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7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Business

Starting an online business offers unlimited earning potential, low start-up costs and the freedom to work flexibly – making it an appealing choice for many.

However, despite all the advantages, there’s always the risk of mistakes which lead to financial setbacks and the disappointment of not achieving your dream.

No business owner can claim to be mistake-free. Mistakes provide us with learning opportunities for improvement. But they can slow us down, demotivate us and put our hard work at risk.

I want to help maximise your chances of business success and minimise the risks of you making a mistake. So, I’ve put together 7 common mistakes to avoid when starting an online business.

Full Disclosure: I’ve made these 7 mistakes myself 🙈 They’ve cost me money, made me lose sight of my goals and slowed down my business journey. By sharing them with you, I hope to help you not make the same mistakes.

1. Listening to Others 👂🏼

When you’re starting an online business, feedback can be invaluable. It can help you improve your product/service, branding or business processes, for example.

But make sure that the person giving you feedback or advice understands the online business world, what you are selling and your personal goals. The wrong advice could take you off in the wrong direction and further away from creating the business you dream of.

By all means, take advice and listen to others but before you act revisit your business plan and goals to check whether it aligns with your overall vision.

2. Not Defining Your Ideal Customer 🧍🏽‍♀️

Your ideal customer is the perfect person that will see value in your product or service and go on to buy from you.

Having a clear understanding of your perfect customer will help you package, market and price your service in a way that persuades them to put their hand in their pocket.

Many entrepreneurs find defining their ideal customer hard to do for a variety of reasons from not wanting to niche down in their business to struggling to take a high-level view of their business.

It’s time-consuming so if you haven’t created a profile of your ideal customer I urge you to set some time aside in your schedule. Understanding your ideal customer underpins your marketing efforts, the words that go into your sales pages and even the colours you use in your branding.

3. Being Disorganised 🤹🏽‍♀️

Starting a business can feel a lot like herding cats. There are so many moving parts and if it’s just you in your business it can quickly become overwhelming making it hard to decide what step to take next.

Getting organised and prioritising the tasks you need to achieve will help you through the process especially if you are juggling setting up your online business and a 9-5 job.

4. Not Getting Help 🤝

Whether you have set up a business before or this is your first time, it’s guaranteed you’ll come up against things that are new to you and don’t have experience in. This doesn’t have to be a weakness.

Whether it’s setting up a website, managing taxes or branding, if you start to struggle in areas of your business it will slow down the process of setting up, making sales and growing.

Focus on your strengths and outsource the rest (in finances allow), it’ll speed up the process.

5. Giving In To Shiny Object Syndrome 👀

Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves being attracted to something new. Whether it’s the latest social media platform like Threads, a new online course that promises you the outcome you crave or changing your business strategy, shiny object syndrome means you get distracted by something new or fashionable regardless of whether it is aligned with your overall strategy or goals.

The key to running a successful business (however you define ‘successful’) is to stay focussed on your goals and not rush off in different directions without being sure they will contribute to your goals.

6. Not Being Consistent 📝

We all know that we have to be consistent on social media to get results, but did you know that the same applies to many other areas in your business?

Results don’t happen overnight so it you give up too early you’ll never truly know whether your plan would have worked. Or you won’t have collected sufficient data to prove to yourself it wasn’t right and make a new plan with the knowledge you have.

Decide what consistency means to you and make a reasonable plan to do everything that is necessary in a time-frame that you can achieve.

7. Not Making a Business Plan 📈

The word business plan may send shudders down your spine giving you nightmares about SWOT analysis, executive summaries and employment plans. It doesn’t have to be that scary, especially if you planning to start a small online business with no plans to take over the world.

Basically, a business plan is a high-level picture of your business over the coming years, how it will work, what you will sell and how much money it will make. By writing this information down you have a place to refer back to when you need to make decisions or are unsure what you should be doing next.

Not got a business plan? Follow this link to grab my free business plan template so you can set out a roadmap for your business that you can work toward.

Wrapping Up

Chances are even if you don’t make one of these 7 common mistakes building your online business you’ll make another. The key is to learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward because I guarantee there isn’t a single business owner out there who hasn’t made a ton of mistakes.

Good luck on your business journey 🙂 Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more business tips and join my Members Club for self-employed folks where we focus on goal setting, accountability and organisation to help people, like you, build a business they love.