When you’re looking to launch an online business, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of overthinking everything.
You read blog posts.
You listen to podcasts.
You go back and forth on “picking a niche.”
Then, at some point in your journey, you might be relieved to discover the minimum viable audience approach to building a business.
With the MVA approach, you build an email list around a certain topic, ask your subscribers about their problems, and they tell you what they would pay for.
If Product Hunt started out as a email list and turned into a 400,000-person community, there’s no reason you can’t build a list that eventually turns into a huge brand. Right?
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Running a successful online business often means taking care of practical problems. Most of them can be dealt with given the appropriate skills, a little know-how, and some hard work. What holds us back from reaching the dizzying heights of the success we dream of is a completely different species of problem altogether. The barriers that we create are in our own minds, and they prevent us from growing to our full potential.
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Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” And it’s true – our habits are powerful things. They shape our lives and define our personalities.
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Any good entrepreneur is almost always subconsciously geared to attract new customers. That sales funnel is constantly a priority – after all, more customers means more income. Much time and thought goes into that one activity – which is only natural, because it’s vital.
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If you’ve just built an app, finished writing an ebook, or you’re releasing an online course it’s important to find a way to get the word out about your product. Because let’s face it, the amount of noise on the internet is pretty crazy these days. The shear number of individuals and companies vying for your attention is overwhelming.
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“Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get? Boney fingers.” That’s the chorus line to a 1974 folk classic by Hoyt Axton. It’s also possibly the antithesis of the entrepreneurial mantra.
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Problem clients come in many disguises, and all of them make life difficult for us. There are the naggers and worriers, the penny-pinchers and the egomaniacs. Those idiosyncrasies can be challenging, especially when the pressure is on to complete the job and get paid.
If you’re able to spot the signs of a problem client right from the start, you can avoid a lot of trouble further down the line. Sometimes it’s best to simply drop them; they need a lot of attention, and that time and energy might better be spent elsewhere. However, sometimes you just need to grin and bear it – particularly when the job is a lucrative one.
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If you’re a regular reader of entrepreneurial articles, chances are you’ve come across this theme: “Follow your passion to success.” It’s an attractive idea – who doesn’t want to follow their passion and become successful?
What some of these articles neglect to point out, however, is that there’s a dark side to following your passion.
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Is your resignation letter typed out and ready? Are you dreaming of the day you’ll walk into your boss’s office and finally quit your job? Do you sometimes catch yourself daydreaming, imagining the look on his face?
Perhaps you keep that letter in the drawer on standby. Meanwhile, you continue to dream of quitting your unfulfilling job and blazing your own trail as an online entrepreneur. But there’s that one nagging question:
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There’s always that one problem client. You know the type – the relatively ‘big fish’ whose contract helps keeps your business afloat, but takes up all your time and drains all your energy.
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