If you googled “How To Start An Online Business From Home” and landed on this post, I have to assume that you are part of (or very nearly close to being a part of) the Great Resignation (or you’re just too through with your corporate job). Either way, Welcome my friend!

After years of working in HR I easily predicted that you’d be here one day. I’ve also been building my online business since 2016 because I was exactly where you are today way back then.

That being said, good news, I’m not going to try and talk you out of it! The fact is, if you’ve landed on this post, your mind is likely more than half-way made up. You just need to figure out the logistics. And that’s exactly what I’m going to help you do below in six simple steps.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can find my full disclosure page here.

Why you should start an online business

If ever there was a prime time in the history of the internet (nee the world) to start an online business it would obviously be right now. A time when so many people have been forced to be at home and realize that life outside of the daily grind they had conditioned themselves to believe is ‘normal’ actually does exist.

However, starting an online business is more than just a better way of life for you and your family. It’s also the greatest personal development journey you will ever take! You will be called to step out of your comfort zone and surpass the limits you’ve probably never realized you placed on yourself.

  • Income Control. There is a reason companies only ever give up to a 5% Pay Increase – they budget for inflation to essentially keep you in one income bracket. When you have your online business (especially as a solopreneur – which is definitely possible) your income is dependent on you, not what your boss thinks of your work or what the company says they can pay you.
  • Lifestyle Control. Prior to everyone and their mom (literally) quitting their corporate jobs, most of us got into this because we wanted to do two things: Make Money and Travel The World. A true online business (where you don’t have to manage inventory) allows you to work from anywhere in the world.
  • Cost Control. It’s so freakin’ cheap to start an online business, why the heck wouldn’t you? Compared to a brick and mortar business, or a product-based business the start-up and maintenance costs are incredibly low. If you’ve been thinking it would cost too much to get started, it’s probably because you’ve been programmed to believe owning a business is expensive.

Read More: How to Start An Online Business for Less Than $300.00

What does it take to start a successful online business?

I know every YouTuber, TikToker, and Instagrammer makes this look so easy. I won’t lie to you like that! It’s hard work, but so is watching your boss who can’t do s&^% without you get paid six-figures+ just because they’ve been around forever.

Here’s the white hot truth:

  • In the first 6 months at least you will work just as hard as you would a corporate job, but it’s honestly a ‘choose your hard’ kind of situation, and basically comes down to would you rather be putting in 60 hours for yourself or someone else?
  • This industry will easily pull out the deepest emotional baggage you carry and present itself at the weirdest times (like when you have to mention pricing on a discovery call or when everyone on Instagram is having ‘5-figure launches’ and you’re still struggling to close a sale).
  • But if you can commit to overcoming these mindset blocks and staying true to your path, eventually you find your way, and your confidence level skyrockets (and so does your income).

So, if you’re ready to put in the work no matter what, then follow these six steps listed below. Also, don’t forget to download your FREE Online Business Roadmap, it has these steps listed below along with checklists, resource list, online business ideas, and more.

FREE DOWNLOAD!

THE ONLINE BUSINESS ROADMAP

This 14-Page workbook includeds: Roadmap, Checklist, Resources List, Online Business Ideas, List and more. It’s perfect for aspiring online business.

Step 1: Niche and Target Audience

Your niche is the area that you will specialize in (for example, my niche is Business). Your business type has more to do with how you will work with people (for example, my type is Coaching). Your ideal client is who you want to with (for example, my ideal client is women). All together I am a Business Coach for Women.

I believe there are 3 primary business types and they correspond with 3 primary business income streams (which we’ll talk about later): Serviced-Based (i.e. work you do for others), Coaching (work you teach others to do for themselves) and Influencer (work you do that works for you).

How do you decide what’s right for you? Here are some tips:

  • Think of your passions, skills and knowledge, the ideal type of lifestyle you want to have, and what is currently (and in the future) in demand by your possible ideal client (aka What do they need help with? – Note: This does not mean what you think they need help with, its what they actually want you to help them with).
  • It’s very important that you consider the type of lifestyle you want to be living because not all online businesses are created equal. If you want be traveling (hopefully soon) then don’t start an e-commerce store where you’ll have to manage inventory. Likewise, if you don’t want to be on zoom calls all day every day, re-think that 1:1 Coaching Business.
  • A word on ‘Niching Down’: Your goal is to find the sweet-spot. You don’t want to be so broad that you alienate your audience because you’re unclear who and how you help. But you don’t want to be so narrow that you box yourself in and suffer from burnout because you only talk about the same stuff.

Read More: How To Find Your Niche

Step 2: Branding

In the online business industry, where on average you only have about 7 seconds to capture someone’s attention and trust branding is pretty important.

From your colors, logo and fonts, to your copywriting and images, you’ll want to make sure everything aligns and truly portrays you and your business’ values.

  • Get a good brand photoshoot, this doesn’t have to be too expensive but you do want professional photos done. Google Lifestyle Photographer or Personal Brand Photographer to find people in your area. Also, consider reaching out to your local art school because many talented photographers will do photoshoots for less money as they build their portfolios.
  • Save time and money by using a graphic design tool like Canva Pro to design your logo and brand guidelines. It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy. In fact, minimalistic is most popular right now. If in the future, you want to upgrade to a professional brand design by all means have at it, but this comes with a huge caveat from your de facto business coach:
  • You are NOT (I repeat NOT) to get so hung up on your branding that it becomes a crutch that prevents you from moving forward in your business. It’s easy for your ego to overpower you with thoughts of perfection. But before you start changing your logo again, consider your real motive. Is it that your brand doesn’t feel aligned or is it because you don’t think you’re good enough?

I’ve spent so much time messing around with my brand before I realized it wasn’t my brand that I didn’t like. It was me. I had to do the work to fix my confidence first.

SIDE NOTE: Legalizing Your Business

A small note on legal business stuff (because I know it’s on your mind 😉 ). Setting up an online business is far easier than a brick and mortar business, but every state (and some counties) have their own guidelines. The easiest (and most economical) way to get started is to drive right down to your Local County Clerks office and file the paperwork in person!
 
Here are some things you should know (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or Accountant, so you should always check with them first):
 
 
LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship: This usually comes down to Taxes and Liability, it’s different for each state so double-check yours.
 
Tax Filing Requirements: Yes, you still have to pay taxes (knowing this will also help you determine if filing as an LLC or Sole Proprietorship is right for you). Typically (again double-check) you need to pay both Self-Employment Tax and Income Tax. For example, here in GA, Self-Employment Tax is 15.3% and on top of that you will pay up to 5.6% Income Tax (Depending on your earnings). Also note that in some States/Counties you may also need to charge sales tax on your offers or products so double-check.
 
Bottom line on Legal Stuff: Never be afraid to ask questions and pay your taxes!

FREE DOWNLOAD!

THE ONLINE BUSINESS ROADMAP

This 14-Page workbook includeds: Roadmap, Checklist, Resources List, Online Business Ideas, List and more. It’s perfect for aspiring online business.

Step 3: Income Streams

Often referred to as offers or products (even if they’re not physical products). Your income streams are exactly how you’re going to make money in your online business.

Earlier, I mentioned the 3 Primary Income Streams you can have but I’ll repeat it anyway: (1) Work you do for others, (2) Work you teach others to do for themselves, (3) Work you do that works for you.

The beauty of starting an online business is that you will never be limited as to how you can make money! I strongly advise that you have all three income streams in your business in some way. Here’s how:

  • Work you do for others: This could be service-based work like Web Design, Freelance Writing, Social Media Management, etc. OR it could also be Done-For-You Digital Products (Templates, Spreadsheets, Swipe Files).
  • Work you teach others to do: This could either be coaching (either 1:1 or Group/Mastermind) or Digital Courses and Workshops. If you’re a service-based entrepreneur, you can still become a coach. For example, my client Krissi is a Freelance Writer who also teaches other women how to start their freelance writing business.
  • Work you do that works for you: This includes monetizing content you create. The most common ways to do this are: Affiliate Marketing, Brand Sponsorships, and Ads Revenue. You could either join affiliate networks (like Share-A-Sale) or reach out to companies directly and your unique affiliate link. Then you create content (blog post, youtube, etc.) and share your affiliate link, when someone purchases with your link, you get a percentage of the sale.

One of the problems I think many new entrepreneurs make is that they limit-themselves because they are so conditioned to believe there is only one ‘right way’ to make a living, so they always default to just 1:1 or 1 to Company type of income streams.

This is extremely dangerous as many are learning during this current recession. Don’t be too overly dependent on any one income stream because when the financial chips are down your business is subject to other’s wallets.

Step 4: Marketing Plan

Welcome to how you’ll easily spend 70% of your time as a business owner: Marketing Your Business! I feel this needs to be made clear because most of you will come to the table with absolutely zero marketing experience and just try to ‘wing it.’

I’m cringing at the thought of you wasting so much time and money starting a Facebook Group, dancing on Reels, and Cold DMing people because some some ‘Influencer’ told you it was the ‘fastest way to grow on Instagram’. This is called spaghetti marketing and here’s why it happens to good entrepreneurs:

  1. You want a lot of money really fast, by doing as little work as possible.
  2. So-called ‘marketing influencers’ prey on this vulnerability and tell you it’s totally possible.
  3. When it turns out to be not as possible as they alluded, your confidence drops and you start looking for the next influencer who can help you make ‘6-Figures in 6 Months’.

Ahhh, I know this song and dance so well I could execute every step with my eyes closed!I wish someone would’ve told me what I’m about to tell you right now: Marketing is not hard! It’s all about numbers and consistency.

That being said, you do need a plan. But the plan should never be based on trends but rather basic marketing principles that have stood the test of time (and the economy):

  • First, you need to understand the stages of the buyer journey: Awareness, Consideration, Decision. Then, you need to have a plan for how you will lead your ideal clients through each stage; this is your marketing plan!
  • Your marketing plan Attracts your ideal client (aka ‘the buyer) to the Awareness Stage. Then, it Nurtures them during the Consideration Stage, and finally, it Converts them into paying customers at the Decision Stage.
  • In order to create a strategic marketing plan you need to know two things: (1) What you will be selling (aka promoting) and when; and (2) what content you’re going to create (i.e. Blogs, Podcast, YouTube, Social Media, etc.) and when in order to Attract, Nurture, and Convert.

From there it’s all about consistency to build trust and increase your audience size. Now could your plan include creating Reels? Of course, but at least you’ll know why! This is what real strategic marketing is. You can get started crafting your marketing plan with my Purpose to Profits Workbook which includes a Marketing Plan template.

SIDE NOTE: Actually Launching Your Online Business

Before we discuss how to keep your clients coming back for more, let’s pause for a second to talk about opening the doors for your online business. This does not need to be some big ol’ pomp and circumstance. Two simple posts are fine:

(1) An about you and your business post.

(2) A ‘Now Booking’ or accepting clients post.

Once you’ve done one or both of those on social media you can start executing your marketing plan. Okay, back to our regular programming.

Step 5: Customer Service

You’ve opened the doors to your business and maybe you’ve landed your first client. Yay! But before you start popping champagne, I’m going to challenge you to do something very few new entrepreneurs do (let alone do well) and that’s think long-term.

A term you might not be familiar with is Customer Lifetime Value – basically this means how often your customers either continue to buy from you and/or refer you to others.

The longer and more often they stay with you, the more their value goes up (and your income). This goes to show that keeping your customers (clients, students, etc.) happy pays -big time! Start thinking like the CEO you are and create wonderful client experience from the beginning. Here are some things to consider:

  • Set up a very clear client on-boarding and off-boarding process. This was something I truly struggled with in the beginning and wish I’d set up earlier. You could buy or create a client on-boarding guide or create an onboarding video for example.
  • Send a welcome or thank you gift. Never underestimate the power of small acts of kindness. Your clients will love that you took the time to actually mail them something.
  • Have a fair customer service policy and practices. Consider when and how you are going to be available for questions that come up. What is your return and refund policy? And how will you get feedback or testimonials?

Be good to your customers, it’s part of your Brand as well. For most online businesses that fail, the reason is usually (in someway at least) related to a poor customer experience practices.

Step 6: Scaling Your Business

If you’ve reached this step, it means that you have been maintaining consistency with your marketing plan and finally have enough (hopefully too much) consistent work to warrant hiring and setting up scalable sales systems.

Now as soon as I mentioned scaling, I’m sure the first thing you thought was, “How long will it take me to start making money consistently?” Honestly the answer to that question is an enigma that has eluded us business coaches for years.

Some people start an online businesses and knock it out of the park in less than a year. Yet, for some of us (yes, you read that correctly) it can take years for various reasons (usually the reason is related to Mental Health/Mindset).

However, if you put in the work to overcome your challenges, you too will reach this stage in your business. Once you do, be sure to:

  • Get real about the actual help that you need. I know that so many people will encourage you to hire a VA or Business Manager first. I’d strongly suggest you hire someone who can take care of your most time-consuming and cumbersome tasks first. For example, if you have a YouTube Channel, invest in a video editor first because this can save you hours of time.
  • Set up systems for scaling. This is the perfect time to set up a more complicated sales funnel that might include tripwires, upsells and downsells. But don’t get too complicated with things. Consider how your offer/products/services all connect with one another. If you have a course that you offer, is there a digital product that could enhance the experience?
  • Start thinking about the legacy of your brand. Is now the time to write that book or launch that product-based business? How can you expand and give back to your community? These are all things the CEO considers as the business grows. And yes, you are the CEO, regardless of what type of business you have.

Read More: How To Create A Sales Funnel

Are you ready to take the leap and start an online business you’ll love? Perfect, get started below:

FREE DOWNLOAD!

THE ONLINE BUSINESS ROADMAP

This 14-Page workbook includeds: Roadmap, Checklist, Resources List, Online Business Ideas, List and more. It’s perfect for aspiring online business.

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