The Biggest Mistake People Make When Starting Their Online Business

Does it feel like you have to do ten more things before you can officially put your thing out into the world... tolaunch?

“I’ll never get my business off the ground. I haven’t had a day off in the last three months! I’m SO BUSY getting it ready. And there’s stillso much moreto do before I can officially launch.”

I’ve heard some iteration of this phrase from countless creatives who are on the verge of starting a business. They’re so caught up in the excitement and the dream that they throw money awayon branding, a custom website, and all the courses... or they fill their plate with busy tasks like writing a dozen blog posts, creating an email funnel, designing social media graphics, etc.

And they do all of this BEFORE ever validating that they actually have an idea that will sell first.Ouch.

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You don’t need to have everything ready before you launch.

In an effort to prevent you from falling into the same trap (or to pull you out if you’re already at the bottom), I’m here to tell you that you DON’T NEED all of those things. I’m giving you permission to launchwithout finishing those projects.

And here’s a little secret—I don’t think I’ve ever done a launch where everything was done and ready before it went live. In fact, some of my best launches have been the spur of the moment ones!

The only thing you should be spending time and money ($$$) on as a new online business owner is — very simply — your business.

Just starting out as a wedding photographer? Shoot a friend or relative’s wedding for cash before you even have a website. If you’re offering an online service like virtual assistance, you can start your business in approximately 5.2 seconds by accepting payment over PayPal (now is definitely not the time to invest in a client management platform!).

Bottom line: You need to go through the experience of making money with your business before you can move onto making decent investments.

Why do we get so tripped up anyway?

Part of the reason business owners get so lost in the beginning, especially when it comes to the web design and branding, is the passion and enthusiasm for new beginnings.

A website is exciting!It’s a visual way of seeing your business come to life.

But, I think more than that, it also comes from a place of fear. We feel like we need to validate our business and our abilities, and to some extent, we do. Itis important to appear professional and to inspire confidence in our potential clients, but it’s way more important to actually book clients.

It’s so easy to get distracted by all the little details because it feels like we’re accomplishing things and being really productive, but actually, we’re avoiding the much harder task of seeking out work.Don’t let yourself get lost in the details; what really counts is your business.

That said, there are some things you can do right now that will give you the same sense of control while also validating your business idea and setting yourself up for success.

A few things you can focus on to make sure you’re on the right path:

  1. Make money. (Obviously.) There’s really nothing that will build your confidence more than actually selling your product or service. Not to mention, it’d be great to have some cash to work with, right?

  2. Set up a simple landing page and collect email addresses while you wait for the big website to come around. Building an email list is time-consuming. You’ll be so grateful for all those contacts when you get around to email marketing campaigns.

  3. Don’t ask your friends or family for their input. This is a hard one when you’re feeling a bit insecure in the beginning, but, trust me, what your friends and family think is not all that helpful. Instead, try asking for specific advice from people in your intended audience or create a poll to share in a Facebook group so you can collect unbiased feedback.

  4. Reach out to ten people on your "it'd be awesome to work with these people!" list. Ask them if they'd be willing to give you ten minutes over Skype so you can pitch your business and ask them for feedback on if it's something they could see themselves buying. (Tip: Stress that you're not looking for sales, and you're not yet selling your product, you're simply looking for feedback). Plenty of people in Facebook groups are willing to set up coffee chats!

  5. Sell preorders for anything you're creating before you actually create it. If your quota isn't met, don't produce the product! If it is met or exceeded, you’ll know you’re onto something good. I emphasize that a product is in pre-order, or “beta,” phase, as a ‘bonus feature’ of the offer.

Above all, it’s important to keep things in perspective when you’re just starting out.

You can do this by constantly asking yourself, “is what I’m doing necessary?” and “will this actually help grow my business in the next month or less?” Both answers should be a resounding yes; otherwise, (cue the tough love) you’re putting off what’s most important, which is validating that your business is actually a sustainable business.

What’s the most valuable thing you did to get your business off the ground? Let me know in the comments.

Wondering what else you need to do to get started?Take the Are You Living in Law Law Land quiz!

The Biggest Mistake People Make When Starting Their Online Business

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