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Common Mistakes People Make When Starting an Online Business

Common Mistakes People Make When Starting an Online Business

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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