There are 5 basic steps that every person who wants to start an online business needs to look at and consider before getting started online. Jumping in feet first, without checking out the water temperature, could have the fatal error that marks the difference between success and failure when beginning an online business.
Step # 1 – Make a Plan
No one is going to make money online the first day that they start. You need to start by making a business plan about what it is that you want to do online. "I do not know, I just want to make money", I can hear you whine.
If you do not know what you want to do, you must figure that out before you can do anything. You need to make a plan about one thing, set a goal and work on this one plan from creation through completion. You may want to add your financial goals to your basic plan and figure out how you are going to pay for your business start up. Do not forget to add advertising expenses to your start up budget.
Write down all of your ideas on paper. Write down every idea that you can think of no matter how silly you may think it is. I have made money from an idea that I thought would never work because I thought it was too stupid. Boy, was I ever wrong!
Go through you list and pick the three ideas that you like the best. When you have picked three, write them down on a separate piece of paper. Research your ideas to find which one of the three is the best idea. Find out how many other people are searching for information on your ideas and how many people are buying products about your ideas. Narrow your three ideas down to the best one. Take that idea and begin on your plan to make this idea succeed.
Jumping from one idea to another will not help you. It will only slow you down because you will never accomplish anything. What that boils down to is you will get no where fast. You will not have a business and you will not make any money. Once you have accomplished the first plan and goal, only then can you start on another idea.
Step # 2 – Get an Education
If you are not proficient at the topic you have selected, you need to be. The only way that you can become an authority on any subject online is because you are one. If you are not, you need to get an education to become one.
For example, you want to be a travel writer and publish your travel articles both on line and off line. You want magazines and Internet marketers to buy your articles. This is your goal, but you do not know where to begin. Research your idea by reading "how to" books by other travel writers. If your writing techniques are not polished, take a creative writing class or a journalism course at your local college to upgrade your writing skills.
If your computer skills are not up to par, take an adult night class to get them up to speed. If you try to learn computer skills as you go, while trying to make money online at the same time, it will only frustrate the heck out of you.
Step # 3 – Set Up Your Office
Get a business license. You will need to get your tax license in order, get someone to handle your bookkeeping records, talk to a business attorney to find out what you need legally for your business.
Set up your home office with office supplies and office furniture. Get a business phone. Do you need a fax machine? If you are on still using dial-up for your Internet connection, get a broadband connection. You can not operate a business online with dial-up. Consider getting business cards. These are all things that need to be considered for your business, with the costudgeted into your plan.
Step # 4 – Start Working
Now that your business plan, your education, your office and your legal matters have been attended to it is time to get to work. Get your website built, your graphics in order, set up a blog, and get your advertising in place. Set up a merchant account or payment processor so that you will be able to take payments online. Attend forums that are related to the business you have chosen and participate in them to become an online presence within that business circle.
Leave a link to the website and the blog that you have set up in your signature file at the forums. Do not SPAM the forums. By helping other forum members solve problems by posting solutions in your field of expertise, you will gain trust, and the forum members will begin to follow your links back to your website and blog.
Step # 5 – Focus & Discipline
This last step is to stay focused . It is very easy to get side tracked when you are working at home. Make a daily schedule of what you must do on a daily bases and stick to it. Set a specific time to accomplish each task you have listed. When the task has been completed cross it off the list. It is a very satisfying feeling of accomplishment when you have crossed everything off of the list at the end of the day. If you are unable to complete everything on the daily list, add what you did not finish to the next days list. Complete a self evaluation as to why you were unable to accomplish the daily goals and make the necessary adjustments.
Read your business email first thing in the morning, in case you need to add something pressing to your list. Read your business email before you end your work day to add any thing of important to the next days schedule.
Do not read your personal email during the time you have scheduled for your work time as it can interfere with your work and distract you. Do not get side tracked by the latest and greatest bright, shiny things online that do not directly refer to your business. Once you get side track it can be difficult to get back on course to work your business.
Try not to let your personal fire drills interfere with your work schedule. If it means that you have to put a "do not disturb" sign on your office door for a few hours a day then so be it. If you have small children hire a student to care for and entertain your children for a few hours a day so that you can work without distractions. Do whatever it takes to keep your attention focused where it should be.
Now that you have the basic steps for beginning an online business from home, what are you waiting for? Start making that plan. It will not happen by itself and it will not happen by sitting there dreaming about it. Put it on paper and take action. You are the one that has to do it as no one else will do it for you.