Starting an online business can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Although finding monetary success is always a priority, there are some other great benefits to being in business for yourself.
For starters, you get to be your own boss.
You can set your own hours to some extent.
If you want to take a longer lunch, then you get to take it.
Want a vacation? You get to make time to have it.
You also get to meet new people who share many of the same interests you have.
You can try new things if you wish.
When you work online, you get to choose to follow what you’re passionate about and then pursue it with all your might.
An online business can be started really quickly and with a small initial investment.
You can go into business on your own, with your family, in a partnership, or another business structure.
You can sell things, create things, write things, perform things – there are many options.
Then, in return, you get to experience the joy of being in business for yourself.
Are you ready to begin your online business journey today?
What Do You Need To Start an Online Business?
You need training, support, and the right tools.
You need someone who will guide you in the right direction.
Someone who has already achieved what you’re trying to achieve now.
That is why if you’re just starting out online, look for mentors – experienced marketers who will teach you what you need to learn in order to be successful online.
Mentors have already discovered the tools that you’ll need and can help you get moving in the right direction.
They can show you the ropes so you can learn the new skills you might need to have.
Most importantly, they’ll be around to answer the questions that always come up when running an online business.
Of course this knowledge is very often not for free. You have to pay for it. This is business.
It doesn’t matter if you start an online business or an offline business – you need to be ready to sacrifice your time and invest your money if you want this business to grow.
Gaining knowledge in order to build a successful online business one day is like going to university or college for a few years.
You need to pay for your school, you need to learn a lot, you need pass exams, and then when you’re already equipped with the right knowledge you can start looking for a job or maybe try to open your own business.
It’s no different online.
You need to learn quite a lot first and in the process spend some money on your education and then apply your knowledge in practice.
Are you ready for it?
Once you’ve secured a mentor that can help you grow your online business, here are some of the other things you’ll need to start a business online.
#1. You’re going to need a website
Being online means you need a presence on the Internet to do business.
There are several freelancer websites available today where you could setup an account.
Personally I always recommend setting up your blog or site on WordPress.
Then you just need to fill it up with valuable content in order to start driving traffic to it from Google and other search engines.
#2. You will need a payment processing mechanism
There are several ways you can make money online.
Installing advertising, selling advertising, or offering affiliate links are all common options.
If you want to sell your own services or products, however, you’ll need to have a payment processing page on your site.
There are a number of online payment processors that have buttons you can install instantly to receive payments.
A favorite of mine is PayPal just because you copy and paste the payment buttons into your WordPress coding.
Otherwise there are a number of companies that also provide these services. Square is quite popular.
You can also choose to work with your local bank or credit union or work with a national or international provider.
There are processing fees taken from each purchase, so keep that in mind when you setup your pricing.
#3. You need marketing materials
If you want to do video marketing, then you just need a good camera, microphone, Camtasia or Screencast-O-Matic to record your computer’s screen.
VideoScribe will also be useful to create animated videos.
If you want to do content marketing, then you’ll need to write up something good about what you offer.
Photographs, digital images, emails, and even direct mail can also help grow higher levels of public awareness about your online business.
The tools that you’re going to use will also depend on the industry niche of your online business.
This might include specific software or hardware, offline tools to produce products, and anything else that will assist you in creating profits from your online business.
#4. You must have financial tracking
One of the most overlooked aspects of starting an online business is the tax consequences that come from it.
There are positive and negative consequences that must be considered.
Your startup costs, like purchasing tools, your domain name, and other items are often tax-deductible.
This means the cost of them is an expense that reduces your income, so your tax burden is also reduced.
Your revenues, however, must be reported.
Even if you don’t make a profit for the year, your revenues must still be filed annually with your taxes.
This is especially true for sole proprietors who are mixing business and personal income on one tax form.
A good tax software program can save you a ton of cash and walk you step-by-step through every tax line you have.
You can start using TurboTax Online for this process, but there are a number of additional financial products, like Quickbooks, that can help keep you organized as well.
#5. You may need to register your business
States like Washington and Alaska are very strict in the laws, policies, and procedures about what constitutes a business.
If you are self-employed in these states, there’s a good chance you’ll need to obtain a business license and file semi-annual tax returns to the state.
In other locations, the business structure you choose will help to determine what kind of licensing you’ll require.
All businesses that offer retail products within a specific area will generally need to have a sales tax license.
You may also need to have a specific business license depending on what you do with your online business.
Corporations and LLCs may also need filing paperwork completed in order to authorize the business.
This often means setting up a separate checking account for business funds.
It’s a good idea to have business insurance.
These all have costs to them, but these costs are generally tax deductible.
If you choose to be a sole proprietor to avoid these issues, a married couple can operate this type of business together.
Children can often be included as well.
The difference is that in this business structure, should someone want to sue you, all of your assets would be potentially at risk.
In a corporation or an LLC, only your business assets would be at risk.
Many businesses that fall outside of the sole proprietor structure will also need to file for a tax ID number.
In the US, this is called an EIN – employer identification number.
It’s often a good idea to obtain this number even if you don’t plan to hire anyone right away.
#6. You’ll need a name
A unique name for your online business will help to set your company apart from the others which are out there.
The name is also the foundation of your brand, which makes it easier to market your business.
Having a unique business name also helps to prevent infringement on both sides.
Maybe you’re doing something that is close to the trademark of another business.
By being uniquely branded, you can avoid many infringement issues.
Unique names also make it easier to obtain the domain name that is reflective of your business.
Many state laws in the US also require that businesses have a registered name and there is a fee to have this name registered.
Sole proprietors can sometimes be exempted from this, but only if they use their legal given name as the business name.
#7. You’re going to need to work at it
Apart from knowledge and the right tools you also need one more thing.
You’ll need to be hard-working and consistent with the time you put into your online business.
Sometimes there is the idea that an online business can run itself.
Some marketers and online business advisors talk about how they make thousands of dollars in passive income every day and never lift a finger.
Money doesn’t appear because of magic.
It appears after hard work is completed and it is never guaranteed.
The best online business opportunities often require more work than a full-time job, especially in the early days of your business.
You might put in 10-12 hour days and not have any revenue come in from those efforts at first.
When you start an online business, you’re playing a long game.
There will always be exceptions to this rule and hopefully your business can be one of them.
Most people experience success in 2-5 years. Sometimes it takes even longer.
Expecting success overnight can lead to feelings of failure.
Those feelings can halt a promising online business very quickly.
#8. Let’s pay some direct attention to the insurance
Your online business is still going to be run out of a structure of some sort.
It’s usually a home, but it could be a leased commercial space or even a public space.
This property will likely need business coverage in addition to personal coverage.
Your equipment, tools, and any inventory you carry will also need to be insured so you can protect your income.
Liability insurance is a good idea, especially if you find yourself driving anywhere.
Even if all you’re doing is hopping into a car to grab printer ink so you can send out an invoice, that’s a business action.
Liability insurance can cover you if something happens during that trip.
Property liability insurance is another good idea these days.
This protects you from something that might happen to a visitor to your physical location.
Maybe all of your clients are online, but what if you receive business communication through the mail and your postal worker falls on your property?
This insurance could give you a buffer against risks like that.
If your online business is based in your home, you’ll need to double-check the terms of your homeowner’s insurance policy.
The same is true for those who rent and have renter’s insurance.
Not every policy will protect business assets.
As a final step, you may also wish to consider an investment into health, disability, long-term care, and other forms of personal insurance.
The Secret To a Successful Online Business? Be Yourself!
What makes you unique is what will give you a fantastic online business opportunity.
There are a number of resources available today that can help you get started if you’ve never run your own business in the past.
From online forums that provide mentoring to affiliate programs that can help you get started with your first website design.
Doesn’t matter what kind of online business you will choose, remember about this: just be yourself.
An authentic online business will always have the best chances at success.
Follow what you love. Do what you’re passionate about. Never settle for something that is less than your best.
An online business can be exhausting.
It can take you away from your family and friends for long periods of time every day.
Yet it can also give your schedule some added flexibility.
You can tune your business so that you can spend more time with your loved ones once you get things up and running.
You get to be your own boss. You can earn what you’ve always known you are worth.
Now is a great time to get started. Let’s do this thing.
Have you already started your own successful online business? What words of advice would you offer someone who is thinking about starting their own online business today? I’d love to hear about some of the challenges you were able to overcome during this process.