Are you looking to start an online business and want to know how to move from online business ideas to a viable venture? Are you wondering how to set it up quickly?
Then this guide is for you!
(And when I say this is for you, I mean all of you, friends. Frankly, brainstorming online business ideas for women is no different from brainstorming business ideas for men; though the outcome may be different.)
The purpose of this post is to give you insight into how to think about setting up your online business, and the steps you need to take in order to begin living the self employment life!
You may be surprised to hear that most of the work comes down to the planning, brainstorming, and other pre business launch requirements – and that the technical side to getting an online business up and running is actually pretty quick.
With that said, I will walk you through seven important steps to starting your very own business on the internet.
Here are the 7 steps below!
1. Brainstorm potential online business ideas and select one
You likely already have generated ideas of the type of business you’d like to start! In fact you may know exactly what type of business you want to start and just need the nuts and bolts on how to get it launched!
If that’s the case, you can skip this step.
However, if you have a very vague idea of what you’d like to do online to make money or you just like the notion of starting an online business and don’t know what type of business you will start, this step will be crucial!
The most important thing you need to remember is this:
Pick a business idea you are passionate about.
In other words, choose something you are excited about and could talk about for hours and hours.
Because when the going gets tough (and it 100% will), you need to be able to stick with it. When you have a business you love and enjoy, and drives your passions, you will be more likely to grind through all the obstacles that slap you in the face.
There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning to work on something you absolutely love, believe in, and want to do. On top of living a purposeful life, you could be making a ton of money with your business too!
If you aren’t too sure what your passions are or how they can translate to a business, I recommend doing a Google search for “online business ideas” or something similar.
2. Test whether your online business idea is viable
Now that you have your business idea that you are super passionate about, let’s make sure it’s an idea that can make money online.
This step is quite easy to get through.
All you need to do is go online and find websites on your business idea.
Ask yourself the following:
- Are there websites on your business idea
- Is there clearly money exchanging hands?
If the answer is YES to the above, you have a viable business idea.
Here are a couple examples:
- You want to start a photography blog: Google will show you countless websites about photography. When you check them, you see there are photography courses being sold, photography gear recommendations, photography software, etc.
- You want to teach the keto diet online: Google shows you many keto diet websites selling supplements, books, coaching, etc.
Both the above examples clearly show “money exchanging hands”. This means people are buying things – which means it’s a monetizable topic and a viable business idea.
To give you an example of a “business idea” that won’t work, if you wanted to start a business about the history of purple elephants from space, it’s clear that people are not “spending money” around this topic – and therefore it’s a bad business idea.
How you’ll make money:
I just want to touch on this topic real quick because it’s super important.
When you look at what other online businesses are doing to make money, note HOW they are making money.
For example, are they selling courses? promoting affiliate products? Serving ads on their websites? A combination of many ways?
Understanding how others are “winning” in your chosen business idea will help you come up with a monetization strategy down the road.
3. Asses your competition and determine where you will “fit in”
Who you will be competing with will be very important!
You’ll need to determine who your competition is and where you see yourself fitting in within your online niche.
Many people make the mistake of assuming everyone in their niche is their competition. This is completely incorrect!
Your competition is really only the businesses who are similar to what you will be offering.
- If you start a fitness blog aimed at busy professionals who are high income earners, then your competition are other fitness blogs who target professional high income earners.
- Another example would be a keto diet website. There are general keto diet sites, keto diet sites aimed more specifically towards weight loss or overall health. If you are starting a keto diet site, you want to play close attention to those sites who are closest to what you will be about. It’s good to have an idea of what people are doing in your industry – but it’s far more important to know who your close competition is as those businesses will be who you’ll be primarily competing with.
Again, I want to really make it clear that your competition isn’t “everyone” that talks about what you talk about. Rather, your competition will be businesses who you share a close target customer audience.
How to assess your competition:
All you’ll need to do is search for the best websites in your specific niche. I would analyze the top 5-15 sites. You can find top performing businesses in your niche on social media like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Google searches for websites in your niche is also a great place to see who your competition is.
Once you’ve got a good idea of who these businesses are and what they offer, you want to figure out if you can be among them – better yet, in the top 10% of them all.
Hopefully you can say yes to the above. That’s where you ideally want to be in order to really compete in your niche. Sometimes you need to get started and see where things go because it may be hard to determine how much work and time things will take when you’re new.
If you feel your competition is too strong, it is likely wise to choose a different business idea to start online.
4. Choose a business model that works for your business idea
There are really only three general types of business models online:
- Blogs and niche websites
- eCommerce websites
- Massive authority websites (forbes.com, healthline.com, entrepreneur.com, etc)
These still must match the characteristics of the business models that have higher probability of success and profitability.
As a new online business owner, you’ll fall into 1 or 2.
You want to choose the right business model for your business.
Sometimes you may find it beneficial to combine both 1 and 2 together to increase your reach and influence in your niche.
- If you sell products, it’s clear you will be an eCommerce website
- If you sell information (like how to lose weight), you’ll be a blog, nice website, or perhaps eventually a small authority website)
The bottom line is: The type of service you’l be offering will determine what type of website you will need to create for your business!
5. Brainstorm a business name
Creating your business name is one of the most important step in the entire process of setting up your online business.
In my opinion, I feel a business name that describes your product/service/what you do/ is critical for a small business.
It generally takes a lot of money and branding to become a business with a generic name that everyone eventually learned to recognize
(For example, Nike, Google, Samsung, etc, are all brand names that are not “real” words, but we all know what they offer after years of them branding/advertising to us).
You’ll also want to check to make sure nobody is using your business name idea or using a name very closely associated with it. You can check this by performing a business name search in your State/Province.
6. Purchase your domain and hosting plan
Now that you have your business idea and the perfect business name, you’ll need to buy the “house and land” of your online property.
- The “house” is your URL or domain name
- The “land” is your hosting plan
You need both to create a live website!
There are many websites to buy both a domain name and URL. I’ve used Namecheap.com many times in the past and enjoy their service. Feel free to use whoever you like.
A domain name costs around $10 and hosting can be as cheap as $20-$30 for the first year.
I recommend buying “shared hosting” in the beginning. Shared hosting is the cheapest type of hosting you can buy. For a new website that will likely receive very little traffic to start, a shared hosting plan is likely ideal. You can upgrade to a faster hosting plan down the road when you receive enough traffic to justify it!
7. Set up your website
Depending on the type of business you are, you will want to set up your website differently.
If you are a blog or website that offers information, I recommend setting up your website with WordPress.
With WordPress, you get full control over your website. Free websites limit your ability to “do what you want”, especially in how you are allowed to monetize your website. And to be real honest, never use a “free website” for business needs.
Getting help setting up your website:
It’s likely you’re unfamiliar with how to set up a website. Youtube tutorials will explain how to set them up. However, if you’d rather speak to someone on how to set up your site, I recommend chatting to the support channel of your hosting provider. They can walk you through setting up your website.
After your website is set up, it can take a few hours for it to “propagate” – which basically means going “live”.
After it goes live, congratulations! You have transitioned from chasing vague online business ideas to having a (potentially) viable online business.
With that said, now is when the work kicks in to grow your business. You’re at ground zero and there’s nowhere to go but up from here!
You may want to consider investing in courses, coaching, and watching/reading a ton of content closely related to building a brand and business in your niche!
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Jason: a personal finance and travel writer who shares his experiences of both at his blog minthabits.com.