10 Things I’ve Learned About an Online Business

1. Your first idea probably sucks. Yeh really sucks.

We start with all these big intentions and we think we know exactly what it is our customers are wanting – add to that a good dollop of what we’re really good at and we think we’re on to a winning idea.


You’ll probably end up pivoting (that means changing course slightly) to better fit the market and what your clients are asking for.

Don’t be ashamed – it happens. There are only a very few lucky, lucky, lucky online entrepreneurs get it right first time and immediately hit the market with a viable product. It’s all a lesson.

So don’t throw in the towel just yet – just take your idea back to the drawing board and give it a good tweak and you’ll come up with something even better.

2. You need a website.

There are always going to be people say you DON’T need a website. BUT they fall into one of just a few categories:

a) Built their following before websites were a “thing”

b) Are putting “all their eggs” in a Social Media basket

c) Won’t admit the truth that building a website intimidates the shit out of them and they’re scared to do it!

It’s 2021 and everyone is online. If you haven’t got a website you are literally throwing cash away.

3. Marketing is a key fundamental.

God I hate it. I mean seriously truly hate it. I’m British and we’re pretty crap at putting ourselves out there and saying “hey YOU! I’ve got something your’e going to love – come buy my stuff”. Ugh. Icky!

But, we need to suck it up and get on with it. Without marketing your business is really just a fancy shmancy idea.

My challenge right now is to work on my Social Media because it’s an area I tend to neglect because I simply don’t embrace it.

4. Systems!

Yay! You got a customer.

Yay! You got 2 customers!

Oh heck! You got 20 customers… 

OK, 20+ customers is bloody brilliant right? Well… not if you’re still doing a fair chunk of your work manually – including the admin – and you’re repeating tasks over and over which is not only costing you time – time you’d be better serving more customers – aka more cash!

Get your systems up and running early – and by this I mean your auto-responders (email sales/newsletter), accounting systems, invoicing, payment gateways (Paypal/Stripe/Etc.) and CRM (customer relationship model). If you’re running a service based business you will also want to put in place processes in order to make sure you don’t miss any eensy-teensy step.

I use the Dubsado CRM when I’m performing a technical job for a client. Because I’ve worked out my processes I have around 40 steps to deliver a full website. Most of these are “duh-uh” for a web designer, but it ensures I never, ever miss a step and therefore under-deliver. Because each step has a completion checkbox I always know exactly where my clients are in the process.

5. Masterminds.

Get into a group of fellow female entrepreneurs so you can enjoy the highs – and unfortunately the inevitable lows of running your own business. It’s not all unicorns and roses – there are really tough and shit days when you’ll wonder whether you ought to just go back to corporate – or even take that cashier job in the village shop because it comes with no worries and no responsibilities!

When you’ve got your group of gals (or guys!) you’ll have people to bounce ideas around and everyone will have a different take or vision on your problem or path which can be immensely useful if you’re stuck in a “can’t see the wood for the trees” scenario.

A lot of these Masterminds are paid-for. Don’t worry about that – they’re mostly expensive too. Find a group of local gals starting out just like you – of course with Facebook they don’t even need to be local. Keep it small and personal with a maximum number of 12 members.

When business is really taking off and you want to expand that’s when the paid Masterminds really come into their own. But until you can comfortably pay for that – why stress about it?

6. Lack of Regular Income.

Oh yeh… everyone’s all about the “evergreen funnel” and consistent clients… but the truth is when you first start out it’ll be a trickle. That’s cool too because it gives you a chance to perfect your systems and offerings.

But it does mean that your revenue can be patchy and inconsistent.

Well… that’s just the name of the game really. Be cautious when buying programmes and or bits ‘n’ bobs for your business until you can be sure they’ll pay for themselves – or… if you really really just WANT IT – and what the hell’s wrong with that?

Keep a close eye on your numbers and be mindful for upcoming expenses – including the dreaded tax man!

7. Accountability (to yourself).

I’ll put my hands up to this one. There have been times when I’ve had a major personal upheaval (divorce and poor health) where I’ve just thrown my hands up and said “meh… I need some time out and I don’t care right now”.

Luckily my mastermind gals gave me a good kick up the ass and told me to get back on it and just put it all behind me.

I’m a firm believer in actually taking some time to yourself and recovering mentally and physically after a big life-event. I know there are people who stress the importance of powering through it all – but for me, life is so short I think we need to look after ourselves and be the kindest to our own self we can possibly be. I barely took a breath throughout my 20s and I regret now that I didn’t slow down at all to take care of me.

8. Lists and Planners

OMG! The lists! So many, many lists!

I love a good paper planner – so, so many pretty planners. Let me tell you why I love them so much.

a) It keeps me on track. I’m able to break tasks down and see exactly what the next step is which keeps me totally on track with what I need to do to move towards my goals and y’know… get shit done!

b) I scribble down all my ideas and plans – and often schedule them too! They don’t always get done, but this is where paper planners really come into their own.

Once every few months I’ll dig them out and I’ll stumble across an idea I’d maybe penned 9 months ago and think “hell! That’s beyond brilliant“. You get to come back to all the ideas you’ve previously stuck in the parking-lot because they weren’t quite a good fit for that time in your business.

I know a lot of people really embrace digital planners, goal schedulers and the like but I have found that if you don’t complete the task right there and then, the steps you’ve chosen to take can soon disappear into the ether never to be seen (or remembered!) again. Writing stuff down actually sticks in your brain more than typing it into a digital format.

I do make a quick exception for digital notes. I’ve got Evernote on my phone and it’s got a “pull down” menu thing from any page and I’ll do this if I have a moment of brilliance (!) out and about – or even just catching up on Better Call Saul and so I send it over to Evernote and once every few days I’ll check my Evernote account and transfer these gems to paper.

9. Your purpose.

It’s one of the most asked questions about entrepreneurship.

There’s a lot of pressure on us female entrepreneurs to say “I want to give back to the community and I want to help people and rescue donkeys and world peace”.


Well yes, that’s all very well worthy and of course the more cash you make the better placed you are to do these kind things.

But if I’m totally honest – I’m here for the lifestyle. I want to cut loose and go ride my horse. That’s what truly makes me happy.

What are you doing it for? Do you want to take the kids swimming? Go hiking with your dog? Spend more time curled up with murder-mystery books?

Once you’ve got a better idea how your day really looks then it also aids motivation in that you know you’ll be getting that reward.

Get your work done and then cut loose and enjoy yourself.

“Why are you doing this”?

10. Coffee!

Where would any of us be without a good coffee?

In the words of Dale Cooper: ““You know, this is – excuse me – a damn fine cup of coffee.”

*I think I’ve just given my age away there! 

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About Alex Sheach

Alex is an expert strategist with a flair for expressive writing which connects with her audience and evokes emotion.

She believes in the power of harnessing the written word and using it to demonstrate expertise, confidence and clarity when marketing online businesses.

She's anti-BS, anti-fluff and embraces grown-assed methodology for growing an online business with authentic Sales & Marketing strategies.

Nae drama!