How to Start Online Business

FINDING YOUR BUSINESS IDEA 

Many individuals do want to start a business and become their own bosses, but one of the main barriers that hold them back is their uncertainty regarding what business to start. Not knowing where to start, most people choose to stay in the environment they know—their current job.

However, if you really do want to become an online entrepreneur, you should know that finding an idea isn’t so hard. A business idea usually results from this equation:
A topic you’re interested in + People you like and want to help + A problem these people have + A solution you can provide to the problem, which you’ll package into a product or service in the format of your choice (book, video, course, etc.). If you already have a business idea, you’ll simply need to validate it. We’ll discuss this aspect later in the book.

That being said, if you haven’t found an idea yet, this is the time to start questioning yourself. The first step is to reflect on your interests and the lifestyle you would like to attain, as well on your natural strengths and the skill set you already possess.

1. What do you dislike about your current job and lifestyle?
What would you like to change? There must be something, or even many things, that you dislike about your current situation. Maybe it’s a lack of free time, your commute to work, being told what to do, the nature of the tasks you are required to execute, or insufficient income. It’s important to define what you are trying to escape from so you avoid recreating it in your new lifestyle. For example, if a lack of time is a major issue, then you shouldn’t opt for a business model that will require an equal amount of your time (like freelancing, for example). Instead, you should choose a model that generates a passive income.

2. What do you appreciate about your current situation and would like to maintain? Not everything is necessarily wrong with your current situation. Maybe you enjoy the relationships with your colleagues and working in a team. You probably appreciate not having to think about work once you’ve clocked out. It’s good to know what you like in order to reproduce it in your online business.
For example, even if being a web entrepreneur mainly means working by yourself, there are ways to add social occasions to your new entrepreneurial life.

You could share a working space with other entrepreneurs and freelancers, which is now a common practice.
You could also attend Meetup groups (MeetUp.com) in your field and occasionally meet with other like-minded entrepreneurs.

3. What are your main interests?
There are topics and activities that are naturally more appealing to you than others. You feel more enthusiastic about certain conversation topics, and are more curious to learn about some subjects. If you’re planning on creating a blog—or even if you aren’t—think of a topic that you could write about every day, without growing bored or lacking inspiration. Also, answer these questions:

W
hen you enter a bookstore, which section do you head to first? 
Which kind of magazines do you read while waiting at the dentist ?
Which TV channels do you watch?
Which sections of the newspaper do you like to read?
Which classes did you enjoy most in school?
Which activities do you engage in during your free time?
Which websites do you like browsing?

It’s obviously important to choose a topic that you’re interested in, since it will become a part of your daily life. Otherwise, you will eventually get bored, sometimes sooner rather than later. It’s important to note that, over time, you might discover that your interests are slightly different than what you initially thought.

Sometimes, there are activities that you enjoy as a hobby, but not necessarily as a job. The first website I started was about leading a healthy lifestyle; nutrition, fitness and stress management were the main topics. I loved reading about these topics and felt the desire to share the useful information that I was learning with others.

A few months into my project, though, I realized that I genuinely disliked researching scientific data about nutrition and other health-related topics. Writing the blog wasn’t enjoyable at all, and daily writing soon turned into weekly writing, and then monthly writing... Something similar could happen to you. I recommend that you start exploring a topic and write about it for a few weeks to see how it feels before choosing that subject for your business project.

If you can’t think of something that interests you, then it’s time to explore.
Go out and try new activities, attend events or learn a new skill.

Think of something you have always been curious about, and talk to people already engaged in that activity. Also, be curious about the people you meet. Ask them about their jobs, their interests, and their projects. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it will definitely help you generate new ideas. A good book full of inspiring entrepreneurial stories is The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau.

It’s not only about online businesses, but it recounts the stories of individuals who have managed to make a living from their passion.
4. What are your natural talents and strengths? We’re not talking about skills quite yet. Natural talents and strengths are not necessarily abilities that you’ve gained through practice and experience; they are activities that naturally come easier for you than for others. You might be very good at writing and playing with words, performing manual tasks, solving problems, or analyzing concepts. If you aren’t sure of what your natural strengths are, I suggest you read the excellent book written by Tom Rath, Strengths Finder 2.0. It comes with a test, which can give you great insight into your natural abilities.

5. What are your “natural” weaknesses?
Be careful not to think of a weakness as a lack of skills, because skills can be learned. Your “natural” weaknesses are aspects with which you feel less at ease. For example, maybe you don’t have a well-developed sense of aesthetics or struggle with organization.

We should all adopt a growth mindset and a desire to constantly work on our weaknesses to improve ourselves, but it’s still wise to acknowledge what comes naturally easy for us, so we don’t pick a business model that will make things unnecessarily hard at the beginning.

6. What’s your personality like?
Certain aspects of your personality will determine which contexts will bring you more joy and fulfillment than others, in the same way that your strengths and natural talents will. An easy example to illustrate the role that personality plays is to consider the difference between an introvert and an extrovert. An extrovert is more likely to enjoy networking events and social gatherings than an introvert, whereas an introvert probably won’t mind spending many hours working alone. A shy person might feel uncomfortable being in front of the camera. Someone active will probably prefer to move around a lot, rather than sit in front of a computer several hours each day.

7. What are your skills, experience, and expertise? Other elements to keep in mind are your skills and expertise. These are the abilities and knowledge that you have acquired over time at work and through other activities. Starting your business around your current skills and expertise will definitely help you move faster in the process, since you won’t have to spend too much time acquiring related knowledge. However, it’s not mandatory to be an expert, nor even very experienced. Don’t forget that you can always learn. Like Tim Ferriss, author of the bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, says: “To sell information products—books, courses, etc.— you only need to know a little more than some people.”

To learn more about how to accelerate your learning process and build authority in your field, I encourage you to read the document about gaining expertise in the bonus material section.

8. Who is working in the field?
What kind of people work in the field you’re thinking of choosing? Would you like to interact and connect with them? This may seem trivial, but it’s much more enjoyable to be surrounded by—and build relationships with—like-minded people. 9. Find a niche topic. Once you’ve found a topic that you’re interested in—for example, photog photography—you’ll need to get more specific as to which aspect of the topic you want to cover. We call this “niching down your topic.”

A niche topic is a narrower category within your topic, such as outdoor photography, versus general photography. Choosing a niche topic versus a broader topic will increase the chances of your business being successful, because competition won’t be as prevalent. Starting a business around a very broad topic is a common mistake made by new entrepreneurs. It’s very difficult to compete for attention and market share with companies that are already well established.

By choosing a narrower, more specific topic, you will increase your chances of standing out and getting noticed. You’ll also build your authority in the field and generate revenues faster. Dorie Clark, a branding expert, provides a good example to illustrate this idea: Let’s say that you’re an online marketer interested in social media. There are already many well-established social media experts, which makes the sphere quite competitive. Instead of trying to compete against well-known experts, you could choose another tactic.

You could decide to become an expert in a newer social platform, like Periscope. Dorie Clark says that if you were to write one blog post about a different aspect of Periscope every day for 60 days, at the end of that period, you could be seen as a Periscope “expert,” since few people will have explored the same topic in such detail. Once you have established your authority and your credibility as a Periscope expert, you could choose to expand your field of expertise to other social media.

If you aren’t sure which topic to pick, you could always consider one within these proven-to-be-profitable categories:
Health and well-being Personal development Dating Business and finance There will always be space to enter one of these topic markets, since they correspond to needs that many people want to satisfy or common problems they wish to solve.

You could easily choose a specific aspect (niche) within one of these broad categories. For example—losing pregnancy weight, dating for seniors, paying back student loans or overcoming a fear of public speaking.

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Full of Ideas to start business online: Valuable Book as a big step to your life target.
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