Ever thought about how to start an online business? Well your not alone, tonnes of people are thinking about it, from professional well established brands and businesses to stay at home parents.
The good news is that starting an online businesses has become a lot easier as there are many off the shelf low cost solutions to setting up without any deep technical knowledge or special skills.
One of the biggest reasons online business has such an attraction is because they are easy to handle and operate, lower overheads and operating costs, access to a potential global market and best of all you can build an entire business without even leaving your home.
If you are thinking about an alternative way to supplement your income or startup a brand new enterprise then starting an online business can give you the flexibility and work-life balance if that’s what your looking for.
Of course building a genuine and sustainable profitable business of any kind takes a lot of hard work and effort, but many people are nowadays building small individual businesses that take much less effort to put together.
They may not make you the next Zuckerberg but with the right formula and constancy you can still earn enough to live a comfortable and fulfilling life. While the processes depends on what kind of work you exactly do, some basics should be followed by every online entrepreneur. So, let us have a look at some of the rudimentary points on how to start an online business.
Setting Up Your Online Business
Of course if you are going online you have to have a website of your own. Thankfully nowadays that is not very expensive and not difficult to setup either. Here is what you need for that purpose,
- A Good System: It may be a desktop PC or a Laptop or even a Tablet nowadays. But you must have a good system with strong enough specifications, software and security measures (antiviruses and malware protection) to withstand the workload. So, don’t be be stingy with this. Also get some external hard disk drives to back up your data just in case.
- A Broadband Connection: Your entire business will be online. You do not want it to slow down because of slow internet speed or miss out on Skype chats for streaming issues. Invest on a good connection and you will not regret it.
- Website Domain Name: The name of your site is important. It should be easily memorable and must reflect your business, but first you will need to find out if its available. If someone has already registered that domain name then you wont be able to obtain it for use. However you can try variations of that name or the extension, (use hyphens, substitute the words try .net or .biz instead of .com.) You need to find a name that is available that fulfills your criteria. You can purchase domain and hosting from any established service provider such as Godaddy, Bluehost, Bigrock, Hostgator etc.
- Web Framework or CMS: Once you have purchased a domain and paid for hosting, you need to start with building the website. Now, not everyone is a coder or web designer. You can of course hire one but that is an expensive proposition. But thankfully, there are many frameworks or content management systems (CMS) available nowadays that can help you build websites with minimal or no coding very quickly. WordPress is generally suitable for all purposes. If you want to set up an ecommerce shop you can consider the likes of PrestaShop or OpenCart. The good thing is that they are completely free. You just need to install them on your website and make basic customizations as per your needs.
- Social Media: While at it, you should also set up your social media profiles using the same name as your website. Social is a major way of getting noticed and interacting with potential customers nowadays. So, you should not postpone it. Quickly claim your Facebook pages and Twitter profiles before someone else does so, using your business name. You can also use them later as your secondary storefront or conduct promotional activities including contests and paid adverts.
Ideas for How To Start An Online Business
Now, you can only do the things that you are skilled enough to do. Some types of skills are more suited for online work than others. Here are just a few examples of online business that you can conduct easily if you have the appropriate skills,
- Writing: Online writing is a huge industry. There are millions of websites and publications that need good content and they source it from the internet. You can build an entire career out of web content writing, SEO writing, copywriting and other sort of writings.
- Coding: If you are tech savvy and have good programming skills, you can find a lot of high paying freelance gigs that you can complete from your home. Especially if you are good at web design languages and frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Django, Drupal, Joomla, WordPress etc. then sky is the limit.
- Online Marketing: If your are good at SEO, Search Marketing, Social Media Optimization etc. you can find a lot of opportunities. The good thing about them is they are high paying but much easier to learn compared to hardcore programming and also you do not need any innate talent like writing skills.
- Graphic Design: If you are good with Photoshop or Illustrator and assorted tools, you can start your small business of designing logos, posters and other illustrations for other people.
- Photography: If you are a decent photographer with a good camera, you can consider selling photographs. Showcase your best work on your website and leave your contact details there for clients to get in touch. You can also sell stock through sites like Getty Images, Shutterstock, Fotolia etc. but it is hard to get noticed in such sites.
Finding clients or customers is the biggest worry for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Once your business grows, people will come to you and contact you through your website or social media profiles. But initially, you may have to find work. Explore freelance sites like Odesk, Freelancer, Elance and various job boards for these kinds of opportunities. But while you do so, keep building your own online profile. Collect feedback and testimonials from clients and display them on your website. Write authority articles (or get them written by professional writers) and publish them in important publications of your field or guest post articles to blogs and website and participate by leaving comments on forums and on other articles. This will slowly build your image so that clients come to you rather than you having to approach them
The above mentioned options are not the only ones. This is more of a summary to give you a light introduction to whats possible. You can do practically anything online nowadays. If you have products to sell, you can also set up your own eShop. But keep in mind that eventually you will have to take care of the physical delivery too. That is why the best quick start online businesses are the ones where you can deliver a product or service online such as writing, coding, design, eBooks etc. Nevertheless, you can succeed at anything if you have an innovative idea and right skills and know which tools to use.
If you are looking to get started or dont know where to start and just want some help, I suggest you check out my FREE 50+ page eBook “Ultimate Guide To Starting An Online Business” The book contains hundreds of tools resources, ideas and strategies all the tips you need to know all the different type of professional and home based business opportunities and how to get started. I have researched hundreds of paid courses, free articles and tools which will save you time and effort to getting your very own online business up and running and generating money!
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