If you are planning to start online business from home then let me tell you two things.
- Starting a business online is very easy.
- Growing & sustaining an online business is very difficult.
Yeah, I know, I made you happy and worried at the same time. But that’s why I am here, to tell you the reality behind the money in the online world.
If you are under the assumption that you can earn a boatload of cash with an online business then you are right, you can earn that kind of money with your online business. But if you are under the assumption that you will start earning it from tomorrow then you may want to change your assumption.
No matter whether you are starting a 100% online business or taking your offline business online, you will have to these steps. You may be aware of some of them or maybe doing some of these already but I will suggest reading each one of them in this sequence to understand the overall flow. Trust me, you will not understand everything just by reading the headlines.
Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Find Your Niche
Don’t start a generic business that will sell everything from diapers to funeral services. You may diversify later but it is important to stick one niche to focus your effort and channel your resources better.
But Amazon sells everything, why shouldn’t I? you may ask. Well, let me answer that question by answering another question. How many successful companies are there like amazon? 10?, 20?, I bet you not more than 100. There are over 200 million active websites in the world and there are 50 million e-commerce websites out of that. Almost all of them are sticking to one niche except Amazon, Ali Express and a few others. Moreover, Amazon invests millions of dollars in marketing. For sure, you wouldn’t be reading this article if you had that kind of money. You would have started another Amazon by now 🙂
Unless you are already running a business or already decided on a way forward, please don’t skip this step. Do proper research and come up with a few niche ideas for your business. You may start something that you are passionate about. That’s will work best in the longer run. Passion will not let you quit in between. However, focusing on a niche that brings money but you are not passionate about is fine too.
2. Research Your Market
Let me warn you, this is a never-ending task. It is important to set goals and a hard deadline for this task. Once you start researching your niche, you will uncover many hidden aspects and challenges like the layers of an onion.
You will want to cover every aspect of it and create a full-proof business plan before actually starting the business. Trust me, you will write encyclopedias of the business plans but still won’t cover all aspects. There are a few things that you will face when you start running a business and it is better to cross that bridge when you get there.
Set the limited goals for this step. Focus on finding if there is a demand for your business. Analyze your potential competitors who are already there and making money. Analyze if they have missed something that you may focus on or think how differently you will do the same business that they are already doing. Figure out the challenges that you may face and how to overcome those. Plan out how to spend your money wisely so that you can get your business up and running successfully in a short amount of time. Figure out the legal requirements for your business and so on.
Even though I said to set a hard deadline for this task, it is important to be thorough in this phase. This phase is the base of your business. If the base is weak, it won’t be long before your business crumbles down.
3. Make It Legal
Trust me, you don’t want to get in the bad books of uncle Sam (or any uncles of other countries). Depending on your business type, find out the legal requirements of your business and start fulfilling them at this stage. This may take some time to complete. Also, learn about the tax obligation for your business and be prepared for it.
Frankly, I don’t understand all the legal terms. Unless you understand them well, it is always better to get help from someone who does understand it. Once all legal aspects are covered then it is time to build your online business.
Disclaimer: You may have to submit your website for legal proceedings. Even though it is technically the next step, you can start it in parallel with steps 2 & 3. You can submit the basic skeleton of your website.
4. Create A Website
This is your store in the online world. People can access your store 24×7 from any corner of the world. It has to be the best. It should not be created just for the sake of creating it. No matter what type of business you are doing, your website should be simple yet elegant, extremely fast and search engine optimized (SEO).
Even though, I wrote that in just one line, it involves a hell lot of work. This is a technical step. I agree that creating a website isn’t very difficult these days but you want it to be the best. It has a learning curve. So unless you are a technical guy like me or have a lot of time to learn and implement, I would suggest outsourcing this step.
Test your website thoroughly. You don’t want any goof-ups with payments or delivery once your business goes live.
5. Create Social Media Content
Now that your online shop (aka website) is ready, it is time to appoint a few agents who can get customers for you. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter are those agents for you. These platforms will be responsible for getting traffic to your website. You can start this step in parallel with step 4.
Now is the time to create the content on all these platforms. Create a substantial amount of content on these platforms so that people will think of your business as an authority in the niche that you have chosen. Remember your business is still not earning any dollar. It is still in the setup phase. It is not launched officially for the world outside.
6. Create A Business Launch Campaign
Once you have completed the above steps, it is time to launch your business. Launching your business is similar to launching a blockbuster movie. You need to create hype about your business. Update your website with coming soon banner. Put a count down timer of the launch.
Now is the time to run a paid brand awareness campaign. Create product launch offers for the launch day. Create referral offers to spread the name of your business. Use all possible social media platforms to market your business launch.
Increase the hype each day and grandly launch your business. Congratulations, your business is officially live and in the position of earning dollars for you.
7. Drive Traffic
After the initial launch of your business, it is important to keep the visitors coming to your website. At least initially, people will NOT visit your website again and again on their own.
Remember that you will have to spend money before you start earning it. Marketing (or getting traffic) must get the major chunk of your budget. You may compromise on everything else but DO NOT COMPROMISE ON THE MARKETING. Unless there is traffic to your website, there won’t be any incoming money.
8. Measure, Analyze & Correct
You will realize that not all visitors are your paying customers. Some of them may not be interested in your niche at all. Some of them may not even be real humans. They are automated bots.
It is important to measure, analyze and take corrective actions. Initially, your marketing campaigns won’t be optimized. You may spend more money on marketing. All marketing platforms provide various metrics related to your marketing campaigns. You need to analyze these metrics and make changes to your marketing campaigns so that they start optimizing. That means they start bringing quality traffic to your website. For e.g, if 1 out of 100 visitors were spending money on your website initially, then after optimization, maybe 10 out of 100 visitors will start spending money.
You may also face some run time challenges with your business other than marketing. Shipping may have a few issues, inventory management can pose challenges or some unforeseen issues may pop up. It is important to take corrective actions at the earliest. A stitch in time saves 9 🙂
9. DON’T QUIT
Did you notice that only this heading is in capital letters and a different color? Because even though it is not a step in how to start a business online, it is the most important step.
Initial few months (or even years) are very difficult in the life span of any business, whether it is a brick-and-mortar business or an online business. You will face most of the big and small challenges during the initial phase of the business. These challenges will threaten to exhaust your investment much before than you anticipated,
This is when most people quit. 20% of businesses fail during the first year and over 50% fail in the first 5 years. They fail because people quit when they are very near to success. DON’T QUIT. Once again, DON’T QUIT. When going gets tough, tough must get going. I can’t stress this fact better than the picture below.
As I said in the first paragraph of this article, growing and sustaining your online business is not easy. Success comes to those who don’t quit. Do whatever you have to do but stay in the business. Trust me you will thank me for adding this 9th point to this article one day 🙂
I have tried my best to summarize the mandatory steps to be taken in starting an online business. This article is about 2000+ words and I have not even scratched the tip of the iceberg in this article. Each of these steps will have hundreds of sub-steps and those sub-steps may have another hundred steps.
Doing an online business is NOT easy. It requires a lot of efforts just like any local brick-and-mortar business. But it has its advantages too. You can pretty much run it from your home, the entire world can be your market and it can fetch money while you are sleeping 🙂
P.S. Optional Section
You are welcome to skip this section if your directions about starting an online business are clear. If not, then read on.
Do you want to know how I earn money online? Well, I have two streams of income. I have a digital marketing agency called project media house and I do affiliate marketing. If you are flying solo and with a limited budget then I will surely recommend affiliate marketing to you. In one line, sell the products created by other people and earn commissions. No need to worry about inventory, shipping and other hassles that come with an online business.
Oh yes, you will have to take these 9 steps with affiliate marketing as well but you can get trained on how to do affiliate marketing step by step. Wealthy Affiliate can teach you that (That’s where I learned affiliate marketing step by step). They will teach you everything step by step. They will also teach you steps 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 from the above list. Step 3 you will have to figure out yourself and step 9 should be the part of your DNA.
In short, you will learn how to set up an affiliate marketing business step by step. Here is why you should start with wealthy affiliate
- You can host 10 websites at no extra cost (that means 10 online shops with 10 different niches)
- No selling face to face. Learn and use online marketing methods to promote.
- No inventory to stock
- No recruitment involved
- No huge investments needed. Try free for one week. Create a free website with your free membership and daily investment of $0.98 to learn, implement and explore the wealthy affiliate platform. That’s cheaper than your daily coffee.
- Work for yourself.
Please remember that this is NOT A GET RICH TOMORROW scheme. You have to work hard, be patient and persistent to set up a real online business. The success or failures are dependent on your efforts.
If you have any leads on getting rich tomorrow business then feel free to skip (but bookmark this page, you will need it later). If you have tried every get rich scheme out there and still reading it then I will suggest you take a little longer but a sure route to success.
Just click on the button at the bottom, create a free account, upload a profile pic and get started. I will be personally there to mentor you inside along with thousands of pro mentors to help you out if you ever get stuck. Try it out for 7 days for free. No credit card is required. If you don’t like it, feel free to walk away. If you like it then you can take premium membership by paying monthly, half-yearly or yearly membership fees. I know I will see you inside 🙂