5 Actionable Steps You Can Take Today To Create That Sustainable Online Business
“How do I start an online business?” This is a question I often get. Thus, I’ll be starting out this category answering this question.
Before I dive into the answer, let me start by telling you why I strongly believe this system works. As a person who’s been blogging for about seven years, I have tried various strategies to make a living online. I have read books and taken courses but all came to no avail.
Why didn’t you have success you may ask? The answer is simple and I know that most people reading this article will resonate well with this; “The lack of an effective system.”
When you lack a proper system, it doesn’t matter how hard or long you work, you will always come to a roadblock. Whether you are into e-commerce or course creation, the result stays the same.
Are you finding difficult to find a headway in that business? check the system you have in place. It’s as simple as that.
Thankfully, this post isn’t about character checking. It is about finding a solution. So, if you feel that my statement applies to you, be of good cheer because if you act on the steps I share today, you can create a successful business online.
Okay, enough of the chit-chat. Let’s get down to business, yeah? Here are 5 actionable steps you can take today to create that sustainable online business.
1. Start a Blog about Your Interests
Honestly, I can’t think of any other better technique. A blog creates a platform for you. It represents who you are and what you love to do. Remember that having customers is the key to a thriving business. People convert into customers when they feel connected to a brand. Your blog can serve as that medium through which people can connect with you.
Furthermore, you have the opportunity to partner with other bloggers in your field. This is extremely important because partnering will equip you with extra skills and knowledge that can be vital to your business’s survival. You get to learn what mistake to avoid which can save you a ton.
Also, you can grow an audience through a blog. Let’s think about it for a second. People are constantly searching for solutions online. What if you are the resource having that solution? Think of how many people that will be attracted to you.
You can also implement other techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO) which helps to increase your exposure further. If you haven’t done so, you can read my article on how to easily set up your site schema, where I share how you can edit your site structure to boost rankings.
Another benefit of starting a blog is that you get to create a social profile for that blog. This will serve as another great medium for increased exposure and brand trustworthiness.
2. Create a Lead Magnet to Capture Your Visitors
You have created a blog and are now having visitors your site. What next? You need to have a system in place to capture those visitors so that they keep returning to your site. Remember that the goal here is to create an online business and not for pleasure. Therefore, converting those visitors should be at the back of your mind.
If you look at the websites of major businesses and entrepreneurs, you will notice that they have some form of a lead magnet. As examples, we will use Brian Dean of Backlinko, and Shopify (the e-commerce platform)
You will also notice that they are offering a service for free. That is what a lead magnet entails: offering a product or service for free in exchange for something from the visitor. In these cases, the email addresses of the visitors.
Collecting email addresses is very important. Unlike search engines (that decide what they want to show to your potential audience), when you collect email addresses that power rests with you. This is because you already have access to that hungry audience. You are in control of everything that you want your subscribers to see.
Furthermore, when you want to market a product, you need an existing audience that is ready to receive that product. This is a problem that is shared by most newbie entrepreneurs and small businesses. With an effective lead magnet, this issue will not exist. Thus, giving you ample time to focus on scaling that product.
Pro Tip: Think of something you can create that will be used to get the email of that visitor. If you can’t think of anything, don’t worry. Just go through your previous posts and pick one that stands out. Re-purpose that post such that it tailors to the needs of your visitors. You can offer that post as a downloadable content.
3. Build a Strong Relationship with Your List
Following the previous point, you need to have a solid relationship with your list. Let them know that they are important and not just another number to you. Effectively engage with all of them. You may be wondering how it is possible to keep up with everyone one on your list. Well, thanks to email automation systems, the task of staying in touch with your list is no longer a mountain.
You can check out my resource page to see my recommendations for email marketing. When sending out emails, you need to be genuine. Let your recipients know that it is coming from a person and not some robot marketer. Treat them as you would treat a best friend. Now, I am not saying that your words should be too casual. If it appears too casual, you may be taken for granted.
Instead, let your wordings have a semi-professional tone. A right mix of friendliness and professionalism. Again, if you find this difficult, it is totally understandable. As you do this more often, you will get the hang of things.
Having a strong relationship with your audience tears down the wall of doubts and reservations. You appear more trustworthy to your audience. This makes them more open to what you have to offer.
Pro Tip: Go through your inbox and check the kinds of email you receive from your favourite marketer or entrepreneur. Select about 4 to 5 of them and carefully study them. You will definitely receive some clarity on what you can send to your list.
4. Build a Product Around Your Topic Interest
You now have an audience that trusts you. The next step is building a product or creating a service around what you are talking about. For you to thrive as a business, you need to make sales. You can’t perform this if you don’t have anything to sell.
To enable you to come up with the best fit for your audience, you need to put your list relationship to good use. Here is what you can do;
- Create a poll or send out a survey to your audience asking them about their pressing needs.
- Ask them how they’ll feel after their needs have been met.
- Give them a reward for taking part in the survey.
- Compile all the results you receive and identify the major trend in their responses.
- Finally, create a product or service based on your findings.
So, what do we do with problems in the minority? The answer is simple. Since you cannot cater for everyone with your product, you can create an article that perfectly provides a solution to those problems. This way you are providing value to everyone.
5. Get a Team to Provide Support for Your Product
A product that stands the test of time is one that has a solid customer service. You never want to leave a product in the hands of your customers and kiss them goodbye. You need to ensure that you have a trustworthy team that is on standby to provide help when the need arises.
If you have a large budget you can hire the right people to perform this function. But, I know that most of you reading this have shoe-string budgets. Therefore, the alternative is outsourcing the task to someone else or getting a trusted friend or family member involved. The only downside to this is that time may be spent in training them.
You also want to make sure that you continuously strengthen your relationship with your support team. Reward them and provide constructive criticism when necessary. This will ensure that there is a high level of trust between both parties.
Bonus Step: Scale Your Online Business
As a business owner, you ought to act as a CEO and not a worker. It is said that the average millionaire has at least seven streams of income. Therefore, you need to scale your online business.
Do not dwell solely on one product or service. Constantly create high-quality products that appeal to different segments of your audience. This way, you can be sure that if one stream of income dips you have several others that you can fall back on.
You do not need to procrastinate in starting an online business. You already have an idea or a passion. Simply follow the steps I have outlined. You can be sure that if you take action, you’ll be well on your way to creating that sustainable business.
About David: He is a student, entrepreneur and blogger at PurelyDavid.com where he teaches entrepreneurship and online marketing strategies. He also seeks to learn from already established entrepreneurs. His aim is to inspire and educate other students by using his experiences on his entrepreneurial journey.