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Have you ever wanted to start an online business?
Everyone has a Talent for an Online Business
I have a fairly wide friend circle and have been blessed with good friends no matter which place I was living in all my life. Most of these amazing individuals who form a part of my life are very talented people.
The reason I know this is because I have been taught quite a few new skills by them. While I am not as good as they are at these arts and crafts I have found one common thread in their stories. They make amazing things but don't know where to sell them.
This hub hopes to help these friends of mine gain a better direction and begin their online businesses. Specially because the online model is so much more suited to our lifestyles.
Identify the Niche of Your Talent
There may be a number of things you are good at but not all these skills will be easy to sell online. For instance while selling chocolate fudge in your neighbourhood may be a great success for you, it would not work all that well online. There is too much competition in the niche. The chocolates can't be shipped out all over the country with ease. They will melt when you try to sell them in the summer.
However if you decide to personalize your product you can make it work. For instance molding chocolate fudge into names or even simple messages that people want to send to their friends and family. Do it only in your city and use local couriers and you may have a profitable idea.
Similarly you may make the most beautiful cards, but unless you have the right audience to sell them to, you are only going to gift them away. Jewellery making, paper quilling, patchwork quilting, and so many other niches can be exploited for your online business. You need to sit down and make a list of what you can do and then go online to find out just how profitable that niche is. Don't worry too much about the competition at this stage.
Refine Your Offer
While some of us try to think of selling things that people need, remember that it is what people want that they will buy more easily. So address your talent to create things that people will want to buy. Then refine the products that you have come up with so that they can either be made in bulk and sold, or be totally customized one of a kind pieces.
Please remember that once you decide on a product to offer the masses you have to be able to meet the possible demand for that product as well. So ensure that you have the capability to handle the possible demands that will come pouring in when you figuratively open the doors to your online business. Having a partner will help you as you will not have to look after all aspects of the business yourself.
Have an unbeatable offer for a product that your potential client will want and you have set the business on its first step to success.
Do you have a blog on your website?
Build Your Website
An online business will need an online web portal. This is where you sell your products from. This is your online identity. This is your chance to impress the potential clients. So make sure that you spend enough time, effort and money to make your website a place where you would like to shop.
Here's what all you need to pay attention to. Have good product pictures and well worded descriptions. Ensure that the shopping cart works properly. The site should not be too heavy to load, so watch out for the graphics and video content. Make it easy to share the products on the site on social media networks so that they can tell their friends to buy from you as well. Have a well updated blog where you can tell them about new innovations and upcoming discount sales.
In case you don't know much about building a website, don't panic. There are a number of places on the internet where you can put together a website much like you put together your product. I wrote a hub on the places where you can build a free website online. Check out the sites and pick one which you like. Personally I have been using Weebly and am quite happy with its simple to use interface.
Pick a memorable name to brand your business with. For instance when I started my local chocolate making business I used to sell them under the brand - Candy Laine. make sure you don't infringe on any copyrights when you pick your business name and then go make it popular online.
Use Search Engine Optimization Tools to find the popular keywords in your product niche. Now use these keywords in the website to ensure that your online shop features well in searches by potential customers. Update your content with SEO related material often. Get backlinks to your website. Make sure that your business is easy to find online. You won't go to a shop that you don't know exists!
Get Traffic and Sell
Now that your have your products on sale you need to figure out how to get a good volume of traffic to your website and how to sell to them. there are two main ways to bring in traffic to your site - Free Organic Traffic comes through the search engines, while Paid Advertising brings you targeted traffic.
Social Media traffic such as those coming from your Facebook Page or Twitter account is good, but may not always result in sales. They tend to be your friends and family hopping over for a look and not all of them are likely to buy from you. These work better with contests and discounts that allow you to make your website more popular.
While most start up businesses do not look at paid advertising, it is an excellent source of targeted traffic. So if you are serious about making your business a success you will pay for the advertising. Check out Google Ad Words for starters. Then move on to other forms of paid advertising to ensure a steady traffic flow of people who will convert into sales.
Online Business Checklist
Identify your talent
Develop products based on talent
Buy domain name
Build and Test Website
Get Traffic and Make Sales
No business runs on auto pilot all the time. While an online business does not demand your time and effort to the tune a real life business does, you will still need to monitor it closely.
You will need to constantly monitor what is happening on the website and how you can make it better. These, almost constant tweaks, are what will make sure that you take your business online into the success zone.
There can be a time when an offer does well, and another time when the same offer draws in hardly any sales. You will learn the market as you go along and eventually learn to modify your offers accordingly.
Hard word done consistently will always pay you dividends in the end. So what are you waiting for? Get that pen and paper out and get started on your list. I've even made you a shot check list of things that you need to look into. Get started on your all new online business and all the best!