Featured expert – Terri Zwierzynski
There is a lot of misinformation out there about what you “have to have” to start up an online business, and a lot of unscrupulous internet marketers selling products, programs and tools promising easy riches with little effort. The truth is that; you don’t need most of what they are selling. Here’s the bottom line on how to save lots of time and money on what you DON’T need — and tips on what you really DO need to start your online business:
1. You DON’T need to start with a keyword-rich niche. That’s putting the cart before the horse! If you pick your niche based solely on keyword research, you may be stuck trying to run a business that you don’t really care much about. INSTEAD, choose the niche that you already know a lot about, can build credibility with and ignites your passion. It’s likely to be; a niche that reflects strongly who you are and what you are good; — your past experiences, your stage in life, or that thing that friends are always coming to you about when they have questions. THEN find the keywords that people use to find information about that niche.
2.You DON’T need a turnkey ecommerce website. These can be expensive and often make promises of riches that just don’t pan out. You also DON’T need to spend thousands of $$ to build your own website. INSTEAD, a WordPress blog installed on your own domain is a much easier and more flexible solution, and can be easily configured to look like a website with static pages as well as dynamic blog content. You can customize your blog with readily available blog themes, many for little or no cost. And you can add content with an easy-to-use interface that keeps you in control of your website — not your web designer. You’ll also need a way to capture names and email addresses from people who visit your website, and a valuable freebie to entice them to subscribe.
There are many good autoresponders out there that can help you automate the subscriber capture process.
3. You DON’T need a fancy business name or logo. It’s easy to get caught up in designing just the right acronym or beautifully-designed icon. I know people who have literally spent months on this instead of getting down to launching their business!
INSTEAD, stick with your own name, and invest in a good headshot for your website and social media sites. A strongly branded business name and image can come later. And spend your time developing great content for your website — articles, audio, video, etc.
4. You DON’T need to be incorporated. At least not yet; when you start making money is when you’ll need the legal protection and tax benefits that being incorporated (or an LLC) can bring. INSTEAD, make sure you have the appropriate business licenses for your locale, and basic liability insurance for your business. Consult your Secretary of State or equivalent provincial government agency to see what you need.
5. You DON’T need a rigid blueprint startup program. If your business is going to be successful, you can’t rely on a fill- in-the-blanks blueprint that hundreds of other people are following too. INSTEAD, invest in startup business coach, or a well- recommended program that includes individual help for your particular business situation. Ask your colleagues for referrals to trusted coaches and program leaders.
Good luck to you and your startup business!
Terri Z is The Solo-CEO: a self-employed internet marketing consultant to solo entrepreneurs, freelance writer, and grassroots promoter of the solo entrepreneur lifestyle. She runs www.Solo-E.com, the resource website for solo entrepreneurs which attracts thousands of visitors monthly from over 100 countries on six continent.
Featured expert – Terri Zwierzynski
Those 5 points are true. However, a good business plan is essential for knowing your goals and the direction you are heading. Otherwise, you will be wandering aimlessly wasting time and resources, rather than working toward your goals.
Hi Terri, great article! As a small business marketing coach, I appreciate the first point that talks about finding your niche and finding one that represents who you are and what you are good at. Many times small business owners focus on trying to be everything to everyone that they get lost in the shuffle. This is a big key and something that I focus on during the first few lessons with my clients. Well said and great job!