Starting online is easy and cheap (and other nonsense they tell you)
What's in this article
Since the pandemic hit, even people who never thought they’d run an online business have been busy figuring out how to start a business online.
Also, lots of businesses online (pun intended) claim it’s the easiest, fastest way to create a successful business where money keeps passively flowing into your bank account while you sip Mai Tai on the beach and enjoy your stress free millionaire lifestyle.
Until the reality hits: it’s not easy, and it’s definitely not cheap to launch and grow a successful online business. For every online millionaire there are tens of thousands of hard working, hard dreaming entrepreneurs who don’t make a dime online.
Online course is not a business
One of the popular models to start online is some kind of educational piece of work, such as a course or a program. While it’s a great way to productise your service, you need to keep in mind that an online course is not a business, it’s a product that your business sells. Your business requires far more than a product to provide you with a great living.
Shiny objects will make your brain hurt
Since there are hundreds of options to making money online, some more ethical than others, and some more easy than others, you need to know what your business model should look like. Are you selling physical goods? Drop ship? Affiliate? Digital products? Apps? Courses? Memberships? SaaS? Intensives? Low price? High price? With support? No support? Keeping your focus on your thing might be harder in the online world, compared to a more traditional business model.
If you sell online, you need to acquire customers online
This means: you need to become at least a decent online marketer. And that is not exactly the same thing as creating an Instagram account publishing 1-2 inspirational quotes a week or talking on Zoom. Online strategies and tactics develop all the time, and the market is maturing fast. The consumers know by now what a “free webinar” means; they know what you’re trying to do with your marketing trickery. That means you need to become better. As a person who intends to make a living by selling products or services online, you need to keep up with the development and trends.
If you’re going to sell anything digital, you need an infrastructure that allows you to do that
While there are a ton of tools you can use, free or paid, to deliver your online product, you need to become an educated buyer of the tools and technologies required to make your online venture to work. And if you have not been in the fast pacing world of Internet technology, figuring out your technology park is a daunting task.
If you’re serious about your business, you are going to have to invest money into it
The tools you need, marketing campaigns you run on social media platforms, the extra pair of hands you need to keep up with content creation and distribution… it costs far more than the internet gurus make it sound.
If you don’t know how to create a budget for your online sales, you should go with the benchmarks in your industry. Don’t make the rookie mistake talking yourself into a belief that your idea is so much more brilliant than the other millions of ideas, so your business will attract customers while you sleep, no money put down to make it work. Even the greatest of the greatest internet marketing experts know that the industry benchmarks are there to give you a realistic view of what you should expect. You can find a simple calculation example here.
The “experts” make it sound so simple
For obvious reasons, internet experts who sell courses about creating online courses make it sound simple and profitable from the get go. For sure, it doesn’t have to be that complex, and since many people have been able to turn their businesses online, there are a lot of examples of how it could work. But, one size does not fit all, and it’s definitely not easy.
And then we have the “experts” who have never run anything online. It’s like a non-parent person telling a sleep-deprived new parent to sleep when the baby sleeps.
“Whaa? I’m gonna cook when the baby cooks? I do the taxes when the baby does taxes? I clean the house when the baby is cleaning the house? Sure thing. Hand me that coffee.”
Future-proofing your business and creating a business that fits your lifestyle is a great idea, and if you take it seriously, you absolutely can make it work for you. My point, however, remains:
it’s not cheap, and it’s not easy to succeed online, despite what the gurus say
If you need more guidance, I created this resource you can dive into:
It covers the whole system for creating a profitable, impactful and joyful business running the way it makes sense to you: online, offline or what ever line suits you, and what you actually need to know if you’re going to profitably acquire customers online.