Are you thinking of starting an online business but don’t know where to start? Today we are going to cover a very basic overview of how to start an online business online from scratch.
There are so many options for starting an online business and when you start researching it is easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to give up before you start or worse, get sucked into a scammy offer about building a business that leaves you poorer with no real success.
In this video we will walk through the basic steps so you know what your process will look like starting an online business as a beginner.
Types Of Business
First you have to decide the type of online business you want to start. There are two different types of online businesses you can start. You can start a services based business or a product based business.
With a services based business you are selling your expertise or your skillset packaged as a service.
With a product based business you are selling either digital products or physical products through an online store.
It’s that simple. The complications of starting an online business come through the different methods and types of products or services you offer compared to the competition.
Find Your Product
Once you’ve decided on the type of business you are opening then it is time to decide on your offering. For the purpose of this video we will decide upon opening an online store selling a physical product.
If you want to sell a physical product online then you’ll need to decide on which product and where to source it.
One option for this is to use a site that connects buyers with suppliers. You can use sites like this to evaluate products and purchase inventory for your online store.
There are billions of product variations out there that you can source for your online store. You can look through many of these websites that sell inventory in order to find out what is hot and what others are buying. There are multiple ways for you to look for trending products that would sell well online in the current market.
When evaluating potential products to sell you will want to ask yourself several questions:
- Does it have high profit margins? When you are running a product based business you will want to find a quality product that you can buy at a low price and sell at a higher price. The difference in price is what will be your profit. The higher the profit margin with your product the more money you’ll have to spend on other parts of your business like advertising.
- Are people actively looking for this solution? Are your potential customers looking to buy what you have to offer? If you want a successful online business you want to sell something people are actively looking to buy. How do you find out if they are looking to buy? Instead of guessing based on your intuition, you should instead do keyword research. Are people searching for it? If they are searching for your product then there is existing demand and this would make a good product choice.
- Is it trendy? Products should not only be a solution to a problem but also a trending product because it will be much easier to sell. How do you find a trending product? One of the best options to search for trending products on sites like Google trends, or similar research websites. You can look up different types of products or product categories and evaluate based on the increases in search volume. Once you have a few ideas of what is popular and trending you can then drill down to the product category you are interested in working with for your online business.
Selecting a product will be much easier after you’ve asked yourself these questions and done the research necessary to find a good product to sell.
Once you’ve settled on the product you want to sell you will buy the minimum quantity option so you can move on to the next steps and start to test your business idea.
- Want to try digital products instead? Read: 17 Popular digital products to sell online
Open A Website
Once you’ve decided on your product and purchased your inventory then it is time to set up your shop by creating a website.
For most online businesses I highly recommend you build your website with Shopify since it makes everything super simple to set up and manage. You’ll also only pay a flat month fee for all of the amazing inventory management and website tools instead of giving away larger portions of your profits via fees.
If you need a step by step tutorial on how to open a Shopify store I have other videos walking through that process which is very easy even for beginners.
Shopify works for all online businesses including digital products and services so it’s a great solution no matter what type of online business you have decided to start.
I personally have used Shopify for digital products but it is even better when you are running an online business selling physical products.
You can open up an online store, list your product, and go live in less than an hour with Shopify. Then you are ready to move on to the next step of starting an online business.
Promote Your Products
Promotion is incredibly important when you start an online business. The idea of “if you build it they will come” does not exist when you are starting an online store.
You will need to promote your products and online store in the beginning until you have a regular customer base or online following.
There are many, many different ways to promote a product online. You might try any one of these or combine many of them to see what works best for you.
Types of promotion could include:
- Sharing products on Pinterest
- Making ads on Facebook
- Creating TikToks showing the product in use
- Creating videos of the products on YouTube
- Sending products to influencers for reviews
The method of promotion that will work best will depend on the product and the target market you are selling to. If one does not work, do not be discouraged, just try a new one until sales start coming in consistently.
- Read more: How to get more sales on your Etsy shop
Refine & Repeat
The previous three steps are all you need to start an online business. What comes next is refining your process and then repeating what works.
This is the period where most people give up because it takes work to get it all right – the right product, the right market, the right price point. But once you do you can find success beyond your wildest imagination. Many, many people have done so with online businesses and it has changed their lives and their finances.
Success is out there waiting for you too.
Remember that you don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going.
Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.
Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.