Starting your own online business has never been easier. With all the advancements over the years, there is a wide range of businesses online. There is so much opportunity out there to be your own boss, online. For example, you could start a blog through which you can promote other people’s products, or providing your SAAS services, to starting a dropshipping website. You have so many chances to start your business online from scratch.
However, making a website, as you will realize, is only the first step. Making your website might seem like a daunting task, but after you are done, you might rethink that. The real test is to get viewers to your website. Unless you are already a huge Instagram influencer, you are in for a challenge.
Getting followers from scratch might seem like an overwhelming task and may scare you away. However, this is not impossible. To do that, you have two paths:
- Start for Free:
As mentioned above, unless you are rolling with online followers, getting some will require diligence, persistence, PATIENCE, and quite some time. The best part is that you can do it for free by starting your own blog, making YouTube videos, or using social media.
- Paying to Generate Traffic:
This option gives you a bit more and becomes unlimited. You can pay websites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Quora, and many more. Using the aforementioned websites, you can advertise your services with paid ads.
Starting Online Business: Starting a business B.I. (Before the Internet)
Imagine traveling back in time to the 1950s (before the invention of the internet) after working a decent job until your late adulthood. After years of hard work, your day has come, you have a great amount of cash saved up. Burning with the desire to be financially independent, let’s say you want to open your own store in which you are going to sell a selection of the finest whatever’s in the market.
After laying the foundation of your business – planning it down to the finest detail – you want to get started and sell to as many people as possible. A month goes by, and you realize you’re not selling as fast as you expected. You are baffled at this, you know you have the top of the line items for sale. Then, another month goes by, and you notice more and more people are buying from you, increasing your profits, albeit slightly.
Good thing you have saved a lot of money from your previous job to allow you to keep your business going with negative profit. You plan to have your business survive until it attracts enough customers to keep it afloat. Barely 1 year has passed, and your store is not reeling in any profit. By this time, you are ready to throw in the towel. You might grow more and more frustrated and the thought of closing down comes into play. This means you must give up your dream and beg your old boss to take you back.
Starting Online Business: What went wrong?
You had the perfect product, the perfect set-up, perfect location, but you had no one to sell to. The problem is, you relied on your product to sell itself and that does not work. You should have invested some of that money in advertisements. Now assuming we were still in 1950, you’d have had to pay for newspaper ads or TV commercials to advertise your business. With that, the outcome of your dream has a much better chance of surviving.
Starting Online Business: Starting a business in 2020 (Much Easier for Starting Online Business)
Fast forward to the present, it’s the year 2020, gross I know. Whether you wish to sell physical goods or online services, you must have a website. Consumerism changes to adapt to modern technology, and as a business owner, you have to adapt to the digital age. In 2019, the number of people going online to find businesses had jumped to 97% from 59% back in 2011. It is clear, If you want to sell your goods, you need to be found online, therefore, you must have a website.
Good thing is, this is not the 1900s, starting a business now is easier than ever and requires less capital. The shift from physical stores to online stores has a key advantage; the probability of your goods being found is better than ever.
However, one key disadvantage; EVERYONE is doing it. There truly is a website for everything and they sell anything under the sun. This is why finding people to whom you can promote your product is where the real work begins.
As mentioned earlier, to advertise your services, you have to choose to pay for ads or advertise your merchandise on your own. You can, of course, do both at the same time. Let us dive deeper into both options.
Starting Online Business: Growing your own audience from scratch
Social media offers more than just entertainment. That’s right, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms can be used for things other than sharing memes and cute cat videos, who knew. This is another key component in starting an online business.
Here are a few of the platforms that you can use to advertise your products:
- Facebook allows you to promote your services with Facebook groups. You can start a Facebook group revolving around your services. After that, start adding people who might be interested in the content. Reach out to friends and family, they owe you one. Be sure to have frequent updates to your Page; remember, consistency is key! Find yourself a community of like-minded people, engage in groups similar to yours, and slowly build yourself a social network, you can do it!
- Twitter is one of those social media platforms used to establish someone as a thought leader. On Twitter, you can have real conversations with real people. Share your knowledge, offer advice, answer frequently asked questions about problems you wish to solve using your services. Engagement generates attention.
- Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for brand awareness. It has improved over the years. You can share images and videos. However, you might find it a bit more of a task to drive traffic to your website. Typically, you can only include one link in the profile field. You can use Instagram to follow like-minded people, connect with them, and ultimately increase your followers’ number.
- LinkedIn is a social media channel that is ideal for B2B (a business that sells to other businesses). People and companies use have LinkedIn profiles for brand recognition. Polish your profile, fill it with your content to be found easier in LinkedIn searches. Just keep in mind, this is a more formal space.
- Start a YouTube channel! Then, make videos in which you advertise your content, either directly or indirectly. You can make YouTube tutorials to help people start a business in the same field as yours. This is a great way to have buyers feel like they know you personally. Participate in the YouTube community of people posting similar content. Also, Learn from people better than you, and influence people that are just starting up. The knowledge is out there, just look for it.
Step 1: Start a Blog!
No, seriously, go now and make one! Don’t know where to start? No worries, I am here to help. I have a list (below) of both free and paid services that allow you to create a webpage easily. Check them out and select one that suits your style and needs. Again, you got this!
Remember: it is almost impossible that starting your own online business wouldn’t require promoting your products on a website in some fashion (i.e., blog, social media…etc.), so I urge you to take this first step in starting your online business before moving forward with creating or improving your online presence.
As you can see, many of these services are platforms that are free to start. By using any of these services, you can create your own blog and customize it to your liking (how much customization available to you depends on what website you end up choosing).
I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is. Using a blog, you can have something similar to a newspaper column in the past. On your blog, you can write articles relevant to the services you provide and fill those with links referring to your merchandise.
Plus, with your blog, you can include an opt-in form for people to subscribe to your e-mail. This way, you’ll have a growing e-mail list of people to whom you can send solicited e-mails promoting your content. That way they never miss a post.
Always link your social media profiles to one another. This is essential in starting your own online business. For example, use your Facebook page to refer to your Instagram page and vice versa. This makes it much easier for people to find you and follow your journey.
Step 2: Pay for Traffic
All of the platforms mentioned above, offer the option of advertising your website using different means depending on your budget. You can use Facebook ads, Youtube ads, Instagram ads, and many more. Good thing is, all these platforms work with you and your budget. So, do not stress, you do not need too much money in the bank to pay for site traffic.
Finally, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website from search engines. SEO targets natural, organic traffic rather than direct or paid traffic. Organic traffic includes image searches, video searches, news searches. This is key when not online starting an online business, but keeping an online business running. So much so I already have an article on this, so check it out.
SEO is an online marketing strategy that considers how search engines work, the computer-programmed algorithms that dictate search engine patterns, what people search for, the search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred their targeted audience. This takes some work off of you. Plus, there are tools es to help: SEMRUSH, H-Supertools, and Keywords Everywhere.
It is not the 1900s anymore, starting your business is easier than ever. Technology has evolved. However, launching your website is only the first and easier step when you’re starting an online business.
The real challenge is to drive traffic to your website. Driving traffic to your website can either be done for free using social media. This also allows you to engage with buyers. Or it can be done through paid ad campaigns on the aforementioned platforms. Whichever path you chose, I wish you the best of luck!A