How to Start an Online Business in 14 Steps.
Being that you’ve come across this article… I bet you’ve thought of starting an online business.
You’ve heard all the buzz and you’ve decided that you want in. Mostly… because you’re interested in doing business in your sweatpants, or from a longboard. Like Austin has been doing on Snapchat recently.
Either way, the logistics of getting a business going aren’t too challenging.
The real challenge will be deciding what you’re going to do. The challenging part is figuring out if you have something worth sharing or saying and figuring out how to teach it.
That is a giant self-discovery process that stops most people before they even start.
If you need help with the personal development and discovery of your purpose and your brand—we have an entire online course dedicated to it. The Branding Blueprint is personal development… for your brand.
There are hundreds (or more) ways of creating an online business.
The methods vary from values to working hours, location, service based products, e-courses and more. Personally, I love the online information product world. I’ve done the “agency thing,” consulting and coaching online, and freelancing with location freedom.
Between the two, I would choose the infopreneur thang any day over the others.
Selling information products gives you not only location freedom, but control over your time.
You won’t have to worry about what your client thinks about your work, or sitting in long presentations, sales and marketing meetings. The wonderful thing about information products is that you develop a curriculum and teach something that you already know (and do well!) that others want to learn.
Then you create the product in ebook, workbook, audio or video form and get it up on the Internet to sell. Okay, well it might not be THAT easy. However, that is the basis.
Essentially, the long winded answer is that you have this product, and you make it your full-time job to create tremendous value for an audience (that involves giving away TONS of free consulting and information).
Then you spend all your free time in social medias, then you create free offer after free offer, then you build your email marketing chops, then you crush your traffic, then you make some sales. Yes, I did say long winded.
It’s not easy.
But I can’t complain being a 10-minute walk from the beach in Santa Monica, California. And I can work here because I’ve developed that freedom.
I work from coffee shops (that I love) take breaks to ride on the boardwalk, and enjoy my life. Oh yea, and I travel around the country to new places just to check them out… while I’m working. It’s a pretty sweet gig (though it certainly wasn’t always this way).
There was a time when I catered to clients. I designed logos, built branded websites, art directed campaigns and photo shoot, ran advertising for clients, wrote tons of branded copy, and managed social media accounts.
That was tough work. In that place, I was constantly employed to seek others approval. Not the most fun I would say I’ve ever had—though I did love my clients, and the fantastic work I did for them.
Anyway, back to why you’re here. You’re looking to start your epic online business—and I want to help.
Step 1: Analyze Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Self-awareness is a vital aspect to building your business.
You MUST know what you’re good at, and find a way to leverage it to build your business. You will use your strengths and learn to focus them. They’re your gift and even though they may be easy for you—they are tough for others.
Knowing what you’re great at will give you an indicator on what industry to enter, and what you can teach others.
Step 2: Define your Niche and Audience
Once you know your strengths and weaknesses you can start defining your niche and audience. You can’t serve an audience coming from a place of weakness.
For instance, if you wanted to create a blog on blogging… but you sucked at writing. Well… your blog probably wouldn’t do that well.
But if you wanted to talk about how to dive in deep, and build a rock solid foundation for your business and your life. Well, chances are you should be talking about branding… Like we do 🙂 psst. if that interest you need to grab a copy of the branding blueprint.
After you know your niche, define exactly who you want to serve. For example, our readers are straight up overachievers and we love it! They consistently want to master their life.
They are willing to put in the hard work to attain their desires. Doesn’t that sound just like you?
Step 3: Choose to Teach Something Awesome
To be an infopreneur, you must have something that you’ve been dying to teach. This route isn’t for everyone. If you hate teaching—I’d probably look at another type of business.
Generally, we teach what we’re great at (that others’ aren’t). I was a certified ski and snowboard instructor for 13 years. I was GREAT at skiing and riding because I made a point to be great and practiced at every moment I could. That gave me the know-how and drive to teach (well, and all the teacher training in modules and supplemented ski and ride training and workshops).
I taught branding, because I was good at it. I made a point to learn it for years and studied under industry experts. I used trial and error in my own business, and consulted other businesses and built up a wide and varied understanding of how to build a brand and market yourself.
I learned how investing in branding is like investing in personal development. It just makes you better!
Teach something awesome. Here’s a hint—you’ll have to love it. Not just a little bit—like you’re pretty much obsessed with it 😉
Step 4: Make a Shhhweeet Free Offer.
After you know what you’re going to teach—think about what sort of challenges your clients will have before they need your product. There are usually at least 3 obstacles that your prospects will have to overcome before they will be ready to accept your awesome product.
You can provide value upfront by helping them to overcome the first obstacle with a free offer.
Pick one, and create a free ebook or video walking your prospects through the solution. Make it simple, and make it easy.
Your free offer can be an ebook or workbook, a mini e-course, an audio course or videos. Enjoy the process!
Step 5: Build a Single Website Page to Collect Email Opt-Ins
Before you get into creating that grandiose website that’s going to be amazing… get something going for yourself.
I always recommend a simple landing page with an email opt-in. This is more important up front than having that flashy website. You can make one of these in Squarespace, Get Response, Leadpages, or using the Ultimate Coming Soon Plugin for WordPress.
Just Make sure you get those emails, yo!
Step 6: Build Your Digital Product
Outline your product or course. Now, work through it and write it out. Build the course. It can be a video series, workbook series, and giant ebook, audio course and more!
Step 7: Guest Blog on Every Relevant Niche Site You Can Find
Apply to lots of blogs in your niche (specialty) and offer to write for them, for free. In exchange, they give you a byline in your author’s bio with a link back to your website or free offer.
When you blog on other established websites, you become an authority for a specific topic (whatever you’re writing about). It’s a great PR source and actually generates tons of referral traffic to your website or your offer. You may be surprised at how many people go from the article you wrote to your website and sign up for the offer you made in step 4!
Step 8: Build a Website that Hosts Content
You’re ready now for your online storefront.
Build your website to be a content generating machine. If you’re looking to be an infopreneur, then you’re also in the business of creating media. Get yourself a sleek blog that has all the functionalities you’ll need to host your stellar content.
Step 9: Create TONS of Content for Your Site
We’re not talking a little bit. Once a week is nice… try multiple times every week. We blog 3 times a week at d.science. Though we are actually blogging every day. We’re usually 8 weeks ahead in content. That means we’re always writing!
It’s not just about the writing, though. We’re also creating videos, new free offers, building on new social medias and increasing the community on social media’s we’re already doing well on.
ALWAYS MAKE CONTENT. That’s the new motto. And, don’t just make content to make it—make it good, dammit.
Step 10: Promote the F%&# Out of Your Content
It’s not just enough to crank your awesome content out several times every week. You also gotta promote that! The best articles aren’t “the best” if they’re never read.
Promoting the content involves really getting yourself out there (probably more than you’re comfortable with). Do interviews, get into Periscope, offer more value by streaming a live video of you going through the blog article you just wrote, or team up in blogger linking parties to get more traffic. Chat in Facebook groups related to your content, engage on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and have conversations with your audience.
Oh yea, and network too.
Step 11: Network Online… Like it’s Your Job
Create killer relationships. Put yourself out there, and network online. You can jump in Periscopes and Blabs really easily to get to know other content creators and business people. It’s like getting coffee with someone. The only difference is that you’re in front of your computer screen.
Heck, no one will even notice you’re in your pjs… lol.
Step 12: Build Email Marketing Campaigns to Add Value
Email is still a terrific way to add value to your list. Give your subscribers insider tips that you only release out in email, inspire them to be the best version of themselves, and give them awesome resources that will help them.
Start by writing “mini blog articles” in the emails. It’s all about storytelling.
Step 13: Focus on Making Yourself Better Every Day
You’ll stay ahead by striving for excellence.
If every day you are aiming to be better than the day before, you’re bound to improve. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Keep yourself in a mentality of constantly learning and growing.
Step 14: Start from Step 5 with a new product and keep going!
After you’ve mastered (or at least rocked through all these steps) get right back in and do it again. The more products you have, the more opportunities you have to capture a sale. We’re always developing and working on new products.
Keep a look out—we’re launching a few new e-courses in the spring!
Have more steps to add? Let me know in the comments!