6 Steps To Setting Up An Online Business Right Now

I want to make something REALLY clear right from the outset about setting up an online business by telling you what you don’t need. In order to operate a business that you find meaningful and fulfilling, you DO NOT NEED:

  • loads of money or venture capital
  • a big business loan you can’t pay back
  • or business cards and articles of incorporation

These are the things that no longer matter. Some of them used to matter, but they no longer do. For example: it used to be that you’d have to spend several thousand bucks to build a website for your business… today, you can literally start one in the next 5 minutes for under $5. Here’s my point: do not waste your time and energy on things that you can easily by-pass in today’s world. We’re not in 1998 anymore, so let’s stop acting like it.

The first secret to your success is... that there IS NO secret.

There are only three core principles that you need to know before you start.

Every business needs:

  1. a product or service
  2. a group of people who will buy it
  3. a way for you to get paid

We cover all of these things in-depth here at Meaning•Full, but if you're just getting started with setting up an online business -- just follow the directions below, and you’ll already be leaps and bounds ahead of 99% of people that PRETEND to be monetizing, but are really just broke, busted bloggers on the brink of bankruptcy. Don’t be broke and don’t be busted. You’re better than that and you know it.

The Six Steps You Need To Take To Start Setting Up An Online Business Right Now:

#1. decide on your product or service

Do your research first.

What are you selling? Why are you selling it? Who’s it for?

Let's say you want to start a gold investment company...

Before you can do anything, you need to do your research on the current state of the market. Where is there a gap? Could you fill that gap? What is the market like for new businesses right now? How will you finance it? What’s the competition like?

These are all important questions that you need to ask yourself.

And getting answers to these questions is as simple as doing a bit of online research on the best gold investment companies (or whatever business you're hoping to start).

Bottom line: You don’t need to know everything right now, but you do need to know enough that you are setting your feet on solid ground.

#2. setup a website

Nothing fancy, keep it simple. Use Bluehost to set everything up on WordPress in the next 5 minutes for under $5. (Do it after you’re done reading).

#3. develop a compelling offer

Offers are not the same as products or services. Your products and programs are WHAT you deliver. Your offer is HOW you deliver it. 

Are you selling in a sleazy way? Or are you actually providing real value? The former repels. The latter compels. 

For example: Groupon used to be compelling. But now they’re sleazy, slimy, and spammy. This is because they started selling hard. They stopped delivering *one* good daily deal we could all look forward to, and they started delivering garbage. So WE started doing exactly what you’re supposed to do with garbage — drag it straight to the trash can.

#4. set up a payment system

Use gumroad.com and/or PayPal to set up shop and start accepting money NOW.

#5. tell everyone about it.

Put your right hand on your heart and repeat after me: “First I’ll create it. Then I’ll campaign it.” 

A lot of people spend time creating things but for one reason or another, do not hit the launch button. You might be afraid, anxious, or not so confident — I’ve been there, too.

You want to know the solution? Just ship it. Get it out the door. If it fails… it fails. Fail more until you succeed. But don’t do it in a quiet room. Email, call, and connect with everyone you think might be a good fit for your product or program and ask for the money. This might be friends, family, current customers, or people you have not yet met. Just do it. Create it and campaign it.

#6. rinse + repeat

Learn from steps one through five, adjust as necessary, and repeat.

nearly every online business follows this sequence.

Setting up an online business is actually really simple. Of course, there are details. But it’s nothing you can’t accomplish if you take small steps daily. So make these six steps your small ones for today. If you already have a business with an off-line presence that you want to promote online, think about what you can do with the products, programs, or services you’ve already created. Put everything down that doesn’t put money in your pocket or create actual value for those you serve. Do not waste time picking the perfect font size. That doesn’t matter in the beginning. What matters is your ability to sustain your business.

if you're struggling for ideas, consider the following:

  • Can you connect with your current customers with a special promotion for buying online?
  • How can you hustle in a way you haven’t hustled before, in the name of bringing in new customers, clients, or subscribers?
  • Can you come out with a “bi-product” of something you already sell? For example: suppose you’re a nutritionist, and after serving a few clients with specific, vegan-based dietary needs, you’ve built up a wealth of knowledge about how current and aspiring vegans can eat clean and great-tasting food while maintaining their physical fitness in the process… hmm. Maybe it’s time to start offering a vegan diet guide?
  • If you’re an author, can you convert your publications into a magazine, special report, or online video course?
  • If you’re a coach or business consultant, can you give people an additional percentage off if they pay you for several sessions at once via your online payment processor?

Regardless of where you stand now — I really hope this has inspired you to begin if you haven’t already done so. It’s always best to start from where you are than to wait until everything is absolutely perfect. 

It’ll never be perfect anyway. So why wait until it is?

Dean Bokhari

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"Dean Bokhari's Meaningful Show is the Self-Improvement Podcast I've been waiting for. It's actionable, inspiring, and BS-Free." —Brett Silo

This post is part of a series on creating a Meaningful Online Business

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