I Want To Start My Own Business But Need Ideas
Many people are thinking “I want to start my own business but need ideas” right now. There are loads of reasons for this. For example:
- You may hate your job
- Can’t get a job
- Never wanted a job in the first place
- Want independence
- Want or need more money
- It’s something that you have always wanted to do
Whatever you reason, sometimes it is difficult to decide on what to do and how to start it. Personally, I battled with this quandary for years. I have thought about starting lot of businesses such as IT support, bars, restaurants, holiday companies and storage companies to name but a few. However, In recent years my circumstances have led me to look in to online businesses. This is because they offer lots of benefits.
Why Start A Business Online?
By starting an online business, you are free to go anywhere without interrupting how it works. This is beneficial to loads of different people:
- People that like to travel
- People that need to earn money to leave where they are currently, but want continue with their business in their new location
- People that live in camper vans
- People that change their location often depending on the season
Pick Your Working Hours
Depending on which online business you choose, you can often choose your own working hours. This is something that you don’t get when you are working for someone else. Being able to choose when you work can benefit you, by being able to do other things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do if you work working for someone else.
You may have other interests that are better done during the day, or you may have kids or someone else to care for. Your own online business allows you to have this flexibility to make the most out of your life.
Great Earning Potential
Your own online businesses has huge earning potential. This is because you have a much wider customer base than if you had a traditional “bricks and mortar” business. Your customers are all over the world and can buy stuff at any time, thanks to mobile technology.
Online businesses can earn money 24/7. With your world wide customer base, your business can be earning money while you are asleep. It is great waking up to seeing money on the account that wasn’t there when you went to bed.
Cheap To Start
Online businesses are much cheaper to start than traditional businesses. This is because you don’t have the same outlay of buying stock, storing it, shipping it or having a premises to work from. All you need is a computer with an internet connection and enough money to host a website, which is really cheap.
There are a few other things that you should invest in, such as training and marketing later on, but online businesses are the way to go.
There are a few different options for starting a business online. But I am going to concentrate on the two most popular one. They are popular because they have the potential to earn you lots of money and are relatively easy to start. You will need to learn new skills to make sure you can make a success of it, but these are not complicated.
Drop shipping is where you, as the seller doesn’t hold the products you sell. Instead, when a you sell a product, you buy the item from a third party that ships it directly to the customer. As a result, you never see or handle the product.
Advantages Of Drop Shipping
- Less capital needed than a traditional shop – This is the biggest advantage of a drop shipping business. This is because you can launch it without spending loads of money on your inventory up front. With drop shipping you don’t actually purchase the product until you have already made the sale and have been paid by the customer.
- Easy to start – As you don’t have to deal with any products yourself, life is much easier. Things like warehousing, packing, shipping, tracking, returns and stock levels are all dealt with by your suppliers.
- Low overheads – As you don’t have to deal with warehousing and shipping, your overheads are pretty low. This is why its of people run their drop shipping businesses from home, normally for under $100 per month. Obviously these expenses will grow with your business, but they will still be low compared to how much you can earn
- Wide selection of products – As you don’t have to buy all the items you are selling, you can offer a wide range of products to your customers.
- Easy to scale – If you had a traditional store and you managed to double your sales, you would need to double your workload. However, with drop shipping, the extra work is done by your suppliers. This means that you can grow without too many headaches. When you start to increase your sales, you will have more work to do, especially when it comes to customer service.
All these advantages make drop shipping very attractive, however there are a few disadvantages that you need to be aware of.
Disdvantages Of Drop Shipping
- Low margins – As drop shipping is very competitive, margins are low. Many sellers will set their business up and set very low prices trying to grow. Even if your competitors have terrible websites and poor customer service, customers will always look at the lowest price. To give you more chance of making money, you need to do some proper research in to your niche and make sure it is suitable for a drop shipping business.
- Inventory problems – In a regular store you stock all your own items, making it relatively simple to keep track of what you have in and out of stock. But when your stock comes from multiple warehouses, which are also fulfilling orders for other merchants, inventory changes on a daily basis. There are ways you can align your store’s inventory with your suppliers’, but these solutions don’t always work seamlessly, also suppliers don’t always support the technology needed.
- Shipping an be complex – By working with multiple suppliers the products on your website come from different places. This can complicate your shipping costs.For example, if a customer places an order for four items, all of which come from four different suppliers. You will incur three separate shipping charges for sending each item to the customer. But your shouldn’t pass this charge along to the customer, as they’ll think you are overcharging for shipping.
- Supplier Errors – If your supplier makes mistakes, you will get the blame for it, as it looks like it was your fault. This is why choosing a good supplier is important to ensure that you get a good reputation for quality of service.
Is Drop Shipping Worth It?
Drop shipping isn’t a perfect, stress-free way to make money online. There are some definite advantages, but it does have a number of intricacies and problems that need to be overcome.
However, with some proper planning and consideration, it is possible to resolve these issues. This means that they should not be a barrier to being successful.
How To Start A Drop Shipping Business
1. Have An Idea
What you sell is the main consideration of a drop shipping business. This is why you should carefully consider the route you intend to go. Many people will tell you that you should choose something that you are interested in. This is partly true, as you need to choose something that is going to make money too. Realistically, the best drop shipping ideas are the profitable ones. You will find that you will be more passionate when the money is rolling in.
A good way of coming up with ideas, is to see what people are searching for and buying. You can check out Amazon’s best seller lists or you can use the trending products list on Oberlo.
Other ways of researching your drop shipping niche are:
- Google Trends – This is a good way of seeing if a niche is getting more or less popular. However, you shouldn’t rely on this alone.
- Keyword research tools – By using keyword research tools, such as Jaaxy, you can see how popular certain products are when it comes to internet searches. You can also see how much competitive it is.
- Check out other websites within your niche – Some websites allow you to filter their products to see their best sellers. This helps you understand what is selling well.
- Amazon best sellers – Amazon is a huge website with millions of products, but their best sellers area is a good place to see what people are buying
Some people say that you should choose a broad niche, but this isn’t recommended. You need to focus your niche down. For example, food and drink is a broad niche, but it contains a number of subgroups you should drill down in to:
- People that like juicing
- Whisky drinkers
- wine lovers
2. Research Your Competition
Once you have decided not he type of products you want to sell, you need to see learn about your competitors. Look at what they are selling, how they sell them and the price they sell them at. You can do this by:
- Search engines – Simply search for the products in Google to see who gets to the top of the results. This will give you a good idea of your competition in a certain location. If you are selling products abroad, you can use tools such as SEMrush to get more information from around the world
- Social media – Look at Facebook adverts within a niche. You want to see how many followers they have, how they market their brand, how much engagement they get and see how you can stand out from them. Also, see what things you like that you can copy from them
3. Find Some Suppliers
There are two types of supplier:
For beginners, 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
You can also use direct source suppliers. Doing this 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.
Websites such as Oberlo make it very easy to find good suppliers. By checking out reviews and ratings, you can see how good a supplier is and if it is worth using them.
Once you have found five or six potential suppliers, you need to find out about order quantities and shipping times. Therefore you need to contact them with some questions to ask them. This will probably narrow down your suppliers to a choice of two or three. To decide which one is the best, you should place a sample order to see which one gives you the best customer experience.
4. Build Your Online Store
There are a few things you need to consider when you build your eCommerce store:
- Domain name – You need to take carful consideration when you are choosing your domain name. But you really need to make sure you choose a .com domain, as it looks more professional and legitimate. It is a good idea to have a keyword that relates to your niche in your domain name. But don’t be to specific, or you won’t be able to expand in to other products later on. Don’t use you name for an online store, this is because you won’t be able to sell your brand later on to cash in on all your hard work.
- Sign up to Shopify – Shopify is the most common way of setting up an eCommerce business. This is because it is very comprehensive with features, tools, resources and apps that make everything pretty easy. There is also some great support available in the shape of a Shopify guru, you can ask for help.
- Choose a Shopify theme – The themes available determine the look of your store. Choose something clean and simple that is easy to navigate. You can buy a new theme later on to get a better store design once you are earning money.
- Install Oberlo – Oberlo is a platform that allows you to find products to sell. Ideally, you need to have ten to twenty five products to sell when you get started. Part of placing product in your store, is to write some great product descriptions. If you have too many products in the beginning, this can be a bit overwhelming.
Now you have an online store, you need to get marketing it with every fibre of your being! This is when you need to stop trying to perfect the look of your site and do what you can to start making sales. This will take a bit of capital to do, but here are some ways you can get started:
- Facebook Ads – Don’t blow all your money on Facebook adverts. Keep your adverts affordable, as you will need to do some experimenting. Your first attempts are likely to fail. As you are just starting out, you have no idea which product will be your best seller. When creating a Facebook ad, you target certain interests and locations. To keep the costs down you can create a worldwide advert, but remove USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. If you have a larger budget, create separate adverts for those countries.
- Retargeting Ads – Retargeting ads are a way of getting your store out there on a really tight budget. This is when influencers are sharing your content for free.
- Influencer affiliations – You can offer influencers a commission. This way you can get your products in front of more people within your niche. The good thing about this, is that you only pay the influencer a percentage of sales that they generate. This is much better than paying them to promote your store, as they may not actually increase your sales.
- Free media coverage – There is an emailing list called HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This is full of journalists that want people to write blogs or answer questions on specialist subjects. If you have the necessary knowledge, you can reply to the listings and provide the information in return for getting your website in front of more people. For example, you will have seen blogs with statements and interviews with people and their companies will be referenced with links to their websites.
6. Refine Your Business
Now you have an online store with products on it and you have done some marketing, you need to start refining it. You will have a few statistics that you need to analyse, such as how well your marketing efforts have worked. Some will have been more successful than others, so you will have a good idea of how to market your store. Additionally, you will need to compare your pricing against your competitors. If you can, it is a good idea to see if you can be more competitive to get the edge on them.
Google analytics and the search console, will give you all the insights on your traffic. This will let you know how successful each of your marketing campaigns are.
The most successful online stores are refined by experimenting and optimising. This will let you know the best strategies to take and make sure that your competition stays behind you.
That is how to start a drop shipping business in a nutshell. If you decide to start a drop shipping business, by following these steps, you can be well on your way to having a great business.
But there is an alternative.
Affiliate marketing is when you earn commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products and services. You find a product you like, have had experience or knowledge of, promote it to others and earn a percentage of the profit for each sale that you make.
Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing
- Great for merchants trying to sell their products – Merchants get a wider reach in their marketplace in order to sell their products and services. Merchants also save on ineffective marketing efforts, as they only pay commission on sales made
- Great additional source of income for Publishers – People with websites can create additional sources of income from commissions
- Cheap to start – There is very little outlay to get started. There are ways to get traffic to your website for free without having to rely on adverts
- No customer service issues – As an affiliate marketer, you don’t need to worry about customer service issues or anything to do with the suppling the products. All you are doing is recommending products and services
- Can be done as a side hustle – Until you make enough money to leave your current job, affiliate marketing is something you can do in your spare time. I started my affiliate marketing business y working on it every night after work.
- Flexibility – Affiliate marketing gives you more flexibility than drop shipping. This is because you don’t have to deal with customer issues. Therefore, you can work at any time you like. You can also work anywhere without interrupting how your business is working.
- Great earning potential – You can make a ridiculous amount of money with affiliate marketing. In fact there is no limit to how much money you can earn. However, this does depend on your niche, your products and how hard you work.
There are a few disadvantages that you need to know about too.
Disdvantages Of Affiliate Marketing
- It takes time to make money – You will not make any money in the early days. Affiliate marketing is a slow burner and many don’t make significant sales in their first year. You have to keep trying and if you follow the correct steps, you can make lots of money.
- Dishonest affiliate marketers – Customers can get misled in to buying products and services that the marketer just want to make money from. However, the marketer will eventually get a bad reputation when word gets out.
- Dishonest merchants – It has been known for affiliate programs to shut down without paying their affiliate marketers for their efforts. Sometimes, really dishonest merchants start you off with high commission rates to lure you in, then reduce them after a while.
Even though there are a few disadvantages, affiliate marketing is still one of the best ways to make money online. It is really important to get educated, do your research and work hard to overcome these disadvantages.
Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
I have already given you the advantages of starting your own affiliate marketing business. But if we focus on how much money you can earn, I would say absolutely. For example, if you were to sell a product through your website and made $30 per sale, you can earn a good amount of money, as the infographic below shows.
How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Business
1. Choose A Niche
This is very similar to the first step of starting a drop shipping business. Not all niches are profitable, so you really need to do some homework on this. If you choose the wrong niche, you may end up working really hard on something that will never make you any money.
By choosing a focussed niche, you will have more chance of people buying through your website and will have less competition. The difference between a drop shipping niche and an affiliate marketing niche, is that with affiliate marketing, you really need to choose one that you are interested in. This is because, affiliate marketing is more content based, meaning that you will be writing many posts about topics within the niche. Therefore, you will want to be writing about something you are actually interested in, or you will get very bored and you will produce poor quality content.
2. Build A Website
When you have decided on the niche for your website, you need to come up with a good domain name. This is takes some careful consideration. Here are some tips to help:
- Make sure it is a .com – Having a .com website looks more professional and legitimate than websites with alternative suffixes.
- Avoid hyphens – These are easy to forget and 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 “six” or “6” can get confusing
- Avoid alternative spellings – If you use a “n” rather than “ing” 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. Find Affiliate Programs
An affiliate program is how sales from a publishers website are tracked and rewarded. This is where your commission comes from. You are provided with an affiliate link for each product, which you copy and paste in to your review or whatever your post is, this can be a link our a “buy now” button. The link will seamlessly take the customer to the merchants website where they can buy the product or service. In most cases, the customer won’t even notice that you are getting paid if they buy through your link. It doesn’t really matter though, as there is no extra cost to them or difference in the buying experience.
If you can think of a product or service that is available to buy online, there is a huge chance that there is an affiliate program for it. For example, many beginner affiliate marketers use the Amazon Associates program. This is because it is really easy to join and you can promote anything for sale on Amazon straight away. This means that it is a good one for the majority of niches. However, make sure you learn about their rules. Amazon want you to approach affiliate marketing in a certain way, and if you break the rules, they will close your account. This has rendered many websites useless, when they entirely rely on Amazon products.
4. Content Is King
I mentioned earlier that affiliate marketing is more content based. This means that your website will be full of posts that help people. The idea behind this, is that people will search for solutions to their problems in search engines. They may want to know what the best product for a particular task is or they may be considering buying something, but need to know more about it. This is where the affiliate marketer comes in with all the relevant information and solutions to those problems.
To understand what people are searching for, you need to do some research in to keywords. By basing your content around keywords, you can get your content to the top of people’s searches. There are many different techniques to come up with good keywords. Keyword research doesn’t take that long, but doing it gives you a list of content to write about that will last you months.
There are a few different techniques that you need to use in order to create content that is not only good for your audience, but good for your search engine rankings. These techniques involve how you should write and use images etc. These techniques are not difficult, but you need to know them.
Tips For Running Your Own Business
I can’t stress this enough. It takes a long time to earn money from online businesses for a few reasons:
- Learning curve – There will be new things that you need to learn how to do, from content creation to search engine optimisation. Again, these are not difficult but you need to be aware of them and remember to use them.
- Google algorithms – In the beginning, Google makes it difficult for websites to rank in people’s searches. This is because they want to make sure that your website has lots of good quality content that is going to help Google users. After a few months and you have demonstrated that you are a good source of information, Google will make it much easier to rank high in searches.
- It takes time to create content – By creating content that provides a good amount of information, you will rank better than those with poor quality content. One of the things Google looks at is your word count. Lots of words mean that you are provide lots of information that is relevant to the user’s search. To do this takes time, not only in the actual writing of it, but in the necessary research needed.
- Mistakes – You will make mistakes. Most of the time you will not notice these mistakes for months after you have created your content. This is frustrating, but it is part of the learning curve. As long as you learn from your mistakes and don’t do it again, put it down to experience and move on. You can reduce the amount of mistakes you make by getting some proper training.
Successful businesses are built around consistent quality work. You need to work on your business every day to make steps towards your goals.
By learning something new every day, no matter how small, you will be ahead of where your were yesterday. Learning about tricks and techniques that will take you forward, you have a better chance of becoming a success.
For me this is the hardest part. Keeping focussed on the task in hand is really important. There are lots of different distractions in the modern world. But you need to be strict with yourself. I have recently found that if I don’t start my day looking at my phone, I can stay more focussed throughout the day. If you can’t see your phone, you are less likely to start scrolling through mindless social media content.
Getting organised is super important. Structure your day and give yourself time slots for different tasks. If you stick to it you will get all your jobs done for the day.
Get Some Training
You can try to teach yourself the various techniques needed for your business, but it is difficult to get the full picture of what you need to do. By finding a good training resource, you will have a structured course to follow. This means that you won’t miss out any essential steps. You do need to be careful though, as there are lots of poor quality courses and eBooks that are expensive. Also, there are many scam artists around claiming to be gurus that should be avoided.
Where To Learn About Affiliate Marketing
As I said above, you need to find some quality training for starting your own business. When it comes to affiliate marketing, you can’t go wrong with Wealthy Affiliate. This is the platform I learned from (and still am) and there are a few things you should know about it.
You Can Try It Out For Free
This was ideal for me when I was researching my online venture. As I was still deciding what I wanted to do and what was right for me, I wanted as much information as possible. The Wealthy Affiliate free membership gave me the opportunity to do some training and start my business for free. You get a number of features that allow you to get started, including two free websites.
The training is extensive and easy to follow. At the end of each lesson, you are assigned a number of tasks to complete. This means that you don’t miss out on any steps while developing your website. On top of the courses, there is weekly live training. Every week there is a different topic to help make your website work better, improve your content etc.
Not Just A Training Platform
I describes earlier the process of building a website. Wealthy Affiliate has its own website builder that will giver you a WordPress website in less than a minute. It is also a domain registrar and a good website host. All this means that you don’t have to hunt around looking for the best or cheapest options. It also means that it is very convenient, as everything is all in the same place with one log in and password.
Wealthy Affiliate memberships give you access to the Jaaxy keyword tool. This is a great tool for your keyword research. The free membership gives you limited functionality but it is enough to get an idea how good it is.
Wealthy Affiliate also has a community of enthusiastic affiliate marketers. They are willing to help you with any problems or questions you may have. The more experienced members create their own training based around their personal experiences. These are great for tips and tricks to get your business working.
I Want To Start My Own Business But Need Ideas
Are you going to start your own online business? If so drop shipping and affiliate marketing are great options. Affiliate marketing suits me more, but you may think differently.
Let me know what your thoughts and questions are in the comments section below.