The Ten Most Popular Myths About Running an Online Business
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
Several weeks ago I finally took the plunge into the world of network marketing. I had been running an online business for almost three years by then but knew that I would have to make the leap to network marketing at some point since it was such an obvious fit with Internet marketing. And I haven't been disappointed.
One thing did surprise me though -- the number of people who approached me about my network marketing business, interested in running their businesses exclusively online, but with the mistaken belief that it would be somehow easier and less expensive than establishing and running a home- based business offline.
Well, let me tell you, there's nothing easy or inexpensive about running a home-based business - online or off. The Internet is just a different way of going about it. And that's all.
Here's my top 10 myths about running an online business (and in answer to the missing Myth#11, NO, you CANNOT run a serious online business with WebTV - get a REAL computer already).
MYTH#1 - It's Easy, Anyone Can Do It
FACT - It's not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, and no, you may not be able to do it.
Reality is, establishing an Internet business is a long, slow, frustrating process. Your first attempt at creating your own web site will be an abomination. You'll look back at it in 12 months and shudder. I know I did.
You'll feel utterly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you need to absorb. And the fact that six different "experts" each tell you six different things doesn't help. (There are no "experts", by the way, just a lot of people with a lot of opinions. Bottom line? Do what works. For you.)
The only way to learn is by trial and error. Some days you'll feel like you're on a roll, the next you'll feel like you're backsliding and FAST. No sooner do you manage a respectable ranking on Altavista, than your Yahoo listing disappears altogether, and where the hell did that number 5 listing with Google go?
After spending an ENTIRE DAY trying to work out what's going on with your search engine listings, giving up, going searching for yet another "expert" to tell you what you're doing wrong, finally realizing there is no such expert and you're going to have to learn how to do it all yourself after all (dammit to hell!) you suddenly realize that you've done absolutely nothing all day to promote your business and you still have to write the article for this week's ezine which has to go out tomorrow but you can't work your business tomorrow because you have to go work at your J.O.B. .... AAAARGHHHH!!!!!
Many, many people, give it up. Most, probably. It's hard work and it's frustrating. At the end of the day, most are just not prepared to do what it takes.
MYTH#2 - I Can Get Wealthy Overnight
FACT - The only way to get wealthy overnight in this world is to win the Lotto. Period. It will NOT happen on the Internet. Not these days, anyway.
MYTH#3 - Once I Build My Website I Can Relax And Let It Do the Work For Me
FACT - Hah. See Myth #4.
MYTH#4 - Once I Build My Website The World Will Beat A Path To My Door
FACT - No. It won't.
Merely creating a web site and uploading it to your host's server means that your web site is available for viewing by *those who know it exists*. Only problem is, you and your web host are the only ones who know. And even your web host doesn't care (at least as long as you pay your monthly hosting fees).
You now need to submit your site to the search engines (no, they will not just find it automatically and no, your web site is not just automatically added to some great universal Index once it's uploaded). Then you have to wait several weeks or months to find out whether it's been indexed. And if by some miracle it has, where and for what keywords. And then fix it.
In the meantime, you have to drive traffic to your site via other means. You'll need to submit it to directories, negotiate reciprocal links with other complementary web sites, start publishing a weekly ezine (electronic newsletter) and start promoting that to start developing your own opt-in list, start writing articles and submitting them wherever you can (including a link to your site in the resource box at the end is good free advertising) and, shudder, advertising. And not in the FFAs and free classifieds either. In other people's ezines. On other people's websites. In the classifieds section of newspapers (yes, the kind that leaves black stuff on your fingers when you read it). All of this costs money. Plenty of it. If you're running a network marketing business, you're also going to need to pay for leads during this period as well.
MYTH#5 - I Don't Have To Spend Money To Market My Business
FACT - Yes, you do.
You wouldn't expect to be able to market an offline business without financial outlay. Well, guess what? It's just the same in your online business. See Myth #4.
Oh, and by the way, when you're re-reading Myth #4, keep this in mind. You haven't made a dime yet.
MYTH#6 - I Can Put the Whole Thing On Autopilot And Make Money While I Sleep (Or Vacation)
FACT - True. To a point.
By automating as many of your tasks as possible you necessarily free up time to do other things. You COULD use that time to sleep or vacation and you MAY make money while you're sleeping or vacationing. THIS time. But you must sow before you can reap and if you're not continually planting and growing your business, the time will come in the not too distant future when you have nothing left to harvest. You'll wake up one morning and find that, far from filling your inbox with overnight orders, your business has bitten the dust.
So, instead of taking that freed up time and spending it sleeping or vacationing, spend it working your business.
In other words, you'll get out of your business precisely what you put into it. Just like anything else in this world. Funny about that.
MYTH#7 - I Don't Have To Deal With People, I Can Do Everything Via Email
FACT - Email is what you use to handle routine administrative issues and a tool to get prospective customers or networking partners to contact you. Once that happens, you take the relationship OFFLINE. You get on the phone and actually TALK to these people. The Internet is not an iron curtain that protects you from having to have real life conversations and relationships with people. It's just a tool that brings you together so that the real work of establishing relationships can begin. Offline.
MYTH#8 - I Will Be Able to Fire My Boss And Work Where I Want, When I Want ... In Six Months Or Less
FACT - Don't give up your day job just yet.
MYTH#9 - When I'm Working For Myself From Home In My Online Business I Will Be Able To Spend As Much Time With My Children As I Want
FACT - When you're running a business you're running a business. It's not a pleasant little hobby that you fit in between the stuff of your REAL life. If you're not going to run your business as a business, forggeddabouddit.
MYTH#10 - The Internet Is A Magic Wand
FACT - See Myths#1 through #9.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the work-from-home entrepreneur.
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