How to start an online business from home in 5 steps

Lots of us have had the dream of working for ourselves from home and building an online business. The dream often expands to working from anywhere – so you could be traveling the globe whilst still ‘working from home’. The epitome of working on your terms! Where you want, when you want, and how much you want.

So how do you start an online business from home? Where exactly do you begin?

The 5 steps are:

  1. Research
  2. Choose your business model
  3. Build and optimize your website
  4. Ensure you meet all legal requirements
  5. Drive traffic to your site

1. Research

Every good business knows its market. You cannot just jump into something because you heard it was a good idea – you need to know what you are doing and this starts with research. I would also recommend you consider your passions and own skills. What are you interested in? If you love something, then you will work on it with joy, and this will come through in all you do for your business. So if you can turn your passion into profits you will be happy to go to work (albeit maybe just walking from one room in your house to another!) every day.

Perhaps you love pets, cats dogs, or goldfish; or are into health and fitness; maybe you love films or tech; whatever you are into, maybe you can make that into your business. And in terms of research, you will already know a huge amount about it. So rather than learn something new, look inside yourself first. Don’t make the mistakes lots of people make – to find out what these are check my post about 17 reasons why you’ll never succeed online!

Having chosen your area now really go deep in your research. What are other companies doing in this niche? Who is doing it well? Who can you learn from? How can you do it even better? What is your angle? How will you position yourself in the market? If there are lots of businesses in your area, that is a good sign – it means people can make money from home in that niche. And the main thing in research is to understand your ideal customer, inside and out. Not just are they male or female, or how old they are, but what makes them tick?

And this is where following your passion can help!

If you understand their values – what is important to them – and their hopes and desires, you will be more likely to succeed. Do you know what annoys them with current products in the market? And therefore, how could you serve them better? What are their pain points? What do they want to avoid or resolve – and you could be the one to help solve these things for them.

2. Choose your business model

This relates to how you are going to serve your customers. There are a multitude of ways you could deliver solutions to your target customers. To name a few:

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Build your own online shop or e-commerce store
  3. Develop a membership site
  4. Offer a subscription service
  5. Create digital products
  6. Become an expert in your field
  7. Coach or mentor others
  8. Become a freelancer
  9. Start an agency
  10. Be a consultant

Are you going to have advertising on your site, or perhaps create a marketplace to buy and sell domains? With so many options out there you need to consider first how you are going to monetise your business. This will determine how you do the next part…

3. Build and optimize your website

If you are going to be working from home, you are going to need a website – this will effectively be your storefront. Many people choose WordPress because it is free. And it is great for certain niches and business models. It is perfect for a blog like this for example! If you are going to use WordPress, I would invest in a good theme and website builder to take your business to the next level.

The second part is to optimize your website. If you are using WP, just install the RankMath plug-in. It is really easy to use to ensure all your pages and sites are fully searchable for your niche. If you are using Groove, it has the optimization built right into the pages for you to edit and refine.

But make sure you do it!

4. Ensure you meet all legal requirements

Now, don’t miss this step out. From GDPR to having correct terms and conditions to ensuring your website terms are compliant. You must ensure you do this immediately. There are lots of free tools out there to help with this, but nothing beats professional advice.

Besides having a cookies policy, you also need to have the correct terms depending on whether you are selling directly to consumers (often called B2C) or other businesses (B2B e.g. if you have an agency model). Different T&Cs are required in these cases.

If it is B2C you will also need to be compliant with Consumer Protection laws, and in particular those relating to distance selling.

5. Drive traffic to your site

From social media to paid ads to SEO to video to local business directories to content marketing! There are so many ways you can drive traffic, but where do you start? If you do want to be done for your services, I can offer that through my agency, but most people want free traffic to begin with. And yes this is possible.

Whichever free traffic route you choose, be it Facebook Groups, blogging, YouTube videos, or content marketing, I recommend you choose one – only one – and stick at it for a minimum of 60 days! Why 60 days? Well, free traffic methods, or organic traffic, take time to establish themselves. You need to be consistent, learn to focus, and show up every day! If you do, these free traffic methods will work.

The alternative of course is to pay for clicks with adverts. We will cover that in another post. There are many ways to drive traffic to your site – as in this post – and social media is one of the best. I have a course in my member’s area that I can let you into – message me if you want access.

My overall recommendation on how to start an online business from home

Learn from someone who has already achieved it in the area you are interested in. Grab a coach or a mentor, and learn from them. This is truly the best way to achieve your goals. Teaching yourself and trying your best is good, but will only get you so far and probably take years and years to achieve. However, if someone has already done what you want to achieve, and they are willing to teach you – why wouldn’t you invest in yourself and get there quicker and more efficiently? You’ve heard of the phrase, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants…

If you speak to the most successful people, they always say time is your most precious resource. By investing in yourself, you save time and start earning sooner. Consider Roger Federer – the best tennis player in the world, he has a coach (well a few actually); or Lewis Hamilton, he has a coach. Or in business, Tony Robbins has a coach! I am a coach myself, and guess what, I have a mentor too!

To be successful you need someone to guide you, challenge you, and inspire you to greater things. A good mentor will keep you on track, and be honest to yourself. They will be a sounding board you can trust. A confidant and a resource of knowledge.

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