Success leaves clues: 5 tips for setting up your new online business

A blog by Bernadette Schwerdt, (pictured above).

I’ve been interviewing some of Australia’s leading online entrepreneurs lately and what I’ve discovered is that ‘success leaves clues.’  If you’re interested in what the founders of Kogan, Canva, Catch and other billion-dollar entrepreneurs have to say about starting out, read on.

When I wrote my books Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs and How to Build an Online Business, I had the good fortune to sit with some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs. They told me what mistakes they saw new entrepreneurs make all the time. Watch my video below to uncover some of the top tips to help when setting up your new online business, or read on to discover the top 5.

1. They are overly protective of their idea

The concept of only telling a chosen few about your idea is self-defeating. No one likes to think their idea is going to be stolen, but we all know that ideas are a dime a dozen – it’s the implementation that matters. And besides, it’s unlikely that just because you share an idea with someone they’re suddenly going to dedicate the next four years of their life to making it happen. Moral of the story? Tell everyone about your idea and ask for their feedback.

2. They launch too late

As Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn said, ‘if you’re happy with the first draft of your website, you’ve launched too late.’ Just start! Yes, it sounds simple but procrastination, fear and doubt often stops us from taking action. Break the tasks down into bite size chunks, choose the easiest and get started.

3. They don’t seek feedback

Speaking of feedback, when we have an idea we’re passionate about, we can be reluctant to ask for feedback for fear we’ll get a negative response. But negative responses are good! It means there’s room for improvement.

However, if you do share your idea around, share it with people who can help you, and then ask them good questions that will help you generate some helpful ideas – questions like:

  • Have you heard of this before?
  • Is anyone else doing it?
  • Can you try it out for me?
  • Can you think of anything to add to it?
  • Does it work?
  • What would you do differently?
  • Can you share it with some friends and ask them to try it?
  • What would be the maximum you’d pay for this?
  • What would be the minimum you’d pay?
  • How can I make it better?
  • Do you know anyone who is in this target market?
  • Do you have any spare cash you’d like to invest? No? What about your mother? Your grandma? Okay. I get it. You don’t like my idea.

4. They choose the wrong product

Your start-up will be a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure you are totally in love with your product before you begin. You need to focus on a passion, not on what will make money. Sure, it’s important your idea be commercially viable, but often that won’t become apparent until after you’ve begun. If you chase the money upfront, chances are you’ll run out of puff before the business has a chance to return a profit. Start with something you love and work from there.

5. They don’t invest in good content

Creating great quality content can be expensive but it’s necessary. You’re probably assuming I would say that (being a copywriter ‘n all) but when I asked each entrepreneur ‘what is the most important ingredient for marketing success’, they all said ‘get great content’. Great content extends to an impressive website, a nice pitch deck, a catchy keynote, informative blogs and a punchy podcast. All of this contributes to getting ranked highly on Google too. If you can’t write or don’t have the time, an investment in a good copywriter is a good start.

Setting up your new online business can be fraught with difficulty but by following these simple (but not always easy!) steps, you’ll increase your chances of success.

About Bernadette
Bernadette is the founder of the Australian School of Copywriting, and has trained over 9000 people to become freelance copywriters. She is the author of three bestselling books and is also the host of the popular podcast, ‘So, You Want to be a Copywriter’. She was recently named in the Top 50 Small Business Leaders in Australia.

If you’d like to work with a student copywriter, get in touch with Bernadette on LinkedIn and she’ll match you with a copywriter that’s right for your business.

You can read sample chapters of Bernadette’s books via the links below.

Sample chapter: How to Build an Online Business

Sample chapter: Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs

Would you like to hear more tips from Bernadette? 

Register for the free online Business Book Chats Event to hear Bernadette share tips from her book: How to Build an Online Business.

Tuesday 26 October, 1.00pm – 1.30pm.