Starting an online business can be an exciting venture. But it can be slightly overwhelming too. The good news is that help isn’t too far away.
There are thousands of potential resources for you to get started or to support you as you grow your online business even more.
If you are sitting on the fence or you wondering if you should jump into having an ecommerce store, consider that starting an online business can be pretty affordable. With less than $100, you can be in business. Literally!
In addition, having your own online store has its obvious perks:
- It will help generate more sales and revenue.
- It will help to develop your brand.
- It will boost your authority.
- It will promote more items in the future to your current customers.
Where should you start your online business?
Deciding which direction to move in, may depend on the products or services you are offering.
For example, creating and selling craft products may require a different platform when offering online products.
Additionally, even if you plan on having your own website and store, you may consider other alternatives to sell your products with your own website yourself.
As we go through the resources for your online business, see how you can utilize each to start and grow your business.
#1: Open a Free PayPal Account
First things first. If you want to get paid online, you will want to get a PayPal account. It’s easy, free, and safe.
Visit PayPal.com here.
#2: Use Online Market Website, Like Etsy or Ebay
One good way to test out your existing products, get nearly instant feedback, and develop your brand with a “willing-to-buy customer base,” is to open up an Etsy or Ebay store.
If you are selling handmade goods, Etsy may be your best bet. If you sell computer parts, car accessories, tools, etc., than Ebay might be a better option. They each have their fees that they charge per sale, but they are affordable and a great way to launch your store for free.
Check out Etsy here.
#3: Sell Your Digital Products with Selz
The landscape for selling digital items online has changed. Perhaps, only about 6 or 7 years ago, the ability to sell digital products was really tough – customers just weren’t used to it and the platforms were pretty ugly.
Today, however, we have a growing list of online services that help online shop owners, sell digital items in a safe, elegant manner.
Companies such as Selz provides you a free and easy way to sell your digital or physical products. I’ve used several other shopping carts over the last ten years, and Selz is by far the best I have used.
#4: Create Your Own Website
Many people want to create their own online store for obvious reasons: greater control and ability to execute their vision. Today, developing your own online store is not as hard as it used to be and it’s certainly more affordable.
And…. you don’t have to be a technical geek to create your own website! If you are able to create a Facebook page, send out an Email, and open an Etsy account, you have the skills to set up your own website!
To set up your own website, you will need a domain name and hosting provider. Estimated monthly cost: $6-8 (about $70-90 annually)
For Website Hosting and a Domain Name, I recommend Blue Host.
#5: WordPress Themes
If you are going to move forward and get your own WordPress website, you will want to get a website theme. A website theme, is like a “skin” that goes over the core of your website to change the look and feel of your site. For example, you can have a restaurant-based theme, an e-commerce-based theme, or a blog-based theme (like this one).
There are thousands of themes you can buy and even more that are even free.
To check out some great premium WordPress themes, checkout ThemeForest.net.
Okay, but let’s say you don’t want to learn all that code or deal with the hassle of hosting your own website and buying a domain. There is another great alternative.
I’ve used Shopify before and really loved them. If you have a ready to go product (or product lines). Shopify can be the smartest decision you will make.
While it may cost a nominal $29 a month, you won’t have to deal with hours and hours of scratching your head figuring out how to upload you theme to your website.
Shopify makes it very easy to start your own online store and start making sales right away.
Get your free trial of Shopify Here.
Getting The Help You Need
If you are staring at the computer screen feeling overwhelmed, don’t panic. It’s reassuring that everyone at one time as been in your shoes. It can be particularly daunting to try and figure out stuff. But there is help! You can either learn how to do it yourself or you can hire a freelancer to help you get on your feet.
#7 Hire a Freelancer on “UpWork.com”
Formerly Elance, UpWork is a marketplace where freelancers post their job skills for hire. I’ve personally used Elance for over five years (often!) and have never had a problem with them. Simply sign up for a free, and browse the freelancers.
What I like about UpWork is their escrow services and their ability for you to hone in on the freelancer that best suits your needs. Their escrow accounts keeps everyone (you and freelancer) from getting burned in the transaction. The way it works is that you hire a freelancer to perform a service for a specific price.
Once hired you deposit the money into an escrow account. Once the job is done to your satisfaction, you are able to release the money to the freelancer.
UpWork can help you find people to upload your WordPress site, create your logo, and help you write articles or your biography.
Email marketing is still considered the best way to reach potential customers. In fact, if you had to invest time and money anywhere with your online business, email marketing should be your first stop after you get your website or store set up.
Open up your free account here.
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