After months of brainstorming and researching your business idea, you have now decided to start a business. You have tried to ignore all the nay-sayers who don’t think you could succeed and would like to have some encouragement and advice that will move you closer to your goal.
I asked the following question of five of my friends who are successful online entrepreneurs: What single piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about starting an online business?
Bonnie Taylor-Wachowicz – Inform to Enable Inc.
Single piece of advice? There is a ton of information available to a business owner to help them know what to do and how to do it, but unless you actually use that information it really won’t be of much value. I started an online business just over a year ago with a business partner with just that in mind. It’s a part time endeavor for us, and we have really big plans which we are making progress on, but the important thing is that we’ve started. We could easily have spent 12 years planning and it would not have made any difference until the business was started. Once it is started, it will take on a life of its own and everything will fall into place as it grows. Planning is definitely important, and you’ll need to do a lot of that, but action is really key.
Marsha Kopan – Executive Secretarial Services
There are many types of online businesses. Some are retail. Some are service. I will speak to a service business, namely, being a virtual office professional. First, don’t use the word “home office” or “work at home mom.” In my honest opinion, these wordings send the wrong message to prospects. That message is that you are not a serious business person. Second, find a niche. A niche has two parts: your market niche and your service offering niche. Last, don’t quit.
Denise Jeffrey – About Time Virtual Assistance & Commemorative Services
My advice would be to build yourself a support network; find other people in similar businesses that you can go to with questions. As a VA, I have been fortunate to have others I trust that I can refer clients to when I don’t provide the service myself, or that I can talk to when I’m feeling unsure or need direction. Even if you don’t have a close network of people you can contact directly, you can still take advantage of the online networks that are out there. I’ve mainly used VA forums to voice my questions, and have found them to be a very supportive group; but I have also visited other forums for technical issues and other business questions, and there always seems to be someone there willing to help.
Pam Ivey – Pam Ivey Group of Companies
Make sure your business is built surrounding your passion(s). Making money is definitely a viable goal but if you have to go about it working on something you’re less than ecstatic with day in and day out, your enthusiasm will quickly wane and so, often is the case, will your business.
Michelle Jamison – MJVA
Believe in what it is you are doing and the value of what you are offering. Starting any new venture can be overwhelming and intimidating. We sometimes begin to question the value of what it is we are offering and when we begin to question, fear and doubt can easily creep in. It’s important to believe in yourself and the talent you bring to all your endeavours, believe in your worth and your value and others will too!