How To Avoid The Most Common Pitfalls While Growing Your Online Business
There are 3 things that are absolutely the most common constraints to people working on building their online business. Here’s how to avoid them.
Starting and growing an online business is kinda hard. Let’s just call it like it is, right? 🙂
It can lead to a few hair-pulling moments, especially for newbies. And it is made more difficult when you’re trying to do it all in the midst of regular life. Day jobs, family, errands, you name it.
I’ve been teaching online business for years now. I’ve worked with a LOT of people. And I’ve noticed certain big things which usually get in the way of progress.
There are 3 things that are absolutely the most common constraints to people working on building their online business. They are:
- Lack of available time. Usually that catch-22 of having a day job which takes up most of your time, seemingly leaving little time for much else.
- Information overload & overwhelm.
- Lack of technical know-how.
Most other things are more of a formality and easier to overcome by way of my training. But, those 3 things… a little more interesting. 🙂
Now, all too commonly, I’ve seen people set off on this journey into online business and they ultimately end up falling off the radar. That initial enthusiasm slowly wanes until they begin to doubt things. They’ll begin to feel overwhelmed. They’ll wonder if now is the right time. They’ll start to question whether this is the right move. Until… they give up.
Every time this happens, I’m sad. After all, they set out on this journey because THEY WANTED IT. That desire was REAL. It is something you FEEL. So, later arriving at a point where you’re lukewarm about it and then go revert into the status quo is just… sad.
And I don’t want that to happen.
So, let’s directly address the most common pitfalls.
How to Deal With A Lack Of Time (Some Counter-Intuitive Advice)
Being busy is a part of life and if you let that distract you from your goals, you’ll never get anywhere. So, I don’t want you to look at lack of time as a problem.
It will take time to build your business. However, this isn’t so much a quantity problem as much as it is a quality problem.
See, even if you only have 2-3 hours per week to work on this thing, you can still do it. The “secret” is to ensure that you spend those couple hours highly effectively. We look for areas of leverage and you spend your time on the exact right things to keep the movement going forward.
But, what is this thing called time? How does one “manage” their time?
Do you mind if I get a wee bit philosophical here for a bit? You cool with that? 🙂
Cool, cuz here we go…
[clickToTweet tweet=”Time isn’t really a thing you manage. It is nothing but a viewpoint. It is an idea.” quote=”Time isn’t really a thing you manage. It is nothing but a viewpoint. It is an idea.”]
Things move around. We view it. We consider that something happened and hence time is created. We created that time ourselves by observing and considering that we did so.
And then others do that, too. We all get together and we agree that we all saw the same thing. We come up with agreements on what we viewed. We find ways to measure it. Clocks, calendars… all that stuff. Until that point comes where we all sorta forgot that, in the end, it is little more than our viewpoint.
If you don’t think so, consider animals like the turtle… or the hummingbird. The turtle is super slow at everything, from OUR viewpoint. From the turtle’s viewpoint, it is normal. To us, the hummingbird looks like it is zipping around at a million miles an hour! But, that’s normal speed to the bird. To that bird, it likely looks like we’re moving around like molasses.
Pardon me while a “super slo mo” scene from Ace Ventura crosses my mind. 😉
It is the same reason why we have such a hard time catching a common house fly with our hands. It usually sees you coming from a mile away because it’s viewpoint of space is different. Time is different.
So, what does ANY of this have to do with us and our productivity?
All of us, as humans, have the same 24 hours per day. The same 7 days per week. But, yet, we all have known people who seem to get quite a lot done with that time and we wonder how the heck they possibly do it all! On the flip side, you’ve likely known people who seem to barely get anything done with their time and you wonder what the heck they did all day!
Sometimes, it is just laziness. Other times, it is really a matter of viewpoint.
A really busy person who is used to a high level of activity probably doesn’t consider that they’re highly active. To them, it is normal. To others, they seem superhuman.
It is like an inner metronome, setting a certain rhythm with each of us. For some, the metronome runs faster. Others, it runs slower.
[clickToTweet tweet=”You have some control over the speed of your inner metronome. You can speed it up or slow it down.” quote=”You have some control over the speed of your inner metronome. You can speed it up or slow it down.”]
Good thing is, you have some control over the speed of your inner metronome. You probably remember times in your life where you were “in the zone”. Where you felt like you were getting a lot done in a short amount of time.
For me, I find this happens alot before I’m going on vacation. 🙂 I see that deadline there where we’re planning to leave, but in the days before it I am just ON FIRE with productivity! Getting posts prepped and scheduled, email campaigns ready to roll when I’m gone and more. I’ve even joked that I could increase my productivity by working less and going on vacation more!
But, is it really a joke? 🙂
Because, one of the best ways to speed up your inner metronome is to reduce the amount of time you have to get something done. Set a deadline, make it real. Make it a wee bit challenging, even. And then make a game out of getting it done by the deadline.
It is kind of like an athlete looking to train for a race. Over time, he trains himself through incremental improvement until at some point he is up to a speed to compete. His (or her) perception of his skills the year before are seen in a whole new (slower) light and he’d have a hard time imagining it anymore. But, it was achieved through baby steps.
We can do the same thing. By setting a deadline for some task in our businesses that is a little bit challenging and then making a game out of achieving it, we can work on speeding up. Do it over time like practice. In baby steps. Over time, your deadlines might be a little more challenging. More than likely, your perception of what seems challenging will change, too. 🙂
But, through this process, you’re changing your perception of time. You’re becoming more like a hummingbird.
Find a task that you need to get done today. How long would it usually take you? OK… now set a deadline for yourself which is just a little bit sooner than that. Make it doable, but a little challenging. Then, GO FOR IT.
Get some practice, and start making a shift to your inner rhythm.
How To Deal With Information Overload & Overwhelm
Information overload and confusion has a very exact anatomy. It is essentially all particles in motion simultaneously.
Have you ever been in a hurricane room?
I remember going in one when I was a kid in a science museum. It was a room with huge fans where you could go in there and simulate what a hurricane would feel like. And they put these pieces of foam and paper in there to get kicked up by the wind and being chaotic. You’d sit there and everything would seem to move around in a confusing manner. That’s confusion.
Now, imagine this in a more symbolic fashion. Imagine those pieces of paper were little bits of information. Things you read, things you need to do, ideas, thoughts. All of them…. in motion simultaneously.
That’s what information overload is. That’s where overwhelm comes from.
And there’s a very exact solution for it…
Pick out one item (one piece of paper) and make it sit still.
That’s it. Pick one and make it be still. That then becomes your stable point around which all others become relative. Then, you can pick another one and make it still. Before long, that scene of chaos begins to make more sense. Particles will still be whirring around you… but you have those few that are stable and it makes more sense.
In our business here, the way we do this is to:
- Reduce the volume of motion of information… usually by being quite selective on what you pay attention to and what you focus on.
- Purposely put all things on hold while you focus on one thing at a time.
This is the solution.
It is all too common as you try to grow your business to pay attention to a bunch of blogs, to be on a bunch of email lists, to listen to podcasts…. yada yada. The list goes on, right? All these ideas you get. All these “things you’re supposed to do”. And trust me, every “guru” has their own viewpoint. So, you’re sitting there paying attention to all of it and before you know it it feels overwhelming. All these things you’re “supposed” to be doing – and you don’t have the freakin’ time for it all.
Thing is… you’re doing it to yourself! Stop paying attention to all of it! You’re putting all particles in motion simultaneously by the very act of paying attention to all of it! Stop!
Once you have stillness, then we make forward movement one thing at a time. Here’s how:
- Implement “just in time learning”. Meaning, don’t go out there and learn a bunch of stuff unless it DIRECTLY applies to what you need to be working on RIGHT NOW. You don’t need more ideas when you’re not even ready for those ideas. It is all out of sequence. One thing at a time…. and we learn only those things which are applicable at the time.
- Follow the Roadmap. I am creating the RoadMap specifically to alleviate this issue. I’m taking everything I know about this topic – and about teaching – and after years of working with people just like you… and I’m designing the best possible pathway that I’m capable of producing.
Lastly, I need you to understand the anatomy of info overload to your core. I need you to be vigilant about it. I need you to exercise a level of self-discipline on yourself to avoid the temptation to pay attention to a bunch of stuff that isn’t applicable to where you are right now.
I can’t reach out from your computer screen and shake you when you introduce information overload in your world. You’re going to have to do that.
Just know, though, that YOU’RE the one responsible for it.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The world isn’t jamming information down your throat. It can only affect you if you allow it to.” quote=”The world isn’t jamming information down your throat. It can only affect you if you allow it to.”]
How To Deal With Lack of Technical Know-How
It can feel like swimming upstream sometimes trying to build an online business when you feel like you’re constantly being kicked in the teeth by your lack of nerd credentials.
How are you supposed to do all this stuff when you couldn’t code your way out of a paper bag? (Well, nobody could, technically. But, you get my point. 😉 )
First off, I would most definitely heed the advice above about avoiding information overload. Because, if you’re paying attention to a ton of people at once, you will inevitably see a lot of recommendations for various tools people buy. All with their own pros and cons. And, in the absence of a full understanding of the “big picture”, this can easily lead to shiny object syndrome. Before you know it, you own a ton of different online business tools and you have no idea how to use them.
Don’t do that. 🙂 But…
The use of tools dedicated to their own purposes is exactly how to avoid a lot of tech hell.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The use of tools dedicated to their own purposes is exactly how to avoid a lot of tech hell.” quote=”The use of tools dedicated to their own purposes is exactly how to avoid a lot of tech hell.”]
I’ve been around long enough to know that it has NEVER been easier for a non-geek to build and grow an online business. The tools have grown beautifully. You can build beautiful sites now with single clicks and drag and drop. Stuff I used to have to build manually and with a lot of programming back in the day you can now implement with a few clicks. For instance…
- Most web hosts now offer one-click installation of Wordpress. Easy peasy.
- There are now a variety of page builders where you can create beautiful pages without knowing any HTML, CSS or any fancy geek stuff. Thrive Architect is my favorite for Wordpress. You can literally drag and drop and design your own page where what you see is what you get.
- There is usually a plug-in out there which can do whatever you have in mind without any programming.
- You don’t even need to deal with HTML for opt-in forms anymore, since most opt-in solutions will just integrate with your email list host directly.
The key to all of this is simply being willing to buy and use the right tools. It isn’t expensive AT ALL. Online businesses have the lowest startup costs of anything.
Where I see so many people struggling is because they flat out refuse to use the right tool for the job. Usually because they’re trying to avoid buying something. And it leads to a TON of unneeded confusion and wasted time. It would be like trying to hammer a nail without a hammer. Makes no sense – and it’s dumb!
The tools are awesome! Use them.
Now, even with the right tools, there’s still a few things to figure out. You’ll need to learn how to use the tools, but the good ones are fairly easy to get proficient with. You’ll also need to learn some basic terms.
The terminology is important. If you try to plow through without some basics, you’ll get into the weeds.
In MOST cases, though, this is what I’ve seen when people are struggling with tech. They are:
- Not using the right tool for the job.
- They don’t understand the basic terms, which leads to them thinking this is more complicated than it really is.
So, make sure you take a little time to look up words you come across that you don’t get. Seek out simple explanations.
And it might help to have somebody you can go to who can speak in plain English and help keep the tech simple for you. If you’re a Lab member, you have what you need right inside the Lab Community and the multiple ways to seek input from me directly.
[highlight]Lab members are constantly using The Lab as a technical help line. You can, too.[/highlight]
Do You Want It? Like… Really Want It?
We’ll end off with this…
Do you really want it?
Do you really want a successful online business? Do you want the benefits that come along with it?
Because, it is certainly doable. But, yes, you will encounter speed bumps. The 3 discussed in this article are, from my experience, the most common. But, if this were easy, everybody would be doing it. 🙂
The good news is that it is quite doable. In many ways, it is just about mechanics. What will make or break your success often comes down to personal discipline on how one deals with these speed bumps.
Some people run into a little headwind and then they get weak wrists and come up with reasons why this isn’t the right time. Others put those things in perspective and see it right through.
But, respect your original intention.
You either want it… or you don’t.
If you do, then you do what it takes to make it.
I’m here to help you. Any way I can.
Awesome read! Time is what I used to consider my problem until I realized it was I who made it a problem. I kept postponing things and excusing myself until I felt that it is too late. But now, I’ve been redoing thing the right way. I’m starting over again and trying to build everything from the ground up, and time isn’t what’s bothering me at all. The investment is not an issue, any startup needs someone to spend some time and money on it for it to grow. I’m time and I am money for my start up. But the problem I have is always self-doubt. I’m learning to deal with that every day. But it’s not a simple ride.
A lot of times that self-doubt can be alleviated just by talking with another person. It is like an electrical circuit with a pent up charge. Sometimes it needs to discharge and you then get a moving current. Takes a minimum of 2 terminals to do that.
Electrical analogy, FTW! 😉
Love reading your posts! As entrepreneurs, we’re our own boss so it’s very easy to set and miss deadlines. No better way to speed things up than setting a deadline to achieve your goals, and also making yourself even more accountable by making your goals public as you are more likely to want to live up to your promise.
Also, I hope you continue your podcasts as there’s aren’t too many podcasts out there that are as value-packed as yours!
Wish you all the best for 2018!
Thanks, Veena. 🙂 And yes, I am planning to bring the podcast back. I’ve been getting enough people asking me about it that I know there are a lot of people thinking the same who didn’t bother to tell me. So, I need to listen. 🙂
The house fly analogy: –
“It is the same reason why we have such a hard time catching a common house fly with our hands. It usually sees you coming from a mile away because it’s viewpoint of space is different. Time is different.”
wasn’t a good analogy.
The reason the house fly sees you coming has nothing to do with time; which is relative to, but a separate quantity from, space, is that it has a greater number of eyes which are positioned around its head in a way that gives it near-360-degree-vision.
Prior to that, you also stated: –
“We consider that something happened and hence time is created. We created that time ourselves by observing and considering that we did so.”
In fact we individually observe something at a point in space/time (This applies to anything – not just quantum events.). You’re inferring that we give that event a location in space/time by observing it… But whilst that actually happens on a quantum level; in day-to-day life at a more usual scale, events occur totally independently of our observation at a fixed point in space/time. We observed that occurrence and its location in space/time.
For instance I just finished typing the last paragraph at 16:25 HRS GMT (time location) on my main computer in my studio in Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK, on Planet Earth. (spatial location). If you were also there watching me; you’d have seen me type the last character and looked at the clock, which would have told you that it happened at 16:25 hours GMT.
Whether or not you looked at the clock; it still DID happen at the above point in the time/space continuum – whether or not you or anyone else agrees with that fact.
We’re getting philosophical now, aren’t we? 😉
I get what you’re saying. But, my point is that time is a result of viewpoint. The fact that you did something in the UK that I didn’t see if perfectly fine, but it isn’t part of MY world here in terms of my own time. It isn’t relevant to me. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, of course. It’s just not relevant to me. In terms of my own time, it is a result of my viewpoint and my considerations of speed. And everybody operates at their own speeds. But, it can change with practice.
Really enjoy reading your blog! I need some help with MemberMouse. I want my members area and checkout pages to be similar to what you have. If I join the monthly lab club is that something you could share with me how you set it up?
Sure. Short answer is I use OptimizePress in combo with the MemberMouse SmartTags. But, inside my Membership Site Blueprint AP inside the Lab, I go into more detail and actually share the exact code I use for checkout page.
I like you 2016 plans for streamlining (simplifying) the Roadmap.
I have been a happy member of the Lab for quite some time. If I continue to renew, I will not incur a price increase… is that correct?
That is correct. 🙂
Great Post! You put a lot of thought and time into your writing – it shows. Thanks for this!
While I have yet to make some money (Due in part to all that you’ve mentioned above) I do feel that joining you on your site is one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Looking forward to a profitable and rewarding 2016 with your help of course. I wish you continued success.