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20 Things to be Thankful for as an Online Entrepreneur

By:     Topics: Entrepreneurship

Every day of the year is a good day to be thankful.

People who feel grateful have “more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not” according to a scientific study in the Wall Street Journal.

On that note, I would like to share with you the 20 things that I’m most thankful for as an online entrepreneur.

#1 My Mistakes

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

Since I first became an entrepreneur two years ago, I’ve made hundreds of mistakes.

I wish I’d made more.

Even though my mistakes have cost me lucrative clients and long hours, they’ve also been necessary in order for me to learn and continue on my path. I wish I had made more because that would mean that I would have been pushing myself harder and learning more rapidly.

Yes, I would prefer to do everything perfectly the first time through. But that’s impossible. Instead, I’m thankful for my mistakes because they’re the stepping stones to success.

#2 The Internet

The Internet has made entrepreneurs more powerful than ever before. We can start virtual storefronts that never close and training programs that educate people while we sleep.

And if somewhere along the way we need help, we can always just Google it.

#3 PayPal

I don’t know if PayPal truly is the “world’s most-loved way to pay and get paid,” but I can say that it’s the world’s most popular. PayPal has become the international standard for online money transaction.

PayPal’s popular enough that it’s usually safe to assume that people you’re doing business with online will have an account through the site. I’m thankful for PayPal because it makes billing clients from all over the world a breeze.

In the last year, about 75% of my business revenue has come through PayPal.

#4 Being Able to Work from Anywhere

This summer, I went on tour with my band for about four weeks. While my bandmates all had to take work off entirely, I was able to manage my video business over email and write for Income Diary.

Working and maintaining an online business while traveling isn’t easy. Sporadic access to Internet, electricity, and your own personal energy means that productivity can be difficult to come by. Still, some entrepreneurs (like Cody McKibben) adopt the “digital nomad” lifestyle and run their businesses while traveling the world.

Someday, I’ll follow in Cody’s footsteps. Until then, I’m just thankful that I can get up and go whenever I want without having to quit my day job.

#5 Business Partners and Employees

Entrepreneurs don’t have to be lone wolves. Working with great people can be the most satisfying part of any job.

#6 Wikipedia

The first time I heard of Wikipedia, I thought it was silly. How could an encyclopedia be trusted if anyone could edit at any time?

My opinion sure has changed in the last ten years.

Today, Wikipedia is the world’s most comprehensive, up-to-date, and popular encyclopedia. I use it as a resource while researching nearly every article for Income Diary. Of course, I still check Wikipedia’s citations to make sure that the information is correct.

In addition to being a great resource, Wikipedia operates entirely without ads. They ask for donations every year in order to keep Wikipedia free and ad-free. If you’re as thankful for Wikipedia as I am, consider donating this year.

#7 Inspiration

Entrepreneurs are full of ideas. When the right idea strikes, it can keep you up all night imagining the possibilities.

While I’ve written previously about the importance of sticking with one idea and following through with it, I’m still thankful for every new idea I get. There’s a heady exhilaration to brainstorming a fresh business idea – and few things in the world are more fun.

#8 New Challenges

“Variety’s the spice of life.”
William Cowper, English Poet

Most of my friends have a 9-to-5 job – and while they all take pride in what they do, they all have the same complaint too:  it’s the same thing, day after day.

Online entrepreneurs don’t have this problem. Their agenda on any given day changes depending on what stage of development their business is in. One day, they’re a writer, the next they’re a developer, and the day after that they’re a marketer, speaker, or custom support provider.

Wearing all these different hats is enough to make your head spin. And to be quite honest, sometimes I’ve craved the consistency of “normal” day job. But in the end, I love that my job as an online entrepreneur presents me with a fresh challenge every day.

#9 Social Networks

Social networks have revolutionized the way that we find out about new ideas and they’ve made it easier than ever for the right idea – the right product, business, or website – to gain a huge audience overnight.

#10 An International Market

I run a service business and one of my favorite things about running it online is that it gives me access to a worldwide marketplace of potential clients.

Just last week I got an email from a company based out of Hong Kong and within 48 hours I was on Skype with them discussing a potential video project. This is the type of opportunity that would never have been available to me only a few decades ago.

This international market has lead to more clients for me, but that’s just the beginning. Many entrepreneurs hire full-time employees from nations where the cost of living is far less and they’re therefore able to pay lower wages. Of course, if you’re selling a product, it’s also nice to have worldwide customer-base.

#11 Skype

Email is a great way of communicating online, but it has its limitations.

When I’m looking to get to know a client better quickly and to truly understand their project goals, there’s nothing better than a face to face conversation. Skype makes that possible even when my client works halfway around the globe.

Just as Paypal is the online standard for payment, Skype is the online standard for telecommunication. If my client engages in online business, it’s pretty safe to assume that they have a Skype account. In that case, having a meaningful back-and-forth is as easy as exchanging Skype ID’s and agreeing upon a time to chat.

Skype is also a great way to stay connected with long-time business associates. Michael Dunlop and I will occasionally check in over Skype and discuss my most recent Income Diary article or an upcoming business prospect. Setting my status to ‘available’ every once in a while is a great way to keep my business network healthy.

#12 Passive Income

In interviewing twenty of the world’s top online entrepreneurs, I was very impressed with how much money these people were making while they slept. Sure, it took years of work to build their online empires. But once up and running, some were making thousands of dollars a month without any regular effort on their end.

Since my business is as video service provider, I’m still working very hard for every penny that I earn. But the potential to one day earn a healthy stream of passive income is one of the most appealing aspects of being an online entrepreneur.

#13 Risk

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

Muhammed Ali

Starting a business is a risky venture. There’s no guarantee you’ll ever turn a profit. If you do, you’re still just one wrong move from your business unraveling before your eyes.

Of course, with great risk there also comes the possibility of great reward. Personally, I’m thankful for the entrepreneurial risk in my life. It keeps things interesting, gets my adrenaline pumping, and often brings out my best performance.

#14 Learning

The older I get, the more I love to learn. Unfortunately, I’m no longer in school so I don’t get to sit in class all day any more.

Thankfully entrepreneurship gives me opportunities and incentives to learn every day. Online business is complex and always changing. Even if I mastered every skill tonight, I would wake up tomorrow with more to learn.

Entrepreneurs learn quickly because they often put themselves in positions where they have no choice. As Roy Ash, said, “An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

#15 Adobe Software

Since being founded in 1982, Adobe Systems has been creating much of the world’s best multimedia and creativity software including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and After Effects.

These complex and powerful programs enable an individual to produce professional-quality images, designs, videos, and books – all with just their computer.

When I bought a suite of Adobe software for my company just under two years ago, it felt like we transformed from a small partnership into a full-on production studio. As we mastered the software, we became capable of completing jobs in-house that we would have had to outsource before.

If you don’t have any Adobe software, you can download a free trial of any of their programs here.

#16 Flexible Hours

When I was a little boy, I used to stay up all night writing and drawing. When it was time to get up for preschool in the morning, I had to be dragged out of bed.

Twenty years later, I still stay up all night writing and doing graphic design. The only difference is that I don’t have to go to preschool in the next day. I love that entrepreneurship allows me to follow my own body clock, work when I feel inspired, and go out to the park on days when the weather is just too perfect to pass up.

#17 WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform on the Internet for a reason. It’s simply the best way to publish content online. Income Diary is a WordPress site, along with 16.7% of Alexa’s “top 1 million” websites.

#18 Cumulative Growth

A business doesn’t grow in a straight line.

The more clients you get, the more referrals you’ll receive. The more customers you get, the more word of mouth traffic you’ll receive. The more articles you’ve posted to your website, the more traffic you’ll receive month after month.

I love the feeling of building an asset that keeps giving me a better return on investment the more that I put into it.

#19 Friends and Family

There’s simply nothing more important to me, whether as an entrepreneur or as a human being.

#20 The Great Unknown

As an entrepreneur, my life is a blank canvas. I could go anywhere, do anything, fail or succeed at any number of ventures… the possibilities unroll before me endlessly.

I truly have no idea what my future holds. What an adventure!

 

What are You Thankful for as an Entrepreneur?

Let me know with a comment below.

If you haven’t started your own business yet, I recommend reading ’30 Reasons to Become an Online Entrepreneur’.

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