Have you been looking for ways to start your own online business? Look no more we will guide you with these 8 steps to starting an online business.
We know that you have seen many internet influences on YouTube, blogs, podcasts, and other media platforms tell you how simple it is to start an online business.
We wish it was that simple; Starting an online business is easy, but making a successful brand is hardworking. Running an online business is a lot of hard-working as starting a regular business. The only difference is that you would do your business and transaction online.
With new tools out there, you can now come up with a business idea in the morning, launch by noon and be making sales the same week. But there is a catch, you need to be dedicated, consistent, and you have to know what you are doing.
There are a lot of things that come in mind when starting your online business, from looking for the right business opportunity to put everything in the right place.
Whether you want to be a serial digital entrepreneur like Neil Patel or Chris Ducker or you just want a side hustle or want to make a side income, you will need to treat your online business with the same dignity you would with regular business or job.
We have made a guide to help you with How to Start an Online Business, what types of online business you can start and why start. Learn what steps you need to take to turn that idea into reality.
1) Find a Niche
The first thing you need to do is pick a niche or a market you want to sell to. You need to pick a market that is profitable because the first reason you are going into business is to make a profit. You can go with a hobby, passion, or personal interest.
What is a Niche Market?
A niche market is the division of a broader market where specific products or services are focused on. It focuses the market on satisfying a specific audience’s needs based on passion, interest, or hobby.
For example, instead of targeting the general fashion market, you can target the shoe niche, women cloth niche, men cloth niche, children’s cloth niche, and so on.
There is a sub-niche also known as a narrow niche where you can create a smaller niche in a niche. For example, you can narrow the woman’s clothing niche down to dinner gowns for women, wedding dress for brides and bride’s maid, and woman’s underwear. You can sub-niche down to whatever market you want.
Finding a Niche
Finding the right niche isn’t that complicated, some of the best ways of finding a niche are looking into your hobby, passion, or interest. While sometimes you might just have that Aha or Eureka moment.
You need to find something you want to do for a long time because the business would test you at some point. Especially if this is your first online business, you need to have the knowledge or be willing to learn about what you are starting. It doesn’t have to be a perfect fit, but the drive and motivation have to come from within.
Here is how to identify an idea around you:
- Start by making a list of your 10 interests and passion areas.
- Look around you, magazine, stores.
- What do you like to do with your free time, what type of event or people do you like to spend your time with?
2) Research The Market
After picking your niche or coming up with an idea, the next thing you need to do is validate that idea to see if there is a demand for the idea and if people will pay for it and to have full market statistics.
Finding Niche Market Keywords and Trends
After making your list of the idea, it is time to do proper research you don’t want to start a business that isn’t profitable or a business nobody wants to save you the time and regret you have to do proper research eliminating your ideas one after the other.
You can you paid tools to help you find your market trends and keywords such as Ubersuggest, Semrush, Ahref and so on, or if you don’t have a budget for that just go with the free Google Trends and Keyword Planner.
Identify Problems You Are Solving
Now that you have seen the need for your business idea, you now need to identify the problem you would solve, what problem those the target audience have? Then determine how to solve them.
How to Identify Your Niche Problem
- A one-on-one conversation with your target audience: Asking your target audience questions, running a survey that will help you discover their pain points. You can start with families and friends, colleagues.
- Online Forums: You can connect with your targeted audience on forums and groups, join the discussion, ask a question, answer a question. Find out what questions people are asking. What problem do they have with the current market? You can search on google for Forums with your keywords and you would find thousands of them, forums like Quora, Reddit, discuss.
- Social media: There are lots of groups you can join on Facebook, LinkedIn, you can connect with people on Twitter and Instagram with a hashtag on your keyword.
Determine the Profitability of Your Niche
Checking your niche market to see the former, current and future trend, you will know if the market is profitable or not, check out your competitor sales, you can find your industry/market value here
Analyzing the Competition
Go through your competitor’s website and find the opportunity that they have missed. Check their pricing, design, layout, backlinks, Domain Authority, Page Authority, sale strategy, and product offering and do it better.
Also, going through your competitor website can inspire you if you don’t know where to start. You can check their site on the Google search engine or with SEO tools like Ubersuggest, Ahref, Alexa, Moz and many more out there.
3) Make a Business Plan
Some might say writing a business plan for an online business is not important or old-fashioned, well we disagree, whether you’re starting an online business or a regular business, a business plan is an important tool to guide your decisions.
Think of a business plan as a map or blueprint. It can set you on the right path and stop you from making crucial mistakes, and from my experience, it is good to have everything well documented.
Your business plan would have all your business information, such as
- The Executive Summary
- The Business Description
- Market Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- Sales and Marketing Plan
- Ownership and Management Plan
- Operating Plan
- Financial Plan
You can get a wonderful business plan for $10 from Liveplan.
If your online business requires you to get funding or investment later on. You might need a business plan to give to investors, while some investors would require only a pitch deck, most investors would want to see both.
4) Design Your Brand
Setting the face of your brand is very important if you want your online business to stand out. Making your online business a brand makes you stand out and gives you more influence and authority.
These are important things to consider when creating a brand:
- Easy To Remember Brand Name: You want a brand name easy to remember so you want it simple and short. You can name the brand after you or brainstorm on a name, for example, Apple Inc, Amazon, Facebook, Click Funnel and Thedigitalpreneur these are good brand name and they are short and easy to remember.
- Attractive Logo Design: Your logo is the center of your brand identity, so you want it to look attractive, neat, and high quality. You can create one of yourself with services like Canvas or BeFunky or hire a freelance professional.
- Nice Looking Color Palette: Colors have meanings and affect how we react to brands. We call this color psychology, for example, it says it associates the red color with excitement, passion, danger, energy, and action, the orange color represents creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success, and balance. While pink’s color meaning revolves around femininity, playfulness, immaturity and unconditional love. So you want to pick the right color for your brand. You don’t want your customers to perceive the wrong meaning of your brand.
- Professional Typography: Picking font that works in harmony with your logo and colors is important for branding; You can use a default font, but standing out means standing out. The key to this is to make your customers see your text well. You don’t want to use a fancy font or make the font too small or too big.
5) Build Your Online Presence
Now you have everything in place, it is time to set up the business online. Consider a website a shop or office the only difference is online.
Register Your Domain Name and Hosting
It is always a good practice for your branding and domain to be the same. But if your branding name is long, you can abbreviate your domain name. You can get your domain name and host from Bluehost or Namecheap.
Design Your Website
You can get free themes or a premium theme and plugins and do it yourself (DIY) or you can hire a web developer and get it done, depending on your budget, I am sure there is a budget price developer for you on Fiverr and Freelancer.
You need to make the website responsive on a different device (mobile, Computer, iPad) if your site is not well optimized, not only would your customer have less experience, Google will also penalize your site in their search engine from getting customers organically.
What Platform to Use
While there are a lot of platforms out there to choose from. WordPress is the best way to host any digital business, plus it is free, and I prefer Shopify for e-commerce and click funnel for the sales page.
You can also use a third-party platform, where you need not own a personal domain or hosting. You can get your product on this platform for free, but they will take a small commission from every sale.
- Online consulting and freelancing services – Fiverr and Upwork
- E-commerce platforms – eBay or Amazon
- Craft markets – Etsy
- Vacation rental services – Airbnb
- Publishing and blogging – Medium
Poor image won’t give your brand good credibility. Whether you’re selling products, ideas, or experiences, using high-quality images will make a difference. You can get free stock images from Pixabay and Pexel.
Your content quality is very important not just for your customers, but also if you want to be on the first page of search engines. Everybody wants to be on the first page, being on the first page of the search engine means more customers and customer means more sales and more sales means more profit and return on investment (ROI).
Create Social Media Present
First, all businesses need this most of your customer if not all are on social media. And you need to connect with them. They need to feel your brand presence and I bet all of your competitors are already using them.
There are a lot of social media platforms out there, you don’t have to be in all of them just pick the one you are familiar with and start with that, as your business grows you can expand. It is also an excellent practice to use the same username on all of your social media platforms, reserve names on the platform you plan to use later.
Basic Social Media You Should Consider
6) Setup Payment System
Paying for goods or services has to be easy to do on your website and ways of receiving payment also have to be easy for you.
Business Bank Account
If you operate your online business under an incorporated business name, you can set up a business checking account to receive checks as payment. However, there are simpler ways you can use to receive payment.
Setting a merchant account makes it possible to accept credit card payment via Visa, Verve, MasterCard, American Express, and other payment cards. You need a bank account, a credit card merchant account, and a way to process payments.
Online Payment Systems
With online services like PayPal, your customers can send you payment for goods or services using an email address, just add a “Pay” or “Buy Now” button on your Website for customers to click and pay with their PayPal account.
7) Other Monetization
There are other ways you can earn money apart from your product and services you offer on your website.
You can earn money through Google Ad, and other ad services. Ad networks would pay you to run sponsored ads on your website.
- Pay per visitor’s view (PPV)
- Pay per click (PPC)
- Pay per sales (PPS)
- Pay per impression (PPI)
You can try the service like:
Placement of an advert on your website has been a marvelous way to generate more money on your website. You can charge people to place an advert on your site. Although you need a certain number of visitors or page views to attract an advertisement partnership.
With affiliate marketing, you can make a commission for any product or service you recommend to your website visitors. For an instant, if you sell shoes on your website, you can join affiliate programs on sites like Amazon or eBay and recommend a product in the same category to your customers and earn a commission.
8) Create a Marketing Plan
Just because you just came up with a great online business doesn’t mean people would just start coming. You need a strategy to bring in traffic.
There are tons of marketing strategies out there, but these three would get you going.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Optimizing your website would make your website for keywords, meta tags, images would make your online business show up on the first page of search engines, which in return would bring tons of visitors to your website.
Writing on other people’s websites/blogs and magazines would make you stand out as an expert in your niche, and this would bring you tons of traffic to your business.
Posting and sharing content on social media would bring you a lot of traffic, you can run paid ads as well to get a targeted audience.
After most online business launches many people stop doing the work, do the work if you want your online business to be successful. Show up every day, be consistent.
Learn from your user’s data and learn what they like, how they buy your product or services. Keep giving them more value.
Good luck in becoming a Digitalpreneur
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