Starting an online business can seem like both an easy and an impossible task. It has been done countless times before, but where does one begin?
If you are interested in doing business online, you probably have plenty of questions. Fortunately, there are many experienced entrepreneurs who have shared their valuable knowledge to help others get started.
In this article, we’ll answer five frequently asked questions about starting an online business, so you don’t have to learn things the hard way. Let’s get started!
1. What Is a Good Startup Business?
While there is no simple answer to this question, the best startup business for you is one that you will be good at running. You can start by considering topics you are knowledgeable or passionate about to give you an edge over the competition.
You should also think about what you are good at, and any relevant skills that may help you succeed. For example, if you are artistic and like to draw or paint, you might consider selling t-shirts or mugs with your designs. This way you have a unique product that you control the rights to, and you can make money doing something you enjoy.
Also consider your business skills. Do you know how to code and create websites? Do you have a good sense for business? Are you an effective salesperson or social media marketer? You'll want to focus on business ideas where your strengths can be applied effectively.
It is always a good idea to test the waters for any business niche you are looking into, so don't be afraid to start small. You'll also want to avoid highly-saturated markets where it will be difficult to stand out, and focus on areas with strong demand but low competition.
2. How Do I Create and Host a Website?
WordPress is the most popular option for creating a website, responsible for nearly 40% of the market. This platform is a content management system (CMS) that makes it easy for anyone with basic computer skills to create a website, with no coding experience needed.
If you are looking for something more specific, you could hire a developer to program a website for you. This will be more expensive, but it will give you more control and less restrictions, and save you time.
3. Do I Need a Business License?
If you are US-based, forming a Limited Liability Company (or LLC) is worthwhile for reducing taxes and lowering your risks. An LLC gives you the benefit of pass-through taxation, so you don’t end up being taxed multiple times for the products you buy and sell.
An LLC also protects your personal assets in the event of company debt or liability, limiting your risk to the value of the company only. An LLC is a popular option for sole proprietors and small businesses.
For slightly larger companies with up to 100 shareholders, an S-Corp offers more options and can boost credibility if you meet the criteria to qualify. However, in most cases, an LLC offers many of the same benefits and is easier to start with for new businesses.
4. How Do You Build an Audience from Scratch?
When you're creating a new online business, attracting an audience is crucial. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities to connect with your target market and spread the word about your company. To do that, it is important that you determine who your audience is.
Coming up with a specific profile will help you identify and target potential customers. You'll want to consider demographics such as age and location, as well as more personality-based factors such as interests, hobbies, where they interact online, and what they purchase. A customer profile can help you identify how to market to your audience and where to find them.
Once you've done that, one of the best ways to interact with and grow your audience is through social media. You can pay for ads and sponsored posts, or simply do the legwork yourself by sharing information about your company in relevant groups and posting enticing content. To improve your effectiveness, Pretty Links helps you create more enticing and manageable links for sharing on social media.
Content marketing and link building are two other strategies you can use to grow organic traffic, by creating content that will attract visitors from search engines and backlinks. Alternatively, paid ads can grow traffic at the expense of money instead of time.
A referral program is another great way to multiply your audience. This encourages your customers to recommend your company to others.
5. How Can You Make Money from an Online Business?
There are a few common strategies for earning revenue as an online business. Some of these are obvious, but there are plenty of business models and supplementary modes of income that you may not have considered.
Selling a product or service is one obvious way to earn money online. This could be wholesaling, retailing, or creating and selling your own product. You might also offer digital products or services, such as online courses or professional consulting.
Many websites earn money simply by selling ad space. If your website is meant to provide free information, entertainment, or news, you can monetize it by selling ad space like a digital billboard. Even sites that sell products or services often do this to supplement their earnings.
Affiliate marketing is another excellent option. This is where you earn commissions by promoting products owned by other companies. This can be a great strategy for startups, as there is no need to produce or store products of your own.
If you're thinking about getting started with affiliate marketing, Easy Affiliate takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation, so can start earning commissions right away:
Subscriptions and memberships are another common strategy for earning money online. A subscription model can be used for entertainment, news, education, specialized services, and more. It usually involves charging a recurring monthly or yearly fee.
MemberPress is a handy plugin that does the heavy lifting involved in creating a membership service:
This tool enables you to start collecting subscriptions within a matter of minutes.
While starting an online business may seem intimidating, there has never been an easier time to do it. There are lots of quality tools and services available to help you get started today.
Just remember to:
- Think about your skills and knowledge to find the perfect niche.
- Create a website quickly and easily using WordPress.
- Consider what kind of corporation you should form.
- Research your target market, and build your audience through social media using shortened, shareable links.
- Choose a way to make money, such as by creating your own products, affiliate marketing, or a membership model.
Do you have any other questions about starting an online business? Let us know in the comments section below!