Small Business Owner: How To Fail At Running Your Business

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We often read and hear about on-line small business owners and their ‘overnight successes’.

…especially when someone is trying to sell their latest product or when someone is promoting someone else’s product as an affiliate.

They often tell you how much income they are making…TODAY.

And their income today may be true.

But they VERY RARELY tell you how long it took for them to get to that stage.

It took me 3 years of part-time hours working on my own on-line business and today…I do make a living. I do make a decent income to live a comfortable life.

But was it an overnight success?

Of course not!

When we read and hear about on-line small business owners and their ‘overnight successes’, we think, “Wow…they make it seem so easy”.

And it can be…albeit not overnight.

In this short blog expert series I’m going to discuss why people fail at running a successful small business.

Here’s the first reason:

Being Overwhelmed

To run a successful on-line small business there is a huge amount of information to know and understand.

And all that information can be found on-line.

You’ve read all these different blog posts, downloaded loads of free reports…perhaps even purchased a few e-guides or courses (which are now collecting dust on your hard drive or book shelf).

And before you know it…you are overwhelmed.

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed…and I’ve been there!

I’ve invested thousands of dollars in courses, mentors, e-book…all sorts.

Some excellent, some not so good and I have to admit…some I’ve never even looked at!

Yep…I have courses and guides on my PC hard drive that I’ve never even opened.

You may find that hard to believe or you may even empathise with me. I’m sure I am not alone.

Why have I never opened them?

I like the look of the product or guide, buy it and think…I’ll look at it later.

…and never do.

The action to look at them goes to the bottom of the priority list.

But I haven’t purchased any major courses or guides for a while that I haven’t used.

I learned from my mistakes.

All the courses that I have collecting dust must be at least over 2 years old…so am I ever going to look at them?

I doubt it. I just need to spend an afternoon going through them.

In fact, while writing this post…I’m made a task to complete this week. Look at the courses / e-guides I’ve not opened and either delete or use them.

When you become overwhelmed you also become stressed and take less action. You just don’t know what to do next.

The best advice I can give is…

1. Get a white board

2. Write down on the white board what you are going to do today and every other day this week

3. Tick off the actions as you go

Now one of the actions could be ‘learn more about SEO’. That’s fine…learn about it…than add some actions on some of the days to implement what you have learned.

So don’t just learn…learn…and learn some more.

Learning is great…but take action on your new found learning.

In the next post, we shall discuss, one of the biggest issues facing the modern small business owner…look out for it!

You can always subscribe to my rss feed and get notified when I publish the post.

What do you think about ‘being overwhelmed’?

Please share your views in the comments below.

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20 Responses to Small Business Owner: How To Fail At Running Your Business

  1. Chris the Traffic Blogger May 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    Good starting point for anyone trying to make money online with the white board and having a plan. I think that’s the key though, that you have plans and reachable goals when you start out.

    Took me years to build a 10k+ a month business, and most of that time was spent learning the marketing game.

    Keep pushing everyone, once you get it down you really make a killing!

    • Andrew May 4, 2011 at 8:00 am #


      It does take years to get that sort of income. It’s such a shame so many ‘newbies’ believe the hype of “$10k in a couple of months”…I did when I started out!


  2. Wasim Ismail May 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    I guess one of the reasons we buy all these resources and get Overwhelmed, is we become impatient and want to see success more or less straight away. One of the key factors in business is being patent, and staying consistent in what you do.

    • Andrew May 4, 2011 at 8:02 am #


      What you say is right and it is because of the ‘hypey’ sales letters…people still believe them. And when it doesn’t work…then go onto the next ‘hypey’ sales letter and the next and the next…


  3. Dennis Edell May 4, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Oh so true, I’ve written posts on all these topics and will continue to do so.

    One thing at a time…study it, learn it, implement it, move onto #2. 😉

    • Andrew May 4, 2011 at 8:04 am #


      I agree…in the early days…that was so hard to do. Bit like what Wasim said above…I was impatient for results.

      I often thought the next product would be even better!


      • Dennis Edell May 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

        Oh I know, I was there. I was very lucky very early on though as I picked up a mentor…she found me cryin on forum over being scammed.

        • Andrew May 10, 2011 at 1:36 am #

          Does she still mentor you?


          • Dennis Edell May 11, 2011 at 1:51 am #

            Nope, within a year or two she gurutized herself, got big (headed0 and I couldn’t be bothered.

            Dennis Edell@Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..100 Down Thousands to Go!

  4. Amy May 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Time management is tremendously important to a small business owner. I like to make a list at the end of each work day of all the things I need to accomplish the next day – and really stick to it.

    • Andrew May 10, 2011 at 1:37 am #


      That certainly is a good approach. Simple and very effective. I’m surprized many others don’t use the same approach.


  5. Larissa May 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Hi Andrew!
    thanks so much for these useful advises!! indeed I found myself not once learning and learning without taking any specific actions! Waiting for you next post,

    • Andrew May 10, 2011 at 1:37 am #


      The next post is up…I hope you like it!


  6. Sonny May 9, 2011 at 2:37 am #

    When I’m on the verge of “analysis paralysis” or information overload, I remember what I read one day at a forum (ironically, when I was looking for info to analyze): different internet marketers take different paths to success. When you’ve done your homework and picked one logical/sensible marketing plan that suites you, go with that one and stick to it.

    • Andrew May 10, 2011 at 1:38 am #


      …and change your approach if it doesn’t work out!


  7. TrafficColeman May 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Online marketing is all about action..and those who that that action is the ones who benefit from it.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Andrew May 10, 2011 at 1:39 am #

      …as long as you don’t get overwhelmed and take the ‘scatter gun’ approach!


  8. Petra May 10, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    I love the advice you give at the end of this post, to get a white board and make a list of things you want to accomplish each day/week. When I’m feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, close to nothing helps me more than writing down a list of the things I need to get done – and what a sense of accomplishment you get when you actually get those things done and are able to cross them out!

    • Andrew May 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm #


      My white board is one of the best investments I’ve made.

      Listing and ticking them off…feels great.



  1. Small Business Owner: 99% Don’t Do This And Their Business Fails - May 23, 2011

    […] my previous articles on why small businesses fail I’ve mentioned ‘being overwhelmed’ and the fact that the small business owner is guilty of  […]

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