How to start an Online Business
Grasp the power of the internet to make money online and
work from anywhere in the world.
Learn to start an online business in 5 simple steps.
Today, we live in a world where we are all connected like never before. We can text, call, video call, send files, ship merchandise, and even accept payment from anywhere in the world, all at a very low cost. Now if you think about that, those are all the tools you pretty much need to create and run a business. Instead of setting up an old brick and mortar business with office space, cubicles, merchandise, and employees, you can do all of that with a laptop and an internet connection.
Learn how to build a website step-by-step.
Click here to read my Free Tutorial
Major benefits of having an online business
- Work part time or full time – work your own hours to achieve your goals
- Time freedom and financial freedom once you start making money
- Your number #1 asset is your business
- Work hard for something you own – not some job you may lose
- Work from home or from any place in the world with an internet connection
- Low overhead and almost no capital required to get started. The costs to run a website are a few bucks a month.
- No employees required to get started. You can hire contractors/employees later when your business grows. There are a lot of freelancers out there that can get specific tasks done for you for a small fee.
- Not much technical skills or business expertise required to get started. However - obviously the more you learn the more successful you will be. Your skills is what makes you rich, not the money you make. If you lost all your money tomorrow you could start over (given the knowledge and skills that you have) to rebuild your empire from scratch.
Negatives of starting your business
- You are your own boss and need to motivate yourself every morning when you get up – some people may find this hard.
- You need to save for your own pension so you can retire safely and also buy your own health insurance.
- Times are tough in the beginning. It takes time to build a customer base. It is very important not to get discouraged during this phase. Keep plugging away and good things will happen.
5 Simple Steps to starting an Online Business
What do you want to do in life? - What’s your passion.
The first and most important question you need to answer before starting an online business or any kind of business is – what do you enjoy doing. Think of something that excited you as a kid or the different hobbies that you’ve had over the years. Think of something that you really enjoyed doing where you would spend a whole day doing it and it wouldn’t feel like work. Maybe you’ve always wanted to help people by explaining or teaching something. Or maybe you have always wanted to create a product that will solve some kind of problem for people.
I have put together some examples of businesses that you may be interested in starting.
Personal Brand – you can create a personal brand where you establish yourself as an authority on any topic you are passionate about. Once people get to know you after reading and listening to your stuff they may want to hire you on an hourly fee for one-on-one advice. You may be even asked to speak at events if you become really popular.
Coaching – after becoming an expert at something you can start teaching it to others. You can be a coach on any topic, people need coaching and help with many different aspects of their lives. Some examples include:
- Financial Coach
- Health Coach
- Business Coach
- Public Speaking Coach
Affiliate Marketing – You can sell someone else’s product in return for a commission. Just look online for Affiliate / Partner Programs. Tip: If there’s a product that you really like, check to see if the company who sells it has an affiliate or a partner program where you can become a reseller.
Custom Apparel – You can design and create your own T-shirts, hats, underwear, whatever. After you’ve made your clothes, it’s super easy to create an online store to sell them. You don’t need a physical store and can sell 24/7 through your website.
Home Décor – you can start making and selling beautiful décor for the house.
Luxury Items - you can sell high priced luxury items with large profit margins.
Info products/Educational Products – this is kind of similar to coaching. You will create and sell useful pieces of information like courses/e-books or paid access to your website for a monthly fee. The info products you create will help to establish you as an authority on a topic.
E-books – you can sell these on Amazon or through your own website.
Paid Membership Website – You can create a website that requires your visitors to pay a monthly membership to get access to the private members area.
Make a Website
Once you know the general direction you want to take with your business, you need to create your own .COM name and set up a website.
There are 2 things you need to do to create a website.
- Get Your-Business-Name.com - You can get a FREE Domain right now from BlueHost when you sign up to build your website with them. This website is hosted on BlueHost and we absolutely LOVE IT.
- Set Up Your Website - I have written a Step by Step guide on how to set up your website like a professional - Read it Here
Market your website
Marketing your website if probably the trickiest part of running your online business. You really need to understand who your customers are and where to find them. The good news is that they are all online these days and are pretty easy to reach through all the social media channels and search engines.
Here is breakdown of the different ways you can market your site online:
- Design - Make you site beautiful and pleasing to the eye. Don’t leave a bad taste in your visitor's mouth after they land on your ugly site that doesn’t work. Make it simple, clean and easy to read. You can have a nice picture at the top of every page with a header and content below. Don’t get stuck on the design. Just make it clean and simple for now.
- Digital Marketing - Do not use old marketing techniques. Doing things like brochures, flyers and door to door is old and outdated. It requires capital investment into print media and will take up all your time – it may just be the most ineffective marketing campaign you’ve ever run. We are marketing in the new digital age here - forget the way your grandma used to buy things.
- Use social media – after you have registered YourBusinessName.com, go ahead and register the same name across all the popular social media networks. You definitely want to be on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and SnapChat (Pinterest and Instagram are great for business that have a lot of pictures of their products – like a jewelry store or a photography service).The more you post your content across all of these networks, the more eyeballs will see your business and the more exposure you will get.
- Search Engines – After you create content for your website, you will slowly start to notice some free traffic from the search engines. The more content you make the more free traffic you will get. Just make sure that your content provides lots of value to your readers and makes them excited after reading/listening to you. Remember, you are trying to stir up feelings and emotions that will make your potential customers want to buy your product right away. To really get the most value out of search engines you will need to have other websites linking to you. Links from other sites are like votes – the more links from other high quality sites you get, the more search engines will like your site. It’s kind of like getting FaceBook likes, the more people like you the more popular you are. Same here – the more links you get from other relevant websites the faster your website will move up the search results. You can start by creating a couple links back to yourself from your social media pages.
- Paid Ads – This is a really good method to test out your product or service. When you start a website it will usually take lots of time and effort to get natural free traffic from social media networks and search engines. What you can do is run some paid ads on Google or Facebook to get some traffic fast to see if the material you are making is selling. You can create a separate page on your website strictly for paid traffic and see if it's converting into paid customers. They key here is to measure how much money you spent on the ad and compare it to the money you have made from the page you created that the paid traffic lands on.
Start small to test your ideas
Pick a big business idea that you are passionate about and figure out the smallest way to test if it works. You may think that you have the best idea in the world, but only the market will decide if your offer is worth paying for. Test the market! Make a website and get some traffic to it to see if it works. Read my step by step tutorial on how to make a website the right way.
How to test:
- Before you have even created your new product or service, you can create a page about it and collect email addresses of potentially interested people. If no one signs up, then maybe the product you are thinking of creating is not that good. Kind of like KickStarter – if there’s not enough pledges then the product is not in demand and should be abandoned.
- Paid Ads – As mentioned before you can create a page about your product and send some paid traffic to it to see how it performs. Tip: Most people suck at running paid ads. Like anything in life you have to become good at something before it works. Running paid ads is a skill that takes time to master as you learn about your market/customer needs. So don’t give up right away – the reason you may fail is because you suck, not because paid ads don’t work. Just look around at how many other people are running paid ads and learn from them.
- Pick a small niche market and target that market. If you start seeing some good results, you can branch out into other similar markets.
- Create different looking designs for the same piece of content (try different colors and pictures) to see which marketing copy converts better.
Get feedback (but be careful)
You should probably get some feedback from your friends and family and ask them if they would pay for your product. Be careful however, most people do not know anything about business and may tell you that your idea is great when in fact it’s too common and overdone. They may also tell you that your idea is total crap – which could mean you have discovered the next Google or FaceBook and most people just can’t see your vision yet because your idea is too crazy for them. So, get some feedback but be careful. Don’t get discouraged if people don’t see your vision. Ask your friends if they would pay for your new product right now to see if they are serious and are not just being nice.
Also, you want to get feedback from customers. You can never guess what your customer truly likes. You can only figure this out once you start getting some traffic and questions/complaints from your customers. You can also use Google Analytics to see how visitors navigate through your site and which pages they visit – this can give you some insight about their needs and wants.
Once you really know your customers, adjust and shape your business to meet their demands. Be flexible – your customers will tell you what they really want from you.
Don’t waste time – Just get something out there. Figure out the details later when you have more information.