The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
11. Don’t underestimate the importance of branding. “Branding is the most important thing when building an identity for your company,” says Michael Di Pippo, founder of Penfishingrods.com. “The objectives that a good brand will achieve include delivering the message clearly, confirming your credibility, connecting your target prospects emotionally, motivating the buyer, and [securing] user loyalty.”
Google AdSense. These pay-per-click ads appear on your blog. Every time somebody clicks on an ad (which is supposed to be about a subject related to your niche), you make a few cents. Small amounts each time, but it adds up. This is extremely hands-off. You just need to get a code from Google, place it on your website - and the ads will automatically appear on your blog. Google will only show ads that are relevant to your blog so it's a good experience for your visitors and maximizes the amount of clicks you get, meaning more income.
If you have employees who work remotely, know that your official company address matters for tax purposes. For example, small business expert Gene Marks has a home-based business with 10 employees who all work remotely. He uses a post office box as the official address of the business, so employees get reimbursed for the miles they drive beyond the official address to get to a meeting.
Double, extra YES to #5 and #6. I think I’d also add jumping in too quickly without a plan.Not a business plan, but a MONEY plan. I see SO many people quit their jobs and start businesses with NO backup funds, and then freak out when they are broke. Have a backup fund OR be totally ok with living out of a van when you get started (I literally did this to save money when I started my business). Plus, living in a van is just super fun anyway, so you can pretend you’re doing it because you want to and not just because you’re broke! :)
What a timely post, Corbett, especially since I’m on day 3 of the creation process of my 30 Day Online Business Success training. I remember talking to you last year, in a desperate email, asking you HOW I could possibly hit the next level of success online. I just couldn’t see it. You, of course, probably thought I was crazy for NOT noticing the millions of opportunities out there to teach, to offer needed services, products, and more.
To be a consultant, you need to have an expertise in something so you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area. Perhaps you managed several large warehouses in your career with a drugstore company, you did all the marketing for many years for a large shoe manufacturer or you set up a chain of beauty supply shops or take-out restaurants. You can use this experience to help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way.
I realised I wasn’t going to have time to approach every online directory to get my company listed, so now I also use Yell’s Connect product, which is separate from the advert that I’ve put up and costs £25 a month. They create directory listings for your company in all of the directories they have access to, and every day their computer system checks it to make sure that nothing’s changed; Google favours companies who have no discrepancy between their listings online. Now I’m listed at number two for the Yell search ‘Vets in Finchley’.
Here’s an instant going-out-of-business plan, no matter how hard you work: Charge your customers less than you’re worth. Why would you do that? Well, some people charge less than they’re worth because they don’t realize exactly how much they are worth. Others charge less than they’re worth because they are embarrassed or afraid to ask for an amount that reflects their true worth. Whatever the reason, if you don’t get paid what you’re worth, you are putting your business at risk.
If you have the next Harry Potter manuscript sitting in your drawer and the publishing industry hasn’t been kind to you, try self-publishing. Using tools like Amazon’s direct publishing or working with dedicated consultants like I_Am, you not only get the satisfaction of pushing your work out there but also retain 100% of your royalties! Don’t think you can write a good novel? Then stick to what you know – self-help is a money-making genre!
If you are proficient in both Macintosh and PC, you should offer training in both types of computers. You could probably make a living helping seniors learn how to use the internet and e-mail to keep in touch with their loved ones, who are now commonly spread around the country. Err on the side of caution in this business. People do not want to know all the details about what makes a computer work. If you overload them with information from the beginning by explaining bits, bytes, and megapixels, they will stick to their paper and pencil forever.
Nothing beats teaching more novice learners about your passion, hobby, or craft as a business idea (that's a common theme here). Explore dozens of DIY portals (such as DIY.org, DIY Network, Instructables and Mahalo) to get business ideas on how to earn a healthy side income just by showing others how to do the things you love. You can also sift through the countless ad-supported YouTube channels that teach just about anything from guitar strumming to 3D printing.