The advantages of working from home, being in charge of your own career, learning new skills and opening yourself to new frontiers, can be very attractive.
Many people feel under-utilized and have untapped reserves of creativity and leadership that can be applied to their own venture. Often two people working together is very beneficial as it offers the opportunity to discuss each part of the process and celebrate progress when milestones are reached.
The old adage that projects take longer than planned and cost more than you expect is also likely to apply to setting up an online business. Patience, perseverance and flexibility will need to be a big part of learning new knowledge and skills, and experimenting with different approaches until you have success.
The online tech world may seem quite foreign however there are some tech entrepreneurs who have developed some excellent courses for under $2000 that take you through each step in the setup process in a manageable way. Look for trainers who are actively doing the same type of business for themselves and have the practical knowledge. Many are excellent tutors, providing good value and have a thriving online community for members to assist each other with queries and problem-solving.
As there are also likely to be some scammers out there too, investigate thoroughly through reviews and online discussion, to identify which is the best credible solution that you can work with.
Here are some other considerations:
Identify your existing strengths and interests
Businesses are an extension of their owners. Identify what type of customers you would like to service and discover what advantages you have that would assist you on your path. Your interests are also important because if you enjoy the subject and feel a higher calling to help potential customers who aren’t being serviced elsewhere, then it will be easy for you to dedicate the necessary time you need to establish your business.
Allow yourself to be a novice
Businesses can fail because assumptions are made which are later found to be incorrect, so research about your market is essential. In your online journey, you will discover new tools that the professionals are using to identify what people want to buy and how best to reach these customers. Some of the ways involve website plugins and social media. For people with limited tech knowledge, some activities can be outsourced. However it is good to know what the processes are that you need to be done, so you are mindful of what you are expecting to achieve.
Most online business are really only suited to people who are comfortable with technology. What they don’t know, they are willing with patience and fortitude to research for solutions. If you lack a curious and disciplined mind to investigate technical problems, then an online business may not be for you. A practical “can-do” attitude is the best quality for an online entrepreneur.
To replace a traditional job, your business must have a valid business model. If there aren’t enough customers or your sale price is too high, or your website doesn’t work properly, you won’t be getting optimum results. If you understand that there are strategies that work, but you need to discover what those strategies are first. Then you can duplicate the processes others have used. If other people have already invented the wheel, you can learn from them.
In recent years the online business model has become more and more user-friendly with cheaper and easier tools that novices enjoy using. Be aware though, that you are likely to need expert guidance or to be following a practical course to go the distance. This is because the field of knowledge for your type of online business is specialized and you need to know and use the same plugins and tools that are now necessary for online success.
It pays to be patient and open-minded as it may take many many steps to get where your website needs to go. You can learn how to do each step, but you have to be dedicated to do the work each step involves and to keep on track.
Keep it simple
Some people have valid online businesses that help other businesses make sales. Affiliate marketing allows people to promote products that are sold on Amazon. Facebook Groups can help people sell products in a specialty interest like cooking, hobbies or sports.
There are some people who find ways online to get leads for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses in service industries. There are many small retailers who have lost revenue (from customers now shopping online) who would benefit from someone promoting their goods or services.
Shopify offers an easy template for product sale businesses. Drop-shipping has also become popular whereby marketing websites promote a specialty type of product e.g. watches, and the manufacturer or distributor liaises with the customer directly to ship the product.
You can now create many new websites on WordPress, Wix or Weebly without having any technical knowledge of coding or programming languages.
Consider the knowledge economy
Use professional tools
Although there are millions of people online, the competition is professional and you need to be too. There are many website plugins that make a big difference and are not overly expensive. Your website trainer is likely to be talking about online resources such as Hostgater $245 (for hosting), ThemeForest $70 approx (for a professional theme on top of the basic WordPress or Weebly), Yoast SEO Premium $89 (for search engines to find you) and Optinmonster $108 (to capture email addresses of potential customers). These are a necessary investment to put you on a professional business footing.
Have IT support
As well as a business laptop or desktop computer, you are going to need someone to call for any problems or service issues. A normal personal laptop won’t have the speed and operational capacity for complex tasks and the work will seem harder than it needs to be. It is a good idea when hosting a website to go for the “managed” option and to have a tech wizard handy to organize your system for backups and service checks.
If established well, an online business can have major advantages. Most of the work is done at the beginning, in setting up the structure and defining the market and product offering. There may need to be a bit of experimentation to identify what works best and what to stay away from. That is why research and a training course are invaluable.
Once your website or online business reaches a “maintenance” stage, you can often get someone to run it for you for a few hours’ work each week. You can also spend more time on travel or hobbies, and may even achieve a much better lifestyle than you would if you hadn’t ventured forth into this new career.
Many enjoy the process so much that once their first website is well established, they are keen to start on their next one!