You should start an online business. Whether you want to build some real-world business experience, earn a little cash with a side hustle, or build a business to support you financially. You should start an online business today.
Below, I’m going to cover four reasons why everyone should start an online business.
1. It’s Easy (And Cheap)
Contrary to popular belief, starting an online business is easy and cheap. All you need is an idea and a little hustle to get the business off the ground.
You do not need to invest $10,000 to start a business. You do not need angel investors, partners, and startup capital. In fact, you can start a business and make money online without paying anything. My first business cost me $20 in total. My online business that now generates a minimum of $4,000 per month in recurring passive income cost me $50 to start. You can do this for cheap. You can make money online with an investment of $50 or less.
Finding an idea is the hard part. I recommend starting a niche. Find a niche that you are passionate about and familiar with. If you are studying finance, and you like investing, find a niche within the investing, finance space to start your online business. Maybe it’s tracking the top ten index funds and sending your subscribers a daily newsletter of the market trends. Maybe it’s analyzing IPOs and selling an eBook that discusses your strategy for analyzing IPOs.
If you like to cook, that can be your niche. Maybe your speciality is baking gluten-free desserts. Great, there is your niche business. You can create a whole website dedicated to gluten-free dessert recipes where you sell a cookbook and earn affiliate revenue recommending the best cooking utensils.
Don’t start too broad with your online business. You want to be as specific and niche as possible. Start with one of these easy small business ideas and build the site out from there. It’s easy and cheap to start an online business.
2. Build a Money Generating Asset
You will make money from your online business. When you build an online business, you are building a money generating asset. You generate a financial return for your time and effort with the income your website generates and in the end, you build a sellable asset. The more time and energy you put into your site, building an audience, and creating content, the more valuable your asset becomes. Even if you don’t make a single dollar from your website, it’s growing in value. You can sell your website after a few months of work after you get traffic and a regular following of website visitors.
There are several ways to generate revenue from your online business. You can set up Google ads to generate revenue when people visit your website, you can recommend products on amazon to earn an affiliate commission when people click your links, you can write an eBook, you can offer to consult, and you can sell online courses. Making money online is simple, it is much easier than most people think. The opportunities are endless.
Get started building an online business. In an hour or two of work per day, and a little time connecting with your target audience, you can have a profitable online business up and running within one or two months of work.
3. Success Or Failure, It Bolsters Your CV
Talk about real-world experience. Nothing teaches you more about an industry than starting a business. Nothing is more real than getting a business up and running with a limited budget. Whether your business takes off and earns $100,000 per month, or never makes a sale, it will look GREAT on your CV and cover letter.
I know from personal experience. My side businesses got me a promotion.
One of my first online businesses, an online business selling online courses in the insurance industry, helped me land a job as a Senior Product analyst after just one year working in the insurance industry. A job title that takes most people five years of work to even begin applying for senior analyst roles.
The real-world business experience, and my drive to start an online business in the insurance industry, helped my resume stand out in a sea of other resumes. The online business got me in the door. This little side project was a huge talking point in the interview, led to several interesting discussions with each interviewer, and eventually got me the job with a 33% raise and a signing bonus. All because I started a little side website in the insurance industry and made a few sales.
Even if you don’t plan to be an entrepreneur, even if you don’t want to spend your days scaling a business, you should start an online business. It will look great on your CV, it will get you interviews, and it will be an amazing talking point during your interview.
4. It’s Fun. It’s a New Hobby.
Talk about exhilarating. The thrill of getting that first sale is unlike anything else in this world. You put in a ton of hard work, you put yourself out there, you build a product and put it out to the world, and then some total stranger finds you and pays you money to buy your product. That’s amazing!
Starting a business is fun. You will get hooked. I did.
Entrepreneurship is one of the healthiest habits you can form (other than maybe exercising and eating healthy). It exercises your brain, takes you out of your comfort zone, forces you to learn new skills, and results in a nice financially healthy payoff. Now that’s a good habit to form.
Get addicted to the thrill of starting and scaling your business. Be proud of what you are building. You are part of the small fraction of people that actually take action on their business ideas. Ideas are cheap, everyone has a business idea. Be the small fraction that goes out and takes action on their idea. Go out there, put a quick website together, and start getting sales. Be proud of what you build, show it off. You are part of a small group of people actually doing it!
It’s fun to talk about. It’s fun to brag about. You will find yourself jumping out of bed at 5 am like it’s Christmas morning excited to check your Stripe payment processing account to see how many sales came in overnight. You will find yourself putting in work on Saturday, and enjoying it, rather than lounging around on the couch. Rather than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook you will find yourself reading an eBook about how to improve your website’s SEO and brainstorming the next big product launch for your business.
You will be thinking of your business non-stop. You will be daydreaming about what you can do next, what little tweak you can make that will give your business the big break. You won’t be able to contain yourself from working on your business and thinking about all the cool things you can do to improve your sales.
You won’t be able to stop, because starting a business is fun.
Bonus — Find Your Business Idea
The idea is the hard part. For my first business, I attempted to sell direct mail advertising leads. I seriously tried to sell residential mailing addresses to small businesses to spam my neighbours with marketing material. It failed miserably, I quickly found out that there was not a market for what I was selling, but luckily I only invested $20.
I’ve progressed a bit since then, I learned a lot about online sales, and now I know how to start a successful business.
To conclude this blog, I want to give you a couple of tips to help you get started.
Tip 1: Brain Dump
Most people get stuck waiting for the perfect idea. The perfect million-dollar idea, making sure everything has been thought through before even considering getting started. Those people never launch their business. It never gets past the first spark of an idea.
Don’t wait for that million-dollar idea. It will come, but you can’t force it to come right now. Instead, start with your first business. Start with something simple and learn the ropes. That way, when the million-dollar idea strikes, you will already know everything about marketing, website design, and how to get sales.
To find an idea, just one idea to start with, I always recommend starting with a brain dump or using some type of mind mapping tool. This is simply a brainstorming process to get a bunch of potential business ideas.
Here’s what I recommend. For each of the eight questions below, list five to ten answers. This should be quick, don’t spend more than a few minutes on each question. Don’t spend more than 30 minutes on this exercise. If you are stuck, skip to the next question. Sit in a quiet place and jot down any thought that is provoked by each question. The goal here is quantity, not quality.
Answer these eight questions:
- Make a list of everything you have done this week. What did you do and touch? What did you talk about?
- What questions or topics did you search on Google recently?
- What groups or communities do you subscribe to on Facebook, Reddit, or LinkedIn?
- What do people ask you about?
- What do you do on a day to day basis?
- What are you naturally good at?
- What qualifications or certifications do you have?
- What do you do in your day job?
The goal here is ideas. Ideas to find a niche or a topic to start your first online business.
For example, do you follow a strict vegetarian diet? Great, you can start an online business in the vegetarian niche. Do you love to oil paint? Great, you can teach people how to oil paint online. Do you have your CPA Certification? There’s a niche, you can create your own CPA flashcards and sell them online.
Answer the above questions to get a list of business ideas for yourself.
Tip 2: Ask First
Now you have a business idea. You went through the brainstorming exercise above. You narrowed it down to a few ideas that you are really passionate about. Now what?
Now, you ask people in your target market what they want.
Let’s assume you have your CPA Certification. You decide you want to sell study materials and help other people earn their CPA Certification. Go out and talk to people currently studying and struggling to pass the CPA exams. What specifically are they struggling with?
Maybe you learn that everyone is struggling to find time to study, their commutes are so long they don’t want to study when they get home, and they hate the clunky textbooks that they have to carry around everywhere. So you learn that nobody wants physical CPA flashcards (your original idea) because it’s too clunky to carry around, but instead you learn that they want a CPA studying app for their mobile phone. That gives them an easy solution to their problem with an easy mobile compatible platform to take practice exams on their phone while commuting. Great! Now go and build it.
Don’t assume. Ask before you jump in and build a business.
That’s why my first business failed. I assumed the local small businesses in my city would want to buy residential mailing addresses so they could send targeted direct mail advertising. I was wrong. If I had asked a couple of small businesses what they wanted, what they were struggling with regarding marketing, I would have learned that they did not need to pay for direct mailing leads. There was already a free service out there where they could get leads.
I would learn that small businesses wanted to focus their efforts on online advertising, no one cared about direct mail leads. They didn’t need my products or services. My first business failed because I didn’t ask what products and services my target market wanted to buy, I assumed.
Don’t assume that people want to buy your idea. Ask first. Ask what they are struggling with, ask what they need help with. Then build a business around their needs.
Tip 3: Just Do It
Stop second-guessing yourself. If you did the brain dump exercise from step #1, if you narrowed it down to a few good ideas and talked to people interested in buying your services, then just go out and do it!
Stop overthinking the little things. Stop overthinking the business name. It doesn’t matter, you can change that later if you need to. Stop overthinking the logo, buy a cheap logo for $5 on Fiverr and change it later if you hate it. Stop stressing about the color scheme of your website. Just choose something and get started.
Stop letting little things hold you back. Just go out in the world and do it. One small step at a time. A little progress each day. Start your business and keep pushing forward. Don’t let the little details or fears of “what if” hold you back.
Just do it.
It’s Your Turn – Time To Start Your Business
Now it’s your turn. It’s time to start your online business. Not only will an online business generate revenue and give you real-world experience, but it will make your CV stand out and give you an incredible talking point at your next interview. Whether you succeed or fail with your first online business, it doesn’t matter. The process will be an incredible learning experience that pushes your boundaries as an aspiring entrepreneur or future employee.