Tips On How To Become A Successful Online Entrepreneur – Can You Do It Part Time?

If you've ever though about having your own online business so that you can have the freedom to work from anywhere and live life on your own terms, there are some serious consideration you should make. Just as with most things, there's a price to pay. Not only will you have to make some sacrifices and life adjustments, but changing your mentality almost completely can be difficult and even preventative to your success. Here are some guidelines that can help you become a successful online entrepreneur.

Why You Can’t “Just Give It A Shot” And Become A Successful Online Entrepreneur

Roughly three years ago, Taiss and I decided to quit our full-time jobs and move to Southeast Asia as internet entrepreneurs. I’ll be the first to admit that the early days were scary as hell and full of many unknowns. There were times I laid in bed and questioned whether I was doing the right thing.

It forced us to believe in the process of moving forward each day to ultimately make it a reality.

It’s September, 2017 as I write this article and we’re back living in the San Francisco Bay Area for at least the next 9 months. It’s been great to reconnect with family and friends. But after a long absence comes a lot of ‘catch up’ questions.

Things like:

“How’s work/business going?”

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I don’t particularly like getting into too much detail about my business (both successes and failures) unless someone genuinely wants to learn more. That said, I would say business has been going well. So I usually keep it short and say just that: Business is going well.

Where am I going with this you might ask? Well, after Taiss and I say things are going well, there are a few family or friends that want to know more about the business and how it works.

Here how's the conversation usually goes:

“How many hours per week do I need to put in to make money online?”

The next question is usually something like this:

“I mean, I’m not looking to make a full-time income, just some side money -- maybe $500 or $1,000/mo.”

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At that point, I’ll usually give a vague answer just to be polite. Maybe something like, “It takes a lot of dedication and it’s hard to say when you’ll achieve that.”

I do this because I already know this person’s mindset is probably holding them back. The truth will likely do nothing to improve their chances. Here’s why I think that:

Unless you’re willing to do ANYTHING to succeed, you’re most likely going to fail. In my opinion, you can’t “just give it a shot” when starting an online business; it’s an all or nothing game.

Let’s break down four main reasons why someone with this type of mindset is more likely going to fail.


1 - This person is most likely thinking like an employee, not an entrepreneur

Having been both an employee and an entrepreneur, I would say I’m qualified to speak about the mindsets of most employees and most entrepreneurs.

Employees are generally paid on a per hour basis, even if you’re salaried this is essentially the case. Most employees are trained to think of work in one way: One hour of my time equals a certain amount of money.

If you continue with this mindset, you have almost no chance to build an online business, even if your goal is $500/month.

Why?

The employee is thinking about his or her chances of success based on an employee mindset. Their mind believes that there is some magic amount of time that must be put into creating an online business where magically you achieve, for example, $500/month income.

The reality is: doing a certain number of tasks in a certain amount of hours doesn’t equal a certain amount of dollars in a your pocket like a typical job would. It’s more complicated than that because there will be a lot of unknowns, particularly at the beginning.

When I hear that question, I struggle to answer it because I know the person is wearing their employee mindset hat. The real answer is something like this:

“Some people can make $1,000/mo in their first 30 days of starting an online business. Some people will take 290 days. Some will take 748 days. Some will take 1,400. Some take even longer. And some don’t even make it.”

can you become a successful online entrepreneur part time?

For the record, it took me about one and half years (roughly 548 days) to hit my first $1,000/mo. For me, the timer started the day I searched, “how to make money online” on Google.

If you can’t cope with this reality, then starting an online business is not right for you.

2. Businesses are dynamic and jobs are "stable"

Success in business isn’t stable.

What do I mean?

Well, another real-life example should clear things up. A friend was asking about my business model and said, “Wow, if I could just get to $5,000/mo I’d be happy for life.”

And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with getting to $5,000/mo and being happy.

The problem with his question is that business is not stable; it doesn’t work like a job. You don’t simply get to $5,000/mo and then stop working on your business.

In business, you’re either getting ahead or falling behind. Everyday there will be someone out there hungrier than you looking to beat you at business. If you stay still you will not maintain your earnings level.

3. This person likely carries an excuse based mindset

I had a friend the other day tell me how much they hated their job and that’d they do anything to work for themselves. But shortly after, the reply went something like this:

I have been swamped at work and haven’t had time to start my online business.”

I totally understand what it means to extremely busy at work, but most of the time this line is just an excuse based mindset. More than likely, if I asked, “Hey, do you want to watch the football game this Sunday,” they would be more willing to ‘waste’ 4 hours of their day on something like that.

See the problem?

Where’s the sacrifice? How badly do you really want it? Stop watching House of Cards and start building your business if you’re sick and tired of your boss.

If you’re not willing to be practically invisible from your family and friends then you don’t want what you say you want as bad as you say you do. It’s harsh but true.

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Sure, you can still watch the odd game or see your family, but 90% of the time that’s going to have to be put on hold until you achieve your business dreams.

My friends were always asking why I didn’t hang out anymore. It was all about a short-term sacrifice for the freedom of having my own business.

4. They will probably quit too early

Similar to the last section on patience, you’re probably going to throw in the towel too quickly. There are some people out there that think 2-3 hours a night of trying their online business for one month is enough to quit.

That’s crazy.

There’s maybe 0.1% of the population that could achieve any level of success in their first online business venture in that short of time.

become an online entrepreneur

You need to be willing to stick it out for at least 2-3 years. Maybe longer. Stop thinking instant gratification.

If that makes you cringe, you won’t make it.

Success or any level of achievement is just a bunch of small daily actions that build up over a long period of time.

Read all about the two year journey that led us to moving to Chiang Mai and starting an online business.

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Rob

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Rob

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Brie

This hits close to home. I have the employee/excuses mindset as the guy who says he’s busy and exhausted from work but goes out on weekends.

So I quit my start-up job and going full time building my online business from where I left off (which is more or less from scratch).

I’m seeing more progress (personal growth and online sales $) being on my own than when I was attached to the hips of my previous job.

I think a large part of the whole employee/excuses mindset comes from choosing to listen to other people.

Things like “stay at your job until your business takes off” or “don’t do this, do that instead” are the little voices that feeds you a sense of security. Succumbing to the opinions of others can prevent you from being your best self and going after whatever you want to achieve.

In some ways, these ideas that others have shared with me make sense. They probably all came with good intention as well. But I found the “fuck it” in me and decided to walk my own path. Don’t know if my approach is “right” in any sense, but I knew something had to change.

I still believe I have an employee/excuses mindset. However, I accepted that this isn’t something I can change in one day and will take time to tweak. It’s a rather liberating thought, mentally and emotionally.

And your post is a reminder that everything I do can only be up to me. I’m pumped now.

Thanks for post, Rob. Tiass, your site is looking better and more exciting to read every time my girlfriend and I revisit. You are both an inspiration to us here in Toronto.

We’ll speak soon!

    Rob

    Thanks for the great comment!

    Here’s my two cents on this comment:

    “Things like “stay at your job until your business takes off” or “don’t do this, do that instead” are the little voices that feeds you a sense of security.”

    I was one of those people that needed the pressure to make my own business a reality. I had a splash of small success and was convinced that was enough to quit. But looking back, it was pretty damn scary as most advice would have been to keep grinding until the earnings were more. I think some people need “the jump” into full-time entrepreneurship (I did) to get the most out of themselves. If you do, you have no more training wheels and will be forced to succeed.

    That said, I know many people that waited until they were making 2X their regular 9-5 income before they considered quitting. I think it depends person to person.

    Regarding the “employee” mindset. You nailed it. It really does take a long time to break old habits and see the world with a new view. Keep grinding and keep believing in what you’re after!

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