It has been awhile since I have written anything on this site.
Long story short, I have been busy getting a new service business off the ground. Most of my past few months have revolved around building this up.
I have been online for about a year and I will be the first to admit that things have not been as easy ass I thought they were going to be.
The biggest struggle I have had to work through has revolved around having the proper mindset needed to be successful.
Without the proper mindset, you will not have the mental toughness needed to take action and to persevere when you have set backs.
With that in mind, I offer you 24 lessons learned on having the proper mindset needed to succeed in online business.
This list is not all inclusive. It is just a list of some of the biggest issues I had to face with my own shortcomings. In an effort to keep the post as short as possible (I tend to go on for awhile), I have not gone into great detail as to how I learned the lessons—just know that I earned these lessons through exercising my own stupidity and learning what not to do.
Go through them. Think about how they may also affect you. Most of all, if something resonates with you, take the necessary action to make sure you do not make the same mistakes I made.
1. If you want to accomplish anything meaningful in life, then you had better get used to getting outside of your comfort zone. It is hard putting thoughts out for the world to see. It is hard to prospect for clients online and offline. People will judge you. Your family will judge you. Keep the end in mind as you jump into the deep end. If you are going to fail, fail as quickly as possible. learn your lesson and jump back in. You will never be bored when you are stretching who you are.
2. If you are not setting goals, then you are selling yourself short. Real goal setting involves writing things down, having plans to achieve them, and deadlines for taking action. Beating procrastination and finally getting things done involves the use of setting deadlines. I used to think deadlines were some arbitrary function—and I wondered why I never accomplished anything. Once I started getting serious about deadlines, pressure built up and I started taking action.
3. If you waste your time on foolish activities that are not part of a structured day, then you are wasting your life. Time is the one resource you will not get back. The use of your time will be the most important decision you will make. If you structure your day properly, there is plenty of time to spend with friends and family. There is even time for watching a movie on TV. Try structuring your days for a week. Focus on your priorities and not on putting out fires. If you can keep out the stuff that seems urgent but is not important then you will be amazed about how much time you really have.
4. Part of how you use your time will involve decisions on who you choose to spend time with. If you try to spend time with people who want to do something with their life, then chances are you will try to do something too. If you hang out with negative, whiny people, then you will probably end up a sniveling rat just like them. I have had to cut off many of my friends and most of my family because they were dragging my efforts down. It was really painful. Still love them, but you have to make the choice of what is right for you (and your family if you have one). Rarely do we finish with the same people we started out with.
5. The real reason people do not honor their commitments—to themselves and to others—stems from a lack of integrity. This is one realization that hit me hard. I pride myself as being a man of integrity. Once you understand and accept this (after mild depression followed by being pissed off at yourself) your life and how you decide to structure it will take on new meaning.
6. The only thing that matters is results. There are no points for being the smartest, most ‘learned’ kid on the block if you are not making progress toward your goals. I am guilty of this too often. I value being prepared. Sometimes being prepared keeps you from taking action. Keep in mind a quote from General Patton, “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week”. Make sure you have a plan though!
7. If you are trying to do everything using only the free content out there, you are wasting your time. Real progress comes when you have invested in your own education. Anything you get for free is seldom valued. I am ashamed of my past behavior in not taking advantage of all the past opportunities offered to me. Don’t fall into the same trap.
8. Don’t walk into a business situation unless you have a well thought out plan of attack. Many of the mistakes I made in the past year have been because I was trying to take action without thinking about what I wanted the final outcome to be. If an action does not fall in line with what you are trying to accomplish, do not do it.
9. Success in anything ultimately comes down to the way you behave. Although I am a big fan of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, thinking without action gets very little results. You have to behave like the person you want to become. Thought without action is fantasy. If you do not want to act on your dreams then you might want to just quit now, because it probably will never happen for you.
10. Worry is a useless emotion. You cannot do much about what happened in the past. You cannot control what happens in the future. All that you can truly handle is what is here and now. If you plan your actions toward attaining what you want, then the future becomes more predictable and you become aware of what obstacles may come up. From there you can be prepared with contingency planning. Just accept the fact that it is going to be hard.
11. “You are not in the ‘thing’ business. You are in the marketing of the ‘thing’ business”- D. Kennedy. If you are a web designer or techy type of person, the most important thing for you to realize is that if you do not take the actions needed to set yourself apart from everyone else, then you are just a commodity. You need to position yourself to be different from everyone else.
12. If you do not have the “tech” skills needed to do a job, someone else has the skills. I neglected to take action for far too long because I did not have the “skills” I thought were needed. I spent most of the last year learning a lot of stuff I could have had someone else doing. I have some great skills now, but all the learning set me back months. Outsource as fast as possible.
13. On that subject, there are only so many minutes in the day. If you are in the service business and you are doing all the work, you need to move into a quality control position. Hire other people to do the work, spot check them, and then send out the completed work to your clients with a healthy profit margin attached.
14. Your ego will get in the way. It will prevent you from listening to sound advice. Getting results that truly matter to you is way more important than being right. Suck it up and drive on towards your objective. Don’t be afraid of advice if it does not come from you. Stop thinking that you have all the answers.
15. Adopt a philosophy of ruthless self-discipline when it comes to achieving your goals. Self-Discipline is not a hard thing. Look at it as a matter of honor. Honor your commitments to others, to yourself and to your self-imposed deadlines.
16. Confidence in any undertaking is only gained when you get off your butt and earn it. Confidence comes from competence. Competence comes from experience. Experience comes when you get burned and figure out that you don’t want that to happen again.
17. Competence comes from guaranteeing your work. Most people are scared of offering guarantees. I know I am. What I offer is a done for you service that requires an up-front payment to some outsourcers. If someone asks for a refund, then I am out some money. A common question is, “what if people take advantage of me?’. It sucks. But, understand three dynamics: One, people will more than likely take advantage of you—you want to identify them early on because you really do not want to do business with them anyways. Two, it is easier to give a refund to a complainer than to suffer the negative hit to your reputation. Three, once you do offer the guarantee, you will be more motivated to give your clients the “WOW” factor.
18. Always review the fundamentals. Often you will gain new insights on old topics. Try to learn something new every day. One of the biggest sins in life is to go to bed as stupid as you were when you woke up.
19. Don’t think that internet business is a magic pill that anyone can do, no matter what the ‘experts’ say. You will need a strong desire to put up with all the monotony and late nights of laying the foundation necessary to do big things. Most of the success you will gain will come from long nights of repetitive crap that needs to be done.
20. Figuring out a market to sell to is easy. Just look around for a bunch of scared or pissed off people and then match them to solutions. Opportunity is everywhere. In fact, I would argue that there is too much opportunity. Pick something and go for it.
21. Have a list of reasons why making yourself a success in business is important. Include all the crap you no longer want to put up with. Look at the list often when you don’t feel like working. I recommend a list of about 100 things.
22. Don’t ever compromise your integrity. Don’t rip off other people. Don’t make promises you cannot keep. Don’t market ‘get rich’ stuff if you are not rich. If you do not get a good “vibe” when you start working with a client, then you probably do not need to be working with that person.
23. You have to study sales if you want to make a real impact. I really recommend “SPIN Selling” by Neil Rackham. This book came out in the late 1980’s, but the advice is sound. It involves finding out about what the present situation is, finding out what the problems are, finding out the possible implications of the problems and then matching what solutions you offer to the problem. Order it today.
24. Don’t be afraid to sell. Sometimes you need to engage in offline activities in order to get the online activities kick started. Selling can involve selling yourself when you are making connections. Sometimes it involves walking up to a local business owner and convincing them that they have a problem and you have the solution.
A final thought: I would not change the last year for anything. I love the fact that I had to grow. I love the direction my life is taking. Although I do cringe at some of the dumb things I have done in the past, making the mistakes have brought me to new levels of understanding.
I am finally walking through the Door…
What are your thoughts?
picture by Bob:http://www.flickr.com/photos/katsrcool/