Starting An Online Business: What You Should Know
"I don't know what I am going to do but I just want to start making a passive income online so that I can have a little more freedom."
How many times have we heard people say this?
When it comes to making an income online and working from anywhere around the world, people are often caught up with the shiny object syndrome. They buy into misleading offers by internet marketing "gurus" promising them a simpler and faster way to achieve financial freedom only to be disappointed later on.
Some may find their way around and get their personal breakthroughs after months or years of grinding but others leave the scene entirely with a bitter aftertaste of everything to do with online marketing.
Scams, misleading messages and confusing information are rife on the net and it is not surprising one will find it difficult to survive in the harsh world of internet marketing. Heck, even I get confused and frustrated sometimes.
So you want to make money online but are afraid and confused on how to start?
Before I go on, let me just say that it certainly is possible to make a decent income online but it is not what you think it is.
Besides knowing the answer to your 'why' in starting an online business, I think it is more important to have a firm understanding of basic online business models and how they work. Many people try to start out by going into different places on the internet without having a game plan — they think that as long as they are "where the money is", they will make it (I am guilty of this). However, it is through seeing the bigger picture for yourself will you then know which business model best suits you.
Having a good offer alone is not enough for you to succeed.
When it comes to online marketing, a good offer needs to be accompanied by highly-targeted traffic.
So the formula can be calculated like that:
Your Good Offer + Highly-Targeted Traffic = Massive Sales
Only when two of these elements come together will the magic happen.
Too many times, new marketers think that all they need is to expose their brand and/or product as much as possible in order to see conversions but this isn't true. When they don't see results, they presume that their offer is not working and move on to another only to experience the same thing. Before they know it, they will be too jaded to continue and hence, give up.
You don't promote a cosmetic product to an audience who are into cars. Similarly, you don't push out health content to music fans. It just doesn't work that way.
When it comes to conversions, having a highly-targeted traffic is often the difference between massive sales or nil. So take some time to think about this formula and see how you can form your game plan around it.
With that being said, here are a few online business models you can consider adopting to begin.
1. Digital Product Creation
You have an offer you can package digitally? Good.
Videos, audio, written content or a combination of all three are good ways to package and sell your offer. The only downside of digital product creation is that it is tedious (and may be expensive depending on how you produce it) — you will probably spend many days or months on it.
The good news is, the web has a vast resource of freelancers willing to do the job for you. If you are willing to spend some money to invest, Fiverr and Upwork are good platforms to hire freelancers for jobs like writing, graphic design, voice-overs and even video production.
When it comes to digital product creation, it is better you produce an evergreen product rather than one which is trendy because trends die but evergreen products can be sold forever.
This model fits those who have an eBook or a physical product to sell but do not have a targeted traffic. I currently upload some of my ghostwritten books, under different pen names, on the Amazon Kindle Publishing platform to reach their readily-available audience.
The good thing about platforms like Amazon, eBay and Shopify is that they already have a huge amount of targeted traffic to leverage off. Those who visit the sites are usually shoppers ready to buy something. All you have to do is to create your content and upload it onto these platforms.
However, one flaw of this model is that you don't really have control over their traffic and more often than not, you will have to do keyword research for your product in order to reach the right audience. Also, if the platform goes down one day, you will then have to take your product elsewhere.
A simple google search on "freelance websites" will give you all the information of the platforms you can list your services at. One of the places I list my email copywriting service on is Fiverr — I have completed over 45 gigs since. There wasn't any marketing done.
There is no lack of freelance platforms where one can generate a decent income. The question is, “Do you have anything you’re passionate about?”, “Any skills you’ve learnt throughout your life that can be beneficial to others?”. If yes, then the freelance approach can fit you and you may want to consider that. I have seen people creating eBook covers for a living and they are doing pretty well with over 10,000 reviews.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the model I started out with as an online marketer. I highly recommend this if you do not have a product/service to offer and are new to the scene.
With affiliate marketing, you need to be resourceful in finding targeted traffic for your product. Here are some suggestions on how you can do so:
- Advertising through social media and search engines (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing ads etc.)
- Video marketing (YouTube)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) through blogging
- Email marketing (you need to have an available list for this)
Take a moment to think through the models above but don't crack your brain over it. If you are still unsure which is most suitable, you can try more than one and narrow down from there.
More importantly, know the formula and how these business models work. That way, you will see the big picture in time to come.