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Starting an online business from home has become quite easy nowadays. All you need is a laptop, internet, and some money to get started.
But it’s not easy as it sounds because you need to have a proper strategy to succeed.
You know many businesses have come online to increase their reach & find new potential customers to scale their business.
Now it doesn’t mean that only big companies can do online business. If you can invest a few bucks, you too can start your own online business that could even let you leave your 9-5 job.
In this guide, I will discuss all the basic process needed to start your own small online business.
So, if you have a computer, access to the internet and a few bucks, you are good to go.
Steps to Start Your Own Online Business
1. Choose a Niche
Okay, so the first step is to find a niche you’re good at or passionate about.
This is important because if you choose a niche that doesn’t grab your interest, you will eventually feel bored & you might think of quitting seeing no growth after a few months.
I went through the same phase when I started blogging. There were so many niches on my mind but I couldn’t decide which one to choose.
I made a list of all of them and analyzed them based on the following factors
- Am I passionate about this niche?
- Does this niche have a wide audience?
- Are there any problems which the audience is facing?
- Are there any affiliate products that can be suggested to my audience to solve those problems?
- Is it an evergreen niche?
- Will I get bored after 6 or 12 months?
- Can I write long detailed contents of over 2000 words?
- Can I scale it every year?
Now, these are all the basic questions you need to ask. Some questions are not necessary if your business model is different.
Like for example, if your business model is SaaS (Software as a service), then you don’t need to bother about questions related to affiliate products.
So make sure you research your niche properly.
When I analyzed all these questions, I found the “Work at Home jobs” niche to be the perfect match for me because
- I love this niche
- I have been side hustling and making money online before starting this blog. So, I wasn’t a newbie in this field.
- It’s a profitable and scalable niche
Now, I am not saying its the best niche. I am just saying its a perfect niche for me because I know I will never get bored & I love exploring it.
So, if you’re starting an online business, you need to look up all these factors before deciding the one.
Remember, if you’re not passionate, it will be hard for you to become successful.
2. Evaluate Your Niche
Once you have selected a niche, it’s time to do some evaluation so you have a clear roadmap.
A. Competitor Analysis
Find all the online business that can be your potential competitors. Make a spreadsheet and include all of them. You can basically go for top 5 competitors.
After making a list, research their business model one by one on the following factors
- How do they work?
- Who is their target customer?
- What all the contents they are targeting?
Studying all these things will give you an idea & you can then develop your own business model which will be a better version of your competitors.
B. Define Your Target Audience
You should also understand your target audience before targeting them.
If you don’t research about their gender, age, profession, likes, dislikes, problems, and interest, you might have a hard time to convert them to your customer.
Here is a good article you can read to calculate the size of your target audience.
3. Choose a Business Model
After finalizing & evaluating your niche, the next thing is to choose a business model that will define how you are going to make money online.
There are basically 11 popular online business models you can go for. Here are 5 of them.
- Adsense – Makes money by running ads on a content-based website
- Amazon Affiliate – Makes money by selling Amazon affiliate products
- Affiliate Marketing – Makes money by selling affiliate products
- Dropshipping – Sells products by purchasing the item from a 3rd party & shipping directly to the customer without keeping it in stock.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – It is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.
Based on these business models, you can choose which one is best for your niche.
You can discover more business model by reading this post.
4. Create Your Website
“Oh shit! I am not a technical guy”
I know this is the exact thing you might think if you are not familiar with it, But trust me, it’s very easy.
Creating a website is not rocket science. There are many tutorials available on YouTube that will teach you step-by-step.
But, yes you need to spend a little money on a domain name & web host to create a website.
I know you can create a free website using free platforms but I will never prefer them if you are serious about your online business.
Because free platforms are not under your control and they can easily delete your website if you did something unknowingly against their guidelines. It is like being a tenant in a house.
So, what I will suggest is buy a domain name ($10-$15 a year) & a web host ($30-$40 a year) to create a website which gives you full authority. It is similar to owning a house where you are the boss.
To make things easier, you can refer to this guide to create a new website.
5. Write Contents
Contents play a huge role in driving traffic & sales to your business.
No matter which business model you follow, it’s better to write contents to promote your online business because
- You can keep your visitors for a longer time
- If Google ranks your contents, you can drive more audience to your business.
- You can help your audience through your content which builds trust
- Writing quality content enhance your reputation in your niche
For example, if you check the A2 Hosting website which provides web hosting service, you can see they have a blog section.
If you click and go through their content, you will see that most of them have been written to sell their web hosting service in different ways.
Confused?… Let’s check one of them.
I came across a post which is a beginner’s guide to Elementor Page Builder.
Now as I scrolled down, I saw a section with the title “Hosting your Elementor Website”. This is where A2 Hosting promoted its web hosting service as shown below.
Now, anyone reads their content will end up
- Learning about their service
- Or may consider buying their web hosting in future
You see that’s how you should target your business through your content & it’s one of the best and easy ways to do it.
If you want a long-term gain from your post, then optimizing your website and contents for the search engine is the best option.
Search Engine Optimization makes sure your website is SEO friendly which means Google can rank your contents on its search engine.
The more contents get ranked, the more organic targeted traffic comes to your online business which results in more conversions & money.
It is like autopilot traffic as long as your content is ranking.
Since SEO is a vast topic, you can read my Search Optimization guide to know more.
6. Start Capturing E-mail Address
Suppose, you want to buy a car and you have two options:
- A car shop owned by your friend
- A car shop you never heard before
Now tell me where you will buy your car?
Obviously, you will buy from your friend.
…Do you know why?
Because you already know & trust him.
Same goes with your audience.
Your audience won’t buy your product or service if they don’t trust you. Sure, there may be few people who will buy but the conversion rate will be low.
However, if you capture their email address and start emailing them good stuff that could help them solve their problem.
Slowly, they will build trust & see you as a helpful friend. They will start trusting your advice because you’re helping them.
That’s when you can pitch your product or service which is more likely to convert.
This is how Online business implement E-mail marketing strategy & makes money from their customer.
E-mail marketing ensures
- Repeated visitors to your site
- Your engagement rate increases
- Good customer relationship
- Repeated customers who buy multiple times
You can collect their email address by offering the following freebies
- Email course
- Content upgrades
- Free course
- Blueprint & Templates
If you don’t offer them anything for free, you will have a hard time to collect their email address.
If you are stuck and don’t know what kind of freebies to create, you can always peep into your competitors for ideas.
You can read this E-mail Marketing guide for getting started.
7. Comply With Online Business Legal Regulations
Your online business must comply with your countries legal regulations to avoid getting prosecuted.
Generally, legal regulations include:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002
- Privacy & Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003
- The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000
Now all these depend on the business model you are following. So, you need to research about it.
8. Start Promoting Your Business On Social Media
As you know, Social media is a treasure to discover potential customers where millions of audience hang out.
Sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest are some important social platforms you don’t want to ignore.
Since traffic from Search Engine takes at least 6 months (if your website is new), Social media is a great medium to capture potential customers.
Your sole purpose while using social media should be
- Attracting customers
- Capturing their email address
As I discussed earlier, you can give away freebies to collect the email address.
But for attracting customers, you can try the following things.
- Invest in ads. Platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram are the hub of online marketers to promote their business to their targeted customers.
- Run giveaways & competitions so you can attract customers to your business
- Share quality contents that should solve your audience problem
Other things to do
- Include your website link in your social platform
- Respond to every query and messages sent by your audience
- Post regularly so that your audience doesn’t lose any interest
If you follow these regimes every day, you are on the right path.
So, this is the basic layout to start an online business from home.
It’s definitely not easy but it’s also not very hard.
If you are passionate about your work, you will definitely get success.
If you need any further help, you can enroll in this free Skillshare video course (sign-up to their trial plan to watch the below video)
If you have any further question, you can drop your comment down below.