You know the saying “hindsight is 20 20”? There’s always something we wish we could go back and do over once we’ve learned it. Things we wish we knew sooner. Take for example these 5 things I wish I knew when I started my online business.
Everyone does dumb things, or has to learn the hard way. Part of it is just learning from experience. Getting that knowledge of knowing what to do only comes from experience.
But I wanted to share with you 5 things I wish I knew before I started my online business. Hopefully you can learn something from me the easy way.
You know one thing I’ve always strived to do in business? Be organized. But knowing what to use and where to get started is the hardest part. Grab your free copy of my Organized Business Basics guide. In it, I’m sharing with you my favorite tools and some best tips to help you get started.
Now, onto those things I wish I knew before I started my online business.
Go For Free When Possible
When it comes to running an online business there is an endless list of tools you’ll probably end up wanting or using for various things.
One of the hardest parts is figuring out what to use, what to get first and where to invest your precious first dollars.
I went wrong by investing 40 bucks a month in Hootsuite for my social media… (I know, not my brightest choice, moving on…).
There’s far more options out there for social media, for free or cheaper. Can they all do what Hootsuite can? Maybe, maybe not. That’s up for comparison. But the fact is, I could have gotten things done with another free tool and saved 40 bucks a month for almost an entire year.
Now, you’ll end up finding that sometimes you do need to invest in a tool, but be sure to be careful where you put your money.
Don’t Drop a Ton of Cash or Time On Your Website
What?! I’m a web designer and I’m saying this? How? Let me explain.
In the beginning of your business, you’ll likely pivot, change what you do, rebrand, try out new services, and meander your way through figuring out how you do what you do, and who you help.
Until you’ve figured this out… don’t bother spending a ton of money or time on your website. You want to be certain you know what you do. Save yourself the time or money.
Now don’t get me wrong, you do still need a website. For various reasons. But, you don’t need to stress over it being perfect, or hiring a designer to build it for you.
My first website? I took months to figure out and make perfect, only to want to redo it just a few short months later.
So, build something that’s easy for you to DIY, make it look as good as you can, and go from there.
There’s a Better Way to Build a Website
My favorite way to build a website is with WordPress. And when I discovered it years ago, I lived in a world that talked about buying a premium theme. Using that for your web design. That or you’d pay a designer.
But, what if I told you there was a better way to build a website?
My favorite tools for building a website… Elementor & LeadPages for my Landing Pages*.
Don’t Fret Over Specifics
When you start your business it’s easy to get a ton of ideas and dreams about all the things you want to do. You may have a specific idea for your business. But, before you go setting up the service or product, go test out the process of making it.
For example, I wanted to do a day rate graphic design day. I don’t anymore. And it took me one day to figure that out. Before I put anything in place to offer the service.
I ended up spending a full day working with various Adobe products and working on graphics for my business. By the end of that day, my brain was fried and I was done. I was over graphics.
That’s all it took, is one day of doing graphic design for a solid 8 hours. I learned that day that I could never offer a day rate graphic design option. It’s not something I enjoy enough.
Maybe for you it’s finding one client to test it on, doing it for your business or yourself. Whatever your idea is, set up the bare basics to get it done. Go find one client, and see how you feel.
I have a fellow business friend who was thinking about doing Dubsado setup services. The client would give her all the resources and she’d set it up in a day or two. She did it once for a friend and learned she didn’t like doing it that much.
You Make the Decisions Around Here
This has taken me forever to figure out, and even now I have to remind myself of this. That when it comes to your business, you make the decisions, and no one else.
Commit, make a decision, and do it. If it doesn’t work out, guess what… you figured out how not to do something… go try another way.
Do you have someone whispering in your ear that you should be doing something a different way then the way you do it?
Shut them down by nicely but firmly telling them, “It’s my business, I’m the one who spends X hours a day working in my business, and I make the decisions. I have to run my business the way I want to and the way that feels good for me. Otherwise I’ll end up burnt out and hating what I do. And that’s not why I got into business.”
You can even add a simple “I don’t want to talk about it anymore” to the end if you’d like to as well.
I had to use this with someone once. I guarantee it’ll shut them up. If they’re a decent person who cares about you at least.
And on a similar note, you can’t live in two worlds. I used to want to work in the online world and here locally. But those two versions of my business looked very very different. For months I tried to do both. Until I hit a point where I had to accept it couldn’t work because it wasn’t a cohesive brand, pick one path, and move the business forward.
I know running a business can be incredibly rewarding and overwhelming at the same time.
My hope is that you’ll learn from my past experiences and maybe something will be easier for you.
Like keeping your business organized for example. It’s a task that takes time and work, and you’ll figure out the right system for you. But in my free Organized Business Basics guide I want to share with you what tools I use, as well as some tips to get started.