My first year as a Cyberpreneur was a steep
learning-curve. I was an academic before
starting an online business, so I had a lot to learn.
But even if you were in offline-business before going
online, you may still have to learn some new skills
-online business is a whole new ball-game. Here are
some of the things I learnt in my first year in Cyber
(1) Be careful who you register your domain with.
Some domain name registrars make it very difficult to
change your web host.
I registered my first two domains with a registrar
that caused me more headaches than I care to think
When I needed to transfer one of my domain names to a
new web host, my original email address had changed. I
was no longer able to send them an email from that
address and so I couldn’t authenticate my request for
So I tried to update my personal record with my new
email address. I got a message saying that I could
only change my email address by sending an email from
my original email address (which no longer existed).
This bureaucratic nightmare went on for 4 weeks. To
add to my frustration, I was communicating with a
machine, not a human being. By the end of that time I
had no less than 35 computer-generated emails telling
me that my domain could not be transferred.
Finally, I sent my request for domain transfer in a
5-page fax, including photocopy of my passport. They
then sent me an email saying my request for domain
transfer could not be processed because my request was
not on company letterhead.
So I designed a letterhead and re-submitted the 5-page
fax. Finally, 6 weeks after my first request, my domain was
To avoid this kind of experience I recommend you use
Using their online Domain Manager, it took me less
than two minutes to transfer my domain!
(2) A slow-loading index page is still one of the
main reasons that online businesses lose customers.
Surveys show that the average surfer will wait no more
than 8 seconds for a web page to load before moving
onto another website. So ‘load-time’ is a vital
consideration when you choose a web host.
Below is a website that allows you to check the load-time
of a web host:
(3) Once you’ve designed your home page and uploaded
it to your server space, check to see what it looks
like to other people. What you’re seeing may not be
what other people are seeing.
I once designed a home page I was very proud of – I
Then one day I checked my home page at Anybrowser.com.
I was horrified to see that my home page was invisible
except for my company logo and the navigation bar. For
two weeks it had been virtually blank to most
visitors! So take a minute and look at your website
through your visitors’ browser:
(4) If a customer asks you for a refund, give it to
them immediately, even if you think it’s unjustified.
You’ll be out of pocket by a few dollars, but your
name and your integrity will be intact. Your good name
is perhaps your most precious commodity on the
Internet. Remember these words from Shakespeare:
“Who steals my purse steals trash;
’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”
(Othello, Act III. Scene III.)
(5) Reply to emails quickly. Nothing impresses me
more on the Internet than a rapid response to a
business enquiry. Try and respond within 2 hours, or
at least within 24 hours.
(6) Never reply angrily to abusive emails or flames.
People who send flames want you to reply, but there is
nothing to be gained by replying. An abusive email can
be very disturbing, but the best thing to do is ignore
it. Better still delete it – that way you remove it
from your life and you remove the temptation to reply.
(7) Lastly, never give up. Most successes are due to
“Nothing in the world can take the place of
persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common
than unsuccessful men of talent. Genius will not; the
world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and
determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press
on’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of
the human race.” (Calvin Coolidge)