Recently updated on February 26th, 2023 at 11:06 am
Looking for an easy guide on starting the online business? You came to the right place, because this easy-to-follow guide for dummies will make everything clear.
It’s not a secret that today people spend a lot of time on their smartphones and computers. Over the past few decades, the Internet became a dominant virtual communication tool with plenty of opportunities to spread the message across the worldwide audiences.
The sad thing about the Internet is that too many people don’t realize how significantly powerful it can be when trying to start and grow a business.
With today’s technology, starting an online business can be easier than you think, and believe it – it’s always worth trying.
Here we will answer why should you start an online business, what is the best online business to start, and how should you do it properly.
Why should you start an online business (top benefits)?
No matter how profitable online business can be, a lot of people still don’t understand its power and choose to invest in traditional business models.
Traditional (physical) business can be generally hard to set up and maintain compared to digital, and it definitely restricts your freedom in one or another way.
There are many reasons why online business is superior to tradition, so here are few of them:
1. Gives you freedom
Traditional business typically requires a specific workplace, and big chances are that you will have to stick to it, especially if you’re just starting out. While online business only requires an online presence, you can work from anywhere you like as long as you have access to the Internet connection.
Many successful online business owners maintain their businesses while traveling around the world, or actually living in their favorite world’s places. This type of job and lifestyle can give you outstanding and enjoyable life experiences that you are less likely to gain in 9-5 hour job.
As an online business owner, you can also make your own working schedule as well as dress-code. If you ever dreamed about waking up whenever you want and working from your bed in pyjamas, then the online business can be your solution.
Additionally, not having a physical business, doesn’t mean you can’t have a physical team working for you. You can’t earn all the world’s money by yourself and as your business progress, you will need some extra hands to come to help.
Thanks to freelance service marketplaces for giving the opportunity to hire employees remotely. Platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork are places where thousands of talented freelancers are waiting to get hired and work for your online business.
You can either hire freelancers for single projects, or you can employ them for long-term ongoing works.
2. Runs 24/7
With today’s technology, your online business can handle financial transactions throughout the day meaning that you can sell your products or services beyond traditional working hours.
This advantage of online business is super beneficial for those who are selling digital products or services. 24/7 online presence allows to not only collect payments but also deliver the product at anytime someone makes an order.
3. Doesn’t require physical inventory
Unlike traditional business, digital business only requires a computer and the Internet connection in order to be ran. All the necessary tools and inventory is digital and can be managed by computer mouse clicks.
In addition, inventory and tools that are accessible online make this type of business environment-friendly and less costly.
4. Minimal investment
For every successful online business, you will need a website, which is fairly cheap to set up and maintain compared to potential financial returns.
Today, a quality website that constantly gets visitors can be as much profitable and valuable as a real estate. The main difference is that it is incomparably easier and cheaper to build up a website rather than a house.
In order to set up and run a website, you must purchase website domain and hosting – and it doesn’t have to be costly at all. People make millions from websites that you can start and maintain for as little as 40$-60$/year.
For example, Bluehost offers high-quality website hosting packages starting for as cheap as $3.95/month. It also includes FREE domain for your first year.
What is the best online business to start?
There are many business opportunities and ways of how you can make money online. It is always a good idea to choose and stick with one online business idea until you master it.
Before we get into the best online business you can start, let’s overview the rest also powerful money-making online opportunities.
If you have a special skill that could serve other businesses, you can work on freelancing platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer. Get hired by business owners and exchange your skills and services for money.
There are loads of opportunities to provide services in your desired sphere. That can include:
- graphic & web design
- digital marketing
- copywriting & translation
- video creation & editing
- programming & coding
- audio creation & editing
+ many more.
The fact that you are delivering assigned works to people, defines your job more like providing services rather than running a business.
To run a business by utilizing freelancing platforms you eventually want to transition into an online agency.
This digital agency should have a number of collaborators, which can help you to scale up and deliver the services more effectively rather than you would deliver by yourself.
As you will have to pay out for the people working in your agency, starting up and running a digital agency may require a decent investment.
Furthermore, starting a digital agency can be quite competitive today and you need to really have a good brand reputation to beat competitors and attract new customers.
Generally, starting up and successfully running a digital marketing agency requires a lot of work and experience as it also evolves numbers of risks.
If you want to start a profitable online business that is less risky and headache-free, there is another option for you, which we will talk about soon in this article.
Nowadays, you can sell products online without actually owning them. Dropshipping is extremely popular and effective product-selling business model that can be maintained without holding any physical inventory, owning a warehouse or being responsible for product shipping.
In 2017 around 23% of worldwide online shops were based on drop shipping, and these numbers are growing.
It all starts with the partnership between a retailer and a product supplier/manufacturer. In the drop shipping business, similarly like in Affiliate Marketing (which we will talk about later) you are acting as a middle-man who connects the buyer to a vendor (manufacturer).
This is how it all works in short:
- You drive visitors to your online store
- Once someone makes a sale you forward it to product’s manufacturer and he ships a product directly to the customer on your name.
- You earn a profit – a difference between how much you sell the product on your online store, and how much the supplier sells on his.
In order to connect a buyer to the main product supplier you will need a bridge – an eCommerce shop with installed WordPress website building platform.
You can also use Shopify online store building platform, which is specially designed for a dropshipping business.
Research the potential markets and choose a profitable niche for drop shipping business.
There are hundreds of drop shipping suppliers you can choose from. The most popular ones are: Aliexpress, Salehoo, Doba, Wholesale2B, DropShip Direct, and more.
While the existence of physical shops is gradually decreasing, the existence of online stores is significantly growing with around 17% every year.
It indicates nothing, but the fact that drop shipping is a powerful growing industry that you could invest in.
Dropshipping is easy to start, low-cost & low-risk online business choice with wide market opportunities.
However, there are some cons and reasons why, for example, Affiliate Marketing, can be considered as a better option to start with.
While both can be incredibly profitable, generally speaking, drop shipping evolves more work and more responsibilities in comparison to affiliate marketing.
In order to run a successful dropshipping business, you may have to pay attention and time to more factors than affiliate marketing requires.
For example, dropshipping requires customer support, managing the inventory, being responsible for transactions, and many more. Therefore it might be challenging to handle everything on your own.
3. Affiliate Marketing (Recommended):
Affiliate marketing is probably the best online business to start in 2019. Its simplicity and effectiveness make this business model simply amazing.
In 2018, Dropshipping and Affiliate marketing were the most profitable businesses to make money online. Though, affiliate marketing compared to dropshipping considered evolving lower-risks, less financial investment, and generally less work.
In short, affiliate marketing is a business where you recommend someone else’s products to people and get a commission (% of sale) when someone purchases via your affiliate link.
It is a win-win business model as you help brands to sell their products and can get a generous piece of a pie for that.
According to the research, affiliate marketing industry is worth a lot – 12$ billion dollars.
In fact, 81% of the world’s established online brands rely on affiliate marketing. That means there are enormous markets with millions of products for you to promote and earn from.
Today, you can make money by promoting anything from a toothbrush to a digital book.
For example, Amazon has its affiliate network (Amazon Associates), which allows you to choose any product from their website, promote it and earn a commission.
So how much affiliates earn?
They can earn up to hundreds of thousands a month. For example, an affiliate website www.dollarsprout.com in one of its reports has claimed of making $180,285 of revenue in a single month in January 2019.
While multi-millionaire online business owner Franklin Hatchett claims he is capable of making $35,000 profit purely from affiliate marketing in just 60 days.
Once you have everything set and established, you automatically get targeted visitors coming to your site, and this is where the beauty of this business model comes – it becomes a passive income stream.
As you automatically generate traffic (visitors) to your site, you potentially generate sales on the autopilot meaning that you can sit back and watch how your website is generating money by itself.
No matter how basic this business model may look like, it evolves efforts and time to start – same like any other type of business.
The fantastic side of it is that everyone can start it as it requires minimal investment – a website’s domain and hosting.
The biggest thing you actually need to invest into this business is your focus and time, and that’s where the most people fail.
How do I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?
There are many ways how you can start affiliate marketing and turn it into passive income stream.
The easiest, yet the most effective way to start affiliate marketing is building your online blog where you recommend someone else’s products and leave your affiliate links inside.
But before, let’s have a look into the right strategy when choosing a product.
Choose the right product to promote
Choosing right products to promote is a crucial part. You don’t want to end up spending your time promoting a product that has no financial potential or you simply don’t like.
There are many factors defining a good product, but before that, we must find a profitable niche.
Find your niche:
Here’s a list of the most popular niches that you might want to work on:
- Health and Fitness
- eMarketing & eBusiness
- Crypto Currency
- Hobbies and Activities
+ many more
These niches haves tons of affiliate marketing products to promote, but just because these niches are the most profitable does not mean that you have to necessarily dive into them.
The main downside of such niches is that they are all competitive, and the high competition is not really what you want in the start.
Also, these niches are too general, and as you start, you really want to focus on something more specific.
Here’s what you really need to follow when trying to find the right niche.
- Find something general that interests you (for example, pets)
- Narrow it down – find a sub-niche within the niche (for example, vegan pet food)
- Make sure it has buying demand and not too much competition
- Find the products that you can align with your niche
Make sure your product is profitable:
Commissions for sold products can vary from 1% to 100% dependent on the product and the vendor’s affiliate program.
For example, you can get much higher commissions for recommending digital products rather than physical ones.
It’s because unlike a digital product, physical product may evolve ingredient, manufacturing, packaging and shipping costs, so the product’s vendor is financially incapable to grant you high commission rates.
This is the main reason why Amazon, which mainly sells physical products, only offers commissions up to 10% depending on the product and niche.
While Clickbank affiliate marketing platform which sells only digital products pays out higher commissions ranging from 50% to 75%.
Depending on your affiliate marketing strategy, you can earn anything from a few dollars to thousands from a single sale.
Digital products like webinars, online courses, and online tools are on the huge demand right now, they can cost a lot and you can earn great commissions from a single sale.
When choosing an affiliate product we have to make sure that product is selling or at least has the potential to sell. You can usually check this data inside your affiliate marketing platform.
Top affiliate marketing platforms:
+ many more
If the product has just been launched and has no sales data, you need to make sure that it was developed by a reputable brand, which had some success in the past.
Also, factors like return rates have to be taken into account and it’s a good idea to avoid products with higher return rates.
Create a Website
While there can be multiple affiliate marketing channels, a website remains the main part of this business. Website will be your home where you will be inviting your visitors (traffic) and recommending their products.
You might be wondering why would you need a website when you can share your affiliate link on social media and everywhere else.
It’s because a website is a long term asset where you can consistently get targeted visitors, and capture their personal data (email address).
By presenting your affiliate offers on your website you will look more professional and legit.
People are more likely to buy what you recommend if you provide enough valuable content around affiliate products.
Having a website for affiliate marketing is essential and it’s so inexpensive and easy to set up. All you need is:
- Web Hosting (minimal cost)
- Domain (free with Bluehost)
- WordPress website building platform (free)
Once you have your website up and running, you mainly want to focus on regularly publishing high-quality content.
High-quality content is considered a blog article, which is based on around 1800-3000 word length answer to a specific question or query.
In order to see your first affiliate marketing results, generally, you will need to have at least 20-30 quality blog posts on your website.
That’s how much content it usually takes to get organic traffic from Google, which is considered the most profitable traffic source for affiliate marketing.
Those blog posts can be a mixture of money pages (product reviews) or informational articles.
In fact, informational articles can also bring you income as you can still sprinkle some affiliate links within it.
Get organic visitors to your website
All you have to do is to send visitors to your website and provide content that persuades the reader to click the link and buy. Sounds simple, right?
It can be simple if you follow the right strategy.
A lot of marketing gurus will tell you to go out and get traffic from social media platforms. Well, they are right, but that’s not what you should be focusing on in the beginning.
As mentioned before, Google is considered as one of the best traffic sources for affiliate marketing.
Why is that?
Search engine traffic can be very targeted as your website answers queries that are being asked on Google. So you receive visitors based on how you are targeting them with your keywords (optimizing).
Also, this type of traffic can generate you passive income. Firstly, you need to put enough work for your article to show up in the top Google search results according to a specific question (keyword).
Once it gets to the top 10, the chances are it might stay there forever. That means you can get regular traffic to that blog post for a lifetime, as well as the income if you monetize it well.
Google helps this business become automatic and passive. If you decide to take your time off affiliate marketing and go on holiday, Google will stay there and keep generating you traffic and income.
The main disadvantage of traffic from Google is that it can take a long time for new websites to rank. The average time for new sites to start ranking is about 3-6 months, so don’t expect quick results.
The strategy of search engine traffic looks simple, though requires some knowledge. Here are the key points you must follow when trying to rank on Google as a new website:
Find the right keywords to target
Explore the queries (keywords) your audience is asking on the web and answer them with a blog post.
Make sure that enough people are asking for your question before you put your time into answering it. You can simply find search volume of the keywords with KeywordsEverywhere web browser extension.
If you are just starting out, ideally you want to target low search volume keywords because they usually don’t have too much competition.
Focusing on something which is 50-300 monthly search volume is a good idea for a start.
Also, you want start by targeting long tail keywords. That means they should consist of 4-6 words. The longer and more specific your keyword is the easier and quicker you can rank for it.
For example, if you are in the weight loss niche, the worst scenario would be if you target keywords such as: “lose weight”, or “exercise burn fat”.
There’s an enormous level of competition in such key phrases and you won’t ever even show up on search results as a new site.
The much better option would be if you go for something like: “lose weight with detox diet” Such long-tail key-words are targeting specific audiences and you are more likely to become an authority in front of them.
Publish quality content
As your main goal is to get traffic from Google for your affiliate site, you must do what Google wants. It wants nothing else but a high-quality, informative and unique content.
To put it simply, Google won’t reward you with high rankings if you are not bringing any value to the web. Google can see how much visitors spend time on your page as well as many other behavior metrics.
For example, if a visitor, who visits your post after finding it on Google search results (according to his keyphrase) and immediately leaves it, Google finds it as a bad sign.
Your content should be informative, interesting, helpful, and most importantly – answering people’s questions. In this way, it holds the reader on your webpage and makes it scroll to the end.
But, the end of your post shouldn’t come quickly as Google appreciates wordy content.
According to the study from Backlinko, the average word length for a post to rank on Google’s first page is 1890 words.
Depending on how deep the topic is and the overall competition, you should be publishing content which is about 700-3000 word long. Yes it does take time, but Google will eventually reward you by bringing targeted visitors to your site.
Last but not least, multimedia is playing a very important part in your content quality and Google rankings. It’s always a good idea to add some revelant images or videos into your content.
Multimedia elements increase overall user experience and it will make your content easier for the visitor to read and digest.
Multimedia is also a great tactic to extend the reader’s time on your page, especially if there’s a video to watch.
Paul Lian is a researcher, writer, and founder of WayToChanges.com. With over eight years of experience in blogging, digital marketing, copywriting, and digital products, he has built multiple six-figure income streams. Through his blog, Paul shares his best expertise, strategies, and tools to help readers achieve financial freedom and success in their own digital ventures.