I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life, have lots of regrets. Received an excellent education in “the school of hard knocks.” One of the places I’ve made mistakes is in my online biz as a speaker, author, and an entrepreneur. I’ve done lots of things that scared me: public speaking, webinars, telecalls, creating videos, and recently my first broadcast Google Hangout event. Sometimes you have to do the things that scare you to achieve your dreams and goals. But now I can pass these mistakes onto you to help you avoid them and to achieve your success easier and faster.
Here are my 10 tips I’ve learned since starting my online business.
1. God first. Listen to and obey Him. Jesus said apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
And I don’t want to try to do anything without God. Otherwise, it will fall flat and won’t be productive or fruitful. Conversely, when God is in what you’re doing, it will be a success.
2. Focus on your strengths; don’t operate from your weaknesses. When I first started my online biz, I was given very bad advice from my business coach/mentor in a class. She told me and others to basically do everything yourself: write your html sales pages, create your eBook graphics/ecovers, making your website, etc.
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! I’m not a techy person, and this left me many nights in tears, totally overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry. God has anointed me to speak and write, and this is what I need to do.
A great resource to help you discover your strengths is the book, Strengths Finder 2.0 by New York Times Best Selling Author Tom Rath, available for sale at Amazon. It includes a test in it to assess your areas of strengths and talents.
You can take online tests to discover what your spiritual gifts are. I’ve included some links to these online tests and some resources here. Find out what your spiritual gifts, talents, and skills are, and do that. Outsource the rest.
3. Outsource. Hire people to help you. Fiverr, Elance, Odesk, and other places are great places to outsource work. Outsourcing allows you to use your gifts for God and walk in the anointing He has for you.
4. Be unique, beautiful you. Don’t compare yourself to others or feel envious/jealous of them. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:30 NIV, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
There is only one you. Be yourself. Stay in your lane and don’t worry about or look at others. Jealousy and envy will eat you alive, and will distract you from your God-Designed purpose. They also make you very unhappy and miserable, which keeps you from being successful or at peace!
No one else can do what God has called you to do and fulfill your purpose and mission on earth.
5. Balance. When I first started my online business, this was the one area where I really messed up. Don’t let your business consume and overtake your life like a monster. I would literally spend 10 to 12 hours a day working on my business, primarily my website.
I was obsessed with improving and tweaking it. This became a source of contention between Ray and me, and our daughter Leah and me. Since then, I’ve learned to balance my time between God, my family and friends, time alone, and my business. One of the things I really enjoy doing now is watching the red cardinals, doves, sparrows, and other birds at our bird feeders, with a cup of coffee in the morning and chai with a little creamer in the afternoon.
Sometimes I take a break from Facebook and other social media. I want to live a real life, not just a virtual one. I refuse to be a slave to social media! Social media is necessary for business and isn’t going away, but God intended us for relationships with Him and others in real life.
Also, remember to eat! It’s important to include self-care: eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, exercising, sufficient sleep and rest, fun. You only have one body that will enable you to fulfill your purpose. Without your good health, you can’t do what God is calling you to do and be.
As a speaker and author, it’s important to get your butt in the chair to work on your speaking presentations and books (or articles, blogs, video and webinar content, etc.).
But it’s also necessary to get your butt out of the chair to spend time with Jesus, your family, friends, and to refill yourself.
Set a timer on your computer or laptop, iPhone or other phone, or even a kitchen timer as a reminder to get up out of your chair and do other things. (Remember the Pomodoro technique for greater productivity! I’d love to get the little red tomato timer!)
6. Know yourself. Know your purpose, mission, gifts, yourself. What works for others who are successful may not work or be for you. You may see someone all over Facebook and Twitter, doing webinars, creating videos, teaching marketing classes, and being a social media queen. But maybe you’re supposed to speak at live events and write books intead. Be YOU.
Stay intentionally and laser focused on God’s calling for your life so that you aren’t wasting time looking at your friends’ Facebook vacation pics, surfing the net shopping for clothes, watching TV reality and entertainment shows, playing games, etc.
Be serious about the call of God on your life. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever have any fun (we need fun and to just pull away from our business sometimes to de-stress!). But manage your time wisely each day.
I always make a to-do list every night for the next day. I’m obsessed with to-do lists. I love the feeling of accomplishment as I check things off my list. What I do is pray at the beginning of each day and ask God what HE wants me to do that day~ His priority for me. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. (John 5:19)
I may have 8 to 10 things on my to-do list, but the top two or three may be the ones that I get done that day. Then I move onto the next tasks the following day.
7. Invest. Invest in yourself, your business, but watch the Shiny Object Syndrome. I believe we should be life-long learners, learning something new every day. You can learn new things by hiring a coach, reading good books (read mine!), attending trainings like webinars, telecalls, college classes, and talking with other people.
I love to read and read every day. I prefer holding and reading a physical (print) book, but also read a lot of books using Kindle for PC and the Kindle app for my iPhone. I usually read at night before I go to sleep.
My husband Ray has a Kindle Fire that I bought him for his birthday last year, and he has 100’s of books on it. I encourage you to read a lot, especially if you are a speaker or writer.
I also believe if you’re a speaker, author, or have an online biz, you need a coach. I have an amazing, very successful business/writing coach, Shelley Hitz, who has written over 35 books. The royalties from hers and her husband CJ’s Amazon books pay their basic bills most of the time! She has coached 1000’s all over the world to write their first book. I’m now enrolled in her course, Author Audience Academy. Through what I learned in her writers’ training course, my new eBook, The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes became an Amazon Best Seller for its category and sub-categories the first day, which is a first for me as an author..
Coaching is so important. I also offer coaching to beginner speakers, writers, and online entrepreneurs here.
8. Get out of the house! Have a dinner date with your husband. Eat out or do something fun with your child(ren). Have coffee with a friend. Talk to people in real life. If you stay hidden behind your computer, laptop or iPad all the time, and not have relationships in real life, you’re going to get weird!
I see so many people today on their smart phones out in public when they’re with their spouse or kids, ignoring the people right in front of them to “connect” with others online. It’s sad and you will miss out on so much if you do this all the time.
Again, God created us for relationships. Go have fun with others. Spend time outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. Travel to the beach (I am craving the ocean!), mountains, desert, a new town, city, state, or nation. Do something new and adventurous. This also gives you inspired content for your speaking and writing and your biz.
9. Follow your fun. Recently I was talking to my prayer/accountability partner, Doreen Penner, sharing how I enjoyed doing something. She encouraged me, “Follow your fun.” What wise words. I’ve thought about them a lot since she said it.
Follow your fun and your passion. Do what you love to do. I can’t imagine anything worse than being miserable, hating your job every day. Pursue your purpose and passion.
This may change and evolve over time. When I was a child, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mom and a writer. God made those dreams come true. I’m the mom of 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah.
I’m also the author of eight books, and am now writing three more.
I never imagined I’d be a speaker, because I used to be very shy and was terrified of speaking in front of people publicly. God has a sense of humor. Several years ago, He opened the door for me to share my testimony about my 3 abortions at a Mennonite church women’s Bible study. I was physically shaking, my voice quivered, I sweat profusely, and I thought I’d faint. But God got me through it.
Since then, He has opened the door for me to speak, even in other nations like Haiti, Canada, the Bahamas, and Africa. I now love it and as my husband Ray recently wrote me in a letter, I now live to have a mic in my hands (and to travel!).
There are times when we enter a season of rest. I went through this the last part of 2014. God told me to rest.
It may seem like you’re “on the shelf” and God isn’t using you or has forgotten about you. He hasn’t; He’s simply preparing you for what is next! You’re in a season of preparation by God the Potter.
My purpose and my desires have changed and grown. Yours may, too. Fulfill your purpose. Follow your fun and passion, which are often closely tied to your purpose. I believe God puts these dreams and desires in our heart, when they align with His will.
10. Don’t give up and don’t quit. Dream big because we serve a big God! If you’ve been in the audience when I speak, attend my virtual events, or read my blog, you know this is my motto. I say it a lot.
God has definitely stretched me since I started my online business. He’s taken me way out of my comfort zones into some pretty scary places. He will do extraordinary things through ordinary lives.
But as I’ve leaned on Him and not my own understanding, and trusted Him, He’s done miraculous, amazing things in and through my life. It humbles me. I can only praise Him for all He’s done. God is so good!
God has good plans for you. (Jeremiah 29:11) He wants to use you in a great way for His glory (and it’s about Jesus, not us!). Make sure you are aligned with His will and purpose for your life. Follow Him.
When we try to do things in our flesh, they won’t work. There will be no fruit. Your life will feel barren. But when you are seeking God, there will be good fruit. You will not just be busy, but productive.
Most of all, keep praying. Seek God’s direction for your life. God is the one who opens doors of favor and opportunity.
I created a podcast sharing these tips. You can listen to it at Podbean by clicking here.
You can also subscribe to my podcast at Itunes by clicking here.
I broadcast my very first Google Hangout this week, sharing these things I’ve learned. You can watch it on video at YouTube here
Those are my 10 tips I’ve learned since starting my online biz. I hope they’ve encouraged you. What have you learned in your online biz? Share your comments below.