32 Things I Wished I Knew When I Started Working Online (Part III & Conclu)
Part III: The 11 Pitfalls Lying in Wait for you
- The Internet Swarms with Scammers
My most bitter regrets are found here.
Good and bad money-making methods, but especially the latter, are scattered all over the internet. The alibaba caves are chat boards, forums, social media, websites, blogs, eBooks, WSO, and Information products.
Unknown to me, while only a few of these are useful, most of them are fake and are created with the sole aim of fleecing people through some sort of bogus affiliate program.
Like many newbies, I could only count on a limited amount of money to keep myself and my business afloat while trying to make money online. I combed the internet intently for little money-making ideas. By my reckoning, if I could invest in some cheap businesses that earned me chickenfeed like $5 or $10 a day, I could easily gain money to upscale my little promising online business.
I joined all the make-money quick programmes like cyclers. But they disappeared as fast as they came. The most memorable was Race Cycler into which I summoned enough courage to sink $230, hoping to make $2,200 over and over again but got not so much as a single cent out!
As it turned out, almost all of these money-making methods that people swarm forums, social media, blogs and eBooks with are untested, out of date or more than likely, just plain don’t work.
I was online to make money but instead I lost a lot to scammers, to such an extent that I had contemplated abandoning any thought of continuing to work online until I found Wealthy Affiliate which changed everything for me.
I ordered products without any due diligence of the companies.
Another memorable experience is promotional advertising I purchased from www.hypervsp.com, a British company, for $297.
Contrary to their promise that I would see results within 24 to 48 hours after setup, I experienced nothing in a week. On complaining, their support said they were having tech issues and I should give them 48 to 72 hours to see traffic. After another week of waiting in vain, I contacted support again and they again said they had tech issues to resolve and I should give them another 48 to 72 hours to see results.
When that didn’t happen, I asked to be refunded in conformity with their policy boldly stated on their site: “We are so proud of the Hyper VSP Marketing and Income System, That If You Do Not See Results Within 30 Days Of Your Purchase, We Will Refund Your Entire Purchase With No Questions Asked!”
Customer support said I should give them 24-48 hours to contact management for refund. After this period I contacted them and they finally informed me that the refund had been made.
Since it takes some time for that to be positioned on my credit card, I waited for two weeks before contacting my bank. My bank said no refund had been made. When I contacted hypervsp they said they had made the refund and the problem was now between me and my bank. My bank however invalidated this claim. On confronting hypervsp they asked me to give them some hours to contact management for the refund.
I googled the right UK authorities to complain to and discovered complain about a limited liability company.
They promised to investigate the company. When the waiting became too long, I tried to contact hypervsp and realized they had disappeared into thin air.
This was when I knew I had been dealing with a scam company.
How I wished I knew Signs to find out if a Company is Legitimate!
N.B.: I checked the www.hypervsp.com before posting this article and saw the domain was up for sale for $2,540. I wouldn’t acquire such a horrible domain name for even $0!
23. Flexible hours you say?
One of the reasons I myself advance for people to work online are flexible working hours. No longer are you subject to 9 to5.
For newbies, flexible hours suggest working when you will, sort of working few hours and having lots of time for pleasure.
Yes, as a self-employed person you work when you want because you’re your own boss but you work the hours that get the job done. And that can mean long hours! Far longer than someone working the 9 to 5. At least in the beginning.
My mobile phone’s alarm clock is set to wake me up at 4 am every day. I was taught this trick when learning to write. That moment is peaceful and I can usually get the hard work done before the house and the world gets topsy-turvy and steals the concentration from me.
You can work 16+ hour days with your working day stretching into the night, and your weekdays meshing into your weekends.
Little wonder, as a sole entrepreneur you’re the researcher, marketer, press rep, content manager, website developer, customer service rep, etc., etc.
You’ll be saddled with more work than you know what to do with. I had to experiment until I found what suited me the best and then quickly adapted to it.
But, since I have a part-time job as a teacher which sometimes keeps me away for the whole day and other times gives me time to stay home all day long, sometimes I bang the alarm off and just continue to sleep; I do just keep a flexible schedule that makes me the most productive.
24. Your Working Hours will Bring Social Friction
Corollary to the above is the friction your erratic and mostly long working hours would create between you and your family and other circles.
All of a sudden you’ll become a social hermit!
Friends and family come on visit to always find me busy working on my blog. I hardly return these visits because I have so many things to do on my blog. I feel conscience-guilty because I can’t often go out with people, have time for a chat, attend one ceremony or the other like birthday parties, baptism, funerals, etc. These are important social events in Africa.
I hardly share quality time with my kids, who, fortunately, are adolescents and have their own circles to mind.
My wife even remarked that I’m married to my blog!
People will begin to murmur about you and your job, wonder if it was real, especially if after some time, they don’t see any palpable results.
Another thing. People assume that since you are working for yourself and from home, you are the master of your business and you can afford to give yourself time off when and as you wish, while the opposite is in fact the case.
I’ve tried to explain to friends how busy I can get only to receive amused smiles.
It’s better for you to know this may happen to you before you plunge into the world of working online.
- Quit Your Comfort Zone to Grow
You remember, procrastination is the thief of time?
Comfort zone, those are the lame excuses you concoct to avoid doing the work which will propel you forward.
For example, you think you can’t make videos and when the time comes to make one, you tell yourself you’d learn to do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and you find another excuse to avoid trying to learn to make that video. Till you avoid making the video altogether. Yet you know the more videos you make the more money you’ll make.
“You miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take,” Wayne Gretzky.
I followed a webinar held by ClickBank expert Justin Atlan. His advice? Make a video on a niche you’re passionate about. Then put it up on YouTube to sell products in that niche. But since many people will view the video without purchasing the product, Justin advised to use it to collect email addresses. Since some videos will do well and others not so well, Justin asked us to make a video a day for 30 days. That was how he and his partner Adam Horwitz were able to sell a million dollar worth of goods in 7 days.
Well imagine I never did that! And imagine also how much money I had lost…
“You may have great business ideas but if you never take any action on them, you have nobody but yourself to blame,” Evan Carmichael.
Remember, growth ALWAYS lies OUTSIDE your comfort zone
- You Earn No Money, Little Money or Lots of Money
People trying to make money online seem to fall into 3 categories:
- Those that earn nothing,
- Those that make too little money, and
- Those that get thousands of dollars a day.
I personally fell into the first two groups. I earned little to nothing. This is what made despair to engulf my efforts to make money online.
Knowing that one can earn nothing or very little is important for those just beginning. For newbie expectations of getting rich quick brings a lot of frustrations. More importantly, the idea that the big money can come can keep a person going and searching for the ways and means to make it.
27 Ask for Help. Ask for Help. Ask for Help
Asking for help shows your strength, not your weakness.
Do you know why my first blog sucked? I never asked for help.
It was not forcibly a question of being fiercely independent, but one of reluctant to ask others to get me out of a rut. I liked doing things on my own.
What I ignored was that with a startup what you have the least are funds and time. You cannot afford to hire people to complete some of your tasks neither can you wait to finish them in a million years. Life is too short.
But the chance of having the Internet is that Google search, WikiHow, Yahoo! Answers and many other free online resources can furnish answers to many questions. And when those don’t work, there are people in forums eager to help.
Now, whether it’s wanting to know things as apparently mundane as how to embed images in a blog post in WordPress or how to integrate keywords into a blog post, I don’t hesitate to ask.
And I’m lucky to be a member of Wealthy Affiliate where a helpful community of knowledgeable people exists for me to tap into to solve any problem which may come across my dot.com journey.
Now, I can focus on my business and move forward.
- Mind you, you’re in for the Long Haul
Do you notice the name of my first blog? It’s easy to make money at home. That’s the picture I had of working online.
Today, with hindsight, I know that’s not true. While you can make it online quicker than offline (except if you dealt in drugs or other big money illegal activities which can send you where you know), it takes time and hard work to do it.
Of course, online you don’t necessarily have to work hard but smart but don’t think you’d come empty-handed today and go away tomorrow with your arms loaded with millions of dollars.
Finding reality different from the dream after 2 years of going round in circles, I abandoned my blog and any idea of making money online.
What I should have known is that if it’s easy to get started online, being successful however is hard.
If you know how to hunt in the online jungle, or, if you’re lucky, you can make your first few dollars pretty quickly. The daunting challenges surface when you logically aim for the big haul. Irrespective of the system you use, the place you work at, or who you work with, success usually will come after consistent work over a long period of time.
What I learnt was akin to the old saying “slow but sure,” meaning, working slow and steady will nearly always beat working fast and furious.
- Above all else, know that you’re a Businessperson
So you should not let writing copy, producing ebooks, posting ads, creating videos, creating audio files, podcasting, writing newsletters, etc. take up too much of your time, nor should you make these activities your top priority.
Rather, dedicate at least four-fifths (85%) of your time to administrating, marketing, selling, strategizing your business, and answering your loads of email.
Mind you, your success (and by ricochet, your financial stability) depends on how well you run your business. So you must take on the role of being a Business Owner first and a creator of useful stuffs second.
Among the priorities, the pillar of your business may be marketing, for without it you will not make money.
Marketing was the least of my worries when I started working online. I thought I just needed to fill my blog with posts and affiliate matter and the customers would be attracted to them like iron filings to a piece of magnet.
What I did not seek to find out was which marketing personality I was.
It is believed that there are three main types of marketing personalities. They are the Guru, the type who seems to be saying, “Listen to me for I have the answers to your problems;” the Wisdom Advisor, who is sort of, “This is the method I’ve found out works best. Let’s brainstorm together to find out what’ll work best for you;” and the Connector who, as the title suggests, connects people with other people or resources.
Once you’ve nailed what your marketing personality is, it’d be far easier to sell to your prospects because you will be working within your natural vibe.
Want to know more about this? Click here for the No-cost webinar The Real Reason Your Marketing Isn’t Working by Marketing Strategist Beth Grant.
An essential element in your marketing efforts is keeping your website fresh and current. So it’s in your interest to learn how to work WordPress and some HTML code.
I just didn’t get these things at the beginning of my career and concentrated on being a blogger who wrote haphazardly all day and affiliate marketer who pestered people with affiliate links and left my business to run itself into a rut.
- Be Prepared to Run Out of Money. Or almost
Being scammed, paying for hosting, subscribing to an autoresponder, investing in yourself, being in for the long haul, using paid advertising, buying the latest tech tools, outsourcing, marketing, etc. will take money from you at a moment when little to none is coming in.
Bad news. Because that equation spells doom.
But the good news is that this is a rite of passage. You are not the first person to experience this drought neither will you be the last. It happens to people all the time. Even all the great people we see today making thousands of dollars a day as if they had a personal ATM touched the bottom at one moment or the other. Some of them even went bankrupt several times before making it finally.
This situation is so common that it just looks as if everyone must pass through it to succeed.
There is nothing more haunting and more beautiful than running out of money or almost so but telling yourself that you are doing what you love and believe in and that you will push through no matter what although there is no iota of evidence that you will succeed. You’d even do it for free if you had to.
“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.”
Although I knew those wise words of Nicholas Sparks, I couldn’t hold on after two years of hurtling downhill. And I gave up. Thank God, temporary.
Springing back to blogging and affiliate marketing was fortuitous, but I think I was unconsciously obeying Richard Branson who said, “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again” and Winston Churchill who advised, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
- Don’t quit. Ever
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” Theodore Roosevelt
So, hold on no matter what. Need more wise saying in this regard?
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up,” Thomas Edison.
Failure is often what will launch you into the League of Big Business in which, once you emerge from the money hellhole, you will be unstoppable.
“Most great people attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure,” Napoleon Hill.
Why not, when you’ve touched the bottomless pit, you’ve stared down the barrel of doom, you’ve ridden on the trough of despair, but you didn’t give up. Instead, you mustered courage to write your next post, to create your next offering, and even you answered the loads of email, most of them full of …you know what I mean?
“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence,” Confucius.
- Above everything else… HAVE FUN
As much as you’d want to work hard to become the next internet millionaire sensation, I think you’ve heard that all work and no play make Jack the dull boy.
I so much wanted to succeed online that I ignored family and friends. Of course, your erratic working hours will bring you into conflict with your circles, but it must not be a reason to have fun from time to time.
Of course success of your online work will be measured by how much money you make, but your real success will be how well you embraced the journey and what sort of a person it made you.
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life,”Anonymous.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” Dr Seuss.
Once I embraced the steps described above, there has been a significant change in my business, especially in terms of my website’s traffic and affiliate sales.
I recommend that you give a few of them a try and see how they work for you. Don’t hesitate and like me say one day, “I just wish I’d done them sooner.”
May you avoid these pitfalls in your unbridled desire to succeed online! Safe journey!!
I know I haven’t covered all the bad experiences one can have attempting to work online since each person has a unique experience. Why don’t you tell us about yours to give readers more ways to avoid heartaches and regrets?
Just go to the comments box below and leave your experience there. Thank you.
Your personal guide to securing your future online