In this article, we’ll share a comprehensive guide on launching a successful business online even if you lack experience. You’ll learn how to select a niche, optimize your workflows in the first months, and offer your audience exactly what it wants.
Generate a business concept
You should define what you’re planning to produce and/or sell, to whom and how. To understand that, you should ask yourself:
- Which skills do I have?
- Which pain points of my target audience can I fix with these skills?
- What are the characteristic traits of my potential customers?
- What do my family members, friends and colleagues think about my business concept?
Of course, you should analyze the competition. You should strive to fill in the market gaps or do it differently from your rivals.
Carry out marketing research
The higher the demand for your goods or services, the higher the price tag. Once you’ve launched your business, you can determine the optimal price for your products by trial and error, yet the mistakes you’ll make might turn out to be too costly. Instead, you should rely on business statistics and industry analytics. It would be wise to run online surveys — they require a minimum investment and can deliver a lot of valuable data.
Here is what the product demand matrix looks like.
At the stage of research, you should determine which problems of your target audience you can solve and how much they’re willing to pay for your assistance. Make sure your business will be able to scale in the future, bringing you higher income with lower costs.
Invent a catchy name for your ecommerce business
Here are a few tips that might help you generate a top-notch name.
- Use your own nickname for your online store.
- Make acronyms.
- Borrow words from foreign languages.
- Merge two or more words into one, making sure all of them are relevant for your industry.
- Play with words creatively, changing their spelling.
On the Internet, you can find many tools that can generate names, logos, slogans and corporate styles either for free or at a very affordable price.
Select a business model and create a plan
You need a business model to understand how exactly you’ll be able to make money online and which value you’ll offer to your clients. It would be reasonable to focus on:
- demands of your target audience,
- your clients’ purchasing behavior,
- your rival businesses,
- your competitive edge.
Depending on the specifics of your business, you might have one or several revenue streams.
10 superb business ideas to try your hand at
Below, you’ll analyze the impartial pros and cons of the business models that nearly anyone can use to generate income online in 2022.
Launch a niche website
To pick a lucrative niche, you should answer the following questions:
- What are you good at? What are your interests?
- Does this niche have enough potential for generating profit?
Search for other sites from the same niche and have a look at what they offer. If you realize there is enough space for you, choose the right platform and tools to build your website. You might opt for WordPress.org, Wix.com, Squarespace.com or other alternatives. The cost of hosting might vary from less than $5 per month to over $50 per month, depending on how complex your website is and how much information it features. You can make income not only on selling products and services but also on ads, affiliate links, and information products. The ads that you place on your website and the affiliate programs you take part in should be relevant to your niche.
Start a blog
A blog can also be considered a niche website. Nevertheless, we’d like to list it as a separate business format. You pick a sphere of knowledge to specialize in and upload targeted content to your blog. You may focus on fashion, food, travel, finance, gadgets, yoga, or whatever suits you.
Here are some ways of earning money via blog:
- Affiliate marketing
- Paid reviews
- Displaying ads on your blog site through Google AdSense
You may expect to start receiving a decent amount of income in around a year. During this period, you need to be very consistent and regularly post content that your audience finds helpful. Plus, you should keep your audience engaged and respond to their comments.
Create a YouTube channel
Depending on your tastes and talents, you might want to focus on entertainment or educational content. Your channel can be dedicated to fitness, product reviews, cooking, unboxing, pranks, or whatever seems appealing. First, you can start making videos with your smartphone. Then, you might want to buy professional equipment, such as cameras, lights, and a microphone. Access to professional video editing tools might cost you hundreds of dollars per year.
You can create a YouTube channel in just a few minutes, but it will need a few months to take off. The platform will allow you to monetize the channel only after it reaches a certain popularity threshold. You might be able to make enough money on ads only. Alternatively, brand sponsorships may bring you extra income.
Record a series of podcasts
Podcasts can serve as an additional tool for promoting your goods or services. If you’re an expert in a certain sphere, you can deliver valuable content to consumers in audio format. That should help you boost your client loyalty, improve brand awareness, and increase your sales.
Else, you can turn podcasts into your main product. You record yourself and your guests talking in MP3 and upload the file to a platform with podcasts. Users will be able to download your podcast or listen to it right on the platform. To read an article or watch a video, people need to have free time. Podcasts, by contrast, can serve as a nice background for everyday activities, such as commuting or jogging in the park. That’s why they have higher odds of attracting consumers’ attention.
To record a podcast, you should buy or rent high-quality equipment. You should also ask someone to design the logo for you and record a signature intro and outro. You shouldn’t expect to amass a large following in the first few weeks. Be patient, keep releasing new series on a systematic basis, and consistently promote your product.
Here are the best ways of making money via podcasts.
- Sponsorship deals
- Affiliate marketing
When you get a large following, you can establish a paid subscription. Plus, you can use it as a tool for driving traffic to your website where you sell products or earn money in some other ways.
This type of business is all about delivering products from the distributor to the consumer. To start dropshipping,
- Find a distributor or wholesaler with a reliable reputation,
- Set the price for the products that you’ll sell,
- Decide on the ways of shipping the products to clients,
- Start promoting your business.
It might take your business up for a year to reach a breakeven. You can expect to earn a few thousand dollars per month. But you’ll need to pay for hosting your website.
Sell courses and info products
If you’re good at something, you can teach other people to do it. It might be foreign languages, digital marketing, cryptocurrency trading, and so on. Prepare the content and segment it into several lessons. Try to make your content as diverse as possible: include images, downloadable PDFs, quizzes, infographics, and other types of files that suit your concept. Before you start recording the videos for the course, you can either buy or rent professional equipment.
The cost of your course should depend on its duration, complexity, and features. You can publish your course on your own website, but then you’ll need to pay for hosting and marketing. Alternatively, you can add your course to Coursera, Udemy or another educational platform where it will be easy for customers to find it.
By the way, you can sell other people’s courses too. Some content creators lack the skills to promote their products. You can offer digital marketing services to them at a fixed price or in exchange for some part of their income.
It’s one of the quickest and easiest ways of earning extra money if you need it badly. First, you should decide what you’re good at. You can teach some work-related skills (such as composing a CV), or the subject that you were good at school at, or even your hobby (such as sewing or knitting). Second, you should start promoting your services:
- on freelance sites (be ready to pay commission though),
- on social media,
- on your personal website
If you struggle to find students right away, you can join a tutoring agency. It might ask you to provide a certificate to prove you have the necessary skills and knowledge. Most agencies work through Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangout — and if you work on your own, you can use these platforms for tutoring as well.
In this industry, reputation is paramount. The more testimonials you get from your previous students, the better. When getting started, you can offer free trials so that new students assess your expertise.
The main drawback of online tutoring is that you won’t be able to make a fortune. The hourly rate for tutoring is usually no more than $25. Calculate how many hours per day and days per week you can teach — that would be the maximum limit of your income.
Print on demand
This startup requires very small investments and no experience at all. People who need to print some designs on certain objects (such as t-shirts, tote bags, or aprons) will reach out, and you’ll send them your printed stuff.
To succeed in this sphere, you need to
- meet the deadlines,
- guarantee the high quality of the products,
- be persistent with your ads and marketing.
Apart from the designs that your clients will submit, you can proactively come up with your own ones. For instance, you can print the portraits of the protagonists of a hit TV series on hoodies and t-shirts. In this case, the ads of your products must be targeting the fans of this series.
To start such a business, you need to purchase a printer and designing software, and then decide on payment and shipping options. You can either build an independent website for your startup or create a store via a third-party print-on-demand provider. The latter option might help you cut down costs and find first customers quicker.
Selling handmade products
Today, people appreciate unique and unusual items instead of uniformed mass-market products. If you make such items, you can try to sell them online. You’ll need to purchase the necessary supplies and build a website where you’ll be selling your goods. Plus, you should sign up for one or several marketplaces that specialize in handmade products. You’ll have to pay fees to these marketplaces but they should be affordable.
It’s hard to predict your turnaround time because it might vary considerably depending on your marketing strategy and the product range. To boost the engagement of your potential customers, you might create video tutorials and post them on social networks. In a tutorial, you can show how you create an item or buy it on a flea market for further restoration.
Start an ecommerce business
The term “ecommerce” means that you can, for example, start an online store, offer online ticket bookings, hold online auctions, or specialize in Internet banking.
Your services might be targeting either at private users or other businesses. To start making money, make sure you’ve got
- goods for sale (either produced manually or purchased),
- Internet connection,
- personal computer,
- payment software.
All the products that you can potentially sell online can be classified into two categories: commoditized (you can hardly distinguish them from other brands’ alternatives) and niche (unique or handmade goods; tend to be more expensive).
Your product range should depend not on your tastes and expertise but on the demands of your audience.
Prepare the materials and contents for your launch
Depending on which of the online business ideas you chose, you might want to tick all these boxes or just some of them.
- Design a landing page. When your potential clients open it, they should immediately understand what your business is about. Feel free to ask the visitor to leave their emails in a capture box so that you can reach out to them as soon as you launch.
- Set up a business email. You’ll need it to send newsletters and create email marketing campaigns.
- Write and send out a press release. Let bloggers and media tell their audiences that you’re starting a small business online.
- Register social media accounts and personalize your profiles with your logo, images, and brand colors. You’ll need social platforms to build a community around your new company.
By taking these steps, you’ll generate excitement among your potential customers and create brand awareness.
Work on your marketing and growth strategies
To do that, you should
- come up with a unique value proposition,
- define your business goals,
- outline your business growth milestones,
- conduct in-depth research of your industry market,
- compile a portrait of your potential customer,
- keep measuring your success to support your PR.
Remember: you’ll only be able to achieve your goals when you realize which steps you should take.
2022: How to start an online business
Now that you’re ready to make money online, you should complete three final steps.
- Test your goods/services. Try them yourself and think of how you could improve them. Ask your acquaintances to try them for free and share their feedback.
- Start networking. Define your launch date and begin advertising. You won’t have a second chance to make a good first impression, so try to gain as much attention as you can.
- Draft a schedule. All the activities should take place at the right time.
That’s it! The preparatory phase is over. Now, it’s time to act and generate revenue.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of how to start an online business in 2022. You might want to start an ecommerce project, record podcasts, print designs on demand, create a dropshipping small business, or try any other idea. You don’t necessarily need to invest a lot of money or get some special skills apart from those that you already have. But you should be ready to put in lots of effort into marketing and deliver the best possible quality.