As someone who has run a successful online business for almost a decade, has been training marketers for years, I have a pretty good sense of what it takes to succeed. And from the vantage point of getting to watch hundreds of individual efforts play out in our private IM forum, I’ve been able to see “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”.
Unfortunately, there’s far more “Bad” and “Ugly” than there is “Good”. I’m referring to business efforts, of course, not people!
Watching our forum over the past few years, I’ve come to many conclusions regarding success and failure, but undoubtedly the most consistent, telling characteristic that differentiates the winners’ from the ‘losers’ is this:
Treating the business as a business, versus treating it as a hobby.
Invariably, those who successfully treat their business like a business, and though that itself won’t ensure success, treating your business like a hobby will almost certainly ensure failure.
What’s the difference? A hobby is something we do in our spare time when we feel like it. The moment it becomes tedious, boring – in other words, not fun – we bail and move onto something else.
Great for a hobby – after all, we have hobbies for personal satisfaction & enjoyment. Hobbies should be fun.
But a business requires a consistent and meaningful effort, discipline and persistence.
The “Step-By-Step Action Plan” will provide you with the meaningful effort and consistency in building your website, getting visitors, and generating revenue, at least in the beginning.
Accounting Vs. Bookkeeping
Beyond that, it’s imperative – and in most places, the law – that you maintain at least basic accounting for your business. This is one of those unfortunate facts of life: if you run a business, you must keep books.
In my experience, that’s one of the last considerations for most people. I frequently encounter the attitude “I’ll worry about that if I actually start making money”.
Of course, by then the task has grown, making it even less attractive!
Do yourself a favor – you’ll thank me for it one day: get your foundation in place right from the get-go. At the very least – and this is often enough to make the rest a piece of cake – set up some basic accounting to keep track of any money flowing in or out.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be terribly painful, time-consuming, or expensive.
For most small businesses, what’s really needed is “bookkeeping” rather than full-fledged
Bookkeeping is the process of the record-keeping of all financial transactions of the company. Bookkeepers record the sales, expenses, and cash/bank transactions of the company.
Bookkeeping means keeping basic financial records, tracking and providing information used by a business.
Accounting is the process of producing financial statements for a business like Income Statement and Balance Sheet. Accounting functions prepare a record of the financial affairs of the company.
You can handle all bookkeeping functions using basic spreadsheet functions. Programs like Microsoft Excel have numerous templates that can provide you with the basic functions necessary.
While this is a good solution for those very familiar & comfortable with spreadsheets, it can be a real time-suck otherwise.
There are many free bookkeeping solutions available, as downloadable apps, and cloud-based.
Since I often work from my laptop, I lean on cloud-based apps often – providing they are “up to snuff”.
Wave is a terrific FREE cloud-based app that will handle your basic bookkeeping requirements quickly, easily, and safely: