How To Start Your Own Online Business From Scratch
I have been an affiliate marketer for a while now and it has changed my life. Now I am my own boss, I have enough flexibility to enjoy my life and earn enough money to live comfortably. Here is my guide on How To Start Your Own Online Business From Scratch. From this information, you will learn how what it takes and how to get to a point where you can work for yourself from anywhere at any time.
There are a few things you need to understand:
- There are no shortcuts to making money – It takes time to make any money at all. There are a few reasons for this, which I will come too later.
- You need to learn some new techniques – Some of these techniques are more complex than others, but they are easy to learn and are essential for the success of your business.
- You need to be dedicated – If you are not willing to put the effort in, you will fail. You need to pitch yourself against yourself, by working harder and better than you did last week, you will improve your chances of success.
If you think you can cope with these things, carry on reading.
In this post, I am going to tell you about the factors involved with starting your online business from scratch and how I did it. I have learned a lot since I started and the information I am about to give you will give you a head start and save you time.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a fantastic business model. This is because unlike traditional businesses, it is relatively cheap to start. This is be because you don’t have to buy, store or ship products. You don’t even need to deal with customer service issues.
Affiliate marketing is a performance based type of marketing, where you promote other people’s products and services in exchange for a commission from sales.
There are four parties involved in affiliate marketing:
- The Merchant – Responsible for the product, from advertising to shipping.
- The Affiliate (you or me) – The person promoting the product or service with a website or YouTube channel.
- The Affiliate Network – These are websites that act as a middle man. They track the sales using affiliate links and make sure you get paid for each sale made.
- The Customer – The customer is attracted to the merchant’s product or service by the affiliate.
However, some merchants don’t use affiliate networks and have their own affiliate program. This means that they create their own relationships with their affiliates and forego the charges associated with a network.
Why I Chose Affiliate Marketing?
There are a few prerequisites that I had in my mind while I was looking to start my own online business:
- It had to be legitimate
- It had to allow me to work whenever and wherever I wanted to
- It had to be worth it
- It had to have great training resources
I live in the French alps and love the outdoors. My spare time is taken up by snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and generally enjoying the lifestyle out here. While I was working for someone else, I had to wait for my days off to enjoy the mountains. This is frustrating when you are sitting at someone else’s desk when the conditions are perfect for snowboarding but terrible on your day off.
With my online business, I can have a couple of hours on the mountain in the morning when the conditions are good and work later in the evening to make sure I complete all my tasks for the week.
There are times when I am working at 1am, but this is my choice and I have usually had an amazing day with my friends. The difficult part is to not go for a celebratory beer when we come down off the mountain and go back to work. Discipline is key!
It is entirely feasible to earn £30/$30 from a sale through your website. Take a look at the infographic below to see what that could mean in terms of income.
As you can see, this is pretty good by anyone’s expectations. So it is definitely worth pursuing and doing properly. What you earn will depend on the products you are promoting and the affiliate programs you are a member of. You can earn 1 to 75% of the sales value.
Affiliate marketing gives you passive income. This means that once you have created content promoting a product, it is there and has the potential to earn you money 24/7 for a long time afterwards, while you are creating more content to do the same.
Choose A Niche
Choosing a niche is your first step when you start your own business from scratch. Your niche needs to be:
- Something you are interested in
- Relevant and not go out of fashion
- Have a good following
A niche is a group of people with a common interest and your website needs to focus on niche to be successful. It is very easy to think “I’m going to create a website. However, I have made this mistake and it doesn’t work. You need to do some proper research to ensure your website is profitable.
A broad niches tempting to pursue, as you would be forgiven for thinking that you can appeal to lots of people. But, doing this, increases your competition and makes it less relevant to more people. Therefore you need to choose a narrow niche that targets specific people.
Your niche needs to be something you have a passion about or at least something you are interested in. This is because you will get bored and won’t enjoy your work if you work in a niche purely because you think it will make you money.
If you choose a niche that is likely to go out of fashion quickly, unfortunately it will fail, as people will stop looking for it.
It is necessary to have a narrow and focussed niche, but you need to make sure that there are enough people looking for it to be profitable.
Build A Website
Once you have your niche sorted you need to build a website with a great domain name. Your domain name needs to be brandble and relevant to your niche. It also needs to give you the opportunity to expand on it later. One thing that your domain name should have, is a .com suffix. This is to show your audience that you mean business, which you won’t get with a .org or .biz type suffix.
You will also need to find good hosting for your website. It is tempting to go for the cheapest hosting you can find. But, these hosts are not generally very reliable, secure or fast enough to give your visitors a good experience.
Most affiliate marketing websites use WordPress, this is because you can make a professional looking website with all sorts of features and functionality without needing any coding skills. You can get a website to do pretty much anything with a good choice of theme and some great plugins.
Speaking of themes, you need to make sure your theme is “responsive”. This means that it looks good and has good loading speed on mobile devices. Getting this right at the start will save you lots of work later on, trust me I know.
I will be revealing an easy way to do all this shortly.
To attract visitors to your website, you don’t need to spend money on advertising and promotions. You do this by creating your content in a certain way.
Your content needs to help people solve a problem. If you have a post with the most relevant content, people will find it as it will appear at the top of their internet searches. This is because your content will be based around the keyword they have searched for. Your content can be reviews, comparisons or guides, but ultimately they will recommend a product or service for someone to purchase.
With proper keyword research, you will be able to find out what people are searching for within your niche. You will see how many searches the keyword gets every month and how many other websites are using it. This will let you know if it is worth basing your content around that particular keyword.
There are a few different techniques you can use to research quality keywords. But, you do need a keyword tool to make sure you get the best list of keywords to write about.
So you have a nice looking, responsive website with some great content to attract visitors. The next step is to monetise your website.
I mentioned earlier that affiliate marketers use affiliate programs and networks. if you can think of a product or service online, you should be able to find an affiliate program for it. A good one to start with is Amazon Associates. This is the Amazon affiliate program and it allows you to promote anything you can find on Amazon. It is free to join and requires no approval, so you can get monetising straight away. You do need to follow their rules, or you may find your account gets deleted.
Where To Start
When I mentioned my prerequisites for starting an online business, one of them was that it had to have great training resources. I did lots of research in to learning about affiliate marketing because I wanted to do a proper job on my websites if I chose to pursue it. I found lots of people that said that they had the secret to earning money quickly with affiliate marketing. I have since learned that there are no shortcuts and you need to do it in the right way.
Many of these get rich quick “gurus” tell you how to spam the internet with affiliate links. This is not the way to do it and inefficient.
I learned the correct affiliate marketing techniques from Wealthy Affiliate. I liked that they were not pushy and too salesy. But, at the time I still wasn’t sure if affiliate marketing was for me, as I knew nothing about it. Therefore, I was reluctant to pay for any kind of course without seeing what was involved first hand.
Wealthy Affiliate has a FREE membership, which gives you some free training, two free websites to play with and all the necessary tools to get you going. This gave me a proper insight in to what is involved in starting my own online business from scratch. The training is really easy to follow and has tasks to complete at the end of each lesson. This means that you don’t miss anything out.
All you need is an email address to sign up to the Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership, so you have nothing to lose.
How I Got In To Affiliate Marketing
As I said earlier, I live in the French alps. I was working full time for a holiday company as a manager, which was fine, but I moved here to enjoy life more and working to someone else’s time table was restricting this somewhat. So, I decided to look in to starting my own business. It looked like an online business was the best option to allow me to do what I wanted, with the potential of earning some good money.
After researching all the options, it looked like affiliate marketing ticked a lot of boxes for me. So I signed up to the Wealthy Affiliate Free membership. I did all the lessons in the free training I realised that I really enjoyed it. It gave me more than enough information to help me make up mind that affiliate marketing is something that I wanted to make work for me. From here I signed up to the premium membership to get as much information as possible. It also gives you more functionality, support and access to all the other facets of the platform.
The training didn’t give me any illusions of making money overnight, so I knew what to expect. Therefore, I started my business by working every night after work from the minute I got home. Eventually, I could go part time, while writing blogs and looking after the social media for a couple of people.
Now I still write blogs for people from time to time by request, to keep things varied. But, I spend the majority of my working time expanding my websites from home. I love it and all my work is based around things that I am interested in, so I rarely get bored or tired of it.
There are some late nights and there are times when I have to say no to my friends, but on the whole it is a great lifestyle.
That Is How To Start Your Own Online Business From Scratch
I hope this has been of use to you and that it inspires you to check affiliate marketing out for yourself. Try the Wealthy Affiliate free membership and giver it a shot. You can continue with it, upgrade to premium or walk away without any risk.