Website How To's

Starting My First Online Business Wasn’t a Walk in the Park

I just talked to a client who was wondering about how I kept my confidence up while developing my 1st website. Great question! It wasn’t easy, especially when it took about 5 months before I found the actual supplier I now use. Can you imagine working on something for that long without seeing much progress? I’ve also been asked how long it takes to get to the top of search engines. This is a pretty loaded question – it really depends on the industry you chose to market in. Aaron Wall, author of a great SEO EBook, has some great things to say about getting ranked in google and how long it takes.

My mentor, Mat Siltala, gave me plenty of good things to do while waiting for a supplier. Everything he taught had the intent to help me move up the search engine rankings sooner than later. He also frequently reminded me that some things are out of my control. Here are 3 of the best things I did to keep my confidence and self motivation up while working on finding suppliers and moving up the rankings in Google:

  1. Sell, Sell, Sell on eBay (and now Although some of you may be gun shy when it comes to eBay, it really is a great tool to help you start seeing money come in. In the first quarter of 2006 eBay had over 190 million registerd users. They had over 500 million new listings in that same quarter, and they made $1.39 million dollars in net revenue. They are for real. They make money, while at the same time giving you every opportunity to make money as well. What are you waiting for?
  2. Record all the “Small Success that is leading to Big Success” in my business journal. This really helped me as a student. I didn’t even really realize why I was doing this “business history” at the time. Maybe it was so I could prove to Mat that I’d done everything he taught me – who knows. What I learned was that writing down the day to day and week to week results on paper really helped me start to “see” what was happening. I could go back and read over things I’d learned in my first mentoring session that, 3 weeks later, seemed really easy. At the time, they didn’t seem easy at all but things were coming together, and I could see it all right before me. Even recording my first 99 cent sale in eBay helped my confidence grow and, as they say, “Success breeds Success!”. If I had any doubt about my capabilites before, they were now gone because I was filling my mind with positive reinforcers that told me “You know you can do this, look what you’ve already done, why would you ever turn back now…” It wasn’t always easy; I had my share of times (even now) where I think, “What am I doing?” but looking back at all the progress I’d made always helps me re-commit and take steps in the right direction.
  3. Ask lots of questions, strive to understand as much as you can, and then put to practice what you’ve been taught. First off here, if you don’t have a mentor, get one. The majority of highly successful people didn’t do everything on their own – they learned from those that have been there and done that. I worked with a great mentor who I feel taught me a lot of what I know about eCommerce and SEO. I’m sure some of the questions I asked my mentor and the other resource advisors at Prosper were added to a list of “Nate’s Stupid Questions” but honestly WHO CARES! If I wouldn’t have asked the “stupid” questions back then, I’d still be pretty “stupid” about all this stuff today. As I tell clients all the time, “The only ‘stupid’ question you’ll ask is the one you don’t ask.” It drives me crazy when I look at the history of a client and see that they have never asked any questions. Nine times out of ten I could predict without talking to the client that they are not satisfied or happy with the results they AREN’T getting. Why? Because they were afraid to ask the questions that would have taken them to the next level.

So, to some all this up, I encourage you all to EXPECT SUCCESS! If hundreds of thousands of others have seen results with their online businesses, why not you?

10 replies on “Starting My First Online Business Wasn’t a Walk in the Park”

Hi Nate. 2 weeks into the Prosper course on e-commerce-getting very confused from information overload. Your group coaching session was very helpful in getting me back on track. Came to your website and printed out some of your blogs to keep me focused. Some people are better than others at this info stuff. Thank you very much for your very motivating comments.

Hi Nate,
Thanks for these reminders for us beginners. I personally appreciate all the help you, as an experienced e-Commercer (Is that a word?) have given me. I am trying to put this knowledge to work every opportunity I have, which hasn’t been much lately, but I’m hoping things will quiet down here so that I can devote more time to building my online business.


Thanks for your comments. One of the keys to the success of an online business, or any business for that matter, is perseverance. You have to keep on keeping on! The best thing about an Internet business that I’ve seen is the minimal costs to keep it running. If you’re ambitious enough and creative, you can pay for your online business with ebay and craiglist sales. But don’t just be satisfied with that – keep chipping away at it and you will see results more and more all the time.

We sometimes forget that nobody was born a business person, or endowed with intuitive knowledge on how to start and run a successful ECommerce business. Thanks for sharing a few of your struggles. I can definitely see the importance of “journaling” your history.



The above people seem to all be stuggling…that kinda scares me being new to the buisness of ecommerce.

We all had to start somewhere Kimberley. The fun thing about building a business is seeing the day to day progress you can make as you set goals and work at things. EXPECTING SUCCESS is one of the biggest keys to success in anything. Welcome to building an online business!

I am so not into computers. My generation had a computer that filled an entire room, “hello”. I am gaining so much confidence with the step by step, little by little approach to the world of internet selling. Nothing can stop me now.

Hi, we’re still struggling with all of this but we’re not willing to give up. You have help us more in the last few weeks that the other counselors did in five months.

Good to hear from you Brook and Jesse. Building a business, whether online or offline, is not necessarily “easy” but the benefits far out weigh the difficulties. I’m glad I can help you open up new doors that can take your businesses to new levels. Keep the questions coming and remember, the only “dumb” question you ask is the one you don’t ask. Talk to you soon.

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