There are many benefits to starting an online business, including low start-up costs, passive income, and the ability to work at home. As with any business venture, there are pros and cons to a virtual business. Let's take a look at the benefits, and some of the mistakes to avoid.
Minimal Start-up Costs
Unlike brick and mortar businesses, your start-up costs for online businesses can be minimal. You'll need to purchase a domain name for your blog or website, and pay a monthly hosting fee. There are various business models to sell your products or services. If you're selling services, then you'll want to establish yourself as an expert in your field by writing a blog. If you're selling products, you can find drop ship companies that will store your inventory and ship it to your customers only when an order is placed. You collect the money from the customer, keep your percent, and pass the rest on to the drop shipper. There are no costs to you to create, store, or ship the product.
Finally, you can become an affiliate and sell other people's information products (books, audio CDs, reports) for a commission. The only cost to you in the beginning is the time to write good reviews and recommendations. As you can see, they sky's the limit when it comes to a virtual business.
No matter what niche you pursue in your online business, you can earn passive income from all or some portions of your website or blog. For example, you can have a one-page website that sells an information product 24-7. Once you set it up, you can use auto-responders to deliver various emails and digital products to customers. You can also have advertisements or sponsors that will pay you continually for access to your visitors. Finally, you could build a membership site, set it up, and have members paying for access on a recurring basis.
Work at Home
You can work at home with any online business. This is the best solution for moms who want to balance work and family. You can set your own hours. If you provide services, make it clear to clients what those hours are and stick to them. The equipment you will need is a computer with internet access, and most likely a printer. You may or may not need a telephone. If you are providing audio or video content or products, you can buy a digital camera fairly inexpensively with video capabilities, and a headset/microphone combination.
Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Online Business
- Don't sell products and services that nobody wants. No matter how passionate you are about it, if there's no need in the market, you won't make money.
- Find products that are not just one-time sales. Subscriptions or products that need to be replenished will give you a residual monthly income.
- Have your own domain name. Although you could set up a blog for free using WordPress or Blogspot, these sites own your material and can delete your site if you violate their restrictions and guidelines.
Even if you already own a business, you should consider taking your business online or starting a new one. The benefits can be tremendous and the costs to start and maintain the business are low.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.