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Quick Guide to Starting an Internet Business
Starting your Own Internet Business
If you could create a steady side income by putting in just a few hours a week, would you do it? Well it is entirely possible, and this lens is here to show you how.
Before you read any further I just want to make one thing clear, If you're looking for one of those 'make 6 figures from only an hour a week' or '$1,000,000 in your first year' type offers you see flying around the internet, you may as well stop reading now. The truth is they just don't exist, the only way you can go to bed one day on a regular wage and wake up the next morning a millionaire is if you've bought yourself a lottery ticket (and even then the odds aren't great!).
But what you can do is, relatively quickly and easily; create a home-based Internet business in an area that you are interested in or passionate about that will provide you with a steady side income. And without even having to risk quitting your day job.
So if you're ready to start makign money online, just follow these 7 easy steps to your own online business
Step 1 - Identify Your Market
The biggest mistake most new internet entrepreneurs make is to start out by trying to figure out what they're going to sell. That can be an incredibly tall order; there are literally hundreds of thousands, even millions, of possible products and services.
Instead your first step should be to decide what market or ‘niche’ you are going to target. When you identify your market, you will know who your potential customers are, what problems they have, and what solutions they are looking for. And once you have that information, it's not hard to find a great product to sell to them.
So how do you decide which market to go after?
Start by making a list of all the things you are interested in. Why not just go straight for your number one passion? Well you need to give yourself some options. Just because you are interested in something doesn't mean there will be enough people out there who share your interest, and have the money to spend, to support your business.
Golfers, for example, are passionate about their game. They also have a lot of money and like to spend it on golf-related "stuff." On the other hand, lots of teenage boys love sports-cars, but you won’t have much like trying to sell them a Ferrari!
Step 2 - Select a Domain Name
Another common mistake that online entrepreneurs make is to try to come up with a domain name that they think is creative, clever, or a bit wacky.
This might help your business stand out once you start making big money, but it is going to slow your progress in getting it off the ground in the first place. And the first $100 is always the hardest $100 to earn, so make your life easy as you can.
3 tips for selecting a Domain name:
- Your domain name should be descriptive of your website niche.
- It should include your main keyword.
- It should be easy to spell and to remember.
Good examples of domain names that meet all these criteria is something like: FreeCreditReport.com, or BusinessAdviceBuereau.com
While you are thinking about getting your domain name, you will also want to look into website hosting; this is how your site will be stored on the web. Especially since many hosting providers offer a free domain name with their hosting packages!
The two I would recommend are: Network Solutions, or GoDaddy, there’s links to both of these below.
The Best Places to Get Your Hosting & Domain
Step 3 - Put Your Website on the Web!
Don't be scared off by the technical side, if you can use a word processor, then you can create a website. Here you've got a few options; the quickest and easiest is to set up a blog, Wordpress has all the tools you need to get your site online in minutes.
If the blog layout isn't right for you, then one of the best simple to use website content management systems is; XSite Pro (link below). Again you don't need anything more than simple typing skills to use this system and you can create professional looking pages in no time.
If you're a little more comfortable with the technology; then another option is to use a website HTML editor like Dreamweaver by Adobe These are a bit more technical than the other 2 options, but give you more freedom to customize your site.
The Tools to Build Your Website
Step 4 - Add a 'Sign Up' Box so You Can Collect Email Addresses
When you visit most online businesses, you'll notice somewhere on the page that there is a sign-up box, also called an opt-in form. This will usually be near the top right-hand corner, or along the footer of the page.
Having an opt-in form is one of the key things that separate successful online businesses from those that fail. It allows your site visitors to give you their name, e-mail address, and any other information you may want to collect.
By capturing their contact information, you can follow up with them on a regular basis via e-mail. You can send them valuable content, build a relationship with them, send sales messages to them direct, and bring them back to your website to sell them products they are interested in.
Unless you’re very technically minded you will probably want some software that will create these ‘Sign Up Box’s for you, and automatically create mailing lists. That way all you will have to do is type up your email and press send!
This software is called an autoresponder, the service I recommend is Aweber (link below), it is powerful, affordable and very easy to use. This is the autoresponder I use for my own online businesses.
Get Yourself an Autoresponder
The best Autoresponder software out there - Right now you can get your first month for only $1
Step 5 - Offer Something for Free
The best way to get people to give you their contact information is to offer them something of value in exchange. Good examples are a free subscription to a newsletter, a free special report, or an e-course.
Putting a free report together can be as simple as coming up with 10 questions that people in your niche are likely to ask and answering those questions. It can be just a few pages long. Better yet, unlike a daily newsletter, you only have to write it once. Then you upload it to your autoresponder (the same software you use for the opt-in form) and have it automatically sent to everyone who gives you their name and e-mail address.
Step 6 - Drive Traffic to Your Website
There are many ways to drive traffic to your website. But when you're starting out, you'll want to focus mostly on free traffic.
A quick and easy way to get free traffic is by writing and submitting articles to article directories. Examples are; EzineArticles.com, GoArticles.com and ArticlesBase.com/. Make sure you include your website's URL in the blurb or bio that runs with the article.
Another good way to get free traffic is through social media marketing. Search for blogs and forums that are related to your niche and answer questions and post comments. Most forums and blogs will allow you to link back to your website. Just be sure that you are providing good content and that what you have to say is relevant to the forum's or blog's subject matter.
Keep in mind that most of the people you attract to your website by submitting articles and through social media will not purchase anything from you. At least, they won't purchase anything on their first visit. But that's why you have the opt-in form, to capture their contact information so you can keep bringing them back. In fact the latest research suggests most people only buy a product between the 8th and 12th times they see the offer.
Step 7 - Follow Up and Start Making Sales
The final step is to follow up with the people on your opt-in list and start selling them products. These can be your own products or products you are promoting as an affiliate.
This, too, can be done with your autoresponder. For example, you could write a series of five to ten e-mails, each one offering some useful content or promoting a different product. And as soon as people opt in to get your freebie, you have those e-mails automatically sent to them, one at a time, every couple of days.
Now Your Business is Up and Running
That's how easily you can launch a new online business. If you followed the steps above you would now have a business that is; driving traffic to your website, building a relationship with them, and sending them your sales messages, all on autopilot!
Once you have this basic system in place, you continue to build on it by learning more ways to bring traffic to your site, building a bigger opt-in list, and starting to follow up your sales, with bigger 'back end' products.
And what will all this cost you? Well you can pick up most domain names for about $5 for a year or get one free with most hosting packages. Hosting will cost about $5 per month, and you'll be looking about $10-15 for a good autoresponder (Although many have free or $1 trials for the first month).
And that's it, what other business can you start for less than $20 and be earning money the same day!