I'm excited that you're starting your own online business! Building your own business is very fulfilling and rewarding. This page is designed to help you understand the key concepts of starting a business. I've also added a section with all my favorite tools you can use to help you start your online business. If you have any questions or want to talk more about your business model, send me a message in the message box!
5 Cores of Starting a Business
The first core of starting a business is coming up with your value proposition.
Your “value prop” is the value you're going to provide your audience through your products, services, or information. If you're selling physical products think about what the deeper value is that you're bringing the customer. Is it happiness, time savings, comfort, satisfaction, etc…?
If you're providing services or information what is the value you're giving? Write down your mission statement or value proposition so it's clear and focused.
“I help people learn how to use technology to build an online business and create a life of freedom!”
The audience are the people you are going to provide value to.
Everyone is not an audience. “A business for everyone is a business for no one. Unless you're Amazon.”
Think clearly about who your audience really is. Write it down. What's the demographic? What's their age, gender, lifestyle, hobbies, interests, passions, pains, thoughts, desires, etc…
The more detailed you can get with your audience, the better you'll be able to provide value to them.
Every business needs a distribution channel.
How are you going to distribute your value to your audience?
- Digital Media: YouTube, Blogging, Podcast, Social Media, EBooks…
- Physical Products: Amazon FBA, Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, EBay…
- Services: Speaking, Coaching, In-Person, Skype, Storefront…
You may find that your business uses more than one distribution channel. Consider all the distribution channels you can use to deliver your value proposition.
Getting your value proposition in front of your audience is easy. Doing it profitably is the challenge.
There are two ways to gain awareness for your business.
- Organic (free)
- Advertising (paid)
Organic awareness includes: word of mouth, organic searches on Google, or posts on your social media accounts.
Advertising awareness includes: digital advertising (Google, Social Media, Banner, radio, TV), print advertising (newspaper, billboards), or any other paid promotion.
“The business that can afford to pay the most to acquire customers while still being profitable wins.”
There are multiple strategies to gain awareness. The more you use the better your chances of scaling up.
Scaling up is how you grow your business to reach more people and increase your revenue.
If you're selling 10 products a month, how do you increase that to 100 products per month?
If you're getting 100 blog visitors each month, how do you increase that to 1,000 blog visitors per month?
Scaling up is ultimately how you turn a “side hustle” online business into a full-time income! Using the proper tools, resources, and technology are critical to your ability to scale up efficiently.
I'm here to help you learn how to use technology to scale up your business and get to that full-time income level so you can enjoy life on your own terms!
How Much Money Do I Need to Start?
Depending on the type of online business you choose to start, I recommend a minimum budget to get started. This will help you get what you need and understand what it takes to really start a successful online business. Checkout some of the flip cards below for more information about different business types. Hover or tap on the boxes to learn more.
Want to Talk More About Your Budget?
Send me a quick message and we'll discuss your specific online business goals and what you need to get started for your online business.
The 3 Things EVERY Online Business Needs
Every online business should have a website.
Regardless of what your business model is, a website will add credibility and visibility for you or your brand. Social media influencers, YouTubers, Podcasters, Dropshipping, Physical Products, Amazon FBA, or any other type of online business will benefit from a website.
*A good WordPress website will cost you about $48 for the first year.
Every online business should have a social media presence.
Having different social media accounts will help with organic visibility, give you the ability to do social media advertising, encourage social sharing and mentions, and help build your brand authority.
I recommend creating the following social media accounts:
Other social media accounts that could also be very useful are Snapchat, YouTube, and any other platform where your audience is.
One of the first things you should do when you're serious about starting your online business is open a business bank account.
You should be able to open a free business bank account wherever you have your personal banking. This will help with accounting, taxes, and legal aspects of your business down the road.
Even if you're not making money initially. I recommend using a business bank account for all business related purchases when getting started.
Your Online Business Toolbox
To build a house you need tools. You need a hammer, saw, nails, wood, etc…
To build an online business successfully you also need the proper tools. Below you can find a list of different business models and the recommended tools that will help you start your business with the best chance of success early on.
I've personally used every tool I recommend. I am also an affiliate for some of the tools listed which means I earn a small commission if you choose to purchase any. I sincerely thank you for supporting me through any of my tools.
If you want to make money on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat) you'll need an account. It's free to setup an account on these platforms and get started.
Depending on your budget, you may want to consider automation or analytical tools to help you build your audience and gain awareness.
Here are a few social media tools I recommend:
Iconosquare is a great Instagram management tool. It was built specifically for Instagram and focuses on getting the best from the platform. You can schedule posts, see best time of day to post, compare your results to competitors, search for competitors accounts, monitor impression, reach, and other analytics.
Scipio Web is a company with the sole purpose of helping you grow your Instagram following. You'll find the price higher than a lot of other growth tools, but this is a hands off type of program. You tell them your goals, audience, and targets and they handle the rest.
I personally used them to grow my account to over 10,000 followers in less than 6 months which gave me the “swipe up” feature on my stories. Another good friend grew her account to over 39,000 followers and now frequently get's paid hundreds of dollars for sponsored posts.
It's an investment but it works. I know the owner of the company personally and the support is fantastic.
With Pinterest there's only one tool and it's a MUST have tool in my opinion for anyone serious about getting blog traffic from Pinterest.
I love YouTube. It was the platform that I originally used to build Learn How. I've since incorporated blogging and podcasting, but YouTube is my first love and still an AMAZING opportunity to build an online business. Neil Patel recently stated at a conference that YouTube was one of his top two platforms for building an audience over the next 5 years.
There are two programs for YouTube. They both have similarities and differences. I still to this day pay for both and use both to grow my channel.
I like Tube Buddy slightly more than VidIQ for a few reasons. I find their keyword research tool more accurate than the VidIQ tool (from my experience). It also makes searching and adding tags to videos a breeze.
I have multiple videos on my YouTube channel that show this exact strategy. There are a ton of other useful features like mass cards, endscreen templates, channelytics, and more. The Star License is also worth it in my opinion.
It's a must have tool.
VidIq is the other YouTube tool I use to build my channel. It has a lot of similar features to Tube Buddy and I suggest trying them both out for free to see which tool you like better.
I do use both tools for the reason of I really like the trending videos features that VidIq has. I use it for research purposes to find new ideas for videos to create.
Like I mentioned, I have a bunch of tutorials for these programs on my channel, and you can find a ton more online. Both tools are very useful and I definitely recommend investing in at least one of them.
Dropshipping is a great low-risk business model if you're interested in getting into selling products online, but don't want to spend the upfront investment of manufacturing.
I successfully built and ran a fishing dropshipping site which I have since sold. Dropshipping with AliExpress and Shopify is a very common strategy for building an online business and it's very easy to get started.
Shopify is a great platform designed for selling products online. It has the full suite of tools you'll need to start a dropshipping site. There are built in apps like Oberlo that allow you to easily connect to Aliexpress for quick and easy product management.
You can create product pages, changes prices, collect orders and payments and much more with Shopify. It's a well designed platform and one that I recommend for anyone interested in Dropshipping.
Amazon FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) is how you sell your private label product on Amazon.com. As I'm sure you're well aware, Amazon is the behemoth of E-commerce and they could soon take over the world! Ok just kidding…
Selling on Amazon is a very lucrative business when you can find the right product to sell and successful manufacture and source the product for the right price.
How do you find the perfect profitable product to sell without all the guesswork…?
I have personally used Jungle Scout for Amazon research for multiple businesses I've started with Amazon FBA.
This tool is amazing.
I would NEVER sell anything on Amazon without doing research about the sales data using Jungle Scout. I have the chrome extension as well which I still use frequently even when I'm just shopping on Amazon to see what the numbers are like for the products I'm buying.
Here's a secret tip…
(It's also a great tool for affiliate marketing) You can find products that are already selling well so you know what types of products to review and promote on your affiliate site…😱
When it comes to Amazon FBA this is the one and only tool you need when getting started. But it could be the difference between finding a gold mine or launching a complete dud.
If you want to write a book I'd encourage you to consider writing an E-Book. There are far less upfront costs, less risk, and no inventory limits.
To put out an E-Book all you really need is a word processor like Microsoft Word. As far as distribution goes you'll need a place to sell your E-Book.
A really nice and easy way to build a custom sales page and deliver your PDF to customers is with Leadpages.
You can easily create drag and drop sales pages and funnels to sell your E-Book and the software will even deliver the product for you and accept payments. You can have it all easily done within the program itself.
I still use Leadpages to deliver my E-Book Top 3 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic if you want to see what it's like!
Selling online courses is a really popular business model and for good reason! E-Learning is projected to hit $325 BILLION by 2025. It's currently right around $150 Billion…
If you've got knowledge about ANYTHING that you can bundle in a nice online course to sell you can make some great money!
You may have heard of Udemy, Linda, and other online course platforms. Don't waste your time or profits with these! There's one platform that's got everything you need without the profit sharing.
Teachable has all the bells and whistles of a professional online course. I personally use Teachable to build all my online courses. You can check out some of my courses and see what the feel of Teachable is like by clicking here.
Create beautiful modules, lessons, pages, and easily accept one time payments or memberships. They have everything you need!
If you're considering doing any sort of online coaching you'll obviously need a website, but you'll also need some good tools to effectively communicate with your clients.
Skype is a great free software that you can use to make video calls with others anywhere in the world. It's widely used and reliable and has some nice features.
Starting a blog is still one of the best ways to build a long term online business. It's easy and low cost to get started. I help people every day get started with their blogs and I firmly believe ANYONE can build a successful online business blogging. You don't have to be good on camera, or have a voice for podcasting. All you need to do is write!
I teach the recommended method of starting a WordPress Self-Hosted blog in my FREE COURSE.
In that course I talk about some recommended websites and tools you can use to start and grow your blog.
I've adopted NameCheap as my domain provider for the reason that they have great prices on domain names, they provide free WhoIs privacy protection (many other providers charge for this) and they are really easy to use.
If you need to buy a domain name, use Namecheap.
I've done A LOT of research on blog hosting and compiled a lot of stats and information which you can find in my free course and on my YouTube channel, but when it comes down to it. Everyone loves SiteGround!
I personally have blogs hosted on SiteGround and they have great performance, great service, great reliability, and great hosting!
Once you setup your blog hosting and install WordPress you'll be able to pick a theme. There are thousands of great themes available. Unfortunately, not all the themes give you the customization options you may want to build a professional website.
That's where Elementor comes in!
Elementor is a WordPress plugin that works with tons of themes but gives you the ability to create amazing custom pages (like the one you're on right now). This page was built with Elementor Pro.
I love this plugin because it's very affordable (and a free version) and you can use it with multiple themes!
Every blogger needs to build an email list of subscribers. It's the most important asset you'll own next to your blog itself.
ConvertKit is the email marketing software I use to get email subscribers, send out automated email sequences, and broadcast emails to all my subscribers. I've tested and used other email marketing software including MailChimp, MailerLite, Constant Contact, and Drip and I ConvertKit is by far my favorite with the best features for the best price.
It's worth it to start building your email list right from the start.
If you're thinking of starting a podcast you'll need some good equipment like a microphone and audio editing software.
I personally use Adobe Audition to edit audio for my podcast. It's an extremely powerful software and regarded by many as the top of the line software available. If you're serious about podcasting, you'll need good audio and Audition is the way to go.
For your podcast you'll also need a podcast hosting company. Libsyn is your one-stop solution for everything you need to start podcasting, get your podcast in Apple Podcasts and iTunes, and even turn your show into an App.
I personally use Libsyn for The Learn How Podcast. There are great features and affordable pricing plans for whatever your needs are.
If you want to sell products online you have a variety of options. Selling on Amazon FBA is a highly recommended strategy, or you can start a Shopify store (see Dropshipping).
There are also ways to sell products online without a website. Flipping products on EBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace is a free and easy way to sell online.
If you have a WordPress website you can also sell directly on your site using WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that let's you turn your WordPress website into an e-commerce store.
It's a great platform for selling in the U.S. AND worldwide which is why it's such a popular tool for people outside the U.S. If you want to avoid the monthly membership of Shopify, I recommend you consider using WooCommerce with your WordPress website.
Is Your Business Idea Not Listed Above?...
Send me a quick message and let's discuss what tools you should grab for your toolbox to help you get started and off to the races!
Why You're Thinking About Starting a Business...
Every day millions of people are inspired with thoughts, ideas, or inspiration to start their own online business. There are many reasons why these thoughts come. Some of the most common reasons why you might be inspired to start a business are:
- You are unhappy at your current job.
- You would like extra income coming in.
- You want to help others.
- You want your work to be fulfilling.
- You're passionate about something.
There are many other reasons not listed. For whatever reason, you're being inspired to start a business.
I can promise you one thing…
You'll NEVER regret going for it! You'll ALWAYS wonder what would have happened if you did.
What's Holding You Back From Starting a Business...
I talk with people every day about starting businesses. I've heard all sorts of excuses and explanations of why people have business ideas but haven't acted on them. The truth is it almost always comes down to the same culprit.
You may think it's because you don't have time. You don't have money. You don't have the skill or knowledge… All those are just excuses.
You can make time. You can make money. You can learn the skill. The real reason you haven't started yet is fear. You're afraid of one or multiple things: failing, judgement of others, taking risk, even succeeding…
3 Ways to Find More of My Content
I have 3 core platforms that I use to deliver my content to help you, “Learn how to use technology to build an online business and create a life of freedom.”
What's On The Learn How YouTube?
What's New on The Learn How Blog?
It's time to stop debating and get out there and get started!
- Get your website setup.
- Get your social media accounts setup.
- Get your bank account setup.