The Ultimate step by step guide to starting an Online Business
So you want to start an Online Business while you are at College or as a side business for some extra cash?
- You don’t have any idea of what and where to start
- Worrying about failing prevents you from starting
- You have an idea but are not sure what to do next
Does this sound like you? Don’t worry. I am going to show you some very easy and actionable steps to start building an online business that takes less time and money.
Want to know the best part?
Most of the people have that great idea and zeal to starting up but never took that first step.
You’re really doing a very brave thing when you’re starting up an internet business. Something most people never have the guts to do.
The idea is not to be an overnight success with your college startup. That rarely happens. The idea is to start small, make a ton of mistakes, and learn how to run your new online business.
Without wasting your time.
Here we go..
The 19 step approach to starting an Online Business
#1 The most important First Step
Believe in you and make a firm decision to take action
You’re attempting to do unknown, feeling both fearful and excited at the same time.
I know how you feel – because I’ve been here myself.
So, start the first step and believe in yourself. Keep a year time to your startup journey.
#2 Digital Skills are Diamonds
Learn digital and Internet Business Skills such as Photoshop, WordPress or PHP coding, digital marketing skills, and SEO skills. You can find inspiration and free tools to learn by yourself Here.
Fine tune your Digital Marketing skills with these 40 Free Tools.
#3 Hate is not Fate (Love what you do)
Be prepared to learn all required skills by yourself or by your founding team even if you hate them to learn. You cannot ignore learning for the first year as you can save some money by doing things on your own instead of outsourcing.
#4 Problems are your starting point
Now, you are determined to start and all you need is to find one problem and find ways to solve it.
Think of problems around you. Or simply list out problems that you face or any of your friends and family face.
Not only you find a solution to the problem but also you should focus on providing the best solution to the problem than anyone of your competitor in the market.
#5 No Funds, not a Problem
Gather funds from your savings (pocket money or any other passive sources) (at this stage you only need 10K for 1 year. Yes, you really need very limited money but you have to be ready to learn and do everything by your own (coding, sales, product prototype etc). Use these funds for Domain name, Hosting and website or your product design only.
#6 Getting hands dirty
Talk to early adopters, the problem facing persons or initial people in your contacts.
Show them your solution (a mock design or prototype sample. Here, you no need to have any prototype (app/ website/ e-commerce platform etc or product just show them how you will build it).
Conduct surveys talk to experience business people, entrepreneurs, and mentors etc regarding what you going to build.
Find mentors and coaches at networking events and sell your passion they will guide you. The more focused your questions the more answers you will have.
Take feedback and research results. Fine-tune your product design and built a prototype.
#7 Testing and Fine tuning is the way to go
Test the prototype with users, partners, and other stakeholders.
Now, start building a beta product or first version of your product (don’t worry about making a perfect product in your initial days. You can always get it done after you have constant cash flow).
#8 Focus on one problem and creating Value
Solve that one problem what you identified with your prototype/beta product. (core problem which should be a value for your users)
Show the value of your product to users and partners.
#9 No Free Service and Voluntary
Collect money for your services. Just do not give away anything free that will kill your business.
Charge customers, partners from the beginning. If you do not have paying customers something is missing in your product/service. So, iterate the product until you find some paying customers.
#10 Never slow down Keep Improving
Focus on an iterating product with the feedback of initial users. Continue this process until you make a wonderful product that is competitive with any other similar product in the market.
#11 The fantastic Finisher Trait (The Most Important trait a founder have to live with it)
Finish every task you started with the same energy, passion, and commitment you had when you started the startup journey. People love you for the results and the works you complete not for the thoughts or ideas you have.
Here, is an inspiring video of a British Athlete who showed the world the commitment of finishing the job with never give up attitude that won applauds from millions of viewers.
#12 Social Media your best Friend
Set up social channels and build a community of followers.
Write content on the website, social channels and start blogging and always add value through your content.
#13 Designs and Content two Eyes of a young First-time Founder
Create messages and product info. Product Explainers or other benefits of the product for marketing collaterals and online marketing creatives.
Use designs and make social posts (infographics, flyers, videos, explainer videos, etc.)
Share valuable content related to your business on social channels always share valuable content to your users
#14 Data is Gold Mine keep minting
Build your users, email list, followers and engage them. These people are the gold mine.
Build influencers list and work with a laser focus on getting first 1000 paying customers in 6 months time which is a magic number for business success.
#15 Every Dime is Worth Saving
Maximize your efforts on social media(keep less or very little or no money for marketing).
Once you start getting the income you focus on social media, paid to advertise on Facebook or Google and content promotions ( a well researched and implemented paid campaigns will increase your traffic to website/app and thus increase sales).
#16 Track and Keep a record of everything you do
Measure everything. Your efforts in sales/marketing/online marketing/paid marketing.
Optimize and convert your leads and traffic to have some sales.
#17 Knowledge is Wealth stock as much as you can
Read, read, and continue to read blogs, articles, books related to your industry and startups.
Implement one by one what you have learned fast and quick in what you do at startup.
#18 Decisions delayed is a deadly sign
Fail fast learn fast and make decisions fast.
Analyze your competitors, other similar industry products and build the team and keep learning new skills and update yourself regularly.
#19 Motivating is the Mantra
Always keep motivating and be surrounded by smart and positive people. Bring the same energy every day as it was your first day.
Bonus: Keep a notepad and jot down all your thoughts and ideas (On an average human being come up with 72k thoughts every day so don’t miss the important idea or decision slip away from you)
It’s never too late to start instead of regretting yourself of not starting up early at your later part of life. On an average people have thousands of ideas and still do not believe in Taking Action.
You see results and progress when you finish the tasks whether they are small or big, easy or complex. Complete the tasks even if you want to sacrifice on perfection it definitely helps going forward.
Build team; learn skills and do whatever it takes from sales calls to coding all by you instead of wasting time on depending on others who fail to do the job on time when needed.
Continue to read, learn from information available on blogs, books, and the internet. Get help from mentors, coaches, and other founders.
Keep talking to customers from early days and build a customer base first and focus on improving the product with the feedback from the market. Never spend any money on advertising until you get good traction. Find ways to connect with customers on social channels and engage them.
Track everything you do and continue to optimize all your works. Keep motivating and maintain a good life-work balance. Be Happy and Healthy you are doing well as you are in a wonderful space called Startup.
Did I miss any points or you want me to add honorable mentions. Take some time to comment on your favorite steps below.
I hope you found this post useful! If you did please recommend 🙂
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I Would love to answer your startup questions and get your feedback.