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Starting an online business? Some things to consider...

by Michela Johnson

So you want to be your own boss? Work from the comfort of your own home in your PJs?

Yes, it sounds great in theory but there are a few key areas to consider before you go handing your notice in and dreaming of becoming a millionaire overnight! Whilst there is certainly a reduced risk in setting up an online business and the start up costs are significantly lower, you must ensure you are significantly clued up in a number of areas before you begin.

Having a base level knowledge of html and web design is very useful for example, as then you can craft your own website keeping your start up costs low. It also means you will be able to maintain your own site, allowing you to make changes and tweaks as they are required without relying on a third party. Don’t worry if are not a technological whizz as there is a wealth of online resources to assist you. Put in the time and effort to learn these skills and it will pay dividends.

If you are offering goods or services online, you need to be able to effectively market these online. With this in mind, the next area to consider broadening your knowledge in is marketing, - specifically online or digital marketing.

This will cover a wide range of things such as search engine optimization (SEO). Understanding SEO is a must for budding online entrepreneurs. Employing SEO correctly in your online copy will ensure your business ranks higher in search engines when your potential customers are making their initial online enquiries. This should garner you more business and put you ahead of your competitors.

Still on the theme of online marketing, it is worth also widening your skill set to encompass web marketing, email marketing and social media advertising. Again, this is something that you can easily educate yourself in by looking at the reams of online advice, blogs, webinars and tutorials. If you spend some time informing yourself in the various levels of online marketing, it will help you engage with your target market better, stand out from the crowd and if done right, should translate into sales. Definitely worth putting the time in, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Speaking of your target market, this brings me nicely to the next point – knowing your market. If you want to make your online business a success story, then it is best to choose a tight niche that you are knowledgeable in and have a genuine interest in. Know your audience, know your product and have a genuine love for what you do. Enthusiasm and passion are infectious!

Finally you need to be prepared to put the hours in. Any ‘get rich quick’ schemes usually seem suspicious and rightly so. Most online entrepreneurs estimate that it will take 1-2 years to start to make an income that will allow you to quit your job and pursue your passion. Set aside the time to work on your business and stick to this. You will need to be prepared to devote time and energy in the early stages to build the business and plan for your future success.

Best of luck!