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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 December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

More to Motivate Your Team

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

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