready,” trust me when I say nobody cares what you look like that much. There’s no reason to change your outfit 7 times; you look great.
A lot of the above just won’t work for some people, and those people just aren’t going to succeed on their own. And that’s totally fine, but if you’re one of those people who can’t make these necessary adjustments, you need to be honest with yourself.
You don’t want to go to the grave chasing a false ideal life when you could have just chilled out and embraced what you do have. Always be honest with yourself and reflect on what you truly want outside of external influences.
No Technical Knowledge
In the guide mentioned earlier, you’ll learn that this is really not an excuse anymore. At all. My first website, I built myself with HTML and, relatively speaking, expensive hosting. The video site that was my first success cost me $2,000 for the programming and around $800 for the design. And that was an absolute bargain back then because I used a couple of great people in other countries.
But now, you can launch a beautiful, fast, secure website with everything you’ll ever need. I’m not going to continue hammering this point – just see the guide above. It’s very straightforward.
All that being said, it never hurts to educate yourself. Like everything else with an online business in 2022, there are incredibly valuable resources for free. Here are 3 technical (ish) resources you can consume for a well rounded understanding of how it all works together.
- WPBeginner – Beginner’s Guide To Everything WordPress
- MOZ -Beginner’s Guide To SEO
- W3Schools – Learn To Code
No Marketing Knowledge
A lack of marketing knowledge is usually what makes people quit their new business. Generally, someone or something has sold you on an easy path to financial freedom. You fork over a ton of cash and get up and running. Then realize you have no idea how to get a customer, a click, a view, or whatever brings in the money.
It happens a lot. And just about everybody, including those with masters degrees in traditional education, is clueless when it comes to making money online.
My guide on How To Maximize Website Traffic is a pretty decent rundown you should check out. But let me give you an Internet Marketing 101 course that no professors or gurus will teach you. Especially not this quickly and for free.
Good marketing is, simply, the marriage of the best content/product and the right person. Literally trillions of dollars are being spent on technology trying to bring these two together, and all you have to do is create the best content.
Before you roll your eyes and say that’s obvious or vague, it’s really not once you start looking at your entire business through this very logical lens. While everyone else is either 1. just clueless or 2. chasing whatever trend someone told them about, you’re going to laser focus on creating content that provides thorough answers, solutions, or information that real life people are seeking.
And equally importantly, you’re going to stay focused and disciplined on continuing to create great content while learning everything you can about the various platforms and sources of traffic. Then, eventually, you’re going to see it all pay off because that’s exactly how “grinding” works.
If you’ve never looked at the power of compound interest + time, it basically shows that there’s an astronomical jump in your money at a certain point. So if it’s growing at 5% right now, it isn’t going to mean much for the first few years, but later, it will exponentially grow.
As a quick example, if I put $10,000 in an account that makes 8% per year, I’ll have $21,000 after 10 years, $46,000 after 20 years, but $469,000 (nice) after 50 years. It doesn’t grow proportionally because you’re earning interest on interest.
The same concept can be applied to your journey to success except we’re not talking a 50 year time frame. When you aren’t seeing results in the first few weeks or months, it’s imperative that you don’t view this as failing. Every business I’ve started and every business I’ve evaluated that stays the course hits that point of astronomical growth.
So, if you don’t believe you have marketing experience because you didn’t go to college or you’ve never started a website, don’t worry about it. Focus on the content and the money will come.
I’ve already shamelessly plugged my guides enough, but I put hundreds of hours of time based on thousands of hours of experience into them. I genuinely believe they’re the fastest way to online success available on the entire web today. I also might be tooting my own horn.
To summarize, you need to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Getting started is genuinely the hardest part, so just do it. Pick your passion to write about, start your business on the toilet, and launch it. The absolute worst case scenario – one I can speak volumes about – is that it doesn’t work out and you don’t go to the grave wondering, “what if?”