Once again I welcome you to my personal blog. It’s been a fun week for me. I got to spend time with family members who I had not seen in years. As you can imagine I went up 7 pounds and I drank more whiskey and beer during this week than during the previous three years. My mind is still in a fog. My body feels discharged. So completing this post is a testament to willpower and desire to expand this blog and reach opportunity.
Sometimes we are sold on the entrepreneurial dream. The fact is, not everyone has what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Today is all about strategic partnerships, teamwork and hiring skilled freelancers, employees and virtual assistants to do work you are not good at. Very few are the cases where is possible to build and run a profitable and lasting business working by yourself as there is so much to know. I hope this post will show you a few of the pitfalls of the entrepreneurial journey. In the end you can absolutely succeed but it will likely take years of hard work, dedication and self growth to get there.
Those of you out there who need stronger mindset I want to introduce you to the MFCEO project if you are not aware of it. I also challenge you to try out 75 hard which I have yet to beat. Lately I find it harder to exercise 90 minutes because I spend so much time researching and testing strategies to do with ecommcerce, marketing and SEO. Back in the day I was a gym rat. I loved to exercise so much I even certified myself as personal trainer. I have learned that in order to win in achieving your goals a balanced lifestyle is key. Too much of anything will eventually lead to burnout.
NOTE: Certain supplements are good. But you should carefully research what you put inside your body. Protein in powder for example, is the byproduct of substance from milk which otherwise would have to be dumped out of the factory as waste. Itching produced by these supplements is a warning sign from your body telling you to stop eating poison. Diarrhea is your body trying to cleanse and get rid of the toxic garbage. From personal experience there is nothing better than eating real food (although supplements do work, but in MODERATION). Right now the only supplements I take are Kirkland fish oil, LIFE FORCE MULTI CAPSULES and lots of water. I used to take all sorts of supplements back in my gym rat phase.
I totally went on a tangent. What I’m doing in this post, is not the best for SEO but I’m doing this for fun. Today I want to examine some of the reasons why so many online businesses and startups fail and ways to fix this or improve the odds of success.
NOTE: When businesses and startups fail, some blackhat SEO’s find ways to revive these projects. The idea is to take advantage of all the investment the previous startup or company did in order to grow their authority and reuse it to build websites which get lots of organic traffic fast. There are many shortcuts that could speed up success for those who can SEE and capitalize on them.
1- Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork
Sometimes I think of all the effort I have put learning all sort of skills. Overclocking my mind with information and aiming to complete processes and procedures for which my skills are limited. Many people know that growth is at the end of your comfort zone. This is absolutely true. The more you face your fears and challenge your skills with activities which you are terrified to do. The more you will grow as a person and as an entrepreneur. Having more skills can also give you the upper hand in starting a business or consulting agency and then adding more employees to your team as the business grows.
Still, as wonderful and powerful as the human mind is. With over 100 billion neurons and computing power as great as a supercomputer… unfortunately it takes many years (think 10 or 20) to build all the necessary skills to truly make an online business thrive. I’m talking about becoming #1 in your industry. Here is a list of some of the important skills you would need to research and become good at:
2- Copywriting/Content Writing
3- Software Development/Web Development (PHP/CSS/HTML/PYTHON…FRONT END/BACK END…)
4- Paid Advertising (PPC/MEDIA BUYS)
5- Video Editing/Video Production
6- Graphic Design
9- Selling/Phone Support/Customer Support
10- Networking/SELF GROWTH
I have listed only but a few of the skills you would need to become good at if you want to thrive. You don’t need to excel at all of them. Some people master their ability as a copywriter for example and this is all they need to generate substantial income. So is the case of Dan Lok and Dan Pena who have been known to create sales letters for $10,000 and $100,000. What I’m trying to imply is that in order to maximize the success of building an online business empire you should think of performing all the tasks you are good at. Delegate the rest to someone else who is proficient at those other tasks where you suck. Doing everything yourself will likely result in burnout and the quality of your business will suffer which is what ultimately leads to failure.
NOTE: When I first tried to build a profitable blog and generate income with affiliate marketing. Many resources out there painted the picture this would be easy. Like anyone could do it. The reality is you need resources and connections in order to generate any substantial success. A lot of entrepreneurs out there putting out content. Showing you how easy it is. Fail to tell you they spent years to build the authority and assets they now have. Easy is just an illusion. They lead you into pouring all of your energy and effort into a project which is very likely to fail. Then they can buy all this effort for pennies on the dollar once you quit because results don’t come.
So you have to be smart. You need to be very strategic about how you increase your chances of winning while getting paid to learn about the business model and industry of the business you want to set up. Work for someone else and learn all the skills, tools and processes necessary until you feel confident you will be successful with your business venture. You can also take a job which allows you to invest plenty of time developing yourself and eventually much bigger opportunities will arise. Or better yet. Don’t listen to me. Find time to watch this seminar Jim Rohn recorded many years back.
If you are an overachiever like myself. I would recommend you to become proficient at one skill before trying to learn another one. Ultimately your goal should be to become WORLD CLASS at the one skills (or set of skills) you enjoy doing. Having more skills is better. It gives you more opportunity to generate more income and work on more projects. I have found that combining knowledge of multiple skills into one project has a powerful and profound effects where you can help the or company become the leader in the industry at a much faster rate. Dedication and commitment to your craft for many years is key if you ever want to see this in action.
NOTE: One other way to make this work is by hiring virtual assistants to do the work. However in order to be able to do this the right way you need to create good SOP’s (Standard Operational Procedures) and provide the virtual assistant with proper instructions, videos and guidance on how to properly do the work. I know multiple successful entrepreneurs who hire Virtual Assistants out of the Philippines, India and Pakistan for very cheap. Don’t expect quality, professional work unless you train them well.
2- Resources, Giveaways, Killer Offers
Another reason why so many online businesses fail is because there is very intense competition. Many marketing agencies today leverage the power of giveaways, coupons and discounts in order to create viral offers in social media which get many shares. One place where you can see such offers I talk about is on Groupon where you can find an array of services discounted by up to 99% their original value. You can even find merchants who provide their services absolutely free. For example I found 3 month free trial of Pandora premium on Groupon.
The businesses providing this type of offers are taking advantage of customer LIFETIME VALUE so they initiate the relationship with the customer at a loss or by breaking event in order to create more business opportunity for the future. It is mostly the established businesses with more funding and resources who are capable of marketing this way so for a new online business just starting out is very difficult to compete when there are so many businesses giving out killer deals the customer can’t refuse.
NOTE: Many smart marketers are using this strategy to create campaigns on social media which go viral and reach many people. I know it works because in one of the previous projects I worked on I suggested to send free stuff to event planers with well decorated rental places. As a result they would post the decoration on social media and tag the brand and it would result in strong social proof which increased rankings for the brand. Either way be smart about doing this. You should be very strategic in your approach to maximize results, benefit and profit opportunity.
If you are in a very competitive niche where brands are willing to produce campaigns where they give out free stuff or heavily discounted services. And you don’t have the resources to compete with a similar strategy. The best I can recommend you is to create video content which targets the most passionate segment of your target audience. In this way, you can start engaging customers who will become brand ambassadors, who promote your brand. Some clever marketers and companies like is the case with Groupon focus on capturing all the awesome deals and sharing them through email. The business model in this is to build a huge email list of customers and in this way generate income through affiliate marketing and by selling access to the email list.
In the video above, Instead of Yoast I would recommend you to try RankMath.
3- It’s a Constant Struggle For Positioning
Maybe you don’t know this but Google has made it easier for smaller bloggers and solopreneurs who produce valuable content. To rank better and reach bigger audiences like the big brands who have many employers. But even then, is still a constant struggle for positioning because the big brands invest a lot of capital on producing great content. In the content arena the small online business could compete with the big brands because there are a lot of solutions out there to put content online without having to know a line of code. The cameras in most smartphones produce video with sufficient quality so as to generate similar engagement and impact as a video produced in a studio with cameras worth thousands of dollars.
Where big brands still have the upper hand in building authority and generating bigger reach has to do with the fact these brands have more connections and bigger opportunity to acquire backlinks from authoritative sources. In the same way the bigger brands can afford professional consultants in marketing, SEO and other disciplines relevant to growing online businesses which someone just starting out can’t afford. So ultimately this is one of the biggest reasons that lead to failure. I have found that one way to balance the equation is to provide the skills you are strong at to agencies who offer services which you need. Kind of like a bartering system. If you are really good at what you do and provide value. The agencies will help you with those services where you lack skill to produce professional work. It’s about building a good relationships.
NOTE: SEO is critical and should be done indefinitely. The minute your website stops receiving powerful backlinks other websites in the same (or similar niche) who are producing great content and also working hard on their SEO will end up outranking and taking a big chunk of your traffic. This is why is a constant struggle for positioning. Search engines want to see growth and updates happening frequently on your website. Try to improve your digital assets everyday even if the changes are small. It will help you rank better and stay ahead (or on par) with your competitors.
One last thing I want to make you aware of is that Google has been rolling out a new update called BERT. BERT is making it so that informational searches (about 10% of all searches) return the most objective and compact answer. Is about providing the user making the search with the information they need as concise and simply as possible. I believe Google is doing this because a lot of Content Marketers and SEO’s have been focusing on long form content with blog posts over 1000 words long. In order to improve the user experience they want informational based search with very specific answers to return shorter articles containing just the necessary information. This will result in better user experience because is easier to find the answer in shorter text, but still navigational and transnational searches will return in depth, expert caliber content in the form of longer articles and videos. So you need to adapt your strategy to the intent Google has for those specific searches, in order to succeed.
4- You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Think about all the content out there in the web. You could spend years researching and learning and only come to learn a fraction of what is out there. Information overload is real. There is so much powerful technology, tools and information that would make your business more effective and profitable. This is why entrepreneurship is a long journey where your goal should be to learn something new every single day. This is the only way you will eventually be able to create the foundations and systems to power a thriving online business.
A lot of entrepreneurs don’t like to invest money in coaches, advisers and consultants to help them with their business. Hiring this people can seem very expensive. However the best consultants have proven track record of generating a big return on investment for their clients. One of the reasons I do so much research and so much testing is because this gives me experience to be able to properly guide other people. I also connect with big consultants and marketers and learn from them and provide value whenever I can. One of the most powerful ways to make sure your online business doesn’t fail is by investing on yourself every opportunity you can. As I have found, sometimes combining information you just learned, with tools and data you previously knew, results in the biggest growth opportunity for your business.
NOTE: When you are lost. A good mentor can help steer you in the right direction by giving you advice and ideas. Be humble and learn from others. You will realize the more you know, the more you know YOU DON’T KNOW.
5- Distractions and Working on Low Value Tasks
One of the biggest reasons online businesses fail is because of action faking. This is working on tasks which produce very little value or no value for your business. You should eliminate all distractions and tasks which do not produce the results you want.
From my own experience I find it that sometimes I waste too much time on Facebook, Instagram and writing email. Sometimes I research more than I should, when instead I should be testing something I learned. Back in the day I spent considerable effort trying to figure out how to generate a lot of traffic using Traffic Exchanges. Many years back, this would have worked and produced great results. Today, since there is so much automation and ways to generate fake traffic using tools like hitleap I would recommend you to ignore Traffic Exchanges and instead focus on other organic methods to generate traffic. To be fair, it may work for some people but results are really slow compared to social media.
NOTE: If you are stuck doing low value tasks and can’t seem to produce the results you want, I recommend you to check the TheFastLaneForum. Many bright entrepreneurs post great information in this forum which can help you take your business to the next level. Don’t forget to test and execute. Unless you act on what you learn you won’t succeed.
6- Building Authority Takes Years
A common misconception many people have is they can rank their digital assets within a few months or a year. Many case studies have been made and over 90% of the posts on Google ranking at the number one spot where produced more than one year ago. In fact most of those posts currently sitting at number one and taking 70-90% of all the traffic for the keywords these ranked for, have ranked for at least 3 years.
You should understand before Google is willing to trust you with traffic. They want to know your online business will be there and won’t disappear. Google wants to see your business produce social proof in the form of positive customer reviews in Google My Business, Better Business Bureau and Social Media Sources. Is possible you can generate income in the beginning by leveraging paid advertising methods but this should not be your core strategy. Actually by building a powerful an authoritative brand as your online business you will be spending way less on advertising because platforms such as Google and Facebook will charge you less.
7- No Sourcing Leverage
Some entrepreneurs out there just starting out don’t realize big brands and manufacturers give exclusive rights to certain entities to hold and sell their inventory. As a result, you may be sourcing from a supplier who is charging more money than the true original manufacturer. This makes it harder to compete and profit. I know for a fact this is one of the biggest reasons why online businesses just starting out fail so much. They have no leverage to negotiate a deal with the original manufacturer who would give them the best price to sell their product.
At the end of the day it has been proven time and time again. More important than add copy. Or video used for advertising. IS THE OFFER. If you are able to provide the most valuable offer, this is the offer that will go viral and produce the most sales. One way to produce the best offer is by negotiating the best prices and very rarely you could do this with a new online business that has no reputation. You may be able to score a deal like this if you are great at persuading a big entrepreneur to give you the opportunity. But this can only be done after many years of self growth so you can show tangible potential to this person who is giving you the opportunity.
8- No Automation of Tasks of Little Value
As already expressed Virtual Assistants are very valuable for an online business just starting out. Probably more important than Virtual Assistants is to be able to automate monotonous tasks that need to be repeated over and over again. This is why learning some programming skills can be really valuable. Most of the code you would need to automate processes can be found online in forums like StackOverflow. The best developers are able to produce their own tools for ecommerce which then they can charge a monthly fee to use them (SaaS), or they can use them in house as their secret weapon and not have to pay anything for subscriptions. Becoming a good programmer has many great advantages to prevent your online business from failing.
NOTE: Part of winning is to continue to iterate and improve the systems and automation used on your online business. If you don’t improve your efficiency and performance to match (or beat) your competitors, you won’t be able to scale your business to your full potential.
It is unfortunate but when you are starting out is when you are the most vulnerable. Many online businesses fail because they fall pray to online scams. A friend of mine who has managed to build 13 businesses and is involved in over 50 businesses. A true serial entrepreneur. In the beginning of his career lost over $80,000 because he wired money to a factory in Alibaba that promised to manufacture the product he wanted to sell. You can learn more about him in his podcast. If you are interested in selling on Amazon he is a great resource.
In my online journey I also lost money which I invested in the wrong opportunities and MLM programs. This is part of entrepreneurship. Learning from mistakes and never committing the same mistake twice. Learn how to avoid online scams and your chances of success will multiply.
There are some amazing entrepreneurs out there who are willing to work very hard. I’m one of them. Unfortunately when you try to do everything if you don’t have a good strategy eventually you will burn out. This is why you should always think of ways to automate and improve processes. One of the reasons for burnout is because we are focusing on tasks which do not generate the desired goal. A good strategy is to work for a company which supports your goals by teaching you skills and providing training in the areas you need to grow. And you can use the monetary resources and skills to work on your online business on the side and recruit virtual assistants to join your team.
***Facebook consultant Dapesh, shares some wisdom about building teams for ecommerce and using Facebook Ads.
11- Black Swan Events
So what have we learned? Diversification is very important. In fact, the best investors or business owners don’t bet on one horse. They in fact find ways to bet on both opposing horsing, so if one industry happens to fail, the other one takes them afloat. It takes wisdom and skill to know how to do this but this is just something you can think about.
Recently what we saw happening with the reddit group wallstreetbets, and how the members in this group pushed the value of the GAME STOP stock so the hedge funds that bet on shorting this stock would pretty much go bankrupt. This shows us how the markets can be manipulated. The hedge funds that command so much monetary power can with the turn of a switch (or an order from the higher ups) get the markets to behave a different way resulting in some winning and making a killing and others potentially losing it all.
One business which is currently in distress due to the economic events is theitch2stitch.com. They are great and hard working, talented set of group of people. So if you can purchase some merchandise to keep them going consider doing so. Diversification and the ability to evolve is highly critical, especially with so much new technology coming out that can make obsolete even the most powerful of organizations.
I think the fastest, most productive way to get to where you want to go is to join a team (become an employee) and use all of your strengths while building up your skills. Eventually you will be able to generate more income from your side business than the full time job at which point you could choose focusing on your business full time. This is some of what I’m going to be doing once I find the right opportunity.
Becoming successful at business is really challenging. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice. I’m still in this journey myself. I’m far from where I want to be. I hope you learned something good today. Always remember to set goals and work on tasks which will take you closer to your goals. I will leave you with another great book I have been reading which can help you launch a better business. Check out Exponential Organizations.
PS: Make sure your websites and ecommerce stores are SCA compliant!
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulation has been effective since 14 of September 2019. This requires multi factor authentication to take place when selling ecommerce products to European customers. Here is a video Adam, from WpCrafter made with more details about SCA compliance. In short, payment gateways which are not SCA compliant will have all transactions made from European customers automatically cancelled. Fixing this problem is as simple as using a payment processor or terminal which is SCA compliant.