Having your own business is most people’s dream. You won’t have a boss breathing down your neck, as the boss is now you. You can plan your own workload, as the scheduler would be you. Just generally having and being in total control of all your day-to-day activities is something that really does appeal to a lot of people.
However, it is not an all-glowing perfect situation. You will have to think about the fact that now responsibility for things not turning out right will all be on your shoulders, and customers will come to you with any complaints. Probably the most important downside to running your own business is you are not going to be paid for just turning up like you would in an employed role. If the work is not there, neither is the money. Therefore, it is important that you fully understand how to go about this the right way. This guide will look at how you can get started with an online business.
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Expenses and overheads
There are plenty of people running their own business, whether it is from home or having its own premises, making a success of it and enjoying every second of the freedom and responsibility it brings. And of course, there are the perks of not having to commute to work if you are working from your home.
Other perks about running your own business from home are that you may be able to claim some of your bills back as expenses on your tax returns. While this is very handy, now you are working at home, this will have an impact on your utility bills. You’ll be using more gas and electricity to keep warm and run whatever equipment your home business needs. You’ll want to keep overheads to a minimum, so using a service like Utility Bidder can save you money on these essential bills.
Now you’ve got the basics covered; you need to decide which way you will make money. There are many possibilities, but here are three of the most popular:
#1 Selling goods
Selling goods is an easy way to start if you are not sure what to do. There are sites such as eBay, Shopify, and Amazon, to name a few, who will hold your hand and help you through the selling process.
You will not have to have your own website, as everything is done on theirs. You will not have to do any SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but you may find that a little social media blogging or advertising could help draw attention to your particular listings and get them sold just that little bit faster.
Under this heading of selling goods, you have other choices, which need to be made carefully.
Making your own products
You can make your own products and sell them on. With this, you must do your research into whether it is actually cost-effective to make your own. Remember that there will be listing fees or sales fees to be paid for each item sold on the above sites – they need to make their money somehow, and there may be a few other charges.
Make sure you read all information given and draw any of these figures into your business plans. Also, check that there is a market for your goods and how much others are selling the same product. Be aware that if there are no products you are looking at for sale, it may be because there is no market for it rather than nobody else has thought of it.
Buying products in
Just like the previous consideration, this also needs to be thoroughly researched. Check that you will not be buying the product in for too much and that your profit margin will be large enough to make it viable. Keep in mind that you will have to find a supplier or a supply of some kind to keep your business running and how much of the products you will have to buy in at any one time, as most suppliers will want bulk orders from you.
You can also look into importing items from abroad to sell on. However, this has the same issues as above regarding how many items you will need to buy in at any one time. For big items, this could be pallet loads or even large containers.
Keep in mind also, when thinking about doing any of the above options, your storage abilities. If you are going to have to hire a storage container to house your unsold items, there will be fees incurred, which will also affect your bottom line.
However, there are options where you will not have to handle any of the goods you are selling, including dropshipping. With dropshipping, you are purely the middleman. You list the items, sell the items, but the supplier holds the stock and sends it to your customer directly.
This sounds fantastic until you find that if the order goes astray or is not right or if there are any other issues such as the supplier cannot fulfill the order, it is you the customer will get in contact with and you who will have the bad feedback even though you have no control on that part of the business.
White label products
Alongside this, there is the option of white label products. These are products that are made in a factory by a company that will happily put your labels on the products for you to sell as your branded items.
This is a good idea if you want to build your own brand, and most of these companies will offer to do the dropshipping or sell to you to sell directly to your customers. However, be aware that there will be a minimum order you will need to request for this last option.
#2 Affiliate marketing
Unlike the selling option above, there is no issue with storing products or shipping them out when you choose to focus on affiliate marketing. However, as with anything, there is a fair amount of work involved.
Affiliate marketing is where you highlight products to people, they click on a link from your blog or article, which takes them to the main page for that product where they can buy it, and you get a commission for every sale that is made directly from your link.
This may sound good, but what happens if your customer clicks away and goes back to the website directly after tracking cookies have expired? Unfortunately, you will not get a commission for that sale; it is purely when the sale comes from your link.
As with using your own website, you will have to keep putting your link out on the internet to keep it current, and having some SEO knowledge will help to keep it getting found by the people who are actually interested in the product and are likely to buy it, but if you are getting a large enough commission it could be worth your time.
#3. Advertising Method
The advertising method is similar to affiliate marketing in that you will be driving traffic to other sites. However, rather than showing links, you will be just displaying advertisements around the content on our website. These could be in the form of banners, videos, or advertisements around the edges or equally spaced within the text of your own sites. Visitors may not have to actually click on the advertisements for you to be paid, just merely be shown them depending on what agreement you have with the advertising company.
In this scenario, you will have to create a free content website for people to read or watch videos on. You can either create blogs or videos or get subcontractors to do this for you or a mixture of all. The best thing you can do for this is to keep it current and regularly updated so Google will rate your site reasonably highly.
Having extensive SEO knowledge or hiring someone with an SEO background, whether it is a business or subcontractor, would be really handy as the higher your Google ranking is, the more visitors you will have, and the more advertising companies will pay you for your time.
Also, think about which companies you would want to show the adverts for, as some companies pay a lot more for their adverts when viewed than others. For instance, if you show insurance or higher education adverts, you might be paid more per view than showing FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) such as pens and other stationery items where your commission will be less.
Your site or your blogs will have to be within the same niche as the advertisements you are showing. If, for example, you are blogging about car repairs, it would be better to advertise car parts and or accessories rather than facial plastic surgery.
Regardless of what you decide to do for your online business, make sure you chose something that will work best for you and fit in with your lifestyle and surroundings. It is no good choosing to sell on containers full of furniture if you live in a bedsit and cannot afford to pay for storage; however, it could be perfect for you to do affiliate marketing or the advertising method.