People often ask me how they can get started in online business. This isn’t usually a question I can easily answer, because most of the time I don’t know anything about them. Choosing the right path to success for them will depend on many things, such as their personality traits, strengths, interests and many more unique personal qualities which only they fully understand about themselves.
That said, I try to give them some pointers about what they might like to do and how they might go about achieving it.
The subject is rather large. Perhaps large enough for another eBook (or more!) in the future. For today, I’ll just run through a taster of some of what’s involved, things to consider, and what path you might choose to get started in online business. Many people become overwhelmed by information overload, and this often leads to paralysis by analysis and ultimately procrastination where nothing ever gets done. There are so many new things to learn that it can be quite bewildering, and eventually the would-be entrepreneur is left in despair asking: But where do I start?
What can you bring to the business?
First, take stock of what you can bring to the table. What’s your budget? How much time can you spend on your new online business? What are your goals (eg to make a full-time income online within a year)? What skills and experience do you have already? What are your interests, strengths and existing contacts?
Additionally you might think about whether you might want to start from scratch and build a business or perhaps buy an existing business. There are pros and cons of each, not least the amount of finance needed.
In either case, whether you’re going to build or buy, you also need to decide what kind of website might suit you.
Some types of website to consider
Here’s a short list of some of the types of website which you might consider to start with.
- Content sites
- Membership sites
- Drop shipping
- Selling on Amazon or eBay
- Buying/selling websites and domains
- Website Flipping
There are others, of course, but this list at least gives you a few things to consider. Each type has its pros and cons, and different requirements in terms of investment, skills, experience and time commitment. You will probably be able to rule out some of them immediately, just by instinctively knowing this isn’t the type of thing you’d like to do. Others will require you to investigate further into what’s involved in running such a business and website.
For example, “eCommerce” could cover all sorts of businesses involved in selling goods and services ranging from organic baby food to Internet security systems. The one thing they all have in common is the word “selling”. Without sales there is no revenue and therefore no business.
On the other hand some business models and types of website don’t require you to do any active selling. For example, owners of blogs and content sites don’t have to actively sell anything. It’s possible to make money by creating good content, attracting visitors, and monetising by displaying adverts on the web pages.
Some webmasters join an advertising programme such as Google’s AdSense. They place the AdSense code on their websites and get on with producing the content whilst passively earning whatever advertising revenue they can. But don’t be fooled by anyone telling you this is ‘passive income’. It’s not. Someone has to produce the content in the first place, and keep producing it, or the revenue stream will dwindle and eventually dry up.
Build or buy?
Whether starting from scratch or buying an existing business, there are many subjects you need to know about. Whilst building and buying websites have a lot in common, there are differences too.
If starting from scratch you will first need to learn about domains, hosting, SEO, monetising and a whole batch of other topics. Nothing to worry about. It’s something you can easily tackle one step at a time – and you don’t need to know everything before you get started.
If you’re planning to buy a business, you’ll need to know about the website basics above plus some other aspects of online business. For example, you’ll need to know where best to look for a business to buy in the first place. You’ll also need an understanding of how to evaluate the existing business prior to purchase. This involves carrying out due diligence and also gaining an understanding of how the business works, its financials, traffic figures and assets. Additionally you’ll need to understand where the business is in terms of the business life-cycle, and how you can achieve growth or at least keep it at its optimum performance level. There’s a lot to learn! But the trick is to take it step by step and not try to learn everything all at once. Don’t get the dreaded lurgy of paralysis by analysis.
Whether you build or buy, you will need to understand the business model and determine how you are going to make money from running the business. Perhaps we should look at monetisation next.
Wow. That’s probably enough for today before any of us gets a brain melt-down. And there’s still more to cover, such as:
- Building traffic
- Converting traffic
- And more…
I hope I’ve given you a small insight about some of what’s involved with running a successful online business. It seems like there’s a lot to learn. There is. You just have to find the path through it. I understand that many people need some help with this and that’s precisely why I write books on the subject. Stick around, I have some freebies for you.
To conclude this blog posting for today:
If you want to be a business website owner, you have three main options.
- Build a website – build a website and business from scratch or pay someone to do it for you
- Buy an established site – buy an established website with a proven business model and history of profit or possibly a cheaper one with a less impressive past
- Buy a starter site – buy a ready-made site and start building a business on it
If you want to learn more about buying a starter site, then sign up to my email newsletter, if you haven’t already done so, and get my free eBook, Buying Starter Websites: A beginner’s guide. This will get you a significant way down the path if you’re considering taking this route into online business.
If you’re wondering about building rather than buying, then my newsletter has something for you too – very soon I’ll be giving away a free chapter of The Buyer’s Quest: Chapter 2: ‘Why buy a website rather than build one?’
As for buying an established business website, that’s more like going for the Full Monty and that’s covered by another of my books, which is due for publication soon: The Buyer’s Quest: A guide to buying websites. Sorry, that one’s not free because I earn a living as a writer and I have bills to pay too (worse luck!). It’ll probably cost around $10 so don’t worry about being sucked into something that’s going to cost you your life savings. And meanwhile, even if you don’t ever want to buy anything from me, you can make the most of the freebies I’m giving away.
By the way, please feel free to comment on this post if you’ve got any questions about anything I’ve said, if you’d like me to expand on any of it or if you just plain disagree with me – I’d love to hear from you.