Are you thinking of starting an online business from home? In this post, read the answers to the top five questions asked by aspiring online entrepreneurs. Hopefully these will give you some information you have been seeking.
1. What is the first thing I should do?
The first thing you should do is to research, and find out what online opportunities are available. You might type into Google search “online business opportunities” to see what kinds of possibilities are out there.
Look these over. Read about them. See if you can find one that appeals to you. Go to their website. Read it carefully and decide if the information is complete and paints a picture of something you want to investigate further.
Don’t limit yourself to one choice; if possible, find at least two or three that you want to check out more fully. Once you know what is available, then you can choose the one you feel is best suited to you.
You need to decide what kind of business you want. Will you be involved in eCommerce? Do you have a product line you want to promote? Perhaps you want to sell eBooks online. If you write your own, this approach can be very successful.
What do you know about affiliate marketing? There are many affiliate marketing sites out there — in fact, the company I have chosen is such a company.
To me, the really valuable part about affiliate marketing is how it works — you promote and provide a link to products offered by other companies. When someone comes to your site and wants to buy, they click on the link and it takes them to the seller’s site. If they buy, you get a small commission.
This method is so much easier and less expensive to start because you don’t have to carry the product and you don’t have to ship it when it sells. All that work is done by the company at the other end of your link. You just choose what you want to sell and become an affiliate of that company. Then you can put the product on your website.
Yes, I keep mentioning a website. Once you choose the opportunity you want to try, you will need a website on which you can sell the products. Some companies prepare a website for you, but be forewarned: With this type of site, you will have little or no control of your website’s progress.
Pick an opportunity that will teach you how to build your own website, unless you already have that expertise. I didn’t. My company offers excellent training through the whole process, so when I finally found it, I was very pleased.
2. How much should I know about the business before jumping in?
It is very important that you do your due diligence here. A good way to learn more about the business is to type the name of the company into Google and then look for reviews.
So many people select something but neglect this step. Read more than one review, if it is available. These will let you know a lot about the company. You will also learn if it is something you want to avoid
When I started, I chose something because it sounded good to me, but I didn’t know I could see reviews. They could have saved me money and time and steered me away from the wrong choices I made.
Because it is so easy to be led astray by promises of wealth and success, I have started reviewing business opportunities on this website. Go to the categories “affiliate reviews” and “moneymakers?” and learn more about some of the companies out there. Some are good and some are total scams. If you read enough reviews, you will get better at recognizing these.
Other than the information you can find online, you need to know if the company will allow you to build the kind of website you want. Look at what they offer. Are you able to include what you want on your website, or must you follow the company’s selections of what will appear on the pages? Some companies offer ready-made pages that you cannot modify or change.
3. How much will it cost me to build this business?
Part of the answer to this question you can find on the company’s website. Is there an enrollment fee? Is it quite high, or is it reasonable?
Once you join, are there hidden upsells that you are expected to buy to continue? Sometimes these can be very high. Here’s where reviews will serve you well, because they will tell you about upsells. The company may not say anything about them until they get you enrolled.
Is there a high monthly fee? Do you get enough value for that money to make it worth paying it? Are there training materials or webinars they expect you to pay for? In general, how transparent are they about their fees? Do they withhold some information from you until they know they have you “captured?”
One of my first mistakes was to join MOBE, which was recently shut down by the FTC because they were collecting exorbitant sums from the members for all upgrades. Fortunately for me, I got in not too long before they were closed down
I was prepared to borrow a large sum from a friend to continue. I am so happy I didn’t get scammed out of that money. The company bombarded me daily with stories from members who were making large sums. Of course, they didn’t mention how much money these members paid just so they could have that success. Many people lost money on that one.
Transparency in a company is important. They need to make it clear to from the onset exactly what to expect. There are some legitimate fees you might encounter, such as the purchase of a domain name. This fee is low, and is paid every year or two, depending on your sign-up plan.
You may have to buy an email autoresponder program, such as AWeber, so you can create a mailing list and send out regular notices to those people. If you get to the point where you have no time to do everything, you can hire writers to help you create content.
It is good to add images to posts, as pictures can often get your message across better than words. I have never paid for an image. There are many free sources of images available. You just need to be sure you don’t get tangled up with copyrights. Those could get expensive.
At this point in my online career, I pay a monthly fee and have purchased my domain name. That is all. Eventually I will need an email program for the website. The business has been very affordable.
4. How much will it cost to run this business once we are open?
If you are buying product, it could cost you until you get a backlog of stock built up. Don’t buy a lot of any one item until you see how it sells. Then you just have to reinvest when you sell out of something.
Establish good shipping relationships with your merchants, so you know they will ship to you promptly when you need something. If possible, set up a drop-ship arrangement, so they will ship the product to the customer for you.
To avoid these problems, join an affiliate marketing company, as then you will not have to buy products or ship. This will keep your expenses ‘way down.
A nice thing about an online business is that you will not need employees until the business grows to the point that you can’t do it all yourself. By then, you will be making enough that you can afford to hire a helper.
So, your ongoing expenses will depend partly on what kind of business you establish.
5. How will I get customers once we are up and running?
Traffic — that vital ingredient — without it, you will make no money. So how do you get folks to visit your site?
A large part of traffic can come from search engines, if you have the proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization) factors in place. If you can, select a business opportunity that includes SEO training. It’s a vital component. The more of your posts that appear on the first page of Google search, the more traffic you will have.
One of the most important parts of SEO awareness is good keywords. These are the words or phrases that people are likely to search, and if these are placed properly in your title and in the first paragraph of your article, they will help a great deal to draw in readers.
Very often, an opportunity that “does it all for you” will have no SEO program. There will be no way you can influence the outcome because you have no control. Avoid such companies.
Another important way to find traffic is through social media. If you set up a page for your business on some social media sites, and then post to it regularly, you will help create the awareness that you are online.
Once you establish a following, start an email list and regularly send out messages to the folks on your list. Through these reminders, they will be encouraged to revisit your site to see what is new.
These questions are all vital ones that you will want answered before you make a decision about which company to choose. I wanted to give you a bit more comprehensive view of my choice. Click the link below to learn more.
For your enlightenment, you can look at this post, in which I go back and answer these five questions as they apply to the company I have joined. Perhaps you, too, will want to choose Wealthy Affiliate as your venue for success.