Advice on Starting an Online Business from Home
Traditional retail giants such as Sears, JC Penney and Macy’s are closing down stores and declaring bankruptcy due to online shopping. The Bay is also selling its Vancouver, BC flagship store due to retail competition, including online shopping. Sears failed to adapt to a changing marketplace, ceding market share to Walmart, Canadian Tire, Best Buy, Costco and Winners, and now Amazon, which keeps growing with over 1,000 employees in Vancouver and opening in Calgary, Alberta.
It is no surprise, more people are also starting an online business from home. However, one of the first things that you need to keep in mind when setting up an online business, is that you must treat it as – a business. This means that you must be prepared to put in the time and effort in order to reap the rewards, even if you are only starting it as a part-time venture at first.
Why Choose an Online Business?
Popular types of online businesses are selling goods at auction sites such as eBay, creating and selling digital products and setting up a custom storefront for your offline business. You may want to make downloadable audio and video training products, or you may just want to get into affiliate marketing instead.
One reason people decide to start up an online business is that they have more control over their working life. This provides them with a chance to spend more time with their family and friends. Today much too much time is spent working, and many people find that they have little or no time to spend with those that they love.
You don’t need to get up in the morning to rush off to work and get caught up in all that traffic. Now that time which would normally be wasted sitting in traffic can be used to your advantage. Plus, you can start working later in the morning if you want to.
Lower startup cost is another one of the main reasons why you may choose to start an online business at home. As many transactions are completed online, there is little or no need for lots of paperwork. All you need to get an online business going is a computer, a high-speed internet connection, printer, and few other essentials.
But the most important thing is to get clear on why you want to start an online business from home. Without a strong enough why, you won’t have the motivation to keep going, long after the excitement is worn off. For me, it was having some control over my future years due to retirement uncertainty and disabled family members.
What Do You Need to Start an Online Business from Home?
Without having a blueprint on how to reach your goals, you may find that not just your efforts, but the resources may well be squandered. Having a plan of action provides you with focus, direction and momentum to keep the business on track. Better yet, get a coach or buddy to help you stay accountable with your new online business.
As your new online business will be conducted from your home, it is important that you set up a home office prior to starting up the business. You should arrange to have all the necessary equipment that you will need such as a computer, internet connection, printer, desk and office chair.
You’ll need to create an attractive website with all the necessary information and purchasing options on it for the products or services. In order for your online business to be successful, it needs to be promoted effectively to potential customers via search engines, email or other sources.
What Are the Types of Online Businesses to Start from Home?
A turnkey website such as Shopify or Amazon is where you would purchase a website from an already established sector and then run the business on this web platform provided to you by the established business. To promote such an online business, you still need to promote to your target market.
An online business can also promote your professional expertise. The types of businesses under this umbrella are online consultancies, computer software assistance, and hardware trouble-shooting and even how to start an online business.
Online marketing is one of the most common types of online businesses. You can run this business by exclusively marketing your own products, or by marketing those of other companies as an affiliate.
Affiliate marketing is promoting a product in which an affiliate is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer or sale provided through their efforts. The compensation or commission an affiliate gets may be based on a certain value for each exposure, visit (pay per click), a new customer (pay per lead), sale percentage of the item sold (pay per sale or revenue share) or it may be a combination of any of these.
With an affiliate program, production costs are no longer an issue as the product has been developed and proven to be in demand in the marketplace. Best of all, the delivery and customer service comes from the merchant.
How Do You Market Your Online Business from Home?
The first thing you need to learn is to optimize your website so that it will start getting ranked in the top search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo). The sooner you do this, the faster it will get ranked and the sooner the traffic will start to appear at it.
Learn how to optimize your website. The best way in which you can optimize your website is by ensuring you have back links to your site. This is where you have links to your site placed on other sites through various different methods below.
Link exchanges are where you exchange links with other websites with complimentary products or services to your own. It will not only give you direct traffic from the link, but will help to increase higher rank in search engines.
It is important the articles you write are interesting and useful information regarding your niche. There are many article sites to publish your articles for free and get a link back to your site. This helps you gain even higher rankings with search engines. You should always include information about you, the author (usually a resource box at the bottom of your article), and to include a link to your own website.
By distributing to various article sites, you gain traffic (when someone sees it there, they will click on your link if they like what they read), and you get a link that points directly back to your site, which the search engines use to rank your website.
With online forums, do not forget to include your signature line at the end of any comments that you make, as this will provide a link back to your site. It’s best to stick to forums on the same topic as what you are trying to sell. Not only will you be learning about your potential customers, you’ll establish yourself as an expert in the field.
Blogs are a great way of ensuring you get back links to your site. You can post to your blog several times a week and use it as news page for your site. Blogging has become a way of providing fresh content to promote your business online.
How to Get Started with Your Online Business?
The costs of starting an online business are considerably reduced. You do not need to rent an office and hire employees immediately. You can start working from home. All you need to get started is a good computer and good internet connection. And once you start growing, you can hire remote contract workers on an as-needed basis.
However, the most important aspect of any online business is to generate traffic to your website. There is no point in you having a great product if nobody knows about it. You’ll need to get a strategy in place to find your ideal customers for your product or service, generate targeted traffic from online and offline prospects, and convert them into sales.