I want an online business! - Here is how you do it
Whatever their reason for it, lots of people are saying “I want an online business!”. And why not? Online business have a lot of advantages over a traditional “bricks and mortar” businesses. Many traditional businesses are very expensive to start, expensive to keep going due to overheads and low profit margins. Online businesses appeal because they don’t have the same obstacles to get over as traditional businesses. Here are some reasons why you should start an online business.
1. Great Scalability
Not all online businesses will grow to a massive size rapidly. Many online entrepreneurs don’t do their homework and think that they will post a successful tweet or something on Instagram and expect to go viral. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the majority of online entrepreneurs. Making any kind of business grow isn’t easy. For example, take a local shop. This will have a defined audience within a certain radius of its location. A business that operates online isn’t restricted by its geography and can have an audience that spans the world.
However, it takes hard work and a planned strategy to be successful. But when it is done properly the sky is the limit for how big it can be and how much money it can earn.
The fact that you can work from anywhere in the world is a big draw for people to start an online business. Laptops and easy access to the internet make it possible for online entrepreneurs to live in vans to travel the world, work from the beach or any coffee shop that is worth going to.
This flexibility is very empowering, but you need to be able to balance work and freedom or you won’t be productive enough to make your business work. The freedom part is there to help you spend time with your family, enjoy life or work on other things. It is not an excuse to slack off.
3. Cheaper Than A Traditional Business
As I mentioned before, online businesses don’t have the same overheads as traditional businesses. By not having to pay for a premises your costs are hugely reduced. Additionally, some online businesses eliminate the need for buying and storing stock to sell. An affiliate marketing or drop shipping business model reduces financial risk and upfront costs.
If you had a shop that sold gym equipment, you would need somewhere to store all the weights and machines. You would also need to ship them to your customers yourself. Selling the equipment online gives you the opportunity to make sales on someone else’s behalf. This means you don’t have a load of heavy and bulky stock to look after.
4. A Huge Market Worldwide
With an online business, you can genuinely earn money in your sleep. Your website is working 24/7 and has the potential to reach millions of people. With your efforts put in to the right strategy you online business can make you some serious money.
Here Are Some Options
I have out together a little list of ideas that you may be interested in. The chances are that even though you may have heard of these, there will be something that you need to learn. But this shouldn’t be a barrier to your startup. I knew nothing about starting an online business before I actually started one. Even Olympic athletes were beginners once.
1. Drop Shipping
I mentioned drop shipping earlier. This is something I nearly went in to myself. At the time I wasn’t quite convinced that it was the right thing for me.
Drop shipping works on a pretty good business model. It means that you can sell products without having to spend lots of money on an inventory.
You list products for sale on your website. When someone buys a product, you buy it from a third party supplier at a lower price than the one that is listed on your website. The money you make is the margin between the two prices. The third party supplier ships the product to the customer. So essentially, your website provides the shipping address to the drop shipper in exchange for your mark up, which is usually between 10 and 20%.
It is a great idea and the financial risk to you as very small. This process can easily be automated, as your margin is pre agreed.
Advantages Of Drop Shipping
- Reduced overheads due to not having to buy, hold and ship stock.
- Easy to start
- Can expand with lots of different products
- Easy to scale up
- Low operating costs
Disadvantages Of Drop Shipping
- Poor drop shippers can give you a bad reputation, as it looks like customer service issues are down to you
- Potential quality control issues
- It is possible to list products that are no longer available causing customer service issues
- Lots of competition
- Low margins require lots of sales
- Takes a long time to make money
To start a drop shipping business, there are some steps you need to take:
- Research what products sell well and what they sell for. This will give you information on your market and customer base.
- Check out your competitors and what price they are selling the products at.
- Look in to a range of suppliers and choose reliable ones.
- Agree a fulfilment process with your supplier that works for both of you.
- List the products on your website and promote it.
Check out www.bigcommerce.com for more details on drop shipping.
2. Sell Digital Products
A great way to start an online business, is to sell digital products. This is much more profitable than selling physical products online. Digital products include ebooks, online courses, software, training courses, music and video.
eBooks are the fastest growing digital product online. If you can write an eBook, you will enjoy lots of benefits. For example, you don’t have to manage an inventory of books, you don’t have to ship them. Unfortunately, they are really easy to plagiarise and people can simply upload your work to the internet.
If you have the knowledge and skills to create an online course, you will have similar benefits of producing eBooks. But, it does take longer tom make money from it.
In order to sell digital products you need to
Advantages Of Selling Digital Products
- You don’t need storage space for your products
- High profit margins
- No shipping costs
- No shipping restrictions
- No shortage of stock
- Worldwide reach
- Can sell 24/7
- You can leverage your own skills
- Easy customer service
- No manufacturing is needed
- Environmentally friendly
- Instant delivery
Disadvantages Of Selling Digital Products
- Difficult to demonstrate the quality of the product before someone buys
- Can be plagiarised
- Takes a long time to make money
- Time consuming
- Lots of competition
- Won’t get repeat buyers
Making money from YouTube is entirely feasible. There are lots of people that make a very good living from creating video content and uploading it. YouTube is the second biggest search engine thanks to engaging, entertaining and informative videos.
The first thing you need is an audience. To get an audience, you need to make consistent videos that people really like to watch. Once you have a good following, you can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program, which allows you to monetise your videos. There are some prerequisites that YouTube set before you are allowed to join the program. You need to have a good standing with YouTube, have 4000 watch hours in the last 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.
If you get approved for YPP, you can then start earning money from those annoying adverts and from the premium subscribers that watch your videos.
There are other ways to monetise your videos too. From channel memberships and super chat. But you can also review products and earn money from affiliate links.
Advantages Of Making Money With YouTube
- It allows you to follow your passion and earn money from it
- Anyone can give it a go without needing any qualifications
- You can do it at any age
- Don’t need an office
Disadvantages Of Making Money With YouTube
- If you take it seriously, you need to buy some decent camera equipment
- It takes time
- Your ideas can be copied
- Not everyone is great on camera
4. Freelance Work
If you have a certain skill, you may be able to become a freelancer. This is someone that offers their services for a fee. Examples of freelance jobs are:
- Web design
- Writing and copywriting
- Graphic design
- Sales and marketing
- Admin support
- Social media
To become a freelancer, there are a few steps that you have to go through.
- Decide what you are going to sell. Ultimately, you are selling your time, but you need to look at your skills and how you can turn them in to something that people will buy.
- Decide on which clients you want to do work for
- Figure out your prices and packages
- Build a website
- Start looking for potential clients
- Pitch to those clients
- Hold a consultation with the clients that get back to you, to see if you are a good match
- Be prepared to negotiate fees and time spent
- Send them a contract
- Get everything set up. For example, get their social media passwords, logins etc
Advantages Of Being a Freelancer
- You can work when you want to
- You can work anywhere
- You are your own boss
- Great earning potential
- Leverage your own skills
Disadvantages Of Being a Freelancer
- You have to work very hard to ensure you make more money than you did in your last job. This is to cover the benefits you no longer receive
- You have to be very versatile
- Cash flow can be very inconsistent
- You have to find your own work
Here Is What I Do And Why
The options above are all great ways of earning money but you have to make sure that you choose the right one for you. I do a little bit of freelance writing and social media management for beer money. But my business of choice is affiliate marketing.
I did a lot of research in to online businesses, because I wanted to make sure that the path I chose was going to give me the lifestyle that I want. My new business had to:
- Give me total flexibility of when and where I work
- Be a legitimate business
- Have great training resources
- Be worth my while
Affiliate marketing ticked all these boxes for me and since I started my business I have never looked back.
Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing
- Can make money from a world wide audience
- Customers come to you
- Cheap to start
- Don’t have to worry about customer service
- Don’t have to buy, store and ship stock
- Flexible working hours
- Can do it from anywhere
- Can be done in your spare time
- Great for customers
- Great for merchants
Disadvantages Of Affiliate Marketing
- It takes a long time to make money
- Affiliates can mislead customers in order to make sales
- If an affiliate program closes down or closes your account, your website can be rendered useless
Here Is How It Works
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products in return for a commission from sales you generate.
Your website will be full of content that will attract people that want a problem solving or want some information on a topic or product. The visitors will read the information and look at your recommendations and click on an affiliate link that will direct them to the product or service you recommend to buy it from the merchant’s website. You will automatically get paid a commission when they buy.
I want an online business! - This is how you can do it
I have given you some options, but for me affiliate marketing was the way to go. If you really are looking to start an online business, I would suggest that you give it some consideration. There are a few things to learn to make your website successful, but they are not complicated. If you have any thoughts or questions about this, let me know in the comments section below.