Forget about those ‘celebs’ in the jungle, they’ve got it easy. Surviving your first week in online business is a difficult challenge that doesn’t get any easier, no matter how experienced you are.
To help you to make it through that first few days as an online entrepreneur and e-business owner, we’ve put together some helpful tips to ensure you make it out to the other side.
Be bold. Be courageous. Be curious.
This is what it is going to take. Growing an online business is as much about mindset and attitude as it is about technical skillset.
There is no hiding behind your computer wishing your first customer into existence. You will have to, at somepoint, get out there in the real world and have a real world discussion. Whether this is through your voice in blog posts, your conversations on social media or in person face to face - or more likely, all three! Business is ultimately about building great relationships and that only starts with a conversation with a real person.
As you’re networking and making your first sales calls to pursue and define your ideal customer, make sure that you introduce yourself properly – tell them your name, your business and what your role is. Don't be afraid to say why you are the best at what you do - be authentic, and always give examples of success.
If you need to, write yourself a mini script explaining concisely what your business does and how it can help your customer. Keep it punchy and to the point but importantly remember to speak clearly to the benefits your product or service offers - how do you make your customers lives better?
You will also have to engage your natural curiosity to investigate what's working with your online presence and what isn't. You will have to ask your customers what they want to buy and what they don't! You will then need the courage to make changes to your business, adapt and evolve to meet your customers feedback and changing needs.
Starting a new online business is always an incredible learning curve, and having to get used to constantly fixing problems, inventing new ways of doing things, as well as the responsibilities that go with it, is challenging.
The best way to tackle this overwhelm is to use the power of questions. Ask questions wherever you can and as you think of them – waiting to ask could mean you could forget or worse miss an opportunity to learn something that will propel your business forward.
For example - is there a better way I can do this next time? is this process scaleable when we have to do it 100 times? can I buy this cheaper somewhere else? is this the best use of my time?
All good questions for entrepreneurs and business leaders to be asking.
There are no stupid questions when you are starting up. Know that everyone who has ever started a business has had to figure it out as they go.
You are not the first and also not the last... and there is genuinely no excuse if you don't have the answer to your question - today we have the biggest answer machines on the planet available to us - it's called Google and You Tube. Someone, somewhere globally has already tackled the question you have right now and can not only answer it but probably give you a step by step how-to guide on how to solve your problem. It's simply up to you to go find out the answer.
If you feel that you haven’t got time to ask questions in the moment, simply write them all down and book time with yourself in the diary to investigate and get the answers.
There is always so much to take in when starting an online business, so please don’t expect to understand everything straight away. Take the pressure off yourself.
Most people find that even after the first couple of years in an ecommerce business, selling online, they are still learning new things and having to ask questions about things they didn’t know. This is all ok.
The best approach you can take is to reach out and get support and guidance whenever you can. Consider a professional business coach or use an ecommerce consultant to help you set direction and get clarity on how to drive sales. There will always be someone who is one step ahead of you on this journey who will have experienced exactly what you are going through. Find them and ask them what they did.
Make notes as you go along and get yourself as organised as possible. Know when to pace yourself and give yourself space to think strategically.
Learn what your limits are and your capacity to cope with the decision making and the demands placed on you each day. If you feel it is all getting a bit much, take a short break from your work, have a walk and some fresh air and come back to it with a clear head. You can always work everything out!
Your entrepreneurial peers will have been in the same place as you and therefore will be a great source to speak to, share stories and get support. Local entrepreneurial and start-up groups can be an ideal and safe environment to connect and share.
Remember that, yes, starting an online business may be scary, but it should also be fun, deeply rewarding and exciting.
Know that every week you will get clearer on your purpose and how you serve your customers. Just take it at your own pace and realise that not everything is instantly possible from day one.
A business has to evolve and genuinely grow - it's like planting a garden. You can't just drop some seeds in the ground and expect the very next day to see brilliant results! No one achieves this - not even Richard Branson or Steve Jobs.
Time simply has to pass before a business can succeed. It is your consistent efforts and regular business-building activities that you invest in today that will accumulate over time to reach a tipping point where it really works and drives sales.