Having launched a side project by ourselves on early this year and encounter friends who are starting their own online business, I see a few problems with all these start-own-business thingy and entrepreneurs wannabe:
- No Action, Talk Only
- Doing it because of the profit, not because of passion
- More income, less work or even better no need to work
- Thinking about going big too soon
- Sweat over the small details
- Weak (or don’t have any) Unique Selling Point
“Hey, I plan to do XYZ, if I charge $XX per person then it’s $XXXX for 100 person, blablabla, then I’ll have this and that, blablabla.”
So, you have a plan(s) and it seems to be a wonderful one. Good, but it means nothing until you start doing it. You won’t have the first sales until you actually put up your products out there.
I know nobody wants to starve by running a business that isn’t profitable. But if you’re starting it just because of the possible huge profit $$$ or it’s booming right now, for example gre online prep, while you have zero interest, passion & knowledge in it (don’t even want to do in-depth research), most probably you’ll feel exhausted and give up soon when the business doesn’t run as smooth as you expected.
It’s like a relationship; if a woman is after a man just because of his money, most likely she’ll leave him when he goes bankrupt. But if there is love, most likely she’ll stay, goes through the hardship with him & work things out together.
So, do what you love & love what you do, money will follow. Besides, we only live once, lets make the best of it, why force yourself to do things that you don’t love?
If you’re thinking all you need to do is put up a website, let things run automatically and money comes in while you sit there shaking leg…
If you say work for the Boss is so tiring & payment not satisfying, therefore you want to start your own business so you can work as little as possible while earn as much as possible…
Well, go on daydreaming.
The fact is, running own business requires you to wear many hats, which means lots more work to be done & more responsible to bear than being an employee.
From the surface, you’re the Boss. See deeper, you have to take care of the product creation, product inventory, marketing, customer service, finance & accounting, tax filing, social media presence, updating website, take decision, keep update with your industry news, etc. Not seldom you’ll have to work long hour and over the weekend.
Well, no such thing as easy money.
Maybe you dream of being like Threadless, from small home-based T-shirt business to internationally-known T-shirt brand which not only sell T-shirt but also totes, bags, pouches, scarves, hoodies, iPhone cases, etc.
It’s good to dream big. But if you’re just starting and already thinking about growing big (and worry about the details), pause first and do it step by step. Focus on the present instead of worrying too much about the future. It’s like playing game; you gotta pass through level 1-9 first before you get to level 10.
So if your big dream is to be an international brand, break it down into small pieces of goal with some time-frame to achieve. For example, first year is to get your name in the community & hire a summer intern, second year is to hire two full-time staffs so you get to produce more items for the shop, etc.
I used to commit this sin A LOT, in the name of wanting things to be perfect. It resulted in nothing good but delaying our own project’s launching day. Along the way I learnt that it’s OK to have flaws while launching. It isn’t like everything is locked after launch, I can still make improvement based on the stats and customers feedback.
Whenever I start to think too much, I’ll pause, lay everything on the table (in my mind actually) and see clearly whether it’s really important or not. Ask: if I don’t do XYZ now, will my business go bankrupt (insert any worst scenario here)? If the answer is no, well, move on then.
If you’re saying that you want to be the next Groupon (insert any big brand here), go back to your brainstorm room.
Many years ago being the pioneer (the first) might be a pretty strong USP, but not now. You thought you’re number 1 then forever number 1 huh? The latter that come out might have better USP and kill off the first one.
Using price as USP is pretty weak, cause your competitors also can lower down their price. In long run if you keep lowering down your price, it will hurt your business.
So, do your research and dig deeper. Be creative.
Let’s say you want to do a group buying business like Groupon, what makes you different then or what niche hasn’t been touched yet? There is a lot of competitors out there already, mostly offering travels, foods, beauty, blablabla all have the similar offers. So it surprised me when I came across a group buying site focusing for brides-to-be (everything needed for the BIG day) and one that focused on motherhood & kids, sadly they serve US only.
I know, I’m not an entrepreneur guru whatsoever, so the above is just purely my observation. I strongly encouraged people to start their own business, and that’s why I don’t wish to see them committing the above sin. It all goes back to having the right attitude and mindset.