It is true, the Internet is a vast ocean of opportunities for anyone looking to start an online business.
But it’s also true that there is another ocean of fake business opportunities on the web, telling you how you can make hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars fast and easy.
Trust me. If you want to create your own online business, it’s like creating any other business. It’s not about magic formulas; it’s a matter of smart planning, strategy and persistent work.
So you’re a newbie on this, and you want an easy-to-follow guideline to get started. OK, you’ve come to the right place.
There are many legit guides on the web about this topic, but they tend to be overwhelming…
That’s why I’ve written a short but concise guide of only 7 steps you’ll need to follow to create your own online business fast, easy and the right way.
7 Steps for Newbies – How to Start an Online Business (with bonus tips)
1. Define: What are You Going to Sell?
You must define what are the topics you’re passionate about. If you choose a topic thinking only about the money, you could lose interest overtime and your business will fail. That’s why for the beginners is better to choose a topic you’re interested in. Otherwise, you will be disappointed and discontinue working on your business.
Answer this question:
What are those areas where you have knowledge and experience, but you also like a lot?
Now, when you combine this, you get the following formula:
What you like + what you know => your business idea.
In other words, the service or product you’ll sell.
On the other hand, you might have some interests you haven’t developed enough. In these cases, you can start some online courses to learn as much as you can about that topic.
Some topic examples could be:
- Baby Care
- Movies and games
- Training and sports
The list is endless.
TIP: Try to choose only one topic at the beginning.
It’s important that your potential audience or clients can easily identify or associate you with that topic. The main idea is that you’re able to stand out as an expert on the service or product you’re offering – and you could try with other topics later, once you’ve created your initial client base.
2. Evaluate the Market
No product sells if there aren’t people interested in buying it.
Once you’ve defined your product/service, you need to research about the following:
- Is someone offering the same product/service?
- How many competitors do you have?
- How many potential clients form this market?
Look for information on the web, social media, forums, etc.
- What is your competitor doing to sell their similar products?
- Which are the strongest competitors?
- How do they stand out from others?
- What people or influencers have a strong presence in that sector?
- What is the opinion of the consumers in that market about competitor’s products?
If after a research you conclude that there aren’t chances of selling your product/service, or you think you won’t be able to make good profits, then try another idea.
For example: if your idea is to sell an online course about “animal care”, it might be you find out that there are many professionals already working with dogs and cats. However, it’s possible the same isn’t happening with birds and reptiles.
That could be your opportunity to enter and exploit the market – birds or reptile care.
TIP: Even a good market evaluation is very important because it can save you a lot of money, time and frustrations, I would advice you not to spend so much time on evaluation. You can do it later when you start creating content. If you combine the 1st and 3rd point, you’ve already done more than most people do when they start their online business.
3. Find Your Niche
OK, you have found out that your idea is good for the market, but you now need to be more specific and clearly define what will be your niche or market segment.
Try to analyse if your niche is big enough to generate profits, but small enough to optimize your efforts and resources.
A niche that’s too big might result hard to cover for a new company or brand.
In this step you have to define: who is your “buyer persona” or what are the peculiarities of your potential audience?
I mean, which are their:
- Average age
- Etc, etc…
Try to be as detailed as possible on this matter. The better you know and define your target audience, the better.
Having this clear on paper will make it easier for you to reach your audience the right way – and sell your product to them.
If you choose a broader niche – “Baby” for example, it will be very difficult to outrank bigger and older sites on Google. But if your niche is “Bathing Products for Baby”, it will be a very targeted niche and will help you to rank better and be on the 1st page of Google.
If you’re stuck, Amazon could be the best place to find your niche ideas.
For example: look at Departments – Your niche could be “Mountain Bikes”. You can write reviews or articles related to mountain bikes – “What to wear on a mountain bike ride”. This post can lead you to another review post on clothes you wear on a mountain bike ride. There is no end what you can do within your specific niche.
TIP 1: Differentiate your business/brand from your competitors by offering something valuable to your audience that others aren’t offering them.
TIP 2: Do not spend hours and hours on choosing your niche.
Spend 30 minutes of your time at the most choosing the niche.
And do not be discouraged if you have chosen the wrong niche. In the beginning, I chose 2 niches which did not work for me. Why? Because I was not interested creating content there. So, you can always change the niche.
4. Define Your Business Model
The business model is the way you’ll use to represent and distribute your idea to your clients.
In this sense, having an online presence is key. What I mean is the way your client will make contact with you and your product/service.
The best way is to have your own website or blog.
Now, although there are several business models you can use, I’ll recommend here a 3-part framework that you can use as a single set:
- Offer services: coaching, design, writing, virtual assistance, social media management, etc.
- Sell your digital products: e-Books, online courses, templates, illustrations, etc.
- Sell third-party products and services: using affiliate marketing.
I like this framework because it sticks to the natural evolution an online business should follow.
Of course, you could also use only one or two of these business models and even change the order to apply them, it’ll depend on your business and your needs.
TIP: If you don’t know how to create a specific digital product, you can pay a professional to do it. There are many websites offering this service for reasonable prices, like Fiverr.
5. Set Up Your Online Presence
Choose your domain name, hosting company, platform and create your website – or pay a pro to do it for you, if you have the money.
To create your website you need to:
- Get your domain name, or what’s the same: “www.thenameofyourbusiness.com”
TIP: I suggest use the domain with .com at the end. The domain generator Name Mesh could be a great help.
- Contract the service of a hosting provider
Your hosting is the digital space where your blog or website will exist.
- Choose a template design
Once you’ve selected one of the mentioned platforms, you can design your website by selecting different templates you can find there or on external websites.
Try to choose colors and images that harmoniously combine with the overall design of your brand.
- Publish your website
OK, the most exciting part. Let the world know your business exists!
If you create your site on your own, you might find some design and technical errors, so a good TIP here is that you double check your creation from head to tail, just in case.
6. Drive Traffic to Your Website
Once you’ve published your website, the last step is to promote it. This is very important if you want people to find your business quickly on the web.
There are two approaches here: Paid promotion or free promotion.
If you have enough money to pay for publicity, then go for it. It’s easier and faster.
You can use the services offered by Google, but you can also pay the services offered by big social networks like Facebook, for example. It’ll depend on your type of business/website and your target audience.
Now, if you want to promote it for free, the best option is to use content marketing, and for this you need a blog.
And to be a blogger, you need to like writing. Well again, you can also try this approach using some social networks because they work like a kind of micro-blogging platforms – like Twitter.
The point of content marketing is to create content – text articles with images and/or videos – that attract people to your blog and website.
When you create quality content related to the type of product or service you offer, the platform you use for “promotion” – like Google or Facebook for example – will automatically “take the responsibility” of letting the right people know about your website.
For this you need to know the essentials of content marketing.
TIP: My suggestion would be to Start Getting Traffic Organically. It can take up to 9 months to start getting authority on the website world. It all depends how much time you spend on your online business and post regularly. Do not throw your cash out. Be patient! The traffic to your site will grow!
7. Measure, Improve, Re-Implement
You could reach this point within six months to a year – depending on your initial efforts.
After these months, the visits to your website will start to come, and this is an ideal time to measure how have you been doing your tasks.
You could use some methods – like surveys – to get feedback from your audience and learn what they like and what they don’t like about your business.
In this point you’ll want to know:
- To what point the topic of your business has evolved.
- The real type of buyer persona that’s visiting your website.
- If the product/service you’re offering is exactly what this audience is looking for.
- If the format and platform you chose for your contents are really working.
Answer these questions and try to improve what you need to. Then, re-implement as necessary.
FINAL TIP: Don’t get demotivated if you don’t get the amount of traffic you expected during your first months. Unless you’re a mega-company with a lot of money to invest, this is the norm in online businesses. Be persistent and you’ll reach your goal.
There you have, the ultimate guide about how to create your own online business. You now have the knowledge; the rest will depend on you. To Your Success!
If you have any questions concerning “7 Easy Steps to Start Your Own Online Business”, please send your comment below and we will be happy to help.