How To Start An Online Business
Are you thinking of starting an online business so that you can work from home or even while traveling the world, like I do?
Here are the six steps that I use to start each of my online business. Now these steps can be used to start any business, and re the most fundamental things you need to know about starting an online business.
#1. Figure out your micro-niche
Before you start any business, the single most important thing you need to figure out is what niche you want to be in. More exactly, what micro niche you want to dominate.
If you are a web developer currently thinking of starting an online web development business targeting anyone who wants a website development, this is too broad of a niche. Instead, you wanna go micro niche and target your one single audience. Maybe you are a web developer for yoga studios, or a web developer for online language schools.
Going micro niche might feel counterintuitive right now, but imagine trying to market your online business to every person in this world. Where do you begin?
Also, the spray and pray method of marketing to anybody no longer works. Instead, say if you are a web developer for only yoga studios, you can focus your marketing and outreach efforts solely on yoga studio owners, get referrals within the yoga community, apply very targeted ads directed only at yoga studio owners, and so on.
#2. Define your target audience
The second thing that you need to know is who you are trying to target. Who are your target audience, what are their demographics. You’ll want to start thinking about a single individual to target.
So how do you get to this one single individual?
First, let’s start with these questions: What is his or her gender, what does he or she do for work, what is his or her top 5 likes and what is his or her spending habit. Does he or she spend a lot of time online, if so, what type of browsing or shopping is he or she doing online? How often is he or she on social media?
From these questions, you’ll be able to narrow down to one single individual as your target customer.
For example, with Chrys Media, my one single target audience is Amanda. Amanda is a female between 32 and 36 from the United States, she runs an online business with a small team of employees and her biggest struggle is getting more clients. She isn’t trained in business or marketing, which is why she is looking for more information online to improve her marketing knowledge. She spends several hundred dollars on each course she takes, and these are the other products that she purchases – whether it is for her business or for her own personal use.
Once you get super specific about your one single individual, you’ll be able to target them exactly where they hang out and use the exact language that will resonate with them.
#3. Know your competitors and your Unique Selling Point
The third step is knowing who your competitors are.
Check out your competitors’ websites and see what needs they are fulfilling and what’s lacking. Look at the current or usual complaints your competitors receive and you’ll want to offer something better than the existing solutions.
For example, Chrys Media offers online conferences targeted at online entrepreneurs and marketers. When I did my competitors analysis, I knew that an online entrepreneur or marketer already has numerous online courses on marketing that they could sign up for, as well as other resources such as webinars and physical conferences.
I wanted to stand out from the online courses and even other online conferences, which is why I developed my one single individual, found my micro niche, and created something different from my competitors.
#4. Validate your business idea
The fourth step is validating your business idea.
Before you wanna spend too much time and money on creating a website or a product, you’ll want to make sure that people actually will pay for your product or service.
Start by creating a MVP, or minimum viable product. What that means is that instead of creating a full-blown, expensive website, perhaps you can start with just a simple landing page that interested potential customers can register their emails for updates.
Or if you are thinking of selling an online course, see if you can get people to pre-sign up and pay a deposit in exchange for an early bird discount. Doing these will help you determine if your online business will eventually do well or flop.
#5. Company registration, domain purchase, taxes
The fifth step is the nitty gritty stuff. Make sure you get your business registered with your government, purchase your domain name, create your website, and get any logo and graphics designed.
#6. Have a marketing strategy
The last step in starting an online business is determining how you will drive traffic to your website.
The more traffic you get, the more leads and sales you’ll be able to generate. Traffic can be earned, owned, or paid.
Earned traffic are basically things like reviews, people sharing about your business, mentions, reposts on social media. Owned traffic are things like using your social media channels to drive traffic, using SEO to optimize your website and content to rank. Paid traffic is using paid ads such as Facebook ads, YouTube ads, Google Adwords to drive traffic.
Owned traffic has a longer longevity than paid or earned traffic, because it continuously drives new traffic to your site. Paid traffic stops once you stop running ads, and earned traffic is highly dependent on a 3rd party sharing or mentioning your brand.
One of the best ways to build owned traffic is to continuously create free content that answers the questions that your one single audience faces. We’re talking social media content, video content which is highly recommended especially in 2018 when videos are getting more popular and getting better reach than other forms of content, written content such as blog posts, podcasts, live videos, etc.
In the example of the web developer for yoga studios, you can create content such as the top appointment booking WordPress plugin for yoga studios.
What idea do you have for your first online business? Let me know in the comments section below.
Chrys was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age. By age 27, Chrys has started and ran two online businesses. Chrys now runs Chrys Media, a company that runs online conferences for online entrepreneurs.