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How to Start an Online Business: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Start an Online Business

Ready to Start an Online Business?

Maybe you’ve been reading this blog for a while, feel inspired and think that you want to begin building some passive income streams by starting an online business. If I were with you in person, I’d most certainly give you a high-five and be super-excited about the big step you’re going to be taking towards securing your financial future. In reality, the biggest hurdle to overcome is just getting started. You know, the whole inertia thing-a body at rest stays at rest unless some force acts upon it. You’ll stay at rest until something big enough gets you rolling. Whatever the big enough thing is in your life, harness this energy to begin building something awesome.

Here are a few things you need to know about starting an online business.

You’ll Need a Website

At the very minimum, you’ll need a website. While I guess there are a very, very select few people who manage to conduct online business without one, it’s not standard operating procedure. While there are various free options such as Blogger or HubPages, those are bad news because you essentially have very little control over them.

Hosting your own website is reasonably easy these days with companies like BlueHost who basically hold your hand through the entire process. If you go to their website, just click on the green “get started now” and they’ll even throw in a free domain name. Seriously, just follow the prompts and you’ll be good to go.

Once you have your hosting plan and domain name, you’ll need to choose how you want to build your website. You can go to your Cpanel and find WordPress. Install it and assign your domain. Then, choose a template and away you go. While there are a million and one advanced level WordPress programming things to know, at the basic level, it’s really quite easy and intuitive. Play around and you’ll eventually figure it out.

I truly am no tech guru and I’ll successfully built myself a ridiculous amount of websites. None of them are going to wow anyone with the design, but at this point, it’s all about getting your ideas out into the world so don’t worry about it. You can level-up later when you have more money to invest into it. Content truly is king and if you’re delivering the goods, people aren’t worried about whether or not you have the most wicked blog design.

You’ll Need to Build an Email List

A huge mistake people make when beginning an online business is that they don’t collect email addresses. Email is the best way to build long-term relationships with people in a way that social media simply can’t. Facebook fans are fickle and subject to Facebook’s constantly changing algorithms. You, and only you control who sees what on your email list.

In order to get people to sign-up for your email list, you’ll need a lead magnet, which is something that you give away for free but only to people who sign-up for your list. It can be a free Ebook, access to a course, of something simple like mine: 40+ ESL activities, delivered straight to your inbox.

You’ll want to use MailChimp to manage everything-it’s free at first and reasonably priced when your list gets bigger.

Check out this post of mine for how I built my email list to 1000+ people in a few months. But one pro-tip. Get the SumoMe plugin which has a pop-up for your website. It’s awesome, free and will be email list sign-up gold for you.

You’ll Need to Build Relationships

Use your website and email list to build relationships with people. Ask questions and listen to their answers. Answer emails. Start a Facebook group and comment there. Go to conferences in whatever field you’re in and talk to people. Network on LinkedIn. There are so many ways to do this-just use whatever ones feel most natural to you. But, it’s really difficult to have an online business without including a big part of yourself in it. People want to connect with a person, not a random website.

Monetize It, the Not Sketchy Way

Check out these two post of mine for some ideas:

How to Make Money Blogging

How to Make Money Online, the Non-Sketchy Way

All the Rest

By the time you’ve done these first 4 things, you’re well on your way to online business awesome. And, you’ll be learning a ton along the way so other doors will be opening for you. New ideas for products or services. Be open to new possibilities and partnerships and everything will start to fall into place, even if it feels like you’re totally stumbling around in the darkness right now. Trust me. I felt like that even a year ago-somewhat clueless, kind of confused. But, almost every single day, I figure out one more thing and everything gets easier, automatic, intuitive. It’ll happen for you too.

The key is to just get started. What step are you going to take today? Comment below and tell me!

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