5 Myths About Starting an Online Business
5 Myths About Starting an Online Business
More and more people are starting online businesses and leaving their day jobs. After all, who wouldn't want to be their own boss, work in their pajamas, and keep their own schedule?
Before you give up your cubicle, however, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about how easy it is to start a successful online business. Take a look at the five most common myths about starting an online business to make sure this is the right decision for you.
Myth #1: You can start an online business with little to no money.
Everyone has searched the internet for online business opportunities at some time or another and seen the websites that advertise how easy it is to start a business with no money. While it doesn't take as much capital to start an online business as it does a brick and mortar one, you do need to have some cash on hand for upfront expenses.
When considering how to start an online business, know that, at the very least, you're going to need to purchase a domain name, hire someone to design your website and logo, and purchase or produce products for your e-commerce store. These expenses don't include your advertising and marketing expenses, or any required licenses, taxes, or fees.
While there are a number of free online services available, remember the old adage: You get what you pay for. If you want your internet business to succeed, it's worth investing the money from the start.
Myth #2: You'll have a lot of free time on your hands.
If you're already dreaming about lazy afternoons, long vacations, and constant travel, think again. While starting a business online gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility, you'll still be spending long hours—sometimes upwards of 80 hours a week—building and growing your business in the beginning, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication on your part.
Books like The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss have lulled a new generation of entrepreneurs into thinking that all they need to do when starting an online business is to check in on it a few hours each week while the business generates passive income. If you want your online business to succeed, you'll need to take an active hands-on role, at least for the first few years.
Yet along the way, you'll discover that trading in the traditional 40-hour workweek is one of the most rewarding things you'll ever have done.
Myth #3: You'll be your own boss.
Nothing could be further from the truth. While technically you may be in control, there is always someone that you have to answer to. And these individuals can be much more demanding than your old boss ever was. There may be days when you wonder why you decided to give up the 9-to-5 routine.
Your number one priority is to keep your customers happy and to do whatever it takes to make that happen. If your customers aren't happy, you're going to hear about it. It will be up to you to resolve the situation if you want to keep them as a customer. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other online businesses that will be more than happy to meet their needs.
Myth #4: You only need to promote your online business on social media.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is relying only on social media marketing campaigns to launch their online businesses. While businesses need to use social media sites to build their brand and connect with their target audience, it costs money to create paid ads targeted to your customer demographics. And additional types of outreach may be required.
It takes time and energy to build a buzz around your online business on social media and to leverage this into followers, with no guarantee of direct sales. In fact, social media, while great for community building, may be least effective as a sales tool. In the end, you may end up hiring a social media manager because of the time it takes away from running your business.
Myth #5: You can run your online business alone.
Often it feels as though you have to do everything yourself when you're running an online business. There are times, however, when you're going to need help with tasks outside your skill set. At that point, you'll need to have someone on hand who can help with developing website content, doing email marketing, writing advertising copy, or managing your social media presence.
Why hire a full-time staffer when you can hire a freelancer? A quick search of the internet will bring up hundreds of freelancers who are ready and willing to help you out on an as-needed basis for reasonable rates.
At the very least, it gets lonely at the top. Sometimes it's helpful to bounce ideas off another online business person in your industry and tap into their knowledge base, especially if they've been in business for longer than you have.
If you can avoid buying into these five myths, you will be well on your way to success with your online business.
When you're ready to start an online business, LegalZoom can help you set up your business structure. The process begins by answering a few simple questions about your business. We'll create and file your documents, and you'll receive your final package.