This is part 1 in a series I am writing about how people can make money online. Several times a week, I have someone approach me who wants to start an online business or who has started one and they are struggling with one important thing. They often have solid knowledge of doing business online from a technical standpoint and/or from a marketing standpoint. They may have plenty of ideas. The problem is translating all of this into making money (and preferably a long term income stream).
Today, I’ll be looking at 10 barriers to success: things that may be stopping you from succeeding at the level you could/should. Most of these things don’t just apply to business, but in life in general.
10 Barriers to Success in Business
1. Believing That You Need to be Passionate About the Business You’re In
Having passion is important, but where a lot of people go wrong is that they think they need to find a business or idea that they are passionate about. In some cases, it can stop people in their tracks from getting started. In other cases, people may have a business with potential but the lack of passion leads them to not take their business as far as it could. I’ve written an entire blog post about the truth about passion and entrepreneurship.
2. Having Self-Doubt
Having self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence are huge dream killers. I see people routinely who could be doing awesome things with their lives yet their self-doubt stops them in their tracks. Having a smattering of self-doubt can be a healthy thing. It helps us avoid being overly cocky and making stupid mistakes. But if self-doubt is something causing you not to do the things you were meant to do, it is something you should work on.
Of all the barriers I’ve listed, this is probably the one that I’ve struggled with the most. I still have periods even today where something may not go as I expect or someone says something and self-doubt starts to rear its ugly head.
3. Having Little or No Support
Having emotional support while you work towards your goals is a must. The reality for many entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs is that those they love the most are not always supportive. The good thing is – if you are reading this – that means you have access to the Internet and virtually unlimited options for getting support.
There are tons of forums dedicated to different topics. There are social networks where you can connect with others in similar situations to you. There’s little reason today to feel alone.
Some clients I’ve worked with have even turned to blogging. A personal blog (even one using a pseudonym) can be a great outlet.
Your options for getting support are not limited to the online world either. Most communities have groups where entrepreneurs get together in person on a regular basis.
4. Having Fears
It’s normal to have fear about starting a business or pushing your existing business to new heights. Fear and self-doubt typically go hand in hand. Both can be crippling.
Like self-doubt, having a small amount of fear can be a good thing. Where it becomes unhealthy and a barrier to success is when fear stops you in your tracks or to lose momentum.
Fear can happen at any stage. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs not run into fear issues until they already had a successful business growing.
Like self-doubt, fear is a recurring issue for me. I get myself back on track by remembering times when I’d had fear before and everything worked out okay. I try to avoid letting my brain wander to places where things didn’t work out.
5. Spending More Time Planning Than Doing
A certain amount of planning is important. But it can actually become detrimental to your success. Remember – there is only one of you and there are only so many hours in a day.
If you’re a detail-oriented person and find yourself caught up too much in planning and not a lot of doing, figure out what you can let go of.
Personal example: I was recently working on a 90 day game plan. I have several projects launching. Planning and dealing with details is very important to make sure balls don’t get dropped and everything meets standards. I’m a numbers person. That means revenue/sales forecasts and budgets are a part of the planning process for me. Typically, with new launches, I do a revenue forecast on top of a budget. This quarter, I had to let go of that. These are new projects. I don’t know how things will go. I don’t know how much traffic will be generated, I don’t know what the baseline conversion rates will be. I usually do projections based on experience. But I don’t have 2 full days to devote to hypothetical. As I have actual data to work with, I will start to work with forecasts. But that won’t be yet.
6. Spending Too Much Time Consuming and Not Enough Time Producing
I’m not disputing the value of learning new things, but I see a lot of entrepreneurs spending an inordinate amount of time consuming information rather than focusing on building their business.
I track where I spend my time each and every day down to the minute. I set limits on the time I allocate to the activities that don’t contribute to my bottom line. A big issue for me, like many others, is restricting the time I spend on social media activities and on reading blogs/news.
One shift I made a couple of years ago has helped me tremendously. I come across several dozen articles/posts a day. I scan headlines to see if something is relevant to me. If it seems to be, then I will scan the contents. If it is something where the knowledge could add value in some way, then I’ll read it. But I only read things in depth where I will take action on them. This translates to a handful of posts/articles a week.
Spending hours a day consuming information that you won’t act on serves no purpose. Absolutely none.
7. Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Even the simplest of business ideas, in order to continue growing, require more than just you. It’s impossible to be the best (or even good) at everything. Learning when to let go of different things – accepting that it makes more sense for someone other than you to be doing certain things – can be a challenge.
Sometimes getting others to do things isn’t about your business itself, but other areas of your life. Can you get your children or spouse to chip in more with household chores? Can you form a car pool with a few other parents so you don’t need to drive your children every day? Can you barter errands with a neighbor?
If you’re cash-strapped like many entrepreneurs, keep in mind that you can get just about everything you need done for your business without spending a dime. You can barter with others, get people to contribute blog posts and content, form partnerships with others for specific projects and so much more. I know one creative entrepreneur who had zero cash when starting but wanted to have a professional presence online. She found a qualified local web designer who had children and bartered 10 nights of babysitting to have her site designed.
I’ll be spending a lot of time producing content on how to delegate/outsource more efficiently at my upcoming site Earn More Doing Less. Subscribe to my newsletter to get updates when it goes live.
8. Not Having a Clear Vision
Having a clear vision is about identifying where you are now, where you want to go and how you will get there? There are a handful of questions you should know the answers to.
- What does your business do? (or what do you want it to be doing?)
- Where do you want your business to be in a year, 5 years and 10 years from now?
- What is your current role in your business and what will your future role be?
- What does your ideal customer look like?
- What is your exit strategy?
- How will all of this happen and who will be doing it?
9. Focusing on the Wrong Numbers and Activity
This barrier to success is the number one problem I see entrepreneurs facing. Usually those who are dealing with this barrier to success, don’t even realize it is an issue.
Look – at the end of the day, for most types of businesses, it means very little how many followers you have, how many visitors your website gets, how many retweets you get, what your Klout score is, how many comments your blog posts get…. these number are nothing more than ego boosters.
I’ve seen people posting/sharing metrics like the above. Sure, getting more exposure and action on the exposure is great, being consistent in your marketing is important, and building quality relationships with others is excellent…but none of these things alone will make sure you will be in business a year from now, never mind 5 years from now.
What metrics should you be paying attention to? Every type of business has different metrics that are important and relevant. I can’t give a list of every single thing that would apply to every business. Someone offering web design services will not have the same metrics as someone selling an e-book or someone who sells real estate. The numbers important to you – the ones you should be monitoring – are those that directly impact your bottom line. When it comes to working on improving your numbers – you need to consider the work you’ve already done and those which can have the most immediate impact with the least amount of work.
This topic deserves a blog post or more to cover appropriately. I’ll come back to it at some point soon.
10. Not Knowing Your Own Strengths and Weaknesses
Whether it comes to coming up with an idea for a business to start or overseeing the growth of your business, it’s crucial to have a solid handle on both your strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re at the point where you’ve not yet started a business, you’ll see a lot more success and see it sooner by focusing on ideas where you can spend most of your time utilizing your strengths.
If you have a business that is growing, you’ll want to spend a greater percentage of the time on the things you do best within your business and delegating/outsourcing those things you are weaker at to others.
I’ve worked with people who provide a single skilled service as their business who learned that to maximize their income, they brought on an assistant to handle marketing, communications with prospects, quotations, scheduling, invoicing, bookkeeping and accounts receivable/payable. One skilled graphics designer I worked with was making $50k a year – a decent amount – but was able to turn this into $200k by paying a part-time assistant $20k a year to do everything except design. It took a year to quadruple his income.
I could probably list another 100 or so reasons why people may not be achieving the level of success they want to. But these are the big ones. Most people who do an honest self-assessment of where they stand with regards to each of these 10 barriers – and making adjustments – will see dramatic improvements.
Lately, I’ve been getting tons of requests from people wanting assistance to help them turn their business around. I’m willing to take on a handful of people who need some guidance who are committed to seeing their businesses and income grow substantially. Here’s how it will work: 1. You’ll get a client intake form you’ll need to complete and return (this will help me ensure a. we’re a good fit b. what your goals are and how I can help you) 2. If accepted, we’ll schedule a one hour one-on-one call on Skype. We’ll do a solid run-through of where you are and where you want to go and you’ll have “homework” to complete 3. You’ll have access to me up to 4 times a month for “pressing” issues via email 4. Every month, we’ll get together again on Skype for up to 30 minutes to review progress and homework then get you fast tracked for your next assignments. 5. I’ll provide you with complimentary access to my upcoming business training materials. Interested in knowing more? Contact my team and we’ll get you the client intake form and details.