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The Challenges of being an Online Entrepreneur

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 January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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