How To Be a Young Entrepreneur: Start an online business
The fact you clicked on this post probably means that you are young and want to start your own business early. In this post I am going to give you some tips on how to be a young entrepreneur and I am going to give you some ideas on how to start your own online business and how to do it.
You have likely had visions of owning sports cars, having financial independence, the ability to travel while you are young enough to enjoy it. Which is great, many people have had these ambitions. I know I did, but it has taken me a while to get myself in to the proper mindset on how to do it. But that is OK, as everyone has their own journey. I have had a few different careers before starting my own online business. I’m not saying that there is nothing I wouldn’t have changed, however, my path has led me to where I am today. I am living in the French alps with my wife and get to do exactly what I want to do, pretty much any time I want to do it. This is something I definitely wouldn’t change.
Why Start An Online Business
I am going to focus on online businesses, this is because this is the way the world is going. Thanks to the internet, people have less barriers for earning money. There are some side hustles you can do online that will earn you some cash while you are at school or college. Here are some of the benefits you will have from having an online business.
When I was working for someone else, I didn’t like that the best times of the day were taken up by having to work without any flexibility. With an online business, I can choose my working hours. For example, this morning I went splitboarding to find some fresh snow before work. That’s me in the picture below.
This is just one of the things that working online allows me to do. I get to pick the best days to go out on the mountain. I will be working late tonight to make up for my play time, but that is my choice, not a boss. You do need to be disciplined though. If you are not you won’t be productive enough to make your business work.
Once your business is established and going well, it is possible to earn money 24/7. Your worldwide market will come across your website all the time and buy from it. It is pretty cool when you wake up to see that people have bought from you and you have made money in your sleep.
Great Earning Potential
As your audience is worldwide and can buy form you any time, the sky is the limit in terms of how much you can earn. There is no cap to your earnings, just keep on selling
You Can Do It Anywhere
You can do it from your bedroom, on the beach, in the mountains or just about anywhere with an internet connection. This means you are not confined to one place. If you built your business now and decided you wanted to live in a different country or travel, you can take your business with you with out any interruption.
Cheap To Start
Online businesses are much cheaper than a traditional business to start. Depending on what you choose to do, you don’t have to have to pay for premises, stock or staff (at first). This means that online businesses are more accessible to more people.
Tips For Being A Young Entrepreneur
1. Keep Learning
By learning something everyday, your knowledge expands and so does your ability to make a success of yourself. Learning even the smallest thing each day means that you are closer to your goal than you were the day before.
2. Challenge Yourself
If you challenge yourself, you will remain motivated. By setting yourself a goal that seems totally out of your reach, you have something to aim for. You need to constantly take steps to reach that goal. Completing each step will boost your motivation to complete the next step,
3. Do Something That You Enjoy
People that choose to start business solely to make money, don’t usually have the best quality of life. By this I mean that they get bored very quickly. If your work bores you, you won’t do the best job and your motivation drops. The only way to be satisfied in life is to do work that you care about.
4. Be A Risk Taker
You don’t really know if something is going to work until you try it for yourself. There are loads of people that say “start an X business and you can’t fail”, which isn’t necessarily the case. There are a lot of factors involved with building a successful business, such as the market, the economical climate and YOU. But you need to take the leap and start your venture.
5. Have A Goal
Your final goal should always be at the forefront of your mind. This way you will be able to work out the steps you need to take to get there much more easily.
6. Believe You Can Do It
By staying in this positive mindset, you will find ways to get over all of the obstacles you come across along the way. When you get to an obstacle that you have no idea on how to conquer, you need to think “I need to learn something new to get further”. The ability to believe in yourself will get you though the hard times and stop you making excuses to not reach your goals.
7. Find Likeminded People
By hanging around with likeminded people, you will be inspired by them. People that have similar goals are also a great source of information. By speaking to these people, you can avoid mistakes that they have made and decide the pest route to go down. These people may not be ones you physically hang around with, but they may be in online communities of people with a common interest.
8. Get On With It
If you read loads of books about getting fit and don’t do any exercise, you won’t actually get fit. Therefore, if you read a load of information about starting a business and never get round to doing it, you won’t make any money.
9. Be Patient
It takes a long time to make money with any business. There are lots of factors that will impact on how quickly you earn money. But, you need to be patient and not give up before it starts to work, you will never know how close your were to making it work.
10. Be Consistent
By producing quality work regularly, you have more chance of making your business work. Be mindful of what you are doing, don’t just churn out some work to get it done. Make sure it is good and that you are proud of it.
11. Invest Wisely
When you start making some money, don’t just start spending it on yourself. Put it back in to the business. This could be to upgrade your website, advertising, marketing, business tools or even a new computer.
12. Don't Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
Making mistakes is part of learning. In most cases mistakes are not the end of the world, but you need to learn from them. Take them as a learning experience and don’t do it again.
13. Know Your Market
You need to know as much about the people you are selling to as possible. By having a good profile of a typical customer you will have more of an idea of delivering solutions to them.
14. Listen TO Your Customers
In fact, ask them what they want. By asking your customers what they want and for feedback, you can improve your service which will lead to a good reputation and more sales.
15. Use Your Time Wisely
This is the most difficult part for many people. Think about how you are actually spending your time. Are you improving your life by doing the things you do. For example, watching TV, playing computer games etc are nice to do, but are you really moving your life in the right direction by doing it too much?
Have three hobbies:
- One that makes you money
- One that keeps you creative
- One that keeps you fit
If you are still at school or college, use your holidays properly, add value to your life by doing these three things. This is something I wish I did when I was younger.
16. Get Some Experience
Either learn how to do something, such as building websites, blogging etc or learn from someone else. If you can get an understanding of the industry you want to work in, you will get a good head start. Get a part time job or even volunteer to work work somewhere in exchange for knowledge and experience.
17. Avoid Procrastination
Ah this is a difficult one. The idea of being a young entrepreneur is to not be a late bloomer. This goes back to using your time wisely, but you need to be strict with yourself to ensure that you are productive enough to make your business work. It is tough with all the distractions easily available, but you have to fight it at crack on.
18. Switch Your Head On
If you are the type of person hat needs to be told what to do every step of the way, you need to wake up. Be responsible, organised and mature. If you don’t do this you will stay on the path you are already on and end up doing something that you don’t want to do.
19. Learn About Marketing
This isn’t a natural skill, you need to learn how to do this. With he right skills, you will be able to persuade customers to buy from you.
20. Learn About Branding
You don’t need to let the world know that you are a young person running a business from their bedroom. With the right branding, you can come across as a professional business.
21. Learn About Promoting Your Business
Reach a wider audience with SEO skills and social media strategies. This means that you will be able to have a bigger customer base to sell to.
Need Some Inspiration?
Be careful here, because there are a lot of “gurus” that will talk a good talk and try to sell you something you don’t need. But there are some inspirational entrepreneurs out there that tell it like it is. My current favourite is Gary Vaynerchuk. He swears a lot, but he is really inspirational and obviously works hard. I recommend that you check out his book “Crush It!”.
The idea behind this book, is to make a business out of something that you love doing using the internet. Vaynerchuk spent years taking his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Now he has built himself in to a brand using the techniques he outlines in the book. He has transformed his whole life and earning potential by doing this. This book is a step by step guide for modern entrepreneurs. Gary has developed a whole new approach to personal branding and business. Gary rapidly leveraged social media to build his parent business and his own brand with huge success.
This book is well worth a read for any entrepreneur.
Online Business Ideas For Young Entrepreneurs
The internet has lots of opportunities for making money. The top three online businesses to start are:
1. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a potential money spinner. It is a good one if you want to start your own full time business or as a side hustle. By starting your own agent, you can earn some serious money and be your own boss. There are five steps to starting your own social media marketing agency.
1. Find Some Clients
You need to approach businesses and find out what they are doing with regards to their marketing. Then you need to determine if you can help them with their online efforts.
When you contact a business, you need to explain to them the importance of having a good online presence and how it can build a loyal customer base.
You can help companies by placing adverts on social media in order to help them get their business in front of more people.
By letting your potential clients know that you can free up their time by taking over their social media. This allows them to focus on running and building their business.
2. Create A Business Plan
If you decide that you want to make money from social media, you need to create a plan the is going to get you there.
You will hover to invest a bit of cash at the start. Mainly on training and equipment. There are a few online courses that will give you all the information you need to have a good knowledge of the correct techniques. You may also need to invest in some good audio/visual equipment to ensure that your client’c content is super high quality.
Choose a good company name and look in to potential customers. Focus on a particular niche and find some local companies that work within that niche to get yourself a good start.
3. Meet Potential Clients
Use the internet to get contacts in the businesses you would like to work with. Also, do lots of research on each business, so you have a good knowledge of each company. This will look professional when you get them on the phone when you demonstrate that you are knowledgable and can provide a good service.
4. Get The Client
Once you have managed to get a meeting with your prospective client, you need to get them on board. By using a mixture of emotional and logical selling you can persuade them to use your services.
Emotional selling plays to how a person will feel if the do or do not take young on your amazing offer. Logical selling is basically telling them about the benefits you can bring to their business.
5. Get The Results
Once you have got some clients, you need to deliver the goods! If you don’t provide the service your client wants, you won’t have their business for long. With social media, excellent results are not guaranteed. But, you need to build up some good knowledge to ensure success. Take some online courses, network with other social media marketers, find a mentor and keep plugging away. The more knowledge and experience you have, you have a better chance of getting results for your client.
2. Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is when you, as the seller take orders for products through websites, but don’t actually hold the stock. You also don’t have to ship the products yourself. This works by your supplier shipping the product to your customer for you. All this means, is that you don’t have any up front or ongoing inventory, storage, warehouse or staffing costs.
There are five steps to setting up your own drop shipping business.
1. Develop A Concept
The majority of successful businesses are based on a concept. You build your brand, content and products around that concept. The majority of start up drop shipping businesses are based around the individual’s interests or passions. Later, it is common for drop shippers to focus on sales that follow trends that they come across.
By doing some research and some brain storming, you can come up with a good idea for a drop shipping business. Don’t worry if you can’t refine the details straight away, you can fine tune it as you go.
As with many online businesses, you need to work work within a niche. This is a group of people that have a common interest that you focus your efforts on. Examples are, home cooks, car enthusiasts, fitness freaks, gamers etc.
By having a narrow focus, you have more of a chance of ranking high in search engine results. However, drop shippers should have too much of a focus in the early days. They should start out with a more general online store to test out different products before niching it down.
At this stage, you really need to do a lot of research in to potential products to sell. One of the best ways to do this is to check out Amazon. By looking at the best sellers section of the website, you can see what people are buying within each category. Another way of seeing what people are searching for online, is with keyword research tools such as Jaaxy. This will also give you a good idea of how much competition you would have.
One thing that you need in your head, is that your business needs to help people find solutions to problems. People search for stuff online because they want the answer to a problem.
2. Research Potential Suppliers
Once you have a concept sorted, you need to research potential suppliers. There are two things you need to know when it comes to suppliers:
- There are two different types of drop ship suppliers, drop ship marketplaces and direct-source suppliers.
- Each is concerned with different types of sellers.
Drop Ship Marketplaces
For start ups, using a drop ship marketplace is the easiest option. These automate the whole process, which makes life a lot easier. This is because they allow sellers to do the following:
- Search for products to sell easily.
- Add products to collections with a single click
- Show availability of stock to avoid customer service issues
- Forward orders to be shipped to the correct suppliers automatically
- Shipping confirmations are sent to customers automatically
- Pay the wholesale cost upon shipment, after the buyer has already paid for it
Direct Source Suppliers
Using direct source suppliers involves more work and is more difficult. However, if you are a more experienced drop shipper, using a direct source supplier gives you the opportunity to make more money.
By sourcing your own partners, you can increase your profit margins.
3. Build Your Website
Drop shipping requires you to have a website to sell your products from. But it also needs an eCommerce platform. Which platform you choose depends on your concept and your drop ship supplier plan.
An example of an eCommerce platform is Shopify. This is good for product focussed drop shipping websites.
However, if your concept is a content rich website that also lets you sell drop shipping products, you should go for a WordPress website.
Content based websites, help you rank highly in search engines for free. This is because, you base your content around products people are searching for online. Content could be product reviews, guides, how to’s etc.
4. Add Products To Your Website
Once you have decided on how you are your suppliers, you need to start adding the products to your website. It is very common for drop shippers to use a Shopify/Oberlo combination for their business. This is because it is super simple to do and you will have a very professional website that has a load of products on it.
When deciding what products to add to your website, you need to consider the following things:
- Look for popular products
- Make sure you can make money from them. Don’t be tempted to reduce the price so much that your credit card fees eat up your profit
- Shipping costs can put buyers off. Therefore, price your products higher, but offer “free shipping”
- Make sure the products are of good quality. It is difficult to do without buying samples, but most drop shippers rely on reviews and supplier ratings
- Make sure your supplier is reliable. If your supplier isn’t very good, any problems look like you have made the mistakes.
5. Market And Manage
Once you have a website set up with products, you need to get it out in the public eye. You can do this via email, social media and paid adverts. These are all relatively simple, but doing all of them at once can be overwhelming. So concentrate on one or two first before going all out.
After you have got some marketing done, you will start to see some orders come in. If you are using a drop ship market place, everything should all work automatically. However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on it. You will be able to see the stars of all the orders. So if you see something that has been waiting too long to be shipped, you need to chase it up.
As you get more customers, there will be more customer service needs. By putting a page dedicated to customer service information on your website, you can easily address issues such as:
- Typical delivery times
- Your return policy
- Contact information
- Answers to frequently asked questions
This should mean less customers will contact you, as they will know what to expect. However, if you have a customer that is particularly upset, deal with the issue quickly. You really don’t want any negative reviews online, as you will grow to rely on positive testimonies from satisfied customers.
Drop shipping is a good options for sellers seeking a low-cost and low-risk entry into eCommerce. This isn’t a difficult thing to learn how to do, but your business direction does dictate the type of drop ship website you need.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is my choice of online business. This is because it ticks all the boxes for what I want from my business.
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products. For each sale you get through your website, you get a percentage of the sales price. Check out the infographic below to see how it works.
There are four steps to starting an affiliate marketing business.
1. Choose A Niche
This is where affiliate marketing is similar to drop shipping. You to choose a niche, but with affiliate marketing it is recommended to go super focussed.
An affiliate marketing niche needs to have the following characteristics:
- It has to be something you are interested in – If you choose something that you have no interest in, you will get bored and the quality of your content will suffer
- Focussed – By having a narrow focus you have more chance of making sales. Also with a focussed niche, you will have less competition, which makes it easier to rank in search engines
- Be relevant – By this, I mean that your niche should not be a fad and go out of fashion. If people lose interest in your niche, you will be wasting your time
- Have a good following – If your niche is so focussed that only a handful of people are interested in it, you won’t make any money
- Have low competition – Some competition is good, as it means that your niche is likely worth pursuing. However, if you have too much competition, you will find it very difficult to rank well in search engines.
2. Build A Website
Once you have chosen a niche, you need to think of a good domain name. This is more difficult than you may think. Here are some tips to help:
- Make sure it is a .com – Having a .com website is way better than a .org or .biz for example. This is because is looks more professional and legitimate.
- Avoid hyphens – I have made this mistake. By having a “-” in your domain name, it is easy to forget. This means people are less likely to find your website. Also, it doesn’t roll off the tongue when you are telling people what your domain name is
- Avoid numbers – Explaining that it is “three” or “3” can get confusing
- Avoid alternative spellings – If you use a “Z” rather than an “S” for example, this is something else to explain and potential visitors may get it wrong
When it comes to actually building a website, it is actually quite easy and doesn’t take very long. You need:
However, there is an even easier way, which I will come to later.
3. Join Affiliate Programs
To track the sales through your website, you need affiliate links for the products and services you are promoting. You get these links from going affiliate programs. If you can think of a product or service that can be bought online, there is a good chance that there is an affiliate program for it. Beginner affiliate marketers often join the Amazon Associates program. This allows you to promote anything for sale on Amazon and make money from it. The great thing about Amazon Associates, is that you can join and start promoting the products straight away. There are a few rules that you need to know about, or you may break them accidentally. This can result in your Amazon Associate account being closed. Many affiliate websites have been rendered useless in this way.
You can also join affiliate networks. I recommend that you do this, as it makes life a lot easier. An affiliate network is a website that has many affiliate programs you can join. The main advantage of an affiliate network such as AWIN, is that everything is in one place. This means that you can be a member of, multiple programs but said paid in one big lump sum every month or every time you hit the payment threshold. All this makes it very convenient and easy to track your earnings.
4. Create Great Content
Affiliate marketing is a content based business model. By creating great content that helps people, you will attract your audience. This is because your content is based around the things that people are looking for online. Examples of the types of content that you can create are:
- Product reviews – Writing about how good a product is or giving the reader a good idea of what customers experiences are are very popular. They also tend to have good conversion rates.
- Recipes – By dropping in links to cooking gadgets, cookbooks, ingredients etc you can make commissions from people interested in the recipe if you are in the food and drink niche
- Guides – You can attract a lot of traffic with guides. Your guides could be on how to do something, what to look for in a product, tips and tricks etc. Then you can recommend the relevant products that the reader may be interested in
- Fashion and style posts – If you are in the fashion niche, you can give tips on what to wear and have affiliate links to the clothes in your post
To ensure that you create quality content, you need to do some planning. you need to research the keywords that people are searching for within your niche. This doesn’t take too long and you only have to do it every so often, as you can build a list of keywords that will last you months quite quickly. There are a few techniques to find keywords, but that is a whole different post. Luckily, I have written a guide to keyword research that you should have a look at.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much money can I earn?
The sky is the limit to how much you can earn affiliate marketing. For example, if you earn $30 for a sale through your website (which is totally feasible), you can make some really good money. Have a look at the infographic below.
What are the most profitable niches?
The most profitable niches are:
- Fashion and beauty
- Health and fitness
- Online marketing
- Make money online
Is it expensive to start?
No, you just need to set up a website, which isn’t expensive at all. As long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you can get started.
What are the biggest mistakes that beginner affiliate marketers make?
- Not researching their niche properly – By choosing the wrong niche, they may never make any money
- Not researching the products properly – If you don’t know about the product, you really need to learn about it and not just wing it
- Not getting proper training – If you don’t learn the correct techniques, you won’t get any traffic to your website.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing
The most successful affiliate marketers didn’t earn huge profits for a long time. It takes time to build an affiliate marketing business. You need to be creative, hard working, with a strong focus on the correct techniques. It is possible make a nice income through affiliate marketing.
I recommend that you get some proper training. I have done a lot of research in to the best training providers for affiliate marketing. There are a lot of “gurus” that are basically scam artists, but I have found a legitimate training provider that I totally recommend that you check out.
This training provider is Wealthy Affiliate. What initially attracted me to Wealthy Affiliate was its no pushy approach. But when I looked in to it further, I found that their training was very comprehensive and easy to follow. However, Wealthy Affiliate isn’t just a training provider, it has many other benefits too such as:
- Website registration
- Secure and reliable website hosting
- Excellent support
- A community of people willing to help
- Access to Jaaxy keyword research tool
- Weekly live training
One of the great things about Wealthy Affiliate, is the Free Membership. This allows you to get first hand experience with the platform and affiliate marketing itself. I started out with the free membership, as I wasn’t sure if affiliate marketing was the right path for me at the time.
The free membership gives you two free websites to play with, access to a keyword tool and ten free lessons to show you how it all works. All you need is an email address, so there is nothing to lose.
How To Be a Young Entrepreneur
I hope that this post has helped you make a few decisions or helped to inspire you to make the move. My advice to you, is to do it now. Don’t wait until you are older, it takes time to build a business, so the earlier you start the better. Just remember to do your research and work hard.
If you have any questions or thoughts on this topic, please let me know in the comments section below.