I believe that everyone at one point had an idea to start a business. However, the cost and risk of starting a business can scare off even the most dedicated people.
But did you ever wonder how to start a small online business from home?
Online businesses are far easier to run, require less up-front cost, and they can be a lot more sustainable in the long run.
There are many different online business models and the choice is all yours.
In this post, I’ll be showing you the most common online business models but also how I got started and how you can get started with your own online business by creating a website.
I’m sure you have a lot of questions – but keep on reading as I will be answering all of them down below!
Is it Possible to Start a Small Business Online from Home?
The internet is full of get-rich-quick schemes that don’t work. However, starting an online business is definitely possible.
Almost everyone has access to the internet and online shopping is increasing in popularity. When was the last time you purchased something on Amazon?
The chances are that you’ve purchased something in the last couple of days, or the last couple of weeks.
But do you need to sell something on the internet to start your own online business? No, that’s the best thing about the internet.
You can sell products you create or own, you can dropship products you don’t need to have in stock, or you can even create designs and print them on demand.
I am a big fan of affiliate marketing because you get to become an affiliate of almost any company that has an internet presence, and you get to promote their products.
Amazon is a great example. Not only it is the biggest online marketplace where you can purchase almost anything you need – but it also owns the biggest affiliate program anyone can join.
That’s right. You can promote any product available on Amazon and make an income by receiving a commission.
But don’t get me wrong. It’s not all about the products. There are also digital skills & services. With the high increase in technology and online businesses – you can learn just one skill and freelance it to make an income online.
So let’s get straight into the online business models so you this becomes a bit more clear.
Different Online Business Models
My favorite three online business types are:
- Affiliate marketing
Even though there are many other online business models – most of them can be categorized under one of these models.
Freelancing is one of the best ways to start generating income online. Even if you don’t have any skills to freelance digitally – you could easily learn some.
Writing is one of the freelancing skills that almost anyone can get into and yet it’s in high demand, considering the number of internet websites.
I think that it is the ideal first step for anyone who’s looking to start making money online. Even though you’ll freelance your skill and invest time in return for an income (active income), you’ll still be able to make a business out of it.
I and many others have replaced a 9-5 job by freelancing our skills. It takes time to get started and find a couple of clients – but once you get going, it snowballs from there.
I know writers who were able to help digital agencies by taking care of their content needs, outsource writing work to clients, and handle the marketing side of the business.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start your own online business. Why?
Because all you need is a website. And with proper training in affiliate marketing, you can turn one website into a sustainable online business.
By providing value and help in a specific niche (something you’re passionate or knowledgeable about), you can monetize your site in a couple of different ways.
Affiliate marketing takes time to learn, and it takes time to create and establish a successful site. However, you can do it at your own pace, and follow the training.
In return, an affiliate marketing business can be a passive income stream that doesn’t rely on one income source, making it steady and sustainable.
The third online business model is eCommerce.
As I’ve previously mentioned, you can do any of the following:
- Create and sell products
- Dropship products directly from the wholesale store
- Purchase products on wholesale, label them under your brand and then sell them
- Create clothing designs that you sell on demand
It usually involves up-front costs, but they’re still minimal when compared to brick & mortar type of business.
But even though most people think that you need to create or own products to become an online seller – that’s not true!
How to Start a Small Online Business from Home?
As you understand by now, starting an online business isn’t only possible, but it is also very do-able without having to invest a lot of money up-front.
My favorite way is to find something you’re passionate or very knowledgable about, choose a business model, create a website, slowly establish a brand, and work on your site until you can monetize it.
That’s the whole process right there.
But enough talk – let me show you how to start a small online business from home focusing on the affiliate marketing business model.
This is the same way I did it and it’s still one of the ways most people start their own online businesses.
1. Find a Niche
Even before thinking of creating any business online – it all starts with a niche.
A niche can be anything you’re passionate about, knowledgeable about, or interested to learn more about. But why do I recommend finding your niche?
By choosing a very specific niche, you will have a smaller audience, but you won’t have as many competitors and yet still, you’d have plenty of topics to cover.
The great thing about online businesses is that you get to start one around something you’re passionate about.
Working on something that you’re passionate about won’t feel like work, right?
That’s the whole point – and if you are not sure how to find your niche, I wrote a guidepost covering this so I recommend reading it before proceeding!
2. Create a Website
Even though there are many ways where you can start an online business without a website – I always recommend starting your business with a website.
Most people think of a website as just a website. However, one website can be a brand, an authority, a company, or even a portfolio.
And as the owner, you get to have full ownership, control, and access to your site. If you’ve been checking out online businesses – you could get a feeling that websites are sometimes treated as an asset or even as a “real estate”.
Most online businesses that are monetized with the help of affiliate marketing can provide passive income, which is just one of the reasons why they’re treated as an asset.
But how do you create a website?
In the modern age we live in, it’s really simple to create a website. There are tons of places where you can create one for free which is a good choice if you’re on a budget.
However, you should still be careful about your choice. I highly recommend creating a website using SiteRubix.
It’s a decent hosting platform with a website builder that helps people create a website for the purpose of online business in just minutes.
And the best thing about it is that you can create up to two websites for free!
But to make it convenient – I also included a SiteRubix plugin which allows you to create your website right from this post.
Choosing a Domain Name
In order to create a website, you will also need to choose a name for your website, which will also be displayed as a domain name – for example – FinanciallyAwaken.com.
It’s recommended to choose a catchy and short name that represents your niche but also can be turned into a brand.
Top-level domain names such as .com, .net, .org, and many others you often come across the internet, cost money. They’re usually up to $15/year, but you can start with a free domain name provided by SiteRubix, which is .siterubix.com.
This is one step where most people get stuck because they overthink this part. I highly recommend creating a list of names that you can come up with, sleep on it, choose a couple of names you like the most, and narrow it from there.
3. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
When you choose a name for your website and you create your website – you’re halfway there! You will have a published online website that will be your presence on the internet.
I know that every new website might look blank and empty, but think of it as an empty canvas. Now when you have the website, it’s all about making the best out of it.
You won’t be able to get it to look amazing over the night. It’s a long process and I highly recommend to start slow and do only the most important things such as:
- Navigation menu
- Initial homepage structure
- Sidebar widgets
And then from here, you can always upgrade it later down the road.
But what’s even more important to do right from the beginning is to optimize your website for search engines.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
But you might wonder, why would you want to do that? Did you ever hear of SEO?
SEO can seem complicated, but it’s very simple. It stands for search engine optimization and it’s basically a process of ensuring that your site is easily found by search engines such as Google.
Later on, this will help you get your website discovered and gain exposure to a specific audience that fits your niche, which will look for value or help they can find on your website.
As a result of hard work and dedication, you will be able to acquire free organic traffic. I’ll discuss this later on in this post.
But how do you optimize your website?
It’s very simple. To do basic on-page optimization, all you need is a free plugin such as All in One SEO or Yoast which will basically do most of the work for you.
Also, I wrote a whole post on SEO so I highly recommend you read it to learn how SEO works and find step-by-step instructions on how to optimize your website for search engines.
4. Find Keywords
If you’re new to online businesses – keywords might be just another strange term to you. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of the new terms.
Keywords are basically terms that people search for in search engines such as Google. And why is it important to find these keywords?
It’s important to find these keywords because they will help your website rank for these terms and get exposure to the audience that is looking for something you can provide.
And how do you find these keywords? It’s simple. With the help of keyword research tools.
5. Create Valuable & Helpful Content
You know your niche, you have an optimized website in place, and you know your keywords – so what’s next?
It’s time to help your potential readers and provide as much value as you can to help your readers. You have to remember that real people, just like you, will be reading your content.
Even though you have to optimize it for search engines, you should still provide value and be helpful. If you cut corners, you won’t be able to rank your site well, as search engines have algorithms that determine the value of every site.
But what if it has been a long time since you wrote the last time? No worries!
It’s fairly simple to start, and since you’ll be writing about something that you’re passionate about or something you’re very knowledgeable about – it’s going to be super-easy.
Of course, you might still have no idea how to start (known as writer’s block) and that’s okay.
I wrote a full post on how to start writing your first blog post so I highly recommend checking it out!
6. Gain Rankings and Acquire Organic Traffic
By now, you probably understand the whole concept of creating a website around a specific niche and using all available tools and techniques to gain access to the audience.
So how do you gain rankings?
As you create your website and you start working on your content, your site will first get indexed by search engines.
From there, it takes at least a couple of weeks to acquire ranking positions for your posts. Don’t worry if these rankings aren’t really great.
For about the first 6 months, search engines will continue to evaluate your site so the rankings will go up and down.
But after the first 6 months, you can expect your site to gain better traction – and if you were consistent with creating valuable content around quality keywords, your site will improve its rankings day by day.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are no possible ways to cut corners and if you’re looking to gain organic traffic with the help of rankings, you can’t try and “play out the system”.
Algorithms used by search engines are very advanced, and what used to work before for sure doesn’t work today.
Therefore, just because you’re creating an online business, it doesn’t mean that success and results will happen overnight. Instead, it will take months, a year, or even a couple of years.
When you have a quality website, you provide help and value through your content, you have decent rankings and your site is finally getting visited by real people who found you using search engines.
What happens then?
It’s the right time to monetize your website. Some people start by placing ads, which isn’t a bad idea.
However, affiliate marketing is a far better idea in the long run. It won’t distract the visitors and yet you might even help them out make a choice between various products in your niche so they won’t feel like you’re selling them anything at all.
If you are new to affiliate marketing, I highly recommend checking out my post on what is affiliate marketing and how it works.
And once you grasp the idea of affiliate marketing possibilities – you can start looking for suitable affiliate programs you can join.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Small Online Business from Home?
This is one of the most asked questions related to the online businesses – and I even wrote a full blog post on it.
However, if you aren’t on a budget – you might want to invest in a quality domain name, faster website hosting, or even better training. This could end up costing you anywhere from $10 to $60 a month which isn’t a bad idea.
And if the budget isn’t the problem – you can even hire people to optimize your website for you, you can hire writers, and you can hire virtual assistants to deal with time-consuming tasks you will come across.
It’s all about your budget and perspective. I highly recommend starting out for free using some of the sources I mentioned. That’s the way I started and knowing that I was able to upgrade on the go is a good thing.
Therefore, you won’t feel limited, you will start working on your business immediately, and you’ll know that you can always make changes on the run, later on.
Did you ever feel like starting a brick and mortar business is hard enough to make you forget about your ideas or dreams?
Online businesses are a real thing. You can even purchase established online businesses. However, what I like the most about the online business models is that you can get started with any of these at a very minimal cost.
Even better yet, you can do it on the side, in your free time, and not even risk anything more than a couple of dollars a month.
This is far better than having to risk all your savings, your home, and your 9-5 job straight off the bat, right?
I wrote this post by following exactly the steps I took when I was starting out. I was learning about affiliate marketing, and as I was learning, I created a website to implement everything I’ve learned.
All you need to do is start – and you’ll thank yourself a couple of years later!
What is stopping you from learning how to start a small online business from home?
I’d appreciate it if you would share this post, but if you have any questions, or you’d like to share your experience or feedback – don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below!