5 Essential Steps for Starting an Online Business from Scratch

In Business Skills, Online Business Skills
How to start online business from scratch.

Are you looking for online business opportunities? Do you have no idea about how to start an online business and how to make extra income besides your primary job? Or, perhaps you want to become a full-time online business as your main source of income. You are not the only one who think about how to start an online business either for earning extra income, side job, or full-time job.

Many people are doing online business, many of them have been succeeding and enjoying their online income, while some of them may get stacked as they started with the wrong steps. So, before you start an online business, you should have a clear understanding of how to build an online business that can dash and survive in the virtual world as your primary source of income.

You can learn how every successful online business practitioners started and ran their online business. You’ll find out that they have encountered the essential steps for starting an online business.

First Thing First – The Opening Viewpoint

If you who are truly want to start an online business from scratch, you need to define first what an online business is.

To define an ONLINE BUSINESS briefly, it’s any company that runs on the internet. In other words, the internet is the medium of either all or some parts of the business process. While getting from some different people’s point of views, the meaning of BUSINESS ONLINE itself can be expansive.

If you already have a business that runs offline, such as a fashion store, foods store, toy store, restaurant, or whatever, but people also can engage with your business through the internet, it’s also an online business. However, for a more effective, you should make the online division of your business separates from the offline sector.

Remembering the flashback I started in 2010, everything in online business seemed like an absurd. Then, some questions arose in my head:

  • Can I start an online business alone?
  • Is online business right for me?
  • What are the steps I need to get there?
  • How many funds will be needed?
  • … and myriad other questions.

Although there is no definite benchmark of what steps are actually to do at that time, I think there are five essential steps everyone should prepare to start an online business.

Steps on How to Start an Online Business for Beginners

  1. Have a life blueprint, straightening the purpose, and have a positive business mindset.
  2. Decide what you want to sell and define your product.
  3. Create a website, whether a business profile, your professional profile, portfolio (the proofs of your skills that you to the people), or an online store.
  4. Promote your website.
  5. Find an online business specialist or consultant as your mentor and a positive online business environment.

Read through the detail of the practical steps on how to start an online business from scratch.

Step 1: Have the Right Business Mindset

You might often hear about positive mindset. So, if you know how to develop a positive mindset, applicate it to the real business. Having the right business mindset and a positive mental attitude is important.

You should also think about how to build assets, and how they will work for you. Besides, when you have managed to build a hard-earned business, make sure you will not sacrifice other essential things just because too busy in your business. Have a balance time with family, friends, and other useful things.

When you are still working on your small business, then you are the only employee of your own business. But when your business grows, such as from 1 to 2, from 2 to 10, etc., then you are a businessman. Just like any other type of business, when you decide to build an online business there are certainly a few essential things you should take a look at, such as:

The determinant of a successful business is roughly 95% determined by the quality of the human resource. While the human resource is a non-technical thing, and the rest is of it is the technical things.

You may have the expertise or skill to create a sophisticated website with cool features and look. Or, you may be very expert as a web developer and web designer. But if you do not have a vision of your ability and do not have the passion for learning and surviving, your business will be stuck at all.

Try to help the people around you and share good things with them. That way, you’ll find the reason why you’re doing an online business. Our most important purpose of doing business earning income and to become a significant person to the others. You can go to the following links and read about other online business tips.

Step 2: Start an Online Business with Salling

Before you are going through an online business cycle, you have to practice selling online first. Think about what product or service you want to offer to the people through online media.

Here are some tips on how to find products to sell online:

  • Find out what the people need and look around you what the people need. You are a problem solver to offer the solution to their problems.
  • Share the benefits you can give to them that can become mutually beneficial transactions.

Most people went wrong at this step as they focus on the product first, but not on the needs of the people. So, even many of them fell before reaching the first sale. Therefore, do a product research as many as possible to find for fast moving goods (high-turnover goods). Many people need a product means there is a market. In every market, there are opportunities to sell as well as the challenges and competitors.

In many cases, a business that sells a product with a narrow market would quickly give up as it’s hard to promote and sell the product. So, you should try selling some kinds physical products, digital products, or professional services which are most needed.

Kinds of Products

  1. Physical Goods; herbal soaps, herbal remedies, watches, smartphones, laptops, motorcycles, cars, food, smartphone accessories, homes and buildings, and anything you can see and touch.
  2. Digital Goods; prepay data plan, e-books, information products, online courses, and software.
  3. Services; web designing, web developing, web hosting, SEO experts, IM experts, logistics, online marketing services, car rental, travel agencies, ticket services, and other services.

So, it’s important you have a clear view of your plan and understand the pattern of online marketing. Based on my reviews towards some online marketers, and my experience too, the first step is the hardest step to execute. The reason is that we have to conceptualize the business, brainstorm to generate good ideas, looking for suppliers, and learn business skills.

The obstacles that arise in the first step is, sometimes beginners want everything is perfect, but the reality is eventually stagnant or even come down. So, don’t too detail in the second step for you must be willing to invest time, effort, and maybe money in the first step to learn and build everything you have to have in the online business.

Starting an online business by selling people’s products is a good idea. Many successful people started their online business with a concept of dropship business, reseller, a partnership with producers or service provider, or became an affiliate of a product vendor (affiliate marketing program).

Selling people’s products or becoming an affiliate can begin with selling data plan, airline and train tickets, property agents, travel agencies, selling fashion products with the concept of consignment or profit sharing, selling other people’s e-books, selling a vendor’s software applications, etc.

So, at the first step, you will don’t have a hard burden with huge production costs and losses, but you can minimize them.

Step 3 – Create a Website or Online Store

The third step is to create a website or online store. If you flashback to the previous step, we should decide what products you are going to sell or offer to the people. Then, you need to promote and sell it, but you also need a page where you can sell your products or services.

As you want to take advantage of internet to do an online business or selling online, you can follow the following technical stages;

Sell products or services through many marketplace sites, social media sites, and social chatting applications.

When you are going to be a more serious in online business, you can start creating your website.

For the first technical stage;

  • Marketplace sites: Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Aliexpress, etc.
  • Social media sites: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. etc.
  • Social chatting apps: BBM, LINE, WhatsApp, WeChat, etc.

I suggest the first stage as to create an account on those sites are free, and you can directly use them for free or paid promotion and selling without having to create a website, how it looks, and so forth.

Choose a channel that you are comfortable and safe with, but getting used with all of them is better. For the social chat application specifically, in fact, they are more suitable for the means of communication with your customers and prospects. For example, when doing a negotiation, transaction, discuss the product details, payment confirmation. But you can use them for promotion as well, such as the mass broadcast messaging. Doing a mass broadcast message occasionally is okay. But too aggressive doing it will make your customers less comfortable.

For the second stage, namely by creating your website, the goal is to make your official workshop or online store in the cyberspace. The advantage of having your website is you can make it as the referral center when you want to spread an online promotion through social media sites, forums, marketplace sites, or other online selling sites and blogs.

Marketplace sites, social media sites, and online forums are like the mall/market in the online world. While your website is your office or store in the online world.

Sometimes having a website can also be a parameter of whether or not a person is seriously in the online business. Usually, people will become more comfortable to transact with the individuals who have a website.

In the process of making the website, you will be more struggling many technical things, such as learning how to install a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, and maybe a little learning about web programming languages.

However, you don’t need to worry, because the recent CMS updates make it easier practical for the users to create a website or online store. After all, here is the challenge of doing business online. You can learn how to install a CMS platform on your computer’s localhost server and take some practices on how to design a website, install an online store plugin, learning some e-commerce strategies, and so on.

Next, you will need a domain name and hosting plan to create an online website or store. Like a store building, a domain name is your store address. So, when you decide to pick a domain name, customize it with your name, your business brand, your business type, or your blog topic. For a web hosting plan, if we are using the analogy of the store building above, a web hosting is like a land. The larger the hosting capacity, the larger the size of your store land. But the size of your online store depends on how many categories and pages you have on your website or online store. So, keep in mind that a domain name and hosting plan are unity.

By the way, you can start to practice how a domain and web hosting work simultaneously on one of the free web hosting providers.

You might wonder what’s the difference between a paid and free website or hosting. Here it is;

a. Paid Website

A paid website requires us to use a Top Level Domain (TLD) name (paid) and a hosting plan (free or paid). So, when you are going to buy a TLD, you need to decide domain name as your website address, and then hire a hosting plan to host your website files that will be accessible through your domain name. As you might think too, one of the advantages of having a TDL and a paid hosting plan would be more professional and credible in the eyes of your consumers. At the very first phase, you may not need too large hosting capacity.

Examples of paid websites:

  • yourbrandname.com
  • yourbusinessname.com
  • youronlinestore.com

b. Free Website

There are some popular free blog providers like WordPress (.com), Blogspot, Posterous, Typepad, Tumblr, and much more. But if you would like to start a free website, I suggest you use WordPress or Blogspot. Both WordPress and Blogspot are the most popular and the most widely used free blog providers. They are user-friendly and good for SEO.

  • yourbrandname.wordpress.com
  • yourbusinessname.blogspot.com
  • youronlinestore.tumblr.com

Although using a free website is sometimes look less professional, but this way is still pretty good for a beginner. Furthermore, you can also upgrade your free website to a paid site (changing the domain name to the same content when it was free without losing the website SEO and rank).

Step 4 – Promote Your Website Online

When you have the content on your website, you are ready to promote business then. The goal is to get traffic or visitors to your website. One of the most logical reasons why people want to visit your website or online store is because they are interested in your products, deals, articles, or offers. So, learn how to make promotional words simply interesting yet meaningful.

You can start to promote your website through social media sites. Then, if you have the budget for paid advertising, you can advertise your website wherever you like. Some kinds of sites that are good for you to start promoting your products or services are business directory sites, forum sites, and marketplace sites. For a more advanced promotion, you can use SEO technique and be buying an advertising campaign on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

SEO and paid advertising are more technical promotional methods as you have to understand how to optimize your website, keyword strategy to occupy the first page in a search engine or visible to a particular demographic of users with a given keywords targetted. However, by understanding SEO skills, your business mindset and online marketing will be sharper.

Once people get the information about your products or services from social media sites, business directories, forums, marketplaces, and search engines, surely they wonder who the hell is selling this product or that service. Then, they will visit your website or online store to get more info about who you are and what your products are.

Next, build relationships with the visitors, give them the information they need. Maybe they do not buy your products right away, but when they get the information they require, their confidence will grow, so the chances of them to buy your products will get greater.

The primary target of the utilization of your website is the occurrence of the first contact with your potential customers. Furthermore, it’s up to you. Whether you want to follow up them email marketing strategy, by phone call, or direct visit.

Step 5 – Find the Right Online Marketing Specialists as Your Mentor & Community

For those of you who want to learn online business more seriously, I suggest finding some types of online marketing professionals as your mentor. They will guide you in the early days of building an online business as your empire.

You can learn from their success stories, as well as the ups and downs of the process to make dreams come true. With the right mentor, you can speed up the process of trial and error that you need during the process to the top. Join the business community and have a positive environment. This way will support your learning process to be a more conducive and directed.

The more you meet people who are in the same passion, you will find the opportunities for mutual support, sharing skills, passion, and knowledge. It’s an important asset you need to have to move forward. You can if you think you can, give positive things and actions, then you will get positive ones.

All types of online businesses won’t work for you if you don’t want to learn how to develop them. The following are some recommendations where you can learn online business with the real practitioners.

  • HubSpot Academy
  • CodeAcademy
  • Moz
  • Niche consultant courses
  • edX
  • Khan Academy
  • LearnVest
  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • MIT Open Courseware
  • YouTube
  • Podcasts
  • Alison
  • OpenCulture
  • Saylor

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