When we talk about starting an online business, becoming an Entrepreneur, the ads make it all sound so… EASY, right?
Just get a domain name, set up your web hosting, install an instance of WordPress, load up a theme you like the looks of, and in minutes (multiples of 60 to be really honest) and start typing. You are a blogger! Congratulations!
What? What’s that? You don’t know what a domain name is or how to redirect it to the other place it should open? What are preferences? And how do you set them up?
Beyond that, there are more details no one even mentioned in the slick ads. If you want to make money with your blog, exactly how do you do that? It really was a lot easier when we just wrote letters by hand… Lol!
Having “A Why That Makes You Cry”
I wrote out some of the questions I had to grapple with when I formalized my business after having a blog for already 4 years. This is the thought process and questions that need to be addressed when you decide you want to start an online business- it’s more than just having “a why that makes you cry”.
(I could have retyped all this- put it in a Cheat Sheet, made it look pretty, and left it sitting on my desk till I got it just perfect…)
UPDATE: As you can see I did go back and put this in a mind-map after all to make it easier to read and use. Download the free .pdf here!
When looking back, I wanted to start an online business. Why? Because the network marketing group I was in had so many people who just gave up. That bothered me… a lot. Why should people buy systems and products that “should” give them a turn-key business to build, only to find they need to sink more money in and still not get anyone to stay past a 7 day free trial?
This computer business idea, instead of being simple as the ads say, was just too foreign, too complicated, too unknown. What is a back office? When did a dashboard go from being a part of my car to being something I need to watch? I just want to blog- and now you tell me that to blog, I need more viewers and to do that I need to build a list… and to build a list I need to do that SEO thing. And then I need to jump on a Skype call to get the time for our Hangout; or check a FB group to get the link to our ZOOM! Ay, yay,yay! No wonder people just walk away without making that easy cash!
So You Want To Start An Online Business…
If this sounds like you or someone you know, subscribe and make plans to read these posts. Either we’re having these questions or we’ll laugh because we remember when we did!
My plan is to write about each topic, sharing what I did, what I learned and what I would do now if I was starting again. I want to bring hope- you are not alone in this- and guidance to get you out of whatever quicksand you find yourself in. I want you to think about next year’s taxes and what you need to do today to maximize your deductions- yes even from a blog- and provide resources to get you official and legal so that you can keep more of what you earn.
If that sounds good subscribe here and let’s get this party started!
First things first… Can I Succeed?
Everyone talks about passion, mission, the why that makes you cry… but really, most people just want to make some extra money to make a better life for their family. It doesn’t matter how as much as that it can happen.
The good news is that there are billions of people using the internet to learn things, to buy things and to share things. That means theoretically at least, that you have a market that can be taught, sold, or serviced in some profitable way.
What keeps some from making their first dollar while others tout the millions they have made is a thing called hustle. Gary Vaynerchuk has it, and preaches it daily. Tony Robbins has it and uses it to motivate others. Kim Garst has it and that’s how she got to be the Queen of Periscope then Facebook Live.
If you have it you know it. It’s that restless feeling that you have to do more, be more- make a difference. Just wanting to make money isn’t hustle. The feeling that to make $100 you would do anything it takes, that’ s hustle… If you don’t have it naturally, don’t despair. You can learn it, and I’ll show you how.
What is it that you’re better at than the next guy? Writing a blog with no “So What” factor will just cause people to read and say, ok, that was pleasant. But it won’t make you money. That’s not hustle.
People part with their cash when you show them how to make double that amount back. Or because you have solved some problem that was costing them twice that each month.
What can you do for others to make their lives better? What product or invention can you bring to the market that will make them more productive? What will you do to make a difference in people’s lives?
In my case, I saw confused new sign-ups sitting in a group orientation. You’ve seen this a hundred times- in any meeting there will be the 10 really engaged people, the middle group listening and taking notes and the back row who had to bring 3 projects to do at the same time, while going through that onboarding process.
If you’re one of the 10, I want to save you time- with products that make list building and SEO super easy, a membership that brings products to you. I want you to get where you’re going faster and easier.
For you in that middle group, I want to give you the shortcuts, sharing what it takes to be successful, the behind the scenes tips uplines “forget” to mention (like how they spend $10,000 per month on traffic to generate those 5 high-ticket sales per day!) Yeah… I didn’t think that was part of the overview!
(Note: the people in the back row, they haven’t got the time or attention to take on a new business, so this isn’t for them! Not to be mean, but seriously, let’s think about what it takes to win… )
You Know What You Want To Do, For Whom, And Why… What’s Next?
Deciding HOW to provide your products or services brings you to the legal side of things. Once you know how you want to sell, teach or coach, you have a good idea where this will need to happen. Will your blog have an “online store” to sell the products you review? Will your coaching service have a website from which to make appointments and hold coaching classes or one-on-one sessions?
These answers will tell you whether you need a business license, what kind of business form will be most beneficial to you, and what fees and taxes you’ll need to prepare for.
Four years ago, after having my own physical business- teaching business skills to people who wanted to work for western oil companies in Baku- I wanted to set up an online business to prepare me to transition from consulting to that “massive passive income” everyone was talking about online.
I followed a link, listened to the video and made the decision to join that night at 11:30pm- Halloween night! I “got all in” and spent the entire night listening to video after video, filling in form after form. I understood the potential and decided how I wanted to use it. (Relax- I am not here to recruit anyone!) But as a teacher of business skills, I knew if I was challenged, people like my mother would be lost and at the mercy of those who would say, just buy more stuff! That annoyed me… I want people to succeed, not feel like failures when they run into walls of hype and complexity.
I decided that night, in order to do what I wanted (help other newbies succeed) I needed a business license. I registered a business (an LLC,meaning a Limited Liability Company) here in Virginia (I did it online) and applied for my IRS EIN (tax ID number). Not hard to do, but you do have to do things in order to ensure the right numbers go in the right boxes. Ideally we would all know to do this before we wanted to join a plan or program. It would be so much easier! But as a first time business owner in Virginia (my physical business was incorporated in Delaware when I lived in Texas and worked in Baku… whew!) I faced the same unknowns as you will or have.
Once I got the business type decided, and got my IRS forms sorted out, I could register for this network marketing system not as me but as a business. The best advice they gave that night was to sign up with their bookkeeping partner. Why? Because if it had not come from them that night, I would have put it on the back burner until I was making money. Then tax time would have rolled around and I would have missed out on about $28,000 of tax deductions.
**Disclaimer; not everyone will invest this much into their business in the first year, and therefore not have much to deduct, but because I talked with the planners, we organized it so that I could invest as I began making small sales to legitimately be able to deduct my set up costs etc.
This is why it makes sense to plan in advance so that we don’t leave money on the table… or even better, we can take money off Uncle Sam’s table legally! We’ll get into more of that in the next post…
For now, if you are one of the new business entrepreneurs- solo-preneur, mompreneur, dadpreneur- whatever flavor you want to be, please take time to read the questions above and tell me which ones spark your thoughts and questions. And what questions have I not put on the list that you are thinking about?
Don’t forget to subscribe so we can keep the conversation going. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on this subject– has it been easy for you or have you had more challenges than what I listed today? Let me know, and let’s discuss!