How To Start An Online Business | 7 Easy Steps To Starting An Online Business
Starting an online business can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. There are 7 key areas to focus on when starting an online business. In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about starting an online business and getting it up and running as soon as possible.
You can check out this video (below) – How To Start An Online Business – 7 Steps To Getting Your Business Online ASAP
1 – Choosing A Profitable Niche
The first step in starting an online business is choosing your niche. Not just any niche, but a profitable one. Otherwise you might just have a hobby, and not a business.
The top 3 most profitable niches are finances, health, and relationships. If you choose something in one of these niches, chances are there are other businesses already making money. These are the top level niches, and there are many sub-niches under each one. That being said, it doesn’t mean that these are the only niches that are profitable.
Other popular niches are passionate niches. These are niches that people are passionate about. Golf and pets are two examples of passionate niches. Golfers are very passionate about there golf clubs, the new gadget that will allow them to hit the ball further, etc.. People love their pets – they are always buying toys, treats, and other products to keep their pets happy.
How To Start An Online Business – Choosing Your Niche
You should do market research on the following sights to see if products are being sold and people are showing interest. First go to Amazon, and look at all of the Departments for interest in various niches. Also go to the Amazon Kindle ebook store to see what books are popular in certain niches.
Next go to Dummies.com and look for the books that are being sold in various niches. Then visit Magazines.com and look for popular magazines in a niche that you are interested in. Finally, go to Clickbank.com and look at the affiliate marketplace for products in a niche that you are interested in.
Niche selection is the first step in understanding how to start an online business and getting YOUR business up and running.
Here’s a video where I go into details about choosing a profitable niche. How To Start An Online Business | Picking A Profitable Niche
2- Choosing The Right Business Model
After you pick YOUR niche, the next step is to choose the right business model. There are many different business models, and there are examples of successful businesses in each one. You just need to choose a business model that you like, and will work for your niche and business.
Some of the more common business models are:
E-Commerce – Amazon, Shopify, Dropshipping
Coaching / Consulting
Network Marketing, Multilevel Marketing, Direct Sales
Selling Your Own Products
Selling Someone Else’s Product
E-Commerce is very popular, and has generated a lot of interest in the past several years. With E-Commerce, one usually has an online store that lists physical products for sale. When dealing with physical products, there is usually more overhead than digital products because of sourcing, shipping, order fulfillment, etc.. Having said that, there are many successful E-Commerce businesses out there.
Coaching / Consulting
Coaching / Consulting can be a great business model if you already have the knowledge to be able to help others. I’ve known coaches in many different niches, including the make money online, dating and relationships, health niches (personal trainers).
Freelancing can be a good business model if you have a particular skill that someone else is in need of. You can check out sites like Fiverr.com and UpWork.com for freelance gigs.
Network Marking, MLM, Direct Sales
There are many well known Network Marketing companies out there. Amway, Herbalife, Avon, etc. are just a few. This business model normally involves joining a team and building a team of your own. You get paid a commission for selling the company products and usually a smaller commission when your team sells products.
Selling Your Own Products
Selling your own products can be a great business model. It depends though on what products you are selling. For instance, if you are selling your own digital information product, it can be quite profitable if you can target the right audience and get traffic to your offer.
Did you know that you may already have knowledge or a specific skill that you could turn into a profitable business? Check out the Expert Secrets free book here.
How To Start An Online Business – Pick Your Business Model
If you are selling a digital software, there is a lot of overhead involved just to get your product ready. You will need a developer or a team of developers and be willing to go back and forth for several months in order to get the software ready to go. Once developed, you will need to find an audience and have the ability to market to that audience in order to generate sales. This is not easy for a beginner so it is not my top recommendation.
Selling Someone Else’s Proven Products
This will lead into Affiliate Marketing in the next section. Selling someone else’s proven products is, in my opinion, the easiest way to get your online business up and running in the shortest period of time.
Affiliate Marketing is a business model where you sell another companies proven products, and you get paid a commission on the sales. Many companies such as Amazon, Wal Mart, and Best Buy have affiliate programs. The commission levels are different for every company – some as low as 5-10% and others range from 40-100% on the front end products.
Affiliate marketing, in my opinion, is the best business model for beginners. Other companies have already developed the products, marketing material, etc.. and all you have to do is focus on selling. You don’t have to concern yourself with order fulfillment, payment processing, or customer support. All of those pieces are taken care of by the parent company.
If you still aren’t sure what business model is right for YOU, you can click here to get free training and information on how to leverage my and my teams 90% done for you affiliate marketing system.
Choosing the right business model is the second step in understanding how to start an online business. Now we will move on to branding.
Here’s a video I posted on How To Start An Online Business | Choosing The Right Business Model.
Step 3 – Choosing YOUR Brand
Your branding, or brand name is the next step in the process. Now that you have chosen your niche and your business model, you want to choose your brand.
A brand name can be unique, or it can be something associated with you / your name. Your branding will reflect in your domain name, so keep this in mind when choosing.
I recommend that you ALWAYS brand yourself, not a particular company. Let me clarify – you can have a company name as your brand if it is your own company and unique. Don’t make another company (such as if you are in the Network Marketing or Affiliate Marketing niches) part of your brand. If for some reason the parent company goes out of business, or changes their business model, your brand that you have put time and effort into may no longer be relevant or serve you properly.
How To Start An Online Business – Choosing Your Brand
If you can’t think of a specific brand (like mine is money in the cloud for this particular website / business model), brand your self. Think about looking at yourname.com or workwithyourname.com, successwithyourname.com, etc. Always choose a brand name / domain name that is easy to spell and pronounce. You want to be able to easily say it and have others know how to spell it without much difficulty.
Next, perform domain name research at sites like GoDaddy and Namecheap to see what domains are available. I always recommend to choose a .com extension. It is still the most popular and holds it’s value much better than other extensions like .net or .me, etc.. Again choose a domain name that is easy to pronounce and spell. Keep in mind that most common names, easy / short domain names, and popular keyword search phrases are most likely already taken or are very expensive.
Choosing a brand is the third step in understanding how to start an online business. Now that you have your brand, we will review the essential tools needed to start an online business.
Check out this video – How To Start An Online Business – Choosing A Brand for more information.
How To Start An Online Business – The Essential Tools You Need
Ok, now you have your niche, your business model, and your brand. Now it’s time to actually get YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE! In order to have an online business, it must be reachable by others…. online.
The first thing you will need is your domain name. Now I purposely didn’t tell you to grab your domain name in the branding section because depending on what you choose, you may get a free domain name with your web hosting (below).
Step 4 – Web Hosting
So the first thing you will need to have is web hosting. This is provided by a company that you will use to install your web site and get your web site online and reachable to millions of people. I recommend two different web hosting providers (explained below).
A2Hosting is my #1 recommendation. They have a great reputation and are supposedly faster than the competition. I recommend their shared hosting, and in particular their Swift hosting package. This allows you to run unlimited websites and is not much more than their starter package. Even if you think you won’t ever need multiple websites, I recommend getting the Swift package because in my experience you will want more websites down the road. You can grab your A2Hosting account here.
Bluehost is another great web hosting company. They have a great reputation as well and they give you one free domain name with your web hosting account. They are slightly more expensive than A2Hosting so do your due diligence in selecting which hosting company is for you. You can signup for Bluehost web hosting here.
Next, you will need to have your domain name to setup your website, so if you didn’t already get one, go to GoDaddy or Namecheap and buy your domain. Usually you can get your domain for less than $10 for the first year, but just check around and see what is available. I always search for GoDaddy coupon code in Google and you can normally find a 20-30% off coupon to apply to your purchase.
Once you have your web hosting account, you will need to install WordPress in order to get your website up and running. A2Hosting and Bluehost have simple one or two click installers for WordPress and easy tutorials explaining how to perform the install. After you have WordPress installed, you will want to choose your theme and add whatever plugins you may want. Then just some minor updates to your web site settings / appearance and you are ready to rock and roll.
Step 5 – Your Sales Funnel
The second tool that you will need in order to have an online business is a sales funnel. This is arguably the most important part of your business. A sales funnel is like having an army of sale people working for you 24/7/365. The sales funnel is what captures people’s email, educates potential customers while providing value, and guides them along the path to a buying decision.
You can build a sales funnel from scratch with WordPress (WordPress is the most popular website software – it’s free and runs on your web hosting), but it isn’t easy and may require a developer.
There are other paid products like Thrive themes / architect and Optimizepress, but these still aren’t that easy to use in my opinion.
I’ve used many page builders, funnel software over the years and hands down the easiest to use is Clickfunnels. That’s why I recommend Clickfunnels as the one and only Sales Funnel software. You can get your free trial of Clickfunnels here.
Step 6 – Email Autoresponder
Last, but certainly not least of your essential tools is an email autoresponder. This is what stores your email addresses of leads, potential customers, and clients. Your email list is one of the most valuable assets you will have so it is a very important aspect of your business.
Email is still the primary way of communicating with your target audience. Your email autoresponder will be used in many ways to get leads, to follow up with those leads, and to communicate with your audience. Your Email Autoresponder will connect with your web site and your sale funnel.
I recommend GetResponse as the email autoresponder of choice. The basic package gives you 1000 email subscribers for $15/month. Aweber is also a good autoresponder but you only get 500 subscribers for $19.99/mo at the current time of righting this post. You can start your free trial of Getresponse here.
I shot this video to explain further – How To Start An Online Business – The Essential Tools To Getting Your Business Online
Step 7 – Traffic
Now that you have everything in place, the next step is to get traffic (eyeballs on your product, service, website content). There are two categories of traffic – free and paid.
Most of the Gurus will tell you to start out with Paid Traffic because it’s easier and faster. It’s true that paid traffic can be easier and you will definitely get leads faster, but there are some downsides.
With paid traffic, the first downside is the cost. You will have to allocate a specific budget to your paid traffic.
The second downside, is that the traffic is cold. Cold traffic means that the person on the other side of the advertisement has no idea who you are, what you are about, or anything about your business. This cold traffic also takes a lot longer to convert into sales than warm traffic.
So you will get leads faster with paid traffic, but you will need to have a great follow up series via email and other strategies in order to warm that traffic up to you and your business. This will take some time.
This is why I recommend starting out with free traffic strategies. Yes, free traffic takes longer and requires more time to develop, but if done properly, it will result in a long term business for years to come.
Two main free traffic strategies are blogging and posting youtube videos. This is considered content marketing, and if done properly you will attract your perfect audience and customer to you (attraction marketing)
How To Start An Online Business – Traffic
This is why, in my opinion, I believe that many people struggle with their online business. They want to hide behind paid ads, but they don’t put in the time and effort to provide great content to their audience. Thus, they never develop the relationships and trust that are so important with any business.
At the end of the day, people buy from people / businesses they know, like, and trust. By putting in the proper time to create content with blog posts and youtube videos, you will create that trust over time. You must be consistent with your content and be willing to put in the time up front in order to create a sustainable long term business.
Once you have your free traffic strategies in place, and consistently producing content, then you can add paid traffic to boost your sales and scale your business.
I think most people teach things backwards when it comes to traffic. I believe you should start out with free traffic until you dial in your content and conversions, then add paid traffic to the mix. Not vice versa.