Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory
You may find the lure of an online business seductive indeed. And why not? After all, it holds the promise of true independence – time and money freedom – from the comfort and sanctuary of your own home. It tantalizes you with the promise of unlimited potential, a limitless market. With immediate results.
All of this is achievable. Except the last. There is nothing immediate about the results you will achieve when you first start an online business.
It’s estimated that well over 98% of internet businesses bite the dust after only a few months. How can you make sure you’re one of the 2% who last through the long haul? It’s quite simple, really. Just hang on.
That’s assuming, of course, that your online business is worth hanging on TO. If all you’re doing is reselling someone else’s products and not contributing anything to the Internet community yourself, get ready to join the 98%. But if you’ve identified your niche, if you’re making an original contribution to that niche and have quality products or services to offer that market, you can make it.
But you have to be prepared to stick it out because no matter how great your site, your product, your service, your ideas, your abilities, it will not happen overnight.
THAT’S why 98% of online businesses fail. It’s not because they were also-rans, it’s not because they did nothing but sign up for half a dozen affiliate programs and thought they were in business, it’s not because they were dumb, or slow, or technically challenged or faced too much competition.
It’s because they gave up too soon.
You have to allow for the lag factor. You have to be prepared to not only sow your seeds, but to give the seeds time to germinate, sprout and, finally, grow. Only then can you harvest. In other words, not only must you sow before you can reap, you must wait after sowing before you can reap.
It’s what you do with that waiting time that’s critical to your success.
Think of yourself as a farmer. You wouldn’t just plant a quarter acre of corn and then sit back for the next three months (or however long it takes corn to grow) twiddling your thumbs, obsessively checking for signs of life every five minutes, getting more and more frustrated with every day that passes without being able to harvest.
No. In the meantime, you’d be busy planting strawberries, potatoes, carrots and broadbeans. And you’d be busy *harvesting* the broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and asparagus that you planted four months before the strawberries, potatoes, carrots and broadbeans. While you weren’t obsessing about how the cauliflower, silverbeet, tomatoes and squash you’d planted three months before THAT were doing. And keeping an eye on your herb garden while you were at it.
Like working a farm, working an online business is a constant exercise in planning, sowing, tending, measuring and reaping. And patience. Lots and lots of patience.
When you “finish” your first website (you’ll understand why the quotes if you have your own site), you think the hard part’s over. You think that it’s simply a matter of uploading your site to your web host’s servers, submitting your site to the search engines, listing it in directories, negotiating reciprocal links with other webmasters, publishing an ezine and generating subscribers, placing paid ads (you’ll figure out what free ads are worth all by yourself), writing articles and doing a hundred and one other things to drive traffic to your site.
And you’re right. It is that simple.
But it all takes time.
You won’t upload your site today and have it indexed by the search engines tomorrow. You’ll send the first issue of your ezine to maybe 10 people. Or fewer. Your first attempt at ad writing will bring you zero sales. It takes you three months for it to actually sink in that you have to run your ad for a minimum of seven times before readers will act. And that it’s seven times to the SAME audience.
And then, when your site is *finally* indexed by the search engines, it doesn’t appear in the first three pages of search results for your keywords. In fact, it doesn’t appear in the first *thirty* pages. So you learn about the importance of high-profitability keywords and you create new web pages just for those keywords. And submit them to the search engines. And then wait until they’re indexed. And then check again.
In the meantime, four months have passed, you now have over five hundred subscribers to your ezine and you’re starting to see maybe fifty site visitors a day. And not a one of them is buying anything.
You’ve been working hard, long hours in your business but, quite frankly, you consider it a good month if you can (just) cover your web hosting fees with what you’re bringing in.
So you start feeling like it’s just not worth the time and the effort and the sacrifice. You’re spending at least half your waking time on this thing and you’re not getting anywhere.
A few more weeks pass with no results and you start getting seriously dejected. You’re disillusioned and disappointed. You’re frustrated and generally P.O.’d that everyone else seems to be able to do this but you.
Your day job, which you detest with a passion, starts to feel like not such a bad way to spend 8 hours. Hey, it beats sitting before a computer screen day in day out trying to market to a bunch of ingrates with nothing to show for it.
So you petulantly start watching TV in the evenings after work instead of tending your garden. You completely miss the tender young shoots that suddenly appear in the corn patch. You don’t see that birds are picking off the strawberries and that the carrots and broadbeans need watering. You don’t notice you have a whole field of potatoes that are ready for harvesting or that the soil needs to be turned where the silverbeet was planted six months ago.
Finally, the corn is ready to harvest but half-formed cabbages and asparagus are rotting because you didn’t notice it was time to water and protect them from parasites. Soon the corn will join them.
You don’t see any of it because you’re busy watching TV. If you’d just hung on a little bit longer, you’d be starting to reap a healthy crop from your efforts by now. But you didn’t hang in there. You gave up too soon.
Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let your business die on the vine. Continue to feed, water and protect it. Even when you don’t feel like it. *Especially* when you don’t feel like it. Success in this business has as much to do with patience and perseverence as it does about creativity and talent.
Success could be just around the next corner. Just wait and see what’s waiting for you before you flip the switch.
2002 Elena Fawkner
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online … practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com/