So many entrepreneurs make the same mistakes when it comes to sustaining their online businesses. These are things like being inauthentic, lacking a focus on income-building strategies, and just throwing in the towel way too soon. While these common mistakes won’t kill a business or side hustle right away, they will prevent entrepreneurs from growing and finding success.
Being an online business owner can be an incredibly rewarding option for many – we actually believe everyone should start an online business. But, building, scaling, and sustaining your side hustle is only possible if you take the right steps to ensure its success while also avoiding the types of mistakes that cause side hustles to fail too soon.
We’re going to discuss the top four reasons side hustles fail and give you our best advice on how you can avoid making these mistakes.
1. You Try To Be Someone Other Than Yourself
Being authentically you is critical in business. It is great to be inspired by other people, but no one needs to be “the next” someone else. It is so much better to be the first you.
We often remind our students that being yourself and your own kind of weird will serve you well. People will resonate with you and your brand because of who you really are, which is seen in the content you create.
At Laptop Empires, we don’t try to portray ourselves as having an Instagram or Pinterest perfect life. We take pride in the fact that we show up to live coaching sessions in backward hats and t-shirts because that’s just who we are, and it has actually helped us connect with our students on a more real level.
Don’t feel like you have to fit the stereotypical guru mold. If you’re a casual person, don’t show up on social media in a suit and tie to speak to your audience. You want to attract people by being yourself.
Even with good intentions, you can subconsciously emulate other people. To avoid this, it’s important that you don’t consume so much content from other people that it influences your style. Of course, you’ll want to learn the fundamentals from others, but once you know the basics you can develop your own approach.
This applies to all types of businesses. If you’re a blogger, don’t use the same post format or storytelling techniques as other bloggers – stick to creating content from your own unique perspective. If you have an online business or even a brick and mortar store, you don’t have to use the same client acquisition techniques as everyone else. You don’t need to use the same branding and messaging that everyone else in your industry is using. Stand out from the crowd by doing things your own way.
2. You’re Not Focusing On The Things That Make You Money
When our students are starting their side hustles, we often see them focusing on things that don’t really matter as much as they think. They are worried about building a beautiful website, printing business cards, and doing all the things they need to do to look professional before they’ve done any of the work to actually land a client and make money.
Don’t focus so much on the presentation that is stopping you from doing the work you need to do to get paid. When you’re looking at your goals and developing your to-do list, prioritize the actions that will make money. Move those tasks to the top of the list and tackle them even if it’s scary. Often, the thing you need to do the most is the thing you are most scared of, such as reaching out to a client, publishing that blog post, or creating that sales funnel. If you are feeling resistance or fear about a task, it’s probably an indication that tackling it should be your priority.
There are even some entrepreneurs who feel it’s bad to focus so much on making money. With goals like financial and personal independence while helping others, making money is far from negative, it’s a positive and life-changing thing.
Making money won’t make you a bad person. Sales and marketing are not dirty or wrong. They are the tools that allow you to express your ideas, show how valuable they are, and have people take you seriously.
We frequently talk about money and openly share that one of the core principles of our business is making money to support our families. In addition to providing for our families, though, the money we make helps us measure the value of what we are putting into the world. If people aren’t willing to pay for what you’re creating, then it probably isn’t valuable.
Don’t be scared of making money, and never be ashamed of your success. You should be proud of what you have created and accomplished. It would be difficult to take you and your business seriously if you weren’t. You owe it your customers, clients, employees, and students to take pride in the business you have built.
Ultimately, you can’t succeed in business if you don’t care about people. You can start a business for selfish reasons, like paying off your student loans, but the key to longevity and ongoing success is a passion for the people you serve. A successful and profitable business will allow you to help more people.
The money part we love to talk about isn’t our revenues, it’s the conversations with students who are finding success in the things we’ve taught them. We love hearing that our students are quitting their day jobs after starting our Facebook Side Hustle Course. Because of our financial success, we are able to help others find it as well, and that’s all positives.
3. You Need to Rethink Your Offer
Whatever you are selling needs to be high quality, and it needs to solve a problem or answer a specific question.
If you are unsuccessfully promoting a product, you need to consider whether or not you have it positioned correctly and if it’s actually something your audience wants and needs.
We spend a significant portion of our time figuring out what our offers will be. It took us months to determine that we would offer our new course Facebook Ads For Bloggers. We spent a lot of time speaking to bloggers and understanding what they needed and wanted in order to be more successful with our launch. We developed our offer based on those needs and were then able to quickly execute and develop the course. This is connecting with your community and learning what it takes to help them succeed.
With our Facebook Side Hustle Course, we did the same thing. We had many lengthy discussions about the topics we’d cover and what our positioning would be. There are a ton of other courses on the market that teach Facebook ad management. Some of them start at $1,200 and a few costs as much as $10,000. Our course is currently $397 and is as good as the others, but we knew our audience and what they would be willing to invest in learning this skill.
Knowing your audience is one of the biggest factors in how successful your offers will be.
Our audience consists primarily of people who are looking to make extra money to either supplement their income or to help them get out of debt. Because of that, we wanted to represent the opportunity as realistic and achievable. We didn’t say you could make $20,000 per month running Facebook ads. We positioned the business as a side hustle that could help you make $1,000-$2,000 extra per month after getting one to two clients and spending just a few hours extra per week. For most people, that messaging feels approachable and attainable.
For this offer, our price point was also key to the successful launch. We understand the demographics of our audience and what they are willing to invest, meaning we can price accordingly.
If your offer isn’t resonating with your audience, you either have a bad offer or the wrong audience. Don’t get caught up in selling what you want to sell. It’s most important to figure out what your audience needs and create that for them.
4. You Quit Way Too Early
The reality is that most people quit their side hustles too soon. The sad thing is that so many of these people are doing wonderful things but haven’t seen the success they expected. They have great stories, talent, and everything they need to succeed, but some of them quit after just four or five months because they aren’t seeing the results.
Unfortunately, these people could have been a month or two away from changing their lives. Millennial Money Man didn’t make money for nearly six months, and that’s not abnormal for many starting an online side hustle.
It’s really hard to continue doing something when it’s not making you money. That’s why we suggest that you freelance for an income while you’re building your business. You need those quick wins to keep you motivated and to help pay the bills while your business grows.
Don’t be someone who quits one month too soon. It can get tough and frustrating, but you might be a month away from changing your life. And, once your side hustle is off the ground and running, there will likely be some bad months, but adversity happens and you will rebound better and stronger than before.
We really believe that there has never been a better time in history to make money online, and we believe that everyone should start a side hustle and test out entrepreneurship. If you stay authentic, focus on what matters, give your audience what they need, and don’t quit, you’re ten steps ahead of the majority of entrepreneurs.