People usually think that starting an online business is very easy… all you need, is to create a website, couple of Tweets an odd Facebook post and your customers will come rushing in. In this day and age it could not be far from the truth. Working in the in the online industry has given me an insight where I have seen people come to us expecting just that. Therefore I have decided to write a little bit about some of the myths about online business.

Myth 1

Online business for free

Unlike the other myths I am going to discuss, this one does have a shred of truth. Online business is definitely cheap to start compared to a traditional concrete one. With an online business you can avoid much of the running costs such as rent, rates etc. of the store. In theory it is also true that you can build a business from scratch without spending huge amounts of money (if you are privileged with huge amount of time on your hands and if you are willing to do multiple tasks around the clock).

Look around you, all the online businesses require a website, products/services to sell, effective ad copy, strong social media presence and some sort of customer support.

There are of-course free alternatives to this, (but these demand plenty of work). You could easily sell affiliated products on a free blogging platform such as Blogger, create all content on the site by yourself and maintain all your Social media pages. You could also try drop shipping on eBay or Amazon, this requires no website or investment in inventory.

 But most crucial thing about online marketing is you have to find a way to promote your online business. When you do not own proper domain and website, search engine optimization is next to impossible. Because of that you have to invest heavily on advertising, resulting in increasing costs.

Therefore an online business requires capital investment or a hell lot of your time. For people who have an obligation towards family, jobs classes etc. it is better to consult professional developers for your site compared to the amount of your time you would spend on researching and developing.

Although online business is relatively inexpensive to set up, it’s definitely not without a cost especially your time.

Myth 2

Its Easy now … we have social media

 Although social media marketing is crucial for modern businesses, it is not the key to obtain direct sale. Think of why we log in to social media in the first place. We normally log onto Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks for fun and entertainment, we generally don’t like to be bombarded with advertisements.

Social media more falls within the the branding side of the spectrum rather than marketing. These sites are brilliant for connecting to your target audience, building your brand awareness, and/or for providing easy customer support. It is definitely not ideal for direct selling.

Another thing about any marketing procedure is that it requires precise targeting. You cannot rely on your existing friends, fans or followers to start following or buying into your business. As most likely they wont fall into your target market demographics. You will have to build a new follower list for your business and to do so you have to promote (such as Facebook adverts) or go out and connect with your audience initially so that they start following you on social media.

Myth 3

Few Days of SEO and I am on top

Everyone wants to be at the top of a search engine ranking.  But what people do not realize is that when everyone wants the same thing the competition to get there become intensely fierce. For you getting yourself in the top 10 places on the first page means you have to produce more and better content and promote your site intensely constantly competing with the thousands of contenders who are aiming for the same rank using the same keywords. Getting a fruitful result form SEO is hard but not impossible, it is definitely realistic and achievable but you have to patient and it would require investment of time.

Getting there is only half the battle, but what happens after your website is on the top?  Most people think that if they rank, high automatically they will have more business.  It is a true fact that there is a direct correlation between high rankings and more traffic to your website, but position alone is not enough to drive clicks, conversion or sales or cash. An outstanding website in position 3 or 4 which meets users’ needs more effectively will easily outperform a #1 website with thin content and a poor user experience.

Myth 4

The online business can be automated.

This is a tempting myth that lures many new Start-ups and online entrepreneurs who seek “one push button” solutions. There are many applications and platforms out there which lets you do a lot with a few clicks and tools such as auto responders, subscription manager to help maintain your email list, and use applications to automate many other tasks.

However, the truth of the matter is if you are going to succeed online, you have to take a hands-on approach to things like niche selection, doing market research, writing your content and provide proper customer support. Even if you want to outsource most of the tasks, you must identify exactly which activities will contribute most to your business. Over the time as your business grows, you will be able to automate and outsource a large chunk of your tasks. However, if you try to do this too soon, it will increase your costs and may prevent your business from reaching its full potential.