Welcome to your guide on how to start an online business in 2024. You’ll now learn the steps you can take to find a business idea and turn it into a profitable venture (while still working full-time).
All this can happen in your free time and without any prior experience in digital business. However, make sure you don’t skip a step as each of these is a stepping stone to doing things right and actually making money as an online business owner.
Start with The Basics
- 5 Things You Should Know Before Starting an Online Business
- 4 Small Business Problems to Prepare for If You Want to Be Your Own Boss
- How to Write a Business Plan
- What is a Lifestyle Business and How to Build One
- What You Need to Know to Start a Small Business in The US
- How to Start a Business with No Money: 10 Business Ideas for Newbies
- Break The 7 Biggest Barriers to Starting a Business
- Why Start a Business in Your 20s and 30s
- 8 Must-Dos for Anyone Who Wants to Start Their Own Online Business
Latest Business Articles
How to Start an Online Business in an Hour
People spend (waste) a lot of time in social networking sites like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.
People also spend a lot of money on buying coffee every day.
Seems out of the topic? Well, if you just paid a little more attention to these things, you would be surprised to know that you could have built a lot of businesses with that amount of time and money.
Instead of watching a short movie, or surfing the web for 60 minutes every day, you can commence a commercial activity!
My people think that starting a business is a slow process and requires a lot of work. That is not necessarily the case.
You can now just promote something to the world in just an hour or so! Sometimes even less! You can learn how to start an online business based on your existing talents like photography, coding, writing and also music.
This is possible because of online tools that help with starting your business faster and easier than you ever imagined. All the tools are either affordable or free.
The business you’re about to start can be new or existing as well. It can be something that is entirely new or something that is a division of your current business. If you’re still wondering how to start a new business in just 60 seconds, read on!
1. The Preparation Stage.
Time: 25 Minutes
Before starting a business you need to create a model that consists of four entities.
- The main objective: You need to have a detailed version of your goals and ideas, and your intellect that you’re about to monetize.
- Existing problems: Make a detailed outline of the existing problems that clients and customers are facing today.
- Solutions: In this section, you should have the solutions and fixes to the existing problems in the market.
- Analysing the market: This is a section of vital importance. You need to make a detailed analysis and survey of the market, to understand it better.
Make sure that the business model revolves around the skills that you already possess.
In the beginning, it is recommended to start your business in low key. If you want someone like your close friends to be involved in the business you can send them invitations we are email or phone calls and ask them to join your business.
2. Launching The Business.
Time: 25 minutes
This is the most important part. The first impression always lasts the longest. If you’re planning to start an online business you can use Shopify to create an online store for you.
The process is hassle-free and more efficient than creating one yourself. If you’re planning to create a brick-and-mortar store you can use the business tools that Shopify provides to launch the store efficiently.
Start the business by selecting the right name for your store. This can make a huge impact in drawing customers in.
Find a name that is catchy and not trashy as well. The name can be changed later if you feel that it’s a better strategy. Select the right kind of slogan with Slogan generator from Shopify and add it to your brand.
In the case of a digital business, make sure that you choose the right kind of website design template based on your target audience. Create pages for your business on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and share them with your friends and the world.
3. Formalities and Legalities.
Time: 15 minutes
Your business’s legal registration is something that is important right from the start. You should pay close attention to it. If you already own a business you might have known how important this procedure is.
If you want your new business to be combined with your existing one, you just need to call your Chartered Accountants and ask them to complete a few formalities.
If you don’t own an existing company, and if you’re starting this company right from the scratch you can opt for a general partnership.
There are many service providers who are specialists in business formations, so you can get their help. They can provide advice in areas such as trademark registration and tax solutions. Justs send a quick message to your service provider or CA and you are done with your legal formalities.
Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to start a new business!
You’ve been productive by starting a new business in 60 minutes. Just think of the possibilities of what you can do in the next few hours. You can take your business to the next level.
Now, let’s get into more details about your new online business.
Steps to Starting an Online Business
1. Find a profitable business idea
The first step to starting an online business is to find a good idea to work on. You’ll be investing a lot of time, possibly money, and effort in it, so make sure you’re working on something that has real potential to earn you passive income, allow you to quit your job and do it full-time, provide value and use your skills and talents, or else.
Now, there’s a chance you might already have plenty of ideas, all in different niches, and you aren’t sure which one is the right one for you.
Another possibility is that you have no idea what you could do that can turn into an online business.
In both cases, answering the questions below will allow you to come up with the right online business idea in no time:
What are your skills?
If you want to learn how to start an online business, you need to know what you’re good at first. Here, strengths are more important than weaknesses, so list them down.
What are you passionate about?
The next step of the idea generation process is to identify your passions in life. You want to combine what you’re passionate about with what you’re good at.
Is it profitable?
Next, you need to make sure you’re entering a niche that has enough potential.
Check out competitors and study their websites. Look at the categories they cover on their blog, read some of their blog posts. Try to find out how they’re making money.
It could be through selling products, having ads on the site, offering services (like freelancing, coaching, etc.), affiliate marketing, or else. It’s often a combination of all of these too.
Most online business owners, especially bloggers, earn from partnering with brands too, but that’s often in the form of standard content on their blog or social media so you can’t figure it out right away.
Head to Amazon too to see if people are buying products related to your business idea. Continue your research on Google where you can learn how to make money in that niche, how much others are already earning, or else.
What problem are you solving?
At the heart of every business is a problem, and with all you do, you’re trying to solve it. So define the main problem your target audience has and how your online business will try to solve it.
If you need some inspiration, here’s a list of 60+ side hustle ideas.
2. Launch your website
Once you know your niche and have an idea of what kind of an online business you’re going to start (freelancing, blogging, eCommerce, etc.), it’s time to build your platform.
Having your own website is crucial. It’s the only place on the Web that you can fully control and it’s where you’ll build your brand, get traffic, and teach people all you know. No matter how much your business grows over the years, and how many monetization methods you try, your website will always be there, at the heart of your Internet business.
Now, if you know nothing about starting a website, that’s perfectly fine. The technical aspect of this shouldn’t scare you. Simply follow the steps outlined below.
A website consists of a domain name (the name of your site/blog, which you can think of now), a hosting provider (the company that provides the server allowing you to serve content online) and a content management system like WordPress (which is the software allowing you to do all that other bloggers are doing with their websites, such as creating and promoting content, building an email list, selling things on their site, etc.)
Here’s the exact process (combining your domain name, hosting your site with a reputable company like Siteground, and installing WordPress):
Step 1: Choose your hosting plan.
SiteGround hosts over 2 million domains and is one of the top WordPress hosting providers widely recognized for their legendary client support and innovative approach to performance and security. In a nutshell – you can’t go wrong with them.
Head to SiteGround’s WordPress Hosting page and pick one of the 3 plans they offer.
The StartUp plan is great for beginners and it’s pretty affordable. At any next stage of your online business, you can upgrade.
The GrowBig plan, on the other side, is ideal if you are looking to host multiple websites and want to get a speed boost for your website, which is essentially important for Google ranking. The plan comes with SiteGround’s inhouse developed caching plugin – the SuperCacher, which speeds up to several times the performance of WordPress websites.
If you’re planning to have an eCommerce site or a high-traffic blog, you can also try the GoGeek plan for more server space and additional features to boost your site speed and growth.
Click ‘Get Plan’ and let’s move onto the next step of creating your website.
Step 2: Choose your domain name.
It’s time to pick and register your domain name. That’s the name of your site and it can be your actual name or the name of your blog (that depends on whether your business and brand will be based on you, or on your niche, content and products).
Here’s a helpful guide on how to choose a blog name you won’t regret.
On the next page of the signup process, you’ll see this:
If you already have a domain name, click that option and write it down. If you’re just starting a blog for the first time, then you’re registering a new domain name too so you can now type it and see if it’s available.
You can also pick any domain extension you want (such as .com, .net, .org, or else). Something you can’t go wrong with, though, is the .com option which is what I’m using for this blog. It’s the most popular one, especially if you plan to create evergreen content and have visitors from all over the world.
Domain registration has to be paid too but that’s the fee for 1 whole year.
When you click ‘Proceed’ and if the domain name is available, you’ll be taken to the next page.
Step 3: Completing your order.
Fill in your account information (email and password) as well as your client information (name and address). Next, add your payment details.
Finally, review the hosting services and extras.
Here, you can change your plan, choose which data center you want to use (if your audience is mainly in the US, then that’s the right location for your web host too so the content can be served to the visitor in an instant).
Now’s the time to also decide if you’re serious about your business website and pay for a whole year. With this, the site setup will be provided for free.
Click ‘Pay Now’ to complete your order.
When your account is created and you log in the first time, you’ll see the option to ‘Set Up Site’. Click the button and choose ‘Start New Website’ on the next page.
Select ‘WordPress’, choose your email address and password for your WordPress account, and hit ‘Continue’.
The next page can be skipped and after that, your installation will be completed.
You’ll be able to view and access your new WordPress site directly from SiteGround.
Save your account information as you’ll need it.
Step 4: Using the WordPress Starter plugin.
The SiteGround WordPress installation comes with a WordPress Starter plugin which simplifies the website building process.
Using it begins the moment you log into your new WordPress site. You can also stop the process any time by clicking ‘Exit’ at the bottom.
The WordPress Starter plugin guides you through the first steps of building your new blog.
Step 1 is choosing a theme.
The next step is to add some functionality to your site by choosing some of the following plugins:
The third step allows you to start growing your website through marketing and analytics and you can install these:
That’s how to start an online business and build your first website. Let’s see what’s next.
3. Start blogging
The next part of this How to Start an Online Business guide covers blogging, branding, marketing, and finance.
You’ve laid the foundation by choosing an idea and building a website. Let’s now add a blog to it and start creating content.
I can’t stress enough how important content is to your overall online business strategy.
No matter what your niche is, you need to create content in multiple ways (blog posts, detailed guides, video, social media posts, podcasts, courses, etc.) so you can serve every visitor, Repurposing content is easy as once you’ve published a blog post, you can easily turn that into a series of emails, a free Ebook for your subscribers to download, many social media posts, a quick video, or else.
To help you get started with blogging and your content strategy, check out the following resources:
- How to Create a Blog Content Plan That Works
- How Much Money Can You Make Blogging
- 5 Essential Things to Do Before You Launch Your Blog
- How to Grow Your Blog to 1 Million Page Views
4. Build your brand
You and everything you do online is what shapes your brand. You need to make sure all the elements of your online business are consistent with your brand.
- Using the same colors throughout your site, images, products, etc. Use a free tool like Canva to create all kinds of graphics for your brand. Articles with images get 94% more views!;
- Creating a logo and a tagline for your blog to stand out;
- Writing an amazing About page sharing your story and what the blog is about;
- Be on every social media channel and get active. That’s a way to connect with your audience and other business owners, build a following and create brand awareness;
- Make professional photos of yourself and add them to your website and social media sites;
- Once you have some customers or even blog readers and email subscribers, ask them for feedback and display these testimonials on your website to build trust.
5. Register your business
How to start an online business in your country? That’s something you’ll need to think about once your website is launched, you’ve built the foundation of your brand and have started making your first money.
Registering an online business is an easy process, but you need to follow the rules of your country. For starting a business in the US, check this guide.
I reside in the Netherlands, though, and had to visit the local Chamber of Commerce to register it. I then hired an accountant to take care of my finance (for a reasonable monthly fee). From then on, I simply had to create proper invoices for my blogging business and every client, and pay my taxes whenever I was notified.
Once I registered my business (and paid a small fee), I also received a company number and a VAT number, which I then included in all my invoices and other documents.
6. Manage your finances
Now, even if you work with an accountant (which I highly recommend), you’ll still need to take care of the money your business earns (even if it’s not much at the beginning).
- Making a budget;
- Creating a PayPal business account;
- Making a separate business bank accounting;
- Adding a savings account to it and saving your money for taxes there.
You can also use contracts with sponsors and other clients.
The photos and graphics you use should be royalty-free. For that, head to sites like Pexels, Pixabay and Unsplash. You can also purchase quality stock photos and use them freely on your website.
To act as a real online entrepreneur, you should display your contact information in visible places on your website.
7. Master marketing and sales
How to start an online business when you aren’t good at marketing or sales? You’ll learn as you go.
Once your website is up and running and you’re creating content for your audience regularly, you can start learning more about marketing.
For a start, promoting your content is key as you want traffic that can then turn into leads for your business.
You can do that with optimizing your articles for search engines so they can rank high for keywords and get clicks.
Part of SEO is also getting backlinks to your site and mentions on other sites. You can do that by creating awesome content, mentioning influencers in your niche and then letting them know (if your guide is truly unique, they might share it with their readers too).
In addition, you can exchange links with blogs of similar size, create linkable assets such as infographics, and guest post on other platforms.
Next, you can create graphics for all pages and share them on Pinterest.
I teach all you need to know about SEO, Pinterest, writing evergreen content that ranks, and getting your blog to 100K monthly page views, in my course Blog to Biz System.
You can also consider paid advertising, such as Facebook ads. Influencer marketing is another thing that can lead to a lot of traffic and sales, but it might cost you a lot.
8. Track your success
The question ‘How to start an online business?’ is usually followed by ‘How to grow a new online business?’. You first need to track your key metrics and see what works and what doesn’t.
Install Google Analytics and get to know your top traffic sources and your audience. You get to see all kinds of data about your traffic and the behavior of website visitors, as well as compare it to how it was before. Knowing your top pages and what brings people to your site is also valuable information.
Another tool by Google that website owners must use is Google Search Console, where you can check indexing status, understand why your blog performs well, see if it’s mobile-friendly, monitor spam issues, etc.
Your WordPress site offers its own dashboard (provided by Jetpack) but you can also install a plugin like MonsterInsights to see all the important traffic data directly on your site.
In addition, any other platform you use will likely provide a dashboard with stats, full reports to export, etc. That includes Pinterest or any other social media you’re using (and where you’ve created a business profile), ConvertKit (or any other email marketing software), SiteGround, etc.
Log into each on a weekly basis and check and compare numbers. If something isn’t improving, ask yourself why and what you can tweak.
Starting and growing an online business is a never-ending series of creating, experimenting and updating things. You should enjoy the process as you’re trying to build something that will make you money forever.
Now you know how to start an online business and how the initial stage looks like. Keep improving your skills, take courses and learn from experts. There are so many strategies you need to test so you can find out what works best for you and your audience. Once you do, you can earn 6 figures as an online entrepreneur, be location independent, and replace your job income with your online business income.
Business Success Stories
- How Kayla Went from a 6-Figure Debt to a 6-Figure Business
- How This 25-Year Old Became Her Own Boss
- How Josh and Jill Earn $500/Year from Their Business
- How Megan Became a Full-Time Pinterest Manager
- How This Couple Makes $100/Month from Their Blog
4 Tips to Help You Run a Successful Online Business
Every 30 seconds the world of e-commerce and online sales generates more than $1.2 million. This doesn’t account for mobile sales, which currently rack up approximately $270,000 every half a minute.
Do you want a piece of this online sales pie? If so, you aren’t alone. However, if you want to ensure your online efforts are successful, you have to know what to do, and more importantly, how to do it.
Now the question is – how to start a new business? Do you even have an idea or a plan?
If you want to join the world of online entrepreneurs, no matter if you are selling a service or a product, then use the tips and tools highlighted here.
1. Discover a Need and Find a Way to Fill It
If you are just starting out, you may make the mistake of trying to find a product, and then a market. If you want to increase your likelihood of success, begin with the market.
The idea is to find a group of individuals who are looking for a solution to a common problem, but that aren’t finding any results.
The internet has made this type of research pretty easy. Use the following resources:
- Go to online forums to see what types of questions people are asking and what problems need to be solved.
- Find keywords that people are searching for, but that don’t have much competition.
- See who are your possible competitors by visiting their online stores to see what they have done or are doing.
This is the first step to a successful e-commerce business. Once you have found a market and a product, the fun really begins!
2. Create Your Website
After you have determined your market and product or service, you need to have a website designed. After all, your goal is to know how to start a new business, right?
Keep things simple – you only have about five seconds to grab someone’s attention.
It may be beneficial to work with professionals to help you design and build your website. This can ensure you get the results you want.
3. Have a Plan for Invoicing and Accepting Payments
If you want to sell something online, you have to have a way for your customers to pay you. It doesn’t matter what you are selling or who your target audience is.
Freshbooks.com offers all the tools and resources you could want and need to securely send invoices, accept payments and more. If you are still looking for an accounting solution for your new online venture, consider this tool – you won’t be disappointed.
- 5 Ways to Finance Your Online Business
- How to Track Business Expenses
- Budget-Friendly Office Decorating Ideas
4. Always Remain Persistent
There are very few businesses that are overnight success stories – regardless of how great or amazing a product or service may be. This is something you are going to have to accept if you want to enter into the business world.
In the end, being persistent will pay off if you continue to do things the right way.
Stay focused on your goals. Keep in mind, the majority of startups take anywhere from three to five years before they begin turning a profit. Hang in there, you’ll make it.
When it comes to how to start a new business, there’s no question that it can be challenging and stressful. However, all your time and effort will pay off in the long run if you focus on your passion and your goals.
You will also be proud of the successes you achieve when you stick with your business plan.