You Can Succeed if You Follow these Ideas.
In my previous article “What Does It Take to Succeed Online (or in Life)”, I listed several positive characteristics to increase your chances for success: Desire, Planning, Faith, and Perseverance just to name a few. If you believe you have what it takes to succeed online, you’re ready to find an online business which is reasonably tailor-made to meet your personality, talents, investment (whether it’s financial, in time, in talent, or all the above).
WARNING: I said “reasonably tailor-made” above, as no business is 100% perfect for everyone. All online businesses, like those in the real, 9-to-5 world, require some planning and effort. If you’re not willing to invest the time needed to adequately support and promote YOUR business, running one is NOT for you. There is no free lunch!
HOWEVER…If you do have what it takes-Desire, Plans, and Perseverance, to name a few-then, by all means, find the online business of your dreams. How, pray tell, do you do this? Well, first off, it starts with:
RESEARCH. If you have no idea what type of online business you wish to offer and promote, research is the key to unlocking a wealth of information on a wide-variety of businesses. Without research, it’s like a first-timer making homemade cookies without a recipe. Do your homework! Grab a pen and notebook, and take some notes.
Start your journey to success online-that’s right: the internet. Read articles by home business professionals-no, not the folks trying to sell you business programs, kits, and pie-in-the-sky potions. I mean real, legitimate online business professionals, such as Scott Fox, Juliette Powell, and Ewen Chia, just to name a few.
NETWORK. Whether Online or in-person, talk to area business leaders to get their viewpoints and feedback on successful online businesses. No, I am not talking about classifieds who tout their online business opportunities, but networks of local business people from business organizations (such as BNI, Business Network International), forums (Ryze and LinkedIn are good ones), or your area chamber of commerce (ask for a business directory, often free).
PLAN. Put pen to paper and carefully, thoroughly develop an online business game plan. Brainstorm with your closest, trustworthy friends and professional acquaintances to come up with a steady stream of ideas.
Together, ask several important questions:
(1). Who is your customer base and/or niche audience? Be as specific as possible, and realize you can’t serve everyone in the universe. (For example: My audience is small to medium-sized business owners in the southeastern United States.
(2) What product(s), service(s), or program(s) do you plan to offer? Again, try to be as specific as possible. Don’t overwhelm your audience with a ton of unrelated products, services, or opportunities, as this will only confuse them. (My website primarily offers tools to promote businesses, thereby hopefully increasing my customer’s image and profits.)
(3) When do you plan to purchase a domain and website? The correct answer to this two-part question should either be Immediately or Right Away. There’s no better time than the present to project a professional image. Also, be creative when deciding on a domain name. Just make sure your website is lightening fast, as many search engines can ignore slow websites.
(4) How much can you safely invest in a business? Be brutally honest with yourself. If you don’t have two dimes to rub together, the last thing you want to do is get deeper in debt. Good news: The internet lists well-written articles on free and inexpensive ways to start a business.
(5) How much time do you have to invest in a business? Read that last question again, please. If you are not willing to put (invest) time in your online business-say two or three hours a day depending on the business, then don’t waste your time. Collect baseball cards, garden, or do anything else. After all, an online business requires some sweat equity.
(6) Who is your competition? What do you know about them? What sets you apart from them? You need solid, concrete answers to these three questions, so you can beat them at their game. The best place to learn more about the competition is online. Check out their websites and information to discover how you can become even more competitive.
(7) What type of content will you offer your visitors? Many websites simply promote products, services, or opportunities! Boring! Set yourself apart from the competition with a site rich in content. Let’s say you’re a pest control operator: Write an article or blog about what causes wasp, hornet, or rat infestations. Whatever you write, show them that you Are the expert in a particular field.
(8) Have you thought about a logo, motto, or slogan? If you have, make sure they look professional and set you apart from the others. Suggestion: If you have an artistic friend or sign maker in your area, see if they can offer input.
(9) Anything else? YES: Always make sure you use spell-check. Nothing looks less professional than a website full of spelling errors!
SEARCH. Make sure the product(s), service(s), and opportunities you plan to promote interest you, so the visitor senses your passion for the item(s). Also, make darn sure these items are scam-free (so you can be proud of what you do) and marketable to your audience (so you can make money online). Whether good, bad, or downright ugly, you can find items and their reviews on the internet.
If you already have a product, service, or opportunity that can be promoted online, I would start there first. After all, you are the expert. And, hopefully, your passion and interest for that item shows.
However, if you lack passion for your item(s) or need a product, service, or opportunity to promote online, realize they fall into several categories:
(1) Affiliate Programs: A company rewards you to promote their product or products. Great for the beginner, many marketers earn thousands monthly for their efforts-even more. Hint: Don’t join every affiliate program on the planet. Join something that intrigues you. For me, it is panic attacks and relationships.
(2) Free Online Businesses. Just like the name implies, these businesses cost nothing to join or promote. Many business “owners” can generate an excellent return on their investment ( by working smart).
(3) Networking or MLM programs. Here, you help others succeed, so you can earn several layers of income. While some are free, most are not.
(4) Paid Online Products and Services. The more the internet grows, the greater the need for related services. Among the greatest money-makers online are effective tools to increase your business. Warning: Some of these products are much more superior to others.
(5) Online Businesses. These require a fee to join, but may generate the income you desire. Word of advice: Check them out before you join. Like anything, most are good, reputable businesses, but a few are rotten to the core.
(6) Direct Selling. This one is iffy. I am a business consultant by day, yet find promoting some of my services does well online. However, results do vary.
(7) eBay. Though some products are overly saturated on the site, many make a decent living on this site. Overall, it has an excellent reputation.
(8) Blogging. If you enjoy writing, this may be down your alley. Bloggers often make money from ads surrounding their blog.
(9) Referral Sites. There are numerous sites promoting networking, advertising, and free sign-ups. The jury is still out on this, but some folks reportedly make money.
(10)Everything Else. A new opportunity, product, or service pops up almost every day. Some will work; others will fail. Do the research online and you may discover a goldmine-or fool’s gold.
SET-UP. Well, you’ve thoroughly planned, researched, and listened to the experts, both online and off. You’ve asked yourself thought-provoking questions, registered a domain name, and you or a professional is setting up your website. You’ve even selected products, services, and opportunities which, you hope, will generate a nice profit.
Congratulations! You are ready to begin. But, wait! Don’t forget to:
PROMOTE. This is such a lengthy and important subject; I will discuss this in full in another article. In the meantime, I suggest you start promoting your program, business, product, or service with free online classifieds.
One thing is for sure, however: You must promote, promote, and promote in order to succeed. Don’t simply rely on basic word-of-mouth to promote your product, service, or program.
PERSEVERE. Don’t let anything-and I do mean anything-stand in your way of online success. Study your product(s), service(s), or opportunities to the point you are the expert. Avoid negative people, as all they bring to your world is negative energy. (Constructive criticism, however, can be beneficial.) Invest more time in your online business, if needed.
Do whatever it takes to succeed online. Nurture your business and watch it grow! Reap the rewards of a job well done!