Everyone struggles with building and running a business. Everyone. Including me.
It’s not just beginners either, or people in their first year, or second year, or third.
Here’s the deal: Struggling is appropriate and normal for the stage you’re at, no matter what that stage is.
There’s a lot to learn and figure out in the process of building an online business. A lot…especially at the beginning. For example:
- The technology for your website and processing payments.
- The copywriting/text that will go on your site.
- What to sell people.
- Figuring out if there’s a market for what you want to sell.
- Content marketing.
- Paid advertising.
- Search engine optimization.
- Pricing of your products, programs, and services.
- How to launch those products, programs, and services.
- How to build your email list.
- How to run an online course with hundreds of people in it.
And those are just a handful of things from the larger group of things you need to get a handle on in order to create a successful online business. It’s a lot, and it’s not easy to learn.
Building and running a business is hard. Really hard. You will feel like stopping. Many times. And you know what? That’s okay. Keep going anyway. I felt like stopping a couple of weeks ago, again, and I’ve been at this for 9 years.
Everyone has a hard time when we hit certain inflection points on the path. Me included. But after you launch your first product, service, or online program and start making money, it starts to get easier.
You start to get a handle on things, one by one. You learn from everything. You’ll start to see where you can make things more efficient for next time or next week or next month.
Most people stop the process of building a business when things get hard and overwhelming. That’s part of why the failure rate of small businesses is so high.
People give up before they get to the part where things start to get easier. But you don’t have to become part of the statistics of failed small businesses.
You got this shit. Keep going.
Yes, it’s definitely hard sometimes. It may be hard for you right now, or you might be in a relatively easy part of the cycle. If things are easier right now, that’s awesome. Just know that the hard will come back again, like waves on the shore.
You’re going to struggle for a while, but here’s what’s going to happen: You’re going to get past one obstacle, like the tech stuff, and that will become easy. Then you’ll get past something else, like figuring out how to do your content marketing. And then that will become easier. It’ll still take time to pull it off, but you’ll at least know how to do content marketing.
Then you’ll start getting traffic to your site, and your email list will start to grow. People will start following you on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter.
And then you keep going.
You build up a relationship with them over nine months or a year. Then you launch a service or program or product to them. Gently, but with passion.
And then? Some of them will buy what you’re selling, because they’ve come to know you, like you, trust you, and by that time, they will have already been benefiting from the free, useful content you’ve been publishing. They will want you to sell them something because they’ll want more help from you.
And you keep going, and you keep learning and getting better at all the skills.
Soon, you’ll have enough money coming in that you can hire an assistant and then you can stop wearing all the hats.
And then things will continue to grow. The growth may be slow, or it may be fast. But things will get better and easier. And then you’ll be able to hire a second person on your team, and things will get a bit easier.
The nature of the struggles will change. Sometimes they get more complex. Sometimes they just feel bigger than the old challenges. But you just keep going. It’s like being on a long bike ride up a winding mountain road. You just have to keep pedaling.
I’ve been through this process several times before, and have had great success (after I made it past some enormously hard obstacles.) If I can do it, so can you.
Building a business is not a domain of life where only those with natural talent succeed, as is often the case with many sports.
This whole “build an online business” thing can be learned. I learned it, and I didn’t know shit when I began. 12 years ago I was digging fence post holes on a farm in California for $20 an hour, and that’s indicative of what I knew at the time: if you want to make money, you have to use your body and do manual labor.
That $20/hr working on a farm is what my skill set at the time got me. But I had a feeling I was capable of much more, so I started studying and learning everything I could about technology and websites, and a few years later started my first business building websites.
I didn’t make a lot of money, but it was enough to help cover our expenses while my wife recovered from giving birth to our boy.
I kept studying and learning. Starting new businesses. Making mistakes. Having successes. All the while: learning and experimenting.
And I never stopped. I wanted to many times, but I didn’t. The thought “Fuck it, this is too hard. It’s too stressful. Maybe I should just go get a job at a startup and let someone else deal with this stress,” came to make me often. It still pops up once a year or so even now, and it always comes when things get hard, or our cash flow situation gets tight for a few weeks, which happens from time to time.
So, yes…keep pedaling, but know that sometimes it’s appropriate and okay to stop. To give up and choose a different path. You alone will know if this journey you’re on with your business is not a good match for your personality.
From what I have seen, though, most of the time, people hit that first big overwhelming struggle within the first year of trying to build a business, and they give up. They don’t yet know that it gets easier. If that’s you, don’t give up yet.
There’s a reason you started on this path. Something you wanted to improve in your life and probably something you wanted to improve in other people’s lives too. That something is still out in front of you. It’s still there. A possibility awaiting you.
But you have to get through this hard spot first. You have to pedal up this one mountain in front of you first. And on the other side? There’s a bad ass, super fun downhill section for a bit. You’ll get to rest and feel the wind in your face as the sunshine warms your skin. You get to let gravity pull you down the hill without any effort on your part. It’s the reward for the big climb.
They are crazy fun, those rest periods. There will be more hills and mountains beyond that to climb. Always more mountains to climb. But by then your skills will improve, and what once felt like a hard climb won’t feel that hard at all.
It gets a little easier. Sometimes it gets a lot easier. And then…it will get harder.
Keep going. This challenge you have now with your business is temporary. Keep pedaling. You will get over this mountain.
Dig deep, my friend. You got this.