Starting a dot-com business is attractive because it offers liberation from the indentured servitude of a corporate job. There are no long commutes, no office politics, no fixed income problems to wrestle with anymore.

Recipes-for-success books, courses that promise reliable road maps, and live seminars where you can mingle with other dot-com entrepreneurs have become an industry in itself.

Like the early entrepreneurs during the gold rush, many Internet marketers have realized that the best way to make money is not to look for gold but to sell shovels.

What’s the reality behind the chances of becoming a dot-com millionaire, or at least someone who makes enough to escape the 9-to-5 grind of a soul-crushing job? Once you have a business idea and have decided what you’re going to sell, what are your chances of success after you launch an eCommerce website.

Statistically, your chances of success are fairly good. With an estimated 2.5 billion people surfing the web, accessing websites around the clock, you can do very well for yourself.

If only a few people succeed, it’s not because they are chasing a mirage—the opportunity is real enough—it’s because they are not doing the right things in the right order of importance to get the results that they want.

Don’t blame those who sell the shovels for selling you a pipe dream. Perhaps you could have bought a better shovel from a more knowledgeable seller, but that is not the source of failure.

Those who succeed in eCommerce do the right things and those who don’t succeed (unfortunately, a distressingly high number) are those who don’t do the right things.

Let’s take a look at some of the issues that stop aspiring entrepreneurs from achieving their dreams of dot-com financial independence, given that the dream is real and that there are a few good shovels that will work well enough for you to find gold.

The #1 hindrance to eCommerce success: Traffic

Assuming that everything has been setup correctly—from the business idea to the marketing platform–the number one reason why people fail in an eCommerce venture is because of insufficient traffic.

If you don’t have enough traffic, it doesn’t matter if you have a beautiful website, proven products that can change the world, the perfect price point and have done everything possible to poise your business for success.

How to get traffic fast

The best way to get traffic is to use paid search consulting. Adwords are still the best way to get traffic. It’s like turning on a faucet. Traffic shows up at your website on demand. You can even increase or decrease the amount of traffic at will.

Unfortunately, there is a catch. While Adwords appear deceptively easy to use, the naïve advertiser is often liable to do all the wrong things consistently enough to have a negative ROI and lose the capital they set aside for advertising.

When you go into a battle for the first time, you need to have a Ninja warrior by your side. A seasoned marketing professional has often handled millions of dollars of clients’ funds and has the knowledge, skill, and experience to propose proven strategies and realistic tactics. They know how to make your money make money.

Other traffic strategies

When newbies look for traffic strategies, they believe that free traffic or low cost traffic is the best way to build their business.

Initially, they buy Internet Marketing courses that go into great detail about how to get traffic by putting up YouTube talking head videos, writing articles for article sites, befriending people on social media, and joining in lively forum discussions with some sage commentary.

Although these methods do work, they are labor intensive and they often take a long time to work. Traffic-getting becomes the entrepreneurs’ main focus and takes up all their time. Consequently, they are not able to build out their business by improving copywriting, increasing product development, and enhancing customer service.

Impatient with their slow progress, they then turn to low-cost traffic sources that charge cheaper rates like solo ads and buying traffic from list builders. These are even less likely to work than free traffic because the entrepreneur has not built up a relationship with the audience.

So, other strategies do work, but they require time and patience to build enough momentum to create significant traffic.

Why many eCommerce businesses fail

The number one reason why 97% of new eCommerce businesses fail is because they don’t have enough traffic. If they don’t succeed after they have solved the traffic problem it is because they have not set up their business in the right way and have failed to win consumers’ trust.

Here are 3 of the most common platform problems:

1. Poor implementation of ideas taught by experts on Internet marketing. Assuming that you buy the best courses and read the most popular books and work with the most reputable paid mentors, you can still fail if you don’t apply all the things you’ve learned.

2. Poor copywriting on the website. Words sell, and if visitors come to a poorly written sales page, they will not buy, and if they land on a poorly written landing page, they will not subscribe.

3. Poorly designed websites. Unattractive websites with poor usability features and inadequate functionality will not interest people in buying.

How to do all the right things

You can join the 3% who succeed in eCommerce by doing what the remaining 97% fail to do. Don’t rush the launch. Lay out some substantial ground work including a great website that actually works, inventory, seo, content marketing, social accounts, payment options, feedback platforms etc.

Learn how to build a solid platform that has all the right elements in place, sell a product or service that is in high-demand, and get enough traffic to progressively build your business.