Are you starting a business for the wrong reason? Are you starting it on false assumptions? It is definitely possible to succeed online — but not if you overlook this deadly trap. Find out how to avoid it and put your business ahead of those that don’t.

Not exactly the title you’d expect from someone who helps new business owners set up successful businesses, is it? Yet a definite danger lurks on the Internet for prospective business owners: the fact that building a business online looks so easy.

My wife checked out a new shopping district that was being built near our home one time. Only half the shops were occupied at that time. The old world look of the shops, though, got her thinking about her long-time daydream of starting her own chocolate shop.

She’s a highly skilled chocolatier who has for years sold her upscale line of chocolates on a small scale strictly by word of mouth. For years she’s daydreamed of opening her own shop in just the type of charming little area growing nearby.

The only thing that stopped her is her own lack of interest in putting aside all of her other interests to devote her whole attention to chocolate-making. When she spots a promising location, she daydreams for a moment. Then she remembers the commitment of money in renting the space, the extra equipment she’d have to buy, the time she’d have to put in, and the intensive planning and promoting she’d have to do to ensure it made money and didn’t turn into nothing more than an expensive hobby.

When your thoughts of starting a business include a physical location, startup costs, devoting specific times to running it, and the number-crunching to determine if you can make a profit, you’re forced to do some genuine planning. The risks are too high if you don’t.

That’s why the Internet can be a dangerous place to start a business. The barriers to succeeding aren’t obvious. You can be tempted to overlook them.

You don’t have to commit hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month to securing a physical location. A few bucks for a domain name and some lost-cost hosting takes care of that.

You don’t have thousands of dollars invested in equipment or inventory. In some Internet business models, you can start without paying a cent for either.

You don’t have specific store hours to keep. You’re free to assume (and many scammers online are quick to assure you) that a few hours of “spare time” will generate a hands-free money machine that requires no further effort.

And with that illusion of easy money, the tough work of planning how you’ll make your business profitable seems totally unnecessary.

Saying that the illusion of no-effort success makes the Internet a dangerous place to start a business, though, does not mean you shouldn’t do it. People succeed at building profitable businesses on the Internet. They’re the ones, though, who put the same effort and planning into it that a prospective business owner would put into starting a brick-and-mortar business.

Plan for your success instead of expecting it to come up and bite you on the butt. Recognize the costs you’ll have to face and the effort you’ll need to put into promoting your business to make it succeed. Become a true businessperson and not just a tirekicker.

You can succeed starting out your business in your spare time, but you have to use that spare time with a purpose and a plan. NowArticle Search, that may sound too hard to those who cling to the dream of no-effort riches. But there’s very little I know that can match the sense of accomplishment that comes from guiding a business through those barriers to profitability. And it’s there for those who are willing to make the effort.

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