5 Easy Steps for How to Set up Your Own Online Business

Online Business

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

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.


  • Boris says:

    Starting an online business is definitely challenging. I think if you first start out, you shouldn’t quit your day job. It will take several months before the business yields some fruit.

    • John says:

      That it is Boris, I can certainly attest to that myself. Thus why I had mentioned about starting one on the side if possible. That’s ideally the way you should go about it.

  • Jose says:

    It’s not easy. I’ve tried several online businesses over the last few years and all of them have been hard work. Although to be honest, my blog has required more work than all of them put together! The return on past businesses have been meager, but it’s given me some experience as well as some well and hard learned lessons.

    • John says:

      Truer words have never been spoken Jose! It does take A LOT of work, but it has taught me a ton of lessons as well…some of them very invaluable.

  • I completely agree with the researching especially if one plans to start an online blog. It’s more work than I anticipated and I did my research but not enough. Networking will also help and ask questions because no question is a silly question.

    • John says:

      Great point Mr. CBB! I was in the same boat. I did some research, but not enough to see what it would truly be like. That said, I think the only real way to know how much work it is is to actually try it…assuming it’s right for you.

  • Michelle says:

    Great post! I’m in the process of starting my own online business (separate from blogging) and can use all help!

  • Eddie says:

    As someone who’s been in the blogging game for over 2 years now, I can attest it’s anything but easy. It takes a lot of research, time, dedication and organization. It becomes your life. Great post though!

    • John says:

      I completely agree Eddie, thus my warning at the beginning. I never thought it would take this much time, but it is worth it…especially when you can help people in the process.

  • Kevin Watts says:

    I just started blogging in a niche that I am familiar with. I hope one day to grow my online presence where I eventually quit my regular job. I know it won’t be easy but I am in this for the long haul. Good post.

  • John, It’s a real challenge to make a living online. Since the barriers to entry are so low and competition so high there is a tremendous amount of luck and the importance of finding a specific niche. Making a few extra bucks is one thing, but making a full time salary is another matter.

    • John says:

      That it is Barb, I completely agree. That is much of the reason why I gave the disclaimer at the beginning as well as in my taking the plunge posts. It’s by no means easy and it does take work. The larger point, though, was to give some of the framework of things you might need to do if you were looking at starting an online business or simply starting a website for your business.

  • CashRebel says:

    Now that I’ve built my first blog, it’s really got me thinking about other online businesses that I could set up. Before I dove into blogging, I didn’t know how anything online worked, and now it is all starting to make sense. The transition to an online business doesn’t look so daunting. That being said, I don’t think I’d be able to make a living wage online, but you never know…

  • It’s incredibly important to network when it comes to starting an online business. Or, really, any business at all. You know what they say: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

  • I agree, networking is key, not only for your business but for you as a person as well. I have learned tremendous amounts of things while blogging and have encountered opportunities that would have never been revealed if it hadn’t been for networking.

  • No Waste says:

    Follow up question:

    When do people think it makes sense to set up an LLC for an online business?

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