Starting an online business is an excellent way to scale your income and reach your financial goals. The best part is that you can start an online business as a side hustle; you keep your day job and run your online business on your off-hours.
There are plenty of other benefits you get with building a business online. You can work from home, set your hours and rates, and focus on doing what you like and get paid for that.
But building a successful online business is no easy feat! If you don’t have the right tools and knowledge, I’m afraid it is almost impossible to succeed. So, how do you start an online business as an entrepreneur? What are the things you need to build a successful business online?
This article will answer these questions and more. You will also get to know the type of businesses you can start online and how to choose the best one for you.
Interested in starting an online business today? Let’s get started!
Types of Online Business
Before we get into how you can start an online business, you need to know about the types of online businesses available on the marketplace today. By learning about the online business marketplace, you can learn more about the different types of businesses and decide which one works for your lifestyle and goals.
Freelancers work for several clients without “employment.” They get contracted to do several projects like writing, web designing, programming, and so on.
The contracts are project-based, and freelancers get paid based on an agreement. Freelancers can set their work rate and work hours. You are not required to work within a specific time. As long as you get the project ready by the deadline, you can work any time.
Most people think freelancing is the same as a remote job. Yes, they both require working from home, but they are not the same thing. As a remote worker, you are employed, and you work for your employer. You have stipulated working hours, and you get paid bi-weekly or monthly.
On the other hand, freelancers are like contractors: Nobody employs them. This means freelancers don’t receive health insurance or retirement programs from their clients. Instead, they are contracted to work independently on projects. A freelancer can also work for several clients at a time.
eCommerce (online store)
eCommerce refers to the sales of physical products online. You can start your online store and sell physical products to people. With your online store, you can do the following:
- Retail – Sell directly to customers without any third party.
- Wholesale – Sell products in bulk, most often to retailers.
- Dropship – Acts as the third party, connects the buyer to the seller, and get commissions.
- Crowdfunding/Pre-order: Collect money from buyers in advance for a product before it is available. Most times, you use the buyer’s money to order the products.
To start your eCommerce store, you need to have an online store and get people to know about your store. You can create an eCommerce store on Shopify or Amazon. Additionally, most of the time, you have to run ads to get people to know about your products.
You can start your service business online as well. For this, you must have a service skill you can offer people. Unlike the other online businesses, you must be physically present to carry out your service. Examples of such services include plumbing, electricians, HVAC, and handyman.
The difference between the physical and online service businesses is that your business is automated. So, you don’t require your customers to be physically present to book your services. All your processes, such as bookings, payments, and marketing, are carried out online.
Digital marketing is using the internet and online digital means to reach customers. So, digital marketers use online platforms like social media, emails, games, and other digital means.
Don’t confuse digital marketing with online marketing. Online marketing is a part of digital marketing that uses the internet to promote and advertise. Digital marketing extends to using other digital means apart from the internet, such as Television and SMS.
As a digital marketer, you help to promote and market your client’s products or website using several digital marketing tools like SEO, influencer marketing, content marketing, and so on.
Digital Content Creation
You can also sell digital content about different topics to people. Digital content creation involves creating written or visual content around issues that appeal to your audience. And then selling the content to them.
You can also sell your expertise or skills to people. Let’s say you are skilled in video editing; you can create a guide around that and sell it to people online.
However, before creating digital content, you must be sure people are interested in that topic. One way to do that is to carry out market research, identify your audience’s problems. Then attempt to solve those problems.
Platforms like Udemy and Skillshare makes it easier to sell your content. You can create a portfolio about your areas of expertise and sell them on these platforms. Alternatively, you can create eBooks and sell them on Amazon.
How to Start Your Online Business Successfully
Now that you know about the several categories of online business available. I’m sure you’re asking: “How can I set up my online business?”
No need to worry! In this section, we’ll talk about the steps you should take when starting your online business.
Decide on What Online Business to Start
The first step is to decide on what you want to do. You have to choose the category you’d like to establish yourself in.
What do you want to do? Freelancing? eCommerce? Digital Marketing?
To help you decide between these categories, you have to ask yourself these questions:
- What skills do you have that you can market? This can be something you study in school, a skill you learned, or something that comes naturally to you.
- What are the things you like to do?
- What skill your friend and family say you excel in?
For example, if you like to write and receive a lot of compliments on your writing skills, you should consider going into writing. You can start a freelance business in writing. Or, you can choose to create digital content to teach people how to write and sell online.
A skill map will help you with deciding on what to do. Keep in mind that you can choose to go into more than one online business. As long as you can effectively manage the businesses together without getting stressed.
However, you should build a successful online business before you combine it with another. For example, you can build a successful eCommerce business first then start content creation around your expertise from your eCommerce experience.
Carry Out Your Market Research
After you are sure of what you want to do, the next step is to do your market research. Research and find out the essential aspects of your business.
- Who is your target audience? What do they do?
- What are the things you need for your business to function well?
- Who are your competitors? What does their website/profile/store look like?
- If you are going into eCommerce, what products do you want to sell?
In this stage, you are looking for as much information as you can get. Know everything you can about your business.
If you are going into freelancing, how will you get clients? Do you want to use freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr? Or Do you want to get your clients independently? If you decide to freelance on platforms, which platforms are the best for you?
If you are setting up a service business, do you need a website? How do you plan to get clients? Social media? Paid ads? Where can you find your target audience?
At this stage, you are gathering information on everything you need to build your business. If you need to get additional or different skills, use this stage to research about those skills.
Gather All the Necessary Requirement to Start Your Business
Now that you are sure of what you need to start your business. It is time to gather all the necessary things to start your business.
Come up with your business name if you need one. And get the necessary legal documents to back up your business. Suppose you are starting a service business or an online store. In that case, you may have to register your business with the government.
As a freelancer, you may not need these documents if you are freelancing on platforms like Upwork. All you need is to set up an account and verify on these platforms.
If you need to take some training or courses to help improve or learn about how to run your business. This is the stage to do that as well. Take online courses or get a mentor/coach to get the necessary know-how of your business.
Set Up Your Website/Profile/Store
Depending on what you are going into, you need to set up your means of attracting and communicating with your clients or customers. That can be your website, profile, or your online store.
If you are planning to start an eCommerce business, you need to set up your online store. Your store should be properly set up and well-designed. You can hire professionals to help you with your web design and user experience. Check out your competitors’ websites for inspiration.
If you want to use freelancing platforms like Fiverr or Upwork, you have to set up a profile. Research the top freelancers in your niche, and check their profile. Model your profile close to their profile. However, that doesn’t mean you should copy and paste their profile. Only take inspiration to create your profile.
For a service business, you need to set up your website. Your website should be clean, well-designed, and optimized. Avoid adding too many colours or details. That will only make your website clumsy. Make sure everything is clean and straightforward. And people can get important information, such as your booking information, quickly.
Marketing: Let People Know About Your Business
To make money online, you need clients/customers. And you won’t get these if nobody knows about your business.
Put your business in front of people with several marketing strategies. You can use several means of advertising to do that, including social media marketing, paid ads, influencer marketing, and so on.
Suppose you have an online service or digital marketing service business. In that case, you need people to know about your service, so they can hire you. Create a Google My Business page for your business. So that when people search for your service near you, your business page will come up.
For online stores and digital content, you must get people to know about your products. Social media marketing, paid ads (Google ads or Facebook ads), and influencer marketing are excellent ways to get people to know about your products.
Freelancers that freelance will need to convince clients that they can help them get the results they want. For freelancers that use freelancing platforms, you can easily apply for gigs or projects and persuade clients that you are the ideal candidate to take on the task. If you work independently, the process is similar, except you have to contact clients directly or have them notice you.
It is that simple to start an online business. These steps will help you choose and create an online company that is most suitable for your skills.
Of course, these are not the only processes you need to run a successful online business. You have to consider other processes like setting up bookings and payment for your business and attracting more clients.
You can learn more about all these areas of handling your online business at MaleMatter.com. Keep your eye on our platform for more information and tips about your online business.
In this series’s next article, we will talk about how to handle booking and payment for your online business. See you then!