Starting an online business doesn’t require any special skills or training. It just requires a little bit of effort and a lot of patience.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to start one – no hacks, no tricks, just plain hard work and simple strategy that a good number of people are already following.
Here’s how to get started
If you’re looking to start an online business, there are several things you need to consider before jumping into the deep end.
First, you’ll need some sort of product or service to sell. There are lots of different options available, from active people’s wear to a book to fitness training.
Next, you’ll need to choose a platform where you can sell your product or service.
Then you’ll need to market that product to potential consumers.
Let’s talk about those in a little more detail, then, shall we?
Choose A Business Niche That Interests You
To start your online business, you’ll need to find a niche that interests you.
To succeed, it’s important that you should narrow down your focus and make sure you’re not wasting time on something that won’t work out.
The one mistake most entrepreneurs make is that they launch business into a category that is already crowded. This is because they often see people succeeding in that area and they think: Oh yes, I want to be like this too, so I’ll just do the same thing as them.
This is a terrible idea.
For one thing, unless you come up with a unique and innovative way of selling or reaching out to the consumers, you’re always going to find it difficult to compete with businesses that are already established in that niche if you’re just starting out.
To find a niche for yourself, it’s helpful to think about things from the consumer’s perspective.
Put yourself in a consumer’s shoes and ask yourself: Is there something I often find difficult to buy or do?
You can look around you as well and try to see the challenges people go through in terms of goods or services.
An example of carving out a nice niche is Julie Stevanja, an Australian entrepreneur who noticed that the fashion category was crowded but that women’s active wear wasn’t being represented well.
That led her to starting Stylerunner to solve the problem, and the business grew massively.
By massively I mean attracting upwards 450K followers and being valued at tens of millions of dollars.
Here’s the homepage for the Stylerunner website:
You don’t exactly have to create something magical or rebuild a rocket though, so don’t let Julie’s success put pressure on you.
The important thing is that you actively want to do things in a unique way. And that’s kinda the whole point of being an entrepreneur, isn’t it? It’s creating your own special little road.
But to do that, of course, you need to be inspired by the things already around you.
Apart from thinking from the consumer’s perspective, you can also think about what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at.
Or search for businesses that sell things. You can use sites like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist to find these businesses.
Then think about how you can start something like theirs in your own style.
Create A Website – And a Brilliant Homepage
To actually start selling, you’ll of course need to build an online presence.
The best way to establish a professional online presence is to have a great website.
Once you’ve found a product or service you’d like to offer, you’ll need to set up a website where people can buy it.
These days you absolutely don’t need to have a tech background to create a website. There are lots of user-friendly platforms that make it possible to build a professional website without knowing how to code.
Go to a website like Wix.
Answer a few questions and build your website in 30 minutes or less.
A lot of the process is automated so you mostly just need to answer a few questions about your business and what you want out of your website to create one.
Choose what kind of website you are creating:
Select items you would love to have on your website. There are some recommended ones:
Then, decide whether to automate the entire thing or have a go at it yourself:
Promote Your Online Business
If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship, you may not realize how much work goes into marketing. To be very honest, this is where you succeed or fail as an entrepreneur.
But don’t worry, thousands of entrepreneurs have done it successfully. So why not you?
Here are two strong tips:
- Use social proof
- Build a community
Use social proof
Social proof is simply a phenomenon where people copy other people they see if they’re unsure how to act.
How many times have you been undecided and worried about putting a foot wrong, so you just did what others were doing?
And how many times have you bought a particular product or patronised a particular establishment simply because you’ve seen people doing the same?
That’s social proof.
Apply it to your business. Use other people to advertise your products.
Show your audience that other people like your products and are actively buying them.
Show genuine images that these people have taken with your product or while receiving your service.
Build a community
You need to create a feeling of fellowship around your brand. A social media community reflects a group of people who are linked together by a particular topic or brand and participate in activities and discussions that bring them value.
There are so many advantages to having a community. They include:
- Creating loyal customers
- Building trust
- Spreading the word fast about your business
- Getting sales
Invite your friends and other important people in your life. Let them like or follow your account and support you by interacting with your posts and sharing your content.
That’s the simple base from which you can build your community and spread the word about your business right away.
Invite anybody who purchases your product or pays for your service to like or follow your social media account. Get them involved right away.
You have to engage with your community as frequently as possible. Post content that is engaging, relatable and also useful for your audience.
And remember to talk with them, not to them. It’s not a lecture, it’s a community and you’re simply the one who drives it forward.
If you don’t keep them engaged, they’ll turn off.
Here’s a tweet from Amazon as an example:
If you follow the above guidelines you’ll be able to start your online business in no time at all, and actually succeed – with zero prior experience.
Just remember that most of all you need patience. I don’t think I can stress this enough so I’m just going to say it again.
You need patience.
Part of being an entrepreneur is that many times you’re going to feel like quitting. But if you exercise patience and put in the required work, well, tons of people succeed in online businesses so why not you?