I'm writing this article from my apartment in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm here because a company hired me to train their staff on what it takes to create a successful digital marketing strategy in today's crowded market. The company found me through my articles here on "Entrepreneur" and some of the other large media publications I write for. They paid for my expenses and have given me a generous training fee. Five years ago, I owned a business in the vendor industry. To say that there are a lot of opportunities online would be an understatement.
Billions of people use the Internet and social media for life, to shop and for business. Today, you have the opportunity to tell millions of potential customers how your business can help their lives and solve their biggest problems. While the opportunity, tools and access are there, too many online entrepreneurs are making very little to no money in their business. There is a ton of competition, unclear and impractical messaging and a lack of focus. If you want to build a successful online business that makes an impact and income, there are four things you need to realize about online business and money.
1. Money isn't everything, but it is important.
As soon as there is an article like this, there will be a line of people ready to scream "money isn't everything." You're right, it's not, but you better believe it is an important part of the success of your business. It also allows you a life free of financial stress. When you're living paycheck-to-paycheck or worse, you can't focus the way you should. You are constantly worried about paying the bills or losing your foundation and that causes you to react instead of implementing a focused plan.
You need money to pay your bills. You need money to support your family and your lifestyle. You need money to do some of the fun things in life -- like travel. It's not everything, but without it, you could end up stuck in a business and life you want to escape from. Don't make money your main motivator to start or grow your business, but respect what it can do for you and learn to use it to in a way that benefits your life and helps you accomplish your goals.
2. Money is an important component in freedom.
At the end of the day, most of us start businesses and become entrepreneurs to create freedom. We want to live life on our terms and have control of our most important asset: our time. This freedom allows us to do the things we want to do in life like spending more time with family, travel or fun hobbies.
Having a steady and consistent revenue stream leads to freedom and allows us to do those things that we want to do without worrying. Start or grow a business that leads to you creating freedom. Use the income to help you accomplish your biggest life goals. Don't be afraid or ashamed that you want certain things for your life.
3. This shouldn't be an expensive hobby.
It's shocking to hear the amount of money that is being spent on coaches, courses and masterminds that teach people how to build online businesses. The sad truth is someone can be very good at Facebook ads and create copy that makes you want to buy but all they know is Facebook ads -- they have no clue how to build a profitable online business.
You can spend a lot of money thinking you'll learn that "one thing" that leads to impact and income but I'm afraid you'll be sadly disappointed. Your online business should be a business and businesses make money. You should only invest in training, products, and services that will bring you more than what you paid. When you make this an expensive hobby, you create tension in your life and possibly your relationships. It takes you away from your goal of creating freedom.
4. If you want money, ask for it.
The one area of every business that needs improvement is sales. Failed entrepreneurs didn't sell enough or were afraid to sell. If you don't have a consistent sales/promotion plan, you can't and won't make more money. The reason why you don't make the kind of income you want to make is because you aren't asking for it enough through your sales.
The reality online is that the organic reach of social media is very low. It will take people seeing your sales offers multiple times before they understand and process the information. Not everyone will read or get your emails when you send it. You will need to send multiple sales emails before people see them and process them. Sell and sell more than you feel comfortable.
To build a thriving online business that leads to freedom, the business has to make money. Money is not the most important part of your business or life, but you do need it to liven comfortably. Understand these four principles and make adjustments where you need to.