The 7 Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made Building My Online Business

There Are No MistakesFailure is the key to success.

The more mistakes you make and learn from, the wiser you become.

The people that embrace mistakes are usually the ones that rise to success and reach their goals the fastest.

A nice side-effect of this is that you are more relaxed and enjoy the present moment, because you aren’t trying to prevent “failure.”

When you’re starting out, you will probably feel the opposite. You have no experience, and you don’t know what you’re doing, so you want to be perfect.

It’s completely backwards.

When you gain experience, you realize that perfection is the enemy of success.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes during my time online, and in this article I’m going to share some of my biggest mistakes.

The purpose of this article is to help you see things from a different perspective, because some of the lessons I’ve learned are very counter-intuitive.

1. Stressing Out

You will bump into a lot of obstacles. You will feel like things aren’t going your way.

And when you’re doing something new, you might feel uncomfortable, or even stressed-out. That’s just your signal that you’re learning and exploring a new path.

I used to stress out about not making more money, or not having absolute financial freedom, whatever that means.

It wasn’t long until I realized that even though I got what I wanted, there would always be another thing that I didn’t have, or more money I could make.

It’s an endless loop if you get caught in it. I still get stuck in it from time to time, but it no longer controls my life like it used to.

For many years, it prevented me from going after my passion, because I thought I needed to have money to do things.

However, I quickly realized that I could do what I loved and the money would come, if I was determined enough.

Life has its ups and downs, so it’s not about eliminating the downs, it’s about learning to live with them and embrace them for what they are—an essential part of life.

2. Impatience

Building an online business takes time; at least that’s been my experience, along with many of my friends and clients.

I remember when I started; I thought I’d have a business up and running in less than six months. I was completely fresh and didn’t know anything about building a website, SEO, getting traffic, or affiliate marketing.

One of the best things that happened to me was learning to be okay with the fact that it might take a few years for me to build a thriving business.

An important thing to remember is that I didn’t have all the tools available to me that you have today, and to be honest, I tried going at it solo in the beginning and learning everything by myself, which didn’t help.

If I follow my passion, it doesn’t really matter to me how long it takes, because I’m already doing something I enjoy.

And like I said above, even if I start earning one million a year, I would probably want to earn even more, so it’s always goes on and on, unless you stop it.

There’s nothing wrong with earning more money, it only becomes a problem when money becomes your sole focus.

3. Not Trusting

Throughout the years I’ve learned to trust the process. I trust that I’m going in the right direction. This doesn’t mean I always feel peace and happiness.

There are times when things are tough, and when I want them to be different, but overall, I trust more than I did a few years back.

And when you stop comparing yourself to others and look back at how far you’ve come, I think you’ll realize that you are heading in the right direction, even if it doesn’t always feel like you are.

The way I learned to trust was simply to start listening to my heart and my feelings. Just a few years ago, I thought doing this sounded a bit woo-woo, so I avoided it at all cost.

I searched for something, anything, that made more sense. After exhausting all other possibilities, I realized that the only true path forward was learning to listen to myself.

When you trust yourself, and follow your feelings, you will be traveling on your path, which is the fastest way to get to where you want to go.

You may bump into challenges, obstacles, and internal resistance. And that’s okay, because that’s what’s supposed to happen for you.

4. Over-Thinking

When you over-plan, you overwhelm yourself. I was the master of overwhelming, over-planning, and over-thinking myself into problems that did not exist in reality.

Luckily, I got over it, because I got so sick of myself making excuses and not making progress. I simply started taking action, because I really did not care if I made mistakes.

I just wanted to start taking steps toward what would give me fulfillment and peace.

And with that came the realization that the most effective way to building my online business was to take action on the information that I had, even if I wasn’t crystal clear on what to do.

I started with what I knew, and what I thought I could do. When I did that, I quickly learned what I could tweak, and if things didn’t work out, I simply asked someone, or bought some consulting from someone who knew what they were doing.

And I realized that I can’t think or plan myself into a perfect future. There will always be mistakes, and you will make them, too. The quicker you accept that, the quicker you can start moving forward.

5. Not Good Enough-itis

One of the most common fears people have is the fear of being inadequate. And I had the same fear when I started, and I still do to some extent.

I felt like I had nothing to contribute, especially in the whole personal development and business market. However, it was what I truly enjoyed doing, so I was going to go for it, whether I was afraid of it or not.

I wasn’t going to allow myself to grow old and look back in regret at what I did not do. I’d rather go after what I wanted, give it my all, and see how well I could make it work.

Everyone has their story to share, which means that you can help someone out there by sharing what you feel like sharing.

You may not launch into popularity right away, but as you keep going and doing something you truly enjoy, you will attract more and more people to you, because the passion will exude from your writing.

6. Fear

You don’t have to be fearless. It’s not about not experiencing fear, it’s about what you do when you experience it.

Courage is much more useful, which comes from exercising your will to do something that you are afraid of.

Courage is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. I was afraid of more things than I can share here, because I don’t even remember most of them now.

You see, most of the fears you have are not important if you travel 20 years into the future look back to now. What is important is what you do with your time and how much you use your courage to go after what you truly want.

Everyone is afraid, even the most successful people in the world are anxious, overwhelmed, and fearful from time to time. The difference is that they’ve learned how to turn fear from an enemy to an ally.

Fear has snuck up and paralyzed me many times, but I also know that I won’t let it stop me, because it’s not what’s going to give me peace, satisfaction, and help me follow my purpose.

There’s a time for rest, and there’s a time for just embracing your fears. I did not start out with a lot of courage, and I sometimes feel like I still don’t have a lot of courage.

Your feelings and thoughts can be deceiving, because when you take action, your fears will melt away, and your anxieties will start to become excitement.

And did you know that anxiety and excitement are the same feeling, the only difference is how you judge it.

7. Putting Off Passion

Last, but not least, is not going after my passion in the beginning. I did it to some extent, but not really. I think I did, but what I really wanted was to make money, so I could be safe.

You also don’t have to stress about your passion, because you will discover what it is when you take action.

I’ve tried so many different “niche” markets, because I wanted to find the perfect one for me. I wanted to find one that was easy, fast, and highly profitable.

Again a common theme pops up, which is me realizing what I’m doing, and letting it go. It was never about finding the perfect market, as much as it was about taking action and finding something that resonated with me.

It’s not about what you think is profitable. It’s about what you truly enjoy.

And it’s never a question of IF your online business will make money, it’s about how much it will make.

Also, most people don’t realize that even if your first online business “fails” it will teach you the lessons you need to be more successful next time.

Image by Peter

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  1. stacey herbert says:

    When I clicked on the link, I don’t think I expected to find such an honest list, rather something a bit more agenda driven. I have been making more than my fair share of the mistakes that you mention, glad I’m not alone. Thanks for sharing. 2,5,6 all really resonated with me

    • Glad you enjoyed the article, Stacey!

      It’s funny how most people go through exactly the same mistakes 😉

  2. Jennifer Minar-Jaynes says:

    Great post, Henri. SO true about not giving into your fear. We all do it, but we’re capable of breaking free. And should. The more you face it, the easier it becomes–and the farther you’ll go. =)

  3. Henri,
    I used your list of 21 ways to live an exceptional life in my Embarka workshop (copied your list and put your name and website on it – please tell me if thats fair). I find that today as I struggle, the perspectives there helped, as did this email list. Thanks! As I am encouraged, I am able to encourage other embarkers…

    • Hey Robin!

      Sure, that is very fair, and I’m glad you’re out there encouraging others. Keep rocking!

  4. Henri.
    A very perceptive thoughtful list of traps to avoid. You’ve articulated what I think we have all felt at one time or another. I think we all have unrealistic expectations about what’s required for blogging success. I’m finally putting it all in proper perspective (or at least a better perspective).

  5. hi Henri
    thank You for pointing out that an online biz (or anything worthwhile) can take time to build.
    & interesting belief that anxiety and excitement are the same feeling, just perceived differently. working on that. and always love courage ,, as it reminds me of the cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz… who is ultimately courageous.

  6. What’s hard for me is patience. I want that online business to be running yesterday. I know it takes time. That’s the hardest part for me to keep in mind.

    All your points ring true for me as I’m starting out. So it’s nice to read advice from someone who has been there and done that.

  7. I recognise all of the 7 mistakes. I already have made them all. While writing this, I hear this voice in my head saying: ‘No, no, you are much better than that. You will not make these mistakes anymore’. But I know it not true and it’s my mind trying to trick me. It seems that humans are made to learn through making mistakes over and over. Without mistakes you can not grow.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. jonathanfigaro says:

    All success is built on the mistakes of the great mind behind the vision. Success is not about succeeding, well it is. I mean, we all want to win, BUT, the successful man or woman who understands that there failure’s in life are the greatest teachers of all. Are truly the ones that make it to the TOP!

    Sweet post Henri. I saw your link on Sibyl’s post. She’s a great blogger and you have many tricks up your sleeve..nice..I like.

  9. Some of the things you have mentioned here I have already experience. But you are right, mistakes has in it lessons to be learned. And the more we learn, the more we do better–so long as we keep on going. 🙂

  10. Ireti Paul says:

    Henri, your list is so accurate. When i started i had to battle with No 2 & 3. We learn more by making mistakes. The seed of progress is hidden in the mistakes and the earlier we figure it out the better. Now i’m more calm with the process because i know over time the results will show up in the positive direction. Constant learning has now become a value to me.

    I appreciate the post Henri. Cheers.

  11. James Pruitt says:

    This is so true. its funny too, when I quit stressing over how long it was taking, and just relaxed and did the work, it took off almost over night.

  12. This was certainly a list I could relate to. I make 1 through 4 on an almost daily basis, but at least I know I’m making them. That has to be a step in the right direction, right?

  13. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry 😉 Oh I do know – laugh! Ridic how many times I’ve bounced back and forth with #s 1 – 6. From feeling great to wtf’s taking so long, ha. The one that I HAVE been consistent with is #7, which is why the other points feel like a rollercoaster sometimes. Good news is, it’s all starting to come together and everything I did in the last 2 years just paved the path. Sweet post, Henri.

  14. I particularly relate to the embracing failure idea. My art teacher at school once said: “There is no such thing as a bad painting” There are no wrong paintings, just as there are not really any wrong courses of action. But it’s about being aware of strengths so you can express what you really wish.

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