How to start online business that (actually) works.
If you are looking for ways to make extra money to support your monthly allowance, then you should be thinking of setting up a side hustle. Many of us want to start online business, and fortunately, there are several online business opportunities sitting right before you. You don’t even need to work your ass off.
On this Step-By-Step practical guide on how to start an online business, I will show you different profitable Niche markets you can tap into right now and make enough money. You will also discover different strategies to bring your products and services before a hungry audience and make a big killing.
Step #1: Identifying problems and providing solutions.
Customers has got problems, that’s why they search the internet for solutions. If you are NOT able to identify their problems, how on earth would you solve them?
One deadly mistake most entrepreneurs make is providing solutions to unidentified problems.
If you start an online business without providing solutions to your customers, your business tend to crash in a while. So, to start a business that solves a problem, you should.
- Research customers’ needs
- Analyse your skills and understand your capability
- Solve problems.
1. Research customers’ needs
When you are about to start an online business, the first thing you should do is to research your customers need. This should enable you to identify the unmet needs of customers so as to know how you go about solving them.
Identifying your customers
The first step of customer needs research is identifying who your customers are. You should be able to develop a more detailed picture of these customers and understand how to target them accordingly.
- What’s their age?
- Are they male or female?
- Do they earn a salary or do they own a business?
- How much money do they earn?
When you have the above data, your research is halfway done.
Understand why they shop and where they shop
Having known who your customers are, you should be able to know why they shop and how they do their shopping.
- Do they shop to meet family needs?
- Are they shopping to meet their social needs?
- Do they shop on demand?
- For budget pressure?
- Do they buy products/services online? Through the phone? Or do they just walk into a shop?
Find out how much they spend.
There are different types of people who will spend a different amount of money when they shop.
As it’s always said, “all hands are not equal”. Some customers earn more than others but don’t spend much. Others earn less but spend more.
2. Analyse your skills and understand your capabilities.
Before you start an online business, you should be able to know yourself better. What are you really good at? And how can people benefit from it?
The internet is so large, and a lot of businesses are already there. Are your skills good enough to compete with those existing businesses?
There is competition in every business, “online business” not exceptional. Unless you are really very good at what you do, you will not survive the suppression you get from other businesses, especially the ones bigger than yours.
To help understand your skills and capabilities, you will need to access your personal strength.
When you first came into this world, you naturally developed certain interests resulting from specific life experiences. The more you think about these experiences you had, the more you learn from them.
Personal strengths are the areas of your life that you developed because you have spent so much time focusing on them.
To access your personal strength/capability, take time to list your talents, skills, behaviours, and areas of your great knowledge.
3. Solve problems
Once you have known your customers and what challenges they are facing, start creating products that solve their problems.
It’s true that the idea of starting an online business is to make money, but that mentality should go away for now. What matters isn’t how much money you are going to make, but how useful your products/services will be to the people.
If your products solve people’s problems, eventually you will end up making a whole lot of money.
Doing business is all about solving customer’s problems, if you give them hint for the solutions to their pain, trust me, they will keep coming back to your website to find out more you can offer.
Step #2: Planning for your business.
Just like every other business, online business requires an adequate level of planning. You cannot wake up in the morning and head over to your computer to start building a business.
Try it, you will fail!
You have to understand the business, Learn how things work, what steps to take, etc.
To help you plan your business, you will have to;
- Research your niche and understand the market size.
- Research your start-up cost.
1. Research and understand your niche size
You may have heard of the term “Niche” or “Niche market” in the past. In case you haven’t, let me explain it in a layman understanding.
“A niche/niche market is a specific area of marketing which has its own product, requirements, and customers.”
Before your online business stands a good chance to succeed, you must select the perfect niche! And you must be careful in doing that.
While researching your niche, one terrifying advice you are most likely to get is; “follow your passion, the money will later come”. I don’t always believe in that.
Think about it, I can’t set up a business on the “Dating and Relationship market” simply because I’m passionate about that, and at the end of the day, I will end up getting two cents. That’s rubbish!
I would rather go where the money is!
Some niches are more profitable and larger than others, that’s the reason you should research.
How to research the market.
Market research isn’t a choice, it is a necessity. While researching the market, you need to:
Determine what you need to know about the market.
Before you jump into doing market research, it is necessary to note down everything you need to know about the market you want to research. For example, you may want to know the prices of other businesses in your niche, etc.
Find out the size of the market.
Is the market small or large? What is the competition like? Does it worth the competition? What are the chances to survive the competition?
Analyse your competitors.
Other businesses that tapped into that market before you make a lot of mistakes, it’s a credit for you to learn from their mistakes.
Competitor’s analytics is very important in digital business. Check out who they are selling to, what they are selling, how much they invest in advertising, which keywords they are targeting, and any other thing you can find out about them.
There are available tools that can help you analyse your competitors, I’ve listed some of them below:
2. Research your start-up cost.
Do you have any idea how much you can invest in your online business? Of course, some people don’t. Sometimes people think to start an online business doesn’t require capital at all, as they have read from different sources.
The truth remains, there is no business that does not require an investment of time and money. Another truth is; some businesses require little capital to start than others.
In the world of digital business, you may need money to source out product creation, if you can’t create a product on your own.
You will also need money to advertise your products and services to the audience, in order to get known by the people and drive traffic to your website.
Figure out the advertising cost: The truth about online business is “you must invest in advertising”. There is no free way to make money online except if you are a blogger. Even at that, bloggers pay money to promote their blogs.
Both Google and Facebook ads have different ad rates for different markets. You can find that out when you are doing your keyword research.
Bringing your business online.
Now that you have a good business idea, and have done proper research, let’s put the idea to reality.
You can’t claim to have an online business without representing online. As an online business, you should have a website where you will display your products and services, As well as a social media account to help get more targeted customers.
To start an online business and secure your ground on the internet, you will need to:
- Build a website
- Add a Chart to your site
- Drive targeted traffic to your website
- Build a brand.
1. Building a business website.
To build a website, you will need a web host, a domain name and a website script.
A web host is where you can upload your website files in other to make it accessible from anywhere in the world.
A domain name is usually a short name that represents your website. It comes in this form (mktprofit.com).
A website script is a piece of code that powers up your website. Most popular scripts are:
Now let’s proceed with choosing a web host and getting a domain name…
Both domain name and a web host can be obtained from a web hosting company. There are more than a hundred hosting companies out there, but choosing the right one can be challenging for Newbies.
There are features you need to look out for when choosing a web hosting company.
For example, you may need to check if your hosting company has a one-click script installer, else you will have to upload your files manually using FTP (which is not friendly for beginners).
When choosing a web host, you will also have to look out for:
Uptime: Your site should always be online and responsive to queries. If there are downtimes on your hosting server, it will negatively affect your business.
Speed: Some servers are not as fast when processing information. You should consider using a super-fast processing server such as Bluehost.
Pricing: Some hosting companies offer 1 month free plan for texting, some give massive discounts for the first year, others don’t!
Next is installing the script…
For a beginner’s level, I recommend installing WordPress. This is because, WordPress has a friendly user interface, and can only take minutes to master.
2. Add e-commerce functions to your website.
You may want to sell products and services on your website, so for that, you will need to add a chart and order processor to your website.
Woocommerce is a free to use ecommerce tool for WordPress websites. It’s very easy to set up.
Login to your WordPress Dashboard, Click “Plugin” > “add new“, then search for “woocommerce“.
3. Improve search preference
Another thing you will have to do is to make your new website appear in Google search and other search engines. To do that, you will need to install an SEO Plugin.
SEO is a short name for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of tweaking your website and contents to appear first in search queries related to your business or niche.
Installing Rankmath SEO Plugin.
Rankmath is a new-born baby in the house. It comes with a pack of premium features as that of yoast worth $89/yr., and AIO SEO worth $68, all for free!
To start using Rankmath, log into your WordPress dashboard > Plugins > add new > search for “rankmath“
4. Building a brand
Do you necessarily have to build a brand? Well, you have to. Let me make it clear to you.
Branding is crucial for any serious business (online/offline). Your brand is what differentiates your business from its rivals. In today’s computer age, it’s essential for most businesses to have a net presence to remain competitive.
An effective net branding, simply like its offline counterpart helps bring cognizance to your unique business providing and drive buyer demand.
When we talk about branding, it’s not just about creating a cool logo and picking up colour. No, there is more to that. Your brand is your reputation!
According to recent research by Nielson survey, 59% of consumers who shop online prefer to buy only from brands well known to them.
Marketing Your Business.
When starting an online business, no one will come to your website unless you tell them about it. That’s where marketing comes to play.
There are different ways to market your business digitally. Among them we have:
- Content marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Search Engine Marketing, etc.
1. Content Marketing:
As the name implies, it is a kind of marketing that involves the creation and distribution of quality and reliable Contents (such as Videos, blog posts, podcasts, social media posts, etc) to attract and maintain a specific audience.
With content marketing, you can create content about your business, products, and services, giving your audience reasons why they even need to buy your products or pay for your services.
One of the ways to tap into content marketing is Blogging.
Now, what is a blog?
According to Wikipedia, a blog is a discussion or informational website, consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (often known as posts).
Blogs can be updated regularly without editing the core Html file. With the help of CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress.
Most experts say that blogging is the most powerful tool for marketing. So, to market your business, you need to create a blog.
Other forms of content marketing include;
- Case studies
- Social Media Posts, etc.
2. Social Media Marketing.
Some folks think social media is all about posting photos and getting 1000+ likes and dozens of comments. Hell no! There is more to it.
Social media is a very powerful tool for business promotions. It can help you target the right audience as well as keeping you informed of what’s trending in your space.
Like I said in one of my posts, ‘marketing would not be complete without the social media’. You will agree with me that 9 out of 10 people have at least one or two social media account.
Social Media Marketing does not end on posting to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, but making sure your post gets to the right audience. That’s where advertising comes in.
You must have come across some adverts while you Read your news feeds on Facebook, and possibly got excited and want to click even without knowing it’s was an advert.
All the social networks out there give room for advertising and enable you to select the audience you want your post to reach. All you need to do is to find out there your audience most gather.
3. Search Engine Marketing
SEO is good but paid search is far better! Paid search (Search Engine Marketing/SEM) is a kind of marketing whereby you (the marketer/business owner) pays search engines to display your business on the first page of search results.
When you conduct a search, you will notice the first two or three listings on search results are paid ads. As seen in the image below.
SEM is for sure the fastest way to drive targeted traffic to your business. The result is faster than ever. This is because people who search for your products and services are the people who will see your ads.
Creating your First Digital Product
According to Wikipedia, “Digital products are e-goods or intangible products that exist in the digital forms.”
The easiest way to make money online is by turning your ideas into a digital product and sell them online.
here are different types of digital products you can start creating now.
- Browser extensions
- Professional Services
- Web-based Applications
We have provided you with everything that you need to know to get started on your mission to Set up an online business that will generate up to ten thousand dollars in a month. Now it is your turn to take action and make it happen.
In the next post, we will be discussing Traffic generation techniques in full. Stay tuned
Thanks for reading! Feel free to drop your comment if you have any questions or contributions.