The Internet and global competition have many people searching online to find ways to start their own businesses for free or at a very low cost. An online business poses its own set of challenges: global competition, language and cultural barriers, and finding a reliable service provider. The idea is to take the business idea and turn it into a reality.
Global Reach Online
The global marketplace has changed over the past decade with a growing number of people having access to the Internet. That means what was new 10 years ago is now established, so taking quick and decisive action to turn an idea into a product or service is even more important than before. It also means there are more potential buyers of your product or service.
Ideally, having an online business has the owner working from home, but that may not always be possible, so be sure to have a Plan B ready in case the unexpected happens. Working from home has the huge advantage of minimizing expenses such as leasing office space, so the idea of a no cost startup is very doable.
Add a Twist to Existing Models
Most of the time what works is not someone else’s idea but your own. There are some ideas people have that have already been realized, and if this happens to be the case with your idea, see if it can still be profitable by making your angle unique or innovative. There is a far better chance of success if you love what you do.
Whether you want to start a blog from where you can sell advertising, or create an eCommerce web site from which to sell products, there will be some knowledge required. That includes knowing about how the Internet works, not just about your business. Along with the knowledge, some experience would be useful. But neither of these by themselves are sufficient for success – you need to have a strong work ethic and commitment to your online business.
This last statement is important because there is a lot of good advice out there, but most avoid telling you what is necessary to keep a start-up from becoming a drop out. Knowing this should help you avoid unrealistic quick money-making schemes that many have fallen for and are now sitting on the sidelines.
The Popular Affiliate Marketing Model
One growing area in start-up businesses is what is called Affiliate Marketing. The way it works is simple. You join with one or more companies to sell their products on your web site and they pay you a commission on every sale based on an agreed rate. The company knows what sales your web site generates based on what is called an Affiliate Link, which tracks people who visit your web site and then purchase products or services from them.
One advantage of choosing an Affiliate Marketing program as a startup is that it is relatively low maintenance, requiring you to only monitor sales. A business that provides a service or where you have to deal with inventory issues requires more of your time and energy. With Affiliate Marketing, the company handles the inventory and customer relations, freeing you up to create other avenues of success.
As with any start-up venture, there is a lot of time invested in getting things started. Once you get the train moving, the goal is to keep it moving, which requires you to discover the best ways to attract people to your web site. There will then be two potential revenue streams: one from the existing customers who return to your site, and those who are drawn to your web site because of what it offers. In either case, the idea is to get them to keep coming back.
After a period of time, you will have both experience and knowledge in Affiliate Marketing and the sales and marketing angles to direct people to your web site. The amount of time will be different for everyone, but the ultimate goal is to get there. The best part of it is that you will be making money in the process.
Get Started and Take Action
Now that you have an idea of what to do to start your own online business, what is left is how to make it happen. You already have your idea, so to keep things simple, we will not get tied up in details but just provide the big picture and let you decide the best course of action based on these guidelines:
Establish a web site of your own – This can be done through a web hosting site (GoDaddy, iPage, etc.) and cost about $12 a month for the basic service.
Create a unique domain name – Yahoo.com and Google.com are domain names, that specifically tell people who you are on the Internet. Register the name with your web hosting site or from a separate domain registration service. This will probably be less than $1 per month.
Create the web site – This is both a matter of technical design and web site content. Remember, the idea is to draw people to your web site so they will click on the Affiliate Links from which you get a commission. A web site that has poor content or is hard to use will turn potential customers away – and they will likely tell others about the negative experience.
The reason your business idea is so important is so you will make it specific enough to create keywords, which search engines use to rank your web site. The higher you are in the ranking, the more easily you will be found. This also has to do with part of the web design and content, so while there will be a learning process with Affiliate Marketing, there will also be a process in learning about web design and what is the best for your particular situation.
Web designers and content writers can be hired to develop your web site, but that is an additional expense you might not want to have to get your business off the ground.