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90 Reasons Why 90 per cent of Online Businesses Fail (Part I)

General introduction to 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail

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In this blog post, I’m going to give you the 90 key reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail. 

The dream of many people is to work online. Why not when 9-5 jobs have become too difficcult to find or to keep. But do you know that a large number of people who embrace an online work fail? As high as 90 per cent!

The broad reasons why online businesses fail are the lack of certain personal qualities, incompetence, an unbalanced experience or lack of managerial experience, lack of key marketing basics, competition, financial matters, and issues with their websites.

In this seven-part series, I am going to discuss 90 reasons why online businesses fail.

This first part will touch on the lack of 19 personal qualities, the second will deal with 8 types of incompetence in business, the third will handle 12 sorts of unbalanced experiences or lack of managerial experience, the fourth will dwell on 18 lacks of key marketing basics, the fifth will take a look at 3 types of competition, the sixth will detail 9 financial matters, and the seventh will be concerned with 21 website problems.


• Lack of personal qualities

Part I of 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail will dwell on the lack of personal qualities.

Some personal qualities are essential for success in business. It therefore goes without saying that if a businessperson lacks these qualities the chances of assuring the survival of their business are slim indeed.

First, a thought and some statistics to ponder

– It’s often said that more than half of new businesses fail during the first year.

– The Small Business Association (SBA) says that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being founded, 50% during the first five, 66% during the first 10 and only 25% survive to 15 years or more.

– According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.

– According to Dun & Bradstreet and INC. magazine, 33% of all new businesses fail within the first six months. Fifty percent of new businesses fail within their first two years of operation and 75% fail within the first three years.

– More than 90% of all Internet business start-ups end in failure within 120 days of creation.

That said, here are the 19 qualities, the lack of which accounts for some of the failure rates mentioned in the statistics:

• Lack of Education or Training

Reason #1: Not getting educated or trained in chosen niche

The first reason of 90 reasons why 90 percent of online workers fail is lack of education in specific niches.

Government studies, census data, and statistics state that high school diploma holders obtain better paid jobs and earn much MORE than those without. And people with career training outdistance those with high school diplomas in their working career. However a university degree can bring an individual far more income.

In short, the more educated and trained a person is the more career opportunities are opened to them and the more income they receive. No wonder lack of education and training of online business workers are cited as one of the reasons for online failures.

Reason #2: Not engaging in lifelong learning in career area

The second reason for 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is lack of continued learning in a career area.

The best education you can have is the education you give yourself. Unfortunately after school many people do not try to learn on their own.

Yet the lives of successful people show that they are often involved in “lifelong learning.” They choose a subject, master it, and then go on to another and another. It is this continual learning and improvement which assures them success in their career area.

• Lack of Association

Reason #3: The founders don’t associate with peers to network

The third reason of 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is founders not associzting with peers for networking opportunities.

Working at home is often an individual affair (especially if your spouse or friends aren’t involved in it with you or doing the same thing themselves) but it doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Like any human endeavour difficulties and discouragement are bound to crop up and this is where peers come in handy.

Entrepreneurs who succeed online network with other entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them solve some problems and, especially, to keep them motivated.

Reason #4: You need honest mentors, teachers or coachers

The fourth reaons of 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is not getting mentors, teachers or chaches.

This point is closely akin to reasons #1 and 2 discussed above.

People who succeed online often have mentors, teachers or coachers who help them get not only educated or trained in their chosen niche but also engaged in lifelong learning in their career area.

• Lack of Confidence

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Reason #5: Lack of high self-esteem

The fifth reason of 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is lack of self-esteem.

People who have started a business online had gone through torments to do so because:

– The media has made them believe it is hard to do
– They were afraid of losing money
– They were not sure the business would be successful
– They did not have enough money to start
– They did not have enough technical knowledge

This lack of self-esteem continues even when the business is founded.

Successful people don’t live with this trauma but find the inner strength to face it squarely and carry on their journey with success.

• Lack of the Right Mindset

Reason #6: Lack of patience / discipline / persistence / willpower

The sixth reason of 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is lack of patience, persistence or willpower.

Like a landed business, an eCommerce business needs time to mature. But too often new business owners (especially those imbued with the ‘I can get rich quick!’ idea or drunk with ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes) imagine that they will earn profits in a short time.

But reality is far from that daydreaming. Success in online business does not happen overnight. It is not unusual for the owner to go the first few months without seeing anything come in. It may take several months for profits to start trickling in. And even many online entrepreneurs don’t make it here because they lack persistence and simply give up too soon. Others become impulsive Biz Opp Seekers, hopping from one program to another and end up not mastering any.

People who succeed online are not half hearted about starting a business. They commit for the long term. These owners don’t expect quick results without doing the work. They work longer, harder and faster than the other guy.

One thing is sure: if you pick something you are passionate about, stick with it and constantly try to improve, you will eventually reap the benefits.

Reason #7: Laxity

The seventh reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is laxity.

New web entrepreneurs fail because they think it’s easy to succeed online instead of putting in demanding hard work. They think they can simply work when they feel like it and still make a good living. Sure, you can work when you want to, but you cannot succeed that way.

Being a successful internet marketer requires self-discipline. Expect to work hard to achieve your goals. Learning about internet marketing and how it works is what brings success and not expectations to get rich quick.

• Self-destruction through poor decisions

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Reason #8: Manager Dysfunction

The eighth reason of 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is manager dysfunction.

Online entrepreneurs fail for the same reasons that destroyed remarkable public figures like Diana the Princess of Wales, Lance Armstrong, Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Vincent Van Gogh, or Aaron Hernandez: self-sabotage through continually taking extremely poor decisions and exhibiting weak leadership skills which are bound to lead to one’s own failure or downfall.

In contrast, successful entrepreneurs are those who avoid “professional suicide” and instead spend time on personal development. They strive to acquire the skills necessary to overcome the lack of, or strengthen the, ability to effectively relate with people. They also use anger management to handle anger issues.

• Too much Information

Reason #9: So much to learn, where do you begin?

The ninth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is information overload.

In these days of mass information, it is easy to get drowned in the deluge. Overwhelmed with Information, many new online marketers suffer an attack of paralysis which prevents them from achieving anything.

But successful people know that the only way to eat a cow is piece by piece, sometimes beginning with the choicest parts.

• Lack of Time and Resources

Reason #10: No time to dedicate to a task

The tenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail isTime is lack of time.

Time is needed to learn and build your online business. But often new online entrepreneurs jump over tasks in their bid to go quicker. What they forget is that they are accumulating several gaps which will soon overtake them and oblige them to go back and learn what they passed over.

But businesspeople seeking success recognize that time is money so they go slowly … but surely.

Reason #11: No resources to commit to building their business

The eleventh reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is lack of resources.

Time is lack of time.

A business, even if created with $0, needs money to grow. Of course there are free e-books, free software, free advertising, free tools, free this and free that.

Yet we all know that there is generally a big difference between what the free offers and the benefits you would get from the paid-for item. Quality, the successful entrepreneur knows, comes with a price.

• Lack of duplication

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Reason #12: Cooperation is the key

The twelfth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is lack of cooperation.

With all new online entrepreneurs participating with thousands, if not millions, of business opportunities separately, the failure rate could only be high.

Successful people cooperate with each other, even on a global scale, so as to ward off failure.

• Lack of knowledge

Reason #13: Going into business for the wrong reasons

The thirteenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is starting business on a wrong note.

Although when you have your own business you’re working for yourself, this doesn’t mean that you do business for yourself but rather for your customers. You’re in business to make money for yourself but it’s only when you satisfy the customer’s needs (and not yours), that they will patronise your business and make you money.

Businesses which succeed have their customers’ needs uppermost in their minds.

• Misfortune

Reason #14: Being in the wrong place at the wrong time

The fourteenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is starting business on a wrong note.

If we accept that luck can count in business success, on the contrary not carefully choosing a program and at the right moment can lead to failure.

Scams are all around us. If for instance you entered a pyramid scheme at the widest bottom, all you would achieve would be to help countless people slowly climb to the top.

With all the legit businesses out there, people who succeeded online had learnt to avoid scams and all get-rich-quick schemes.

• Outside interference

Reason #15: Family pressure on time

The fifteenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is family pressure on time.

One of the difficulties of the online home worker is that friends, neighbours and family members do not view what you are doing as work, much like any other. They don’t recognize what you are doing is for a living and that they must respect your ‘working hours’. So it’s when you are busy at a task that a family member chooses to bang in for one reason or the other. That’s also when friends want to talk or go out with you.

But those who succeed at work from home jobs let their entourage know their working hours during which no intrusions will be tolerated. When I was learning to write I was advised to hang a notice on my study at writing time saying ‘Don’t Disturb!’

Reason #16: Family pressure on money commitments

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The sixteenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is family pressure on  your money.

Reason #11 dwelt on the lack of resources to commit to building your business. This becomes acute for a budding entrepreneur with dependants. You don’t earn enough to take care of your family, that’s why you came to online work to supplement your income or replace it outright. But then your business also becomes a ‘dependant’ competing with your family members for money for certain needs.

Those who want to succeed online know that they have to make the necessary sacrifice and commit some money to their business and not let family pressure distract them from investing in it.

Reason #17: Advice from family and friends

The seventeenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is wrong advice from people.

Starting business on a wrong note. Since working online does not bring immediate results, you would find family and friends advising you to abandon your ‘wild goose chase’ and commit to something concrete.

People who have succeeded on the web had to create their own value systems to succeed.

• Optimistic, pessimistic or realistic?

Reason #18: Half-full, half-empty or both?

The eighteenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is pessiomism.

The pessimist sees the glass filled to the middle as half-empty, the optimist as half-full and the realist as both half-full and half-empty. People who fail online viewed their online home business as maybe promising or not promising at all.

But the realists knew that every beginning is difficult and that with time and resources, their business would grow to something to be proud of.

• Counting too much on technology

Reason #19: Technology is a means not an end

The nineteenth reason of the 90 reasons why 90 percent of online businesses fail is too much reliance on technology.

Much as you need technology in your online business, know that it can never deal with all your concerns. Technology is not the brain behind your company but just a tool to help you run it more efficiently.

The saying goes that “The computer can only do what it is told; it cannot say to itself ‘I wonder what this means?’” Yet new internet entrepreneurs worry so much about the necessity of technology for their online business success that they ignore the human aspect that even the best technology cannot replace.

Many successful online entrepreneurs however did not forget the fact that all said and done, business is business and therefore requires to be run efficiently.

In part II therefore I will turn to some key basic business knowledge necessary for the survival of your online gem.

Do you want to succeed online?

It’s true that the web can offer immediate success for some. Such stories are all around us. But for most of us this glorious moment will take some time to come and on the back of hard work on our part. The secret lies in not falling into the traps mentioned above and you will have a better chance of figuring among the elite online one day.

But, now that you have an idea of why people fail online, aren’t you tempted to learn how you can be part of those who succeed on the web?

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been,” – George Elliot

Sure, you can become part of the 10% successful online businesses. By joining Wealthy Affiliate.

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If you would like to leave your personal opinion or experience of the factors which make entrepreneurs fail online or if you have any questions, please do leave them below. I would love to talk with you, even on my personal profile at Wealthy Affiliate

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10 thoughts on “90 Reasons Why 90 per cent of Online Businesses Fail (Part I)”

    • Hi Michael, Some of these reasons were an eye-opener to me during research for the article. If the piece can help people avoid the pitfalls that kill new small businesses, I would have succeeded.

  1. Love the info and truth I have been in this business for 6 years and I have learned alot. I will always do my best to help others. Build relationships are crucial to this business.

    • The more I learnt about failure online the more I realized that I knew very little about how to succeed in this field. The research was quite an eye-opener. While working from home seems a solitary affair, building relationships is what counts most.

  2. WOW! This post is great, It showed me some new things that I should start doing. Very useful.
    Some advice… You should put all these posts, I believe it was 1-7 in a drop down menu so they can all be together. That’s just a suggestion. Other than that, keep up the good work on these posts.

    • Hi Hector, writing this post was a discovery to me too. I had started to see why people fail online and discovered the reasons were many so I dug into them and came up with 90. There could be more, who knows? Now, how I go about putting the 7 into a drop down menu? You know, I don’t really master these “technical” stuffs!


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