Are you frustrated because you're not seeing results in your new business yet?
I’ve been in the world of online business since 2014. And I have seen many people I knew or met online giving up their online business within a year (or even after a few months) because it wasn’t taking off as expected.
In the past I have also done some soul searching - is all the effort worth the result? But my passion for what I do and the thought of going back to working for someone full-time has kept me going and pursuing my business goals.
So if you are reading this and you are still in your first year of business then I would say, carry on going!
If you have been running your business for over a year and you feel that it’s not still taking off, then please read on as I have 5 questions you can ask yourself to self-assess your business.
#1 Is your business aligned with your passion, values, skills and experience?
Over the past years, I have observed more and more people starting their online business expecting to make money straight away, because everyone else is doing it (well at least that’s what you might read on their websites!). They try to ‘copy’ what others are doing instead of discovering and working with their own personal passion, assessing their skills & values and looking at their experience to see what they can best offer.
Just because you see that other people are having success with their business, it doesn’t mean that you (or I!) would be successful doing exactly what they are doing. Sounds straightforward, but there is a real temptation to copy rather than create.
If you have found that you are copying other people’s business, their message and business model, your core values and passion are very unlikely to be aligned with whoever you are copying. This is a biggie because with skills and experience it’s something that you can build upon (you can train, develop skills and gain experience) but your core values and passion is unique to YOU. It’s something nobody can copy.
Focus on what interests you, what you enjoy doing and what you are good at. This is what will keep you going when you are having a bad day (or month!). This is so important for start ups or new business enterprises.
If you buy a business with a proven cashflow and history then you can maybe be less passionate about what you do and keep on doing what works (but may bore you to death!). However starting a new business takes guts and determination and if you are not truly passionate about what you do then when things get tough you might just walk away.
Can you say that your business truly aligns with your values, passions and interests? If the answer is no then it may be time to reassess what you are doing and try and realign your model with your strengths and interests.
#2 Are you targeting the right market (does that market even exist!)?
The online business world is a strange place - on one hand you have access to over 3 billion (3,000,000,000!) potential clients and customers. Imagine... If only you could get just $1 from just 1% of that market .. $30,000,000 ... Sweet!
On the other hand unless you’re Google this is unlikely (but hey we’ve all gotta dream big!).
The reality is that getting people to part with their money, especially in the online world can be tough.
The truth is that most of us just aren’t selling services or products that 3,000,000,000 are interested in or need. I mean how many of those people need a website aimed at coaching and wellness practitioners? The answer is probably less than 0.001%.
But that doesn’t matter. The fact is I know there is a market out there for what I am selling, as I have the customers to prove it. Not only that, the potential market is so large that I’ll happily take the 0.001% and then retire!
However when starting out I didn’t know this and it took time to try different things to see if they worked or not. Whilst it is important to be confident in what you are selling, you need evidence to back this up.
So my recommendation is to firstly do your homework. If you are the only Emotional Therapist for Asthmatic Beagles out there then this could mean one of two things:
5 Reasons Your New Business Isn’t Booming - Is it time to re-assess and pivot?
2) You have picked a business for which there is no (or very small) market
If you have done your homework and there is a genuine need out there, then go for it and give it all you’ve got. You could soon be branching out into Labradors! If you try and aren’t getting the traction you want then maybe try and broaden your offer and see what responses you get.
Differentiation is vital in the online world and ‘niching down’ can allow you to become a big fish in a small pond.
But if in doubt I would recommend starting slightly wider with your offer and then feel your way and see what you clients want and don’t want. Listen to them and be flexible enough to recognise and react to opportunities or niches that you may not have even considered before.
#3 Do you have the right business model?
Choosing the right business model when starting out is tricky, but there is one key trap that you should try to avoid.
A lot of new online coaches and wellness practitioners try and offer the range of services that they see other more established coaches & businesses providing.
This can be a big waste of time!
For example many people start by offering group coaching programs or courses as they see this is being offered by others and they may feel more comfortable offering lower priced services when at the outset of their new business venture. This is understandable but most quickly find that the take up is low.
The same is true for the provision of online courses (which you could spend a long time carefully creating and crafting). Take up is low and advertising costs soon build up. This can be frustrating as you will have no doubt seen others offering these courses - surely they can produce a decent income?
Well if you are new in the online world then the chances are that you probably don’t have a huge mailing list full of potential clients or rank anywhere near the top of a Google search. This is what separates you from the successful coach offering the popular group programmes. Think about how you found about them in the first place, right?
Building an online presence and valuable mailing takes time and there are very few shortcuts - you can try and buy mailing list but the quality is likely to be average at best. You can advertise, but often it is only Facebook or Google who benefit.
My advice is that if you are starting out or struggling building your business focus on getting a strong one to one client base. Build your blog. Gather testimonials and evidence that prove you are awesome! Put this on your website. Once you have this then turn your attention to Group Programmes or online courses and lever your fat mail list!
#4 Are you consuming too much information?
The online business world can be overwhelming. Websites, payment methods, email marketing campaigns, sales funnels etc…. How to do this, how to do that. You should be doing this your shouldn’t be doing that.
Arguably you could say the same about this blog post and I acknowledge this!
Running an online business does require a wide range of skills, that need to be updated, otherwise you run the risk of losing business. The online world is virtually infinite and there is so much information out there it can be a very daunting place.
Some people feel the need to try and learn everything they can and some my clients have spent a huge amount on online courses, trying to get up to date with the various ‘must do’ strategies. This is a symptom of ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ that we all suffer from, but one we must try and resist.
This can be both exceptionally time consuming, confusing and expensive. Most of us just don’t have the time to be reading stuff that isn’t core to our business. Worse, the conflicting information out there can lead to indecision and no action at all.
My advice is twofold and simple.
1) LIMIT YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS AND DAILY INTAKE OF INFORMATION
Find a 2 or 3 sources of trusted, informative information - those organisations or people who have a solid and reputable history and stick with those for your regular subscriptions. Sure have a look around to see what others are saying, but cut down your subscription lists (be tough!). Spend only a few minutes each day reading what is relevant to your business or industry.
2) DON'T BE AFRAID TO OUTSOURCE
Concentrate on your core business (what you love doing and are good at) and then outsource or let others take the strain on the rest. As a new online business owner time is probably your most valuable asset, not money.
You might be thinking well she would say that she's a web designer, but I have seen this in so many of my clients and experienced it myself. Personally I find social media a bit of a drag and a time killer, so I outsource some of this. Consider what you can outsource and where you efforts are best focused - work on and invest time in your core skills, so you are the best you can be. Let others do what they are good at and you will have a winning combination.
#5 Are you consistent with your action?
We all have doubts about whether the current strategies we are using for the development of our business are the most effective ones. Should you focus on developing a new Facebook group, your Instagram account, a new sales funnel campaign, your blog content on your website?
The amount of advice and potential strategies being promoted to improve your business are endless. It is so easy to decide that your current one isn’t showing the results you want and try another one. Again I’ve been there and done that.
The problem (and the joy!) of being a solopreneur is that there is no management team to debate these things or board to consult. If you want to change strategy, you can change strategy … now. This flexibility is why most of us are doing what we do. This does however mean that we generally don’t give ourselves the time to let strategies play out and potentially deliver (if only they were given a bit more time).
As your time is finite I recommend that you only try to do 2 or 3 of these things (Facebook Group, Instagram, Blog, etc) and do them well. Stick with them and make sure they can be the best they could possibly be.
This consistency will allow you to develop relationships with your readers and help nurture potential clients and customers. If you choose to blog once every two weeks, try to stick with it. If you update you Facebook page and respond to your viewers questions - try and do so quickly and regularly. If you are doing too many things it is really tough to be consistent.
We also all need a break! This is where auto-schedulers come in. If you have a blog or regular email, write these beforehand and schedule them to be delivered whilst you are away.
So you can kick back and take your well deserved holiday!
So is it time to Pivot your business?
Having read this article are you considering realigning your business or ‘pivoting’ to better match your passions or try and tap into the potential market for your services?
Or are you just not being consistent in your actions and find the barrage of online information overwhelming?
If it is time to reassess your business focus or target market , potentially seek external advice on how to craft your offer and services. This can be so helpful - but make sure you trust who you ask!
Or if you are certain you have a passion, a service and a potential market, then allow yourself time to be consistent in delivery of your strategies and deliver quality output to your readers. It sounds like it's time for you to stick to your guns and double down!
Do you have any questions? Please comment below or contact me! I'd love to help you build a successful business!
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