Challenges to Starting an Online Business

I was at Costco, observing a man purchase 25 gallons of milk. Based on the rest of his shopping cart, I assumed it was for resale at his convenience store. Out of nowhere, I was overtaken by full-body goosebumps and a sense of appreciation for my digital products that never expire, aren’t heavy to carry, and don’t require constant restocking.

Standing at the checkout, I started to wonder: How did I end up with an online coaching business, free of emergencies and beepers, free of on-call rotations, free of bureaucracy, free of intense physical labor, free of leases and landlord drama, free of plumbing and electrical issues, free of staffing anxieties, free of shipping errors, and free of travel obligations?

I’ll let you know when I have an answer. I’m baffled as to how my quest to be the best “man” I could be, by owning my home by the beach and making six figures by 30, led me here. My online coaching business has high-leverage digital products, transformation for my clients at the deepest and most meaningful level, profits based on results (not hours), global reach and impact, and blesses me with a balanced lifestyle of travel and play.

I didn’t come from rags, but I didn't come from riches either, far from it. Knowing this, nearly anyone could transform her services into digital products. But those who’d like to start making that transition often don’t. Why? Because many people fall victim to these four traps.

1. Listening to your limiting beliefs: “Ugh, it’ll be too much work.” “Oh, I don’t have time.” “I don’t know what to teach.” “I suck at technology!” Whenever I suggest my clients create digital products to free up their time, these are the excuses I hear at first. Those limiting beliefs have some truth: It will be work, but not as hard as you think. You may not have much time, but you won’t have any more if you don’t make a change toward residual income. Everyone in the world has the same 24 hours, seven days a week. Millionaires have figured out how to leverage their time and other people’s time. So can you!

Another limiting belief I hear is, “What if nobody buys it?” That’s a big one — probably the biggest. The best solution? Decide who you want to work with, then ask them what they need. Then create a product that fulfills that need and sell it back to them. Voila! Don’t create a digital product you think they may want; create a digital product you know they need, because they told you so.

Finally, make your lifestyle vision bigger than your limiting beliefs. If your vision is, “I want Fridays off,” that’s not big and compelling enough. “I want to only work for four months out of the year,” now that’s huge! That would be magical! Make that lifestyle vision 10 times bigger than any self-limiting belief.

2. Falling victim to burnout: There are five elements every woman entrepreneur must have to prevent business burnout and to succeed long term. If a business doesn’t work, they’re probably missing one of these key elements:

  • Passion: Many people have a business they’re passionate about — they just love it — but if it’s not profitable or sustainable, then it’s really just a hobby, not a business. You’ve got to love what you do, but love alone is not enough.
  • Profit system: A good profit system is an engine that runs itself. You need a system so that when you turn the key, everything starts humming. People who don’t have a profit system turn the key, pour the oil, pedal the wheels, and rotate the window wipers all at once. It becomes madness!
  • Talent: You must be good at what you do. Yet, this is the No. 1 trap people fall into. It’s easy to think, “I know websites, so that’s what my business will be.” Wrong! Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. Talent without passion will not help you bounce out of bed in the morning and attract clients.
  • Global need: This is all about expansion. There are some really cool gadgets out there that the world as a whole doesn’t need. They may sell well, but won’t leave a legacy of your person on this Earth. Do you really want to be remembered in history for selling cereal, speakers, or headbands? The people who work in water filtration and teach others how to harness safe drinking water, now there’s a global need!
  • Sustainable model: This is about creating a sustainable business loop. Every business needs a residual model whose profits feed the business, so that you’re not at the mercy of the economy or of clients. It’s a pathway to step out of working in your business and step into owning your business.

3. Ignoring your blind spots: No one sees her own blind spots. We all have them. And most of the time, it takes someone else to point it out. A few of the most common ones for women entrepreneurs?

  • Perfectionism: A perfectionist entrepreneur experiences a failure to launch: her house has to be spotlessly clean before she’ll sit down to create what truly matters. And even then, her digital product has to be so perfect that she never actually launches her product out into the world.
  • Shiny object syndrome: Having too many ideas! “I want to create six courses all at once!” This person starts a bunch of things and never finishes them.
  • Workhorse inheritance: The workhorse’s mantra is, “I have to be working, I have to be doing, I have to be out in the fields laboring.” There’s no room for self-reflection, daydreams, or strategies. They’re always galloping, even if they’re galloping in circles.
  • People pleasing: This person must be everything to everyone all of the time. This is especially true among women. We over-give. We overdo. We dread being not liked.
  • Avoidance: Avoiders are the people who wear masks and pretend everything is great, tidy, and peachy — no matter what. It’s fake and people can sense that without words.

4. Putting yourself in the less-than box: Many of us have self-limiting biases, and we put ourselves in these less-than boxes. “I’m a woman, so I should earn less than a man.” “I’m Asian, so I should earn less than white people.” “I’m too young for this.” “I’m not from wealth.” “I’m too introverted.” There are tons of other boxes women put themselves in. This is a global call to stop it! None of us belong in these boxes. We are the only ones to put ourselves there, no one else!

Our minds are like dark alleys. You should never go there alone. Your mission today is to find someone who will go to those dark alleys with you and arrest all the bad guys lurking around. You could select a friend, hire a coach, or leverage mentoring services near you. There is courage in reaching out, power in asking for help, and miracles in receiving the help!

Tina Chen is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.

Join the Discussion