Most people start an online business as a side hustle to earn an extra income. Whether you’re aiming to provide a service, sell a product, or earn passive income, you can do it all online!
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So, What’s The Difference Between an Online Business and a Tangible Business?
An online business does not require tangible assets such as a building, inventory, or team to do business. A tangible business on the other hand usually requires an office, warehouse, team, physical supplies, and overall a much bigger overhead.
With an online business you can earn money online no matter where you are in the world oppose to a tangible business. Most tangible businesses require that you oversee all operations to ensure everyone in your company is doing their part.
Though an online business takes longer to pick up from inception, the long term rewards can be abundant. The upside to this is that you can build a one-man empire. Yup, no overhead meaning higher profit margins!
Can anyone start an online business?
Anyone can start an online business. All you need is the entrepreneurial spirit to spark a startup and begin earning money with your ideas.
Here’s how to do it.
#1. Find Your Niche
First, identify what your online business will be about.
Your niche is the center of it all. Combine your strengths with your interests to see what you can offer to the online world. Your niche should be something you can enjoy doing. If you love to write, publish a blog. If you love apparel, sell it online using eCommerce!
Many entrepreneurs are finding ways to monetize their talents and skills online.
Find what you’re good at and share it with the marketplace.
Here are some online business ideas
- Instructing or teaching online using Fiverr
- Offer reviewing services in a particular niche
- Provide security tech products online
- Artwork design services / sell digital art
- Marketing & apparel
- Digitizing / Vectoring / Virtual Mocks
- Informative content on YouTube or a blog
There’s a ton of online business ideas you can choose from. The one that will benefit you the most is going to be the one that you really enjoy doing.
For example: I love to write. Two of my online businesses have to do with writing. One is in the music industry and the second is this personal finance and entrepreneurship blog.
Most peoples online businesses start off as a hobby but eventually end up generating them money. This usually occurs when you treat your startup like an actual business.
How can I monetize an online business?
If you aren’t selling a product or service you can still make money online. Your online business can review products and link people to the products using affiliated services.
Affiliate services pay you when someone signs up for a service or purchases a product using the affiliate link. This is actually one way bloggers make money from their online business.
What’s amazing about affiliate marketing is that once money starts flowing in it’s all completely passive!
The most common ways to make money from an online business are by:
- Selling a service or product
- Advertising businesses (B2B)
- Providing reviewing and promotional services
- Implementing affiliate marketing
- Using advertisements on your web site
The way you earn money from your online business is going to highly depend on what your niche is all about and what you’re going to be providing to the marketplace.
#2. Identify Your Value
Before you start an online business you’ll need to identify your value.
What value will you be providing to the consumer? Are you looking to solve a problem by offering a unique and effective service? Will your product change the way the consumer feels about themselves? How will you improve their lives?
Or, are you looking to entertain or to educate and inform? Identify and understand what value you will be providing to your target market.
Whether you run a tangible business or an online business, you’ll need to provide value to your customers. Learn to identify what it is they need and how to provide an amazing experience.
How can I provide value to my customers?
To provide value means to make a difference in someone else’s life. Some ways you can impact a customer and provide value include:
- Providing exceptional communication skills
- Delivering quality work
- Instilling and emotional drive for the product or service
- Creating lasting partnerships
Everyone values different things but these are just some of the most effective ways you can provide value to your customers so your online business can reap the rewards.
When you provide value to your customers your online business will begin to thrive.
So now that you’ve figured out your niche and have a pretty well rounded idea of how to provide your customers with value, let’s talk about how to actually set up your online business.
Here’s the fun part.
#3. Build A Website For Your Online Business
Every business should have a website, especially in todays world; however, an online business must have a professional website.
You can use a free web hosting service like WIX if you’re just starting out. This will help you get a feel for what it is to have your service or product displayed online. However, if you’re ready to get serious about your online business you’ll have to purchase your domain for a more professional presentation.
Purchasing your domain is going to be the very first investment you’re going to make in your online business. A thriving online business needs a great webhost provider. For this, we recommend building a website with Bluehost.
Bluehost is the #1 suggested web hosting service by WordPress. They power over 2 million websites worldwide and offer a free domain name for your first year. A professional website is essential for an online business to thrive in the marketplace.
How easy is it to use Bluehost?
Bluehost is super easy to use.
You’ll be surprised to find out that everything you need to run an online business takes very little time to learn with their services. Bluehost’s layout is easy to navigate and the tools become second nature in no time.
Keep in mind that this initial investment is going to be the foundation to your online business empire.
I’ve purchased my domain, what’s next?
Congratulations on achieving your first steps as an entrepreneur. As a marketing and branding expert, this next step is one of my personal favorite parts.
Because Bluehost makes it very easy to build a really cool website, personalizing it to cater to the publics needs is also very easy and fun.
Spend time updating images on your website and really making your platform stand out. Your website should easily demonstrate to its visitors what you have to offer to them.
This is the step where you really get to make your website stand out so get creative!
What if I haven’t branded?
If you haven’t branded yet don’t worry. Focus on your content and on really putting your services out there first. Let people know what you’re doing and what your online business has to offer.
You can brand once you have a clear mindset on where you want to take your online business and have a vision on how it will impact people.
Be sure to check out my network tab to see how your online business can benefit from using other businesses services to grow. Maldonado Graphic Design works with you to create your logo so you can brand your online business.
#4. Promote Your Online Business Using Social Media
So you’ve set up your online business and have an amazing website to showcase your services or products. Now it’s time to market your business to the right people using the best social media outlets for your new business.
If you’re providing music services make yourself known to artists on Twitter. If you’re selling amazing branded apparel, show off your line on Instagram.
Do you have a service catering to a specific industry? Network with people on LinkedIn. You should learn to identify which social media puts your business in front of the right people. You might already be thinking of a specific platform that could work well for you. And if you don’t, figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Use at least two great means of social media and grow those platforms to simultaneously increase your online businesses presence. It’s not necessary but it helps you with your brand awareness.
How can I thrive online?
Social media is a great platform to get your content out to the right people.
It is necessary for you to understand who your target audience is. Once you figure out who your potential customers are, you’ll be able to present your online services to them at scale.
This will require you to be consistent which brings us to the next topic. How to really thrive online.
Use social media marketing
Publish links to your website and products and services on social media. Distribute some piece of content every day and remain consistent.
Your business must remain active online to stay relevant. Your business will look fresh if you’re actively engaging people online and producing content or sharing links.
This is a crucial part of the process when starting your online business. Get seen.
#5. Always Pitch
Every post, every email, everything you do to catch attention online is your pitch to sell your service or product. So, always pitch.
The moment you stop posting, emailing, engaging, and networking, is the moment you stop taking action to ensure your online business builds momentum and starts earning revenue.
Your business cannot thrive if you stop getting better. Your online business should look and operate way different than when you first started. You won’t find out what changes are necessary to scale until you put in the work every day. Day in, day out.
You’re really going to have to sell yourself. Build your network through social media and grab peoples attention. They must gravitate towards your services through the relationships your online business creates.
Remember when we talked about identifying your value?
Now is the time to demonstrate that value you identified earlier. The marketplace must see this from your online business.
Ask yourself, how can I connect with my audience? How can I excite my online followers so that they give my services or products a chance? How can I attract them to my website?
You will find yourself learning a variety of strategies to earn revenue. Don’t feel discouraged if things are moving slowly. Find out what works for you and keep on keeping on.
Keep pitching until you make your first sale or learn how to monetize your online business. One of the most fulfilling moments is when someone finds the value in your product or service and pays you for it; so be consistent.
#6. Advertise Your Online Business
Advertising is a great way for people to see your business whether it be online or in person. This is one of those other investments that you’ll eventually come across when looking for ways to grow your online business.
You may advertise by paying for Facebook Ads or running Google Ads. A thriving business should always be looking for ways to be seen.
Advertising provides you with an edge over any competition.
Another form of advertising is through the use of decorated apparel.
Companies like Easy Marketing elevate your brand by decorating your logo on hats, shirts, jackets, and all sort of other apparel. You can use this marketing strategy to market to your customers online.
What’s are the benefits of advertising my business?
Imagine going out to a crowded or public place wearing your business logo on a simple cap or shirt. It’s that easy. How about creating a video that generates a ton of views every month? If you’re wearing promotional apparel in your video, your brand awareness is sure to spike.
Exposure is the key to a growing a successful online business.
#7. Get Involved in a Community
Establish an authority in your niche topic or industry by getting involved with an online community.
When you become an authority, or leader in your niche, you will be able to scale your business much quicker. Being part of a community is going to attract both customers and viewers to your website.
I used to see this tip everywhere before my blog blew up. I didn’t understand or know how to get involved in a community though. What happened is that I eventually become involved in a sub community that needed my support and guidance. When I provided value to this niche community, my traffic skyrocketed and I was able to scale my blog.
Believe me, you need to find a community you can provide value to.
#8. Register Your Company
Now, most online businesses are just a side hustle. If your online business is expanding rapidly or you’re really looking at the long term goal, you might want to consider registering it through your state; especially if you’re operating full-time and have some sort of tangible items ex: packaging, boxes, etc.
Incorporate for tax benefits and for maximum profits. By registering your online business, you make a bold statement of legitimacy and are able to legally register yourself as a business owner.
Again, this is not total necessary though. You can have a thriving online business without registering it through your state and county.
Never stop setting goals for your startup
Starting and online business is a lot of fun, and believe me it’s a lot of work. I can personally say starting my online businesses have been the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
They’ve taught me what it is to really stick to something when most people would have quit. It really does teach us a lot about ourselves as entrepreneurs.
If you enjoyed this post please be sure to join our newsletter to stay up-to-date on new posts. Keep working towards your dreams and aspirations and remember, never stop setting goals for your online business.
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