Would you like to work for yourself? You aren’t alone. Your next question might be, how to start an internet business that thrives?
No matter what type of business you decide to run, most of the keys to success are actually the same. While two of your biggest factors may be commitment and time management, the actual steps for things you need to do for starting an internet business are straightforward and repeatable.
How Do You Start Your Own Internet Business? Choose a Niche
It may surprise you that the first step to creating an internet business is not deciding on what you’ll be selling or doing at all. Monetization and marketing come in later. First, you need to decide on a niche that will work for you.
How do you do this?
First, create a list of your passions and interests. It can be helpful to put your phone aside, go to a distraction free room, get out a piece of paper, set a twenty minute timer, and brainstorm a list. Write down everything you really enjoy. Can you spend hours online watching pet videos? Then pets go on the list. Are you a SCUBA diver? A golfer? Add these interests to the list. If you’re stuck, consider what topics you could talk about all day long without getting sick of them. That’s what you’ll be doing if you’re running an online business, so it may as well be a topic you can enjoy.
Now, do some research. Again, you aren’t yet figuring out how you will make money. Instead, look at how competitive your niche is. What is the competition doing? How profitable is this niche?
Take your time on this. Finding the right niche is an essential part of launching a successful online business. Everything you do after this will depend on this part being right. The right niche for you will be the sweet spot where your interests, skills, and market demand all meet.
(Image Credit: Lindsay Does Languages)
Research What You Will Sell To Your Niche
Will you be starting an online retail business where you’ll sell physical products? Will you be creating digital products, like ebooks or courses?
With your niche in hand, it’s now time to research what you might want to sell them.
Ask yourself two questions.
- What does the market currently lack?
- What can I lend my skills to?
Once you brainstorm a list of possibilities, perform thorough market research.
Look for trending products in your niche. Why are people buying that product? Checking out the reviews is a great way to gain clear answers on why customers like it. You can also search social media to find people discussing these trending products.
Perform keyword research. This will give you a larger view of the niche you’ve chosen, the products currently selling, and hopefully you’ll begin to gain some insights on a brand you could build that offers something not currently out there. Take the time to go deeper with keyword research and you’ll become more of an expert on your niche quickly. You can use many different keyword research tools, for example:
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Look Into The Viability Of Potential Products
It’s time to source your product. Are you going to create it? Is someone else?
If you’re going to sell content, like ecourses or ebooks, your process for this will look different than with physical products. Competitive research and a plan for content creation will be your steps. How long will it take you to create a product? What can you sell it for?
But if you’re going to be selling physical products, you need to look into how you’re going to do that. Are you going to be dropshipping or sending them yourself or through a distributor?
There are a number of questions you’ll need to get answers to when you’re evaluating the viability of potential products. Here’s a starting list:
- What’s the shipping weight?
- How many SKUs are there?
- Does the product have an expiration date?
- How fragile is it?
- How much does it cost, and what price point will you need to sell it at for profitability?
- What price will the market tolerate?
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Perform Deep Research On The Competition
When you first asked yourself how to open an internet business, you might not have realized how much research there would be before getting started. A lot of young and eager entrepreneurs skip as much of this as they can.
Don’t do that!
To successfully learn how to start up an internet business, you’re going to need to do a lot of research. Don’t give up now.
You’ve probably seen a bit of competition in your research up to this point, but now it’s time to do a deeper look.
It’s time to make two lists as you look at some of your top competitors.
- What is working for my competition?
- What isn’t working for them?
You may feel like looking through your competition cheapens what you’re doing or that you are looking to copy them. This is not the case. A wise business owner knows their market. They know what other businesses are offering, and that is unique to them.
As you look through their site and see what is and isn’t working for them, you’ll start to see gaps in the market where you can sell your own products. This will give you greater insight on what is unique to your brand. This is where defining the finer points of your brand will start to happen. If you are having a hard time figuring out who your competitors are there are tools out there that can help you, such as SpyFu:
(Image Credit: SpyFu)
Get clear on what sets your future business apart from the competition.
This is where you get to start creating an internet business that stands out.
Educate Yourself On Online Business Laws
How to start an internet business the right way? You have to know the laws before you get off the ground. There’s no getting around this. You need to research things like zoning laws, shipping restrictions, trademark laws, and get very clear on your tax obligations.
This won’t take as long as you fear it will. Get it done right and avoid problems later.
Gain A Better Understanding Of Your Target Market
It’s time to learn about your future customers!
You will not be able to sell to anyone until you know who you’re selling to.
This may sound counterintuitive if you’ve never sold anything before.
Think of it like this. To sell something, you need to tell the customer why they would like to buy it. People buy things for all different reasons. If you are trying to sell a pen to a random person on the street, you can tell them the function of the pen. Look! It can write things! Everyone needs to write things down sometimes, right?
Your odds of selling the pen to them are slim.
Now, try to sell that pen to your best friend. The pen writes with purple ink, her favorite color. It has a soft grip, which means she is less likely to crack a fingernail while writing with it–an event that happened to her with a pen just last week. When you go to sell her this pen, you’ll be able to tailor your marketing message directly to her needs and interests.
How do you start your own internet business? You learn who your customers are and how to sell to them, like they’re your best friend.
Things you need to learn about your target audience:
- What do they like?
- What do they need?
- How is your product meeting this need in their life?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What is their income level?
- What are their spending habits?
It can be helpful to create a customer avatar. This is a single person who is your ideal customer. You can even give this character a name.
Let’s create an example character.
Your ideal customer is Janice. She is 35 years old and enjoys crocheting. She works all day at a busy office and uses crocheting as her best way to destress. She needs a quality source for ethically farmed and environmentally-friendly yarn and other crocheting supplies. She spends roughly $150 a month on this hobby. Her spending is consistent. Janice is busy and prefers spending her time crocheting to shopping for supplies. A monthly subscription box of yarns that meet her needs would give her more time to crochet.
Now that you know Janice, do you have some ideas on how to start up an internet business that she would want to buy from? Do you have a clearer idea on how to create a marketing message that would speak to her?
Do your market research to discover more about the customers in your industry, what they’re buying, and then narrow down who you’re selling to exactly.
Over time, you may have multiple customer avatars. It’s also possible that you get rid of some old ideas and create new ones. That’s a natural event as your business grows. Get started and reevaluate as results demand.
Choose Your Site Software
The next step in how to open an internet business is choosing the right tools to get the job done.
This may mean researching ecommerce software, like Shopify or WooCommerce. It may mean finding the best platform for selling your online course. You’ll want to choose a content management software for your website, like WordPress or Squarespace. For example look how convenient Squarespace is:
(Image Credit: Website Builder Expert)
It can be helpful to make a list of all the functions you know you’ll need your web presence to accomplish and start from there.
Buy Your Domain and Get All Your Social Accounts
While you may not use every social media platform at first, it can be useful to get your username on every service out there. This way, if you expand to that platform later, your username won’t be taken. Ideally, you want the same username across every social media account you have.
We hope that you found this article useful.
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Build Your Branding
If you’re starting an internet business, then you will need to build a brand.
It can be helpful to think of your brand both as the story of your business and as the culture of your company. What values does your business have?
What tone do you want your graphics to communicate to your visitors?
Consider what your customers come to you for. Do people visit your website because they are looking for serious educational content? You’ll want to choose graphics and colors that fit that tone.
Do people come for silly fun? Your branding colors will need to be bright and vibrant.
If possible, work with a graphic designer to build this to something that stands out. If you can, find an online group or an expert in your field for advice on how things are looking.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Internet Business
You know your target audience. Where do they hang out online? How do they like to be contacted? How are they most likely to end up finding your website?
Some of the key ways you can drive traffic to your business are through search engine traffic, pay-per-click advertising, social media, and your newsletter.
Search Engine Traffic
Do you want customers to find your website when they perform relevant searches online? If you’re starting an online business, the answer to this one is always yes. If you aren’t sure how to optimize your website for search engines, take some time to read through some SEO guides from trusted sources. You’ll learn a lot fast. The first thing you’ll learn is that search engine optimization (SEO) is not as scary as it sounds. This is a powerful tool for getting your business visible to the right audience.
Your top two options here are likely Google Ads or Facebook Ads. You can run ads to have your products or website show up on Google’s search result pages in the paid search section or have your products show up in Google Shopping. With Facebook Ads, you can target your audience on Facebook or Instagram with visual ads meant to attract the right people. This is an example of pay-per-click advertising on Google Shopping:
There’s no getting around this today. Customers expect you to be on social media, so you’ll need to take this seriously. Consistency is essential! Use tools like canva to create quality content your audience cares about. Regularly check your analytics and review your content strategy. What’s working best for you? Invest your time there.
Start A Newsletter
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers, build leads, and get those sales. Create a lead magnet to get people to subscribe. A lead magnet is a free gift that you give to subscribers for signing up. An ebook is often effective for this.
Run a Test Page
Build a simple landing page with your product. In fact, consider making two or three of your best efforts. Then, test those pages. Your store hasn’t launched yet. This is to see what is working for you.
Many will skip this step and go straight to launch, but if you want to launch strong, having some data behind you can be monumental. Run some tests and see which of your landing pages perform the best. You’ll learn a lot about your audience and what they respond to this way! KickoffLabs does a landing page test the results page will look like this:
(Image Credit: KickoffLabs)
If you want to know how to grow your internet business successfully, there are a lot of tips you can learn, but testing is one of the things that separates the big fish from the little fish. Even if you believe you’re doing well, you won’t know if you could have done better if you don’t test.
Diib®: Giving You Core Insights for Quick Growth!
You have done the work! You have stopped yourself from rushing your launch, and have instead researched your products, your competition, and your customers. You have a plan for driving traffic to your website, a solid brand, and now you’re ready to launch!
Then, once you’re launching, keep testing. Keep going over your analytics. Diib Digital offers key metrics and statistics that will help you adjust your launch parameters to keep your momentum going. Here are some of the features that will help you do that:
- Keyword, backlink, and indexing monitoring and tracking tools
- User experience and mobile speed optimization
- Bounce rate monitoring and repair
- Social media integration and performance
- Broken pages where you have backlinks (404 checker)
- Technical SEO monitoring
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It IS very possible to start an online business, one that makes money, with little to no money up front. There are so many free services that can help you organize and build your website. From there you can upgrade when you’re seeing some good results.
This can vary depending on the size and scope of your vision. That being said, professionally built websites can run anywhere between $5,000-$10,000, plus monthly maintenance costs.
Let’s go over the top online businesses for 2021. 1) Coaching or consulting. 2) Digital marketing services. 3) Freelancing. 4) SaaS Software. 5) Handmade goods.
Dropshipping is every bit as profitable and popular as it ever has been. Ecommerce and dropshipping profits have reached over $4 billion, which is a 7 percent year on year increase for the last 10 years.
If you get $100,000/month in sales, you may make $15,000 per month profit. This is a helpful way to earn extra income with little money down.