Are you interested in starting an online business but not exactly sure how to get started? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or do something groundbreaking in order to start your own successful online business.
My question to you is…
Do you want to build a hobby or a business?
If you think starting an online business would merely be “a nice thing to do,” or something that you simply want to try, you probably aren’t dedicated enough to insure your success at it. You need to be totally committed to it.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have plenty of second thoughts when thinking about starting an online business. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t have hard limits to your risk such as, “I will only invest a certain amount of money,” or “I will not leave my day job.”
But it does mean that once you have decided to launch an online business, you should be determined to give whatever effort it takes within those prescribed limits.
To accomplish this, let's take a look at five of the most important things to consider when starting an online business and start turning your passions into profits on the internet.
Do You Have An Entrepreneurial Mindset?
What sets entrepreneurs apart from other people is their unique mindset. They're passionate and dedicated, and they think outside the box. These unique traits aren't something you're born with. You can learn the mindset you need to become a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs see fear as a challenge. In fact, to be an entrepreneur, you need to love challenges. Facing down challenges is how you grow and successful business people know this. If you’re new to this, then take baby steps and move just a little outside your comfort zone bit by bit. Try to remember the first time you got up and gave a presentation or sang in front of other people. It might have been terrifying at first, but once you'd done it a number of times, it wasn’t so bad.
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Learn from Everything
Entrepreneurs see absolutely everything as a learning experience. This includes both successes and failures. In fact, errors and mistakes teach you much more than your successes do. When you fail, you can analyze the failure and figure out what went wrong so that you can do it right the next time. A successful person gets their ego out of the way. They know that if a launch flops, it's not because of them but something wrong with the product or service or marketing.
Focus on Problem Solving
Entrepreneurs focus on solving problems. This is how they're able to create such great products and services. They listen to people and grasp the challenges they're facing, and then get to work looking for solutions. A customer facing a problem will happily pay for a product or service that solves it.
Network All the Time and Everywhere
A successful business owner needs to know many different people in many different fields. These valuable contacts can offer you their expertise and help when you need it.
For this reason, entrepreneurs talk to everyone everywhere they go and see every person as a potential contact. This includes people outside of their industry. You never know what kind of person might be valuable to know. If you want to grow your business, get in the habit of getting out of your orbit and meeting new people.
Think Beyond the Weekly Paycheck
Workers are used to being paid for their time or what they produce, but entrepreneurs take a longer-term view. An entrepreneur doesn't work for their pay. They build a system that generates revenue. In order to be an entrepreneur, you have to break out of the "working for pay" mindset.
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Action, Not Words
Finally, entrepreneurs take action. Of course, they have to plan and they plan very well, but when it's time to act, they can act decisively. An entrepreneur knows that you learn as you get out there and do it, not as you sit at a desk.
How to Find a Profitable Niche for Your Business
There's an old saying that there's nothing new under the sun and, unfortunately, this is true. Many new businesses search endlessly for that one profitable niche that nobody has found yet, and this is time wasted. You need to find a profitable niche, but you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Here's how you find a good niche that will bring you success in business.
An Evergreen Niche
The best niches are "evergreen." This means that it's not something that's just popular now, but something that people will be into years from now. You'll do a great deal of work setting up your business. If the trends change and your audience leaves you, you'll have done all of that work for nothing.
Choose a niche that has high demand. This means that there's a great deal of engagement. People online are actively talking about it and searching for solutions. For example, if you see social media groups talking about this topic, this is a sign that you have a good niche. You can also use these groups to learn about your market and to promote your product or service.
People Are Paying Money for It
Look for products in the niche that are already selling. There are some niches that are popular with a great deal of engagement, but no one is buying anything. For a niche to be profitable, people need to be purchasing products or services. One way to assess this is to look at products in the niche on Amazon or affiliate networks.
Problems and Solutions
The best products and services are those that solve problems. Look for niches where people are discussing their problems and looking for solutions. Most of the time, people want ways to save time, money, or stress in their daily lives or businesses. When you find problems you can solve, you can step in and offer your answer. If you do this right, you're virtually assured sales.
Competition is actually a good thing when you're looking for a profitable niche. It tells you that there's money in it. If there are other companies selling products here, it means people are paying. The key is to do something unique in the niche that sets you apart from the competition.
Prior Knowledge Helps
It's helpful if you know something about the niche already. It'll save you time. However, this isn't totally necessary. As you immerse yourself in the topic, you'll learn about it and become an expert in no time. But if you're something of an expert already, this cuts corners.
The Money vs. Passion Balance
Although you want to choose a niche that you're passionate about, you need to make sure it's profitable. So, there's a balance that must be struck between passion and profitability. Try to find something you love that also has money in it.
4 Questions to Help You Find Your Ideal Customers
When you know your ideal customer, this changes absolutely everything in your business. This target market is the basis for everything you'll do – your branding, the products and services you'll offer, the marketing channels you'll use, and the way you interact with your customers. This is why it's essential to take this crucial first step.
Your ideal customer is the person who can benefit the most from what you're offering. Businesses create a persona that describes this market as one individual. It might say something like, "Bob is a small business owner in the American Midwest earning XXX per year and seeking to grow his business…" It's very specific so that you know exactly who you're targeting.
To create a customer profile, you'll need to gather as much data as possible about the people who'll buy from you.
Here are the questions your customer profile should answer:
Where Is Your Ideal Customer and What Do They Do?
An accurate and complete picture of your ideal customer starts with identifying where they are and what they do. Demographic information such as this includes things like geographical location, age, job status, annual income, family structure, and so on. Answer the question, "Who are you?"
What Problems Does Your Product or Service Solve?
Your ideal customer is facing some problem or challenge. You need to discover what pressing need they have so that you can offer a product or service that will solve it. What changes will your offering bring about in the customer's life?
What Is the Customer Looking for When They Shop?
A major part of your ideal customer profile is buying behavior. When and how does your target market shop? How do they feel about the money and the products and services they buy? If you know this information, you can adjust your offer to fit your customers' particular lifestyle and buying behavior.
What Are the Customer's Objection to Buying?
This is an important question for understanding the behavior of your customers. Many people get close to buying but stop at the last minute for one reason or another. They might wonder if the product will actually deliver the results, or they may not be sure whether it's worth the price. Your marketing should address these objections and dispel them to remove obstacles to buying.
Finding Data on Your Ideal Customer
So, where do you go to find this information? There are many ways you can learn about your market:
Conduct research on social media, including places like online forums and Q&A sites.
Talk to existing customers or the audience you already have.
Follow your competitors and see what kind of people follow and buy from them.
Conduct surveys online with people in your niche.
Finding Your Audience – The 6 Best Online and Offline Marketing Channels
With the rise of online marketing over the last few decades, there is now a head-spinning variety of methods to add to traditional offline approaches you can use to put your offer in front of your target market.
Here are some of today's key marketing channels both online and off.
Social media is a great place to conduct market research, build relationships with your audience, and promote your products and services. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give you a wealth of information about the people who buy products like yours. You can get to know them and introduce them to your brand. Although people don't generally buy directly on social media, it has become an increasingly important step in the buying process.
Offer helpful advice and share your knowledge with readers by publishing articles about your topics. You can find offline publishing opportunities but the quickest way to get your work widely read is to publish online. You can start your own site or blog, or for even better results, find websites or blog sites that publish articles. Get your work out there to reach a new audience.
Start an email list and offer helpful content to your subscribers. Email is still the most intimate marketing channel on earth. Create a freebie offer in exchange for people signing up for your list and set up an opt-in page to capture names and addresses. You can promote products and services through your email messages, but most of the content should be informational and helpful, not promotional.
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Search Engine Optimization
You'll still get a great deal of leads through search engines, so make sure that all of your websites are search engine friendly. Choose some good keywords and use them naturally throughout your text. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and try to build some backlinks to your site from related sites.
Attend trade shows, conferences, seminars and local events. Hold a booth and give a presentation if possible where you introduce your topic. Just like your content marketing, give people some information they can use and then tell them that you have more to offer.
Make sure you have professional business cards to hand out to people you meet offline. Your business card should be eye-catching and include not only your contact information, but a short blurb describing the unique value your business offers.
Networking is essential to growing a business and you should never miss an opportunity to meet someone and tell them what you do.
The Basics of Marketing
Remember that the concept of marketing is actually quite simple – just find your audience and put your offer in front of them. Choose the marketing channels where you can most easily and effectively reach your target market.
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The Big Day – How to Prepare to Launch Your Business
Once you've done all of the background work on building your business, it's time to count down the days until the launch. As the big day draws near, here are the things you need to do to get ready to open your doors.
Far ahead of your launch, make sure that all of your systems work. Check all email addresses or other forms of contact. If you have an online store, make sure the shopping cart works. Test all technical aspects of your business so that once your business is open, there won't be any bumps in the road. Make sure you have your tech support service ready at-hand in case there are problems.
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Develop a Launch Plan
Create a marketing plan that's specifically for your launch. Decide where you're going to publish what and when. Try to keep a steady stream of content about the launch as you lead up to the day.
Build the Buzz
Starting a month before your business launch, start building the buzz. Let people know that you're about to launch and give them a taste of what they can expect. Share information on social media. Wherever possible, get people involved. Hold contests or ask for ideas to get your audience interacting with you.
Seek Social Proof
One specific way to build the buzz is to reach out to influencers or experts in your niche and give them a sample of your product or service in exchange for a testimonial. They can tell others the benefits they got from using your offering and you can use this to promote your launch.
As you get ready to launch, this is a great time to conduct some market research. Give select members of your audience a sneak preview of your business and get their feedback. See if there are any improvements they'd like to see made and tweak ahead of the big day.
Get Your Tracking Systems in Place
Choose the metrics you'll use to measure your business performance. Get a tracking system in place that involves regular monitoring and occasionally sitting down for a deeper analysis.
Consider an Initial Discount
You might want to consider offering a discount on products and services to celebrate the launching of your business. Offer a bonus, discount, or additional free offer for those who place orders on the first day. Set a limit to add some urgency.
Plan for the Big Day
You need to do more than just plan the pre-launch. You'll have to be on-hand to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as planned. There will also be things to do post-launch, like following up with customers, looking for new promotional opportunities, and watching your metrics.