I’ve been working with coaches and online entrepreneurs for about a decade, and there is one mistake beginners make when starting and online business that almost guarantees they will never be successful, or worse case scenario that they’ll give up before they really even get started, and it’s this:
You are getting way too far ahead of yourself and overcomplicating things when the best thing you can do for yourself is to simplify as much as possible, especially in the beginning!
So before I tell you how to fix this, let me tell you what I even mean.
The One BIG Mistake Beginners Make When Starting an Online Business
I’m not saying that when you start an online business you shouldn’t have big goals, or that you shouldn’t be thinking about what you want your business to look like in 6 months or 1 year or 5 years. But having a goal is very different from having a plan to achieve that goal.
If you want to get real results, you need to build from the bottom up. You have to start at the beginning. You have to crawl before you can walk. You need to build the foundation and the first floor of a house before you can build the second floor. And with very few exceptions, there’s some basic things that every online business needs to build that foundation.
Things Every Online Business Needs
First, you need people, meaning a target market or audience, whoever you want to provide your service or product to.
Second, you need a way to reach those people on a regular basis. Social media is the way that most people do that nowadays, but there’s other options like paid advertising or in person events also.
And the third thing every online business needs is a way for people to give you money! You can keep this really simple with something like Venmo, Paypal, or Stripe. I show you exactly how to start collecting money with Stripe in THIS video.
That’s about as simple as it can get. You need people, and way to reach those people, and a way for those people to give you money. That’s all you need to get some momentum and figure out if your business even has legs to stand on.
Everything else is kind of just noise that you don’t even need to be worrying about at the very beginning. You can *think* about having 5-figure months and 6-figure months as a coach or a course creator, but if you don’t have the foundation down for one person to give you one dollar, then it’s going to be pretty difficult to make $10,000 in one month.
You can also think of it this way. Imagine you were a health coach or a fitness trainer, and your clients are always asking you what supplements they need to be taking, but they haven’t figured out how to drink enough water or get enough sleep or get their steps in. It’s just getting way ahead of where they’re really at. Supplements aren’t really important in this moment and aren’t going to move the needle for them until they lay the foundation.
Now there’s nothing wrong with thinking about supplements, or thinking about the future of your business. But when it’s used as a distraction and is preventing you from taking the small steps you need to take each day, then it’s really not helpful.
Trying to skip steps or jump ahead isn’t going to serve you at all. What’s helpful is to get back into the present reality. Figure out what your next best step is to take right now in this moment that will move things forward in your business.
Real Life Example from a Beginner Coaching Client
Often when I’m having a coaching call, or especially when I’m doing a tech and systems consult with someone, they often ask me questions that they aren’t even close to needing the answer to.
I’m not saying that they’re bad or dumb questions. I’m just saying that it is not a question that is serving them in their business at this moment in time. They’re thinking about things that overwhelms them and keeps them from taking action, when there’s usually a really simple and clear next step that they could take.
I was on a call recently and this particular client wants to do online coaching for female entrepreneurs. She was asking about webinar platforms and Kajabi (which is a online business platform for entrepreneurs, coaches, and creators to build, market, and sell your online courses, membership sites and digital products).
These are great questions, but all they do is overwhelm this client, keep her in this analysis paralysis and keep her from taking action!
She was so frustrated on the call because this was her new year’s resolution, and here we are in May that I recorded this. So this is five months that have passed and she hasn’t really taken any action because she’s stuck on all these questions that she doesn’t even need to answer yet.
At the moment, she’s not really even putting herself in front of people. I helped her to zoom back in, and by the end of the conversation we had figured out exactly how she was going to start getting herself in front of people, and we’ll cross those other bridges when we come to them.
This Might Take Some Practice!
This doesn’t just happen with beginners. This is going to happen at every stage of your business because as you grow the goal posts keep moving. There’s always going to be that next shiny object, or that next new marketing platform, or the next Tik Tok, or whatever it is to distract you from the basics.
But the basics are the things that are going to help you to build momentum when you’re just starting an online business. These are ALSO the things that are going to allow you really have longevity, because you’ve simply laid one brick on top of the next. Now you’ve started an online business that has a rock solid foundation and it’s not built on quicksand.
Just Keep Taking Action – No Matter How Small!
So getting ahead of yourself and worrying about all these things that don’t really apply to you yet is what’s leading you to feel overwhelmed, not taking action and never gaining real traction.
This should come as a huge relief!
It means that you really don’t need anything fancy to get started. You just need to continue taking action.
There’s this idea out there that you need to take massive action to get results, but it’s actually not true at all. You just need to take the next small step right in front of you, and then keep doing that over and over and over again.
This is just a skill that is necessary in any business (or even just in life) to be able to discern what you need to do right now versus what you need to do later. What is the most important thing to take action on TODAY?
Like any other skill, it might take practice to catch yourself when you’re jumping ahead or you’re feeling stuck. In those moments you will just need to zoom back in and get back to action, and that’s OK!
Trust yourself to figure it out as you go. But right now, all you have to do is take the next best step for you, at whatever stage you’re at in your business and your process, and keep doing that over and over and over again.
So if you’re in the beginning stages of starting your online business, I’d love to know what you think has been distracting you from taking action, or even better, let me know over in the comments what your next best step is going to be, no matter how small, so that you can start moving forward today!