There’s a question I’ve been asking myself recently:
Can I become one of those who earns money online, not just pays for things?
And how to make money fast if I don’t have any experience in any business whatsoever?
That’s two questions, actually. I hope that by the end of this article you and I will be able to answer them both.
I’ve made a video playlist of successful online entrepreneurs teaching us how an ordinary guy or girl can start making money online and not go broke in the first year.
They say it’s possible, let’s check out:
Teaching a STUDENT How to Start a Business with $100!
How To Create An Online Business That Makes Money 24/7
After you’ve come up with a list of products or ideas, test each of them with Google keyword planner. You need to know how many people in the world are actually searching for these things online and which word combinations they are using.
There will be no easy answers or everyone would have been successful businessmen by now. Get creative and give yourself a chance!
Many aspiring entrepreneurs get caught in the conflict between their personal values and other people’s needs. You cannot simply follow your passion and expect that others will support you with dollars. We will discuss how you get to know the real pains and needs of your target audience in the next paragraphs.
On the other hand, if you choose to do something that makes you bored and miserable, your motivation will fade out too early. Many successful businessmen confess that they would have quit long before the first results if they weren’t having fun working on their startups. How to strike balance between your personal aspirations and reality? I believe that this the main challenge for every aspiring entrepreneur. What do you think?
Some people never launch their businesses, afraid that no one will buy their product. They wait too long and waste money adding a bunch of unnecessary features. To become a success, your product, service, or blog, should address one major customer pain point but do it beautifully.
Speaking of bloggers, many newbies are so busy creating pillar content and gathering their audience that they forget about monetization and never offer any products to their readers. Remember, you don’t need a blog for a blog’s sake, you need a business.
Also, make sure your niche is not too broad. If you don’t have an enormous startup budget, you will need to focus on solving one particular problem but doing it better than others. For example, if you choose to go into drop shipping, don’t try to become the next Amazon and sell everything from socks to TV sets. You won’t be able to compete with such giants.
It is a bad sign if you cannot find successful products that are similar to yours in the niche of your choice. You won’t have any competitors, but what if the market is dead because you are solving the problem no one cares about? It’s best to choose a niche where there are several other players with differentiated products, so you can compete and bring something new to the table.
You are creating an online business, so make sure your niche allows for buying or selling online or doing affiliate marketing, or generating much traffic and earning from ads, etc.
People say that starting an online business always requires profound computer skills and deep knowledge of marketing. Real-life stories prove that there are exceptions to this rule.
Pete Cashmore is 32 now, but his online empire was born when he was 19 in his parents’ apartment. Pete started mashable.com mashable.com for fun, he wanted to blog about entertainment, web tools, and social networks.With time, Mashable made him one of the wealthiest scots in the world. Pete was even included into the list of most influential people according to Time magazine in 2012. Despite having its ups and downs, this year, Mashable was sold for £37 million. In its golden days, the platform had 45 million unique monthly visitors and 27 million social media followers. Not bad for a media startup started by a college boy from a small town?
Here’s one more example of a multimillion online business started from nothing except talent and dedication:
Dan Middleton (DanTDM), the richest youtuber of 2017, created his channel as a teenager while working in Tesco. He started uploading Minecraft videos and has since had a sold-out global tour. In 2017, Dan’s online business has earned him £12.3m. This success is not accidental because the blogger has already uploaded 2,800 videos which he created himself. 16 million Z-generation subscribers adore him for his humor, storytelling talent and, of course, beautiful british accent.
Meanwhile, let’s have a look at another real-life online startup. This one didn’t end up a sale to Microsoft or Google, unfortunately it failed.
Chengeer Lee created labit.io to help researchers create websites for their laboratories. It never worked out. In his blog on Medium, Chengeer Lee explores the main reasons behind this failure: choosing the wrong cofounder, putting to little emphasis on innovation and uniqueness, ignoring the inertia of the target audience, not validating the idea properly, launching too late, etc.
Looking back, Chengeer Lee concludes that a successful online business should start with a Minimal Viable Product. This is a product that is just enough to prove the concept and satisfy the targeted customer’s need. Nothing more.
Do you agree? Check out his full story in the article What I learned from my failed startup and share your thoughts in the comments to this article.
How do you think, makes a good startup or successful internet business? Is minimal viable product enough or should we strive for perfection? Tell us in the comments!
Meanwhile, let’s compare the following stories in terms of the viability of their business ideas.
“A how-to guide for everything”, Wikihow, tops the list of the private websites that earn most from Adsense. The website brings Jack Herricks $2 million per month from ads. Wikihow’s content is published in 17 languages and placed under a Creative Commons license. While the company has less than 25 employees, 15 m unique visitors read its content every month.How’s that for a viable idea, what do you think?
And the next one...
In 2013, Pardeep Goyal left his corporate job launched an educational software startup together with his brother-in-law. He confesses that they expected they could “build any product for schools and make big profits”. They invested personal money, rented an office, got a team n board, and developed a product. Unfortunately, no one wanted to purchase their ERP software even though the product had all the necessary features and the price was competitive.
Looking back, Pardeep Goyal admits that they have created a product based on assumption, didn’t address customer pain points while selling the product, made too many unnecessary expenses, and postponed tough decisions. Read the full article How We Lost Rs 15,00,000 in My First Startup.
It would be unwise to compare most successful businesses with failed startups without mentioning the survival bias.
We all have heard the sad statistic that 9 out of 10 startups don’t work out. By the way, this number doesn’t include those businesses that didn’t fail because they weren’t even launched. And when we read the stories of the winners and try to follow their recommendations, we may forget that their tips will not necessarily work for everybody.
So, if you want to read more stories about startups that didn’t survive and learn from their mistakes, here’s a wonderful resource for you.
Watch what they watch, read what they read, participate in communities and online conversations, listen. This tip is especially relevant to future bloggers because the content of your blog should be speaking the language of your audience. And you need to learn it first.
Keywords illustrate what people want better than anything else.
Ask what they think about your business idea. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions and pay attention to the answers you get.
By prototypes I mean sample ads, or pieces of content and show them to people who belong to your target audience.
Ask for feedback before spending any money. At this stage, you should be adjusting your business idea to reality.
The more information you get, the better.
You may have heard already that many marketers and businessmen failed because they had created products for themselves, not for clients. Thinking like your customers doesn’t come in a day, you need to spend time taking in their values and attitudes. By doing so, you’ll be able not only to create an amazing product, but find the smartest ways to promote and market your business.
Use Facebook group search to find communities relevant to your niche and join them, apply advanced search tool advanced search tool on Twitter, and follow anyone who looks like your potential client (don’t forget to set the right geographic parameters and demographics). If you’re into B2B, don’t forget about Linkedin.
Some businesses need to set more than one target audience because different groups of customers will have different goals with regard to their product. If this is the case, you can focus your marketing on the biggest and most promising group of customers. Or else, you can try to find where these groups intersect and try to produce one-size-fits-all solutions. The second approach seems better to me. What do you think?
When you’re done researching your audience, here are the most harmful assumptions you need to prove wrong:
Google your main keywords and keyword combinations once again and see what pops up. Also, look at the ads and click through them.
There are three levels of competition in any niche - direct, indirect, and substitute.
You’ve learned a lot about your target audience and their needs in the previous section, so now it’s time to use that knowledge. Look at the competition in your niche and try to identify weak spots and opportunity gaps in what they are doing.
Here you need to get a general idea of how your competitors market themselves. To do that, you will analyze their websites.
Read what they post and what responses they get. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to their blog! Read what you can find about them, including customer reviews and gossips.
What are they talking about with their audiences? How do they do it?
You can use these ideas to create your content. Learn from the way they are responding to comments and creating discussion around their products.
Successful online businesses use different channels to promote their brand, but use strategies that integrate their activities on separate platforms together. Content marketing and social media marketing go hand-in-hand to attract users into clicking through to a business’ official website. In between image and video shares, social media posts can be used to regularly promote links to a business’ content marketing efforts, such as blogs, ebooks, and whitepapers.
Schedule set times and days per week to promote your content and examine your impressions and engagement rates per month to see if you need to tweak your plans. Remember: testing multiple options is key to finding the right time and place for your brand’s posts. As one of key strategies to build your brand online, this works for businesses in all kinds of industries.
Tips for content cross-promotion on social media:
Successful businesses respect their competition. It means that there’s always much you can learn from other market players - both how to do things and how not to do things.
However, please don’t copy or plagiarize anything. You may apply some of their ideas and strategies to your unique goals and brand values. If you do everything just like everybody else, there’s no way you can beat them.
You can use an updated SWOS model in your analysis. It consists of the following points:
If you need a website for starting an online business of any type, there are basic characteristics it should have:
|Custom Website||CMS Template|
|Conclusion||Smaller online businesses simply do not need all the advantages that custom websites provide. Using a good template is the best option for those starting a new business.|
|Open source platforms based on PHP and MySQL operating under GPL. All three have big communities of developers and a great number of themes on sale.|
|Time||Installation up to 5 minutes|
The full launch takes 36 hours on average
Many thousands of paid themes by various providers.
Many hundreds of themes available for sale.
Many themes and plugins available but lower plugin compatibility
As you probably see from the comparison, creating a site with a WordPress theme will is the best option for a newly-launched online business.
There are some general rules to choosing names for businesses and websites (of course, you can get creative and break any of them):
In order to choose the most appropriate template for your online business website, pay attention to the following elements:
|Website Builder||Web Designer|
|Advantages||There are things that a website builder cannot do but a web designer can:|
These are mostly SEO-related issues that require attention from an experienced web designer.
|Most often used by||Startupers, hobbyists, bloggers, non-profits, entrepreneurs||Established highly profitable businesses and entrepreneurs, businesses in very competitive niches, e-commerce businesses|
Now that you know what you want to start doing, let’s get even more practical.
In this section, I’m exploring the most popular types of online business and how to start them.
Drop shippers act as retailers for goods they buy from suppliers. They buy these products immediately upon receiving an order from a customer.
So, as a drop shipper, you will be selling and marketing products under your brand name and handle all customer relations. A supplier will produce and ship goods on your behalf to customers. Suppliers handly the risks of not selling what they have produced. You, as a dropshipper, will risk your reputation and handle complaints if the goods are of low quality.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of drop-shipping for someone who starts a new business.
|Low costs - you will not produce anything, so this business doesn’t require significant investments.||Limited control over quality - you will do your best to select a reliable supplier, but you will have no control over what they will be shipping to your clients. If something goes wrong, you will be responsible.|
|No inventory - you don’t have to keep products in stock and pay for storage.||Harder to compete in terms of price - you will not be able to buy from your suppliers in bulk, so your price won’t be as competitive as it could have been.|
|Lower risks - you don’t buy anything until you receive an order from a customer. In fact, this process can be fully automated and risk-proof.||Backordering - there may be times when the products you get orders for will be out of stock with the supplier. You cannot control this.|
|No shipping - you will not have to take care of any logistics.||High competition - this type of business is relatively easy, with low entry barriers, so the competition will be high.|
STEP 2. Register your business
STEP 3. Choose a platform after comparing the most popular ones. TemplateMonster Affiliate Program 2.0: Meet New Terms & Join Us!
STEP 4. Do your marketing:
With affiliate marketing you may be choosing between four main commision types:
Let’s do a PRO/CONS analysis of Affiliate marketing
|Low entry barriers - no special marketing or technical knowledge required||You don’t set the rules of the program|
|If you already have a website or blog, you will join an affiliate marketing program for free||At first, your income may be low|
|Low risks, you are only responsible for marketing||Competition is massive|
|Once everything is put in place, the income you get is mostly passive||There’s a risk of fraud when links get stolen|
STEP 1. Choose a niche and start a website and create landing pages.
To join an affiliate program, you need a website filled with content that is relevant to your niche and establishes you as an influencer. Move to the Section 4 to find out how to create a website.
STEP 2. Research and choose an affiliate program.
There are dozens of platforms that provide affiliate opportunities. The classic examples are:
STEP 3. Create awesome content and add affiliate links into it.
Traditional types of content for affiliate marketing include:
Every post should include:
Make sure you also follow the main principles of good content:
STEP 4. Place banner ads on the sidebars of your website but don’t overdo them.
Too many ads with too little content on your website will lead to lowering your Google search rank.
You will easily get all you need to create powerful visual ads from your affiliate program provider
STEP 5. Advertise on social media
Full-time blogging has become a popular career option for people who enjoy writing and communicating on social media. By running a blog you can generate traffic and create a community. As a blogger, you will start earning money from running ads, affiliate marketing, or selling something directly to your readers.
|Easy to start||You will have to post consistently and keep your WordPress blog theme updated|
|A good way of expressing yourself||There may be technical issues with the website|
|You can build a community around your blog and get to know other authors||Gathering a big enough audience and earning from the blog takes time and effort|
|A blog is an excellent platform for monetization and earning passive income||People can give you negative feedback or even try to assault your reputation online|
STEP 1. Choose a niche and move on to creating a website
STEP 2. Create awesome content content
Use a simple 5-step process to create very successful blog posts very successful blog posts:
Use these resources to add flavour to your content:
STEP 4. Create lead magnets and promote them.
Make sure your lead magnet contains the following key elements:
Most popular types of lead magnets are:
STEP 6. Sell your products or services through the blog:
STEP 8. Promote your blog on Google and social media using a powerful set of tactics.
Most web owners want to start earning money for placing ads on their sites:
|It’s an easy way to get a passive income if you already have a popular website or channel||Your account can be closed any moment if Google doesn't like what you post|
|Ads are customizable, you can experiment with their placement and get a little creative||Too many ads will make your website look cheap, and your readers may leave|
|You can earn from ads on different websites||Ironically, you will get paid for people leaving your website when they click on ads|
|You will use powerful statistics tools and keep track of your visitors and profits||If you don’t have much traffic, you will not earn much|
If you already have a website or you publish popular videos on youtube, you can earn a few bucks for displaying contextual ads.
STEP 1. Create a blog or a website, run it for at least 3 months to gain some traffic, fill it with good text-rich content.
STEP 2. Create an AdSense account, fill in an application and get approved.
STEP 3. Choose the ad size and type:
STEP 4. Follow the guidelines and respond to emails and complains from Google (if any).
STEP 5. Post consistently and make sure your content drives targeted traffic.
STEP 6. Use smart SEO, paid ads, and organic methods to promote your website
STEP 7. Test all your ad types and placements to get better results.
How to Create a Website and Make Money in 2018
Best Optimized Google AdSense Themes for WordPress
How To Maximize Your Adsense Earnings With Smart Optimization
3 Types of Sites That Have Quality AdSense Revenue
How to Earn Money Through Google Adsense
|Videos go viral faster, so it’s easy to get more subscribers||Creating good videos may require more effort and technical skills than writing text content|
|Videos are very engaging, so people tend to stay on the channel||More equipment required to shoot good videos|
|It is easy for a good video to rank high in a search engine||You need to both look and sound good to create videos that people will like. All other bloggers don’t have to pay attention to pronunciation|
|It’s fun!||Unlike writing blog posts, creating quality videos requires initial investments|
So, guys, I guess it’s been a long and difficult read. Are you ready to start an online business? Have you learnt what to do? Make sure you live a comment and let me know what you think!
I’ve described the main things you should do to succeed in online business. In conclusion, I want to give a list DON’Ts that will guide you on your way to big profits:
If you found this article useful, please give me your feedback in the comments!