Recently, I have been getting many questions on how to start an online business, especially in these uncertain times when women have been forced to leave work due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  In this blog post, I lay down a step-by-step guide to starting an online business from scratch.

Work on your mindset.

You may be wondering why this is the first thing that you should focus on, but believe me your attitude is what’s going to move you through those tough times,  and yes there will be a lot of tears and frustrations in your entrepreneurial journey.  So, what do you believe about yourself? You see, what we accomplish or fail to accomplish is largely due to our overall attitude. Your attitude to yourself and what you can achieve is very important. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you say about yourself. Doubt your doubts and silence that voice that says you can’t do it.  Successful people believe that they can achieve what they set out.  They expect to succeed more than they fail. If you want something worthwhile, take the attitude that there are a lot more reasons why you can have it.  Your life will take you to remarkable places if you believe in your abilities and encourage yourself that you can accomplish anything.

Find a mentor

Find one or two people in your industry who are already successful in their business, whom you like and who are doing what you would like to do.  Read about them, follow them on social media, listen to their podcasts or read their blog posts.  Even if you don’t know them personally, make them your online mentors and get business advice from them.

Invest in yourself

You’re going to need to take some courses from those who have gone before you so you can stay current in your industry.  Make a list of what you want to learn from your industry.  Find out what you can cut back from your expenses so you can invest in yourself. 

Know your ideal customer 

You’re not going to be talking to everyone, and that’s ok because what you need to do is to focus on your ideal audience. Be very specific about who you serve, why you serve them and how you serve them.  When I say how, I mean for me, the way I serve you is, I create digital courses teaching you how to start an online business, grow your email list, how to create digital courses and launch them with live webinars and Evergreen webinars. That’s how I teach you what to do.

When you get clear on your why,  you will be able to know the direction you will take and stick with it, especially when things get hard.  Write down what sets you apart in your industry. For example, if you’re in the copywriting business do you use words that easily empower people so that they feel they can do something or words that easily persuade them that they ought to do something? The next thing you do is find where your ideal audience hangs out. Join  Facebook groups in your niche and listen to what people are saying to find out exactly what they need from you right now. When you find who your ideal audience is, marketing becomes very easy because you’re talking to the person whom you have a solution for, and if you are committed to serving them, you are going to see a drastic change in your revenue. 

Create a lead magnet

A lead magnet is a free giveaway that you give to your ideal audience in exchange for their names and emails.  You want to make sure that your lead magnet is so irresistible that they just cannot pass it up. Your lead magnet must give value and it should solve a problem right away. 

If you’re in the information business like myself; I do training programs and I also consult and coach, then your ideal audience may not be ready to buy the first time that they come to your website, they might need a little bit more information from you so that they can decide if they want to work with you.  They also want to know, like, and trust you.  In that case, they need a little bit more information. Your lead magnet will be content that’s valuable and actionable.  If you sell physical products, like health nutritional products, make-up, toys, etc, your audience might be ready to buy when they come to your website, all they need sometimes it’s a little bit of an incentive to help them make that purchase. In this case, your lead magnet is going to be a discount, a coupon code or even free shipping.

Create consistent content 

Once you figure out what your ideal audience needs from you, then you’re going to start creating content that’s going to allow you into stepping into a journey where they can become your prospective clients. Every single week, create consistent content either on a website, or a podcast and share it with your audience.  For those of you overachievers and who like extra credit, do an FB Live or Insta-Live whether anyone is there or not.  Be consistent and before you know it your videos will start reaching a wide audience that might be your ideal customer community.  When I started doing Facebook Lives, I didn’t have an audience but I kept doing it anyway.  I did it for the experience and that has helped me get better at delivering my content and honing in on my message. Make sure you’re giving something of value before you ask for anything in return. This helps you grow your email list which is the next step.

Grow and nurture your email list

Growing an email list is crucial to the success of your business.  But the most important part is nurturing your email list subscribers. No matter if your list has 20 people, you must consistently engage with your subscribers every week by emailing them something that can solve their pain point through a blog post, a podcast or a Live video. By doing this, your audience gets to know, like and trust you and when you’re ready to sell they will be interested in buying from you. 

Build a website 

A website is the software that houses your content and the web pages that a visitor will see.  If you’re good at coding you can create a website using WordPress or you can hire someone to do it for you.  You can also use an all-in-one platform like Kajabi.

Get an email service provider

An email service provider is a service that allows you to collect names and emails from your subscribers.  There are many options for email service providers. Some offer free service up to a certain number of subscribers then after that you pay a minimal fee. Examples of ESPs are Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, Kajabi, Get Response, and many others.

Work one on one with a few people

While you’re just starting out, to build your online business, and as you work on list building,  I suggest that you work one on one with a few people, whether they pay you, or you offer your services for free it doesn’t matter.  This is important because by working with one on one clients, you are in the trenches with them and you will be able to know and understand what they are struggling with.  This is invaluable information, knowing what they want and need and it will help you with your digital course creation.

Validate and create a digital course 

After you have built your email list by the way, you don’t have to have thousands of subscribers, it just needs to be the right audience, you can then validate your offer with your subscribers before you create your first course. Validating a course just means that you get on calls or email your subscribers to find out if your course is what they need and want.  After you have validated your course idea, launch it with live launches over and over and then put that course on Evergreen. If your launch is successful, focus on that one course for a couple of years by tweaking it and making it relevant before you decide to create a new course. 

Starting an online business gives you flexibility and freedom, be willing to be consistent and do it until it works.  

I’ve put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to discover your skill set so you can start offering your services online and grow a successful business. Click here to download it.

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