An online business on your own account is relatively easy to start and does not require a very large financial investment. You could even start with 0 dollars if you want, but ideally it would be a small initial investment. We immediately discuss what this small investment would entail.
In this article I tell you about:
– what types of online businesses are there
– what you need to create an online business
What types of online businesses are there?
There are many businesses online that you can start solo. Let’s take them one at a time:
1. E-commerce business
You can start a business in the e-commerce industry to sell either products or services.
If we talk about products, they can be your products (eg: hand-made jewelry) or the products of others that you market (eg: you look for a manufacturer to offer you a product and you sell it on through your own methods and earn money from the additional margin you put).
2. Provision of Online Services
If we talk about services here, there can be quite a wide variety:
- learning sessions (ex: you know English well and sell English lessons)
- video editing services
- content creation services
- online marketing services
- graphic design services
- coaching services
- and so on
3. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing refers to the fact that you have to build an audience (eg: become an influencer in a field) and then promote the products or services of others and receive a commission from sales.
You can choose to create a YouTube channel, a blog, a large list of newsletter subscribers or attract a large following on social media.
It’s a small step between influencers and affiliate marketers. It is very easy for an influencer to do this because they already have an established audience and all they have to do is promote a product/service.
The idea is that an influencer can also earn money from collaborations with brands and get paid per views or in different ways, not necessarily only if what they promote also generates a sale.
4. Online Marketplace
Another type of online business can be a marketplace. In short what you have to do is choose a niche (or be a generalist like Amazon Marketplace) and attract sellers and buyers to your platform.
They will use your platform as an intermediary for the sale of products and services and you can earn either from advertisements or commission from sales or from subscriptions for different packages (eg if you want the ad to be more visible on that platform, you pay).
5. SaaS (Software as a Service)
This type of business involves creating a program/platform that provides a solution for market needs. Having such a platform allows you to earn money from monthly subscriptions that users pay to use your platform.
Such SaaS platforms are email marketing platforms, CRM (customer relationship management) platforms, online editing platforms, online posting scheduling platforms, project management or task management platforms and others.
6. Online Learning Platforms
This type of business involves either offering materials or online courses for a fee or gathering several experts from different fields (or the same field) who create courses and content for your platform and you receive a commission from their earnings.
7. Virtual Events or Webinar platforms
You can organize online events where you bring together speakers from one or more fields and people pay money for virtual tickets to then get access to these LIVE or recorded events.
Likewise, you can create a webinar platform where you offer everything you need to create a webinar, and people interested in creating their webinars will buy a subscription to your platform.
8. Online games or applications
Another type of business is to create games or mobile apps that people pay subscriptions to or just pay once to install the app.
The application does not necessarily have to be very complex. For example, I paid several applications with 10 – 50 dollars to have access to them.
The dropshipping business is very similar to having an online store, the only difference is that you no longer have to deal with the storage and transportation of goods.
All you have to do is to promote on different platforms (eg: TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) the products you put in your online store. Except that those products are not yours but belong to the manufacturer. When you collect the money from the buyer, the order will automatically go to the manufacturer, and he will take care of sending the order to the destination, without you ever having touched that product.
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What do you need to start an online business?
To start an online business you need several things:
Knowledge and Experience
To start an online business you need knowledge and some experience in the field you want to start. Of course, no one stops you from starting with 0 experience or 0 knowledge, especially if it does not involve a financial investment. In this case, everything you do will add value to your life: on the one hand, you gain experience, on the other hand, you gain knowledge. In this case, the business through which you provide services is best suited. You can start from the simplest things and along the way you will advance.
If it comes to a financial investment (eg: developing a platform), it would be recommended to have at least the knowledge. You can only acquire knowledge through research and learning. You can find millions of materials on Google or YouTube. Read books, ask people who are already doing it, and gather as much knowledge as you can before you hit the road. Otherwise, you risk losing money, because the business world is not as easy as it seems.
If you want to start an online business, you need time.
While? Only you will find out. But in no case are we talking about 2-3 hours a day. A business to be successful means that you have to dedicate yourself and put in the work.
In the beginning, you may not want to devote all your time to your business because you are not convinced that it will work, and you may not even be able to afford to leave your job aside, being your main source of income.
Before I started the agency, I worked part-time as a marketing employee, 5 hours a day from Monday to Friday. All the time I spent after those 5 hours (which were mostly in the morning) I devoted to accumulating knowledge and preparing for entrepreneurship (taking classes, reading, watching videos, creating my own procedures, etc.). In the meantime, I started freelancing in parallel and took on some temporary projects that I was working on in my “free” time.
I started my own business (marketing agency) on my own, only when I was financially ready.
What did that mean?
Even though the agency itself cost me almost nothing: I only had to pay for the WebHost, the domain, some company taxes, and accounting if I had an activity), I saved enough money to be able to survive 6 months without income. I mean, if in the worst case, I didn’t manage to earn any money, I could live quietly for a while even without a job.
If you need money to start your online business, you can use your own savings, or borrow from family or the bank. I chose the first option because if I were to fail, I could have assumed the mistake and the costs without causing problems to those close to me and without going into debt to the bank. But that was in my case. You can choose the right option for you.
Everyone has ideas. Some really brilliant. They are useless and have zero value if they are not implemented. You can’t sell ideas. There is no point. What you can do is take that idea you have and test it.
Ideas must be validated. How is it validated? By request. If you find people who want what you have to offer and are willing to pay and actually pay for it, congratulations! You have a good idea (preferably at least 100 people and you don’t know them).
On another note, sometimes it’s best not to try to reinvent the wheel and apply something that works. In short, to copy an already working business model. Even if you copy a lot from someone, make sure you have something that sets you apart and makes you stand out. In any case, you will end up adapting things to your own principles, values and decisions and you will see that it will not be so “copied” anymore.
The important thing is to act and adapt to the demand, respectively the market. Otherwise, you will end up with a business created just for you and you will go bankrupt.
A business plan
The business plan can be optional, but from my own experience, I suggest you create one right from the start even if you are alone in your own business and I will tell you why.
I didn’t start with a business plan. I had the idea in my mind and I just started acting. I knew what expenses I would have monthly, what I had to do and so on. The point is that over time, the business started to evolve. I took on several projects and with them, I also brought different collaborators, partners and people directly involved in the industry.
And I had to explain different procedures to everyone in turn, restart each discussion from scratch and make them understand my plans and vision. And it’s very hard if you have nothing to show them visually. I had that visual in my mind and it was hard for me to explain and make them understand certain things.
That’s why it’s good to have a business plan. It clarifies you in the first place (since you include goals and other important things) but also those who appear along the way.
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It’s important to have tools to work with. In my case, these tools mean a good and fast laptop, very good internet speed, my own website, social media pages, editing tools and more.
Being an online business you don’t need a lot of things, but even so I chose to make considerable investments in this equipment to make my work very easy.
The procedures and way of working are optimized along the way, but it’s good to automate everything you can and create templates for anything that can be used twice or more. Example:
– social media post templates
– website templates
Marketing and Promotion
Among the most essential pieces of the entire online business puzzle are marketing and promotion. But since we are talking about your own online business, to be able to promote and market yourself, you should have a brand.
This brand provides your visual identity and the communication you are going to transmit in the market:
– color palette
– tone of voice
– communication style
These branding elements should be found on all your social media accounts as well as your own website. Yes, if we are still talking about online business, I recommend that you also create a website. It is not very expensive to maintain.
The best thing I recommend is to make your own website because this way you will have a lot to gain in the future (trust me). And at the end of it all, you will see that it comes out much cheaper than if you paid any expert to do it for you.
Because a website never stays the same as the first time you made it. So far I have had about 5 versions of the website at Vincit and a few others at this personal website and I am always modifying, adapting, creating new pages and so on. If I had to pay someone every time I had to make a change, I’d probably be over 10,000 euros now with just these changes.
Okay, but back to marketing… that’s my main area. I’m not going to sit here and explain everything marketing is and what you need to do because I’ve already created a free online marketing guide that you can download here. There you will find everything you need to know about online marketing for beginners and it will help you a lot.
To have an online business you must also comply with laws and taxation. That’s why I recommend you open a company when you feel ready. You need to find out what the costs are and what it entails to have a company.
To have a business, you need to know a little bit about each field because it’s good to be prepared and not risk getting fined or having who knows what problems.
Even if we are talking about how to start an online business alone, having colleagues or being part of a team is always a good idea. You don’t necessarily have to do business with your colleagues, but it’s good to have someone with whom you can exchange words, ask questions and laugh at a joke.
Entrepreneurship is hard enough in the beginning when it’s just you. And you can very easily become demotivated or lack energy if you have no one by your side. Your friends might not be the ideal option because if they don’t have a business they won’t know what you’re going through and it will be hard for you not to talk about business with them (it becomes an obsession at some point).
It’s good to have friends and acquaintances in any field, and it’s good for people to know what you do so they can turn to you, even if we’re talking about friends and acquaintances.
There are certainly more elements that I have not listed, but essentially I would like to refer to the following conclusion:
It’s good that you are documenting yourself and that you have these intentions. It is very important to analyze yourself and see what your strengths are, weaknesses, opportunities you have, and threats are (in short a SWOT Analysis of yourself). If you are making a business plan, you will also have to do this SWOT analysis + other analyzes and you will have more clarity on your business.
Good. Now the point is that you need: Desire, Courage, Action, Consistency, Discipline, Adaptation, Strategy, Clarity, Your Own System + know how to manage your money and time properly.
Without the above, you can start any business, but it will be very difficult to continue it.
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