The 10 Biggest Mistakes We Made So You Don’t Have to!
Let’s not mince words – creating a website and starting a business or popular blog are not easy things to accomplish. We’re still perfecting our recipe for success and striving to better ourselves while fine tuning our methods. It would probably have been even more difficult to leap the hurdles had we not had one another (or our families) for mental and logistical support.
During that time, we made a lot of mistakes. Here are 10 of our biggest, in hopes they will help you clear the hurdles a bit swifter than we did.
1. Not believing you are an authority. We know, it can be tough to step into the shoes of an authority, but believe us, there is no better payoff. Look around, if there is someone you admire online who is making good money and living their dream, the chances are excellent they are being paid for what they know. You can only trade your time for money for so long. The smart businessman knows that at some point it is best to package their knowledge for dollars. If you only need to know more on a subject than 95% of the population to be an authority, then you are already an authority at something. Now go and find those people willing to trade their dollars for your knowledge.
2. Pricing too low. Many new freelancers have a hard time asking for what they are worth. We are not suggesting you manufacture an arbitrary number, but there is a value in both the time you spend on your project and the expertise you bring to a job. You should be paid for both. Once your roster is full, it’s time to raise your rates. You are worth it. You’ve worked hard, you’ve built your reputation and now it is time to capitalize on it. The clients you want are happy to pay a proper rate for someone they know will do the job they need done without any hidden surprises or missed deadlines. Be kind to your old clients, but be judicious on the new ones you sign. Remember, fewer clients can be a good thing. You can make the same amount of money, give them more of your attention, and have time to work on the things that truly matter to you – your passion projects!
3. Too much time reading blogs, not enough time building your business. Being social and widening your reach and overall exposure is of course important, but leaving comments on random blogs just so they will leave comments on yours is silly. Don’t flutter around the blogosphere and call it work. It’s not. It’s okay once in a while, but if you’re spending hours a day in your reader, you are probably not using your time to the best of your ability.
4. Not building a list. This is the golden rule. If you have an online business, you want to build a list of opt-in subscribers. This is where the majority of your money will come from. If you’ve heard this over and over it’s because it is true. The bigger your opt-in list, the more money you will make. Access to the inbox is powerful, allowing you to develop a relationship with a lead for a long period of time. Don’t focus on RSS subscribers. A subscriber could never open their reader again and you have no way to reach them or even know their number is no longer legitimate. The power is in the opt-in.
5. Writing without purpose. Everything you write should have an eventual in not immediate aim. Think about it; what is yours? It’s okay to have a personal blog that’s there for you to vent, connect, or just have fun. It’s also okay to have a business blog where you occasionally go off on a tangent, but by and large, it is essential that you treat your online business seriously. This means writing with clarity and focus every time you publish. Ask yourself, why am I writing this content? Is it for opt-ins, subscriptions, link baits, traffic, etc.? If you can’t answer that question, take a breath, think about it and publish a day later if you need to, but know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
6) Ignoring SEO. Don’t ever be a slave to search engine optimization, but learn the basics and implement them wherever you can. Even a couple of tweaks to a few of your pages can carry a dramatic impact to your overall bottom line.
7. Waiting for things to be perfect. If you wait for things to be perfect before you release them, you may as well spray hairspray on your future potential and light it on fire. Nothing is perfect. Gmail was in beta until a couple of months ago. It’s okay, get it out there. Don’t allow your inner perfectionist to strangle your potential.
8. Confusing popularity for a paying audience. These are not the same thing. Though there is, on occasion, a bit of overlap, you are taking the long road if you go this route. A tiny audience of highly targeted readers could potentially yield more actual earnings than a five digit audience of regular readers.
9. You can’t know everything. Don’t learn from the people who say they know, look to the people who are actually doing what you want to do. There is a lot of advice out there. Some of it good, some of it not so much. Don’t believe what people say, look for the proof. If someone on Twitter is trying to get you to sign up for some program guaranteed to give you thousands of followers, yet they have less than you, they obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.
10. Clarity over cleverness. Just because you can write creatively and use lots of big words, doesn’t mean you should. Clear and concise rule the day when it comes to most online writing. Don’t make people wonder what you mean or you will have a difficult time getting them to do what you want them to do.
While these are our biggest mistakes, they were also learning opportunities which greatly helped our business. If you can also learn from our mistakes, just think how far ahead of the game you’ll be!
Thanks for staying with us while we looked back on our first year. We hope it was as much fun to read as it was to write.
We have a remarkable year planned for the Inkwell. We’d hate for you to miss it. Click here for free updates.