Think of some of the big-name online personalities you know and follow. They seem like they can do just about anything, right? They have great ideas, they are marketing wizards, and they have the technical know-how to design and code anything they can dream up. They run million dollar businesses single-handedly, or with the help of an assistant or two. From the outside, they look like one-man bands, handling every aspect of their business like a boss.
But that’s not necessarily the case.
The truth is, the big Internet success stories are rarely the result of one all-knowing, all-powerful, all-capable genius doing everything him or herself. These businesses become successful because their creator has the smarts to realize they can’t do everything. They hire consultants and freelancers. They outsource tasks. Eventually, they build up a team of full-timers, each with their own niche skills to bring to the table.
Even the most famous info-publishers have limitations. They only know so much, and they can only do so much in a day. Not all of them are designers or coders or marketers. You’d be shocked what some of them can’t do! But, what sets the big guys apart from the little guys is that they understand their limits and proactively plan how to work around them.
Let’s take a look at all the hats an Internet business owner needs to wear. When you see how long this list is, you’ll see why it’s nearly impossible for one person to do all of these things themselves.
The Complete Collection of Internet Business Owner Hats
- Idea Hat: Are you able to come up with a creative idea, product or service?
- Strategy Hat: Do you have a solid understanding of the big picture of your product and how you’ll sell it?
- Technology Hat: Are you able to set up your technical needs, like a website, sales page, product delivery process, etc? Can you make it look decent and work correctly?
- Copywriter Hat: Are you able to effectively communicate your product’s value and why someone should buy it?
- Product Manager Hat: Do you have a thorough understanding of what you’re selling and how it provides value to the customer?
- Project Manager Hat: Can you control the chaos and get stuff done in an organized way, even when you’re overwhelmed?
- Teacher Hat: Can you convey information and value to your students through your email marketing and the product itself? Are you able to be a mentor?
- Marketer Hat: Do you know how to get leads, set up email funnels, and turn prospects into customers? Are you able to segment users, understanding who they are and what they want?
- Customer Service Hat: Can you take care of all of your customers’ needs and issues as they arise?
- Lead Generator Hat: Do you know where to go to find new leads and get them engaged with your product?
- Advertiser Hat: Do you know how to set up PPC ads, Facebook ads, and other ads that bring traffic to your website?
- Growth Hat: Do you excel at planning for the long term? Can you create a plan to turn one-time buyers into repeat customers? Do you know how to transform one product into a product library?
- Optimization Hat: Are you able to test and optimize your product and your marketing efforts, always improving the quality of what you offer?
- Sales Hat: Do you understand how to close a deal online?
- PR and Outreach Hat: Are you able to build relationships with affiliates and bloggers? Are you a networking pro?
- Tenacity Hat: Are you able to keep going, take action and stay moving even when you’re frustrated and want to quit?
Take a personal inventory based on this list. Which of these hats are you comfortable wearing? Which hats are you not comfortable wearing?
It’s okay if all of this seems overwhelming. That’s kind of the point! Trying to run a business IS overwhelming. But it’s not impossible.
Think of this list as a partner to our list of software you need to start a business. Every piece of software completes a single task – that’s all it’s expected to do, and that’s okay. You wouldn’t set up a shopping cart and expect it to host your videos, right? And your sales page definitely won’t handle your customer service tickets.
In the same vein, you shouldn’t expect yourself to be a rockstar project manager if what you’re really good at is coming up with ideas. Or, if you’re a super marketer, that doesn’t mean you also have to become a technology expert. It’s okay to be good at one thing, or a couple of things, and get help with the rest.
In fact, it would be insane for any large business to expect its employees to be able to run the entire operation single-handedly. Can you imagine someone at Volkswagen being hired to design the car, build the car, market the car, sell the car, and run the customer service hotline for people having problems with the car? That would be absolutely crazy.
When you’re just starting out, it might make sense for you to try to wear all of the hats. It’s okay to do this for a little while, but when it’s time to grow, don’t be shy about asking for help. It’s okay to outsource. Find freelancers. Find consultants. Get people on your team who are great at something you’re not. That’s how you get stronger and build bigger.
If you really want to stay a one-man band and wear each and every hat, there are ways to do that. (If this describes you, you might also be wearing a Control Freak Hat!) The key is to seek out trusted experts who can teach you the skills you need. Don’t try to wing it. And remember that learning all of these skills will take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day…so don’t get frustrated when you don’t become an optimization guru overnight.
The important thing is to understand what core competencies your business requires, and making sure those competencies are filled – by you, or by others. Don’t be afraid to get the help you need. Be proud of the fact that you’re growing an awesome team! Trust us, even the big guys – especially the big guys – are the first ones to ask for help.