How to Start an Online Business – The Steps to Success
One of the most popular ways to earn money is online. Through the Internet you can start a business that doesn’t require you to talk directly to people (although you need to respond to email) or leave your home. For many who are home-bound or shy, an Internet business sounds ideal. But an online business requires much more than launching a website. The Internet is filled with abandoned stores, blogs and other business ventures that never made a dime. Like any business, you need to know what you’re doing, make a plan and WORK. Here are some steps to online business success.
1. Decide what type of business do you want to run. Do you have a product or service to provide? Are you hoping to make a living as a blogger? Before you can start, you need to know what you want to start.
2. Determine if there is there a market for your idea and what does the market want. Don’t launch a website without researching whether or not there are people who want what you offer and are willing to pay for it. Keyword search tools are helpful in learning how many people are interested in your topic and what specifically they are interested in.
3. Figure out how you will make money. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who want to make a living online, start a blog, but don’t know how they’ll make money. If money is the goal, shouldn’t you figure that out early in the game? Money can be made online in a variety of ways including selling your own products and services, selling products and services of others (through affiliate or reseller programs) or advertising.
4. Determine the technical requirements to set up your website. If you’ll be running an online store, you’ll need a full e-commerce site with a product database and shopping carts. If you’re selling a couple of items, you may not need a fancy e-commerce set-up, but in both cases you’ll need payment processing.
5. Learn how to make or hire someone to build your site. Trust is an important factor in making sales. The more professional looking your site, the more visitors will feel comfortable buying from you.
6. Develop a marketing plan. This is where most people fail in online business. Having a website and getting listed in a search engine are not enough. You have to know your market, craft promotional materials they will respond to, and get your materials in front of them. Marketing isn’t a one-time deal either. Marketing is something you do everyday, so you need a well-developed plan to ensure you have a steady stream of customers.
7. Run the numbers. How much do you need to pay your bills? How much are your business start-up costs? How much are your business running costs? How much profit above that do you want? How much can you sell your products or services for? How many do you need to sell to meet your goal? Knowing the numbers you need to meet are crucial to your success.
Here are some resources for more information:
Work-At-Home Success University has several courses related to making a living online including Blogging for Bucks, Affiliate Marketing Success and Creating Information Products.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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