20 Mistakes that set you up for Online Business failure

Let me be frank with you.

Starting an online business is not a roller coaster. It can be hard, especially if you don’t know you’re doing.

I’m not shy to say this, but I made a lot of mistakes when I first started out in online business and failed in many areas.

I have been fortunate though, to see success a number of times.

The thing is, a lot of people venture into online business with the exact opposite mindset that will cause them to succeed.

That is why the online business failure rate has always been significant.

I don’t blame them anyway!

They fall for one of these get rich quick schemes or generally didn’t get the right information when they were starting.

Let me pull out some online business failure statistics for you.

According to research, more than 90% of all Internet business start-ups end in failure within the first 120 days.

That is how severe the online business failure rate is.

So in order to increase your odds of succeeding in online business, it is important that you know how to fall in the 10% that succeed online.

In this post, I will share with you the top 20 mistakes that cause the majority of people to fail in online business so you can avoid falling into similar mistakes.

So let’s start.

1. You want to make money Quick

This one is a common trap.

A lot of people believe or are made to believe that starting an online business is the easiest way to get rich quick.

So they enter into online business thinking there’s some quick way to bring an end to their financial struggles.

The truth is if you want to succeed online, you need to put in a lot of effort and hard work.

And even when you do, success doesn’t happen overnight. So you will need to bear that in mind.

Businesses, whether online or offline, usually don’t make any profit in the first year.

Can you believe even Amazon had their first profit 9 years after it was founded by Jeff Bezoz?

Hold on.

I am not saying it’s going to take you 9 years to be successful in online business.

But don’t make the mistake to think that making money online is fast and easy.

Else, you will have no choice than to experience an online business failure.

You need to be prepared to put in the work, consistently.

2. Thinking too much before launching

Thinking about online business

You see in business, timing is of the essence.

It’s very good to do a lot of planning and research before entering into any business.

And online business is not any different.

The problem arises when you take forever to get things perfect before you get started.

People hold back also because of a fear of online business failure.

But you should know that the more you spend time thinking about starting an online business, the longer you will have to wait to start seeing money.

So just start.

You don’t need to get everything perfect. “Good” alone is enough to for you to start.

3. If you have a website, you will get customers/buyers

Design a website

A lot of people when they start out online think that once they are able to create a nice and fancy website, buyers will appear automatically on their site.

This is a sure cause for online business failure.

You see, the amount of competition these days is unprecedented. There are millions of businesses online now.

And everyone is fighting hard to win the attention of customers.

So if you think you’re going to create a pretty website and sit down arms folded and watch sales come in, then I’m sorry.

You are going to get the shock of your life.

According to statistics, It costs upwards of 5-6x as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

If you want to do well online, then you need to consistently produce content that will add value to the lives of you readers.

That’s the only way you’re going to succeed online.

4. Being excessive in making claims

We all fell for this at some point in time.

People who are starting out online are always anxious to demonstrate that their product or service does the magic.

In order to prove this, they end up making all sort of claims, and bold ones for that matter.

These type of claims will most likely do harm than good to your business.

That’s how most online scams sound, so don’t follow that route.

5. Wanting to do everything by yourself can be a cause for online business failure

Do it yourself

This one is very tempting. And a lot of business people i have interacted with admit this mistake.

For several reasons, people who start an online business tend to want to do every single thing by themselves. From designing their website, optimizing it for SEO, marketing, Graphic design, to sales.

Like everything.

But what pushes people to want to do everything alone and by themselves? One major thing is;

Cash– It’s true, when you’re starting out, you might not have a lot of money to be able to hire specialists.

But is that worth having a complete online business failure?

There are things you can compromise just to spare you some few dollars or cedis. For instance, you can create a simple logo by yourself instead of paying for a fancy one. And then use the savings to get cheap services on places like Fiverr.

6. You never want to make Sacrifices

Online business hustle

As i said earlier, starting an online business requires a lot of hard work, energy and dedication.

Have you realized that all sales pages usually end with a disclaimer. That your success solely depends on you and how much work you put in.

It’s true and you should be ready to make a lot of sacrifices.

In order to succeed, these are examples of sacrifices you may need to make;

  1. Discipline yourself to Work in the evenings & on the weekends even if you don’t feel like it.
  2. Temporarily giving up on some of your hobbies
  3. Saying No many times
  4. Skipping occasions

But wait, i am not saying you need to give up on your social life. But sometimes, you need to make these sacrifices just so your business can stand on it’s feet, and distance you from a possible online business failure

7. Promoting product/services so aggressively

When people visit your website, they are not always looking to buy a product or service.

Many times, they are just looking for particular information that will solve a problem they are facing.

So stop filling your website or social media page with promotional materials like you are some newspaper. Even newspapers do better!

Rather, focus your content around addressing the problems of your audience. If you solve a lot of their problems, then they will be more likely to buy the products or services that you promote.

8. Ignoring negative feedback

Negative feedback in online business

You can’t please everyone. This is a fact.

But it pays to listen and take note of all feedback you get when you put yourself out there.

Both negative and positive feed back in one way or the other help you become a better business person.

You can better understand your customers.

It trains you to deliver greater customer service and experience.

And you can get ideas into improving your product or service.

Again, 55% of people search online for reviews and recommendations before buying online.

So if you are able to handle negative feedback properly, your customers are assured that you care about them.

And you will will be on the positive side of the online business failure statistics.

Let negative feedback rather help you better your business.

9. Trying to copy ditto ditto

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. But it’s also not right to pick up someone else’s wheel as yours.

A lot newbies are tempted, for whatever reason to copy other people who they see as successful in online business.

But unfortunately that may be the cause of your online business failure.

Don’t get me wrong. One of the fastest ways to succeed online is by taking inspiration from similar successful businesses.

But never copy. Sooner than later your audience are going to discover you’re not authentic. Or you will probably fall into copyright troubles.

10. You don’t know who you are serving

Basically, when you have a business either online or offline your goal is to provide solutions to people.

And for any business, it is not possible to serve everybody.

Your product or service definitely helps a particular group of people.

That is why the first thing you should determine when starting a business is who you are going to be serving.

If you fail at this, you may be providing content but there will be no one to consume it.

11. Forgetting to stay disciplined

Discipline in online business

Discipline is doing what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it whether you feel like it or not.

People usually start their online business with a lot a zeal and determination.

So they make sure to dedicate a good amount of time working on their business. Like responding to customers, doing market research etc.

Then in no time their zeal and discipline start to dwindle.

They are also carried away by the idea of being their own boss. But without personal discipline, you might be wasting a lot of valuable time.

And end up bringing your business to a crush. Don’t fall into this.

12. Not learning from Existing businesses

In the online business world, you’re probably not the first to start a business of your kind.

And your target audience already have other businesses trying to win them in.

Therefore, when you’re starting at online business, you need to study thoroughly your competition.

Ask questions like;

  • What are they already doing?
  • Are they doing anything wrong?
  • Can i make my own better?
  • Are they serving quality?
  • What about their pricing?

Questions like these will help you understand better the competition in the market you’re entering.

And you will have an advantage of serving those audience better and eventually win them.

13. Failure is the end of life

Online business failure

Failure is a crucial and inevitable part of the lives of humans.

We have all failed in various aspects of our lives. And business is not excluded.

In the words of Albert Einstein, ” One who has not failed has never tried anything new”.

In order to succeed, you ought to pass through several obstacles of which failure is on top of the list.

Oftentimes, your failure is what is going to propel you to your success.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

The fact that you experienced online business failure for the first time doesn’t mean that is the end of your life!

So embrace failure, learn from it, and use it to your advantage.

14. Taking legal stuff for a joke

Don’t get it wrong, because it’s an online business doesn’t mean you can do anything at all.

You will need legal documents too, just like you do in offline businesses.

Terms of service and privacy policies are two of the most commonly prepared legal documents online.

As the name suggests, They regulate the terms and conditions for using a business’s website or mobile app.

It also tells your audience how you are going to use the information you collect about them on your platform.

This builds trust and security and protects you and your audience.

15. Forgetting to connect and network

People are often caught up spending all the time building and running their online business.

But when you ignore everyone else and work in isolation, you miss out on new ideas and possible support.

Rather you should Linkup with like minded people in your industry.

Go for meet-ups, participate in online discussions, join a mastermind group, and hire a mentor if necessary.

16. Relying on a single traffic source

Traffic is what drives any online business. That means the more, the better.

Of course, we are talking about targeted traffic. Because it’s only traffic that finds your product or service beneficial that will likely act to your call to action.

Therefore, don’t just stick to one source of traffic like most people do.

Explore different sources and see which one brings you your next thousand visitors.

17. Focusing on your product rather than the audience

This is a common pitfall of many new online business owners.

They tend to dwell so much on the product or service they’re into rather than focusing on the needs on their audience.

Take this from me. If you focus on your audience and help them solve their problems, you will have no problem getting them to buy from you.

18. Juggling a lot of businesses at the same time

It’s very common mistake that you should try your best to avoid. People tend to want to try every business that comes their way.

Instead of sticking consistently to one business at a time.

19. Buying every single course in the universe

There’s so much information on the internet today that if you’re not careful, you may be overwhelmed.

Everyone seems to be selling that one online course that’s going to change your life. If you are not careful, you will buy every course.

Rather, find a true coach or mentor who knows what he’s a about and stick to him till you succeed in that area.

20. Quitting too soon

Lastly, a common mistake to avoid is to give up. Most people give up at the time their breakthrough has almost manifested.

That is why online business failure rates keep increasing.

Keep working on your business, try new strategies, consult with experts, and you will ultimately find your success.


With the advent of the Internet, anyone can now start an online business and succeed.

If you want to start an online business, then begin today by learning the best ways to build an online business so you can have a better chance of succeeding.

Keep in mind that Just as you read about what to avoid, it is equally important to know what you should do.

By avoiding the 20 mistakes we discussed above, you will start an online business with an upper hand to make it a success.

And you will be part of the 10% who find success in online business.

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