3 Ultimate Ways to Help You Determine If an Online Business is For You
In this day and age, just having a job is not enough. The false sense of security that working for someone else often brought us is just no longer there, and we have to deal with the reality of changing times. These days, to truly ensure that you will have a steady income every month, you’re going to need multiple streams of income, and often that means building your own business.
1) The Advantages of Your Own Business
Building a business isn’t for everyone, and it’s definitely not easy, but there are huge advantages that you will enjoy in the long run if you have the drive to pursue this route, including:
A more secure future.
Isn’t it a bit scary that many people who have been saving up all their lives for retirement are struggling just to maintain their lifestyle? Often, people these days never really get to retire and will continue to work their whole lives. Do you want this to be you? Even if you find your work fulfilling and never want to leave it, having the choice makes all the difference, because you can weather the storm if there’s ever an economic downturn and you are forced to retire or get laid off.
More time to pursue your true purpose in life.
Do you think that most people love their jobs and see their work as the ultimate expression of who they are? Probably not. In fact, most people probably don’t even like their jobs that much. If they, say, won the lottery and became billionaires tomorrow, they probably wouldn’t continue to do the work that they’re doing. Why is that? Well, they have no passion for the work and they have no control over the kind of work that they do.
When you have your own business, on the other hand, you have more freedom to choose work that is actually fulfilling. Of course, you can still fall into the trap of doing work that you hate for money, but you definitely have more options. When you know in your heart that you would continue your line of work even if you had all the money in the world, then you know that you’re doing it right.
More free time.
There’s also down-time. Most of us could use more rest and relaxation. Getting enough free time and play is what refreshes us to be as productive as possible. With a job hanging over your head, you might be lucky to get a few weeks off per year. If you start a business and you run it right, it should eventually be able to run without you for at least a certain period of time. When you reach that point, you can take a holiday any time you want.
More cash in your pocket.
Have you ever had to beg your boss for a raise? Have you ever been so nervous about asking for a raise that you just never did, and your company keeps paying you about the same every year? Have you ever gotten a raise and been disappointed to find that it was actually a miserly amount and that you would still be struggling to keep up with your expenses?
Well, that’s the life of an employee. When you own your own business, you have a lot more control over what you make and there is no “middle man” between you and the customer usually. If you want to give yourself a raise, then you simply find more clients, fix an inefficiency in the business, or find some other way to reduce costs. The investments of time that you put into your business directly go into your pocket.
There are countless ways to start an online business, but central to all of the strategies is building up your own website first. Whether you are selling ebooks, selling physical products, doing affiliate marketing, or hoping to make revenue from cost-per-click ads, you need a website to represent you.
Nowadays, the easiest way to do this is with WordPress. It’s very simple software that you install onto the back-end of your web server, and often your host will install it for you automatically. It allows you to build beautiful and complex websites with a very easy point-and-click interface. Usually, you never have to look at a single line of code if you don’t want to. To change themes, all you have to do is download and install a new one, which takes just a few clicks.
If you’ve used social media or any of the popular blogging platforms, then you could fairly easily get used to using WordPress. Best of all, it’s free. Though there is other free and paid blogging software out there, and there are web hosts with fancy site builders, I honestly don’t think you need anything more than WordPress (and of course a host). Keep it simple starting out.
If you’re confused about where WordPress fits into this whole process, here’s a quick overview of what you need to do to build your own website:
- Find a host. You can get a paid or free host, but if you expect your website to get a decent amount of traffic eventually (and you should!), then you would be far better off with a paid host. They have much less server downtime, faster servers, and better support compared to free options. Hosting doesn’t even have to be that much. Many times you can get a decent hosting plan for $5 or $10 per month, sometimes even less if you’re willing to pay for the full year. This is usually what’s called “shared hosting,” where you share a server (the computer that hosts the site) with other website owners. This is fine if you don’t have huge amounts of traffic, but you can always upgrade to a dedicated or virtual server later.
- Install WordPress. Any host worth its salt will have automatic one-click WordPress installation available. You should be able to log into your account with them and easily set up the WordPress software on your Cpanel (the back-end of your site).
- Install a theme. There are many different free WordPress themes to choose from. Pick the one that suits your site best, and get to work!
- Add content. Of course, there’s no point to a pretty site without content. Flex your writing skills and add relevant articles to your site in order to help your Google rankings and attract visitors.
This is just the technical side of things, though. Keep in mind that you will also have to first decide what kind of online business you want. This will influence your content and your monetization strategy. Sometimes (usually) your first idea won’t work, either, so just keep testing. Here are some popular monetization strategies that you might try, though:
- Affiliate marketing. This is one of the most popular online monetization strategies, and for good reason—it can also be one of the most lucrative and you can build a passive income stream around it. Basically, affiliate marketing is when you partner up with a business and help promote their product, and they give you a percentage of what you help them sell. This doesn’t mean sleazy, in-your-face promotion, either. You can simply write an article about a product that you genuinely think is useful, for example, and you can make money for your recommendations.
- Paid advertising. This comes in many forms. One of the most popular is Google Adsense, simply because of its ease of use and the fact that people really trust Google a lot. Your site will have to have tons of traffic for this to bring in substantial income, though. It can work great on sites that give away a lot of information for free and attract lots of visitors. It can also be used in conjunction with affiliate marketing, and this method is fairly passive once you get it up and running.
- Selling your own product / service. You can sell your own product, whether it’s physical or digital. Of course, if it’s a physical product or a service that requires your time, this will take a bit more work and might be less passive, unless you are able to outsource all aspects of the cycle, including the warehousing of your product. However, if you find the right service or product that really suits your niche and fills an unmet need, then you can stand to make tons of money selling on your own because you keep all of the profits instead of just a percentage, as you do with affiliate marketing.
There are many more ways to monetize your site, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Make sure to do your research and find the method that works best for you.
Before we’re done here, let’s talk about something that can help you speed through all of the steps I’ve mentioned previously, especially if you’re a beginner. Now, I don’t believe in shortcuts in life. You have to work hard and be willing to learn new things to earn a good living with an online business. However, if there’s anything close to a “shortcut” when it comes to building an online business, then Wealthy Affiliate is it.
I’ve always been wary of Multi-Level Marketing schemes, and at first WA looked kind of like that to me, so I was extremely skeptical. Luckily, once I signed up and gave it a try, it turned out to be nothing like an MLM scheme. In fact, they gave away everything for free!
You get two free websites with their program that they will host for you at no cost, and you build them with WordPress. Even if you’re an absolute beginner, that’s totally fine because they will show you step-by-step how to do everything.
Tons of people have had success in their online endeavors with Wealthy Affiliate, and when you sign up you have instant access to a huge community of people who are on the same page as you are! If you are struggling with “social drag” because you don’t have any friends or associates who understand online business, this can be a great help. You can ask people questions, and the whole community is extremely helpful. It’s like a social media site for people who make money online—and trust me, it’s a more positive environment than any forum or social network you’ve ever been on. All the help you can get is right there, for free.
So…what’s the catch? I asked myself this, too. Really, there is no catch. WA makes money by hosting people’s sites as they grow. If you choose to expand your business past those two free sites (and you should), WA will host dozens of your sites for a small fee every month. This is much more economical than most other hosts, and you will also experience better quality hosting and support. You also need to buy this hosting package if you want to upgrade your sites onto their own domains, otherwise they will be on a sub-domain, which isn’t too attractive to customers.
It really is the “one stop shop” for building a successful online business from the ground up. Compared to going it alone, you have huge advantages with WA:
- An instant social network of people who can answer your questions within seconds.
- Free or cheap hosting, depending on your needs.
- Free training for all aspects of making a profitable niche site.
- Free articles and other information to further educate yourself.
- A built-in affiliate program so you can start making money right away.
What is this built-in affiliate program? Well, you get an affiliate link if you sign up with Wealthy Affiliate. If someone signs up under your affiliate link, then you get a cut of the earnings if they subsequently decide to sign up for the paid hosting. In other words, you can get paid for simply spreading the word around about WA, even when you’re in the beginning stages of building your business. If you’re interested in the affiliate marketing monetization strategy, then this can be a great way to start.
Build Your Business Today
Now that you know that these tools exist—and that all of them are free—there’s really no reason not to start your business today. Take a hard look at your life and ask yourself: Am I going in the direction I want? If not, then building your own online business may be a great way to transform your life.