How Do I Start?
Anyone trying to make money or start a home-based business on the Internet faces a bewildering array of contradictory information.
On the one hand, you see advertisements promising you ridiculous sums of money for doing practically no work. On the other hand, you hear of big name Internet companies that didn't manage to make the cut. They have millions of dollars, talented programmers, graphic designers and marketers, and yet....
But occasionally, you do read of small online ventures that make it big, or earn good income.
My opinion is that you just have to decide for yourself what's right for you and keep in mind that there are many reasons for failure or success. What works well for one person or company might not work well for you.
The following are the usual steps taken to build a successful online business. It is by no means exhaustive, but does give you a guideline on what needs to be done.
Deciding to Take the Leap
This is the first step and the most important step. To start and run a profitable home-based business will take quite a bit of effort, so you have to be committed or your chances of success will be slim.
Don't adopt the attitude that since an online business can be started without a lot of funds, you just want to jump in and give it a try. You think that, at worst, you will be out a few hundred dollars or so.
While that may be true, you will probably not give this type of business the proper chance that it deserves. You would probably just give up at the first roadblock. When that happens, you will lose not just a few hundred dollars, but it would have soured your attitude towards home-based businesses which, if you had really applied yourself, could have changed your financial future.
So you should give yourself as much time as you need to think through what it would mean for you, and the people in your life, and your plans for the future if you were to take this step. If you can't give this business a proper try, postpone it until a more opportune time. Read as much as you can. Talk to people who are already doing it.
And if you have tried your hand at such businesses and failed, I would suggest that you approach online businesses again with an open mind. Think about what went wrong and what went right, and how the present have changed from the time that you tried, and consider if a wiser and smarter you can make it a success this time.
You should also consider your finances. This is not something that you want to start just to make some money. If you are going to have problems with your mortgage payments or living expenses in the coming months, go out and look for a job. You can continue looking into online businesses, and I highly recommend that you do, but right now, an online business is not the solution to your financial problems.
Planning Your Online Business
Okay, you have decided to start your own online business. It's time to get serious and do some planning. Don't worry, I'm not taking about doing up a business plan, although that might be a good idea if you are up for it.
What I'm talking about is to start thinking about and planning the different aspects of your business. Start thinking about the money you need, where you will operate from, the products that you will sell, how much to price your products, and the rest of the other stuff relating to your business.
Acquiring some technical competence would be helpful whether or not you will be designing your own website. If you are not designing your site, it would help when you are talking to the web designers and programmers. And you will have a better idea of what can or cannot be done, the multiple options available, and how difficult it really is.
And along the same lines as accquiring some technical competence, do read and learn as much as you can about home-based businesses. As the owner of a small business, you will be required to wear many hats. So, while you are not expected to be an expert at everything, knowing a little bit about everything helps a lot.
Launching Your Business
I know that you want things to be perfect for the launch of your online business. Everything has got to be just right, with every single 't' crossed and 'i' dotted. That is, of course, the ideal case.
But, a lot of the time, a tradeoff has got to be made.
You can have the launch of your perfect online business in about a year's time, provided that everything goes according to plan, which it probably won't. So, when you add in all the unplanned delays and unscheduled improvements, a one year launch could turn out to be significantly longer.
Or, you can launch a pretty good online business in about 3 months time. It will be a little rough around the edges, but with a pretty good product. Improvements to the product and business will be on an ongoing basis, to improve your pretty good online business into a prefect online business.
Whether you want to launch a near perfect business, or a business with ongoing upgrades and improvements, is your choice. But do give serious consideration to a less than perfect launch, as it does have its own merits.
Promoting Your Business
This is where the real work begins. Too many good sites are languishing in cyber limbo because of poor or wrong promotion techniques.
This is where a lot of people go wrong.
With the wealth of resources on the net promising one click submission to thousands or even millions of sites, promotion on the net must be a breeze.
Imagine being able to "blast" your ad out to millions of pages on the web for free, or for a nominal fee. And it only takes a few minutes of your time! In fact, if you were to just spend 15 minutes each day using such services, you'd be raking in big fat profits in no time at all. Maybe in a month or two, you may even make enough to retire!
If you have spent any time at all promoting on the Internet, you'd know that the actual reality is very, very different.
Internet promotion resources vary vastly in their effectiveness. General rule of thumb is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Retire in the Bahamas
Once you have done all that, you are going to have a successful business, make tons of money and probably retire in the Bahamas, right?
If you are lucky, maybe.
But you may not earn enough from your first site to retire. In fact, it is quite likely that your first site will be a failure. Maybe you selected the wrong niche, or you spent too much money on promotion without tracking its effectiveness, or the SEO company played you out, or … there are many possible reasons.
But, if you continue to see the promise of online businesses, your second site would be much better. And, in time, after a few sites, you may actually be able to retire in the Bahamas.
See you there!
By the way, I'll be the one in the Hawaiian shirt, with a bubbly brunette by my side. I have already bought my Hawaiian shirt and working hard on the online business part, but the brunette part is proving to be even more challenging than the online business part.
There are a lot more things involved in an online business than can be covered in just a few articles but I hope I have given you an idea of what an online business is all about.
Take your time and browse through the site. I'm adding to this website on an ongoing basis, and you can check the What's New page to see the recent additions. I hope to provide enough information to help you decide if you want to start an online business, give you an idea of what it will be like and help you succeed should you decide to start one.
What Type of Business Can I Start?
Am I Suitable for Such a Business?
How Much do I Need to Start a Home Business?
How do I Start?