A lot of people have emailed me to ask me “how to start a new, online business?” Some of them expect a straight forward answer, almost like a formula. Well, I have some good news and some bad news…
Bad news first.
There is a chance – quite a high one if you are into statistics and averages – that your business will fail. A formula usually implies guaranteed results. In that context, there are no formulas for business success. No guarantees. Sorry. Too many things can go wrong. And there’s only one you up against too many variables. That’s a lot of bad news.
But the good news is that you already knew that! You as an entrepreneur, as a starta of things, already know the risks.
You are scared perhaps. Of failure. Of losing. But you know how to handle that fear.
You know the game that you so willingly want to play.
So, in earnest my friend, let’s play…
The Method behind the Madness
One word: simplify.
One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity. Bruce Lee
We get all Bruce Lee on our business. We start the simplification process by focusing our attention to online business.
Starting an online business, as you’ll see, is very simple but not necessarily easy.
So to simplify our online business, we first remove the online and focus on the business.
Online Business without the Online
To start an online business, you do not need a blog nor do you need an iPhone app. No Facebook profiles, no Twitter automations, no nothings. To start an online business, what you need is something to sell.
We first establish a business, then take it online.
What are you selling? Simple question, right? We better be able to answer it because way too many people can not.
This topic usually comes with a lot of emotional baggage. For example, you love knitting sweaters (I don’t know why you would love something like that, but still…). So you decide to sell your cute and awesome hand-knitted sweaters online. Or you being clever and all, you start selling eBooks and tutorials online. On stuff like how to knit cute and awesome hand-knitted sweaters.
Nothing wrong with that, I assure you.
But will someone buy it?
You need to find a market and then sell them the product that they want.
Wildly successful companies have been doing this for years offline! Giants like Unilever and Procter-Gamble are essentially marketing companies, finding a market and then making a product for that market.
And being online, this kind of market research is very cheap. I think this is the grand separator from offline, traditional ways of doing business. For your online business, it is significantly cheaper for you to find a market before making the product.
This is the cheapest way to start a business even if you have to pay a market research company to do the online research for you.
Need inspiration? Pat Flynn made a website that in under a year is generating almost 2,000 US$ per month from Adsense alone!
- Pat started by finding a market (that’s market research, all done from the comfort of your chair – given that your chair is comfortable :/ )
- He then created content for that market (that’s product creation. The market had a problem, he provided a solution!).
- To get traffic to his website, Pat used some pretty straight-forward Search Engine Optimization techniques. And within a month (if I remember correctly) his site was ranking number 1 for his preferred keyword.
And just like that, he had a significantly successful online business. US$ 2,000 per month may not be that big a deal for you, but if you are from a country like Pakistan, where the Pak rupee is almost 90 to a dollar, then 2 grand is grand indeed.
To know the details that he followed, check out this page. I suggest you go through the articles, and then try to launch your own website and or blog. Do not just read; take action! If you get stuck somewhere, you can ask me or ask directly at Pat’s blog (he’s very helpful!).
I learn a lot from Pat, who is always doing the next big thing in online business/marketing! I read his blog Smart Passive Income regularly (I am a subscriber) and I suggest that if you are interested in starting an online business, you too subscribe to his blog.
Making sense? To start an online business, you essentially start a business and then take it online.
From a strategic point of view, you are selling “product/service” to “market/audience” via the Internet. The Internet (blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter followers etc) is nothing more than a medium, albiet the most powerful medium at the moment.
You as an entrepreneur need to focus more on the strategy of your business, the medium being but one part of it. Focusing on the tactics comes later.
For example, in my eBook “The First 1,000” I show the tactics of how you can find a market, find a product and then reach that market.
So just pick a strategy, outline the tactics and GO FOR IT!
I know that I am working towards this. I want you to join me. Rest assured, I will be reporting back my progress (success and/or failure) to my blog subscribers.
So if you want to start a new online business in the year 2012, why are you not taking the initiative? What is stopping you? What are your hurdles? Maybe, just maybe, we can overcome this here?
I wish you all the best.