Why Is It Hard To Start An Online Business? Top 7 Factors

Starting a business online provides many opportunities to find more customers. So why is it hard to start an online business?

It’s due to not focusing on the right things, a lack of planning and not being consistent in creating content, which takes a lot of time and effort to put in.

In that case, they may as well be setting themselves up for failure. In this article, I’ll go over seven reasons why people struggle with starting their own online businesses.

  1. Reasons That People Struggle With An Online Business
  2. Choosing A Broad Niche
  3. Creating Content For The Wrong Audience
  4. Not Conducting Proper Research
  5. Not Listening To Potential Customers
  6. Having Short Time Horizons
  7. Lack Of Consistency
  8. Not Being Authentic Or Original

Reasons that people struggle with an online business

Similar to a business offline, an online business is not as simple as you think. Many people think it can be done quicker with instant results.

An online business has a lot of potential for growth; however, it has similar stands to what a physical business has, such as a brick-and-mortar store. 

There are no guarantees that your website or social media channels will succeed. With that, let’s lay out some reasons people find it hard with an online business.

Why is it hard to start an online business? This is a graph on some common reasons it's hard to start an online business.
Source: notimekillers.com

Why Is It Hard To Start An Online Business?

It’s due to not focusing on the right things, a lack of planning and not being consistent in creating content, which takes a lot of time and effort to put in. They may as well be setting themselves up for failure. Let’s review seven reasons why people struggle with starting their own online businesses.

Choosing a broad niche

Oftentimes, picking a niche that’s too broad can make it difficult to compete online. Many people choose a popular niche, but often fail when they don’t narrow it down.

You can pick the broadest or oversaturated niche out there, but you may fall short of succeeding in that niche. Let’s give a few examples of some broad niches, and then narrow them down further:

Fitness and exercise

This topic is very common because there are so many fitness blogs and programs online. Every other person in this niche claims to be a fitness guru, and you should take their advice for granted.

You don’t want to go down this route, as you’re going to sound like all the other gurus. The key is to differentiate yourself from the other experts while proving to your audience you’re a trusted authority in that niche.

So rather than going too broad about exercise, break down this niche further.

For example, if you happen to be of middle age, you can discuss cardio and resistance exercises for men over the age of 50. You can also do the same for women over the age of 50.

This one is a basic example of narrowing down a niche because you’re going over a specific exercise to a target age group. That’ll make it easier to focus on something in a popular niche.

Why is it hard to start an online business? It's important to target the right audience for your niche.


Dieting is another one of those areas that can be too saturated. If you want to break that area down further, you can go over specific diets such as the keto diet.

Rather than cover the keto diet for all types of people, maybe narrow it down to a keto diet for college students.

It’s possible there are young adults (particularly in college) who are interested in eating healthy. In that case, if you fall in the age group, you can be helpful and share tips on eating better through the keto diet.

It’s good to narrow down your audience because you can’t be everything to everyone. Narrowing down a niche and targeting a specific group is easier.

Best tip: Choose a niche that interest you, followed by narrowing it down to a specific aspect

Creating content for the wrong audience

While not intentional, people may create content for the wrong group. Your niche website may not be related to the audience you’re targeting.

For example, your niche may be vegetarianism. While the intent is to write about vegetarian diets, you may write some posts on meat. 

This one is a good example- what’s the point of selling steak to a vegetarian? That’s not going to work well, and that may turn away some readers.

Another example could be a niche focused on mental health for young adults. But somewhere in between, you start creating content around politics. That’s a complete change in topics and one where it can turn off a lot of people.

Not conducting proper research

Not doing your research can make it challenging what to write about, or who to target. Understanding your niche better helps, such as reading articles online, talking to experts, and so forth.

If you’re not targeting the right audience as mentioned earlier, it’ll be more challenging to succeed in business. When thinking about your target audience, focus on who you want to help solve their problems.

Another thing to do is conduct keyword research. If you’re looking to use search engine optimization (SEO), finding the right keywords is crucial to getting ranked and having people find you online.

Keyword research is essential to having a successful online business. Picking the right ones can make or break your business: if you can master this skill, you’ll do very well getting discovered on the internet.

Not listening to potential customers

While not intended, people don’t often listen to their customers. For example, not taking in feedback for improvements, or how your business can do better.

Although not required, getting that type of feedback is needed to improve. One question may be to consider what content they want to read. 

The best thing to do is not be arrogant, or think that you know what your potential customers want to read or watch. If you do that, it can backfire down the road.

Why is it hard to start an online business? One thing to avoid doing is ignoring what your customers would like to see in your services.

Having short time horizons

Often, I see people having short time horizons in order to see results. For example, some people think they can have a profitable business up and running in the next 30 days; however, that’s not realistic.

The truth is it takes much longer to see the desired results. It also means it takes a lot more hard work and effort to see those results happen.

For anyone looking to earn their first dollar online, it can take three-six months before that comes in. To see massive success, it can take a couple of years to see a business take off and grow exponentially.

Some people I interact with through online forums tell me that it can take two-three years to see their efforts pay off from early on. So believe me when I say that: It takes time- there is no such thing as “overnight success” (unlike you’re lucky enough to win the lottery).

Best tip: Build a business for the long-term, not a quick fix to solve immediate financial problems.

Why do most online businesses fail?

The two biggest reasons are too much competition and targeting the wrong audience. Along with creating poor, low-quality content, it can set people up for failure down the road.

Lack of consistency

Not being consistent with delivering content to your readers brings little to no results. If you write articles for a blog, the best example would be to write two-three posts a week. The same goes for creating videos to post on a YouTube channel.

If you want to build an audience (get readership), being consistent with content delivery is necessary. It doesn’t help with posting articles/videos for one week and then not doing it again for a few months.

I’ve learned that success comes from being consistent, so make sure you live up to your commitments. The more often you do it, the better it will be for long-term business growth.

Why is it hard to start an online business? Being consistent with publishing content is necessary for business growth.

Not being authentic or original

One of the worst things you can do is try to be someone else, or compare yourself to others. That can be in the form of duplicating content from other websites or creating content that’s low-quality (or doesn’t make sense).

When building a business of any kind, we want to be ethical and honest when giving out helpful information. If we mislead or lie to others, that can backfire on us later on.

The worst thing that can happen is to lose trust and credibility with others. If you have people who have read or watched your content, there’s a chance you may lose them over time.

Not being original with your writing

I’ll give the example of artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools- they’ve been very popular over the last year. Although they do help in some manner, I’m not the biggest fan of them. 

I’m not crazy about the idea of having an AI generator do all of the writing for me when it’s not my own work to take credit for. Especially if the writing looks “too good to be true”.

I think AI writing tools can help at times, but you shouldn’t use them to replace your content creation. It’s why I’m an advocate for writing naturally: If you practice it over and over again, you’ll be a much better writer. 

Along with that, you’ll also be yourself at the same time. It’s important to go back to staying true to what you know about your subject matter.

Best tip: When doing business with others, be yourself. Do your best, be honest, and be sincere in helping others solve their problems.

What is the best approach to starting an online business?

People think they can take shortcuts to make a quick buck here and there. But, it takes time and effort to see that work pay off.

It’s best to avoid these mistakes, as they can be costly over time. There are programs online that focus on starting a business. 

However, not all of them are great (or promise what they tell you). It’s why I recommend one platform that will take you to step by step to building an online business. You will learn the basics of how to start and grow your business online while avoiding these common mistakes.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out my top recommendation to get on the right path today. The best part is you can try it for free before continuing on with the next training lessons.

Final Words

There are a lot of mistakes people make when going down the online business route. Starting an online business is not difficult, but it’s possible to do it the proper way.

If you can avoid the mistakes discussed earlier, it’s possible to thrive in the online world. If you’re interested in going in the right direction, have a look at my top recommendation today. 

Your Turn: What problems do you face in an online business?

I would like to get your thoughts on this question. Do you have an online business at the moment?

If so, did you struggle when starting out? Did you happen to make these mistakes along the way, or similar ones?

What have you done better to overcome those problems? Have you seen improvements in your business growth?

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

2 thoughts on “Why Is It Hard To Start An Online Business? Top 7 Factors”

  1. Very well written and it actually made me worry about my niche being too broad myself. It was easy to jump in and kept me reading more and actually absorbing it fairly easily. 

    I have done a ton of research on affiliate marketing. I was always led to believe you could be making 6 figures within your first year and only work a few hours a week. 

    You kept to the honest side of things and let your audience know you have to put in the work to EARN!

    Kevin and Son

    • Hi,

      No matter where you’re at in the stages of business growth, you have to put in the time and effort to make it pay off. If you don’t do that, it’ll be much harder to see the desired results you want.

      A lot of people don’t see massive success (or have their “ah ha” moment) after their first year. I’m someone who can attest to that, as it does take longer to see the work pay off.

      You’re right to point out about putting the work in to earn it. There’s no doubt about that.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- they’re greatly appreciated.


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