Top 10 Mistakes in Starting an Online Business – #4 is Deadly

How to start an online business

When starting an Online Business you will inevitably make some mistakes that you will need to learn from. But some them have already been made by other entrepreneurs so it’s a chance for you to learn from their experience.

In this post I will share with you what these mistakes are.

So here’s the top 10 mistakes in starting an Online Business

1) Choosing a topic you don’t care about

If you want to start an online business, you’d better choose something you’re passionate about or something for which you have some kind of interest.

If you choose a topic you don’t care about, you’re doomed. Why? Think about it! Every week you’ll spend a lot of time creating and developing your online business. If you don’t like what you do you will find it hard to get motivated or even follow through…

2) Not being different

When you start a business you often tend to play it safe. You don’t try concepts that are too original or ideas that are too extreme out of fear to be wide of the mark. And yet trying to be completely different may increase your chances of success.

Example of successful site

Example: While the fitness industry was saturated (and still is), Steve Kamb founded, a site with a very unique concept that put together the fitness world and the geek world. Steve managed to come up with a very original concept that resonate with people. Today the site attract hundred of thousands of people every month.

3) Not really listening to customers

Listen to your customers!” If so many books, posts, videos and podcasts give you this advice it’s for a good reason. We live in a world where people don’t listen but wait to talk. Various studies actually show that we spend on average 30 percent of our time speaking and 45 percent listening. But during the time we spend listening, we only use 25% of our mental capacity, the 75% that remains is used to wander.

Listen to people

If you make the effort of listening to what your customers have to say, not only will you be able to understand them better but you will also develop better solutions, which will set you apart from a large majority of your competitors.

4) Waiting too long to sell a product or service

As beginners we often wait too long to sell a product or service because we are afraid to charge for what we do. We believe that we will sound too pushy or manipulative. We are worried that people get mad because we sell them our product(s) or service(s).

If you think that stop and consider this instead:

Selling is just finding out what people do want or need and helping them get it. That’s it! If you sell with the best intention in mind, you’re actually providing them with a service.

Charging also help people put things in perspective. If you believe your product(s) or service(s) can change people’s life, you must charge them otherwise they won’t value your work or won’t even pay attention to it. A great illustration of this is the Violinist Subway Experiment.

Violinist Subway Experiment

In 2007 a man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. Almost nobody paid attention to him. When he finished playing no one applauded nor was there any recognition. He had collected $32.

No one knew this but the violinist was actually Joshua Bell a brilliant musician who played one of the most intricate pieces ever written on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. 2 days before the experiment, Joshua sold out at the theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100. Because people didn’t pay anything for his performance in the subway, no one saw any value in what he was doing.

5) Bad pricing

When starting an online business many beginners have a low price strategy. They create a product that they sell for $5 or $20, which is a terrible thing to do.

A low pricing strategy only works with high volumes (= a lot of leads, a lot of visitors). The problem is that when you are just starting off, your volumes are low. You have a small email list, few people visit your website… so it will take quite a bit of time before you start making any decent amount of money.

The secret is to have a middle/high price strategy by providing massive value right from the start. It’s easier to make 1K online from a $250 product than it’s from a $20 product. If you sell a $20 product you have to get 50 sales whereas if you sell a $250 you only have to get 4 sales, that’s to say 12 times less! That’s a perfect place to start when you just start off since you have low volume.

So when you create a product, service, aim for bringing massive value to your customers first so you can have a middle/high price strategy which will make things easier for you down the road .

6) Confusing a blog with a business

How to make money onlineWhen starting an online business there are many things to manage such as creating good content, networking, guest posting, designing, creating your product and/or service, interacting with your community, building an email list, growing your audience on social media, optimizing…There is a lot to do and very often we focus on the wrong things. We write 7 posts a week and do everything we possibly can to grow our audience on social media (because getting 1,000 likes is so cool right?). If that’s what you do, pause and ask yourself:

Am I really trying to build a business here?

If you spend 90% of your time creating content for your site and growing your community on social media, you’re not building a business, you’re blogging.

Don’t get me wrong blogging is useful to get known, to feature your work, to build your email list…but it’s only a channel to grow your business and you must consider it as such.

7) Not taking your business seriously

Building a business requires focus, discipline and consistency. It’s not something you do from time to time when you have some spare time and you don’t know what to do. It’s something you build everyday one brick at the time. Deciding to start a business is really like making a commitment to yourself.

Build a successful business

Examples of entrepreneurs who took their business extremely seriously:

Pete Cashmore started Mashable at the age of 19 in Scotland. He knew that writing for a Britain audience wouldn’t work since the market wasn’t big enough. So he targeted America and adapted his schedule to the time difference. He didn’t sleep at night, would go to bed at 7:00 am and he would be up by mid-day to write again. By the end of 18 months there were about 2 million people reading Mashable content. Today Pete Cashmore may be worth as much as $95 million according to the New York Times.

Because he took his business seriously and was committed, he succeeded.

Another example is Matt Mullenweg founder of WordPress. When Matt founded WordPress he did 6 sleeping periods a day (of about 40 minutes each) with about 2.5 hours in between each nap. In an interview with Tim Ferriss he said: “This was probably one the most productive periods of my life. I wrote WordPress in that time.” This extreme sleep pattern show how serious he was about his business.

8) Being afraid to invest

If you don’t invest in your business, you don’t give yourself any chance to succeed. If don’t pay for and domain name and a host, if you use a free WordPress theme for your site, if you look for a free service to grow your email list…it will have consequences for you and your business:

  • People won’t take you seriously and won’t trust you (it’s hard to sell them anything in these conditions)
  • Running your business will be a pain in the ass. While some free services are awesome many others are awful to use. For example if you use a free WordPress theme, many features that would be great for your business, won’t be available.

“Don’t be cheap with your business or sooner or later you’ll pay the price for it”

The Becomer

9) Not networking


Networking is crucial in any business. Unfortunately it’s one of the things beginners don’t do when they start. Yet networking has many benefits and can open many doors for you such as:

  • Getting traffic
  • Getting interesting content
  • Getting featured on big sites
  • Growing your email list
  • Creating amazing products
  • Setting up your own affiliate program

Don’t wait too long before starting networking, it may be the most useful thing for your business.

10) Giving up too quickly

If you want to succeed you have to give yourself some time. Many beginners don’t push themselves enough, they just want immediate results. It doesn’t work that way. Success is a long and difficult process and you must accept it.

Every time you think of giving up, focus on the consequences of doing it.

And if you give up now, you don’t know what you could have accomplished and what the world might be missing out because of you. So do yourself and favor and never quit.

Simon Cave

11 comments… add one
  • Tirzah Libert February 16, 2015, 1:26 pm

    A great reminder to be Patient & Persistent after doing it all. Thanks Simon.

  • Ivailo Durmonski May 26, 2015, 5:43 pm

    Being different today, is probably the most difficult part. We have to give the best of ourselves, in order to success in this great journey.

    Great articles!

    • The Becomer May 26, 2015, 5:48 pm

      Exactly Ivailo. Thanks for your comment

  • Kat August 12, 2015, 10:33 pm

    I think the biggest obstacle for me is actually getting past a lot of the anti-money mental programming I was brought up with as a minister’s kid. Much of it has ranged all over the board, so it’s hard to tell where familial ideas begin and where broader cultural ideas blend in. Believe it or not, cultural and religious ideas about having a lot of money have a larger impact on us human beings as a whole, especially where the concept of “poverty consciousness” is concerned. Which is why I think many people devalue what they offer when the start. They’re still thinking in terms of what they personally can afford as opposed to the wider audience that can afford that $250 service.

    That being said, I’ve found myself recoiling at the idea of reading Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” Because it feels like that’s all that book’s about: being wealthy for the sake of it. That’s not who I want to be. Whatever wealth I grow for myself has to not just be about me, but for the greater good as well. I don’t want to be just another person trying to sell this or that “program.” I tried MLM, and it just didn’t feel right. So, for answers, I turned to my own burgeoning spiritual path that veers away from typical concepts about money (“money is everything” OR “Money is evil”) and goes for “a path with heart” that just happens to bring in a more-than-livable income.

    So, here’s what I’ve come to understand about being an aspiring/budding entrepreneur with the aim of feeding the soul as well as making sure I have what I need to live on as well as give away:

    Concerning product/service individuality and deeper motivation to create a successful business: there needs to be more of a focus on one’s life purpose. What you tend to be passionate about also is your life purpose. Too many people do try to copy everyone else, just because of that promise of money in their account. But if you’re not individual enough, not only do you eventually feel like you’re not being genuine–and true to your soul, people just won’t buy your services. Consciously and/or subconsciously, they will sense that you’re trying too hard to be like everyone else.

    Also, when your passion is soul-based, that’s where the fresh material comes from. Even if you’re in the SEO/marketing business, if you feel–yes, I said “feel”– that’s where you’re meant to be, you’re going to be constantly excited about what you do, and that spills over into everything, and you’ll end up wanting to create a unique approach to your services that no one else has on offer.

    But if you’re in the SEO/marketing game just because it might make money for you, stop–just stop. Making money is nice, but if you are not that passionate about the SEO/marketing niche, but would rather spend time doing something else that feeds the fire of your soul, go for what your soul wants, rather than just what will feed your bank account.

    I am currently working on Fiverr, writing blog posts for people. While it’s okay money, and I know I can make more just by promoting my gigs, I get WAY more fired up about making jewelry, making music, building a metaphysical e-store and other things of that nature. I’m a good writer with excellent editing skills, and that’s what’s helping me (slowly) pay my bills. But after writing what seems like countless articles way-too-overstuffed with keywords (as if 17 mentions of a keyword in a 900-word article is going to make Google crawl the post any faster or bring them more money!), I know deep in my gut that this is not satisfying to me, except for my own personal search on what’s considered “good SEO” practice. 😛

    Just thought I’d share a different perspective. 😉

    • The Becomer August 13, 2015, 4:31 pm

      Wow thank you so much for that great comment!

  • Elise November 24, 2015, 5:38 am

    I SO needed to read this post! Thanks!

  • Corey Hinde March 25, 2016, 6:34 pm

    More great advice- thank you

  • Chantal Steele October 24, 2016, 12:14 am

    All so true! I think it’s funny when bloggers are afraid to invest when owning or starting a brick-and-mortar business requires thousands! Great post.

    • bollywood box office December 13, 2016, 7:51 am

      8) Being afraid to invest is my Biggest mistake 🙁 I regret it till now


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