It’s been two years since the pandemic started. Some of us lost our jobs, and some of us are trying to find ways to earn money conveniently without the risk of getting sick and possibly affecting our loved ones. Thankfully, learning how to build an online business is not that difficult.
You can either construct a website or join up for an account on an online marketplace like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. However, if you want it to succeed, you’ll need to put in a lot more effort.
[Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, so we may get a commission if you choose to use these companies. They are all companies we use and love. Thanks for supporting Don’t Want A Boss!]
If you’ve fully grasped affiliate marketing and understand what motivates affiliates to make sales, it’s time to become a seller and create your own product to sell online. Although there were successful merchants who have never been “affiliates,” establishing an army of them will be much easier if you have a solid understanding of how an affiliate likes to be handled and the resources they require. If you’re new to Online marketing, you shouldn’t start by developing your own product.
Reasons why you should start a business online
- You don’t need a lot of money to start
Many people desire to start a business but are put off by the amount of money required to get it started. A store rent must be paid, inventory must be purchased, and employee salaries must be budgeted for. What if you put everything you have into your business and it doesn’t pay out? This has the potential to bankrupt you financially.
With an internet business, though, all you need is:
- Computer. You almost certainly already have one.
- The name of the domain. For less than $10 per year, you can get one.
- Monthly subscriptions start at $30/mo. for a website builder.
In other words, a $100 start-up capital is enough to get you started in an online business. Naturally, the more money you have to start with, the more internet business ideas you may pursue.
- You can run your business 24/7
Another advantage of online businesses is that they can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week (even through lockdowns and other disruptions). You are always “on” to make a sale once your online company website is up and running. Customers can place orders with you at any moment!
Your business can produce cash with less day-to-day participation because you don’t have to be physically present to make a transaction.
In the past, I’ve started managing my own online business. It changed from time to time. There were moments when I experienced a huge amount of sales, but, oftentimes, it wasn’t that easy to achieve. There are a lot of mistakes that I wish I learned sooner when thinking about starting. Thankfully, I’ve learned and found my own way of successfully running my own online business.
There are certainly risks to starting your own business, but, it’s part of the process. All enterpreneurs and corporations, whether online or not, surely have the same experience. The good thing about you reading this is that there’s a way a minimize your mistakes, and this blog post is all about guiding you to start doing business online A-Z.
This blog post focuses on both physical and digital products and services when starting a small online business.
Chapter 1: Find Products to Sell Online
You’ll have to figure out where you can get things for your online business. Small business owners usually look for one-of-a-kind products. However, if you wish to expand your online store’s inventory, you’ll need to find wholesalers or suppliers. What are the different alternatives available and what are the distinctions between them?
Finding ideas for wholesale products:
Wholesale products are buying products in bulk from a manufacturer or wholesaler. The great thing about wholesale products is that you’re able to buy products at a lower price because of bulk orders. And then, you can sell your products individually at a reasonable price that you fix, hence, you can get the desired profit without worrying about manufacturing costs.
Just make sure you double-check your sources when buying wholesale products. Before you place your first order, read reviews and ask questions. You want to be sure that the things you buy are of good quality and meet the standards that they claim to have on their website.
Finding ideas for dropshipped products:
Dropshipped Products are a method of selling goods without having to keep a stock of them on hand. The term “dropshipping” refers to an online store that operates as a middle man between the factory and the customer. Because you’re selling from the factory to the consumer on a drop shipping website, you don’t want to have any of your goods on hand.
You can avoid paying for pricey warehouse space by employing dropshipping. Dropshipping is frequently accomplished by using Alibaba or AliExpress to find low-cost products. After that, they are profitably sold on Amazon, eBay, or your own website.
Make sure to check out this post that I made about a more in-depth guide on how to find a product that you can sell online. This is where I talk about product research, conducting research to monitor your competitors, finding ideas to sell under your niche, and more.
Unique physical items that you can sell online
Looking for ways to earn money is endless. You basically sell every physical item as long as it provides a good amount of value. You can even sell things that you have in your house to generate more income. Here are some used but valuable items that you can sell online:
- Selling your laptop online
If you want to replace your computer and then upgrade to a new laptop or PC, it’s a smart idea to sell your old one to offset some of the higher costs. Or, if you plan to earn an additional income, you can sell your laptop online.
When doing this, there are a few things to bear in mind to ensure that you receive a good deal and that your data and information are protected. Make sure to check out this post to learn more about selling your laptop online.
- Selling jewelry/s online
Why wouldn’t you want a piece of the jewelry business, which is a multibillion-dollar online marketplace? Because jewelry is a consumer item, it has no limitations! Jewelry is appealing to both men and women of all ages (and cultures)! You’ll never run out of buyers if you keep this in mind.
The jewelry business is a constantly changing market, so you’ll need to keep your clients interested by updating your product line and introducing the latest trends to your store. Now, if you’re up for it, check out this detailed guide that I made to help you start your own jewelry business!
- Selling coffee online
Do you want to turn your coffee addiction into business?
Coffee is a necessary part of many of our morning routines. When we can’t go out to our neighborhood café, we start brewing our own pots at home.
Whether you’re a café owner trying to expand your online sales or a beginner in the coffee industry, the rising demand for online coffee merchants has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ll be surprised how much income you can earn being a coffee-lover.
So, if you’re considering opening your own coffee shop or roastery online, you’re certainly curious about the process. To satisfy your curiosity, click on this link to find out more about selling coffee online!
Finding ideas for digital products:
Although digital products cannot be handled, tasted, or touched, they are consumed by everyone. For example, eBooks, audio files, website templates, PDFs, etc. are all digital products.
Digital products are popular since they can be generated once and sold frequently to different clients without the need to restock inventory, making them ideal for creatives, bloggers, educators, and freelancers searching for low-maintenance passive income streams.
Let’s compare Digitals Products and Physical Products
In terms of online delivery, digital products can be sold unlimitedly, without having to worry about running out of stock. Meanwhile, with physical products, you have to constantly keep track of your products and keep an inventory so you’ll know which products are needed to be restocked.
Digital products are more budget-friendly when compared to physical products. The reason why is that, there are no overhead costs or shipping charges when you sell digital products vs physical products.
You’ll get a higher profit on digital products since there normally aren’t recurring costs (expenses incurred by a business on a regular basis such as rent, and phone bills) so you’ll end up saving and get more profit, compared to physical products.
Popular Digital Products you can sell online:
- Online Courses
Online courses are digital items that teach or inform your audience about something important. Creators and influencers who sell educational content usually focus on a single topic that they are well-versed in.
For instance, Wealthy Affiliate has awesome and truly informative courses that focus on providing you with the necessary training and strategies to launch an online business. The combination of live webinars and videos, as well as text-based study materials, enhances the learning experience. While these tools are useful for beginners, they lack the advanced features found in modern tools used by many of us to make money online.
So, if you’re really brilliant at something, why not create a course of your own, or write and sell an eBook about it? According to Statista, eBooks are one of the most popular information items among consumers.
In addition, eBooks are simply digestible and a terrific approach to generating leads. For example, you may give away the eBook for free in exchange for visitors’ email addresses. Furthermore, eBooks are excellent for establishing credibility!
More educational/online courses to sell:
- How-to guides
- Nutritional plans (such as diets)
- Workout tips/routines
- Informative PDFs
- Music or Arts and Crafts
If you’re a musician or an artist, you’ve probably looked into ways to monetize your skills or the following you’ve built. While t-shirts and prints are always a possibility, digital downloads offer a wealth of options.
Along with their merchandise, a musician can offer ringtones of their best songs. A cartoonist might also make printables, phone wallpapers, or print-on-demand products off of their work. A filmmaker can sell their films on the internet. You can experiment with different formats to determine what your audience wants without taking any risks because you don’t have to keep any inventory.
Another great idea, especially if you have strong musical skills, is to sell sheet music, song files, or even entire albums. For instance, you can compose and record your own music and stream them on streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.
More examples of music and arts that you can sell:
- Digital wallpapers
- Stock photos
- Digital Paintings or posters
- Digital Templates and Tools
What if you’re not a musician or a photographer? Then how about digital planners for sale? Calendars, graphical journals, and notebooks are just a few examples of digital planners. These products have vast markets, and they’re in high demand by anyone looking for a way to make money on the side.
More examples of digital templates and tools that you can sell online:
- Canva templates
- Instagram Filters
- Cover Letters
- Website Templates
- Résumé Templates
- Online Services
Because services are essentially the polar opposite of digital items, they pair nicely with them. With services, your “inventory” is restricted to the number of working hours you can accommodate. Amazing, right?
Furthermore, several services provide users with digital products as part of their “purchase.” Logos will be designed by a designer. An exercise plan may be provided by a personal trainer. You can use this by positioning certain services as bundles containing important digital products.
For example, suppose you have a copywriting background and a portfolio of previous work. You might utilize this to establish yourself as an expert and provide online copywriting services. An increasing demand exists for copywriters who can think outside the box and come up with a clever copy.
More examples of online services you can sell:
- Coaching and mentoring
- Proofreading and editing
- Tutoring and virtual assistance
- Financial consultations
There you have it!
Basically, opportunities are endless when it comes to selling digital products, especially now that we are in a world full of technology and convenience.
Digital items have a significant edge over physical products in terms of profitability. A digital product can be sold multiple times without the need to purchase more stock or manage other costs like warehousing and shipping. Every physical thing, on the other hand, comes with a price tag.
Meanwhile, selling physical products (DIY, drop shipped products, or wholesale products) doesn’t seem like a bad option, though. Some small business owners are itching to try out new stuff. They desire the thrill of creating a physical product, such as hand-printed tote bags or one-of-a-kind candles. Other businesses are searching for a more simplified and efficient approach.
Do your research on manufacturing and scalability possibilities as you pick what things to sell online.
Chapter 2: Do Your Market Research
One of the best ways to after finding a product to create or sell is to do market research. It is best to find a product that is “untapped” and receives high volume traffic. This is not always the easiest thing and oftentimes products are found by accident. Because of this, we always suggest that you have a pen and paper handy at all times so you can record any results that you find.
With the help of this Product Development training from Wealthy Affiliate, I learned a ton when it comes to market research and at the same time, realizing what are the things that we should do and what to avoid in order to prevent any mistakes while doing our work. Plus, I can share all the knowledge I gained through the training in the blog post!
A business is will not succeed if there is no demand. You must determine whether a sufficient number of people are willing to purchase your suggested product or service. First and foremost, internalize it. Pose the following questions to yourself:
- Is the product or service have a cost-effective way of solving a problem?
- Do you know anyone who would be interested in buying the product or service right now?
- Is the market for your products expanding in a way that it doesn’t go out of style or not?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, you might have something worthwhile to pursue. When conducting market research, here are the things you can do:
Do a survey
You might think that putting your amazing idea out there is risky because someone else may have thought about it first. However, speaking with the people of your target audience can assist you to avoid wasting time and effort on something that isn’t going to work. That is why having a survey is really important whenever you come up with a new product.
Do some research about the product you plan to sell
Product research is the greatest approach to find out if there is a demand for a product you plan to offer on Amazon, for example. Doing Product research gives you. Idea, data, and trends on a product’s sales and performance, so you’ll know if your product is likely to sell for a profit on the platform.
Studying your competitors
Studying your competitors is one of the key ways to know if your product is worth selling. Because, if there’s a continuous demand for the products that they are selling, you’ll surely do great in promoting your own products too. You can learn from their strategies on how to sell, how well are they managing their own products, or how they handle customer queries.
When comparing prices, don’t assume that a lower price is always better. There are people who are willing to pay a higher price for high-quality items. On the other hand, if your target buyers believe that your competitors’ products are overpriced, you could step in to provide them with a less expensive alternative.
Doing a keyword research
Using keyword research tools like Jaaxy can help you analyze if the products under your niche bring potential customers.
Chapter 3: Define your “Hero”
The market for an online seller is vast, but it is also competitive. Identifying who your target buyers are can really help you get the job done easier rather than just selling everything out in the open but you have no idea what those people are looking for.
What is a “Hero” by the way?
“Hero” is what we call our target buyers. Before a Hero could solve their problems, we, as their guide, should be there to help them. And, our help is in a way of introducing products that could help them find a solution.
To obtain sales and ultimately scale your business, you need to know exactly who your target buyers are. Research both demographics and psychographics data to understand more about their info and preferences. Then we can use this research to form a “buyer persona”.
What is a buyer persona? A buyer persona is like a representation of your ideal customer, what are the challenges they face whenever they plan to buy a product, what their typical days are like and how they make decisions.
Building a buyer persona is very important because you’ll know how to tailor it to each of your customers’ needs. Remember, there are different buyers with different points of view, so having a buyer persona can help you decide how you’re going to provide solutions to them, and that will definitely work for them.
Then, if you’re able to understand their need, and then gain their trust, only then, will they be open to exploring what you have to offer.
The following information is commonly seen in a buyer persona:
- Name and title
- Personalities, such as psychological characteristics, professional background, demographics, sources of information, awareness of your product, attitudes, and opinions
- Challenges when buying the product
- Goals they want to achieve if they plan to buy the product
- Buying behavior
The persona generator from Hubspot is a step-by-step guide that will guide you through the process of creating a meaningful client, customer, or user persona for your business.
Chapter 4: Write a Business Plan
The next step is to draft a business plan if you have a solid business idea and a target market that represents potential customers.
If you’re complaining and thinking it’ll be like that dreaded term paper that no one will ever read, think again! A business plan is essential for the success of any online business since it specifies what has to be done to achieve your objectives and goals. Consider it a road map for getting from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time and for the least amount of money.
Here is the information you need to fill out when making a business plan:
- Executive summary: A detailed review of the business
- Details regarding the problem, your solution, the competition, and your competitive advantage are included in the products and services section.
- Information on the target market, future growth, and predicted changes in the industry are all included in a market analysis.
- Marketing plan: Describe how you want to reach out to customers and sell to them, as well as the costs, pricing strategies, and strategic relationships.
Chapter 5: Evaluate the Products
When analyzing a product, you must first determine whether it is an existing product, one that you are planning to produce, or one that you have created yourself. The following features of the product should be considered:
- Cost (How Much does the product cost to make and/or sell?)
- Environmental impact (What is the product’s environmental impact, including packaging, transportation, and disposal?)
- Safety and Function (How is the product manufactured, kept, and utilized in a safe manner? What is the purpose of the product and how should it be used?)
- Materials used (What are the materials used to make the product?)
- Aesthetics (What does the product look like? Is it neat?)
It doesn’t matter how cool the product appears to be. What matters is that it will bring a lot of profit in the long run!
Chapter 6: Create a Brand
Your logo, website, marketing materials, and how you build your relationship with your buyers are all part of your brand identity.
The simplest way to start this process is to write a few sentences that sum up the attributes you want your brand to represent. Is it casual, pleasant, and fun? What about something solid, high-quality, and dependable? Possibly youthful, bright, and entertaining?
Every brand also has a distinct, unique appearance that is tied together by color, a logo, and a product image.
Choose a color scheme that includes one main color and two or three secondary colors that express your brand identity, such as red, which is often perceived as bold, dark blue, which is luxurious, and green, which is organic.
Your logo should be straightforward and expressive. Complex designs do not work well when printed in small spaces or in black and white. Because your logo will appear on everything you create, it should be carefully designed to convey the identity of your brand.
You can make one yourself by using Canva!
How can you establish your brand in such a way that people see it positively, and what steps do you need to take on a regular basis to maintain those positive thoughts and emotions?
That is the question you must ask yourself every time you are working on your brand. That is the question you should ask yourself every time you perform a business-related action.
Chapter 7: Launch your Online Store
The launch of an online business is the next stage in getting it off the ground. First and foremost, you must first select an e-commerce platform.
The anchor for selling online is an eCommerce platform. From a product launching to payment processing, this type of software has everything you need.
Listed below are a few popular choices:
- BigCommerce. A software-as-a-service platform with a wide range of basic commerce functionality and no restrictions on extensions or modification.
- WooCommerce. An open-source platform that you may customize to create any kind of store you want.
You can add tons of WooCommerce extensions to help with shipping, bookkeeping, marketing, and much more. However, you’ll need to pay for hosting as well as a developer to set up and design your store.
- Shopify. Shopify is an eCommerce platform with over 4,100 integrated apps and a wide range of native functionality (separate subscription fees apply). It also comes with over 70 professional and responsive themes for you to choose from while creating your website.
Second, you can add your products. Once you’ve decided on a platform and a store theme, you must work on these two things:
- Images of the products. Provide high-definition visuals of the goods from various viewpoints. For additional information, see our eCommerce photography guide.
- Descriptions of the products. Instead of lining up features, concentrate on the benefits that the consumer will receive. This article will show you how to write interesting product descriptions in a hurry.
The conversion rates (Conversion is when your visitor has taken the final action and clicked the product that you offer or the “Buy” Button) of your product pages are heavily influenced by product photos and descriptions. So take your time and make sure they’re correct!
Third, choose your payment and shipping. Before you start selling online, you’ll need to set up systems for collecting payments and shipping your products out.
When creating a payment form or an e-commerce store, one of the most important things to consider is how you will accept payments. Customers anticipate that online payments will be quick, secure, and convenient. To ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible, you must set up the appropriate payment gateway for your business.
There are many payment processes to choose from, but some of the most common include PayPal and Stripe.
PayPal is one of the most popular payment options. It allows small businesses and e-commerce platforms to securely accept payments in person, online, or over the phone. PayPal, Venmo, and PayPal Credit are all accepted payment methods. It also includes advanced fraud protection technology as an added layer of security.
Their transaction fees start at 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction.
Stripe is also a popular complete payment platform. It can bill customers and accept payments both online and in person. Another advantage of using Stripe as your website’s backend payment processor is data security.
With their integrated plan, their processing fees start at 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction. They also provide you with a customized plan that can be tailored to your specific business needs.
If you’re going to handle your own shipping, be sure to carefully set up your shipping options on the site. If your company is based in the United States, compare pricing and services from USPS, UPS, and FedEx—or look into other options in your home country.
Customers appreciate free shipping, but if you intend to provide it, the costs should be factored into your product pricing. When creating your pricing and shipping rate structure, don’t forget to include the cost of boxes and packaging materials.
When it’s time for the buyer to make a purchase, make sure that their information is saved using customer relationship management (CRM) software. This lets you send order notifications, follow up after their purchase, and stay in touch with them in order to build customer loyalty.
Chapter 8: Grow your Online Business
When it comes to growing your new product or service, it can seem like there are endless options. Knowing where to start and which kinds of promotions will work best for you might be challenging. The truth is, there are a variety of ways to promote your company, and what works best for you will depend on your industry, products, and target market.
Using social media
You can promote your products on a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and a slew of others.
For example, make sure to build a good social media presence on all of the major social media platforms in order to link back to your website. Each platform has its own set of users and target audiences. Instagram and Pinterest are visual platforms, so it’s important to incorporate high-quality photos whenever you’re promoting your products there.
Make sure that your social media accounts are used to spread the news about your special offers and new products. This is a simple approach to reaching out to your target buyers, and your followers will be able to simply share your products on their own social media accounts.
Consider hiring a social media manager to keep track of your product across all of the different channels so that you can both see who is tagging, commenting about, or asking questions about your product on all of the sites. You’ll be able to communicate directly with your audience, which will help you build brand loyalty.
Use of emails
Email is an excellent way to spread the word about your new product or service. It’s also a terrific way to attract people to sign up for your newsletter in the first place. This is an example of a newsletter:
You can send out an email campaign promoting your new product, or even a series of emails leading up to the launch date. This email might be sent to a broad audience or, in line with technique, it could be a one-time offer for subscribers or customers only.
Just a few tips for email marketing:
- Prioritize the new product’s benefits and value rather than its features.
- In your subject line, emphasize the offer.
Host an event
Aside from getting customers enthusiastic about your new product or service, events are a terrific way to encourage new prospects to interact with you in person, which is a great approach to convert them into customers.
Hosting an event doesn’t have to be super fancy and super organized, it can even be held virtually! You can host a Facebook live session to promote your products.
Create a Landing Page
You can also create a landing page for your website to attract potential customers about your upcoming product.
A landing page is a separate web page that is designed specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” after clicking on a link in an email or an ad from Google, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another similar website.
This is an example of a landing page:
While you must keep your landing page copy short, you should include as much of the following information as possible to answer the reader’s question, “What’s in it for me?”
- Enticing headline
- Draw attention to the issue and the solution.
- Proof or short testimonies
- Describe the advantages and the value of the product.
- Call-to-action (CTA) that is strong and has a sense of urgency
If you want to learn more about selling stuff online, I made a simple 5-step guide on how you can start doing business online from scratch! I recommend that you visit this post.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to start an online business. Take each step one at a time. First, choose a niche and products that are in high demand. Determine your business concept and fulfillment approach next.
After that, you can begin establishing your online business. Select an eCommerce platform, customize its appearance, and begin adding products to your catalog. Concentrate your efforts on increasing traffic to your online store.
Once your business is up and running, make a point of gathering as much data as possible. Then examine the information to learn more about what works and what doesn’t. Make the necessary changes to your business strategy.
Don’t be concerned if you don’t know everything there is to know about eCommerce. No one can accomplish it. We’re all still learning!
Creating an online business, and constantly managing it to keep it running isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. At some point in your life, you might face a change of heart and decide to do things differently. And it’s totally understandable.
Letting go of a business that you flourished with all the efforts that you had can be devastating. If you decide to change your passion, or you got a new job that’s getting in a way of your online business, or if you wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and live in the country. This blog post that I made will show you how to sell a website.
When it comes to selling your website online, it’s critical not to go in blind. Examine sites that have sold for the prices you’re looking for. Be patient, put money into your website, and make it the best it can be.
Need more help in starting a profitable online business? Find me here in my community!
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