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How to Start an Online Business the Right Way

Let's Go Back to Basics: Building a Solid Foundation

· work online,online business

Everyone who seeks out a digital nomad lifestyle is looking for some kind of freedom… the freedom to work from wherever you want and on whatever you want is probably one of the biggest draws of this lifestyle. Having said that… let's get started.

How to start an online business the right way and gain freedom to travel

Starting your Own Online Business…

For a lot of people the easiest way to start out is to find an online job or pick up freelance clients… but almost everybody has a passion project they're working on.

If you're starting out and you want an online job… you should check out our free guide "3 steps to location independence. You can download it here.

Let's Go Back to Basics: Building a Solid Foundation

You need to be passionate about what you do.

My personal advice is to work on something you're passionate about. Before Roz and I started working on My Travel Tribe we put together a gift website… neither of us had much interest in this and it failed before it even got started. I'm so passionate about My Travel Tribe that I'll happily work every weekend and sometimes struggle to take a break.

Passion is a must for people starting out and setting up an online business

“I decided a while ago that I wouldn’t do any work, that I wouldn’t do for free.”

So now that you have a valuable idea…

Design your Ideal Day

What does your ideal day look like? Visualise it. Think about where you are, what you're doing and who you're with. What kind of business can you imagine fitting in? I love this exercise and if I'm feeling a bit lost I often return to it for inspiration.

Solve a Problem!!

What is the problem you're solving? Brainstorm. Once you've identified that problem, you need to figure out if it's a genuine pain point for your target market. If it is a real problem for others, it's time to work on the solution..

Brainstorm how you can best solve this problem… What tools or information can you offer that will help your target market?

The process usually goes something like this... Problem, Validation, Solution, Validation, Validation, Validation…

Once you've come up with your solution, it's time to have some more conversations… the longer you spend talking with customers and getting feedback the better. This is a very important part of starting your business… and you really give yourself a much better chance at success if you spend lots of time here!

If you're already working on a business… when is the last time you went out and spoke to your target market or got feedback from your customers?

You should be surveying your target market and talking to your consumers to get valuable feedback that you need to improve your offering.

Validation with customers is key when setting up an online business

Business Model Canvas

There are different online platforms where you can fill out a business model canvas. Our favourite is a simple one from strategyzer. It’s important that you don't just fill the business model canvas out once and then let it sit. A business plan needs to be updated regularly. Your company’s vision, partners, customers and goals will keep changing and therefore your business plan needs to change too.

A Rose by Any Other Name Won't Smell as Sweet.

You need a name for your business… if you're selling your own services you may prefer to use your own name. When choosing a name, make sure it is a name which you will still like in 5 years time. Take into account that your business may grow and expand and in 5-10 years you may have a different target audience or vision. Don’t cut yourself off from these potential opportunities to grow.

If you are looking for what makes a great business name, read this article. After that you need to brainstorm. You can use tools such as Bust A Name and Lean Domain Search to help you with this.

Choose initial keywords that you would like to incorporate into your name, words which will help customers understand what your business does. You can then expand on these keywords by finding appropriate synonyms (using the tools mentioned above).

Finally narrow it down to a couple of options and ask your target audience which they prefer. You can do this by surveying people in Facebook groups, in-person or by email. Just make sure you’re not only asking your immediate friends and family.

When you have a domain name in mind, check that it is available. Otherwise you won't be able to have your website name match your business name… and that would just be a disaster.

Choosing a name for your online business should be one of the first steps

Snap Up Your Domain Name

Once you've got your name in place you can purchase your domain name. Even if it takes you a while to put your website together you'll want to snap up that domain before anyone else can register it. You can use GoDaddy’s domain name checker to see if your desired domain is available.

You can also purchase several variations of your domain name such as .com, .net, .co, .org etc.. so no matter what people search, they will be redirected to your page. Domain names can be bought for as little as $0.99.

You don't need to know how to code in order to build a website.

If you're new to designing websites then I recommend you use Strikingly to put your website together. It's really simple to use and comes with a free and pro version. If you have more experience, then build your site on Wordpress. Wordpress sites can be customised any way you like and you won't have any limits on the features you can incorporate into your site.

If you are using Wordpress to build your site, you will need to find use a web hosting service. Without a hosting site, your domain name doesn’t appear on the web. We recommend Siteground, which is one of the cheapest hosting sites at only $3.95 per month and has excellent 24/7 customer support.

You don't need to know how to code in order to build your own website for your online business.

Even if your product isn't ready to sell you can put together a one page website that you can direct people to and start collecting emails with.

Speaking of Emails...

Your email list is so important. You're going to want to start building if from day one. We started building our email list straight away and it's been one of the best things we've done.

Your email list is your most powerful asset because you own it. With social media, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can change the rules at any time. They can affect how your content comes up and how many people see it. Your email list is the best way to reach your customers.

We go more into more detail on how to build your email list next week, so sit tight until then!

Branding is simply what customers think of your product or service.

The most important thing is to have consistent branding from day one. This includes every perception a customer may have of your company, from your logos and graphics to the way you talk to people on social media.

Deciding on your branding is one of the most important things when setting up an online business

You can hire someone to help you or you can do it yourself. Branding is one of those marketing concepts that can often seem a bit vague. It’s more than choosing a couple of colours, fonts and images in order to make your company recognisable. When deciding on your company’s brand, make sure to have a particular customer persona in mind. What does this person want to see? How would owning your company’s product make them feel? Cool, trendy, modern, chic, happy?

Social Media

While it can be a good idea to register your biz name on different social media sites while it’s available, don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything all at once. If you think you can effectively use Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat at the same time, then think again. It’s way more time consuming than it may seem.

How to manage social media when you are an online entrepreneur

Focus on one or two max. With My Travel Tribe we started out with just Facebook. A few months later we started working on a Pinterest account. Social Media works best if you have time to devote to it. We spend a lot of time on our Facebook Group and that's how we've managed to get nearly 1000 members in a short amount of time.

To get started invite your friends to interact with you. Ask them to invite their friends. Nobody wants to join an empty page or an empty group. If your friends support your efforts by liking and commenting on your posts, they'll provide an aspect of social proof and others will be more likely to take interest. Not only that, but Facebook's algorithm will see your posts as popular and show it to even more people. Win win.

If you're not quite ready to start your own business just yet...

...and would rather work as a freelancer or for a remote company, why not download a copy of our 3 Step Guide to Location Independence? With 30+ pages of practical info, access to the best remote job boards and online skills courses as well as a free workbook, you'll be living the digital nomad lifestyle in no time.

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