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77 Business Tips For An Online Entrepreneur

I had an online business for 10 years. I made a successful exit a year ago and I still keep an active eye on the market. The following business tips are actually pieces of my own experience, broken down in several areas: projects, strategy, team, money and partnerships. Feel free to add your own in the comments, if you feel like. Oh, and if you’re into big lists, you may also enjoy 100 Ways To Live A Better Life and 100 Ways To Improve Your Blog.

Projects

This is what you are actually doing, the results of your activities. Most of the time, those will be websites with various degrees of complexity. Creating, managing and improving services is the core of your online business.

1. A Brilliant Idea Is Worth Nothing

I can have 100 brilliant ideas per minute. And I’m not joking. I know a guy who can have his brilliant ideas in his sleep. Guess what: he’s not an entrepreneur. An idea without action worth nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Focus on your immediate resources to make something plausible working as fast as you can rather than waiting for something allegedly brilliant to grow by itself. It never happened and it will never happen.

2. You Sell Processes, Not Products

In the online business, what you are selling is not a product, nor even a service. It’s a process. You sell an entire experience, regardless of your niche. From a personal blog up to a link directory, what you are offering is not atomically identified as one single product or service but as a unique process. Is this unique combination which creates the value behind the business, not the parts. Look at the whole experience, not only at the most visible pieces of the puzzle.

3. If They Copy You, You’re Good

One of the most accurate proofs that you’re doing a great job, is your clone trend. If your site / product gets cloned, you are in for something. If you’re not cloned at all, something must be wrong. Many young entrepreneur have this fear of not being copied. In fact, being copied is the only surefire sign that you’re good. Of course, you WILL have to deal with all the legal hassles of content theft or copyright infringement, that’s for sure, and I’m not advising in any way to ignore that. I’m just telling you this is a sign of success and should be treated like this.

4. Don’t Look For Traffic, Look For Trends

One of the most present obsession among online entrepreneurs is related to traffic. How much traffic I could generate with this project? In my opinion, traffic is overrated. At the speed of the Internet, traffic is becoming really volatile, users are bombed with loads of information each hour, so rough numbers are not a reliable way to judge your product impact. Instead of numbers of visitors, look for trends: how fast is the site growing / slowing down? Think in percentages, not in thousands of users.

5. The Network Effect

If you want to launch an online business, think twice. It may be worth to launch 5 online businesses at the same time and link them in a network. Maybe your flagship idea will consume most of your focus and resources, but having 2-3 satellite websites / projects orbiting the main product will have a bigger impact. Not to mention the learning advantage: you will incorporate much more knowledge from a network, than from a single product.

6. If You Don’t Like It, It Usually Won’t Work

If you don’t like your idea, but you “feel” it will generate lots of money, usually it will won’t work. It might generate lots of money, if it exploits some market uncovered niche, but without your enthusiasm fuel, it won’t be there for long. It will be extinct faster than a passion fueled idea. A good project must give you the thrills, not the only the money as empty numbers.

7. Fall In Love With Your Project

If you experience familiar sensations, like chills and butterflies in the stomach, whenever you’re thinking at your project, that’s a sign you’re falling in love with it. No, it’s not awkward. No, you don’t have to block those feelings. Let them express and treat your project like you would treat your beloved half. I’m not joking.

8. Measure, Measure, Measure

Always use all the available metrics to see where you are with your project. Don’t be fooled by your imagination nor let those wishful thinking episodes get in your way. Measure your impact. Watch your money, trends, team, partners and see what’s happening. Keep your eyes opened and be ready to cut if things are not looking as you would expect. Better sooner than later.

9. Manage The Break Up

Sometimes, your projects won’t work. Accept it. Even more, manage them carefully. Closing a project is a skill in itself, a skill that you’ll have to master. Each closed project may (and it should) give you resources for the next one. Just leaving debris floating around in the web universe will not make you popular, on the contrary. Not to mention the hidden costs of keeping those projects around.

10. Build A Community First

Your product (or process) will be useless without a backing community. It might be the next best thing since sliced bread, but if you don’t have a reasonable pack of people vouching for it by using it and promoting it every day, that product is as good as dead. Building a community first is one of the awkwardness of the online field, when you have to build a positive reaction around your product even before launching it for real.

11. Be Curious

Don’t assume you know everything. Allow yourself to be curious about stuff that looks interesting or intriguing. Creating good online products (or processes) is often the result of an unstoppable curiosity about “why is this like this and not the other way around?”. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but that really has nothing to do with your projects. Really.

12. Your Projects Are Your Teachers

You learn by trial and error. There are no foolproof books on how to build a successful online business. Even this list is the result of my personal experience and believe me, it isn’t foolproof at all. It may or it may not work for you. And you will never know until you go out and start doing stuff. Don’t search for the perfect recipe of a successful online business because you will never find it. Just do stuff and you’ll learn how to do it by yourself.

13. Plan, Plan, Plan

Carefully write down every step you need for your project. Create milestones. Respect them. Try to predict any potential danger and take it into account. Planning thoroughly your projects will be the best service you can make to yourself and to your team.  Sometimes you’ll realize the project is simply not worth doing, when you realize how much work really is involved. Sometimes you’ll realize you need fewer resources than you initially thought.

14. Build Discipline

You already have high goals, all you need is some discipline. The bigger your internal discipline, the higher your chances to respond well to market changes. Being disciplined won’t make the field less hectic, you’ll still be walking on very thin ice, but you’ll be able to react faster to external change.


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15. The Excitement Stage

Each project has an excitement stage. It’s the beginning, the novelty, the thrills of making something happening. It will not be like this for ever. Many entrepreneurs are abandoning projects after this initial stage, and that’s a pity. Just use the fuel you get from this enthusiasm but still walk the path when the thrill is gone.

16. The Involvement Stage

After the excitement come the real action. This is where you actually start to implement the processes in your business. It’s a long and sometimes tedious interval. In my experience, the involvement is the most expensive part, in terms of time consumed, skills and money. This is where you build your business, stay there.

17. The Measuring Stage

This is where you start drawing lines and do the math. This is most of the time the moment you know if the investment was good or bad. It’s fundamental and you should not skip this under any circumstances. Be sure any project have a measuring stage, in which you can decide the resource allocation.

Strategy

You will need to do things in a certain way to maximize your chances to succeed. This “certain way” is what we call strategy, from the general business attitude to specific approaches.

1. Fail Often

Good judgment come form experience but experience come from bad judgment, Not entirely true, I know, but enough to make you think. Don’t be afraid to fail. Kill all your “brilliant” ideas by making them real first. 99.99% of the genial ideas don’t survive after you make them real. 99.99% is a big number. Prepare to fail for 99.99% of your time. The 0.01% is really worth.

2. Fast Is The New Slow

If you really want a piece of the online cake you have to think super fast. If you think fast, you’re slow. Technology is evolving at such a rate that you can almost hear it growing. The adoption of the phenomenon is the fastest in the whole humankind history. You’re doing business during a revolution. And, usually, during revolutions they get rid of the old / slow stuff pretty fast (think head chopping and you’ll have an idea).

3. If You Don’t Blog, You Don’t Exist

The old days of anonymous business presence on the Internet are over. You need an identity. Preferably, your own identity. And the easiest way to establish, maintain and promote an identity is having a blog. Blogging has become an internal part of the online business process, much like a domain name: without it, you don’t really exist.

4. Be Informed

Stay on top of the news but filter the information. Being informed is a balanced attitude. Don’t rush to become a hype whore, praising every single “next boom” idea, but don’t get too skeptical also. Watching the trends in the online business can be a business in itself, though you need a really good filter and a cold judgement in order to take only what’s really useful for you or your business niche.

5. Social Media Works

It might be overrated lately, I agree, but social media really works. As an observer of the online phenomenon in the last ten years I can tell you for sure that this IS a revolution. Much slower than it’s perceived or presented, but there is a real shift from consuming information to interacting in larger communities. Social media is a place where you really want to be if you want to do business on the internet.

6. Praise Your Success

I really don’t see any reason whatsoever you shouldn’t be proud of what you did. If you’re successful, let the world know. Being shy will not help you here. You’re acting on a field so crowded with information that even your own identity is difficult to persist, if you don’t actively work at it. Just because your clients know your name that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re perceived as an expert in your niche.

7. Don’t Focus On The Competition

But don’t ignore it either. This business field is so crowded that you’re surely having a lot of competition. Focusing on it will most likely drain all your resources. Instead, focus on your resources, on your projects and on your clients. Pure ranking (like I’m #1 and you’re #2) doesn’t really work in the online, but identity does. Work to establish an identity rather than engaging in competition wars.

8. Is This Really Useful?

Before starting to actually build your project make sure you’re able to respond a big, capital letters, no hesitation, out loud “YES” to that question. If you have the slightest hesitation, start the analyse over. If you will build something that wouldn’t make a difference (but it will just look good or shiny) you will lose. Your business must solve a problem. Period.

9. What Brain Real Estate Do You Own?

I usually describe branding as the real estate property you own in people’s brains. The “shoes” land is owned by Nike, the “luxury car” is owned by Ferrari, the “classy watch” is owned by Rolex, and “mobile phone” tends to be owned by Apple, lately. Almost every human concept can be defined as a real estate property in one’s brain. And a brand is actually the connection between that brain land and a specific product . Once you succeed in owning a pice of real estate in people’s brains, you’re set.

10. Don’t Listen To Them

Listen to you. Don’t listen to those who are telling you’re making a big mistake by quitting your daily job and starting a new business. You know better. They’ll praise you in a few years. So go for it.

11. Don’t Be Afraid

Yes it’s risky. Yes, nobody can guarantee total success. Yes, you may fail. So what? Being afraid will only amplify those possibilities. Accept that you can fail or succeed and move on. The beauty of the journey will soon make those fear fade like they never existed.

12. No Risk It, No Biscuit

Learn how to deal with risk and how to embrace it. There is no such business with “zero” risk. If it is, it isn’t worth the trouble. The bigger the risk, the bigger the payout of the business. And the online field is one of the riskier business fields you can imagine.

13. If It Was Never Done Before, Look Twice

Most of the time, an idea nobody had until you is worth the trouble. But if nobody implemented it so far, there must also be a reason. The “first of its kind” ideas are not always a sure win, look twice. This is not meant to inhibit your creativity, but to ground you more and avoid seeking novelty just for the sake of it.

14. When It’s Cooking, It’s Cooking

If your idea is starting to take off, don’t stop. You may be surprised how high you can go. Don’t just stop when your initial goal has been met. More often than you think, this initial success is only the gate to something bigger than you ever imagined. Don’t let yourself out of this bigger picture by remaining stuck in an initial, comfy, small success.

15. Seek For Advice

You don’t know everything. Fortunately. Because if you would know everything you’ll miss all that thrill of discovering the unknown. Just ask for advice when in trouble, don’t assume you know everything. Or do an online search. Chances are that somebody had the same problem before and the answer is out there.

16. Do Whatever It Takes

if you have to convince 100 people to make your project alive, do it. If you have to walk 1000 miles, do it. Do whatever it takes to make your idea real. Don’t think: “but this is too hard”. It isn’t. It’s your idea and you’ll be so happy when you’re going to see it live. So, do whatever it takes for that.

17. Trust Your Intuition

There are no schools for that, so it cannot be learned. Intuition is that instant light shed on a subject only for a split of a second, just enough for you to think it was there. Things are different in that light. Whenever you see it, trust it. Intuition can often draw the line between a “correct” entrepreneur and a brilliant one.

18. Practice Courage

This one can be learned, so do your best to learn it. Courage means doing stuff regardless of the context. Act with all your power towards making things happening. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be afraid from time to time, it means you’re going to pursue your goal regardless of those fears.

19. Maintain Enthusiasm

This one can also be learned. If courage is the action, enthusiasm is the fuel for that action. Make sure you always have enough of that fuel. Seal your doors in such a way that depression will never make an entrance. In my opinion, enthusiasm is an asset bigger than any financial support you can get.

20. Do It For Yourself

Entrepreneurship is a fantastic personal development tool. Regardless of the outcome of your business you will learn tremendously out of this. Do it for yourself, not for the money (although money is pretty good, also). Whatever you do, keep in mind that there aren’t really failures or successes, there are only results.

21. Be Self Sustainable Before Asking For Money

Going around and asking for funding while you’re still on negative cash-flow will create more harm than good. At this eraly stage – which is most of the time unavoidable – all the funding you can find is either angel investors, either the 3 “F”: family, friends and fools. I gladly recommend the 3 “F” anytime, an angel will put a lot of pressure on your development and strategy. Once you have a constant, positive cash-flow, go out and shout for funding, they’ll line up at your door office.

22. Balance Your Expectations With The Market Status

When establishing strategic (and financial) goals pay attention to the market conditions. Always balance your own ambitions and expectations with real numbers from the market. If you don’t do that you’ll end up either aiming unrealistically high, either going under your true potential. If you’re that good, those realistic expectations will be surpassed by your results anyway.

23. Brand Yourself

In the online field, more than in any other I know, personal branding is compulsory. And by that I mean absolutely unavoidable. Your online presence will work while you’re asleep, while you’re on holiday, while you’re working hard on a new secret feature. Maintaining a solid, persistent online presence is the key ingredient to a successful personal branding. Don’t assume people knows everything about you, constantly reinforce what YOU want them to know about you.

24. Watch For Your Break Even

But don’t consider it a success in itself. That’s what a business have to do in the first place: pays the money invested in it. A common strategy mistake is to slow down after the break-even, considering that the simple fact of reaching it will further endorse the business. On the contrary, it’s only after the break-even that you’ll see how much your project really worths in terms of profit.

25. Network, Network, Network

Go out and meet new people. Clearly state your expertise and and ask the same from your peers. Let them know why you’re doing business and how. Join professional organizations and attend to informal meetings. There is no such thing as an upper limit to your connections in the online field.

26. Don’t Fall Into The Productivity Trap

Sometimes you get so caught in a productivity trap that you lose sight of the long term goals. You work so hard and so organized that you can’t see where you’re heading anymore. If you reached this level, it’s time for you to hire a manager. You’re en entrepreneur, you have to see the road and lead your people there.

27. Don’t Let It Eat You

A business is just a business, not your life. Took me years to understand that. Too much of an implication in your own business is not good. At some point, you’ll be burned out. Be sure to build some fences between your private life and your professional life.

28. Boredom Is Bankruptcy

If you get bored about your business it’s time to get out of it. Quick. Out of any imaginable dangers of a business, I cannot think of a one more powerful than boredom. The second you feel you got bored, make whatever you can to leave it. Otherwise you’ll end up having the worst job ever: being a bored employee (you) working for a bored boss (you again).

Team

You can’t make it only by yourself. Period. Especially in the online field when the skill distribution is so wide and competences are so different. Creating a solid, articulated team around your projects is usually half way through success.

1. Hire For Attitude, Train For Skills

The first thing you should spot on a potential employee is the attitude. Then comes skills. And the reason for that is: attitude is really hard to change, but skills are easy to acquire. Look for a specific attitude, and then do your best to teach them the required skills.

2. Surround Yourself By Better Skilled People Than You

If you are going to build something from scratch don’t do everything by yourself, just because “you know better”. You may know where you want to go, but others know how to get you there. Don’t assume you know better, because you really don’t. Accept that others may have a better answer and find them.

3. Anyone Can Fail Once, But Nobody Can Repeat The Same Mistake

One of the best rules for human resources I ever had. Everybody is entitled to make a mistake. Even more, as long as they aren’t repeating the same mistake. Making mistakes is one of the safest sources of learning. Repeating the same mistake is a sign that the learning didn’t occur.

4. Ask For Feed-Back

Don’t expect your employees to know everything that has to be done, especially in the early days of a new business. There’s a lot of unknown floating around and they don’t always know exactly what you expect from them. Make a habit from asking for feed-back. Ask questions. Pay attention to the answers. They’re the people who are building your business, make sure they know how to do it.

5. Don’t Expect Respect If You Don’t Show It

Treating your employees like resources is not productive. They may have goals and milestones, but they’re human beings, just like you and they have human beings problems, just like you. Don’t expect respect if you don’t show it first. Of course, they may work without respecting you, that’s for sure, especially if they work because they are afraid of you. In my experience, a happy and respected employee is 100% more productive than a scared and humiliated one.

6. You Have More Employees Than You Think

In the online business, more than in any other type of business, your clients often become your employees. Online businesses are most of the times services and communities centered around those services. From those communities will rise your supporters and fans. Even if you don’t pay them directly, they are still supporting your business. They promote your business for free and they deserve a great service from you. And respect.

7. Accept That Some Of Your Employees May Have Bigger Salaries Than You

Another common mistake of young entrepreneurs is to consider their founder role is enough to get them the biggest salary in the company. Salary has nothing to do with that. It’s a reward for skills invested in the company. You should be happy when you find people capable to provide you more skills than you are able to provide. Remember, you own the whole thing, so the more value in it, the better for you in the long run.

8. It’s a Rental, Not Your Property

When you’re getting employees, be sure you understand that you’re renting their skills and time, you’re not owning them. At some point, they will find some other guy who’s offering something better than you, and they’ll leave. It’s natural. Don’t even dare to think your employees are your sole property, even if you trained and helped them. All people are equally free.

9. Challenge Your Team

Change goals often. Insert new metrics. Create evaluation programs. Don’t let your employees get bored. Challenge them with new ideas, projects or internal programs. You may offering a great long term package, a great salary and a comfortable working environment, but if you don’t properly challenge your employees, they’ll simply get bored. Boredom is not good for business.

10. Unplug Them From Time To Time

Everyone needs a break every once in a while. Make sure you create enough escape valves in your working environment. Also make sure to let them know about that. Especially in the early stages of a business, when the workload is bigger than you know, offering some unexpected free time gifts will have surprisingly productive effects.

11. Blend Their Responsibilities

This may go against what you know about specialization, but I had good results with it, at least at the experimental level. Make them switch roles (if they have enough skills for that, of course). create special events in which the managers are employees or the software architect will have to take care about the company’s hardware. They’ll suddenly have a much better understanding of the big picture of the company.

12. Give Up Reading CV’s – Meet People

I give up reading CV’s after the first 5-6 years and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Instead, I started to go out, meet new people, attend to professional events. When I was hiring something, usually it was by word of mouth. CV’s are good, but they can only tell you something about one people skills, you have to “read” the man alive to understand his attitude.

Money

From how to monetize your services, up to how to budget your expenses, money is the fundamental resource in any company. Especially in the online field, money is extremely important: the field is so volatile that you will need a lot of money skills to keep it stable.

1. Investors and angels

An investor will most likely buy your clients, contracts and market share. You will provide support for a limited time and then you’ll be out. In exchange, you’ll get money. It may take 1 to 3 years, and the you’re out. An angel will most likely buy your brains and work power for several years. In exchange he will provide money and possibly know how. Those 2 categories may have very different denominations, but never mistake their role in your business. Different insertion points, different roles.

2. Cash-flow Is King

Keep a good eye on your money, because in the online field, more than any other business area, budgets are volatile. They can disappear in a second. There is a tremendous pressure on your money from any possible direction you can imagine. Watching carefully your cashflow and doing whatever it takes to remain on top of it is the cornerstone of a successful online business.

3. Money Is Hot

Don’t let your money pile, move it around, buy more resources, start new projects but don’t let it sit. The temptations of accumulating money for “the bad days” is so high especially because the field is so unstable. But money is hot and if you stay too much in direct contact, it will burn you.

4. Services Are The New Ads

If you want to monetize your project go for services, not ads. Ads are deprecated. While they will still bring some cash in for a long time, they performance versus cost metric is rapidly decreasing. Ads takes too much space, their content is out of your control and the generated revenue is lower and lower.

5. Delegate Your Money Technicalities To A Professional

Hire a good accountant and make sure you understand what he tells you. Your role is to grow a business not to fill in tax papers or invoices. Because money is one of the most precious resources in a business, many entrepreneurs are trying to manage them directly. This is a scarcity mindset, rooted in something like: “if I’m not taking care directly of this money thing, it will go bad”. No, it won’t. Find somebody you trust and constantly ask him where your money is.

6. Shoot For Long Term Deals

Sacrifice some of the immediate profits for some long term relationships with your clients. Especially in the early stages of a business, finding and maintaining a pool of stable clients is crucial. Having a constant, predictable cash-flow is a fantastic relief when you have to build a whole new project from scratch.

7. Don’t Be Cheap

Doing online business is not cheap. At all. It might be easier to do some of the things you do in the real life on the internet, but it won’t be cheaper than in real life. Buy the best servers you can afford, the best laptops for your employees, the best software tools you can find. The speed of this medium is absolutely incredible, and if you won’t buy the best you can afford today, tomorrow you’ll be pretty much 10 years back.

8. The Two And A Half Rule

This was one of the most precious budgeting rules I ever learned while I was doing online business. Here’s how it works. First of all, be generous when you budget your project. Put slightly more money than you need in every area (development, hardware, etc). Once you reached a satisfying total, multiply it by two. And then add another half. So, the final budget will be two and a half bigger than the initial evaluation. This is a statistic based result. It just works.

9. Be Prepared To Lose

Some projects will work, some not. You will lose money at some point. Be prepared, it’s part of the game. If it’s not working, it’s not working. Don’t get stuck in patterns like: “I have to recover my loss”, or “let’s find who’s responsible about that, I want my money back”. You’re responsible. And money is just a resource. Don’t get stuck, because, as I already said it, the speed of the medium will simply let you behind if you don’t move.

10. Learn To Write, Understand And Sign Contracts

They’re good. Trust is even better the contracts, I agree, but before you reach the trust level, make sure you have your butt covered. Learning to understand contracts is also useful in order to know what are you really offering and what are you really getting. Even if you have a crystal clear understanding with your client in talking, put it on the paper. It’s safer for both parts.

11. Authority Is The New Currency

By that, I understand that you won’t always be able to monetize some of your projects, despite their obvious success. In this case, what you are getting back in exchange of the broadcasted value is called authority. It’s much more precious than money, because it’s much more solvable than money. You can only buy with money what money can buy, but with authority you can do so much more than buying things.

12. Money Is A Resource, Not A Goal

Too often money is seen as a goal. Everybody asks you: “how much money do you make?”. In my experience, when seeing money as a goal, you have a hard time working with it. When you look at it like a resource for building more value, it become much more manageable. It’s a resource, like any other one: time, people, tools.

Partnerships

This is about your partnerships both as an investor and at the company level. Partners are great motivators and more than often great businesses are started and made popular by a successful partnership.

1. Assess The Big Picture

Partnerships are based on trust. No trust, no partnership. Quite difficult to assess, because what you may perceive as lack of honesty or deception is most of the time the result of incidental misunderstandings. Real trust must overcome these. A real partnership works not without misunderstandings, but despite of them.

2. What You Get Is What You Give

Don’t expect partnerships to become rescue vessels for you. In a partnership there must be an equal amount of value provided by each part. Don’t hunt for partnerships as a substitute for your own work, or as safety nets when you feel you will fall. It doesn’t work like this.  Be sure to provide at least the same amount of value you receive from the other part.

3. Look For Alternate Skills

When building a partnership, look for something you don’t really have. People often forget this simple rule and start searching for “like-minded” people. They are good to mastermind, to brainstorm, but a partnership must cover a part of your business or process you don’t handle directly. If you go for similar skills, you’ll basically create internal competition, not a partnership.

4. Keep It Alive

A partnership is like any other relationship. It needs a sparkle from time to time in order to keep it alive. Partnerships are made by humans and maintained by humans. Be sure to check in every once in a while and see if everything is ok. You’ll be surprised how many partnerships ended because of a simple, yet so often neglected cause like… boredom.

5. The Similar Size Principle

If you are small and partner with the big guys, prepare for war. If you are big, and small guys want to partner with you, you’ll want to eat them alive, at some point. This is how things work and size does matter. More often you’ll be wearing the small guy clothes, trying to make your way up to the giants. In my experience, this is extremely time consuming and the final gain is not that big. Find partners of your own size.

6. “No” Is Still A Word In The Dictionary

Learn how to say “no” to your partners. Don’t expect them to be always in line with what you think. Make your point clearly but keep in mind you’ll still need them. Saying “no”, generally speaking, is an art in itself, and one must master this art before entering any serious partnerships. Disagreement is normal, and out of disagreement brilliant solutions can rise. Don’t fool yourself with an idyllic idea of a perfect partner, they have yet to invent this species.

7. Who’s Carrying Who?

At some point, any partnership will become obsolete. Be very careful who’s carrying who. If a partnership is slowly becoming a burden instead of a competitive advantage just go away. Do it in a transparent yet pretty firm way. If you agree to carry unnecessary weight, you’ll end up moving slower. The same goes for you, if you’re the one who’s lagging behind. Extra weight in partnership gets quickly thrown overboard.

8. Each Partnership Has A Goal

If you start a new partnership just because it’s cool or you feel the need to have some company, better don’t. Each partnership must have a clear goal in order to succeed. It’s very easy for any of the parts to hijack the resources of the partnerships later on, if the direction is unclear.



Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 98 Comments

  1. techzen

    There is just one thing to be added here : I feel that a higher Emotional Quotient is needed for sustaining a new initiative – to cope with the challenges. If the base of EQ is sound the building can withstand a lot.
    .-= techzen´s last blog ..Swadhisthan =-.

    1. dragos

      I like the concept of an Emotional Quotient. I think it’s close to #7, Fall In Love With Your Project, but it might be much more than that.

  2. Steven Aitchison

    Wow Dragos, this one is for bookmarking and reading at leisure. I have read from 1 – 17 so far and am loving it. Can’t wait also to read your ebook.
    .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..Ask The Coach 6-Internet Addiction =-.

    1. dragos

      Well, enjoy it 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  3. hk

    Uh, this word “genial”? I do not think it means what you think it means.

    1. dragos

      Hm, I think you’re right, changed it anyway 🙂 Thanks.

  4. Stephen - Rat Race Trap

    Hi Dragos! I’m really digging your massive list posts. I HATE writing them myself and I know I should because people like them, but it’s not my style. This is great but your 100 ways to improve your blog still ranks #1 in my book. Maybe because I’m a blogger 🙂
    .-= Stephen – Rat Race Trap´s last blog ..Is It Time for a Quantum Leap? =-.

    1. dragos

      Hi Stephen,

      And thanks for the comment, as always, it’s appreciated. Those huge list posts are part of an experiment and the reason I’m continuing is that I find them highly challenging. It’s a lot of work to make a valuable list post, dwelling into your own experience and making each word count. After each huge list post I find myself better equipped as a blogger. I totally understand not liking list posts. Before actually writing list post I was pretty much in the same team. I think I’m doing my therapy now 🙂

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  6. Justin- AlittleBetter.net

    What a great list! Thank you for sharing your experience on this. I see a lot of lists, but not all of them teach something from experience, I think it really makes this post stand out.
    .-= Justin- AlittleBetter.net´s last blog ..How to Start Taking Time Into Your Own Hands =-.

    1. dragos

      Writing from your own experience is just easier 🙂 I love blogs where you can actually feel the guy behind is not delusional and is speaking from what he knows, so I try to do the same. This list might be common sense for experienced entrepreneurs, but I would loved to read something like this 10 years ago, when I started my own business.

      Thanks for the nice words, appreciated 🙂

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  8. Tim Read: Ripplenet web design

    Wow. Thanks for the list – I certainly can’t read it all at once, but there’s a lot of experience here that I for one can learn from. So much so, that I’m linking this to my site for my clients and visitors benefit.

  9. Tim Read: Ripplenet web design

    Thanks for that list! I certainly will learn from your experience, and I’m putting a link here from my site for my clients and visitors too.

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  11. Titus

    Salut Dragos,

    Thank you for the very useful, well thought out and inspiring post.
    I saved it for quick reference.

    Best,

    Titus.

  12. Vlad Cristian

    Wow, this is one of the most insane articles I read for quit a while. It’s so complete and it gives such useful information. Congratulations !
    I followed in my life almost all the steps, again, wonderful content.
    I can recommend a tool for starting an on line biz that would go great with this article, but I don’t want it to be categorized as Spam 🙂
    EMarketing Helper is a tool that will help you do almost all the things above, of course, you will do 60% of them and the other 40% will be done by EMarketing Helper.
    It has all the tools you need to start an online biz, including : brandable softwares, ebook compiler, website maker, website analyzer, affiliate finder, keyword finder, content writer, article translator, conten spinner …

    Hope you find this useful also.
    Thanks again

  13. Kim Totten

    After looking at online business sites for and hour and a half, this brought things back into focus for me. Concise, friendly and informative – Thanks!

  14. Bitter Sweeter

    Wow.. such a long great useful devoted blog I’ve ever been so far. I’m now in that position. Thanks, mate.

  15. Jenny Bender

    Anyone who reads that list and who comes away without at least a few great ideas… Well, they just aren’t trying! This is a post worth bookmarking!

  16. curiousjessica

    Thanks for the great article!
    I’m setting up my own online business at the moment and this is so useful!

  17. limatik

    nice tips! I’m taking notes especially on the team part. I’m starting a couple of sites and these pointers are golden.

    I have a similar post up for folks that are thinking about starting just like me:
    http://limatik.com/2009/10/thinking-about-starting-an-online-business/

    cheers!
    .-= limatik´s last blog ..How I Solved The Frabjous. =-.

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  19. andrei

    I just found you on Bobby Voicu’s blog and I was really impressed by your advice regarding online business.Thanks for your great article.

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  21. Julie

    Dragos, I keep clicking and reading clicking and reading. I go to leave a comment and your name keeps coming up. Something is working. Excellent.

    I liked no. 12 – Learn from your projects – because I’m a Jr. High School teacher and I learn more from my students than I do teaching. I just walk in the class, smile and say, OK, what’s on the menu for today. I think it’s so important to create an environment where your readers feel safe to comment. And you are doing so.

    I also liked no. 12 – no risk it no biscuit. It’s a title that makes me smile.

    I would have liked to seen the list of 77 numbered 1 to 77 just so the title matches the content – but hey that’s just my opinion. Excellent work as always.

    Julie
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..10 Insider Tips to Start off the New Year Right. =-.

  22. Bahadir Cambel

    A Brilliant Idea Worth Nothing
    I think , I am on the first level 🙂 Still imagining everyday , writing things down , planning for the future , adding value to myself each day…

    A great sharing and resource , thanks dragos !
    .-= Bahadir Cambel´s last blog ..Favourite Quotations of all =-.

  23. Ebony T

    Loving this Blog….Just what I need in my life!
    I have followed you on twitter and I have RSS.
    I just clicked a link from my twitter….I am a little blogger not on topics like this…but I am an avid personal development fan. I hate loads of little black text because i am dislectic (dyslectic) proper spelling (help from google) but I enjoyed your blog and took the time to read. So great job! I think it was the numbers like 33 this and 7 that. I always hated writing because it takes me 10 ten hours to do what people can do in ten minutes. But last year I took control developed my own blog in my own little style…and I developed a great readership. I get about 2 thousand vistors a day. (Its a FAN SITE) but it has given me so much confidence. What I lack in writing i make up for in creativity. I am also highly organised. This helps me to get lots of pageviews because i organise everything. So people look and look. It has helped me try to improve my writing. I dont know why i am telling you this long story, but I suppose thats the power of your blog. IT MADE ME spill my guts. So well done and I pray that you have a GREAT NEW YEAR…. For the record it has taken me 30 minutes just to write this! MUST DASH!

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  25. Sheetal

    I found the blog very informative as it has been posted out of personal experience and its always nice to know one’s experience before taking up challenging tasks in life.

  26. Marius

    This is one of the most interesting articles I’ve read about online businesses. Usually you get those commercial articles with tons of links and useless advice. Yours, on the other hand really captivates readers, and it’s a real mood lifter for those eager to start a business on the internet.

    Thanks again!
    Marius.

  27. Michelle

    This article is absolutely timely, with more and more people turning to online businesses as an option, it would be a great help. This will not only help those about to start out but also those who already have one but is just stuck up and not earning what they want to earn.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Business Working Capital For Purchase Of Medical Equipment =-.

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  29. Sharath

    Hi,

    Reading your list definitely says you have vast personal experience. Kudos to you for having compiled this list. I have bookmarked this page to go through each point at leisure. It’s definitely worth reading for someone who is in online business.

    Kudos to you again.
    .-= Sharath´s last blog ..Reasons For Searching State of Ohio Divorce Records =-.

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  31. Courses

    Great Helpfull article for anyone with online businesses

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  33. bondChristian

    Massive thanks for a massive list. I just found you through StumbleUpon and am enjoying mining through some of your posts.

    Unlike most SU traffic, I think I’ll be back.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  34. copywriting

    Thanks for the tips. It was very informative and helpful tips and ideas.

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  38. Don W.

    Very nice article. My one addition would be to emphasize that if you have an idea for selling downloadable files, go with it. That’s because unlike selling “real” products online, selling downloadable files requires no investment in stocking and shipping products, 100% of the selling price is profit (since you’re simply selling a copy of an electronic file), and your site can be set up to be fully automated (no work on your part for a sale). There are several hosts that can make this type of site possible. The one I’ve found that I like is MadBeeTech at http://www.madbeetech.com. They’re a web host specializing in setting up sites that sell downloadable files. Fully automated, and just five dollars per month.

  39. Kristin

    You are so absolutely incredible. And again a great post. This one should be read part by part. You have this blog, answer questions on it and reply and I understand you have some other businesses. – There are people who do a lot more during the same time others do a lot less. You belong to the first group!

  40. Patrick

    Hi Dragos,
    thanks for the list! I like it a lot! I am presently reassessing my own experiences with business (online and otherwise) and found your comments quite informative!
    Greetings Patrick

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  42. Joanne

    This is a great list! I especially like the section on teams, since so many entrepreneurs think they know better and can do it all themselves, a recipe for disaster!

  43. Unstoppable Entrepreneur

    Following trends not traffic is key. Following traffic leads to falling behind the curve.

  44. Raj Gohil

    I’m not a blogger for money making or online entrepreneur but your list of tips can be used in my business too. Thanks for taking time to create it Dragos!

  45. Unstoppable Entrepreneur

    That was a nice big list you provided. Thank you for that. Saves me a tonne of time.

  46. Pablo T.

    Hi Dragos! I just wanted to say that I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, and it find it quite inspirational.

    I can’t help but to be amazed by how Internet brings people closer…an Uruguayan guy, living in the bottom of South America, reading the thoughts of a Romanian blogger? 🙂

    I’ll do it again, that’s for sure.

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  48. Ymreb Momville

    I’m not done reading yet but I truly appreciate this list. It made me realize that what I am feeling right now is just normal. I even got an answer how to overcame my fear.

    I was about to take up master in business administration for the goal of having my own business in the long run.

    I’ll follow this blog.

    It really helps. By the way, I’m just 21 years old and hell i feel like I can do this…

    Thanks

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  55. negocios por internet

    This is one of the most tips I ever have in just one post. All the tips are very useful and I can say that effective too. I have tried some of them and I get the result that I want.

  56. GLOBAL SCHOLARSHIP

    it’s really inspiring article….I like it so much, I read every words there. Amazing….

  57. Rankster

    Been dabbling with a couple of my own sites for a while, but looking to take the plunge and start up some full time ventures. Still in research phase at the moment but I must say your list is the best I’ve come across yet.

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  61. yadi

    this article inspire me to do better. Thank you dragos. Keep quality article like this

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  63. Megan

    Great article! I’m a few weeks from kicking off an idea and I’ve learned a lot here.

  64. Miguel

    Great Article…any advice or direction you can give to someone that has a technical ideal but isnt necessarily technical. Web site development ect.

  65. Andrew

    I find myself coming back to these tips every so often and learning something new, thanks!

  66. Lawrence

    Great tips. Beneficial for someone aspiring to be an online entrepreneur. A must read:)

  67. Matt Law

    Very good read man. Number 7 on Money – Don’t be cheap really hits the point. Good stuff!

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  69. Todd Gilde

    I don’t know how can Thank you. The content is very information. I have already a great fan of this article.

  70. Thilak

    I have searched to read “starting online business” information online .Just for pass time. But i landed here find that, its amazing! Not just promoting junk goods but In depth article,clearly focussed way to achieve success

  71. Banlivo

    Great advice. Starting online is completely different compare to the offline business. It truly requires a different mindset. These tips here are very helpful. I think this should be a starting point for everyone who starts online! Keep up the great work!

  72. HENRY

    i rally enjoyed thi excellent post ,this is the best website

  73. Steven Millard

    I like number 3 on strategy… Quote: [3. If You Don’t Blog, You Don’t Exist

    The old days of anonymous business presence on the Internet are over. You need an identity. Preferably, your own identity. And the easiest way to establish, maintain and promote an identity is having a blog. You can either maintain a personal blog or a company blog like ecommerce partners blog. Blogging has become an internal part of the online business process, much like a domain name: without it, you don’t really exist.]

    This is very true you need an online presence to be successful online and 90% of the time this comes in the form of a blog. Keep up the good posting.

  74. Anoop G Krishna

    great article.I think its the time to move to next step .Thanks for the great article

  75. Jamie Thomson

    This is a great article and going straight to my bookmarks. Very practical and inspired advice here. I wish reading this list had been my first step toward setting up an online business – the information is priceless.

  76. Al

    Trully interesting article. I have kind of learned some of the tips on my own but others are totally new to me. Thanks! And also thanks for the encouragement about pursuing new and interesting projects. 🙂

  77. Naomi

    I would say, “You are the Boss”. Very informative and helpful tips, I will always come back to your site because I know I will always get inspired. Keep up the good work, Boss 🙂

  78. Olaotan

    Thank you so much for this Dragos. Brilliant article. I am about to start an online business and am definitely bookmarking this.

  79. Terry

    WOW! Not just food for thought but the reality of the business world. I’ve been in business for over 25 years and can associate one way or another with each of your tips. Definitely a post worth bookmarking

  80. Stephen Moore

    Hi Drago!
    Thanks for 77 pearls of wisdom! Running an online business isn’t as simple as many of the ‘gurus’ make out.

  81. Phil

    Finding ways to earn a passive income online is much easier these days than back in early 2000. There are dozens of opportunities to choose from. You just have to know where to look or know the right people who can provide that information in their newsletters.

    Here’s a quick way to get started earning your first passive income stream.

  82. John

    Hi guys,

    I’ve created a site dedicated to help startups or anyone with a dream to help them reach their goals. http://www.4reverie.com

    thanks

  83. Dorian Gray

    If you are starting an online business you will need a good product, a payment processor and a web hosting company. The product/service is entirely up to you, so the only recommendation is to sell what you are passionate about. Next get a payment processor that accepts all major credit cards. I found one called 2Checkout based in Columbus Ohio and I managed to find this promo code that got me a free account: DACLAUD2CO. You can use Pay Pal too, but some people don’t like that. Next, get a shopping cart and go with a good web hosting company like GoDaddy. That’s pretty much it. Next thing to do is to start selling! Oh and take the author’s advice! This guy gave out some pretty sweet tips!

  84. John Builder

    Great collection of wisdom. Also i don’t totallt agree on your statement about the idea. I think idea really matters.

  85. Chloe

    hello thanks so much for the advise. i think its really going to lead me down the right path im just getting out of the army because of injuries and im heading straight to school so if theres any classes you can recomend for school please email me.
    thanks again.
    -Chloe’

  86. Albert Boyd

    Thanks for the advise I look everyday for motivating, expiring, positive words that going to help push me to that next level.

  87. Julie

    These are great tips, but I wish you would have taken the time to proofread before publishing.

  88. Jon

    Even 4 years after you wrote this post your 77 tips are just as relevant today as they were then. You’ve provided a really useful resource here.

  89. Florencio Martínez

    Congratulations for the post. I just met with him after doing a fast research and I loved it.

    It has seemed especially bright this sentence: “You sell an entire experience, needed regardless of your niche”.

    The only way to differentiate yourself from the competition is precisely to make the customer experience unique.

    In my case, learn to say NO made the results of my business would improve. It is important to focus.

  90. Larry Harris

    In this article this is my favorite Anyone Can Fail Once, But Nobody Can Repeat The Same Mistake.. Good job.

  91. tiamat

    Hi guys, i too am looking to start my own online bussiness and to be honest i really had no clue on where to start or what to sell or even how to make my own site. Searching in the internet for days looking where i could find some kind of help or guide to help me get started im a beginner at this without any kind of knowledge of marketing website design nor any related things.
    After a while looking i found a website and to tell the truth its the most complete one ive ever seen , you get personal coaching , online free courses with everything explained step by step, you have 24/7 support where you can ask any question about your bussiness or how to get it started theres also a live chat to ask anything and you get replied by the staff or the same members almost instantly its like some Facebook for online bussiness or similar where you get advice and they dont let you get stuck without knowing what to do next.
    You obviously dont have to believe my words but at least take 5 minutes of your time and see all they have to offer to new and experienced people.
    Here s the link
    http://www.wealthyaffiliate.com?a_aid=c8cd2b42

  92. Boris Mezheritsky

    Great article! Even if you repeat the same mistake it’s only good for you, because you’ll be more confidential next time. Also a good way http://www.borismezheritsky.com/

  93. Ritesh Saini

    Hey Dragos

    Excellent article. This article is lot more than what its title says. While I was looking for some business tips for my online business over the Google, I just came across your site. If I’m not wrong then it’s been 6 years and your article is still rocking over the top of serps 😀 Congrats for that. I would like to learn more from you about business. Keep writing and all the best my friend 🙂

    Regards

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