10 Quick Tips for Building a Business Online

Online Business

The opportunities to build a business with online marketing are huge and growing every day. In fact, there’s so much opportunity out there some people become overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

When you can do anything, often you end up doing nothing. People get so dazzled by dollar signs and freedom from bosses and geography that it’s easy to forget that what you do for money is often more important than how much money you make.

Here are 10 quick tips for creating wealth, freedom, and personal satisfaction all at the same time based on my own experiences growing Men With Pens:

  1. Spend time thinking over your creative ideas and invest in careful planning.
  2. Decide the goals and vision that matter to you most. Write it down and read it often.
  3. Know your goal for now, and know where you want to be for each year to come.
  4. Work on one idea at a time. Never splatter out with many ideas. It’s overwhelming.
  5. Establish a dotted line of steps to reach short-, medium- and long-term goals.
  6. Make sure your dotted lines look like one line and not a spider’s web of tangles.
  7. Decide how much personal investment you are willing to give—now and in the future.
  8. Determine your life/work balance and make conscious effort to maintain it.
  9. Revisit your vision and plan for business every three months. Adjust to fit.
  10. Have a safety net and a Plan B for every potential obstacle you meet.

Building a business on the Internet takes time, a good plan, and a solid foundation. But it’s not necessarily about chasing the next big thing. Just realize that the true opportunities aren’t passing you by, no matter how fast the clock ticks in the virtual world.

About the Author: Want more advice on staying sane in the web working world? James Chartrand dishes out plenty more advice on web business success at Men with Pens. (And he can write, too!). Like what he wrote here? Grab the Men with Pens RSS feed.

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Reader Comments (43)

  1. says

    Good advice, as always, James. A friend I’ve made through blogging said to me today, “I’ve never made a penny from the blogosphere, but the friends I’ve made are worth all the money in the world.” I then realized that the relationships I had made through blogging have built me every cent of income I’m making at the moment. So definitely, reach out, never be insular, not for the sake of being the popular kid and reaching blogo-fame, but for your online business too.

  2. says

    I’ll agree with the crowd so far on #4 being a killer, though I think I’ve #4ed so much I’m almost scared to start up new ideas. I’ve gotta find that balance between sensible planning and some inspired spontaneity!

  3. says

    # 4 is my personal killer. That’s why I appreciate having a grounded business partner to keep me sane and rooted. But I know that many people don’t have that opportunity, and the only way to overcome it is to WRITE things down and PRIORITIZE.

    On the other hand, people who suffer from #4 are usually the ones who make huge change and opportunity for others, so it’s a good thing.

  4. Nannie says

    I’m with the rest of the group on #4, but what’s equally perilous for me is #6. In my mind, they’re closely related. I’m embarking on a freelance journey of my own, and I plan to post these guidelines in a prominent place. Thanks, James, for the helpful post.

  5. says

    Oh yeah, the dread #4. It’s a killer. And at the same time, we want to capture all of those great ideas, right? David Allen’s “someday/maybe” concept is very helpful for me–I write all the off-target stuff down and keep it where I can look at it when I’m ready.

  6. says

    You might consider #11 or perhaps 10a – plan for success. Growth is wonderful. It is also dangerous. w/out a plan your online business, or any type of business, can topple over from its own success. Granted, this is not the worst problem to have but “topple over” isn’t good regardless of the cause.

  7. says

    An analogy for #4 would be like driving with the family to destination A, but half way there, changing course towards destination B…and half way there changing course for destination C. You did a lot of traveling but got nowhere.

    “MwP” – Now I could see that as a T-shirt!

  8. says

    @ Allena – And here I thought it was our casual charm and sexy good looks. Damn.

    @ JamesH – Growth – sudden growth that you weren’t prepared for – can crash a business to its knees. We almost (almost, mind you) suffered that ourselves when we became overnight blog celebrities. A business consultant told us flat out that our problem was we grew too soon, too fast and we needed to deal with that. We did, but it was rough for a few weeks. Very good point to bring in.

    @ Michael – You provide inspiration in all sorts of places, my wide-casting net friend 😉

    @ Sonia – Capture in writing. Deal with one by one. That’s the key, you’ve got it. If we wrote it down, it can never escape :)

    @ Nannie – #4 and #6 are closely related but distinctly different. Put them together though, and you have one huge mess, agreed.

    @ Jon – You’re welcome!

    @ Todd – Passion fuels everything. Agreed.

    @ Dave – It’s a hard mantra to recognize, acknowledge and accept enough to follow. But it means everything.

  9. says

    Thank you indeed, Atleast I have start some of online business, this post make newbie like many like me in the past getting concentrating on traget. They’ll have to desire either start the model of E-business they interesty nd have experience.

  10. says

    I think it’s a fabulous list – except for your last point. People I meet that follow that rule don’t get much done and spend most of their life actually having to implement plan B anyway (because that’s really what they planned for). I despise plan B – trying to think of every possible obstacle and a way around it is not productive for me.

    Now – i’ll echo everyone else and say #4 is what stops me from getting more done than I could. With a litle bit of #8.

  11. says

    Like a lot of others #4 is my killer. I think I was more productive when I didn’t know so much about marketing and didn’t have so many opportunities.

    I knew a limited amount, so I just focused on that… and it worked.

    Now my plans try to incorporate too much at one time, instead of focusing on one thing, then the next. Killed my productivity.

    I’m getting better though, and spend a lot of time coming up with step-by-step plans for myself and others to follow.

  12. says


    There’s a fine line between sticking with something because it’s a passion & quitting because you think you’ll never get ahead.

    For more on this, read “The Dip” by Seth Godin.

  13. says

    I will join the “Amen Chorus” and voice my opinion that #4 – maintain focus – is the “key.”

    But… let me add a slight twist. Schedule the time that you focus on your priority project each day or week. Write down what you want / need to accomplish in that area during that time period.

    However, always be open to new ideas and viewpoints. Just balance them against your priorities. Ask yourself, “Does this new idea help to move me closer to my main goal?”

    Nice post. Great comments

  14. says

    It does get overwhelming to splatter out so many ideas at once. I did that when I began blogging. Within a few weeks, in a frenzy of activity, I had started 3 blogs. I spread myself way too thin. I had to back off, shut two down, and concentrate on the one I was the most passionate about.


  15. says

    @ Rick – And that situation makes many people feel bad about themselves, as if they failed. They didn’t. They learned a valuable lesson… now, if they can just remember it 😉

    @ Danny – Great suggestion. Tough as hell for me to implement. I’ve tried every freakin’ schedule and time management option under the sun. But dangle a bright new shiny in front of me? Dude, I’m so gone. There’s THINGS to DO! WHOO HOO! (You see the problem.)

    @ Mark – Passions have a funny way of coming back to life even after you quit. And the second time ’round, you’re usually better prepared to stick with the goal.

    @ Edward – Taking something step by step works every time.

    @ Songchai – There is no newbie. There are only people learning new things :)

  16. says

    I noticed that all those tips were not “get rich quick” type of ideas. “Have a goal”, “Spend TIME”, “Revisit”, etc. Planning is huge life. As carpenters say, “Measure twice, cut once.”

  17. says

    #4, I find it hard to move focus onto those projects, because sometimes what we consider to be important really isnt.

    Those other things just serve as a distraction.

  18. says

    I think we all agree #4 is the one we all struggle with! If only we had 5 arms, 4 legs, and a 70 hour day. Ok, that just sounded like something out of Aliens.

    I think another big one many entrepreneurs need to get over when starting a business is don’t think you know everything.

    Push aside the pride and listen to those who know more than you. I have an entrepreneur cousin and that is his downfall. He has to be a know-it-all when really he’s just a B.S.er

  19. says

    Yup, #4 is a great struggle for me.
    The beauty of your post is that it can be applicable in so many things beside building online business.

  20. says

    How right you are!! I think most internet marketers are guilty of this as they search for the right business for them. Then, they forget some of the older businesses they joined. You really can not get the success you are seeking with this type of behavior. I thinks most of us are guilty of it however.

  21. says

    Like many comments, agree that #4 is the killer. I started to try after reading Songchai’s book, with many ideas at a time!

    Now I know I started while I didn’t believe I can do it. So I didn’t have creative ideas, goal, etc. I just did like other people done. I will start again in step.

  22. says

    We get a lot of phone calls from people who think we help you start a new business, when in fact we’re a new business agency. It astounds me how many people don’t grasp the basics – this simple blog post ought to be in a pack that is sent out to every startup!

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