Online entrepreneurs struggle – a lot. They also succeed, but the struggle is very real and often not something highlighted on social media. Today I’m going to show you some common things you might have to experience that aren’t the pretty side of being your own boss.
We’ll talk about what it means for an Internet marketer to go through these things, and what you can do to change your outlook about it and your response to it when it happens. I’ll share some of my experiences, too.
Stress and Pressure
I have been here before – and still go through it. As a solo entrepreneur, you have made a decision to walk away from the corporate world and be your own boss so now you get 100% of the pressure that goes with it.
You’re going to have people questioning your decision in the most condescending manner. Like you’re a kid who said they’re going to be an astronaut or President someday – and hey – someone ends up being an astronaut, a president or a successful online entrepreneur, so it might as well be you, right?
I started out in this career walking away from my banking job because my infant son had RSV and I wanted to care for him myself, not leave him with anyone else. I had no idea what this career was – I stumbled on it – but I felt a big load of responsibility to be the bread winner in my home.
You will feel pressure not only from your family to make something of yourself, but you’ll pressure yourself, and you’ll feel pressure from your followers, your colleagues and anyone else who sneezes wrong.
Everything will feel like pressure sometimes – the new rules of a platform, the technology changes, the schedule, the emails you have to respond to, the competition. This is where you have to try to try to shut out everyone else and focus on your process and your happiness.
I didn’t get that at first. Only after I enjoyed some success did I finally learn to ignore the pressure. I wish I’d learned it earlier. I think the small successes allowed me the confidence to say, “See? I can do this – so bug off.”
If you’re someone who hasn’t enjoyed that yet, try to tune everyone out and do things your way but recognize that sometimes, that pressure is a good thing. It can be a driving force and motivator for you to excel.
Fear of Failure
Failure is one of the biggest fears in this career. It sucks so bad because you need to have this fear to some degree. It helps prevent you from making stupid decisions and taking bad risks. But it can be debilitating.
I don’t know that this has ever affected my Internet marketing career, but it has certainly held me back with fiction, which is my true dream. Fear of failure can drive you to do better and put your best product forward.
As long as you don’t let it paralyze you, you’ll be fine. I always say, “Do it afraid – courage will come later.” And it does! Truly. Once you do something enough times, terrified, one day you do it without even thinking about it.
You’re going to have fears about many things – people ridiculing you or get angry at the quality you delivered, worry about putting forth a great deal of time and effort (or even money) and having something flop, and more.
You are flat out not going to know until you do it. So you have to face the fear. I put out four clean historical romance books and they went over well. I’ve done things I didn’t know I could do in Internet marketing (like interviews on webinars with huge marketers) and I did not die like I feared. You’ll be okay. But you’ll have to be your own cheerleader.
Uncertainty and Insecurity
This is not a sure thing. You’re not going to know if you can do this until it comes through for you. Your future is not solidified as an online entrepreneur, but guess what? It’s not as a corporate worker, either.
You could get laid off in the next 5 minutes working for “the man” so don’t find any phony sense of comfort there, either. At least as an online entrepreneur, you’re in control. You get to handle things how you want.
You’re going to be uncertain about every choice you make – from the niche and business model you chose to the pricing you set and more. I love this quote – read it, embrace it and remember it when your cut is churning because you feel plagued with uncertainty:
There are different types of insecurity. It can be professional insecurity, feeling like you aren’t able to compete or that you’ll be inadequate compared to others. Or it might be financial insecurity, worrying about where your next dollar will come from.
You’re going to see others doing things and it’s going to make you question your choices. But consumers don’t want everyone to be identical! They need variety – of info, of personalities, or styles and tones and slants.
Don’t let imposter syndrome take root in your mind. Fight back and even look at you, yourself like to learn and gather info from a variety of people and sources. You’ve got to learn how to adapt to this feeling and changes that come up, too. See them as opportunities and reach out to trusted colleagues to get insight when needed.
Frustration and Disappointment
This is a very frustrating career. For me, I get frustrated over technical stuff and about the sheer lack of ethics in our industry. I swear, even today I’m questioning who I can promote anymore because I know some established PLR vendors are going to be using AI to slap up content in their packs so now I’m going to have to flat out ask them – and if they outsourced to someone, did their ghostwriter use it?
Because I don’t want to promote that kind of content that I feel is going to hurt my customers’ rankings right now. I get frustrated whenever I learn that someone I thought was trustworthy ends up being a scumbag behind the scenes.
You might get frustrated about not achieving your goals quicker or not making enough money on a launch. A customer might frustrate you. This used to happen to me and then I realized (more now than ever with social media showing all the crazy people) that some people are just ridiculous and I don’t have to do anything with their reaction but block them.
You might end up frustrated when your personal and professional lives are playing tug of war with your time. So managing work-life time and balance is imperative. You can’t ignore your loved ones for a job. But you need the job to support your loved ones. Find a way. Be proactive with your schedule and don’t let things “just happen” to you.
Make sure you’re setting realistic goals, too – not some “mansion and Bentley” dreams some guru showed on a sales letter. When you have small milestones and you’re consistently reaching them, it gives you more confidence.
Loneliness and Isolation
Now being the hermit that I am I LOVE the loneliness part because to me, it’s not a negative feeling – but a relief. I hated working with other people. Even now I do NOT partner up with people.
I like to serve customers, but not work with others. Mainly because I don’t trust people work-ethic-wise besides two 100%: Craig Desorcy and Arun Chandran. And even then I would never want to partner only because those friendships are precious to me and I feel like *I* might be the one to let them down in some way by not knowing tech stuff or going through one of my lazy/burn out phases where I don’t feel like working.
But for many, the loneliness is a real thing and they love being social. So for those people, this business can be hard. What I recommend is networking on Facebook and in groups and recognizing the people who you vibe well with.
Y’all might travel somewhere like to a mastermind and meet up, or you might sprint together in a Chatzy room. Or you might have your own FB private message groups, etc. Many friendships are forged in this business, but you have to get out there and not be all business all the time. You need to have friendships with other marketers where you talk about life stuff, too.
In addition to that, make sure you get out of your house and socialize elsewhere. Volunteer. Go to public places where you happen to be around people. Don’t let yourself isolate at home never venturing out.
One thing you’re going to find is that outside of this industry people are not going to understand what it is that you do. You don’t even want to try explaining it, trust me. Just mention that you work online and be done with it. Otherwise, they’ll have you trying to help their cousin’s friend Eddie’s wife make money online and you’ll get sucked into a nightmare.
Overwhelm and Burnout from Being Overworked
This is a grueling, yet rewarding, career. I tend to work hard until I burnout. But I honestly haven’t been able to find a sweet spot for enjoying any kind of balance, I’m either all in or I’m all out. I’ve kind of resigned myself to that being how I just am.
But for many, the long hours and the way they end up ignoring their personal life takes a toll. For me, I switch out during the day – stuff I enjoy and work. I just work daily. Then eventually, I need a 2 day break from it all.
You’re doing everything in your business, and as you can, I highly suggest outsourcing what you struggle with. Try to find someone good and trustworthy – because dealing with shoddy deliverables is frustrating.
Sometimes, even though you’ve built something up, you have to cut it loose. Get rid of it if it’s just a leech on your time and effort. Even sites that have made me money have been chopped because I didn’t have the time to build them up adequately. Don’t be foolish and spread yourself too thin.
Anger and Resentment
This is one you might experience. I am trying to think of when I’ve felt angry – other than if someone lied about me or something. Oh! I got angry when a marketer in this business partnered up with me (I did the content, he did the sales page and launch set up) and realized he was paying me pennies on the dollar of what was supposed to be a 50/50 split, so I said never again!
You might feel resentment or anger toward people succeeding who don’t deserve it, or if you weren’t treated fairly in some way. All you can do is chalk it up to an eye opening experience an block people and move on. Your circle will get small – and that’s okay!
You might even feel resentful that people don’t recognize your value or that others have more access to resources than you do. I have people come to me all the time saying someone bothers them with something they did, and I’m always like, “Block them.”
That’s it. Just block them. No need to pussyfoot around and stay friends. Just weed out the yucky people who make you feel annoyed. It’s simple! Don’t worry about their reaction. If they overreact, they’ll look stupid and childish and if they don’t react, perfect! You win either way.
Envy and Jealousy
This is a bit different than the anger and resentment. You can feel envy and jealousy even for those you admire and respect and who you feel deserve the success they’re getting. It’s okay to feel this as long as you don’t allow it to turn you into a crappy person who tries to tear them down to your level.
Be supportive and learn from them. You’re going to see others succeeded more than you ALL the time in this career. It’s a fundamental part of their existence, posting success online. Don’t worry if you don’t get a Deal of the Day, but some crummy product did. Don’t worry if some horribly unethical marketer beat you on the leaderboard.
Just keep doing what’s right. Your ethics and quality will eventually grow your success.
Worries About Poor Performance
We all have our lackluster performance. It might be because you’re dealing with other stuff in life, or you’re tired or you just didn’t know how to do something better. People will tell you when you mess up.
Don’t get offended. Just analyze their feedback, see if they’re right and course correct if needed. The only thing you don’t want to do is let your poor performance be because you don’t care. That’s gross.
If your launch flops, find out why. Did you not overdeliver? Was it the wrong topic or style of product? Did you not recruit affiliates? Do you have a bad reputation? Ask around. Pick the brains of others to see what advice they have then apply it to see if they’re right!
I can’t tell you how many times someone has come to me to ask why their PLR launch flopped and I tell them, “It’s not a PLR worthy topic” or “You priced it too high for launch” or “You didn’t recruit people to promote” or “You need more content in the package” and they act like I am in the wrong.
Okay, buddy. You do you. I’ve only been doing this for about 20+ years. These people disappear soon after, failing on to something else.
If poor performance is an issue for you, you have to find out why you’re not performing well. You don’t want to continue performing well – it has to be fixed fast! And your reaction to it has to be altered so that you’re proactive and seeking out the right support system.
Expect to get better over time. You’re not going to be perfect immediately.
Concerns About a Lack of Progress
If you’re feeling stagnant, this is a normal issue to face as an online entrepreneur. It’s especially hard if you have people (friends and family) breathing down your neck asking how much you’ve made, etc.
Be vague with them and keep a positive mindset. If you know you’re stuck, shake things up and find a way around your obstacles. Network with new people who can help you. Find free tools to use, access different resources to work with.
If there are no solutions, change gears entirely and try something new. If you’re procrastinating, sit down and set a deadline, map out a schedule and mini milestones and work it – celebrating each achievement as you go.
This is something you might feel. The overall obsession about an outcome. What will the fallout be of your decisions? How high can you soar if things go right? Or how low if they go wrong?
You might obsess about the outcome of a contest you participated in. I’ve had people snipe my sales at the very last second, literally. It’s one reason why I hate vendors who give constant updates about how “far behind” in exact sales or dollar amounts someone is behind a leader.
If an outcome is not how you expected or hoped it would go, figure out what you can do different next time and treat it as a split test. Increase your knowledge between now and then and improve the outcome bit by bit every time.