Internet revolutionized trade and access to services. Now, when we need something, our first instinct is often to go on the web. You can find everything there: banks and insurance, food and travel, training of all kinds, even search services for your lost animal or the man / woman of your life. The idea therefore germinated in your head: why not you? After all, create a site or a blog is not that complicated: there are tons of tutorials on the web. In addition, the initial investment is lower than for a physical store, in some cases almost zero. Yes, but be careful! A very large number of sites and blogs receive very few visitors and remain lost in the limbo of the web… That doesn't mean you have to give up, no! Just that you have to design your project well. Follow me in this article to learn how to start an online business. The path is full of pitfalls but, well guided, you will reach the treasure cave: that of your financial independence and your development.
How to build an online business: the beginnings
Your skills and knowledge
First, let's talk about your expertise in the area you want to tap into. Do you understand your subject? If you are planning to take dog training training, do you really know your way around? If not, watch out! You risk offering poor quality services or products. Very quickly, be sure, your e-reputation will suffer. It will then be very difficult to correct the situation. There are a lot of dream sellers and scammers out there on the internet, don't become one!
The same goes for the web. Do you have some basic knowledge of the Internet, blogging, on the social networks ? The danger of starting out without the essential skills is real. If you don't know anything about natural reference or in Web marketing, you might make some mistakes. For example, spending a lot of money unnecessarily on Google Adsense ads, because you don't see other ways tobe visible on the internet. Or, to be invisible in the eyes of Internet users because you have devoted your budget to the design of your site without thinking at all of other capital parameters.
If you consider it necessary, consider training yourself, hiring competent people to support you in certain sectors that you do not master, or even having a coach or consultant accompany you.
They say time is money. What is certain is that many activities are time consuming when you are an entrepreneur, and theonline entrepreneurship is no exception. Enter here communication on social networks and the content writing, you are not going to see the time pass. Think about it to adapt your schedule and organize yourself within your family. Life is likely to change a lot at home!
How to start an online business at a lower cost? Create an online business without money is possible. However, this is only true in the context of certain activities (theaffiliation, blogging, thee-learning…). Moreover, you will still have to pay small amounts, for example for the hosting of the site.
On the other hand, this business can take some time to be profitable. It is possible that your site does not generate several hundred visitors per day for six to twelve months. You may not receive your first income for a year. It is essential to have this idea in mind before starting. Indeed, knowing this, you can decide to put money aside to calmly support the first days of your activity. Unless you choose to start your online business while working part time.
Do not be discouraged ! Many entrepreneurs have finally experienced the success on the web after having suffered one or two failures.
Business model and action plan: the basics of your digital business
You are still here ? Good ! So let's get to the heart of the matter a bit more. What if we now talk about your business model ?
The companies on the web must ask themselves the same questions as other companies for many aspects of their business. And these questions are these:
- what do you have to bring?
- whose ?
- how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Your customers and their needs
Who are my clients and what are their needs? Do not aim for a customer segment too big. By wanting to please everyone, we end up losing all personality and no longer pleasing anyone. The goal is to capture people who will be in tune with your offer and have a real interest in buying from you. Your product or service must meet their needs. Think about it carefully. Sometimes what you want to sell is not what people want. Rather than an ebook on the art of basketry seen in 2000 years of history, they will perhaps want a method to start with three strands of wicker?
Also look at the competition to assess the economic potential of your original idea. How to start an online business when the chosen niche is very competitive, for example? Don't be afraid: that means there is a big market! Conversely, a niche without competition can mean that there is no market ... or on the contrary that there is a market to be urgently satisfied.
Finally, while you may need to target the needs of your future customers, don't forget your personal desires. Don't start a business just because it's juicy and trendy!
Your corporate identity
Following this, you will define your corporate identity, your values, your advantage over others, anything that will match your marketing position. What do prospects think when they see your logo? This question may be associated with your Price policy. However, in an online business, it can also be smart to design a very wide range:
- a free product to attract the prospect;
- an entry-level product;
- a standard product;
- a product with subscription (of the “private club” or “academy” type);
- A premium product ;
- personalized coaching / consulting.
Other things to consider
Then you will tackle more technical questions:
- which channel will I use to reach my prospects?
- who will be my possible partners (suppliers, etc.)?
- what resources will I need?
- what will be my costs (fixed and variable)?
If you already know a little about entrepreneurial strategy, you will certainly have understood that we were finally talking about business plan. The business plan is not just the document that is presented to the banks so that they can grant you a loan. It is also a tool that helps you clarify your vision. When we start with very little financial expense, we tend to skip ahead, because the stakes seem lower to us. On the contrary, whatever your project, give yourself time to think about these questions and to formalize them in writing.
Once all this is done, you will need to mount your action plan. It is no different from that of a conventional business. I give you all the keys to a successful entrepreneurial strategy in this article.
How to start an online business: some ideas
You may already know exactly what your business is going to be… or not at all. I suggest you take a tour of what exists in terms ofonline business ideas, knowing that there are probably still many models to be invented.
Three possibilities when you want create an e-commerce :
- sell your own products;
- to resell with stock;
- dropshiping (resale without stock).
Live on dropshiping is possible and this system has the wind in its sails. You still need to manage communication to acquire traffic to your site. In addition, you have to be responsive and far-sighted because customers expect fast deliveries. It is often necessary to work with several suppliers. Also keep in mind that you will have less margin than if you managed the inventory yourself.
Warning ! No matter what type of e-commerce you choose, you have to contend with competition from the huge international online brands that sell anything and everything (we won't mention them!). It is better to specialize from the start. Address a targeted audience and bet on the authenticity of your approach, your expertise and your passion for the products you sell.
E-learning, distance learning, online formation, whatever it is called, the principle is on the rise. Create an online training is a very profitable business idea. You can adapt it to infinity, adapting it to your desires and your field of expertise: learning foreign languages or musical instruments, acquiring skills to change jobs (marketing, aromatherapy, secretarial work, etc.) , etc. : everything is possible.
In the most basic cases, all you need is a platform where you download the lessons for your students. In general, these are presented in the form of a program made up of modules (written, video, audio…). You can add personalized or collective coaching (exchanges by email or telephone, video-conferences, chat, forum, Facebook groups, etc.). It's a very profitable business on the Internet provided it is done with seriousness and responsibility. Your students are counting on you to learn!
The sale of services
How to start an online business when you are a freelance? Translators, web editors, SEO experts, web designers, graphic designers, Community Manager… You can really start your business from scratch : you just have to search ardently on the web to find your first customers and build your network. You can also create a showcase site that will present your activity. This business can be played solo or in a team, by creating an agency (for example communication).
Sites that offer personal services (childcare, gardening, etc.), online tools or connections (flagship example: Blablacar) are very successful. Selling subscriptions to this type of service is reassuring and allows you to have a relatively reliable forecast turnover (you generate recurring income). The margin is important in the context of online tool sales (for example, tools that allow tracking of traffic on websites).
Membership is a commission payment system. A blogger who recommends a product to her audience and links them to that product's sell page earns a commission every time someone purchases the product through that link.
You can use the affiliation:
- to sell your products through your network;
- to earn commissions yourself by offering the products of others to your audience.
It's a profitable online business money when you have a good target audience. Out of honesty, and also to preserve your e-reputation, you should only recommend products that you know and whose quality has been verified.
Living off Internet advertising alone is very difficult. Each time an Internet user clicks on an ad, the site that hosts the ad gets a few cents. It is therefore necessary to benefit from an enormous traffic to live from it, a traffic like only certain very large sites of information and press. Avoid betting on this one practice, unless you manage the Cosmopolitan blog!
Focus: How to create an automated online business? If your goal is to generate passive income, affiliation, online training (without coaching), dropshiping are effective. The turnover of the sale of services, on the other hand, will necessarily be limited to the time available to you. Either way, whatever your niche, you will always have some communication work to do to stay visible on the internet.
How to be visible on the Internet?
The royal road to visibility: the blog
Today, the blog is a communication tool and we see paid bloggers and bloggers through an offer combining training, tools and content, sometimes supported by affiliation and advertising. If this is not your business model, you may be wondering why start a business blog. What is a blog for finally?
- First there you brings traffic through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Each article on your blog gives you visibility on a specific topic. A one-page site (with only one page) is much more difficult to reference. The e-commerce and the showcase sites who do not offer regular content may also be lost in search results limbo.
- Then the blog is an excellent medium for generate content (editorial, video, audio). This content shows Internet users your added value and your expertise. In addition, thanks to this content, you create a less formal relationship with the prospect. The whole point is to offer authentic content, which really shows who you are.
- Thanks to the blog, you collect customer reviews and engage with them. Just activate the comments under each article. Knowing what prospects / customers think is priceless!
How to manage a blog?
A profitable blog, it can't be improvised anymore. To get visibility and traffic, you have to follow a few rules.
- Post regularly, neither too much (you will be scattered) nor too little (you will have no impact).
- Target your subjects well. Keep your business core in mind.
- Create qualitative content. If you aren't able to write articles or don't have the time, delegate this task. The content creation is very time consuming. In addition, your articles must be optimized for natural referencing (the SEO I told you about above).
How to create an online business through blogging? Here is a checklist of what to do for a successful blog :
- Define your target, the one you will talk about in your articles (obviously, it must correspond to the target identified during the creation of the business model). For example, are you going to familiarize with her or address her?
- Choose the keywords on which you want to position yourself. They are linked to the needs and desires of your target. Tools exist on the Internet to help you (Google Keyword…), but nothing can replace your brain: think about the words you would type on Google if you were in the place of your target.
- Create bonus content to offer to your prospects in exchange for their email address: white paper / ebook, exclusive video, free coaching ...
- Plan your articles over time and don't forget to develop internal mesh between your articles and your pages!
Develop an ecosystem on the Internet
Even when we create a paid blog, we rarely make a living just on that. We must develop what we call a ecosystem to benefit from the visibility that will generate traffic to your site.
- Be present on social networks to enjoy a viral effect. You need to link your site and blog to FB, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. and share all the articles. This will also allow you to get your first external links (from elsewhere to your site). These links are a criterion of quality for search engines when they come from sites that are at the same time reliable, reputable and relevant (that is to say dealing with the same topic as you).
- Develop partnerships (advertising, affiliation, reciprocal promotion…). Try to get help from influencers you value by interviewing them or writing collaborative white papers. Promote them in articles and let them know!
- Create a corporate YouTube channel. Some entrepreneurs who create a youtube channel manage to make money and to live on it. Of course, the requirements are the same here as for the blog: targeting the prospect, quality and added value, relevance and regularity.
- Run e-mailing campaigns. Do you remember the mailing list I told you about earlier? It's time to use it! Small clarification about the collection of email addresses : I told you, the bonuses are perfect for that. But what is even better is to invest the Internet user in his registration process for your newsletter. Present it as privileged access to valuable resources, much like a private club. The leads you get through this system are much more likely to buy. This approach requires that you offer newsletters of very high quality. Also, pay attention to the respect for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
How to create an online business to make a living? This very long article will have, I hope, answered this question. For more information, advice and encouragement as you embark on this great adventure, do not hesitate to contact me. contact !