Starting an online business can be exciting, but at the same time overwhelming.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get seven experts to give you their best advice on how to start?
Well, keep reading because that’s what you’ll get below!
Starting an Online Business – Expert Advice
I recently asked some experts in my community to weigh in with their advice.
To get the wheels turning, I posed this question:
“What advice would you give to someone starting an online business?”
The experts below responded back with some great advice and I’m excited to share it with you!
So, get your notebooks out and get ready to rule the world!
Here’s their advice…
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Research
– Jennifer Reed from The Learning Chick
Don’t overlook the importance of research. When you’ve found an idea for an online business, take the time to research it thoroughly from every angle.
Look into details like demand for your content or product, start up and ongoing operating costs, competition within your field, and how to best market your business.
This will give you a foundational understanding about the viability of your business idea, and its potential for growth and success.
Just Get Started
– Jon Brosio from TribeLoyal
Just get started. There has never been a better time to start an online business.
You are going to have people that doubt you, you are going to have people telling you how you should do it, you are going to have obstacles come up.
Some days you are going to be ahead and some days you’ll feel like you’re behind.
But what’s the alternative?
To constantly think about the ‘what if’ of starting one anyways – so you might as well roll up your sleeves now and begin.
Produce Regular Blog Content
– Paul Franklin from SideGains
I’m biased towards saying make sure you start a blog at the same time you start your online business.
Producing content for a blog on a regular basis simply offers too many benefits to ignore.
A blog presents you with myriad opportunities to demonstrate your expertise and show current and potential customers how well you understand your market.
Furthermore a blog can help to develop closer relationships with customers by showing your personality: there are real people behind your business and publishing blog posts regularly reinforces this.
You’ll likely need to use social media when starting up. Social media content can be a big overhead when you’re starting out, but a blog can help with some of the heavy lifting here.
Important aspects from the posts you’ve published can be repurposed to provide material to share in LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook… and you can add links from these channels back to the blog post it came from.
People may visit your site from these links.
Since you’re starting an online business, you’ll need to drive visitors to your site. Publishing blog posts regularly is a way to help make this happen.
The more blog posts you have on your site, the more opportunity there is that someone searching for something related to your business will find you in a search result and decide to pay you a visit.
Over time, regularly blogging substantially increases the chances that people will link to your domain, which will give you a further boost in search results.
Accept Help and Build Your List
– Angie Makljenovic from She Can Blog
Starting an online business has been the best career choice I have made so far. Although, I would like to add that it has also been the hardest career move I’ve made so far.
Building an online business involves a lot of trial and error. Which causes it to be nerve-racking at times.
Had I known the things I know today, I could’ve saved myself time, lots of stress, money, and energy.
But well, I must admit that being stubborn and not willing to accept help from other people hasn’t helped me either. ?
That’s why the first piece of advice I want to give you is to accept help from others.
Be open to help and advise, even – or especially – if you’re introverted like me, and prefer to do everything on your own.
Help and support from family and friends can make your entrepreneurial life a lot easier. Plus, in the world of digipreneurs, people are always willing to help each other grow.
So, be sure to take that to your advantage.
The second golden piece of advice I want to share with you is to start building a mailing list right away.
Many entrepreneurs underestimate the power of a mailing list. Which is a tremendous waste, because you’re missing out on opportunities.
Bear in mind, visitors who bother to subscribe to your mailing list, do so because they’re genuinely interested in your brand or product.
On top of that, you have the privilege to send mail directly to their personal inbox. You’re delivering it to their doorstep! And that means they’ll see your mail for sure.
On social media and in the search engines, you have to rank high to be seen.
Devote a little time on creating your own mailing list, and you’ll thank yourself forever.
Don’t Start Without a Parachute
– Alessandro DiRuscio from AlessandroDiRuscio.com
I always advise playing safe if you’re starting an online business.
Most of the people who want to embark on a new online project tend to quit their job in order to invest all their time and savings in it.
I’ve been there, and I understand these people. When you start an online business, you’re excited and full of expectations.
I don’t want to discourage you, but I’ve seen too many new businesses fail, cause they started without a parachute.
If you want to start an online business, avoid all the risks possible.
If you have a job, keep it, and work on your online business in the spare time. Your job will help you with the expenses you’ll have in your side project.
At the same time, follow your competitors’ steps. Don’t reinvent the wheel and take a look instead at what others do.
You’re not an innovator. What you’re going to do is probably already out there, so learn from who already walked the walk.
If your competitors get profit from online courses, there’s a reason.
If they instead offer private calls, it’s because it works for them.
If they use YouTube, or a podcast, or Instagram, it’s because it works for that specific niche.
Pick ideas from your competitors and avoid errors they’ve already faced.
I know you want to be original, but for the beginning, it’s better to have small victories before you can go your own path.
First Ask Yourself the Important Questions
– Lisa Sicard from Inspire to Thrive
For those of you that are looking to start an online business today, there has never been a better time.
First, you must do a lot of research.
- What can you sell?
- What do you like to write about and what interests you?
Those are the most important questions to ask yourself.
You must love what you will sell – you will need to write about it often, video about it, know it like the back of your hand to help others.
The product must offer a solution to people’s problems (and) you must know what the problems are, to be able to offer a solution.
That all takes research.
Once you have that, you can move on to picking a website.
Would you be able to handle WordPress or do you go with something a little more simpler like Shopify that is a ready to go type of platform with a lot of help and bells and whistles?
Do you have someone to help you with the technical stuff? That is what took me the most time when I started online years ago. I have someone now I hire out to save me time on that stuff.
Next, once you have a website with a great domain name you are ready to write.
Yes, content writing is imperative for a website. Your website needs to be found and you can’t just set it and forget it.
Too many small online businesses never update their websites!
Google likes fresh content (so) you should always be refreshing and updating your website. Save a few hours a week for that task.
Next, you will need to know your inventory, whether you ship out products or use drop shipping.
Knowing your inventory is important so when you receive orders you know they can be fulfilled. Not being able to fulfill orders is a major turn off for customers. (I once had a dropshipping business and this was the end to it, not being able to fulfill dropshipping orders – always stuck in customs, (shipping) etc.)
Lastly, you may need to outsource some of your tasks for your online business. That is the way you can grow it and maybe start another one to increase your revenues.
Then, don’t forget to save a budget for marketing! Online competition is high today and you’ll need some money set aside to market the business and products.
Figure Out Who Your Ideal Customer Is
– Jon Rogers from Online Business Ambitions
I thought I’d add in my two cents as well and share some advice that I think is important when starting an online business.
And that is, to take the time to truly figure out who your ideal customer is.
Some people call this your “customer avatar” or your “dream customer.”
Your ideal customer is the person who is most likely to purchase your product and resonate with your message.
You want to be able to deeply understand their demographics, their pain points and what motivates them to make decisions.
That way you can tailor your messaging and your products perfectly for that one, ideal person.
So to do this, start by asking some basic questions like:
- Are they male or female?
- What season of life are they in?
- What is it they seek?
- What problems do they have that you can help them with?
Use this as your starting point, then go where those people spend time and listen to what they’re saying.
Those places could include Facebook groups, blogs where they comment, or even forums centered around their needs.
While you’re in those places, chime in and answer questions without selling. That will help get people curious about you.
Then tailor your products and messaging to solve the problems you’re hearing about back on your own platforms, i.e. your website, videos, emails and sales pages.
I hope you got value from this expert roundup!
I know I did. It caused me to think about what I’m doing with my own online business.
So, whose advice resonated most with you?
To Jennifer, Jon, Paul, Angie, Alessandro and Lisa:
Thank you so much for taking the time to contribute to this post!
Your thoughtful responses are appreciated and I’m sure your efforts will help to empower those who read this post!
And to you, reading this blog post, you’ve got some great advice here to work with. Use it!