Why you should treat your business like one

This post was written in La Defense, France’s business quarter (Pic by Bertranddo)

Internet marketers (IMers) are an odd group of people. Outside the IM world nobody truly gets what we are doing (did you ever try to explain IM to your friends?).  Some of us are millionaires while others are just starting out, but one common trait to all IMers remain: we BELIEVE in the dream that Internet Marketing can bring us true financial freedom.

Entrepreneurs at heart

It came to me that IMers are entrepreneurs at heart, we just don’t understand entrepreneurship (I’ll explain that point in a bit). We start with literally nothing but the belief that it is possible to make money from home, work when we want, and provide for all our friends and family.  And thinking that we can start with little input is the problem, or should I say, the challenge.

The odd thing with IMers is that we believe (or are led to believe) that we can get untold and instant riches, without any considerable time or financial investment. I too believed it at first, but the more I reflect on this business the more I realize that this is a major misunderstanding: nothing is neither easy nor free in life.

That is if you intend to build a real business which will provide for you in the long run of course.

Time, money and the right information


Listen to the companion podcast (pardon me for the background noise, I was attending a De La Soul concert when recording this)

The first two determining factors in making a business work are time AND money.

Time because a great deal of your time should  be spent on strategizing. Do you know what your exact objectives for this new quarter are? Do you know wher your business will be in 2 years time?

Coming up with satisfactory answers to these questions and following up takes a lot of time. You also need to dedicate some of your time to honing your business skills and networking with peers in your industry.

Consulting with financial advisors, incorporating and analyzing your sales volumes are also tasks that only you can tackle.

All this strategic part of your business can not be outsourced or purchased. You are the CEO and it’s your job to make sure that your business has a true purpose, and if you are ambitious enough, outlives you.

The second factor that comes into place is money. You will need some to pay yourself a decent salary, cover your marketing costs and pay your employees, or at first outsourcers.

There are different ways to manage cash flow in your business. You can start with what is commonly called cash from operations (the money your business makes) or with start up capital. Either way you will need to make some sacrifices in the early years in order to get running.

And third, having the right information is what will make or break your business. Actually I would even go as far as to say that the right information is more important than how much time and money you have.

Now having the right information has a cost in our knowledge-based society. You might need to take managerial classes from a local college, or to hire a personal coach to give you directions.

Or if you are lucky, you might know someone in your entourage who has a lot of business acumen. You might want to consult with that person, since the information he or she holds may be incredibly beneficial for your business.

We just don’t understand entrepreneurship

Having specific and realistic objectives is a must.

The problem with IMers in my opinion is that we just don’t understand (nor take the time to understand) what business truly is.

We often have wild dreams about making lets say $2k per month. But do we ever reflect on what does this figure represent for our business and at which point it will be profitable enough to really enjoy this evasive IM dream?

Let’s think about what making $2k a month really means for a second:

——————————————

Expenses

Hosting 10
Advertising  100
Autoresponder 20
Other business apps 50
Outsourcing (articles/graphics/etc.) 200
Salary 1000

Total expenses 1,380

Income
2,000

Balance
$620

——————————————

And these are very conservative figures, we didn’t even take taxes, hiring an accountant, or other costs like renting offices, buying PCs and software licenses etc. into account.

So as you can see just to run that first month of operations it took us $1,380 with a very low salary of $1k/month.

And we usually have to spend money on traffic, outsourcing and our salary upfront to get our revenues to the $2k level. That means we do have to shell out some money and leave on $1k a month for a while… which is not enough to leave the IM lifestyle unfortunately.

And to add to this the proceeds from the first month do not even finance the next month! This means that we are now face to face with a business and we need to start planning out to avoid future disappointments.

A word from Bill (gates)

Bill Gates used to say that he wouldn’t sleep peacefully at night until there is enough cash in his business to finance one full year of operations.

So at this rate we would need about $24k to get this business off the ground and to plan for one year worth of expenses,  unless we focus on extremely high yielding activities.

And even if you are financing your biz with cash from operations, and you make let’s say $10k a month, it will stay take a bit of work (and a great deal of planning) to make your business work in the long run.

So yea, my point is that anyone who loves IM for what it is, the freedom and great lifestyle should take some time off to think about this more like a business and less like a sidekick pocket-money activity.

Treat your business right and it will reward you and your loved ones many time over and for years to come,

To your IM success,
bertranddo

P.S. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Do you think internet marketing should be treated as a business? Or do you think of it as a simple additional stream of income and that we don’t need to think that far?