No one ever just gets up one day and decides to build an online business and it happens just as they imagined.
Some people happened upon it by accident, others evolved and some were deliberate. Yet we all meet many hurdles along the way.
Regardless of how an online business may have evolved and despite the constant innovations in technology, the foundation principles of building a profitable business online remain constant today.
The year 2011 was the year I ventured online to do business. It was a big risk to move away from traditional means of building a business and turning to the Internet instead.
But I took the plunge and decided that I would delve deep into finding out more about earning a living and building a business online. That journey led me to build 3 online business models from zero to profits.
HOW IT STARTED
I started two businesses – a now defunct internet venture in 2011 and another manufacturing business in 2012 with an internet storefront. My manufacturing business was doing great but after a while we were barely making ends meet.
Between the two businesses, I learnt some key lessons that stuck with me up until today, met some pretty amazing people and discovered many interesting talents about myself that I didn’t know I had. So those years weren’t all bad.
But after three years, I had decided to give the rat race a chance. Out of frustration, I reluctantly decided to put my qualifications to good use and go job hunting.
Even though I am a qualified teacher and graduated valedictorian for my class, I still could not find a job. My family still struggled to make ends meet. We lived from paycheck to paycheck from my husband’s salary as a government employee.
MY BIG BREAK
It was in those years of being home that I was learning all I could about making money online. And finally in July, 2014 I decided to stop learning and start doing. I started using all the information that I had to explore ways to really make some money. Within 2 weeks, I went from being broke and unemployed to making US$34 and then to making US$1,000 per month in less than 6 months of working online.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
A friend of mine, Sania Green, sent me a message on Facebook asking me to endorse her profile on a freelance website. Two weeks later, I finally clicked the link which took me to a website called People Per Hour.
People Per Hour is a platform that helps freelancers start and build their own independent business. I immediately registered and quickly started to figure out how things were done. It took me two weeks to learn how to manage my freelance business and landed my first job. From there, clients and orders kept coming in. I started to make real money online freelancing and it felt good.
After a few months of doing this, I knew more about freelancing in a few short months than I could ever learn in college in 4 years.
As I began to learn, I began to share what I was learning and people form all over the world kept coming to me to find out how they could duplicate my success.
MY FIRST COACHING BUSINESS
That led me to starting my own coaching business sharing with a few people how to make money online freelancing. With just the teacher guts within me, I launched an official freelance course and had students registering on the very first day. I spent the next few months coaching and mentoring students live online teaching them how to duplicate what I was doing.
THE PROBLEM WITH MY FIRST COACHING BUSINESS
Even though I was making money and had all these clients and students form all over the world, there was one big problem.
The problem was that I was working so hard to earn a living online, sometimes even losing sleep and time with my family. I was working too hard and not smart enough. It was then that I prayed and asked God
“There has got to be an easier way to do this”
[bctt tweet=”Work smarter, not harder. Be productive, not just active.” username=”juliaobarnes”]
AN UNEXPECTED TURN
One year later in July 2015, after initially venturing full time online, a friend of mine, Sheri-Ann Alexander, told me about a company that was paying her for sharing their products and business opportunity with others. I did a bit or research and was fascinated by the business model and compensation plan.
With no training or experience, I started to build my own home-based network marketing business, which brought in an extra US$544 in my first month alone. Every month after that, my income and business kept growing to the point of co-leading a team of over 60 people by the end of 2015.
One major shift in the shipping process really crippled my business and caused a major drop in my income. It was then that I came to the realization that the success of “my” business cannot totally depend on the efforts of others. The major push must come from me.
This rethinking and reframing led me back to my website to rediscover coaching again. I started to build out a new website at the beginning of 2016 and this time, making sure that I did everything right from the start.
I understand that as a newbie eager to take advantage of these new opportunities online, the process might be a little confusing or even overwhelming for you. The learning curve can be seemingly great, however, my advice is that you never attempt to understand it all in the beginning. Instead, understand the basics and use that to build. In the mean time you can learn, make adjustments and improve while you earn in your online business.
[bctt tweet=”Never try to understand it all. Learn while you earn #onlinebusiness” username=”juliaobarnes”]
MAKE A PLAN
One of my mentors in business, Brian Tracy, shares his planning technique that he uses in his business. This planning technique is applicable to any area of life and I have been using it in my planning sessions for my businesses, personal life and for clients. I’ve even added a few key elements that are essential in building a business online.
- Set goals. What do you want to achieve in your business? I recommend setting goals for three months at a time then working in smaller chunks of time to achieve those goals.
- Outline exactly what you will offer as value to your audience. What is the main content that you will produce? What will you sell?
- Make a detailed description of who your ideal client is in every physical, emotional, spiritual and developmental area of their life. Create your ideal customer avatar. This will help you to have a clear focus of who to target with your products.
- Identify the obstacles that you will have to overcome in order to achieve your goals. Go one step further and state how you will work to overcome those obstacles in your business.
- Outline what skills, information, financial and human resources you will need to garner in order to achieve those goals.
- Make a list of all the branding, marketing, sales, networking and content creation activities you will need to do in order to put your success plan into action.
- Organize your list from point 6 above in order of priority.
- Plan your daily tasks and to-dos from those activities mentioned at point 7 above.
Once you have everything written down on paper. The next step is to execute.
When you execute or put your business success plan into action, you must include all the branding, marketing, sales, networking and content creation activities. All of these are geared towards attracting the right clients to your services. But in order to execute effectively there are some fundamental principles to help you build a profitable business online from start to finish.
IDENTIFY WHAT YOU WILL OFFER
Producing content is a major part of how an online business adds value to its followers. You may offer this content as a service for sale or it may just be free value-added to build conversations around your brand. Consider the following to discover what content you can start to produce in your online business.
- What expert knowledge or skills do you possess and can use it empower others?
- What new skill could you earn that, if applied well, you can teach others to do the same?
- What are you so fascinated with that you wouldn’t mind sharing your experience with the world.
- Are you a world traveler? You can create a blog (virtual diary) around your exciting trips?
These prompts are not exhaustive but they gives you a benchmark from where you can start to think about what content to produce.
You must have an engaged audience around your content at all times. This must be done in the form of a blog, exclusive virtual community and your mailing list. You need all three of these to be most effective at attracting your ideal client to your business.
Continue to offer valuable content to your audience. This is the only way they will stick around to harness more from you. You can leverage the internet by offering value to your audience even while you are not working on your business through an email list – email addresses of your potential clients that you use to communicate with them automatically.
HOW WILL YOU MAKE MONEY?
You must have a product or service in order to make any money online. You can create and sell access to your classes or membership sites, e-books, digital products, your time, podcasts, video series and much more.
WHAT IF YOU’RE NOT A GOOD SALES PERSON?
Many online business owners are terrible at selling and that’s ok. You do not need to be a good salesperson to earn any money online. You make better sales online when you develop a relationship with your audience using your brand message and reputation.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s a lot to learn and the learning curve may be steeper for some than others but the fact that you are here means you need help.
I have been where you are right now and understand the overwhelm, the feeling of being stuck, not understanding all the terms and jargons of the online business space and countless other issues. It took me 4 years to figure it out but you don’t have to.
This is now a place for you to get answers and help to build your online business.
Join our free private community and connect and grow with like-minded online entrepreneurs on a mission to build their online business.
Start now. Start small. Learn while you earn and build a profitable business online.