This online business startup guide will help you to determine if you have what it takes to succeed with an online business.
Online marketing is huge, and the perfect way to start a “side hustle”, which is a way to create extra income.
What do you think of when you read the following:
- I want to be my own boss
- The idea of taking vacation whenever I want is appealing to me
- It is important to me to create a stable income for my family
Does any of that sound good to you?
You may agree with all of it, but you are stuck trying to figure out if it is a legit way to earn an income. Or whether you have time to start a blog. And maybe you are not sure that it is right for you. Let’s look into all of these issues, and more, to help you decide.
Welcome to Fearless Affiliate.
My name is Irma and I help new bloggers to learn the ropes. There is a lot to take in that first year of blogging, from choosing a niche to changing your mindset from worker bee mentality to that of successful entrepreneur.
I like to focus on practical information and positive thinking.
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Is online marketing legit?
Yes. Online marketing is essentially promoting products (= marketing) that can help people. You do this with a website and/or blog (= online)
And yes, there are shady people and products, and you do need to be aware of that. But those people are the minority.
As more and more people go online to find the answers to their problems, there is a need for more people to answer those queries.
And that is where you come in.
If you have a skill-set, hobby, or career you can help other people who are:
- Just getting started with that hobby/career and who could use advice or coaching on what to do first/next
- In need of quick answers to their problems, and are seeking solutions. You introduce them to products or services that can help.
- Looking to up-level their skills and need an online ‘mentor’ (i.e you)
To be successful with online marketing requires determination and a strong business startup guide, like this series.
Make starting an online business your priority for this year, and create a stable income.
This online business guide is not just a list of things to do. Nope.
If you truly want online success you have to ‘get your head in the game’. There are plenty of “how to start a blog” posts out there; I even have some of my own.
Success with starting an online business comes down to:
- An entrepreneurial mindset
- Being able to find creative solutions to problems that you encounter
- Pushing forward when you want to quit
- Discerning what successful people are doing that you are not yet doing
Your success depends 100% on your ability to believe it is possible i.e your entrepreneurial mindset.
There are several ways to tell if you have an entrepreneurial mindset. Moreover, there are just as many ways to clear the road to becoming an entrepreneur.
Consider these personality traits:
- Leadership qualities – Can you delegate? How do you deal with “failure”?
- Creative thinking – Can you think outside the box? Do you know how to find workable solutions when things go blammo?
- Can you make yourself the boss? – You have a feeling that there is something more than what you are doing in your current job
- Innovative ideas – Blogging is different for different people and different niches…can you work with that?
If you show any or all of these qualities, you could very well be on your way to owning your own business because you do have that entrepreneurial spirit.
Clear the Road toward Entrepreneurial Success
Going from the 9-to-5 grind to entrepreneur may not be the easiest path, but it is something you can achieve. However, there are several steps you need to take before forging head first into business ownership.
1.Get clear – Getting clear on what it is you want to achieve is an integral first step.
It is not as simple as coming up with an idea and writing it down. You have to write down your goals, but even more importantly, you have to break them down.
Being specific is mandatory with goal setting. You need to have clear, specific goals when it comes to starting a new business.
2. Create a plan – Once you are clear on what your goal for your new business is, you have to create a plan for success.
Write down what your goal is, how you will achieve that goal in smaller steps and then break that list down even further.
3. Take action – Next, it is time to take action steps. Action steps need more than just thinking about taking them.
Declare aloud and to everyone you can what your action steps are; in this way, you are accountable to your word.
4. Delegate – If you are starting a new business of your own, do not be afraid to delegate tasks. Allow family members and friends to help take the load off somewhere else, allowing you time to work on your business.
5. Letting go – Sometimes in order to create something new, we need to let go of something old.
In order to clear the path to creating a new business, something else will have to fall by the wayside. Your home may need to be a little cluttered or less clean. You may have to let go of a favorite sport or activity for a while, but it is well worth it in the end.
Related post: Setting Business Goals
Keeping your day job is important until you are secure financially in your new business endeavor. It may be a difficult road to travel, but having an entrepreneurial mindset is a gift. Once you open it, you will be happy that you did.
Mind Mapping for Online Business Success
When it comes to your business, you need to be as innovative, productive, and forward moving as possible. There are many tools that you can utilize in order to be as creative as possible. Mind mapping is one of those tools.
First, let’s examine what mind mapping is.
Mind mapping is a way of brainstorming on paper.
It is extremely beneficial as it is a visual tool that stimulates creative thinking preparing you to organize, evaluate, and analyze data you create for your business ideas.
It is sort of like brainstorming with yourself on paper.
To begin with, you place a key word in the center of the paper that is a sort of main character in the mind mapping system.
Next, you branch out ideas from that internal word and continue to branch out new words in a circle around that original word or theme.
It is similar to choosing a theme and several subthemes or topics and subtopics.
The more you extend the circles and branch them out, the more creative you will find yourself being.
Mind mapping is similar to choosing a niche and then a sub-niche and then another sub-niche within a sub-niche.
Four Benefits of Mind Mapping
Mind mapping offers several benefits.
1. Mind mapping is a visual tool.
It helps you to organize information, create new concepts and themes while stretching your imagination.
2. It offers the possibility of analyzing and visualizing ideas on paper in a new and creative fashion.
Mind mapping is an excellent tool to evaluate the strengths of your company or business.
By placing several key themes on paper, you can visually pinpoint where your company’s strengths are. From there, you can gain momentum by brainstorming creative and innovative ideas to enhance and maximize those strengths.
3. Use it to examine weaknesses.
Weak areas are highlighted when using mind mapping.
This is useful because sometimes a discussion about weaknesses does not produce any tangible results for improvement. However, using mind mapping creates a visual board for where weaknesses lie.
4. Explore opportunities that you can take advantage of
If you have one or two tried and true ideas for success, you can create sub-categories and sub-topics for those opportunities. This, in turn will create even bigger and more advantageous opportunities..
As you can see, mind mapping is a very useful tool for assessing your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
Questions to Ask before Launching Your Own Business
If you have decided to launch a business, you have made a very courageous choice. There are many things you need to know before launching a new business, so ask yourself:
Are you launching this business for the right reasons?
Sometimes an individual or a group of individuals will launch a business because they think it is expected of them or because it is a family tradition to do so.
Other reasons are simply for the monetary benefits. With high hopes of making tons of money, sometimes a new entrepreneur may lose sight of his or her customer.
Who is your target audience?
Knowing that you want to create a business and knowing what that business is will simply not be enough. You need to know who your target audience is and who your ideal customer is.
Honing in on a target audience is something that you can delve into even deeper by creating a specific niche and then going on to create a sub-niche. In this manner, you will be certain that you have focused on a specific need for an even more specific customer.
If you have not done an avatar exercise before, I have a PDF for that!
What is your action plan?
Setting goals and measuring them is essential when launching a new business. Put a plan into motion, but allow yourself flexibility to expand on that original plan. Ask yourself if your business plan is too narrow minded or if it will achieve the desired outcome you seek and go beyond even that.
Related Post: Why Set Goals?
Make sure you research if there is enough demand for the product or service you are offering or if you will be just another company offering the same old thing. Ask yourself if you can put a new innovative twist onto something tried and true.
How much time you are willing to dedicate to this business?
What if this business is something that you will find success with right away? Are you willing and able to put the time and trouble in if it does become successful right away?
Also, think about whether or not this is a part-time business or a full-time endeavor.
Do you have enough funds to last for six months to a year until your business becomes steady enough to stand on its own two feet?
Once you are able to answer these important questions, you can be well on your way to having a successful business endeavor.
Try A SWOT Analysis for Your Online Business Idea
If you have an online business idea, chances are that you want to protect that idea. You will also want to do anything and everything you can in order to make that business grow and thrive.
Using a SWOT analysis for your online business idea is a great way to assess your business idea.
First, however, let us examine what a SWOT analysis is. Put simply, it involves assessing these factors:
A SWOT analysis is valuable in evaluating a product, service, new business endeavor or even an employee.
By evaluating your website’s strengths, you do yourself a great service. Looking through a microscope into what is working can enhance that performance and its progress and multiply it.
If you mimic a proven formula that already works, you increase your success two-fold.
The whole point in evaluating weaknesses for your online business idea is to eliminate or at the very least minimize them.
Weaknesses are in every aspect of business and if unaddressed, those weaknesses can fester and grow.
Eliminating or minimizing those weaknesses will keep them from detracting from your success in an online venture.
There are two major categories of measurement: internal and external.
Internal factors are within your organization. This could be spending too much time checking email or social media.
External factors are outside the organization – with strength and weakness belonging to internal factors. These could be using programs or apps with ever-changing algorithms that alter your traffic.
Evaluating opportunities is useful in seeking knowledge on how those opportunities are useful to gain momentum for your online business endeavors.
Taking advantage of any existing opportunities and expanding them to greater heights will provide more success for your business idea.
Evaluating threats in the environment is crucial to the success of your online business idea.
Opportunities and threats belong to the external factors category.
If you are on the lookout for threats, warding them off before they occur is key to maintaining optimal success as a line of defense for your project or business.
Evaluate your online business idea for its strengths by highlighting the areas that receive the most positive response.
If you have done a test market on a product or service or have a website with a comments section, check to see where the positive highlights are for your online idea.
Evaluate your online business idea for its weaknesses by answering a negative comment on a website, asking for the opinions of others, and checking the competitions’ websites.
Seek out new and innovative opportunities based on existing ideas that you can expand.
Search out opportunities within other businesses to grow and expand your own.
Be wary and aware of external elements that could potentially damage or ruin your business or service.
By utilizing a SWOT analysis, you protect and enhance your online business idea.
Creating Your Action Plan and Online Business Timeline
Most businesses start out with a dream and an inspiration, but that is where it ends. Even the most innovative businesses can wind up closing their doors because a good action plan and a focused timeline were not in place at conception.
There are many benefits to creating your action plan and online business timeline.
When you have an action plan put into place and follow it regularly and continue to focus on your business timeline, things will run much more smoothly for your new business and your customers.
Tips to Create a Powerful Action Plan
Streamline Your Path – If you have a dream and a vision – excellent. Now, you must have knowledge of where your business is heading down the line. It is important to focus on a streamlined path when you first start your business. Otherwise, you are likely to find that your business is “all over the place.” Be sure to be specific in where you expect your business to go in the first twelve months.
Put It in Writing – In the early stages of creating your business, it is important to create an action plan in writing. Without this piece of the puzzle, it can get messy quite quickly. Having an action plan in your head or verbalizing it with other team members is not nearly as efficient as putting it down in writing.
Measure Your Goals Consistently – Make sure to check up on your goals often. By measuring your goals, you consistently marry those goals against where you are at the moment. If your goals are not in alignment with where they should be, then it is time to re-evaluate.
Break Down Bigger Projects into More Manageable Ones – When you create your action plan, make certain to break down bigger projects into more manageable ones. In this way, you will be able to get the whole job done without it feeling overwhelming.
Delegate – Do not be afraid to delegate some of your action plan. If you try to do everything all on your own, chances are all those balls you are juggling will come tumbling down sooner rather than later.
Tips to Create an Online Business Timeline
Create a Timeline for Every Task – You may think it is not necessary to create a timeline for each and every task; however, a timeline is essential for success. Creating a timeline will help you to manage your time and your business.
Keep It Real – A timeline should have manageable date attached to each task. If you create a timeline goal too soon, then you may set yourself up for failure. By being realistic, you set yourself up for success.
Differentiate Your Tasks – Make certain to differentiate your short-term tasks from your long-term tasks. For example, a short-term task would be to hire employees and a long-term task would be to improve your social media status.
Stick to Your Timeline No Matter What – You have to have integrity in this area. You need to stick with your timeline no matter what, as this is the only way to achieve success.
Stay Focused – It is very easy to let a task go because other “stuff” gets in the way. Stay focused and stick to your timeline. Check your progress as you go along the way.
This guide is in two parts to make it easier to digest. The next post will be “Start Your Successful Online Marketing Business” and will cover goal setting and planning for success, as well as learning from your competition so that you can surpass them. Watch for that post next week.
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Ok, that is it from me; now it is your turn!
Tell me your thoughts on starting an online business. Have you been waffling on creating a website? Are you concerned about the tech side? Why would you want an online biz? Tell me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Have a great week and happy blogging!