I’m pretty sure we’ve all dreamt of quitting our 9-to-5 desk job, telling our supervisor where to stick it, and starting our own online business. While being your own boss and creating your own income certainly could change your entire life around, it isn’t as easy as it might initially seem. It takes a vast array of knowledge and skills, coupled with dedication and perseverance. However, creating a successful online business can be done, as long as you’re willing to put the effort into it. Start by:

1. Learning new skills

Even if you’re simply going to hire specialists to do your programming, web design, and marketing, you still need to know at least a decent amount about each area of your business. For example, nothing aggravates a graphic designer more than having spent hours and hours working on a project only for a rather ignorant client to reject it while saying “It’d be better if…” However, if you have a general idea of what makes a good design, you’ll be able to discuss with your designer the most effective way to get what you want.

2. Dedicate the necessary time

You probably get the same emails everyone else gets promising thousands of dollars in income within thirty days. And, even though some of them might seem a bit tempting, you most likely know that these are absolute lies intended to scam honest (yet gullible) people out of their money. Unless you’ve discovered the fountain of youth, your business is not going to make a killing right away. Accept that there’s no “secret formula” to success, and that you have to put in some good, old-fashioned hard work if you want your business to grow.

3. Stay organized

There is going to be a lot to keep track of when starting your own online business. Between tracking income and expenditures and scheduling meetings and appointments, there’s absolutely no way you can keep it all in your head. Create a system that works for you so you are prepared for all the tasks that lay ahead of you each and every day. It will save you the time, energy, and frustration involved with going about things “on the fly.”

4. Spend wisely

There’s no question about it: you have to spend money to make money. But this doesn’t mean you should take out thousands of dollars in loans only to watch it evaporate into thin air. Do your research when making business purchases. This goes along with learning new skills and being knowledgeable in a variety of fields. Avoid bad web hosting services, unreliable employees, and faulty equipment, and you’ll end up saving a ton of money in the long run.

5. Know the etiquette

I mentioned how annoying it is to get daily spam in your inbox. Don’t be that person that inundates your customers’ Facebook and Twitter feeds with posts advertising your product. One quality post will gain much more attention than ten sub par or duplicate links. Don’t just plug your own company, either. When your clients see your business is not just a fan of itself, but of the industry as a whole, they’ll end up trusting you to provide quality products, and you’ll be sure to expand your customer base.

6. Stay focused and optimistic

It bears repeating one more time: you are not going to be an overnight success. Even people like Mark Cuban and Jeff Bezos who seem to have made it big out of nowhere spent years creating their respective empires. And every single one of them has experienced failure at some point in their lives, too. Failure is only the end of a journey if you make it so. If you persevere and learn from your mistakes, failure will only be a bump in the road on the path to success.

Featured photo credit: Getting Business Online Launch / Michele Neylon via farm3.staticflickr.com

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