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The Challenges of being an Online Entrepreneur

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The Challenges of being an Online Entrepreneur

Being an online entrepreneur requires more than just a website or blog where you gain revenue from ads. If you want to grow your business, you have to be ready for anything. This means being ready for small victories and huge setbacks. This also means having to focus on tasks like branding your business and finding ways to fulfill orders. As an online entrepreneur, you will be faced with decisions that involve building your market, expanding your connections, and making yourself more accessible to customers. If you’re ready to meet these challenges head on, then you’ll be successful as an online entrepreneur.

  1. You may win some, and you may lose some

Starting and building a business from the ground up are difficult endeavors, full of challenges along the way that you might not have ever expected. These challenges require decisions, and these decisions sometimes involve a dilemma, where a win-win outcome is not immediately recognizable.

When faced with a decision where none the choices appear to have a clear or foreseeable advantage, many entrepreneurs find it necessary to do some soul searching and self-reflection from a company standpoint. One of the hardest things is to analyze your business objectively, candidly identifying the flaws and problem areas that are holding you back.

Sometimes it helps to gain some outside perspective. Hiring a human resources company or efficiency expert to help streamline your operations may be helpful in finding out what your true strengths are. Do you have the appropriate company culture? It’s important that from the top down, the work environment reflects the results you want. How well do you understand the market you serve? You need to know your product and niche market inside and out, and a lot of the time, this comes with trial and error. Some of the decisions you need to make will be based on limited information at best, so being flexible will help you survive.

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2. Incorporating Data To Track Performance

Incorporating data simply means doing the math and crunching the numbers, and making a habit out of it. The numbers can be conversion rates, bounce rates, traffic percentage breakdowns and other pertinent, technical analysis. It can be a tedious job, but one of the most important tasks to internalize.

Online entrepreneurs that analyze the pertinent data, get insights from analytics, and act accordingly are the ones that perform well and ultimately become successful. Checking the metrics to focus on your business growth is what separates the successful from their failed comrades.

Track your data on a spreadsheet or whiteboard, showing a week-by-week difference in performance. This gives you some perspective of time, helping you and your team to understand what to prioritize.

3. Learning To Market Properly Online, Making Your Brand Cool As Hell

Be enthusiastic and passionate about your brand, products, and services. Your products reflect the energy that you’ve put into your work, and in turn, this fuels your energy to be more productive. For example, you may not notice it, but using the right fonts for your brand logo really helps when it comes to attracting your target customers. Keep an eye when it comes to details.

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Marketing and advertising tasks take a lot of time for research, so manage your time wisely. Research is a crucial step—get to know the other players in your niche industry, and see what they’re doing right as well as what they’re struggling with.

When the time comes, choose the right platform for your online business, one that offers the features you need while giving you access to the market that can most benefit from your offerings.

Be sure to promote your brand, engaging in paid advertising as needed, and keep tabs on whether doing this actually increases profits, or amounts to an unnecessary expense.

Get to know your market, its demographics, and their associated and outside interests. Appeal to them at several different levels to win them over.

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4. Competition and Choosing Your Allies

Because of low entry barriers and relatively easy access to funds, competition among online entrepreneurs is tougher than ever.

Many online entrepreneurs have a great idea in their heads, only to discover that someone has already beaten them to the punch. Hopefully, you’re the one dishing it out, not taking the blow. There will be others trying to reverse engineer your product and sell their product to your potential market. This is your chance to outshine them.

By complementing existing products of other companies, you position yourself as a partner or a collaborator, rather than a rival. This means choosing your battles wisely, which allows you to thrive, especially when dealing with someone in your industry who has a far greater following than you’ve got.

5. Security And Computer Knowledge (Or Lack Thereof)

Let’s be frank, if computer literacy is not your strong point, do something about it fast. Internet technology is showing no signs of letting up. Software is becoming even more sophisticated, and waiting around is not an option. At the very least, learn some online skills, or work with an IT professional to get up to speed.

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Security is essential for running an e-commerce site, meaning you need to monitor your security measures round the clock, and invest in reliable servers and networking hardware. One slip-up can spell disaster for your company’s credibility, so be vigilant.

6. Driving and Converting Traffic

There are many ways to drive traffic to your website, from promoting it via Google Adwords and Pay-Per-Click advertising, and writing natural, organic content. Of course, this requires time, just like many of the other challenges that you face as an online entrepreneur.

Converting traffic into cash is tricky, mostly because your customers, readers and website visitors might not be looking to buy. Integrate the commercial aspect of your website as naturally and unobtrusively as you can. Get to know what your visitors and readers really want by seeing what pages they visit, and which links they follow. Adapt accordingly.

To succeed as an entrepreneur online or as a brick-and-mortar establishment, it’s important to have drive. Learn as much as you can, and develop perseverance to get through the hardships. By overcoming obstacles, you can make it as a successful online entrepreneur.

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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