It was the year of 2004. The Internet was still evolving. Facebook was almost non-existent and YouTube was never heard of.
I started digging online for ways to make some extra money on the side, to hopefully quit my (then) full-time job.
Fast forward to December 2006, I officially registered my business name. At that point, my business was able to supplement my income. It was a proud moment I will never forget. I was 22 years of age and thought I had it all worked out.
My goal was to make a living online and not have to report to a boss ever again. It was a goal achieved.
What happened the next couple of years was something I could not have imagined.
I got comfortable. A bit too comfortable, I’d say. Comfortable in ways where I was doing just okay and didn’t take any steps to grow it any further.
My business suffered as a consequence because it was stagnate and, inevitably, sales started going down.
I thought I knew everything that I had to know as a business owner, but I was wrong.
In a pretty desperate state I was, I started turning to offers that sounded too good to be true. You know, those shiny objects that promise and make ridiculous claims?
I even went on to buy a website from someone who was selling it for $18,000. It was short-lived in just two months after acquiring it. Google decided to penalise it due to methods that didn’t follow its guidelines.
You can say I got burned and ripped off, but it was a lesson in disguise…or, perhaps, I was just too naive to see it.
I’m sharing my story in hopes that my failures and mistakes can help you along your journey because I know how it is going through rough times, wishing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
I know you don’t want to give up and ever settle for mediocre. You are pursuing your dreams for a reason—for a deeper meaning or cause.
I have recovered and learned a lot from the roller coaster ride and have developed more wisdom as a result.
During the process, I did learn a lot and it’s those failures that taught me. Here are 7 important lessons I learned along the way:
1. Take Responsibility
I was naive to think that everything will be fine and problems will just go away if you leave it long enough. Not surprisingly, things don’t work that way.
I lacked an understanding of things like where sales were coming from, which social platforms was driving the most traffic, who my top customers were and the business’ sales and expenses.
It may sound obvious to do all that in a perfect world but these are things that no one teaches you in school.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your actions. No pointing fingers, no excuses.
2. Set Goals
You’ve probably heard a thousand times that goal setting is important to ones success, and so it is.
During my plateau, I didn’t have any concrete goals. I was just happy to make money and make sure all my bills are paid.
When you set goals, you need to set it really clear:
How much do you want to make? When do you want to make it by? What will you do to get to there?
Those are the three important questions you need to ask yourself.
One of my goals was to make $10,000 profit per month within 6 months. I set that goal and had it firm in my mind. I achieved it within 2 months after setting that goal.
3. Have a Support System
As a business owner, your ego can get in the way of your success.
You believe in your idea so much that if someone were to say something negative or give their honest opinion about it, you would defend it in a blink of an eye.
Sometimes we need to just let that ego down a notch and just be open and take in people’s criticism.
One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and your business is to have a support system.
Your support system could be a mastermind group, your close friend(s), family, spouse/partner or coach.
As you may know, I started this blog with my fiancee, Connie. She has been there during the highs and lows. No matter what we have gone through, we have always pushed and supported each other to keep going.
Your support system will keep you accountable, share feedback, stimulate your creativity and, overall, support you all the way.
I read and re-read the chapter about “The Power of a Mastermind” from the book Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, but I never quite took action on it.
I thought I could do it all on my own and didn’t need anyone’s support.
It’s the support I get from my partner and mastermind group that helps me get through all obstacles and plateaus.
4. Treat It Like a Real Business
The internet can make a business seem less tangible as everything’s digital, but don’t let that deter you away from thinking that it shouldn’t be treated the same way as a brick and mortar business.
Every business has processes, systems, people, taxes to pay, etc.
I thought too small and did everything myself: designing, writing, setting up my websites, writing copy, answering emails, support and so much more.
One of the best decisions I’ve made to date is putting trust in others to help me in my business. I now proudly have 8 people in my team who all live around the world, and it’s given me a lot more time to grow the business.
I trained each and every person in my team to basically replace a lot of the tasks I was doing myself. It takes patience, indeed, but once they get the hang of it, you’ll feel a ton of weight off your shoulders.
5. What You Give, Will Come Back To You Many Times More
The law of reciprocity works wonders. Whatever you put out, you will get back many times more.
Whenever I help my subscribers, I am always rewarded in some way or form.
If I give, I end up with more.
In the end, it’s all about giving value, so think of how you can be of value to others. It can be in any form – a product, an email, advice, or whatever it may be.
6. Focus on One Thing at a Time
This is the I advice I always give to my students.
That is, focus on one thing at a time. Focus on one system or model at a time.
You’d rather focus all your effort to one thing than spreading yourself short.
If you’re going to focus on learning how to use Facebook Ads, as an example, focus on just that. You’d be surprised just how much further you’ll be.
It’s more important to get started than knowing how to do everything.
If your goal is to become a top blogger, then learn the steps to blog. Don’t worry about how to implement Facebook Ads and other such methods just yet. You will naturally progress, get better and eventually learn more things.
7. Don’t Give Up
Trying different things only to watch yourself fail can be depressing.
Persistence is a strong trait to have as an entrepreneur. The more you persist, the better you will get and the more closer you will get to your ultimate goal. That is the bottom line.
Procrastinating is okay. It’s natural. Some people work better ahead of time and some (like me) work better closer to deadlines.
The point is to never give up because it’s those who keep going who get results.
My intention for this post was not to serve as a quick burst of motivation for you, but to enlighten and help you carefully think about your direction, and to make conscious decisions.
I also hope it’s brought back those reasons why you’re starting or continuing your venture in the first place.
I want to pass on this knowledge as if it were a message I would tell myself when I was going through my journey (and it’s a journey I will always continue).
I know there’s a lot more I need to learn and I’m truly excited about what the next year, two years, five years even 10 years has in store.
What hurdles have you faced? Share your experiences below.