12 Feb How to start a business online – and set it up for success
How do I start a business online? That is the big question many aspiring and new business owners ponder as they dream about creating a new life on their own terms and escaping the corporate 9 to 5. It’s a question I certainly asked myself when I first started.
As business owners, we are causing disruption. We no longer want to rely on employers to provide us with a stable income, and place our identities in a corporate brand. And, we prioritise flexible, freedom-based lifestyles where we control our earning potential, and build our own identities. So we want to start a business online and have more control.
We can be our own global brand, build our own reputations and authority, create a digital foot-print, and become the go-to in our niche. As individuals, we can make our own impact. Now, we live in an incredible time so let’s build a booming business!
Here’s what we will go through in this blog:
>> The rise of the side hustle
>> The entrepreneurial mindset
>> The business owner definition
>> How business owners become side tracked
>> Building your business for the long term
>> The key that unlocks long term growth
>> How do I start a business online?
>> How to start a business – The Guide
>> The DIY method vs the structured method.
Building a business is a long term goal. It’s not instant and there are no shortcuts. It requires hard work, effort, and dedication. Because there’s a lot of noise and information out there, it’s easy to be-come overwhelmed and bogged down.
My goal, in this blog, it to provide you with the right information you need for the stage you are currently at. No more, no less. Only the information you need.
THE RISE OF THE SIDE HUSTLE
Did you know that there are over a million side hustlers in Australia? Side hustling is a great way to build your your brand and test the market while still earning a steady income, aka salary from employment. And, there are many people who start a side hustle to create an additional income stream. Living isn’t cheap anymore!
“Never rely on a single source of income.”Warren Buffet
Perhaps you are like me and you have been wanting to escape the corporate 9 to 5 and create a flexible life on your terms. You are over the hum drum of normality and routine. It’s time to pave your own path, create your own footprint, make an impact, enjoy your lifestyle, wake up when you want to, and control your income.
And, perhaps you are side hustling today and preparing yourself to go all in and start living your dream life.
So, do you want to know how to start a business that has long term growth potential?
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET
Before diving into entrepreneurial life and how to start a business online, there is one single shift that we need to make first. And, that is your mindset.
I know what you’re thinking – it sounds like a cheesy buzz word, but it’s true. Thinking like a business owner means you have set your intention, changed your energy, you will cause action to happen, and you have set your purpose.
Once you ask yourself, ‘How do I start a business online?’ you are causing change to happen, in your mind and the world around you. You are saying, ‘there is no Plan B’. This is an empowering statement which gives you the determination to succeed.
Of course, doubt may creep in such as fear of failure and what if it doesn’t work, but with this mindset, you will be able to move through the fears and doubts, because you know what you want, you are determined, and you will do what it takes to achieve it.
THE BUSINESS OWNER DEFINITION
There is a big difference between starting a business and being a business owner. Anyone can start a business, and many fail. But, being a business owner means you pivot, adapt and maneuvre to continue on, regardless of failure and setbacks, to find another path to your success.
To think like a business owner is to think long term about business mechanics such as strategy, systems, automations, hiring. As a business owner, you have long term goals and you are always looking 10 steps ahead to grow and scale.
You have direction, vision, a plan, flow, and intention.
Budgeting, money, and sales, are terms you talk about daily. You have predictions and projections in place. Gone are the days of thinking about the next month or next 90 days. You think long term.
HOW BUSINESS OWNERS BECOME SIDE TRACKED
Shiny Object Syndrome is a big one. This generally occurs in the early days, when business owners don’t have direction, focus, and they are uncertain about what to do. You see what more established brands are doing, or businesses you would like to model, and you jump around trying new marketing, tactics, exciting things you see other people doing. We have all done it, so don’t beat yourself up. I’ve done it a million times. What’s important, is to recognise it – and, then stop doing it!
Another side tracker is getting caught up in consuming free content. I can so easily talk about this because, once again, I did this. I put all of my time and energy on free content because I did not have any income from my business so I was scared to invest in paid courses or coaching. This meant though, that it took longer to start bringing in revenue. If I had invested early on, I would have started bringing in income earlier on.
As business owners, entrepreneurs, we are curious beings and we are always learning. I know I am. I have a business coach, I do online courses, I read books, I absorb a lot of content. But, if I had invested earlier in my business journey, I would be in a much stronger position today.
BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS FOR THE LONG TERM
When you start a business online and set the foundations for the long term, there are a couple of factors to consider.
Factor 1. Growing a business that has long term growth potential means having strong foundations. This means having systems, processes, support, and automations in place to run an efficient business. This may not be something you consider on day 1, but it’s important to realise that these are considerations as your business grows.
Without the proper tools and the right support around you, aka with VAs and a team, your business will not scale as quickly and run as efficiently.
Factor 2. Now, I want you to always remember why you started your business – for flexibility and to live life on your terms.
You are growing a business that complements the lifestyle you want, right? Not just for today or tomorrow, but for the rest of your life. So, you aren’t just thinking 1 or 2 years ahead. Instead, you are setting up a business that will prepare you for the long term. You are redesigning your lifestyle…
THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS LONG TERM GROWTH
When you start a business online, you have a long term vision, right? You aren’t investing your time, energy, and money to start a business for 1 or 2 years. So, to be in a position for long term growth, there is one element that you need from the beginning, over and above everything else. And, that is passion.
You need to have passion. Your business is your baby, and you are putting in more work and effort than you will have ever done with any corporate job. So, you want to love it. Otherwise, it will simply be another job that you dread. A job that doesn’t even provide you with steady income!
You are, or you will, spend a lot of time on your hustle. Days, evenings, weekends… And, it will take time and energy away from other things of your life such as time spent with family and friends, Netflix, holidays… There’s sacrifice involved when it comes to growing a business, so you want to be going in with passion as that is what will sustain you, and give you the energy, drive and motivation to succeed.
So, once you start a business online, you have opened the digital doors to a hustle you love doing. So, let’s look at the steps you need to start your business online and then grow and build it.
HOW DO I START A BUSINESS ONLINE?
Building an online brand, establishing authority, attracting your dream clients, and laying the foundations so that you are set for years to come, involves strategy.
While in the early days you will be seeking out your clients and going to where they hang out online, you are building your footprint and laying the foundations so that soon enough your clients will be seeking YOU out online, not vice versa.
So, when your clients find you online this is what they want to see:
- an optimised website which lists your offers
- your story, who you are and what you’re about
- you and your brand on social media
- your product suite and how you can help them
- you showing up consistently
- the content you put out having mega value
- you as an authority
- you engaging and asking questions.
Building a brand online involves creating connection and building relationships.
We aren’t able to hide behind the written word, and we aren’t meeting up with potential clients over coffee. Our businesses are online so we need to get out there and show our face. We need to BE VISIBLE.
HOW TO START A BUSINESS – THE GUIDE
Let’s now go through the sequence to starting a business online.
STEP 1 – Know your business.
Be clear about what your business is, who you serve, and what you are selling.
This may change over time, but be specific about your business model and what are your offerings.
It’s important to give a reminder that you want to start a business doing something you are passionate about, because the plan is to be doing it for a long time!
STEP 2 – Know your target audience.
This involves defining your client and knowing their demographics, psychographics, and pain points. Don’t do what I did and have the information stored in your head. Spend time doing this exercise, put it on paper.
Why is this so important?
Because it will help you find out where your target audience hangs out online and what makes them tick. It will also help focus your messaging and content.
STEP 3 – Know your competitors.
I’m not a fan of the ‘competitor’. I truly believe there is space for everyone, and ultimately, what works for me, may not work for you. BUT, I still know who my competitors are, where they hang out online, and what is working and not working for them, as this will help me find my place on the map and make my own mark. Doing this exercise will help me define my niche and find what makes me stand out.
STEP 4 – Let’s get online.
You can research and procrastinate all you like, but you won’t start making money until you open those digital doors. So, it’s time to go online.
- Build an optimised website
- Set up a Facebook business page.
Also, have a photo shoot so that you have a library of good quality, high resolution images of yourself.
Now, you’re online. You have set the foundations. This is the beginning. Things are happening!
STEP 5 – Your content plan.
Building your online foundations doesn’t end there. We want to provide value and to build trust and loyalty with our target audience. So, we need a content plan.
Social media, email, blog, video, podcast.
“Content is the new currency”Marie Forleo
- Social media. Choose your social platforms. Check out the Social Media Startup Guide on how to get started on socials.
- Email list. An ever growing email list is crucial to the customer journey and making sales.
- Blog. Start a blog and house it on your website. This is a long term strategy and will help to show your authority and get you SEO optimised.
- Video. Video is a way to add value, show your authority AND for your target audience to get to know you. In this day and age, video is crucial. (check out the Video Strategy Checklist which is a free resource on this.)
- Podcast. This may not be something you start on day 1, but keep it in mind as a form of content to add to the mix as your business grows.
When it comes to content, the key is to be CONSISTENT.
STEP 6 – Build brand awareness and gain visibility.
Next, it is time to step into the spotlight and say, ‘Hey, I’m over here! This is me and this is what I’m all about!’
You want to focus on building brand awareness, building authority, and establishing your presence. Be smart and strategic.
Ways to market your brand, become visible and build brand awareness:
- Go where your dream clients hang out online.
- Make a goal of reaching out to 10 or 15 new people on your Instagram or LinkedIn and then con-nect and engage with them.
- Engage and add value, daily, in Facebook groups where your dream clients are
- Add value, engage and connect with your target audience on social media
- Start a podcast
- Become a guest on a podcast or blog
- Speaking engagements
- Write articles for online publications
Always look for ways to expand your reach, and always be adding value, whether that’s through education or inspiration.
If you haven’t checked it out, download my Growing Your Business Before You Open for Business Guide.
When you open the doors to your business, your dream clients are strangers. They don’t know you from a bar of soap. So, it’s your task to build the awareness factor, be consistent, show up, add mega value to get noticed, get in front of your target audience, and expand your reach.
You want to get in front of your target audience, but you also want to create connection and you want them to get to know you and love you! This comes down to your content and your offers.
Marketing is the only way to grow your business. You could have the best business with the most transformational offers, but without marketing you won’t get in front of your target audience and you won’t make sales. It all comes down to effective marketing.
LinkedIn is a powerful platform right now. It is still relatively new compared to mega giants like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. So, the algorithm is still generous and you have the capability to be seen by your target audience.
Create a Facebook business page, whether you choose to be active on it now or later. Facebook is one platform that a majority of the population are on and they will go check out your business there. They absolutely will. Plus, it is good to have it set up for when you want to start paid ads and your own Facebook groups.
THE DIY VS STRUCTURED METHOD
When it comes to starting a business, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and get lost in the noise. You aren’t sure where to start or what to do, so you consume too much content, you try to copy other business models (unsuccessfully), and you make mistakes. It’s a hard slog, but you get there in the end. It takes a long time and it’s not a direct path. You aren’t bringing in any income so you are too scared to invest in paid courses and coaching. This is the DIY method and the problem with this method is that there’s a lot of trial and error and it will take you longer to grow your business and bring in sales.
The structured method is having support and receiving only information that you need at that time. This method is focussed, direct and gives you the systems and tools you need to start, grow and scale while providing the necessary support and guidance. The structured method helps you to set up and start making sales without the overwhelm.
This method is all about having a mentor, or doing a paid course or program..
Let’s grow your hustle!
Hi, I’m Simran, and I’m here to help savvy new coaches and service-based business owners start and grow a profitable business and land clients with intentional action and strategy.
And, I am here to help you catapult your online visibility with confidence and authority, while being authentically you.
If you want to work with me, find out more about my coaching services.