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Starting an Online Business – A Lot Like Starting High School

By: Yvonne A Jones Category: online business

studying for a test Today I reflected on the fact that I came online at the end of 2008 and really started building my business in the summer of 2009.  You may wonder why there’s a gap of about seven months between coming online and really building my business.

Think back to when you graduated from Middle School or Junior High and went on to High School.  In some countries, as in Jamaica, you graduate from Elementary School and go  directly to High School.  In Junior High you may have been a ‘big cheese’; you were on the Honor Roll and in the Top 10 in your grade, or maybe even school.  You may also have been ‘Teacher’s Pet.’

Now here you are at High School and you realize your security blanket is gone!  You realize that in a sea of faces from various feeder schools, you may not see any familiar faces and it feels as if you’re in a foreign land.  Many of your classmates are much older than you are and as the days progress you realize you have a lot of new things to learn and no one has time to spend teaching you individually; you have to learn as you go.  Can you relate?

That,  basically, sums up my first seven months online.  I had been a confident, knowledgeable, and experienced employee, at times supervising others.  I had managed three of my own offline businesses successfully, but it was a different world coming online!

I spent hours in front of my computer and took several courses, some were fluff, some were very good, but  I wasn’t always ready for them because I needed the foundation on which to build first. I finally connected with  a Mentor who guided me, and in August 2009 I made my first affiliate sale.

In my next post on this topic, I’ll share what I wish I had known at the beginning and perhaps it can help someone avoid the anxieties of starting high school again…umm…starting an online business without knowing where to start.

What was your experience when you first started your online business?  Did you have a huge learning curve?  Did you make mistakes, or was it smooth sailing? Please share in the Comments.

7 Comments to “Starting an Online Business – A Lot Like Starting High School”


  1. I love the way you put it together with starting a business and high school. I totally can relate. It looks like you are on your way. Good luck.

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  2. Thanks for coming over and leaving your comments, Shawn. Yes, I hope that these will help someone who’s a newbie to understand that others have been where they are and they CAN get beyond it.

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  3. This is so true. I hadn’t thought of it like that. I still feel like I’m just learning….but every day is exciting and I want to keep learning. Things change so quickly I think I will be learning forever! And that is a good thing!

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  4. Yvonne,

    Starting my online business many years ago was just as you described, moving between exciting and scary. Reading your article reminded me of a times when I was so upset and discouraged because like you I had been competent in the face-to-face environment but felt all thumbs and sometimes foolish on line.

    I remember when I set up a chat in the late 1990’s and the attendees couldn’t see my name or hear me in the chat room, but I could see and hear them wondering what happened to me.

    Another time I had just set up a site to sell products but didn’t even have a merchant account to accept credit cards yet.

    These were both in the days before any of the popular social media sites, Google, Paypal and so many other services we now take for granted.

    One thing we can count on in Cyberspace is change. We must accept that just as we’re getting the hang of the latest new thing, they’ll raise the bar, lower the bar or move the cheese. Embracing discomfort and uncertainty ensures that you’ll succeed.

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  5. That’s a fantastic attitude, Robin. A willingness to learn and adapt is what will get us to our goal. I know a little of your background and tremendous skills, so I know you’ll combine your offline skills with the Internet technology and keep learning. I wish you much success!

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  6. Hi Flora,

    Thanks for coming over and sharing your powerful experiences. They should strengthen the resolve of anyone who wants to start an online business that it may not be all smooth sailing at the outset, but it’s important to stick to it and never give up…And keep learning. Yvonne

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  7. Mark Murray says:

    That is so true. I also remember getting butterflies in my stomach. But at time goes by, you get the hang of it.

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