Do you dream of owning your own business? Do you have a passion or talent that you’d like to share with the world? If so, operating an online business may be the solution for you. I’ve learned a few things on my path of starting a business and thought I could pass some of those lessons on, most importantly being that you need to do your research before taking the leap.
A Low-Cost Option for Becoming Your Own Boss
Today’s economy is a far cry from the stable job environment afforded in past decades. If you’re subjected to a layoff, you could be searching for a new job for a year or more before you secure another position. Instead of burning the candle at both ends and stressing over your lengthy job search, consider the benefits of setting up your own online business—you’re the boss; you set the hours; you determine where the “office” is. If you’ve not been laid off, you can still benefit from starting your own online business as a means to earn some additional income on the side. This can be a great way to see if being your own boss is something that fits you while at the same time having the stability of your day job.
One of the best benefits of an online business is the very low cost of entry. You won’t need to pre-purchase thousands of dollars of inventory, and you won’t have to sign a costly office building lease. In fact, if you have $100 and a laptop today, you could be starting your business tomorrow.
Think Outside the Box
What if you don’t want to sell physical products or consultative services through your online business? If not, consider other income-generating alternatives such as blogging. If you start your own blog, it can act as your home base for a variety of ventures including freelance writing and online advertising. If you’re looking for blogging tips, I’ve written a few posts highlighting some of the best tips I’ve learned throughout my own blogging adventures.
Research Your Options
Once you’ve decided to pursue your dream and are settled on starting an online business or blog, do your homework about the myriad of tools and options at your disposal. Whether it’s a DIY approach or utilizing the services of a soup-to-nuts company, there are many ways to create your online presence.
One easy way to do so is to make your own website through a number of different providers. As with many companies that help their customers set up a website or online business, 123 reg offers three distinct packages which are each designed for beginners, advanced users and businesses. You can also opt to have personalized assistance instead of using their easy website builder.
Identify the Niche for Your Online Business
After you’ve researched your website building options, make sure to identify your niche BEFORE purchasing a domain name. One of the most important aspects of an online business is understanding that your domain name is your branding and your livelihood—make sure it accurately portrays your business in a positive way and positions your service or product to the best of its ability!
Like a diamond, a domain name is forever. If you decide you hate the original domain name a few years into your business venture, it will be quite a difficult ordeal to transfer to a new one—plus, you’ll lose those years of precious search engine rankings.
Get Creative—and Technical
Now that you’ve figured out how you’ll build your site and have chosen your domain name, the next step is to figure out some of the creative and technical aspects of the business. You’ll want to choose your hosting (some can cost as little as $5/month), create a logo and develop your site’s design elements. The key here is consistency—make sure all elements of these pieces are cohesive and portray your brand well in the eyes of the consumer.
Network, Network, Network
At the end of the day, an online business still has one requirement in common with a traditional brick-and-mortar business: Networking. As I’ve continued to grow my blog, I’ve learned that networking with other bloggers is a crucial key to my success. The same goes for networking with your customers and other business owners—get out there, share your story and ideas and make sure to market your business every chance you get.
Photo courtesy of: Mst_B