During the pandemic it may have crossed your mind that it’s time to start an online business. Or podcast. Or YouTube channel. Etc.
But you didn’t know where to start.
Or you did start, but it didn’t stick.
If you’re wondering how to start a successful online business and make the most of your extra at-home time during this pandemic, I hope these tips will help.
How to start a successful online business during a pandemic
By the way, if you are running a business online you will need some sort of online presence. You can definitely get started without having a website but eventually you will want an owned asset that you control.
If this is where you’re at, there are many ways to create affordable websites by hiring designers or even finding an out-of-the-box solution.
Extra credit: 7 Essential Freelance Writer Website Elements
If you made your plans to start an online business before the pandemic, you may have to take another look at your business model again before you launch.
Because things have changed.
Take a look at the state of the online world and let it serve as a guide for how you proceed. Regardless of what you hear about the economy, businesses are making money (just not all of them).
When starting a new business, watch your metrics and adjust as needed. That’s the beauty of online business (and the curse): instant feedback.
What will your business offer?
While you do need to make money if you’re running a business, you also need to have a strong handle on your product or service.
Whatever you’re offering, it needs to solve a fundamental problem for your customer.
And while OF COURSE you can jump on a trend and make a fast buck, it will go as fast as it comes. If you want to start an online business that lasts, you need to understand the solutions customers want.
Hot tip: keep in mind their needs may have changed since the pandemic.
Extra credit: Discover Your Ideal Reader
Wondering what an ideal customer or reader is? Download this free worksheet!
This is a fictional persona to whom your writing will most appeal. While this is not a scientific process, creating a profile helps you write with purpose and enables you to craft elements into your writing that surprises and delights this person.
Your ideal reader represents who you are writing to. It’s one person, not many people. This is a specific process and if you do it right, your ideal reader will come alive in your mind.
What this means is you need to figure out who your ideal reader is, what his or her interests are, and why your ideal reader reads. Your most important question is why will your ideal reader be interested in your book? Whatever the why, all readers have one and it’s your job to discover it for your ideal reader.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by signing up here, or by filling in the form below.
Here’s one suggestion for figuring out how to adjust your business strategy.
Analyze flourishing industries and look at how they’ve pivoted or adjusted during the pandemic. Pay attention to what they offer and how they position their products and services.
Next, think about your services or products and find innovative ways to deliver those solutions.
Some industries that have thrived this year include delivery services, personal grooming, pharmaceuticals, pet products and gardening.
Your business plan and model should delineate your target audience and clearly identify their needs. If it doesn’t, keep working on it.
By the way, if you’re not sure how to research ideas for your online business plan I recommend SEO and keyword research. This will help you figure out what people are already searching for, if anyone’s interested in your idea and how competitive your niche is.
Extra credit: SEO Tips and Tricks for Freelance Writers
Focus on marketing online
YES you have to do marketing. It’s basically the most important thing you can do after coming up with a product or service that meets an actual need your ideal customer has.
Employ innovative marketing strategies and techniques that will best promote your products and services, bringing the customer closer to you. It is all about creating a sense of belonging, a community of individuals with similar needs.
Smart marketers focus on creating relationships with their customers, and you should do the same. You can build relationships through blog posts, responding to comments on social media, having live Q&A sessions, publishing short videos and holdling customer participation events.
It is important to stay in touch with marketing trends. Not to the point of having shiny object syndrome of course, but you definitely want to pay attention to what’s working in the online business arena.
Online businesses need streamlined payments
This might not seem important at first glance but think about when you’re making a purchase online. If the payment process is complex or glitchy, do you complete the payment? Do you stick with it? Probably not.
So if you’re selling a product online, make sure you have a secure, streamlined processor. And if you’re making payments online, or invoicing clients, this is worth thinking about too!
There are many online payment services that can give you options that’s both flexible and secure.
Starting an online business: final thoughts
Make sure your product or service is as advertised. It’s too important to skip this step! Your online business will live and die from reviews and you need those happy customers to back up your business to help you grow.
To conclude, if you decide to start an online business during this pandemic, be ready to adapt. You can succeed following these tips and fine-tuning them to best suit your business. The most important thing is to provide value for your customers through products and services that serve them and meet their needs.
One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.