Starting an online business is probably one of the scariest things you could ever do. You are putting yourself out there for the entire world to see. It often feels like you’re naked and alone (isn’t that a tv show?). This quote by Paulo Coelho rings true: “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.” I wish I could have had that quote when I was first starting out because I let disappointment, defeat, and despair get in the way of my happiness in the beginning.
Instead of mistakes, just remember that, as you grow, these are just lessons learned. Yes, I may call them mistakes, but I want to encourage you to take what I did wrong when starting my online business, utilize it to make your journey more manageable, and remember perfection doesn’t really exist. What you see on social media is a tiny glimpse into someone’s life. I promise, behind every successful entrepreneur’s social media accounts is a person with a library full of mistakes.
I see this every single day, even now, and I think, “well, I can’t blame them. I did the same thing in the beginning.” But gosh, it makes my skin crawl when I look back at the products I used to create. I would find the best selling resources from competitors and then try to recreate them – EW! I was trying to be THEM instead of ME. Now, I believe that mimicking successful people can help you build a crazy successful business but NOT how I was doing it when I started my online business.
Learning how successful people work and how they create systems around their business is what I mean by mimicking them – not reading their blog posts or their products, and thinking, “Oh, I can totally just recreate that in my own way.” Every insanely successful person I know has a specific target audience they have captured, and they RUN THE SHOW with that niche. Are there competitors? Of course. But the best news is, the cream always rises. Their competitors are truly just a second-hand version of the original, and over time, their customers will eventually find them. When you’re trying to find your main thing, don’t settle for something exactly like someone else. Be authentic and uniquely you, and it will pay off in the long run.
Are you feeling a lack of confidence and need for encouragement as a business owner? When I started my business, finding my confidence took time and patience. I felt like an imposter a lot and would ask myself, “Why would anyone listen to me? I’m not the most veteran teacher. I don’t have all my ducks in a row.” You don’t have to. Building my confidence didn’t come from other people’s acceptance. It came from constant work, and most importantly, it came from filling my head with knowledge with books. Over the last three years, I’ve probably read hundreds of self-help books. I go to Barnes and Noble now, and legit have to work to find something I haven’t read or interests me.
Gathering all of that knowledge built my confidence over time because the more I read, the more patterns I saw. This isn’t some over-complicated mind matrix. With the right steps of action, this is a plan that can happen to anyone over time. Build your confidence, not from getting approval from other people, but from finding approval from yourself. Every single time I go live, go on stage to speak, and even go to Crossfit, I say to myself, “You got this!”
Don’t get me wrong, I love Teachers Pay Teachers, but I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did and rely on one website alone to provide your online teacher business with income. Don’t depend on one plan for your success. If that plan ends tomorrow, where does that leave you? That’s why I’m an advocate for teachers to sell their resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, but also on their websites. You must grow an email list that belongs to do so when you’re ready to launch a product, service, course, or membership outside of just selling your lesson plans – you’ll be prepared for it. I wanted a REAL business that involved a team and a plan, not just randomly throwing lesson plans on a website, hoping it would work. Don’t depend on one method of action for your one and only livelihood when starting an online business.
I admired the beautiful teacher blogs online but rarely thought that having one would make a big difference in my sales. Boy, was I wrong! I was trying to rank for keywords that had so much competition, and in turn, I wasn’t showing up at all. Utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with blogging is such a vital piece to earning your teaching salary online in less than one year. One student who recently accomplished this goal uses her amazing blog as a stepping stone to launch new products. From stickers to resources, she’s been able to make her teaching salary in just one year! It’s absolutely beautiful, but she’s taken the tools and secrets she’s learned and applied them 100%.
Blogging isn’t just sitting down to type out the next big thing. Blogging can be your story lifeline – the part that connects people to you in a way that social media and Teachers Pay Teachers can’t. Not to mention it’s the BEST way to get found in any search engine when you understand what people are searching for and how to make sure you rank number one on Google in every single search every single time. This isn’t an easy concept, especially when you’re trying to learn all of the tips for starting an online business, so I’m here to help you with my free training!
One of my teachers taught us the KISS method back in 8th grade: keep it stupid simple. Why do we overcomplicate everything in life? I’ll be on a coaching call with a student, and they are so fired up about their business, and they share 1039210 million ideas: “I think I could do this, or this, or maybe this.” Me too, girl, me too. But the reality is it doesn’t have to be that hard. Shiny objects are pretty at first glance but don’t move the needle forward in your business. What if your business had one or two main things, and everything else you did or created just was a representation of those two things?
It makes it so simple, and every time I try to chase shiny objects now I ask myself, “Does this help my students inside of The Make Your Mark Membership or The CEO Teacher Academy?” If the answer is no, then I’m moving on. My business bestie is the BEST ever at helping me with this. I get an idea, I rant about it to her sometimes for days, and she will always pull me back in. “Kayse, I know you’re excited, and it sounds good, but is it going to help XYZ?” And vice versa! We love helping each other keep the main thing the main thing. Bonus tip: don’t try to do this alone. Get into our supportive CEO Teacher community and connect with your business bestie so that as you’re starting an online business, you have someone to lean on.
Have you made any of these mistakes when starting your online business? If you have, now is the time to adjust your sails. It’s not too late, friend! Take some time to simplify and recalibrate, and then get back up and keep moving forward. Don’t forget that I’m here for you every step of the way!
If you’re just starting or about to start an online business, make sure you grab my free guide. It’s chock-full of more business tips, advice, and tools to get you set up for success. Download it here, and then tag me on Instagram when you share about how you’re using it to set up your business!
© kayse morris 2020 / legal / design by saffron ave
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