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    Helper II

    Creating an online business?

    Information products, online courses, affiliate marketing, blogging and media... there's a lot of opportunities for creating online-only businesses. I hear about them all the time.

     

    I feel like I have the chops for it, but I've been hesitant to take the plunge. I worry about how stable the revenue would be, how long it would take to gain traction. Heck I worry about what I'd even do as a business model!

     

    What about you lot? Have you created an online business before? Any advice for a beginner?

    8 REPLIES 8
    Super User II Super User II
    Super User II


    @admac wrote:

    Any advice for a beginner?


    All you need is a purple cow and a tribe. I'd be interested to hear more about your plans. Best of luck!

    ...turns out that my two cents is worth less or more depending on the current exchange rate.

    roy darling *my posts seem a lot shorter in my head


    @rd wrote:

    @admac wrote:

    Any advice for a beginner?


    All you need is a purple cow and a tribe. I'd be interested to hear more about your plans. Best of luck!


    Haha! Dig the Seth Godin reference. 😉

     

    The plan I've been kicking around: Register domain names and build websites that focus on interesting topics that I'd like to learn more about. It's like the research projects you used to do in school, but instead of handing it in for grades, you tie in some revenue opportunities through affiliate commissions. All one big experiment, really.

     

    Leveling that up: Automating or outsourcing things like social media syndication, creating a workflow/process that can be easily followed.

     

    But this is all theoretical nonsense, I don't know where to start. 😞

    Super User II Super User II
    Super User II

    If you are familiar with Seth Godin then you already know a lot of the advice I would give? You have the idea so now it's the implementation. I have seen content based websites with more revenue than some online stores have so I know that is a business. All you need is a proof of concept to start.

    ...turns out that my two cents is worth less or more depending on the current exchange rate.

    roy darling *my posts seem a lot shorter in my head

    @rd: Seth's work is great for inspiration, but I find it lacking on actionable advice. The what and the why are plentiful, but the how? Not so much. 🙂

    Super User II Super User II
    Super User II


    @admac wrote:

    rd: Seth's work is great for inspiration, but I find it lacking on actionable advice. The what and the why are plentiful, but the how? Not so much. 🙂


    That is true but his business is marketing, it's not really a "How to" series. I'm not sure if the "How?" is something that can be told? Seems that you just need to develop your structure, test out some deployments and document your results. The next step would be to repeat until you have the procedure and formula down, then you should be ready to let your idea out in the wild.

    ...turns out that my two cents is worth less or more depending on the current exchange rate.

    roy darling *my posts seem a lot shorter in my head

    Advocate IV

    There are tons of books and online resources that tell you how to be successful with an online business. It's a very broad topic, so any advice has to be pretty broad too! 🙂 These might be just common-sense things, but it's information I've picked up as I've been building my brand.

     

    1) Regarding the business side of your question: it's very easy to file for a sole proprietorship, and you may want to if you're just starting out. (One of the biggest benefits for me was that I could give clients an EIN instead of my SSN.) But if you're working with others, intend to have employees, or want to build a portfolio that you can later sell, you may want to open an LLC. Big benefit of an LLC: if a client sues you, you typically don't have to sell your car and house to pay off the debt; your business is liable, but you are not.

     

    2) Get a business account with your bank or PayPal ASAP. Filing business taxes is not that difficult if you keep all transactions separate to begin with, but it's a nightmare if you don't. I believe a PayPal business account is free (and that you can merge an existing PP account into a business account easily). 

     

    3) Do you need investors? If you do, consider creating a business plan. Even if it is not a sophisticated 50-page document, you should have a general idea of your business concept, competitors, industry analysis, projected sales, costs of labor/facilities/production, a management hierarchy, a marketing plan, etc.

     

    There are innumerable resources that can help you create a business plan. I'm not an expert on which is the "best" resource, but I rented a book titled "Limited Liability Company: Small Business Start-Up Kit" by Daniel Sitarz. He has many pages of questions to ask when opening a business, and I found his questions helpful in forming my own business plan.

     

    4) As an online business, your website is your office, and a first impression is everything. Take time to make your homepage perfect and update it as information changes. 

    Hey, I fully endorse what valasaurus has said. I am hearing his competence.

     

    Beyond that, my simple advice - be very careful before spending your hard earned dollars.

    It is way more safer to kick your idea to the community, than sit beating yourself with "if only(s)".

     

    Remember, three roots items for success - desire, willingness, a plan.

     

    Bless!

    Advocate I

    Being an entrepreneur is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.  It's certainly a risk, but anything worth having is a risk. I say go for it and see where it takes you.