Building an online business is not easy.
You will have to deal with FUD (Fear – Uncertainty – Doubt) more than most people who go for a regular job.
But FUD comes from 3 major problems I see over and over again with online businesses.
1. Your audience is not specific enough
Repeat after me:
Not everybody is interested in your topic of choice – that’s no news (I hope).
But knowing this is not enough.
To succeed, you need to target a very specific audience with a very specific set of problems.
For example, if you define your topic of choice as one of these:
- personal finance
- healthy eating
- digital marketing
… you’ll probably never make it.
These topics are way too big for you to start – there is just too much competition out there.
Fix this by using the for word after your broad topic.
This will answer the question “who are you talking to?”, and niche down your audience.
- personal finance for freelance designers
- fitness (or yoga) for people with knee problems
- healthy eating for people always on the go (truck drivers, pilots, …)
- dieting for the over 50s
- digital marketing for apparel ecommerce
NOW we’re talking (to a specific audience).
2. Your business model is not profitable enough
To have a profitable online business, you need 2 things:
- A profitable audience – a specific audience (see above) willing and able to buy stuff
- A profitable business model – a way for you to make money with that specific audience
No profitable audience?
If you don’t have a profitable audience, you’re probably having a hard time selling stuff or having people interested in your business overall.
Fix this by making sure your audience is specific enough and is profitable.
No business model?
If you have a profitable audience but no business model, you’re leaving money on the table.
Fix this by learning how to monetize your audience.
Build income streams that make sense for your niche. Choose from:
- ad revenue
- affiliate programs
- physical or digital products
- online courses
Obviously, we’re just scratching the surface here.
3. You’re not putting in the work
- How many episodes did you watch last night on Netflix (or Apple TV or Prime Video)?
- How many hours did you spend on YouTube?
- How many hours did you play that video game?
- How much time did you spend hanging out with friends this month?
I could go on but you get the idea.
Sure, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
But no work and all play makes Jack an unsuccessful boy.
Now, you might be busy, working like crazy after your day job to make it happen.
But busyness and business are 2 totally different things. If you don’t:
- create useful, evergreen content for a specific audience
- build a profitable business model
- let go of the small, useless details
- track your progress
- rinse and repeat
You’re not building an online business. You’re just being busy.
I was guilty of this too – I would:
- launch a new idea every month (literally)
- not make sure it was targeting a specific audience
- not know how to make money with it
- create interesting-ish content (not useful as it should have been)
- obsess over analytics several times an hour (WTF!?)
- rinse and repeat
And this, my friend, is a recipe for failure.
This is exactly why my first online business ideas didn’t succeed.
It all changed when I decided to make a plan, experiment, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.