If you want to have a successful online business, it’s going to take stepping out of your comfort zone. It means sacrificing the normal way of living. The one where you know that every other Friday, you’re going to get a paycheck for X. As long as your way of life does not exceed X * 2 every month you’re golden.
When you step outside of that box, you play a different game.
The game of not knowing when the next one is coming. When the next sale is. The next paycheck so that you can eat. All of a sudden, you have all the freedom in the world. No
prison cell cubicle. No nagging boss. No limit to how many vacation days you can take.
The question is, how do you run a successful online business and stay the course?
It’s the part I’ve struggled with the most. The darkest time was last July and August, when I had my family come visit me in Europe. I think I made only about $300 for the month of August. Less than half of my rent to live in a cheap place like Kiev, Ukraine.
I was freaking out.
But then it picked up.
It still happens to me. Slow weeks, days when nothing comes in. February was shaping up to be one of those months. All the doubts creeping in to my head and consuming me.
Then this morning I woke up and had half of my living expenses for a month in sales. I moved a good chunk of product, including over 20 copies of King's Code.
Yeah, I’d much rather have just split those sales across all 9 days of the month so far, instead of having them all lumped on one. By now though, I’m at least somewhat used to it. My business model has been going for a year now, so I understand the ebbs and flows.
I know that to run a successful online business, whether a niche site, blog, drop-shipping company, or freelancing—it’s all just a matter of staying the course. Sticking to what works, getting out of things that don’t, and just having a bit of faith in yourself and the process.
This leads me to my next point, how do you know when the hell to pivot out of something gone awry?
Not every idea will be successful, and for some of us, time is a big deal. What I mean by this is that if you’re in a state of desperation, you have to make something happen.
Let’s say you’re a broke and starving artist.
No food on the table, but you have a record coming out. You think it’s good, but only the market will tell you whether or not it amounts to anything. Regardless, you want to start something small on the side in case it doesn’t pan out.
You settle on building a small website where you review guitars and amplifiers that you used to record your album.
(Off topic—don’t actually go and build this niche website. I did and never got traction.)
Okay, great. I think it’s a good idea, in principle.
Now you spend the next month building this site, writing reviews. You work two hours a day on it, and at the end of the month you have thirty or so posts, all with the potential to make you some money.
Much like the start of my February, you’re just in limbo. Except, I know what my work does and how my successful online business model works.
You have no idea in this case.
If it, God forbid, doesn’t work—you’ve now spent a month and gotten no return on it. That month is gone. The hard work was worth nothing.
So I posed the question—when do you quit and walk away from it?
It depends. Some things are a long play. If you read my post about three online businesses to avoid, you’ll see that I (hypocritically) threw blogging under the bus:
It’s just the difficulty of blogging as a whole. The frustration. The days, weeks, months where you get fewer page views than your dog’s Instagram.
If you have a longer term play, your “time to moving away” is much longer. Nobody is going to build Rome in a night, despite what the guy selling the $50,000 make-money-online business course is going to tell you.
You can’t make that long-term play if you don’t have feasible resources to sustain your life while it grows. I had $20k in the bank when I quit my job last year.
I’ll put it this way, I had enough money to live for quite a long time in Ukraine and build out This Is Trouble. Not to say I didn’t have plenty of doubts, as I discussed before.
Side note—maybe I should elaborate on that in a post. Thoughts? Also, make sure you read this post about the cost of living in Ukraine to get an idea of why this is so feasible.
A successful online business is what you make of it. Sometimes that means…dropping the business ideas that aren’t good to you, or for you.
People and friends are the same. You can give someone every chance in the world, but if they keep screwing it up…you just have to let go. You can do the same thing with a business, but if you keep going at it, it will eventually drag you to the bottom.
The question is, how do you find a business that is sure-fire?
Well, it’s a tough solution.