Start an Online Business
What makes earning money online so damn attractive?
The gold rush of today is the compelling notion that we can earn a living online. That we can become rich by starting an online business.
You’ve scoured the internet looking for the perfect plan. You’ve devoured every morsel of information spouted by the gurus.
As soon as you are ready for the magic bullet, the tip that will get your journey started, the guru asks for your credit card information.
You’ve just discovered how online business gurus make their millions.
Let’s step away from the online courses, webinars, and misleading claims and get to the bottom of what you can do right now to start your path to success online.
Is An Online Business Right For You?
It seems so easy, right?
Start a website, create some content, and watch the profits roll in.
Starting an online business can be equated with starting any business, online or not.
Let’s imagine you are starting a roofing business. There are 5 other roofing companies in your area that you will have to compete with for customers.
Your marketing will be focused within a 20-mile radius and you will have a few ways to compete with the other roofers.
You can compete with:
- Word of mouth
- Marketing budget
- Speed of completion
- Customer service
If you can best your competition in 3 of the 5 areas, your going to have a great shot at being a successful roofing business.
But how does this apply to an online business?
When you delve into an online business, you could potentially be competing with millions of other websites.
Let that sink in for a moment …Damn! Millions!
You will need to compete in these areas:
- Creating fans
- Building a brand
- Word of mouth(social shares)
- Customer service
You can’t just start a website willy nilly and expect to compete.
Creating a website needs a plan, an outline of how you will reach success.
You’ve heard of niche websites, websites that use a very specific subject to limit the amount of competition they face.
These sites focus on smaller subjects like hang gliding, pet lizards, or decorating bathrooms. The smaller and more focused on the topic, the less competition you may face.
While this strategy has its advantages, it limits the overall potential of your website.
Other strategies are online stores, affiliate marketing, or starting a YouTube channel.
The questions you must face before entering the online arena is:
- What can I offer to the public at large?
- Can I build a brand in my niche?
- Will I have the intestinal fortitude to compete and overcome adversity?
How To Find A Niche
The reason we start any business is that we have some experience or knowledge in that field.
You may have helped your uncle roof his home a few years ago, and that gave you an understanding of what goes into that process.
- The materials that are needed.
- The equipment that is used.
- How much labor is involved?
- What it would cost to put a roof on a home.
We are going to apply these same principles to starting your online business. These exact same principles will help you to find a niche to compete in.
Think of your niche as your expertise. Don’t worry if you aren’t an expert at a particular subject just yet, that will come with time and exposure within your niche.
No one starts as an expert in anything, and you don’t have to be one at the beginning.
What are some of your favorite websites and what do they do for you?
Amazon (Affiliate link to Amazon) sells almost everything at a good price.
Google can provide you with information in less than a heartbeat on any subject.
Facebook can connect you to family and friends.
These websites become ingrained in us, in the very fabric of our lives because they can give you what you want.
When deciding on your niche, you are going to look at your offerings from the customer’s perspective.
Am I getting value from this website?
Is this website solving a problem for me?
What Does Your Online Customer Want?
Let’s take a look at hang gliding.
This is a very specific niche that can be explored in a lot of different angles. No matter how you plan to monetize your website, you have to consider what your customer wants or needs.
Let’s determine what someone interested in hang gliding is looking for:
- Types of hang gliders.
- Places to go hang gliding.
- Do I need a harness?
- Are there any schools that teach hang gliding?
- What is the proper attire to hang glide in?
As you can start to see, this niche has many different ways to serve a customer, whether you are giving them information or selling the necessary equipment.
A list like this gives you a guideline on what you are going to provide for your customers. This is your menu of delicious nuggets ready to be served to your ideal customer.
This will be your content mix. You need to have something to attract traffic or web visitors to your site.
Content is king. Content is what brings a very specific person to your site for a very specific reason.
Once you have this specific person on your page, reading your article on where to find the best hang gliding schools, what can you sell them what they want or need?
How Do You Select Your Niche?
Your niche will be your favorite subject for as long as you run your online business.
That means it better be something you have an interest in.
You wouldn’t start a roofing business if you don’t like being in the sun.
You wouldn’t start a hang gliding website if you are afraid of heights.
Sit down and try to determine what your interests are.
- Do you have any hobbies?
- Do you love a particular sport, like badminton?
- What topic stays on your mind constantly, keeping you from focusing on your daily tasks?
Creating an online business isn’t just about making money. It’s about giving people what they want. Helping others and worrying about the rewards later.
Pick a topic that you can invest your time and energy into. If you don’t like gardening, don’t start a website teaching folks how to treat topsoil.
It may sound simple or even common sense, but we see too many people get burned out with their niche and start to diversify too soon.
Always remember that selecting a niche is how you limit the amount of competition you will face.
Amazon started by only selling books online. Now Amazon is close to a trillion-dollar company because they broadened their online offering to almost everything under the sun.
Strive to find what makes you happy and teach others to be happy too. Then worry about how to expand and monetize.
The Pros Of Your Online Business
You have heard all the success stories of entrepreneurs starting an online venture and becoming rich.
You have also heard how they quit their day jobs to focus on their online business.
There are also stories of how much free time and how many island vacations they take.
I want you to put these success stories out of your mind for a while.
These success stories are the end result of years of hard work. They are very long term outcomes, but not the next step in your online venture.
We want to start with a set of goals, not outcomes.
- Pick a niche.
- Buy a domain name.
- Design a website.
These are attainable goals, that can lead to favorable outcomes.
By focusing too far into the future you are setting yourself up for failure when the reality doesn’t live up to the dream.
You don’t start a roofing business and dream of roofing your own mansion within a year. You expect to start competing and earning customers, hoping to create a long term successful business that puts food on the table and a roof over your head.
Let’s look at the real benefits of online business in the short term.
Scale Your Business
When you start your roofing business, you will only be able to complete one roof at a time. You are limited to the resources you have at hand. One day you may be able to employ a second team to do multiple jobs at once, but you will be limited to two roofs at that point.
An online business allows you to help as many people as your server will allow. This means that if 5000 people come to your website for helpful information about hang gliding, you would be able to assist them.
Once you have the content out there that your customers are craving, you will be able to help them all at once. You will never be able to scale a roofing business or any real-life small business like this.
Think about the person you are trying to help.
With the roofing business, you will meet that homeowner in person and give them an estimate, then hammer out the details of the entire roof. You will return to their home to start work and be onsite until the job is done.
What happens if they spring a leak in their roof in 6 months? You better believe that you are going to be the one dealing with that call.
When we switch gears and look at an online business, you won’t have those customer interactions.
Unless you are selling them a product directly, you will very rarely hear from your website visitors if at all.
That is where a lot of online freedom comes from, not dealing face to face with a customer.
One of the greatest parts of any online business is the ability of your website to make money when you aren’t looking.
If you create a helpful website that makes your customers happy, then you can reap those rewards well into the future.
When you start a roofing business, you must be at someone’s home, installing a roof, and then invoicing that customer to be paid.
After that payday, you will get no more income from that job.
An online business allows you to build something, an informational blog about hang gliding, and let that website collect traffic and customers in perpetuity.
It may take a lot of work to get there, but this is a huge advantage of being in business online.
What are the Costs?
How much money do you have right now?
A vast majority of real-life businesses take a lot of working capital to get started.
Your roofing business will need a myriad of tools, materials, marketing, and labor costs just to get started.
You will have to outlay a very large investment before you can ever be paid for your first roof.
In contrast, your online business can be started for as little as $20. You must have hosting, a domain name, and the rest is up to you creating the content.
You could pick a niche, buy a domain name, set up hosting, and be online in an afternoon.
This doesn’t mean you’ll be making money right away, but the cash necessary to start your venture is very low.
This fact circles around and demonstrates why there is so much competition too!
The pros of an online venture will give you a foundation for why you should start an online business, but there are reasons why you might not want to also.
Go grab a cup of joe and settle in for the rest of this primer. It’s time to get our hands dirty and have fun creating something that could pull you out of the 9-5 life.
After you know what you’ll be facing, the challenges become surmountable.
The fun of running an online business is creating something unique, something to be proud of, a business that could replace your paycheck.
I know you have the fire of an entrepreneur burning inside you, but you need that push yourself to make it happen.
I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine, so let’s make it happen.
The Cons Of Your Online Business
First and foremost, your business will face competition from all over the world. No matter what niche or type of business you choose, you won’t be the only game in town.
With estimates of blogs reaching upwards of a billion and eCommerce sites covering every possible niche, your competitors will be gunning for every customer.
Online business is a quickly growing segment of the economy with no end in sight.
We’ll discuss how to compete and grow despite the odds against success.
Time to Income
Despite the get rich quick gurus(Our article on scams) proclamations, it takes time and a hell of a lot of effort to build the foundations of your online venture.
Traffic takes up to a year to flow from Google, and customers won’t trust buying from you initially.
If you don’t have a substantial amount of money upfront, you will not be able to advertise and grow your clientele quickly.
If you are new to the online arena, which I doubt, learning all the ins and outs of making money online can be daunting.
The technical aspects of running a website, the design skills necessary for said site, and creating content are all hurdles that you’ll face as soon as you are ready to start.
Online entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades unless you are willing to shell out cash for expert help. Be prepared to learn a lot and put in the work.
You got this. I have faith in you.
I’m just some schlub on the internet(Learn more about me) trying to help you get where you want to go, but we can get there together.
What Types Of Online Business Is Right For You?
So you’ve decided to become a roofer.
Well, that is our real-world example, anyway.
Chances are you have experience in the roofing field or have friends that know the business. Somehow you have determined that the market needs your roofing business and you are determined to get started.
Selecting your online business is similar in a lot of ways.
You are familiar with blogging, eCommerce, Amazon FBA(Fulfilled by Amazon), eBay, YouTube, and many more ways to make your mark on the online landscape.
The next step is to get your foot in the door with a business that is right for you.
Let’s look at some options:
Blogging: Bloggers seem to have the best lives, writing the day away, easily raking in cash from ads and affiliate products. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I mentioned earlier, there are close to a billion competing blogs on the web. If you aren’t creating blockbuster content, you may never compete.
Ecommerce: The process of selling things online is as old as the internet itself, but these days it is the defacto way a lot of folks shop. Seems like it is the gold rush time right now, right? Not so fast. Just as with blogs, other entrepreneurs are out there right now creating thousands of eCommerce sites.
YouTube: No one wants to be a YouTuber until they see how much some YouTubers make! The video content site is growing every single year with over 2 billion active viewers each month. That doesn’t mean you’ll get rich quick here either. There is money to be made and markets to carve your niche into, but don’t expect instant success. Or even good videos at first.
You may have detected a slightly negative tint to my explanation of these different fields. It’s not that I’m pooping in your cereal about starting an online business, but I want you to have a very strong idea of what you’ll be facing.
I wouldn’t trade my blogs for anything, but it takes a butt-ton of work to get anywhere in this field.
What I really want to do, is make you 100% ready to start and succeed at your venture. I’ve failed enough so you won’t have to, but we have to keep our expectations in check.
Realistic Expectations From Your Online Business
Don’t be sold on the easy aspects of starting your online journey.
Too many times we are told it’s “easy” and we’ll find success “quickly”. If these were true, the online world would be filled with successful entrepreneurs.
The truth is, it isn’t.
We see successful entrepreneurs easily because they are the ones that float to the top of Google search results or have articles written about them.
We all have a bias towards the good news from others and project that into our own experiences. For example, if I were to tell you that I make $10,000 a month online and could teach you to do the same, this could be readily believed.
However, in reality, most people will face adversity and give up.
It is absolutely true that you can make a living online(Entrepreneur article). The difference between those that do and those that fail is the amount of adversity that was overcome.
If you can be honest with yourself, have patience, and truly work towards goals, I know you’ll find success too.
What will it take for your online business to succeed?
- Set goals, not outcomes.
- Have patience with the speed of business.
- You don’t start as an expert, you become one.
- Face adversity head-on and overcome obstacles as they arise.
- Be realistic.
Each of these points will help you to have a vision of success. You are going to have to get your hands dirty though, and that is where Freedom From 40(hours) comes in.
I want to help you achieve your goals, realistically.
I don’t have anything to sell you.
Your journey will become our journey with a community of like-minded individuals. You don’t have to venture out alone, you will have support, guidance, and the love of entrepreneurs just like yourself.
Take a few moments and introduce yourself in the comments and I’ll address any questions you have about getting started.
In the coming weeks, we will explore different avenues of making money online and how you can get started.
We’ll look at real, actionable advice that helps you to overcome obstacles, fears, and competition.
I’m glad you’re here, and I know you are ready to start your online journey.
If you don’t believe you are ready, you can always become a roofer! I kid, I kid.
Tell me what your plans are for your online business in the comments below. You don’t have to be specific, but ask questions and let the community help.
I want you to be a part of something much bigger, a clan of like-minded individuals working towards a common goal.
- Be free from working a job.
- Working on your computer from anywhere in the world.
- Freedom to do what you want, when you want.
- Be a part of the Freedom Clan.