Have you ever thought to yourself ‘should I start an online business?”
Owning an online business is challenging yet exciting at the same time. As a freelance writer, I owned an online business for almost 8 years and now I’m in the process of turning this blog into a side hustle business while I work as a full-time copywriter…
That’s the great thing about having a working online business – you can do it alongside your work or study commitments, and when you begin turning it into a highly profitable venture, you can run it full-time, putting all your energy and focus onto it.
Flexibility is just one awesome reason to start a business online in 2023.
If you’re still on the fence over whether to commit your time and resources to an online business, here are some things you’ll learn in this guide:
- Why online business is important in 2023
- 11 amazing reasons why you should start an online business today
- 3 important things you need to succeed in business
- How to become a freelance writer with no experience
- 41 best small business ideas for women
- 107 profitable digital products to sell on Etsy
Why Online Business is Important
First, let’s look at why online business is important, and why you may want to consider operating online.
I’m sure most of us are aware of the impact that COVID-19 had on shopping habits – physical stores closed or operating at reduced capacity led many people to online shopping.
Not only that, but when they reopened, many stores implemented safety measures, such as mask mandates and capacity limits to help reduce the spread of the virus.
As a result, people may have become more cautious about shopping in person and may be more likely to make purchases quickly and efficiently rather than leisurely browsing.
Why online business is popular nowadays
Online business is popular for a number of reasons:
- It’s convenient for consumers. With an online business, customers can shop anytime, anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. This is especially appealing for people who have busy schedules or who live in areas that are not served by a physical store.
- A wider selection of products and services is available online. Online stores often carry a wider range of products than a physical store, and it’s easy for customers to compare prices and find the best deals.
- Better deals. As online businesses don’t need to pay for rent, utilities, and other expenses associated with a physical location, they can offer lower prices to customers.
11 Reasons to Start An Online Business in 2023
Why start an online business? Here are some online business benefits to consider.
Starting an online business is super cost-friendly. Here’s why:
- Lower upfront costs. In general, it’s less expensive to start an online business than a traditional brick-and-mortar business. You don’t have to start with as much inventory upfront, and you can often get started with just a laptop and internet connection, especially if you’re providing a service like freelance writing.
- The ability to work from home. When you run an online business, you can often work from home, saving money on commuting costs and potentially reducing the need for childcare.
- Access to free or low-cost online tools and resources. There are many online resources available, such as SEO tools, to help you manage and grow your online business. Many of these are free or low-cost, meaning it’s cost-effective to run your business.
- A global market. One of the biggest advantages of running an online business is the ability to reach customers all over the world. This can help you increase your customer base and generate more sales, which can offset any upfront costs you may have incurred.
Obviously, the cost of starting an online business varies depending on the type of business you want to start and how much you’re willing to invest. Some online businesses can be started with little or no upfront costs, while others may require a significant investment to get off the ground.
How much does it cost to start an online business?
Here is a few potential costs you’re likely to incur when starting an online business:
- Domain name and website hosting. You’ll need to pay for a domain name and website hosting. These costs can range from a few dollars per month to several hundred dollars per year. I recommend using HostGator and you can get started with my code for as little as $2.70 per month. You can follow my guide here to start a website.
- Website design and development. If you don’t have the skills or time to design and develop your own website, you may need to hire a web developer. This can be a significant cost, depending on the complexity of your site and the developer’s rates. However, if you use WordPress, you can simply use one of their free themes to get started.
- Marketing and advertising. To get the word out about your business, you’ll likely have to invest in marketing and advertising. This can include things like SEO, social media advertising, Google AdWords, or influencer marketing.
- Business tools and resources. Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you may need business tools like email marketing software, accounting software, or stock images.
- Inventory and/or materials. If you’re selling physical products, you’ll need to find money for inventory and/or materials. In addition, you’ll also need packaging materials and labels.
Remember, when starting any online business, it’s important to carefully consider your budget and allocate your resources wisely.
The great thing about owning an online business is that you can work from anywhere in the world, providing you have a reliable internet connection.
You get to set your own schedule which can be helpful if you have other commitments or want to take time off when needed.
In terms of flexibility, you can also scale your business up and down, testing different ideas and business models without extravagant costs.
Overall, the flexibility of an online business enables you to work in a way that fits your lifestyle and needs.
What’s the best flexible business to run?
The best one for you will depend on your interests, skills, and goals. Here are a few ideas to contemplate:
- E-commerce store. Setting up an e-commerce store allows you to sell any type of product online.
- Online consulting or coaching business. If you have expertise in a particular area, you could start an online consulting or coaching business and work with clients over the phone or video calls.
- Freelance writing or design. If you have a talent for writing or design, you could work as a freelancer and take on jobs on a project-by-project basis.
- Blog or YouTube channel. Starting a blog or YouTube channel can be a flexible way to share your passions and earn money through advertising or sponsored content.
- Virtual assistant. Working as a virtual assistant allows you to provide a variety of administrative and support services to clients remotely.
There are many other online business ideas that are flexible as well, so it’s worth considering what skills and interests you have and how you could use them to start a business online.
Work remotely from anywhere in the world
Having the amazing freedom to be location independent means you can travel the world as a digital nomad, have a coliving arrangement abroad, or work flexibly in your own country from a coworking space.
If you’re a digital nomad and are interested in starting an online business, it can be a highly rewarding and exciting way to live and work, but it does require some planning and organization. You need to be proactive in finding and keeping clients or customers, and you need to have the right tools and resources in place to manage your business effectively while on the go.
You need to be self-motivated and disciplined as there is no-one around you to tell you to get to work. But, there are tools that can help you to be more productive, ensuring you get optimal output from the effort that you put in.
Can be automated
The good news is that it’s entirely possible for an online business to run 24/7. Many online businesses like eCommerce stores have automated processes in place to handle tasks such as taking orders, processing payments, and fulfilling shipments.
This allows the business to operate around the clock and can be especially useful if you are targeting customers in different time zones.
How can you automate your business?
There are a few different approaches you can take to make your online business run 24/7.
One option is to use a website or e-commerce platform that is designed to handle orders and payments automatically.
Another option is to use automated email or chatbots to communicate with customers and answer their questions. This ensures you provide an efficient service to your customers, even when you’re not available to respond personally.
Will an automated business provide passive income?
Passive income is income that is generated with little or no ongoing effort on your part. While running any business, including an online business, typically requires some level of active effort, you could hire a virtual assistant to help you.
Business models like affiliate marketing, dropshipping, and print on demand, are considered passive income streams. However, you’ll need to do some work upfront before they become sources of passive income.
Focus on your passions
Starting an online business allows you to focus on your passions and follow your dreams. Instead of working a traditional 9-5 job, you get to do something you love – and when this happens, it can be easier to stay motivated, even in the face of setbacks.
Before you begin your online business, you do need to determine if there is a market for the product or service you’re passionate about. There’s no guarantee that your idea will succeed. After all, if there’s no demand for it, it’ll be a difficult business to sustain in the long run.
Make sure you assess the potential demand for your idea by researching the niche, and conduct market research with potential clients or customers.
Grow your income
Owning an online business means you can grow your income exponentially.
There are many different strategies you can use to grow and expand an online business, such as:
- Identifying and targeting new customer segments. By finding new groups of people to sell to, you can increase your customer base and drive more sales.
- Expanding into new markets. If you currently operate in a specific geographic region or country, you can expand into new regions or countries to reach a wider audience.
- Diversifying your product or service offering. By offering a wider range of products or services, you easily appeal to a broader customer base and increase your revenue streams.
- Investing in marketing and advertising. By increasing your marketing efforts, you can reach a larger audience and drive more traffic to your website, which can lead to more sales.
Build a team
With an online business, you can build and grow a skilled team of people around you.
Outsourcing work is a common practice for many online businesses. Outsourcing involves hiring external professionals or companies to handle certain tasks or functions for your business.
There are many benefits to outsourcing work, including:
- Cost savings
- Increased efficiency
- Access to a global talent pool
You can outsource all types of tasks for an online business, including web design, content creation, customer service, data entry, and more. It’s important to carefully consider which tasks to outsource and to choose reliable and reputable professionals or companies to work with.
The price you’ll pay will differ depending on the type of work you outsource and where in the world you hire employees from. For example, if you’re outsourcing social media management, you’ll likely pay between $500 – $2500 per month, according to Socially Buzz.
Access to a worldwide customer base
Imagine running an online business and having clients or customers from all over the world?
The internet enables businesses to reach people anytime, anywhere.
While selling to a worldwide market increases customer base and revenue, it also presents its own set of challenges, including language barriers, cultural differences, and varying laws and regulations.
It may also mean spending more money to invest in marketing and advertising to reach a global audience too.
You’re the CEO
If you’re the owner of an online business, you’re the decision-maker and CEO of that enterprise, no matter how big or small that may be.
You’re responsible for making strategic decisions, managing finances and resources, and ensuring the overall success and growth of the business. Being the boss of an online business can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires hard work, dedication, and responsibility.
When it comes to decisions making, there are some steps that can help an online business owner:
- Defining goals and objectives. Clearly establishing what you want to achieve will help guide your decision-making process and ensure that your actions align with your overall business strategy.
- Gathering and analyzing data. Use data and analytics to inform your decisions and make data-driven decisions whenever possible.
- Consulting with others. Seek out the advice of trusted colleagues, advisors, or industry experts to broaden your perspective.
- Considering the risks. Carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits of each decision.
Easily connect with other business owners online
Starting an online business enables you to connect with other business owners around the world.
There are many places that allow the opportunity for networking. These include:
- Online communities and forums for business owners and entrepreneurs
- Virtual events and webinars
- Online groups specifically designed for business networking
- Business association or chamber of commerce
Connecting with business owners can be valuable for any business, whether that’s freelance/solo operation or small team.
You can learn as you go
Starting an online business may not require a vast range of skills. However, there are some that are useful for building and growing a professional day job.
Marketing and sales
Being able to effectively market and sell your products or services is crucial for the success of an online business. This may include skills such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and email marketing.
If you’re creating products or marketing materials for your online business, design skills can be useful for creating visually appealing and professional-looking materials.
Writing and communication
Copywriting, content creation, and email communication are essential skills for most online businesses. If you have some knowledge of these, you’re already a step ahead of other people.
Being able to effectively plan, coordinate, and execute projects is important for ensuring the smooth operation of an online business.
That being said, it’s also possible to run an online business and learn as you go.
You can find online courses and tutorials that cover a range of topics related to business management and entrepreneurship, such as marketing, financial management, and customer service.
A few helpful resources for budding entrepreneurs include:
Who should start an online business?
Some key characteristics that can be helpful when starting an online business are:
Passion. Starting an online business can be challenging, and having a deep passion for your product or service can help you stay motivated and focused.
Entrepreneurial mindset. Successful online business owners are often risk-takers who are willing to try new things and think outside the box.
Determination. Building an online business requires hard work and persistence, so it’s important to not give up easily.
Is it best to start an online business or in person?
We’ve already looked at the benefits of online business, so here are some advantages of a brick and mortar business:
Established/potentially loyal customer business
Easier to gain a local presence
Ultimately, the decision to start a business depends on individual circumstances and goals. For some people, an online business is the right way to go, but for others, being involved in the local community is more appealing.
3 important things to succeed in online business
There are many factors that can contribute to the success of an online business, but some key things that can be particularly important include:
A strong value proposition. In order to succeed in online business, it’s important to have a clear and compelling reason for customers to choose your product or service over those of your competitors. This is known as your “value proposition.”
Marketing and customer acquisition skills. Having a deep understanding of how to reach and engage with potential customers is essential for success.
Attention to detail. Building and running an online business requires a lot of attention to detail, from creating and maintaining a website to handling orders and customer service. Paying close attention to all of these details ensures the smooth operation of a business.
Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to the success of an online business, such as a strong work ethic, good time management skills, and the ability to adapt and pivot as needed.
How to create an online business that makes money
So, how do you start a profitable online business?
Starting an online business is a great way to achieve financial independence. Here are some steps you can follow to create an online business that makes money:
Identify a market need. The first step to starting an online business is to identify a market need that your business can fulfill. This could be a product or service that solves a specific problem for a group of people.
Determine your target audience. After identifying a market need, it’s important to determine who your target audience is. That’ll help you tailor your marketing efforts and create a product or service that meets the needs of your target customers.
Create a business plan. A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It’s a useful tool for keeping your business on track and attracting potential investors.
Build a website. Your website is the online hub of your business, so it’s important to make sure it’s user-friendly and visually appealing. Consider hiring a web designer to help you create a professional-looking site.
Generate traffic and sales. There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your website and generate sales. Some options include social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and email marketing.
Keep learning and growing. Starting and running a successful online business requires continuous learning and growth. Stay up to date with industry trends and continually improve your products or services.
How To Get Started in Online Business Today
If you’re ready to start an online business, then following some of the tips on this page can help you to take the next step.
If you’re still unsure if starting an online business is for you, you may need some inspiration. Check out these online business ideas and see if any of these interest you!