When you look at the statistics of how many people log onto the Internet or social media, you get excited. Never has there been a time with so much opportunity concentrated in one place. Today, you don’t have to send your direct mail flyers or pay for ads in newspapers.

Today, you can pay for a Facebook ad and reach more people than any of your previous efforts combined. For those entrepreneurs who are just starting out, you don’t have to spend a dime, yet you can still grow an audience that will lead to new business.

Reaching the potential billions of people online is easier said than done, however. More than a few entrepreneurs have quit in frustration of the time and effort is takes to build a foundation online. Here are five tactics successful online entrepreneurs use to build a foundation and their business.

1. They create engagement.

These days, you can buy a following if you want to. Twitter followers, Instagram followers and Facebook likes are all for sale. You can even buy email lists but buying an audience is pointless because there’s no engagement. A lot of times, these are people who won’t interact or care about what you’re doing.

Successful online entrepreneurs create a conversation that gets people talking and sharing. When they post content on their website or social media their goal is for their community to interact. That interaction leads to new people checking out what they’re doing and what they have to offer.

You can have a huge following but it’s meaningless if there’s no engagement.

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2. They continue to build their audience.

When you look at why entrepreneurs failed, it was because they were focused on the systems and not building an audience. They were always tweaking their website, releasing another e-book and creating custom graphics on Canva. They did all of the surface things, but they had no audience to see any of these efforts.

There are countless things you can do to help build your business, but they are pointless if you don’t have an audience. Successful online entrepreneurs spend most of their time building their audience through:

These are just a few strategies you can use build your following online. In its simplest form, if you don’t have an audience, go where your audience is and show them why they should follow you.

3. They don’t get sidetracked by envy.

In our day and age, we’re exposed to the success of other entrepreneurs in a public way. It can be a Facebook friend or a podcast you’re listening to, but someone doing what you’re also doing had a victory where you didn’t. Envy starts to creep in and sidetracks you.

When you’re focused on someone or something else, you’ve lost focus on your mission and goals. If someone else is successful, congratulate them and get back to the hustle of building your business. You don’t have time to let envy distract.

Related: Here's Why Your Envy-Inducing Facebook Feed Is All Just a Big Fat Lie (Video)

4. They add undeniable value.

No matter what content they put out, it’s quality. You can get exposure in other places, but when people come back to your website, they should see value. Your best efforts should be spent on the content on your website, email list and social channels. It should be so good people want to tell others about what you’re up to.

5. They are constantly learning.

Information overload is a danger, but successful online entrepreneurs are always learning ways to hone their craft. They focus on learning what will help their next steps, not chasing shiny objects that are the fad of the week.

With focused effort and the right tactics, you can build an online business that gives you the benefit of location independence. You can operate a business you love from anywhere in the world. The goal of any business is freedom. Use these tactics to make that freedom a reality in your life.

The stats on an online business surviving and thriving are pretty grim. Beating the odds and creating a successful business takes time and hustle. When in doubt, focus on building your audience. When you have an audience, you can create products and services based on audience feedback, which is what they will buy the most. It doesn't happen the other way around.

Related: The Foundation for Success Is Learning From Our Failures