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How To Begin An Online Business?

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Starting an online business can provide you with a lucrative source of passive income or help you launch your next career. It can also be a lot of work: figuring out how to get your online business off the ground and profitable.

Fortunately, if you follow these eight simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to launching your own online business.

8 steps to begin online business

1st step: think about low-cost small business concepts

Take some time to examine low-cost business opportunities. Numerous company models can be started for less than $1,000. With a bit of elbow work and a spark of inspiration, you could be on your way to building a digital empire.

typical e-commerce

Specific e-commerce business models require low initial investments but have the potential for massive payoffs. As an example:

  • Vintage shops, which frequently resell items found at thrift stores or estate sales.
  • Online courses that include self-produced instructional videos and live teleconference sessions
  • Handmade jewelry made with low-cost materials and tools
  • Stickers or enamel pins, which may be made in mass at a low cost via remote services.
  • Handmade pet treats that you can prepare and sell without using a commercial kitchen

These are only a few suggestions to get you started. There are numerous low-investment e-commerce ideas just waiting to be implemented.

Shopify, Amazon, Etsy, and eBay are four of the most prominent online store systems.

  • Shopify: Shopify is highly configurable, comes with a plethora of plugins, and allows you to run virtually any form of e-commerce site you can think of.
  • Amazon: While it has more restrictions on what and how you can sell, Amazon has a global reach. And their Amazon fulfillment plan can take care of warehousing and delivery for you.
  • Etsy: Despite being a bustling marketplace for handmade and vintage things, Etsy is also home to numerous large-scale e-commerce enterprises, so there’s lots of space for expansion.
  • eBay: eBay, an old online store cornerstone, is also a terrific venue to sell vintage products and may reach a larger audience than Etsy. However, because eBay has a lower community focus, it may take you longer to establish credibility as a seller.

read more: the 14 must-have startup tools

drop shipping 

All of your inventory and shipping are outsourced with the drop shipping business model. It’s up to you to open a shop and sell your wares. Vendors with whom you have developed a working relationship fulfill the orders.

As a result, the deal is out of your control when a buyer clicks the checkout button. You keep your profit, and the remainder goes to the provider. 

After that, all you have to do is be accessible to provide customer service if something goes wrong, such as the delivery being misplaced or arriving late.

The drop shipping model is intriguing due to its extremely low startup costs; you can start a business from a table in your local coffee shop with a laptop and less than a thousand dollars.

However, because of its ease of access, drop shipping is competitive. And you’ll still have to jump through the usual hoops to set up your business, organize your finances, and pay taxes.

affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing, like drop shipping, allows you to benefit from selling things without ever handling any inventory.

This business plan involves embedding affiliate links on your website, blog, social media posts, and a newsletter sent to your email list. Customers who click the affiliate link and purchase from the affiliate’s store pay you a commission, usually 5-25%.

If you excel at content marketing or social media, a career as an affiliate marketer could be ideal for you. And if you’re already a blogger with content that appeals to a specific niche, you could transform your WordPress hobby into a source of passive income.

You have all the infrastructure you need to start affiliate marketing as long as you’re putting out content that your followers value and drawing traffic through search engine optimization (SEO) and ads.

Startup costs are low—all you need to get started are:

  • Web hosting
  • A domain name
  • A WordPress account
  • Some knowledge of blogging for your target audience.

However, keep in mind that the infrastructure you require may take some time to develop; search engine credibility, large follower counts, and archives full of high-quality content do not appear overnight. 

If you want to get started with affiliate marketing, be prepared to invest time and attention in creating your online assets.

ad revenue from pay-per-click (ppc) advertisements

PPC pays you every time a visitor to your website clicks on an ad. It is frequently used in conjunction with affiliate marketing. And, as with affiliate marketing, you’ll need a solid foundation to work from, such as a popular blog or website.

So, while PPC isn’t a business model in and of itself, it can supplement your existing online content revenue. That is something to consider as you develop your business plan, map out revenue streams, and create financial projections.

working as a freelancer

Are you ready to give up your day job?

Online freelancing could be the solution. If you already do work that can be done remotely—coding, design, marketing, accountancy, copywriting—you have a great asset that you may use to generate money as an independent operator.

Even if your profession is hands-on, you can start a consulting firm using online freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr

For example, you already have a flourishing wedding photography business. You can supplement your income by selling yourself as a photography consultant and mentoring other small business owners.

Prepare to build up a website for your freelance business, as well as profiles on any freelancer platforms you choose to use, regardless of your specialization. 

Additionally, assets such as an active social media presence, blog, or newsletter can assist you in building credibility and standing out from the crowd.

Finally, if you’re used to working for someone else, becoming a freelancer will alter your tax situation. 

helpful resource: the consequences of missing tax deadlines

creating a podcast

Podcasts generated about $500 million in income in 2018; by 2021, that figure is predicted to reach $1 billion. If you’ve memorized the weekly release schedules of all your favorite podcasts and believe you know what makes an addictive program, then the microphone could be your ticket to fame.

Podcasters usually make money through affiliate marketing. Embedding links is obviously not the way to go—promoting businesses on your program is up to you. 

Podcasting services such as Podbean and Buzzsprout connect you with affiliates from the start, so you never have to look for a sponsor. They will also host your podcast, advertise it, and track its development.

Aside from the cost of hosting, expect to spend the majority of your startup budget on promotion via ads and sponsored posts. There’s also the issue of your studio; entry-level professional microphones cost between $100 and $500.

2nd step: develop a business plan

Your business strategy serves as a road map for your internet venture. It outlines where you are now and where you intend to go. As your company grows, you can refer back to your business plan for guidance on future expansion or challenges.

Building a successful internet business requires a plan before you begin. It keeps you focused on your objectives so you know what’s essential and what isn’t when it comes time to make critical decisions.

Your Business Plan should be able to answer the Following Questions:

  • What need does your internet business meet for customers?
  • With whom will you be competing?
  • What assets will your company rely on? 

Examples are startup capital, professional expertise, or intellectual property (such as exclusive podcasting rights to a sensational crime narrative).

  • How will your finances look in your first year? How about your sophomore year?
  • How long can your company operate without earning a profit?
  • How much sweat equity would it take to create your business?
  • How much money will you make each month to break even?

Your business plan might be lean (fast and dirty) or traditional (long and thoroughly studied). Also, remember to include an attention-grabbing cover page.

3rd step: determine your business structure

How you structure your business will impact how you file and pay taxes. It also affects your liability—whether your personal assets are at risk if your landscaping company fails to pay its debts or is sued.

The IRS recognizes five significant types of business entities:

The IRS considers you a sole proprietorship as soon as you begin earning money from your own business. In other words, you and your company are the same for tax purposes.

In some ways, this makes life easier because there is no unnecessary paperwork to deal with. The lone prop structure is popular among freelancers for this reason. However, it does not provide any liability protection, so your personal assets are at risk if you are sued or defaulted on a loan, for example.

The next step up is a single-member LLC structure. It provides liability protection while operating similarly to a sole proprietorship. Many small business owners begin as sole proprietors before forming LLCs.

4th step: register your company name

If you work as a sole proprietor and freelance under your own name, there is usually no need to register a business name. However, once you start doing business under a different name—say, “Greg’s Graphic Design” rather than “Greg Jackson”—you must register it. 

You’ll also need to register your name if you use a business structure other than a sole proprietorship.

This is how you do it:

make sure that no one else is using your name

Conduct some online research to ensure no one else uses your company name. You may want to employ a patent and copyright attorney to double-check your work.

fill out the doing business as (dba) form

You must file a DBA with your state to operate as a sole proprietor under a name other than your own.

When choosing their business structure for federal and state tax purposes, LLCs, corporations, and partnerships register their business names. If you want to operate under a name other than your registered name, you must additionally submit a DBA.

5th step: purchase a domain name

Once you’ve decided on a business name, you’ll need to register a domain name. Even if social media is your primary marketing platform and you do not want a website, it is essential to register a domain immediately. 

There’s always the possibility that once your business takes off, someone else will want to register your domain for their own, lowering your ranking on Google search results pages.

Furthermore, while you may not require a website to run your business, even a small, simple one can help you with SEO, allowing you to appear at the top of Google’s search results when someone searches for you.

Google Domains is an excellent one-stop shop for registering your new domain. They make the procedure simple to follow without the upselling tactics utilized by other suppliers (“For just some dollars, add Your!“). 

You may immediately import your domain into Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, Shopify, or Weebly whenever you decide to build a site.

6th step: determine the sales tax nexus

If you operate an ecommerce business, you may be obligated to collect sales tax in many states. Your sales tax nexus determines whether or not you do. Sorting things out can be difficult but with Countick experts’ guide to sales tax nexus makes it simple.

7th step: make your social media presence known

Perhaps you intend to use Instagram as your primary sales channel for your vintage clothing store. Perhaps you’re starting an online consulting business and haven’t given social media much thought.

In any case, one of the first things you should do after beginning your online business is to establish a social media presence.

Even if you’re not selling on social media, maintaining an active account informs potential clients that you’re open for business: It demonstrates that your company is engaged and accessible. It can serve as a point of contact for customers who have questions.

The following are the most important social media sites for marketing your small business:


Facebook’s popularity among younger populations, such as millennials and Zoomers, has declined. Nonetheless, it remains the most popular social media platform on a global scale. Maintaining a Facebook presence improves your SEO score, making your business easier to find.


Instagram has grown in popularity for product marketing, particularly among younger generations. Hashtags enable you to investigate and target certain user groups and observe what your competitors are up to. And, because it is primarily a visual platform, it is ideal for showcasing new products.

If you work as an online freelancer, Instagram might not be your first pick for social media—after all, you don’t have any flashy things to sell. 

On the other hand, maintaining a nicely maintained personal account can help demonstrate to those researching your services that you’re a “real person” and trustworthy.


Twitter can be an excellent venue for keeping your fans updated if you’re releasing blog pieces, videos, or podcast episodes. It also allows you to network with other businesses in your field. Unless you’re creating frequent material or launching a quirky brand identity, you may generally omit it.


A visual site comparable to Instagram, Pinterest is an excellent fit for niche businesses, particularly those dealing with handmade products. Crafters, decorators, and hobbyists find it a great source of inspiration. 

Pinterest is great for advertising your Etsy shop, but you don’t need an account if you’re launching a software firm or working as a business consultant.


Even if you aren’t much of a networker, having a LinkedIn presence for your company is beneficial. It establishes your legitimacy: Even if you are your company’s sole employee, it allows potential consumers to put a face to a name. 

A modest LinkedIn profile can make you more trustworthy if you run a drop shipping or affiliate marketing firm, where fly-by-night operations are too typical.


Google is, of course, the most popular search engine on the planet. YouTube is the second most popular. YouTube has a vast reach, with one billion hours of video watched every day. And the sky is the limit in terms of the type of content you can create: from instructional mini-documentaries about your sector to interviews with thought leaders to step-by-step product overviews. 

Enter relevant search terms such as “motorcycle parts” or “stain remover” to see what comes up. You might discover a new fan following just waiting to be discovered.

related resource: 6-e-commerce kpis you need to keep an eye on

8th step: begin with proper bookkeeping

An organized business has orderly bookkeeping. When your financial records are in order, you can plan for the future and make wise business decisions. And having clean books is especially vital during tax season; the more organized you are, the sooner you can file and the easier it is to benefit from tax deductions.

The Countick is particularly well-suited to Internet businesses. We work smoothly if you currently run a paperless business with all your financials online.

What’s the best part? You will be assigned a professional team of bookkeepers to conduct your bookkeeping anywhere. You can also try one month of free bookkeeping.

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