Be honest, do you feel challenged by the technical side of setting up and growing an online business?
If so, please read on because I wrote this post for you!
I think people who have run successful online businesses for many years often forget the exact fears and challenges that are faced by people who are just starting out.
However, I also know from personal experience that the difficulties of the technical aspects can seem like a huge challenge in the early days.
In March 2010 I didn’t know how to register a website domain name (honestly!) and yet today, 16 months later, I have built several websites in multiple niches. I also run my blog here at Gain Higher Ground and have successfully created and launched a product in another niche that I’m involved in.
I should be clear that I’m not saying this to brag or try to sound clever. Instead I’m just mentioning it in order to point out that someone who has virtually no online knowledge CAN become successful and make money online.
From buying my first domain, each stage in the technical learning curve has been challenging for me: Creating my first website, adding a contact form, setting up lists in my autoresponder, creating and hosting audio/video, separate squeeze pages, driving traffic….
If you looked at a complete list of the technical skills required for an online business it would be enough to scare anyone off!
Ok, enough already! I think we’ve identified the problem and also learnt that if I can do this starting out with very little technical knowledge then surely anyone who adopts the right mindset and approach can do it too.
So the next question is what exactly is the right approach and mindset?
Here are 5 tips for you from my own experience:
1. Acknowledge that’s it’s OK not to be technically minded
Making excuses is a massive reason why many people don’t succeed in all sorts of things in life. When it comes to internet marketing and technical challenges it is exactly the same.
It is so easy to adopt the mindset of, “Oh, I can’t do this because I’m not technical.”
We all do this from time to time, myself included. It’s normal. But it is so unnecessary because the truth is you don’t need to have a natural technical mindset at all. Plus, whatever level of knowledge you currently have that is absolutely fine – remember I started from pretty much zero.
The other point to keep in mind here is that the learning curve is much less steep than it was a few years ago. Back then you needed to have extensive web coding knowledge, it was much harder to outsource specific tasks and generally the web was a much less user friendly place.
Today, all that has changed. So much so that really anyone who is willing to put in a decent amount of work over time can succeed: There are no excuses anymore and however inadequate a person feels about their own abilities the truth is that if they can operate email and, say, a word processor then there is really no reason why they can’t set up a website, build and e-mail list and start making money online.
Remember though, as mentioned above, it does take some work!
2. Remind and reward yourself of small successes
It is easy to forget the small increments we make to our knowledge and skill set by focusing purely on what there is still left to do.
In my experience this can be a huge motivator to carry on achieving more and taking things to the next level.
So whenever you accomplish anything for the first time, whether it be registering your first domain, creating a simple blog or setting up a new email list in your autoresponder, be sure to pause and remind yourself of what you have accomplished.
Often these achievements can seem miniscule in comparison to all of the daunting tasks which you still need to accomplish. But it is amazing how the cumulative effect of small but steady increments in your skill set can build up over time.
A great tip here is to keep a simple personal diary and note down whenever you accomplish a new task. Alternatively, you could start a personal blog to document your progress thereby learning new things in the process! I have done both in the past and I know looking back that they were extremely beneficial as I moved up the learning curve.
3. Talk to others who are more experienced
Building and running an online business can be a lonely experience at times. After all, for the most part we are sat by ourselves in front of our computers!
It’s even worse when you start out because you probably don’t know anyone else doing the same thing (or at least I didn’t). Plus you are constantly bombarded with new ideas which of course leads, in 99.9% of cases, to the dreaded information overload problem.
So try to make connections with like minded, and preferable more experienced, people. Honestly, I have learnt things in 3 minutes talking to another person that I know for sure would have taken me weeks to properly test out myself from scratch.
Forums are obviously one way to go here and there is no doubt that you can learn an awful lot by participating in them.
However, nothing really beats a one-on-one chat in person. For this reason I really recommend trying to find a meet up group in your local area. It will cost you nothing except travel costs, a couple of drinks and 2-3 hours of your time.
If you like the sound of this then check out my previous post on meet ups – complete with a short tutorial video – of how you can take advantage of this.
Outsourcing has become something of a buzz-word in the offline and online worlds.
I do think that we should all know how to do basic technical tasks such as working with WordPress, how to set up squeeze pages, FTP, basic audio and video editing and so on. However, when it comes to highly specialised task such as graphic design or higher level web programming then my attitude is to leave it alone!
To give you an example, I recently spent around 2 days designing a logo for a new online course that I’m currently creating. To be fair, I did want to learn a few basic graphic design skills (using GIMP) and was willing to invest the time.
But looking back on the logo I created I have to say it looks a bit amateurish at best!
Do you think I would have been better off hiring a designer on Elance or Odesk? If I wanted to keep costs to an absolute minimum then I could have used fiverr.com and get the entire job completed for $5!
I general I do like to try things once myself before I outsource but it’s actually essential to your success going forward to leave the more specialised technical tasks to others.
Remember that the vast majority of your profits come from the creative marketing side of your business not from the technical side.
5. Enjoy learning new things
At times, this seems like an impossibility. How can we possibly “enjoy” learning new technical things when the very thought fills us with dread!?!
Whilst I’m certainly no Brian Tracy/Tony Robbins type of personal development expert, even I’ve managed to turn this around.
The trick is to proactively choose to abandon the negative thoughts and tell yourself that you will enjoy the challenge ahead.
Think about how cool it will be after you know how to do a certain task and you’ve accomplished it.
This might sound a bit wishy-washy but this does work I promise you. Try it.
It’s just in our heads…
Overcoming technical challenges is about realizing that the fear is really just perceived. It’s just in our heads.
Having said that, as with anything there are some great practical tips such as the ones I recommend to you above which do help massively.
If you’d like some step-by-step how to training on building a web business from scratch then don’t forget to sign up for my free newsletter “Kick-Start Profits” using the signup form on this page and I’ll see you on the inside. We will smash the technical challenges together!
Finally, I would love to hear your comments on all this stuff below… 🙂
You have nailed my problem in 1.
While I am literate, numerate and full of ideas, I am technically dyslexic. The problem is that most things written for newbies are not written by newbies so full of gbbledygook.
The Idiots guides are not written by Idiots, so they are useless too.
You are correct in that you need a mentor.
Driving instructors turned computer savvy would be just the job. Unfortunately most people trying to teach computer skills seem to about 12 .
What it needs is an old git lik,e me who knows what he is doing, but now we are back at the start again………………
I think the problem beginners have is the shock to the sytem when they find out how MUCH technical stuff there is. Setting up a blog in WordPress is relatively easy, but then the problems start. Setting up a freebie page with an opt in and an autoresponder link. Squeeze pages and buy buttons and all the links are a bit overwhelming.
One step at a time is the key I think
Thanks Rob for your experiences.
Right on I say – I’m following your 15 Steps To Success, doing all the tasks and experiencing the issues.
After this I have every intention of outsourcing the technical and time-consuming tasks and investing most of my time on the marketing aspects.
Great post and thank you,
You’re welcome Barry, sounds good!
Kind regards, Rob
Just read your post again as I tend to miss things in my first reading. I wasn’t aware of fiverr.com and it looks great. I’ve bookmarked it for future use.
I was wondering – do you rate it more than oDesk or is it good for quick simple jobs?
Just for doing smaller jobs really Barry. It’s more of a complement for oDesk/Elance rather than a substitute!