In 2013 I began my obsession with online businesses.
Since then, I’ve consumed thousands of hours of video, audio, and written interviews with successful online and legacy solopreneurs. And I’ve always looked at every piece of content through the lens of a healthcare business.
After almost a decade, I’ve narrowed it down to 5 key characteristics every online business shares:
1. It starts with a sale.
Your first priority, as an entrepreneur, is to sell something.
Stop wasting time on websites, business plans, logos, LLCs, and focus on reaching out to a few potential clients and offering them your services.
If you can’t sell a coaching package (or whatever else you plan to sell) before you build the get everything else ready, you’re doing things backward.
2. It is self-funded.
First-time entrepreneurs often manage to get a client or two right off the bat –often this is what prompted them to formally launch–, but they struggle to keep generating demand.
By this time they’ve signed up for marketing platforms, hired VAs and freelancers, enrolled in courses, joined masterminds, bought a new laptop, and basically committed money the business is not yet generating.
You should not need investors, a business loan, or constantly use your own money to fund your business’s operations.
3. It is small.
“I need someone for social media. Someone to run ads. Someone to do my website. A graphic designer too…”
No, you don’t. One good freelancer, putting in 10 hours of focused work per week is all you need to get some of the most tedious tasks off your plate while you roll up your sleeves and learn to do the rest.
I know people doing 7 figures in annual revenue, with 90% margins and no employees…
4. It is systematized.
Amateurs rely on inspiration. Professionals rely on systems.
Online entrepreneurs have systems for content creation. For onboarding clients. Following up with potential candidates. Creating proposals. Collecting feedback and testimonials.
Systems allow your business to function without you.
5. It is data-driven.
Amateurs fall in love with their ideas. Entrepreneurs fall in love with the data.
It doesn’t matter how incredible your product or service is if people don’t want it. This is a tough pill for many to swallow. Especially those who refer to their business or their products as “their baby”. But successful entrepreneurs know how to look at the data and are not afraid to cut their losing products.
My hope with this essay is to inspire you to start something. Start today and make it better as you go along.