An online business is great for a life of freedom and adventure but how do you start an online business? Today I will show you a 10-step plan on how to start an online business.
Why an online business is great for a life of freedom and adventure.
I love what I do, and I would not change my profession for the world right now.
I created this life of freedom and entrepreneurship. 20 years ago. Seven years ago I started my blog which is now a successful business, and it really gives me a lot of freedom to travel and to basically create a life that I want to lead.
Here are some things why I think that an online business is beneficial.
#1 You can work where you want, and you can travel as you're working
This summer I spent 4 months away from home working and holidaying in The Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, israel and the USA. I still will work, but I will do it on the road. I can do it wherever I have an internet connection. So that enables me to have a holiday, be with my family, and still work at the same time.
#2 Do something you love
You are the boss. You can decide what you want to do. If you have a passion or something that you're really good at, something you want to spend more time on, you can do that. And you can create a business around it.
#3 Free yourself from a boss
I don't know about you, but my experience with working in an enterprise has not always been very good. I had bosses that I didn't respect, and I really wanted to get out of that rat race.
#4 Reach a potentially huge audience
I live in Singapore. I spend part of the year in other countries. I reach lots of women in the USA, in the UK, in Australia, all over the world, really, and that's possible because of the internet.
That also gives you limitless income potential. The world is your oyster, and there are so many people in the world. The internet grows every year still. More and more people are getting access to the internet. So the income potential is huge.
#5 Choose your customers
I choose who I want to work with, and if some people drag me down or I don't want to work with some people, I don't. So that's really the power of being your own boss.
#6 Online business or business in general is a great way to stretch yourself,
Business can really challenge your to become something more, to grow as a person. I feel that business is the perfect personal development tool. It's challenging for sure. It's not always easy. But you always grow as a person, and I love that. I love to grow.
Your 10 step plan on how to start an online business
Are you excited to start a business too? Here is your 10 step plan to start a business!
#1 Choose what you want to do
You need to find a passion that has business potential. You really want to do something that you love, because you're gonna be doing this every single day. Better make sure you do something that you enjoy doing!
On the other hand, you also need to choose something that has business potential. If you love something that nobody has a need for, then you will not make any money. You want to make sure that you build a business, and if you build a business, it means you have to make money.
Now, there's nothing wrong if you just want to start a hobby or you're just doing it for fun. Perfectly fine, too. But then realize that's what you're doing. If you're starting a business you need to think about how you're going to make money from what you're doing from day one.
If you want a bit more info on the technical steps on starting a business go here.
#2 Have a rough idea on how you will monetize
After you've chosen something that you're really passionate about and that you know a lot about and that you feel you could help others with, you need create some kind of plan on how you could monetize. You may like these small business ideas.
It doesn't mean you have to monetize straight away, but you need to know a little bit about ways that you could potentially do that. So you can keep it in the back of your mind and do everything in a process then to get you to a place where you can monetize.
I think it's good to make a little bit of a plan. I do not necessarily need you to make a big business plan. I'm a big proponent of starting a business on a shoestring, which is what you can really do so easily with an online business.
When I started, I basically didn't need any money. You just need maybe $10 for hosting every month and a few other bits and pieces. But really you can start business, an online business, for $100. It really is not very expensive at all.
But you do need to have some kind of plan. Not a big business plan, but write it down on a piece of paper, like an A4 and just write your ideas down. It is very good to get very clear on what you do and who you want to serve.
#3 Build your audience
That ties in with point number three which is that you want to build your audience.
First you need to know who your audience is and who you want to target. It's very helpful to have one clear person in mind, which in marketing terms we call the Ideal Customer Avatar. So you have a person in mind to which you want to speak, who you want to help.
For that person you can then create articles, like a blog or you can create a podcast. You can also create a Facebook group or can You can post images on Instagram.
There are so many different ways that you can now build your audience. But it's really important that you know who you are speaking to, so that you build the right kind of audience.
would say, choose one of those mediums, be it a blog or YouTube channel, podcast, Facebook group, Instagram, and really focus on that one channel. Don't try to do too many things at once. It's much better to get really good at one particular medium and then expand after that.
For me that was a blog. I just started posting articles every single day. I did some research on my target audience, what they needed help with and what they wanted, and then I started writing for them, and I started writing articles that would help them with their issues.
You really want to focus on something where you can help people. You want to solve a problem or you want to inspire them. But if you solve a problem, that's usually the fastest way to monetize your business to create a business. So think about that when you build your audience and when you build your business.
#4 Make connections!
As you're starting to grow your audience, you also really want to connect. One mistake I made with my very first attempts at online business is that I just was in this bubble, and I was blogging away, and I was just doing my thing, but I didn't really connect with others.
I didn't reach out to others and I didn't comment on other people's blogs or try to build a relationship. And that doesn't work. You want to connect with others in your same niche and related niches, try to get interviews on podcasts or get featured on other blogs. That's really how you see a much faster growth. And it is also a lot more fun too!
When you get more fun in your business and what you do, you will experience more growth.
#5 Grow your list
From day one in your business you want to grow your list. And a lot of people forget that or think it's not important. However, email is still the best way to keep in contact with your audience and to remind them of your existence on a regular basis. It is also through email that you will get most of your customers. I certainly find that when I want to sell my courses or services, almost all my customers come through my email list.
The main source for getting new subscribers is my website. I write articles about topics that people want to know more about. I write about problems that my audience has. As a result my audience will find me through Google, and they land on my site. Or they might find me through my Instagram or Facebook. Doesn't really matter. But as soon as they land on your site, you want to make sure that they have something that they can sign up for. You might want to create a freebie or something helpful that they want to download (you can see my freebies on this page), which will get them onto your list.
And that is important, because then you can email them on a regular basis, and you can help them on a regular basis. And once you start helping people on a regular basis and your audience feels that they are being supported and they get some quick wins, they are more likely to buy from you in the future or to come back to your offerings on your blog or your podcast or whatever it is you are offering.
So you really want to build that connection. Hardly anybody will buy from you on the first visit, so it is really important to build that connection and to help them on a regular basis and to remind them of you on a regular basis. And an email newsletter is still the best way to do that. So be sure to grow your list from day one.
#6 Truly understand your audience and find out what they need and create a product or service
Now you want to create your offerings or services based on what you discovered about the needs of your audience.
Through all blogging and connection building you've been doing, you probably have found out more about them and what they really need. Take note of that. Create notes in Evernote or a notebook and really figure out what it is that your customer needs most.
What do they need help with?
The answer to that question will give you a lot of clues on the kinds of products and services you want to create for them. Make lists of that and then start thinking about the offerings that you can make.
Once you understand what your audience needs, you can now create your offerings. You might want to create a course, a one-on-one service or a physical product. No matter what you are creating, make sure it aligns with your audience and what they need.
#7 Sell your products and services
Now it's time to get good at selling this product or service to them. Don't think that by putting your products and service on a website people will automatically come and just buy from you. It usually takes more work than that. You need some kind of launch plan. Your newsletter list will be a key component of your marketing plan.
Your blog, podcast, social media accounts or speaking gigs can be very important too. There are so many different ways you can promote now. But you do need to learn how to sell. Just giving everything for free is great, but if you never sell, it won't give you a business.
I know that many of you find selling really difficult. You may be afraid that you come over as being too marketing-like or too pushy.
But think of it this way. If you have a product or a service that really helps other people you do them a service!
For example: I know that my style course 21 Steps to a More Stylish You really helps women. I've seen the transformations that it can lead to. And I've seen how much more confident and happy some women are about themselves. And because I know that, I'm doing a lot to really sell my program, because I know I need to persuade them to take that leap and know it can make a huge difference for them.
If you know that your product or service can make a huge difference to the life of your customer, you have to sell the bajesus out of them. You really have to go all out and try to persuade them. And that might take several emails. It might take several calls. It might take a discovery call that you offer for free, and then sell your service at the end of that. Do whatever it takes. If you do online marketing correctly and have given a lot of value beforehand, you don't need to be pushy. Your offering can be a logical extension of everything you have given for free.
If you offer lots of free advice and lots of service through your newsletter or through your podcast or through your Instagram, it follow logically to then mention, "Well, if you want to have more help, I have this program. I have this service. I have this product. Do you want to try it out?" It can be a very natural process. You can also do a webinar and then give lots of value in that webinar to your customers. At the end of the webinar you can say, "Well, if you want to know more of that, if you want to maybe get my personal help and advice, then I've got this wonderful program for you."
Get used to the idea of selling, and don't be afraid of it!
#8 Grow your audience further
You may want to consider advertising like Facebook ads. It is now very easy to reach a bigger audience and really zoom in on your audience, which by now I hope you have got to know really, really well. You know who they are. You know what they're like. Maybe you know their age group, what they like to do in their free time. And that knowledge gives you the opportunity to target them very specifically through Facebook ads.
You can already start with an ad for $5 a day. When you see which of those ads are delivering results, you can scale it up. For example, if I know that my $5 ad leads to a sell of $10, that is a $5 profit. That is a huge win. If I know that I have a system where I can see that for every $5 I spend, I make $10 in return, I can then say, "Hey, I'm gonna spend $100, because I know I'm gonna make $200 in return. This is something that you need to develop and get really good at.
#9 Create your systems and standard operating procedures (SOPs)
Maybe you've already started doing that. But throughout all this, you really want to create a system, and you want to create a system that will automate a lot of what you're doing.
If I look at my business, a lot of it is automated. For example, if somebody signs up for one of the freebies on my site, like my free guide or Find Your Style Challenge, they automatically get emails from me, and I don't have to be involved in that. That's all been set up. It all goes automatic. It's all been planned, and that's just one way that I automate my business. If somebody signs up for my courses, they automatically get an email. They automatically get signed up in the course and can log in and get started right away. I don't have to be involved in that anymore. Somebody can sign up and start my courses while I sleep.
And that is just one of the many ways that I have automated and created systems for my business. I also have standard operating procedures for a lot of the tasks in my business so that when I hire someone, all I have to do is give that person my standard operation procedure, and then they can execute the task as needed. This makes it a lot easier to hire, train your team, and to get your team working at a level required really, really quickly. Getting good systems is essential in growing your business. When you start to grow, you can't do everything yourself anymore, and you need other people to help you out.
For example, I now have several courses, have a style club, and I'm now doing this business 40 Plus Entrepreneur. The only way that I can do that is because I have a team in place who now takes over a lot of my work, which leaves me some time to do other things that I love to do.
#10 Scale your business and add more products or services
That takes us to step number 10, which is to repeat the whole process with another product. Once you've got your audience, have product in place and are making some money, you can now scale that up by creating another product or service. It would be great to do that in a similar niche, but you can also add to your existing niche.
You can also grow in a different way by scaling up your advertising. Maybe you haven't really taken full potential of Instagram yet or another social media platform and you can allocate more resources there.
So there's definitely different ways you can grow. This is a stage where you really want start looking at your business as a CEO. Maybe before this time you've really done a lot of the work yourself. Maybe you've done all the blogging. Maybe you've done all the creation. But now it's time to look at your business as a CEO and become a manager.
That's definitely the stage that I'm in right now. I'm still very hands on with some parts, but I've definitely become more of a manager.
Scaling your business can be very challenging, because it's very different from when I first started when I did everything myself.
I now have to learn how to manage and how to delegate and how to create systems that really work and help me scale. As I mentioned before, business is the perfect personal development tool. So I'm always learning and challenging myself. I'm always challenged. There's always things I don't know, and there's always some barriers to breach. The fear never really goes away of doing something new.
Whenever you do something new, like me doing this podcast now, it's like, "Oh my gosh. What do people think?" It's scary. You're putting yourself out there. But as you get better at doing business, as you stretch your boundaries, you do get better at it, and you just say, "What the heck. I'm just gonna do it anyway." Some people don't like it. That's not so bad, because some people really will like it, and I know I will be able to help some people with this. That's really how I approach business now and how I do things that maybe scare me quite a bit, but I do them anyway.
Hopefully this breakdown on how to start an online business and all the steps involved has helped you.
If you have any further questions, let me know!
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Thank you for sharing this! This is really inspiring and helpful now that I have a stronger idea of what I want in my future.
Right now I’m a Manager in a multinational company, but want to move onto something I really like and enjoy: style, fashion, well-being is something that I am passionate about, and I think it’s so important after you turn 40...
Couldn't agree more Mili! You may already start sowing some seeds now that you're still employed. There are so many opportunities out there. Great to know that this article has helped you!