How to be Taken Seriously as an Online Business Owner

"What exactly do you do?" It's a question that I'm asked frequently, and as an online business owner I have trouble explaining exactly what I do without getting some confused looks. I've had people question whether I can create a real, sustainable income off of my online design business, which always leaves me frustrated and a little defensive. Explaining the world of blogging and online business to those who aren't familiar with this industry isn't easy, and I'd be willing to bet that I'm not the only one who has faced this challenge. So after numerous awkward conversations about my business, I've come up with a plan. Here are 3 simple tips and a few helpful facts for next time (because there will be a next time).

How to be taken seriously as an online business owner - Elle & Company

1. Take your business (and yourself) seriously

I've discovered that the more confident I am about my blog and business, the more that others are willing to listen and accept it as a legitimate profession. On the flipside, sheepishness and hesitation makes it difficult for many to take my business seriously. I've learned that if you seem unsure, you're bound to get doubted and questioned. But if you seem confident, people are much more likely to take what you're saying seriously.

2. Create a killer product

No one can argue with a product that meets a real consumer need. Even better, no one can argue with results. If you create a product that meets needs and sells, you will quickly gain respect from others. Frank Sinatra once said, "The best revenge is massive success." While I'm not suggesting that you need to seek revenge against those who question the legitimacy of your business, I do know that success silences doubters.

3. Help others catch the vision 

Casting the vision for your business to others is probably one of the best ways to gain support. Having a 5 year plan is important for your business because it not only keeps things on the right track; it allows others to see the direction your headed in and the thought and intention you're putting into your venture. Gain the respect of others not by explaining where your business is, but by telling them where you believe your business is going.

A few facts

  • 2014's Cyber Monday recorded the most sales ever. Shops are moving online and brick and mortar retail stores are increasingly becoming obsolete. 
  • 83% of online customers are satisfied; people who purchase things online are pleased with their experience.
  • The top businesses begin online, which means that online businesses and blogs are not questionable undertakings. Having an online business is a savvy business decision.

But these are only the tip of the iceberg. These 3 articles further illustrate my point:

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Creating an online business is not something to be doubted or ashamed of. The next time someone asks you that question, "what do you do?" (because they will), you can tell them with confidence that you're an online business owner, let them in on your vision, and provide them with the facts. You never know - they might end up being your biggest fan.