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It’s Been a Year Already – Where’s My Internet Business Success?

Keller Hawthorne | February 26, 2010 | 74 Comments
Preparing Your Business for Success
It’s Been a Year Already – Where’s My Internet Business Success?

Back in 2006, I was saying the same thing to myself. I had given what I thought was my “all” and “best” to making money online and didn’t have much to show for it in terms of dollars. No real income, not even a little extra money for my pocket.

My Quick History

I started off selling junk on eBay back in February 2005. I quickly learned there was great potential for making more money online – I just needed to understand what certain concepts were all about – concepts like “dropshipping,” “SEO,” and “internet marketing.”

The next month, I launched an eBay store and sold jewelry through a dropshipper. I quickly went from paying almost nothing and earning a little money to paying out more than I was earning. But, I still saw great potential in this virtual world.

The next month, I decided to open an actual ecommerce store where I would sell home decor. So, without any SEO, market research or understanding of Internet marketing or web design, I spent money I didn’t have and invested in a store that would go nowhere fast – sounds like a fairy tale, huh?

I earned one sale that first month – ONE. And then nothing… cricket, cricket. I of course continued to invest in Google Adwords, fancy website features, BS marketing plans and the rest of it. I was bleeding dough.

After investing in a few Internet marketing courses that were either WAY over my head or not related to ecommerce in any way, I decided to stop and think. I took a deep breath, piled up my credit card bills and decided to try something new.

Though my dreams had not been realized and the feeling of failure loomed over me on a daily basis, I still sensed that great potential of an Internet business. I knew deep down that I could make this work – that I could make money online – I just needed to create my own plan.

My Plan for Launching a Successful Internet Business

1. Focus Your Learning

The first thing I realized as I starred at my bills was I could NOT keep spending money. I really had to tighten my purse strings or I would be completely out of business soon.

There are a TON of Internet marketing courses on the market that range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands. I made the mistake of thinking the most expensive were the best. I also made the mistake of thinking what worked for one person would work for me.

I believe you do need to learn from someone who has done this before, but you don’t need to learn from everyone right from the beginning. Over time you can choose to invest in more courses, but right now try to decide on just ONE course that you can devote yourself to.

Remember, a course is only as good as the commitment you make to it. Purchasing a $2,000 course from a world-renowned expert won’t help you if you never dive into it.

Free newsletters and blogs can be fantastic sources of information as well, but remember that your inbox can fill up FAST. Limit the number of newsletters you subscribe to, to a number you can actually manage and commit yourself to learning from. Again, the information won’t help you unless you actually learn from it.

Tip!Out of all the courses I purchased and tried during that first year online, the course that helped me actually begin making money online was The Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet. It’s an affordable course and one that helped me launch my first successful ecommerce store, Theme Kitchen!

2. Apply What You’ve Learned

That’s right – what good is learning about SEO unless you can see it in action? How will writing money-grabbing headlines work for you unless you actually try righting some?

I began applying what I learned about SEO with my first store, The KBH Outlet. What happened? My traffic multiplied by 3 in one month! Sales still staggered and the niche was still bad, but the SEO techniques had worked!

So what did this mean for my future? It meant I had learned a valuable tool and could apply it even to a failing business. So, when I finally decided to revamp my niche, I was able to optimize my new website and gain traffic almost immediately!

But the most important part of applying what I had learned was the confidence it gave me. I proved to myself that I could increase my website’s traffic. I learned that I had the ability to build an audience for my business. I finally had EVIDENCE that I could make money online!

3. Give Up

Yes, there are times when you will need to just give up. You may need to give up bad ideas, bad business models, bad niches, bad SEO techniques – if it’s not working and has no potential to work, give it up!

I gave up my first niche – home decor. I revamped it into a much more lucrative niche and opened a new store. I got rid of what wasn’t working and had no potential to work and focused on new avenues of opportunity.

So, how do you know when to give up? Well, if you learn proper market research skills and take the time to analyze the potential growth for your business, you should be able to come up with an answer to this question. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there a lucrative market for my business?
  • Can I actually obtain a piece of the demand pie or are there too many competitors?
  • Has what I’m doing been done before? If so, can I do it better or different?

IMPORTANT: Be honest when answering these questions. Try your best to remove your personal attachment from your business and look at it from the perspective of a potential investor. Would you invest in this company?

4. Never Give Up

So, I just told you to give up, but I only referred to giving up the bad. You never want to give up the good! Get rid of those overnight success story ideas and take a quick walk with me here in reality.

It’s going to take TIME to become successful. It’s like starting out at a new school. You’re not going to make a ton of friends that first day. It takes time to build a reputation, meet new people, find out where you belong, and nurture relationships. If you’re still in your first year of owning an Internet business, it may not be time to give up.

It’s also damn hard work trying to make a business survive. Yes, it becomes easier with experience, but the lessons you will face are tough and the sacrifices you may have to make can be even tougher. You’re building a money-making machine – even Einstein would scratch his head during the process.

The major flaw with giving up is the fact that by doing so, you will NEVER achieve success. Even if you continue to try to make money online, but constantly change the avenue by which you plan to do so, you’re giving up on potential successes. Make a strong commitment to your business and stick to it!

I’m Doing All of That and It’s Still Not Working!

Ok, perhaps you’ve learned a lot, applied what you’ve learned, given up the bad stuff and made a commitment not to give up on your business – and still you’re not making a dime. Here’s a quick list of to-do’s I would give a client if they came to me with that story:

1. Research Your Market Again

Are you absolutely sure you’ve chosen a lucrative niche to go into? This isn’t just about what you want, is it? Are you looking at the numbers and actually analyzing the potential for your business?

2. Realign Your Business with Your Niche

Is your business actually targeting the market you’ve researched? When visitors come to your site, do they find what they were expecting? Do you have a focused brand, model or business idea?

3. Are You Using SEO Properly?

Do you get lots of traffic? If so, is it targeted traffic (traffic made up of people who represent your market)? If you answer no to either of these questions, it might be time to start revising your Meta Tags and keywords.

4. Is Your Website Properly Set Up?

Does your site design align with your niche? Is it easy for visitors to purchase goods, read content or sign up for information? Are you converting your traffic into paying visitors? If not, why?

5. Are You Executing Your Job Effectively?

If you run an ecommerce store, are you providing excellent customer service? If you own a blog, are you offering high quality content? Is there any way you might be hindering your business’s success?

Stop Comparing

If you can’t find an issue with any of the above areas, then your business should be a success, or at least on its way toward success.

If you’ve been at this for a year and can’t understand why you’re not a millionaire yet, it might be time to stop comparing yourself to others. Every business has its own ups and downs and its own challenges. Some require years of hard work while others seem to take off overnight.

Again, if you’ve chosen a lucrative business niche and you’re learning and applying what you’ve learned, you may just need to be patient. But the only way you will know for sure is by being honest with yourself and really trying to understand what seems to be working, and what doesn’t.

Time can go by fast and the more that does, the more hopeless we can begin to feel in our efforts. Take some time to really LOOK at what you’re doing online. Be a critic and discover the flaws as well as the gems within your business. Remember, failure is one of the best ways to learn – don’t let it go by without purpose.

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