Avoid These Common Mistakes When Starting A Small Online Business

You might have run across a website or two where people talk about how much money they’re making online, which then makes you want to start an online business.

I mean what’s not to love about being able to work from home, set your own hours, and not answer to a boss?

The thing is though if you’ve never created an online business, you’re naturally going to make mistakes along the way like choosing too big of a market, or setting your expectation too high.

However if you could somehow avoid these common mistakes when starting a small online business, you can greatly increase your chances of succeeding and also save yourself a lot of time in the process.

So in my post today, I want to share 11 common mistakes people make when starting out online — that way you can start your business off on the right foot and become successful in the shortest amount of time.

1) Choosing A Topic You Have No Interest In

When starting an online business, make sure it’s something you either are very passionate about or is something you really want to learn more about.

During the first month or two you’re likely going to be on a high — very excited and eager to make your business successful. However by month 4 and 6 when you still see no results, it’s very easy to get discouraged and muster up the energy to work on something that is not producing results.

So by picking a niche you are very interested in will help you get through these early stages of your business when you feel like giving up — and trust me you’ll have many moments when you feel like throwing in the towel and calling it quits.

2) Not Paying Attention To Your Customers

Going back to the basics of a business, your goal is to offer your readers a solution to a problem they are dealing with — but how do you know what they are having trouble with?

By listening to what they have to say.

listening to customers

Many people will go on creating a business thinking they know what their customers want, when in reality sometimes they are completely wrong.

Therefore by going on social networks, doing research, and just listening to your readers problems — you will be able to offer better solutions to products to their current needs

3) Treating Your Business As A Hobby And Not A REAL Business

Time and time again I’ll see people say they want to start up a business and say they’ll  “try” to make it work. The second I hear this I already see someone who has failed.


Building a business takes self-discipline, a strong desire to want to succeed, and consistent hard work each and every day. People that become successful online don’t say they will try to make this work, but instead say they WILL make this work.

I kind of see building a business much like building a brick house or playing a rpg game.

building a brick house

You have to do it one brick at a time, or build it up one level at a time until you finally start to see consistent traffic and revenue coming to your site.

So don’t start up a business and do it when you feel bored or have some extra time on your hands — but instead build your business as if this is going to be the only way you’ll be able to provide for yourself and your family.

When you go about it with this sort of mentality, you’ll naturally keep working and trying different things until you become successful.

4) Giving Up Too Quickly

I’ve said this a few times in my previous post, but one of the major reasons people fail to create a successful business online is because they simply give up too soon.

You have to realize that building a business online WILL TAKE TIME.

Your first several months and sometimes even your first year (depending on your niche) will show little to no results as you are essentially building your foundation within this time.

Eventually though Google and other search engines will start to notice you and take you seriously — so it’s very important to work hard at the beginning so you can reap the rewards later.

If you ever do feel like giving up imagine what your life could be like 1 year from now if you kept at it, instead of giving up halfway through like many people normally do.

giving up too quickly

I remember when I created my first site online I was very excited my first 2-3 months — then around month 5 I still was not seeing any results and ended up abandoning my site and moving onto something else.

Well about a year later I decided to go back and check on this site to see how it was doing, and guess what?

Right around the time I stopped working I made 2 sales, then when my site became 1 year old my traffic started to go up and I made another sale!

Mind you this was with me doing NOTHING on my site either. I still wonder till this day how successful that site could have been if I didn’t give up.

So don’t do like I did and stop halfway through the year, but instead keep pushing yourself to reach your goals and then some.

Trust me you’ll be surprised how fast a year comes and goes — and you don’t wont to look back wondering how amazing your site could have been if you simply didn’t give up.

5) Solving An Unimportant Problem

Your business should be about solving an important problem a group of people have.

People are coming to your site to better their lives in one way or another — and if what you’re selling doesn’t do this, then you might want to reconsider going after another niche.

For example if you had the solution on how women that just had a baby could easily lose their belly fat, this would be a good business to go after.

On the other hand if you were building a business on how to teach your kids to tie their shoes — obviously this is not going to make people start spending their money to learn how to do this.

6) Not Choosing A Specific Audience To Market Too

If someone were to come up to you and ask who are you helping with your business, would you have a specific answer or say just about anyone in the world?

Chances are if you’re trying to market to everyone in the world, then you are going about it all wrong.

crows of people

You see while yes an online business does let you market to the entire world — it’s better if you narrow your market down to a specific group of people. This will help you better understand, communicate, and relate the people you are trying to sell too.

Take example this site, it’s in the make money online niche. I could essentially market to anyone that wants to create a business whether they are old, into email marketing, stay at home moms, or people that love to travel.

However I’ve chosen to focus on people with undesirable jobs that are looking for a way to make passive or residual income online as I can relate more to these type of people.

Someone who is a retiree could relate with other retirees better, and someone who likes traveling the world could probably relate better to other people that enjoy traveling.

So as you are creating your business, try to find a small group of people you want to target and you’ll see that selling becomes a lot easier.

7) Thinking Your Business Will Become Successful Overnight

Another common thing I’ll see with people is they’ll start an online business with WAY TOO HIGH of an expectation.

Many people when asked what their goals are, they’ll say they want to make 1 million dollars their first year by only having to work working 3 hours a day.

unrealistic goals

If this sounds like you, then I’m sorry to have to burst your bubble but this simply does not and WILL NOT happen.

Again building an online business doesn’t mean pushing a button and make a ton of money, but it actually implies “building” a business.

That means it will take time, patience, and A LOT of work to get good results.

If you really want to know how long it takes to become successful, ask other successful entrepreneurs how long it took them to get where they are now.

From what I’ve learned over the past few years, on average it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to start getting consistent sales. Then after about 2 years in you can easily start to make thousands of dollars each and every month.

If this sounds like something that you won’t have the patience for, then maybe building an online business isn’t for you.

Now I’m sorry if this comes across rude, but this is the reality of building a business — and anyone that tells you otherwise is just after your money and trying to scam you.

However if this is something that you are willing to do, you can get the best training online through Wealthy Affiliate which will show you all the necessary tips on how to build a business online.

If you want some proof that it works, check out my earlier post where I talk about how much money you can make through blogging.

8) Not Having A Business Plan

Having a business plan doesn’t mean writing a bunch of content on your blog and hope that people will come and buy things. There are thousands of blogs out their that are making almost nothing, yet they have hundreds of articles they’ve published.

Why is that?

Well it’s because they don’t have a clear plan on what they are trying to sell, the type of people they are trying to sell too, and an effective way to market to their audience.


Again to make things simple, I’ll use this website your own to give you a better understanding.

I am helping people with undesirable jobs learn how to make money online so that they can have an extra income they can rely on, or quit their job all together and work from home full time.

I do this by writing reviews about products that I believe are trying to scam people, then I point them toward Wealthy Affiliate — which to me is the most ethical and best way anyone can build an online business.

As you can see I’m not just writing about anything and promoting everything I see online (even though some of those products out their could make me a lot of money) — but instead I have a clear goal of what I want to write about and what I want to sell.

So when you are building out your own business plan, I would write down things such as:

  • What specific group of people are you trying to serve
  • How do you plan on solving their problem
  • How do you plan on getting people to your site
  • Also have an action plan by creating weekly and monthly goals on how you want to grow your business

9) Focusing Too Much On The Little Things

No doubt about when you start an online business, their’s lots of things that you are doing and learning about.

You got to do things like pic out your domain name, choose a theme you like, find a logo that will make your brand stand out, and also find pictures for your website.

However when your website is brand new your only goal should be to GET TRAFFIC — and the best way to go about doing this is finding low competitive keywords and pumping out content on a regular basis.

You see many people will spend hours looking for a nice theme or making sure their picture is just right — however these are small task that will not drive your business forward and quite frankly aren’t all that important.

small task

Again you want to first and foremost get traffic to your site, then once you have hundreds of visitors per day — then and only then can you start tweaking and messing with things to optimize your conversions.

So at the beginning of each day ask yourself if what you’re about to do will help grow your business, or if it’s just something that essentially is busy work.

10) Trying To Build More Than One Website At A Time

Another huge mistake people make when starting out is they’ll create 2-3 different websites all about different business ideas they want to talk about.

While this main seem smart at first, what their really doing is just slowing down their progress by trying to do too much too soon.

For example by working on 3 websites instead of 1, you can now only create around 4 post a month instead of 12-15.

So instead of being able to generate money from your website in about 6 months, you’ll know have to probably wait a whole year to possibly get your first sale.

While I know it’s very tempting to work on more than 1 website at a time, please do yourself a favor and focus only on ONE WEBSITE. You’ll see quicker results, be less stressed, and probably find it more enjoyable.

Again it only takes one good website to earn a very good income online (as in 6 figures a year).

11) Not Taking Action

Last but not least I would say the BIGGEST MISTAKE of all when it comes to starting an online business, is simply not taking action.


It’s very easy to get caught up learning all the time (as their is tons of information out their). However if you spend all your time learning and never doing — you’ll never go anywhere.

The only sure way a business can fail is if you don’t try or give up.

Mistakes are going to happen and you might build a few websites that are a total waste of time — but again that’s the fun of it. You’ll see that what you did their doesn’t work, so it simply means trying out something different until you become successful.

So while it will take determination, hard work, and a lot of trial and error — the only way you’ll ever learn what works for you and what doesn’t is to simply get out their and START working.

Final Thoughts

Starting an online business is not walk in the park, as most people who try usually end up failing due to one reason or another. However now that you know some common mistakes to avoid, your have a much better chance at becoming successful.

Now while these common mistakes will help you out, this is only a small fraction of some things I could talk to you about on what you should and should not do to become successful.

Luckily though I’m a part of an online community called Wealthy Affiliate that’s made up of over 1.3 million online entrepreneurs who all have the same goal which is to build an online business.

With this many people in one spot, and many of them making a full time living online — you can ask anyone of them for tips and advice on what they did wrong that way you can learn from their mistakes and experience success at an even quicker rate.

Besides the amazing training, I’ve learned so much personally just by asking questions and getting feedback from people who are more experienced then I am.

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, and bump heads with some of the worlds most successful affiliate marketers — click the link below to learn more about Wealthy Affiliate.

Join Wealthy Affiliate Now

So after reading my list above, are their some things on their that you are doing right now that you need to change?

Or maybe you’ve made a mistake or two that was not covered here, and would like to share it with everyone else to help them out?

Let me know in the common section below, and also if you have any other questions or concerns I’ll be happy to help you out. 🙂

Want to turn your passion into a thriving online business?
Check out this simple 4 step formula millions of people are using to make money online!

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6 thoughts on “Avoid These Common Mistakes When Starting A Small Online Business”

  1. Thanks for this article Micheal, I think it really relates to me. I created a website to get out of the rat race so I could have more freedom and money. 

    As you said in rule number 1, you need to choose a subject you are interested in! It This is very important, and at first I was thinking of making a quick buck by selling high ticketed priced items — but I had no interest in the items or niche, so when you don’t get sales or even audience you lose interest real quick.

    I also strongly recommend wealth affiliate as the information and the lay out can turn the most anti IT person into a whizkid.

    • Don’t worry Deano, it is a very common mistake to try to pursue a niche for the sole purpose of trying to make a quick buck or become rich — but as you found out it’s better to go after something you’re passionate about then something you aren’t. 

      The good thing though is you actually got out there and DID SOMETHING!

      Many people have a hard time just starting — which was my 11th common mistake in this post. By you getting out there and taking action, you now know first hand how to better pick a niche that can turn into a profit making website.

  2. Thanks for this post,
    The points you raise here, all 11 of them are really important, I am trying to build a business online and I think I have made some of these mistakes already.
    I will look more closely at your post, and right those wrongs. Thanks for the correction tips.

    • Don’t worry Juliet, because like I said in this post as long as your doing something — it’s a whole let better than not doing anything at all.

      With time as you make mistakes and learn how to correct them, you’ll start doing things a whole lot faster and experience success at a much quicker rate. 

  3. Micheal,
    Great article, you have a lot of good information here! 

    I really liked your advice about finding something that you are interested in so that it’s easier to persevere through the inevitable hard times that come. Also, not giving up is crucial to building any successful business. 

    Over the years, I have found that some people just aren’t built for being their own boss, and for what ever reason they will fail or quit before becoming successful. 

    Have you found this to be true? What traits do you think a person should have in order to be successful in an online business?

    • I totally agree with you David. 

      Some people just wont or cant get task done without someone ordering them to do them. To run a business on or offline, you have to be very self disciplined and organized — because you are essentially answering to yourself, and don’t have a boss telling you to stop slacking off.

      I think when it boils down to it, the most successful people are ones who have a strong work ethic, patience, and a burning desire to succeed no matter what.

      People with these traits don’t give up or complain when it gets too hard or things don’t go their way — but instead keep pushing forward until they reach their intended goals. 


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