How to Start an Online Business

Hustlworks - How to Start an Online Business - Hustle Works

Start an online business is a great way to change your life. It gives you the freedom to work on things that matter, offers a chance to earn a high income and gives you the chance to meet new people. In addition, starting an online business gives you the ability to create your schedule. You don't have to be locked into a hard-working day job or commit to a timesheet. Being an online business owner allows you to take on new projects as they come up without the stress of working for someone else. 

An online business is a type of business that does not have its physical location. Instead, online marketing is a method used to reach your target customers via the Internet. There are various ways to use the Internet to start your online business, such as Blogging, Link Building, Social Media Marketing and, of course, search engine optimization (SEO). These are the best tips that will help you set up an effective search engine optimized blog so that someone can find you easily. 

Step 1: Find a niche

What is a niche? This concept has been around since the dawn of time. In the olden days, niche marketing comprised almost all sales channels before search engines and online advertising. However, only recently have the techniques and methods been refined to the point where small businesses can effectively use them. We're going to walk you through one such campaign launched by a small company dedicated to bringing joy to the lives of people living with disabilities.

To succeed as an entrepreneur in the modern marketing era, you must find your niche. The best way to do this is by studying trends and finding out what the consumer wants. Then, you can use this information to develop marketing strategies and products that cater to these individual interests. 

How do you find your niche? It's simple. 

  • You ask yourself a question: 
  • Who am I serving? 
  • What do I bring to the table? 
  • What can I offer them in return? Simple right? 

If the answer seems obvious, you don't have a niche market like I know everything about SEO. But, on the other hand, if you answer that, I specialize in social media marketing because... well... I do, and because of it.

Step 2: validate an idea

There are two main ways to validate an idea: get feedback from others and talk to the current product or service users. Both will give you valuable feedback, which will help you determine if your idea might be worth pursuing. Get feedback from others. If you're looking for some insight into how someone else feels about your idea, go ahead and ask them. You might even find they have some insight themselves as they've gone through the process of validating their idea. Validating an idea requires some work, so it's worth making an effort. It also shouldn't take long and should help you identify whether or not your idea is viable.

Feedback comes in several flavours. Some feedback is quantitative — showing you exactly how customers responded to your product or service. Other feedback is qualitative — hearing from customers about their experiences with you. Both kinds of feedback can be very important in helping you validate your idea, but each inspires a slightly different relationship with you as a company. 

Step 3: Research your niche market

It's no secret that your niche will determine the success or failure of your business. Market size is also an important factor, as is the overall health of your industry. If you're starting a business in your 20s and can't figure out why your income is lower than it used to be, it might be time for a change of scenery. Anyone planning on starting an online business needs to do more than put together an online presence and spam email list. They need to figure out how they are going to make money. One of the best ways to determine this is by conducting market research.

Researching your niche ensures you create content aligned with your audience's interests, leading to more traffic and more potential leads. Once you've identified your ideal market, start writing content—targeting prospects, potential customers, and other stakeholders—to build trust, credibility and convert ideas into action. Once you've got your content ready, send it out to people who could potentially be interested in your product or service.

Step 4: Determine the demand in your niche

Determine the demand for your product. Needs and wants aren't always black and white, and there are a lot of grey areas. 

  • Do you want this product for yourself or someone else? 
  • Is this something which will be used regularly, or occasionally? 
  • How many people do you expect will buy it? 

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself as you develop your products. Before you begin selling, take an inventory of what you have and how many people will need it. Taking inventory is a basic requirement for any business, even if you're an online entrepreneur making sales from the comfort of your own home.

How will you know if your product is popular? 

Simple. Look for how many people are talking about it in blog posts, forums, Twitter and other social media. Demand will tell you whether your product will be profitable in the long run. If just a few people are talking about your topic regularly, that doesn't mean very much. It means people aren't interested in your product yet. The next step is to figure out how many people are buying your products.

Step 5: Analyze your competition

However, before you can start digging into your competitor's information, you'll first have to identify them. To do this, you'll need a way to figure out how many people are using their product or service. Look at social media accounts and see if you can identify the company behind the account. This method is somewhat similar to how local SEO searches work — you identify a business by looking at their online presence and using that as a jumping-off point to find additional information about them.

Every competitor analysis is built from the same blueprint. That blueprint includes both companies' past six months of marketing activity, cross-referencing it against publicly available information about their competitors, and scooping up data points from publicly available sources. You'll want to first understand your competition by identifying their core competencies. Then, look at their marketing approach and see how they are different from you. Next, identify areas of overlap by analyzing how they use the same core assets — both content creation and distribution — to reach the same audience.

Step 6: Before diving deeper, Write your business plan

Writing a business plan can be scary. You could feel compelled to do it right away or panic and give up. Instead, writing a business plan helps you focus on the right things. It provides clarity to know what you're getting into and gives you time to take the right steps. There are three steps to writing a business plan: Getting your idea out there (doing something valuable with it). Next, research expenses and tax implications (finding out what capital gains treatment will be like), write a business plan that reflects these steps and put it all together into one cohesive vision of how your company will exist.

Step 7: Decide your product price

Pricing products is a challenge for almost every entrepreneur. You want to make money, but you want to be competitive. You don't want to price too high or too low. On the other hand, if you are selling a product for profit, you must be willing to accept some risk — either in terms of your sales or your profits. This is a very brief (and hopefully simplified) version of a complex debate; I hope it helps you make decisions regarding your product pricing while keeping profit and customer satisfaction in mind.

There are two problems with adherence to a cost-based pricing model. First, it cannot be very clear for customers. Why should I pay this much instead of that much? Second, adherence to a cost-based pricing model can lead to over-specialization in your product offering. You build your product to meet demand, not the other way around. By pricing your product competitively, you'll attract new customers, drive up your price while keeping existing customers happy and save time optimizing your marketing costs. While there are many different approaches to pricing, in my experience, the most successful are demand-based and cost-based.

Step 7: It's time to think about your product logistics

Once you've decided which products you want to sell on your website and how much inventory you're willing to invest in each product, it's time to start thinking about how to warehouse, source, and package those products. Think product logistics. With all of those products in mind, it's time to think about logistics. How will you store your products, manage your inventory, and how will you get your products to your customers? Think about how much time and money logistics require and how it compares to other alternatives (like using a manufacturer's stockroom).

Conclusion

Starting your own online business is a giant step – no matter how well planned. There's a lot to consider like: 

  • Budget
  • Product 
  • Traffic
  • Timezone and whatnot. 

Starting an online store can also seem scary because most people still have no idea how to start one. There's this myth that you have to have tons of money and a million products to be successful – this couldn't be further from the truth. Starting an online business is achievable if you have the basics set in place. But, like anything else in life, successful startups require a bit of luck and a lot of preparation.

Let's get sh*t done, together!

Check out our free course: The Entrepreneur Mindset 101 Guide contains valuable information to help get started in startups and entrepreneurship. Optimize your routineschedule your timetalk to people (networking), and target market contains pages that will aid the aspiring entrepreneur in finding customers as well as growing their online business or side hustle.