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starting an online businessReady to start your own business, but not sure how or where to begin? You are not alone. I meet many hopeful entrepreneurs on a daily basis. They know they want to start a business, but that’s literally all they know. So what do I tell them? Get started! Easier said than done, I know, but that really is the first step. The following tips will help you make that first step and realize your dream of starting an online business.

Starting an Online Business: #1 Decide What You Want to Do.

With broad brushstrokes, consider what you want to do. What are your interests? What skills do you have? What products, services, or information could you provide online? You might start by simply making a list of ideas. Don’t filter yourself and don’t dismiss an idea because that little voice of fear inside your head tells you that it’s not possible.

Starting an Online Business: #2 What Business Model Works for You?

There are many different business models that you can pursue online. When starting an online business, you do want to think about how you’re going to make money. So, will you sell products or services? Will you become a brand ambassador? Will you become an influencer and earn money by talking about and partnering with other brands? Affiliate marketing is also an option, as is information marketing. And of course, you can blend a few business models to create your own unique business.

Starting an Online Business: #3 Refine and Define.

The first two steps will likely take you a bit of time. You’ll want to brainstorm and feel out which idea(s) are strongest. Once you’re down to one or two ideas, begin the process of refining and defining your online business. Answer the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you offer?
  • How do you offer it?
  • Where, and who, are your customers?
  • When will people buy from you? (Where in their process? What problems are you solving for them?)
  • How will you earn money?
  • What will the buying process look like?

Starting an Online Business: #4 Make it Official.

You may need to register your business with the state and set yourself up legally. Talk with an accountant and an attorney to make sure you have terms for your website and business and that you are protected.

Starting an Online Business: #5 Build a Website.

For an online business to thrive, you’ll want a website. You can build one yourself or hire a designer. Make sure you know exactly what you want your website to do and how your visitors and customers will use it. Make sure you know your brand message as well, so that can be communicated in the language and appearance.

Start marketing your business. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. It never will be. One of the things they don’t tell you about owning and starting an online business is that you’re always evolving, improving, and growing.

Once you have a website up and you’re ready to start sharing information, selling products, or offering services (and sometimes before you’re ready), begin marketing your business. Start telling people who you are and what you’re about. Get on social media, start building an email list, and begin growing your audience of prospects and future customers.

A while back I recorded a training class about how to drive traffic to your website. Click here to listen to the class.