I interviewed her to find out what it took to produce a very successful business online.
1) When did you decide to start an online business? And what were you doing at that time?
I was 23 years old and it was the late 90′s. I had just started an offline business and got a computer and internet access to run that business. From the moment I got online, I was completely hooked – I just knew there was serious potential there!
Everyone was just getting online around that time and computers were just starting to become a household item. I immediately started a second business offering computer training and classes – then moved into focusing on small businesses and online marketing. Within my first year online I started a full Web Development company with an international web team.
Of course, I was completely self-taught. Everything was very new back then, and there was very little to work with. I ran that business successfully for several years, and ultimately transitioned into Affiliate Marketing full-time, which I still do today.
2) At what point did you decide you no longer needed to keep your “day job”?
Did I mention I was 23 with very little business (or life) experience? LOL
I actually quit my day job cold turkey to start my first business. We had no capital, no savings, no other income… and no credit. Which, on the one hand, meant we had very little to lose.
I started that business with nothing, and grew it from the ground up. Literally. We had no phone lines, no advertising, no sign, no business cards. But we grossed more than six figures the first full year in business.
I don’t recommend that route necessarily. Especially if you already have a lifestyle to maintain. Like I said, we had nothing to lose. I generally advise people to start their business on the side, and save money at the same time, before leaving their current job.
3) What were the three most important actions you took that helped your online business succeed?
1. I treated it like a business.
2. I worked… HARD.
3. I did not give up, I just kept moving forward no matter what.
Too often people mistake starting an online business for “making money online”. They are two completely separate things. Both are great opportunities, as long as you know the difference and pursue the one that suits you best.
And often, one will lead into the other. My teen son for example, started out freelancing online. There are tons of great online jobs, work from home options, etc. That’s how he started, and what lead him into landing a great job AND starting his own business – all by the age of 19.
Some people treat the internet like a slot machine, or like the lottery. Others treat it like a legitimate business opportunity or marketing medium. I’ll let you guess which become successful online.
4) What kinds of online marketing “schemes” should people stay away from?
Anything that seems too good to be true, probably is – for the most part. When it comes to a real business, nobody (and no software or program) is going to do all the work for you. There are no real shortcuts. Stay away from things that make big promises for a big price.
You can actually start an online business for as little as ten bucks. You’ll get much further, much quicker, by doing things the way they should be done in the first place. Just because you’re working online, it doesn’t make starting a business any different than if you were doing it offline with a more traditional model. It takes work, and it takes time.
5) Now that you’ve got a very successful online business, what steps are you taking to maintain and increase that success over the next several years?
On of my favorite rules of thumb is to do more of what is working, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. My business also continues to grow and evolve with the ever-changing industry, so I am doing more things that are “trendy” now such as: video, podcasting, live streaming, social media, etc.
I am also in the process of publishing my first (real hold-in-your-hands paperback) book, which is due out in August 2011. My goal is to continue to reach my growing market where they are. And right now they are on YouTube, Facebook, Kindle and their smart phone the majority of their free time…
– End of Interview –
Lynn’s three most important actions that helped her business succeed online resonate with me and I hope the same occurs with you.
If you are thinking about bringing your existing business online or starting an entirely new business online you MUST treat it as a business. Yes, there are some new things to learn here but the “rules” of doing business apply just as much online as they do “offline.”
In some instances these rules apply even more. For example, treating your customers well is just a given in the brick and mortar world. In the online world, where you may never see or speak to your customer, you need to figure out additional ways of staying in touch and keeping them well-serviced.
Hard work? I guess there’s some folks out there who started an online business, didn’t break a sweat, and became very successful. Currently I haven’t met any of them. And yes, I realize working hard isn’t, all by itself, enough to succeed online. But it’s a key ingredient.
The same goes for not giving up. I believe working hard on something valuable to yourself and others and persisting in making it happen will lead you to a successful scene.
Thanks for the interview, Lynn.