If done correctly, creating an online business can be your ticket to wealth and success. However, the ticket does not come free of charge. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because your business is online that it won’t take any effort to run it. Creating any business is hard work, and there are many pitfalls along the road to success that can swallow you up at any time if you’re not careful. Be cautious not to fall into any of the following traps:

1. Not knowing your audience

This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Before you even think of going live with your business, make sure you’ve done your homework. You can’t just put a product out there and hope for the best. You need to know who your target audience is. Know your demographic, their interests, their needs, and what they can afford. Leaving even one of these details out of the equation would be a crucial error that may lead to the downfall of your company.

2. Worrying about insignificant details

There are definitely minute details you’ll need to focus on when starting an online business, but some things can take a backseat until you get off and running. For example, leave almost anything related to aesthetics until after you’ve established a customer base and are generating some income. Don’t worry about creating a sweet looking logo or business card before you start making money. Remember what Google’s original homepage looked like? I mean, it still is pretty simplistic today; but the service is incredible, which is what made the company so successful.

3. Spending too much too quickly

You’ve likely taken out a decent amount of loan money to start on your new venture, but keep in mind that this cash is going to run out much quicker than you realize. While you do have to spend money to make money, there’s no sense in putting all your eggs into one basket hoping for a major payoff. Be as frugal as you possibly can while starting out; once you start generating income and repaying the money you’ve borrowed, you can start spending on the extras that will help your business flourish.

4. Undervaluing your product or yourself

Obviously, you’re going to want to attract customers any way you can. But don’t sell yourself short in an attempt to lure customers. Price your products or services with integrity. Think about it: if you underprice your products just to create a customer base, then jack up the price once you have your audience hooked, do you think they’ll stick around much longer? Not only that, but by underpricing your product, you’re sending a message that you don’t think much of what you’re selling. Make it affordable, but don’t undercut your competition to make a quick buck.

5. Ignoring your customers

As I’m sure you know, “the customer is always right.” If you don’t live by that maxim, your business is going to suffer. Your customers will tell you what they want. Listen to them. Solicit their advice through surveys and social media interaction. While you definitely want to have integrity within your company, don’t be so rigid that you ignore what your customers want, and end up losing major profits in the interest of “staying true to yourself.”

6. Underestimating the time and effort it takes to succeed

As long as we’re discussing cliches that have been driven into the ground, let’s use one more: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” An online business is no different than any other. Like I said, you can’t just assume that your product will go viral and you’ll end up an overnight millionaire; it’s just not going to happen. You need to stay diligent every single day if you want to experience true success. Throughout your first year (or even the first couple of years), you’re going to have to eat, sleep, and breathe your business. Get used to it!

Featured photo credit: Happy family mother and baby at home using laptop computer/evgenyatamanenko via farm1.staticflickr.com

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