Many of us pick entrepreneurship because it sounds like a dream come true.

Maybe you want more flexibility for you and your family.

Or maybe the corporate world isn’t the right fit for you because it just doesn’t “get” your genius.

Or maybe you genuinely want to change the world.

The reality is, online business-ing ain’t easy. There is so much competition, even within your chosen industry. And so many businesses fail each year. In fact, about 90% of online businesses fail in their first 3 months.

That’s a scary ass stat.

Luckily, I’ve done a lot of failing for you.

While I wouldn’t say I was a complete and utter failure, I definitely did so many things wrong. And I definitely didn’t see the level of success I could have.

So, to help you not go down the same road I did and not take the 6-year journey it took me to get here, here are 10 things not to do when you start your business.

#1 Don’t go into it without a real plan

Having a dream is fantastic. But you can’t sustain a successful business on dreams and wishes alone.  You need to have a plan for your business.

This means knowing who your audience is, where they can be found online, what they want most from a business like yours, and if they’re even out there.

Especially if they’re even out there.

Don’t go into a business not knowing there’s an actual audience for it. No matter how great your idea is, if no one is interested, the idea will fail. Harsh truth.

I had this brilliant idea to start a blog for families going down to one income. Cause that’s where I was. Yes, there are others out there. But I didn’t research quite enough. I didn’t find my people, didn’t get my content in front of them, didn’t go into it with enough planning.

Have a real plan. A real, thorough plan.

#2 Don’t hide your beautiful face

For some of us (ahem, introverts … I’m talking to you) putting yourself out there isn’t the easiest thing.

It’s definitely not the most natural thing.

But for your business to succeed, it’s important.

People want to connect with you before they buy anything from you. Period.

This is something that took me quite a long time to learn. I thought by writing blog posts and getting on social media, I was marketing enough. That it was enough to get me seen.

But when live video got huge and everyone was doing webinars, anyone NOT doing them got lost in the crowd. And I totally did get lost.

You need to show people who you are, and how you’re different. So if you’re still hiding behind a cartoon image of you, scrap it and put up a real photo. Get into doing more live video. Show up and show people who you are.

#3 Don’t be afraid to be you

Similarly to showing people who you are, you have to stand out.

There are many other businesses out there that are similar to yours. If you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re not going to get noticed. You have to be authentic and real.

Again, this was me for years. I hid. I wasn’t real enough. I thought I had to portray the image of the perfect blogger and entrepreneur.

But I learned that perfect is boring. People don’t want perfect. They want real. They want someone they can look up to and relate to all at the same time.

Share your stories. Tell people your hardships and your journey. Yes, it can be embarrassing. But it makes you real. And real is good.

#4 Don’t focus on making money

I know, we all want to make money. But money shouldn’t be your main focus.

People should be your focus.

And I think this is where many entrepreneurs get it wrong. We go into a new business with the idea that we’re going to make money. We think our idea is going to be something people want to buy, to invest in. We dream of increasing our income.

Not enough entrepreneurs go into business hoping for nothing more than to change the world.

When you can really make a difference for someone, that’s when they’re going to be willing to invest in you. Not before. Provide value, interact, treasure your readers like they’re your precious babies. You need them.

#5 Don’t assume marketing is going to be easy

Sure, social media is fun. When you’re doing it for fun.

But social media marketing is hard y’all. It takes constant, vigilant interaction to get your business out there. With so many other people on social media, you can easily be forgotten.

Like your business in general, go in to social media with a plan. Even if you’re seeing success, don’t stop networking. It’s one of those things where it all adds up.

#6 Don’t think you can do it alone

With entrepreneurship, you work for yourself. And some of us like it that way. But to really succeed, you need other people.

This can mean two things, and both are super important.

  1. Collaborate with other entrepreneurs and bloggers. It’s much easier to spread your message with the help of others. Look for bloggers and entrepreneurs within your niche, who have the same audience as you. Strike up a conversation, make a connection, build a relationship. When you connect with others, you can help each other by trading guest posts, interviewing each other, collaborating on things like webinars and courses.
  2. Hiring help. When you outsource, you get so much more done. You may even make more money. Decide which tasks keep you in your zone of genius, the things that light you up and drive your business forward. Maybe that’s client calls, nurturing leads on social media and writing content. You do those things; outsource the rest.

#7 Don’t spend too much time trying to get it right

We want to do things the right way. We spend time perfecting everything. We take course after course in an effort to learn it all

The thing is, there is no right way. What you think is perfect, isn’t what others think is perfect. It really is subjective.

Plus, your focus will likely change as your business grows … as you grow. Get it good enough and move forward.

#8 Don’t think everyone will like you

I know. We do want everyone to like us. But not everyone will. And once you accept it, it’s so much easier to move forward.

This was hard for me.  I genuinely did want everyone to like me.  I feared having people dislike me, even if they were strangers on the Internet.

But you can’t please everyone. Those that leave your tribe were never going to be those that buy from you anyway.  So do you, and nurture and please the ones that do stuck around.

#9 Don’t sit on your ideas. Any action is good.

This is what happens a lot. We get an amazing idea and we do nothing with it. We sit on it. We wait for the right time, or the right audience.

But all that waiting? It’s not doing your business any good.

Even if your idea isn’t a full-fledged idea yet, act on it. Turn it into something.  Because any action is forward movement.  And forward movement is good yo.

#10 Don’t think you’re going to fail.

Our thoughts have so much power. If you think positive,  good things happen. So if you think negatively, what do you think will happen.

Believe in yourself.  Stay positive.

Don’t, even for a second, let yourself think it’s not going to happen.

Online business is a hard game. It takes hard work, perseverance and the right mindset.