Thinking of starting an online business? Think long and hard. Don’t buy into the lies about making fast and easy money online. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not only not easy you can also lose your shirt if you’re not careful.Having said all that it is possible to make serious money online. You just have to be smart about it. To begin with lower you expectations. There is no such thing as getting rich fast online with hardly having to do any work. If you’re kind of lazy and don’t really want to do the work it takes to have a successful business online, or anywhere for that matter, you might as well keep your day job and not bother unless you want to lose a lot of money fast.However, if you are serious about starting your online business read on and consider the following ideas. To be successful in any kind of business adventure you have to focus. Don’t get distracted by other things. It’s easy, especially online. If you are on a bunch of mailing lists I bet that you are getting e-mails in your inbox every day touting the next best thing that can make you fast and easy money online.Get off those mailing lists. On the other hand, if you are strong enough to resist the daily temptations and distractions they present use the emails as a learning tool. Study them so you can use them as future references for your own e-mail campaigns.If you have friends or family members who are constantly trying to talk you out of wanting to start your online business politely asked them to stop. Request to give you the space you need to at least try to accomplish what you have set out to do and ask for their support. That way you won’t offend them, you make them participants in your adventure, and they’ll stop distracting you with their negativity.You probably heard this one already a million times but it’s worth repeating. When contemplating what kind of business you want to start think about what you know, what you like, what it is you can talk about intelligently. You don’t have to be passionate about it. Just know what you’re talking about.If you’re into running, cooking, skiing, basket weaving, etc. go and start with that. My brother-in-law fancies himself a great chef. Personally I think he is a lousy cook but man he can talk about cooking all day long. Is he an expert? No, he sells mattresses for a living, but when it comes to cooking he knows enough to come across as an authority.Here we go with the ol’ Niche thing. Like beating a dead horse, but still tried and true. Going into a niche that you know something about will help you stick with it for the long run. It makes your research much easier since you already know the pros and cons of the products you are selling. Consumers will pick up on that and trust you more knowing that you are an authority on the product you are offering.Now that you picked your niche it’s time to plan. Plan, plan, plan, plan. Without a plan you will be stumbling around in the dark. A plan is like a map. It will show you were you’re going, how far you have come, do you need to make adjustments, do you need to turn around and try another route.When creating a plan set some mile stones. How many websites do you want to have up and when? How many articles will you have distributed to what e-zines by the end of what month? What kind of marketing are you going to do and when is it going to be in place? Setting mile stones will help you stay on track and measure your progress.A word of caution: Having a plan is essential but a plan is just that, a plan. It helps you with direction but don’t be rigid about it. If you need to make adjustment be flexible and make the changes if it seems a good idea.Once you’re all set up, persistence is the key. Stick with the program. Make a schedule of things that need to be done. Especially if you are using SEO to market your products. Being consistent writing articles, doing your Facebook posts, monitoring and tracking your back-links, and of course keeping your website up to date.Realize that this won’t be a smooth ride. Be ready for setbacks but don’t give up. Be persistent and keep moving forward. It’s like taking an ocean voyage. Some days you’ll have smooth sailing and some days the waves will bounce your boat all over the place. There will be successes and there will be disappointments.Celebrate the successes and work on overcoming the disappointments. Don’t get discouraged, keep the overall goal in mind which is to build a long-term, solid, and successful home based online business.And don’t forget to have fun. Life’s too short not to.