Day 6: Lessons Learned

Over the past five days, we’ve been laying the foundation for your online business.  Before we get into the specifics of setting it all up, let me share some lessons I learned from my personal experience in establishing an online business.

1. Do Not Aim for Perfection

The quest for perfection can literally ruin you.  When you are setting up your online business, there will be setbacks; you will make mistakes.  There will be a learning curve – do not expect everything to go along smoothly.  At first, your internet business might not even look as professional as you would like it to appear.  The important thing is to move forward with what you have.

“Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect.  Perfection is an unattainable goal.  Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception – we want to be perceived as perfect.  Again, this is unattainable – there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.”  –  Brené Brown

I am by nature a perfectionist and I’m trying my best to get over it.  I am not easily satisfied – I work and work on the same thing for hours (or even days!!) until I’m happy with it.  The core problem is my sub-conscious mind always looking for approval from others.  I am now learning to look to Christ alone for approval.  Only He is perfect and I don’t have to please anyone else.  I just need His approval and that fact is liberating!

2. Do Not Wait for the Right Time or the Right Opportunity

Stop waiting and take action now!  Do not let your fear of the unknown hold you back.  At times I get bogged down with fears like… What will happen if I start this venture?  Will it be profitable?  What will others think about it?  Will I be able to deliver?  And so on…  Eventually, it is trust in God that helped me move forward.  LET GO AND GET STARTED.  Always remember, God is in charge, so everything is under control.

Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. –  Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. Do Not Compare Yourself with Other Established Businesses (Blogs) in Your Niche

I cannot tell you just how much I wrestled with this.  I entered the online business industry in 2007 and all that I ventured into, every new project I invested money in never succeeded at that time.  I experienced failure after failure.  When I eventually came across successful online businesses and blogs that started much later than I did, I mentally compared myself with them and started feeling dejected.  I used to ask myself, “I started much before them, why have I not been as successful?”

The truth is that God has a plan.  Even if you are walking through a valley now, He will bring you up again.  He will use your negative situations for good in the days to come.  I know now why I experienced all those failures – God was preparing me for this…!!

To get back to the point – comparison stifles growth.  It will make you feel that you and your business are not good enough.  That thought alone will halt your business progress drastically.  To further establish this point,  let me share what Jon Acuff wrote in an article for Michael Hyatt’s blog.

“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

One of the great temptations for us as leaders and dreamers is to compare the start of our new adventures to the middle of someone else’s.  You work on your first book and pick up Max Lucado’s 14th book and say, “Mine isn’t as good.”  You post your first blog post and look at Michael Hyatt’s 100th and think, “Mine is nowhere near as great as that.”  You give your first speech and watch Ken Robinson’s 1,000th at TED and think, “I’m not great like that.”

It’s true.  You’re not.  Yet.

Yes, you have not reached there YET!!!  It takes a lot of practice and tons of experience to reach that level.  But one day, you will get there.

 4. Do Not Fall for the “Make Money Online” Hype

Keep your eyes open.  There are many online scams out there trying to rip you off (I have fallen prey to them several times)!  That doesn’t mean that every book, blog or course published in this context is just hype and of no value.  You need to discern what is helpful and what is not, before you spend money on it.

I fell for those schemes because I wanted to get rich quickly with little effort.  I learned my lessons the hard way – losing a lot of money, time and effort in the process.  Just because everybody says it’s good, doesn’t make it a good opportunity (or strategy).  Search for reviews, research and find out if it is indeed genuine.  Remember, nothing is really free!

{I’m planning to write an article sharing my personal experience in online money making scams when this series is over.}

5. Make God Your Business Partner

I mentioned this last, but this is THE THING that got me going!  You might think making God your business partner is absurd.  You might even feel it’s logical to keep your faith and your business separate.  But do you pray to God for financial provision?  Yes, we all do.  He is the creator and He is capable of providing for our needs.  So why not bring Jesus into our business?

Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.  Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power.  –  I Chronicles 29:10–12

God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives… including our business.  He helped me so many times that I’ve lost count.  He gives me courage to let go when I get stuck and when insecurities bog me down.  I ask for His insight… and check with Him when to cast the net.  I ask for His guidance because He can’t go wrong!!!

Sometimes you will have setbacks as I have personally faced.  Consider them to be lessons that you can pass on.  Only God can see the full picture.

One last thing before I wind up.  Business does not equal busyness.  This is the lesson God is teaching me now.

We are starting a business so we can have freedom with our time and our finances.  We should aim to keep it that way.  We have many important roles to play in our day-to-day lives.  Spending quality time with God, your husband and kids is more important than building up your business.  So ensure your business does not mess up the priorities in your life.

I hope these lessons I’ve learned the hard way will empower you in the days to come, as you get started on your online business.

Click here to catch up on all the posts in this series.