How to Start an Online Business


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Thank you for opting in to receive my free guide on How to Start an Online Business. You have taken the first step on your journey to your #ForeverVacation.

In this guide we will cover the following:

1

Misconceptions of starting a business

2

What type of online business should I start?

3

What you need in order to get started

4

How to generate revenue

5

How to automate your business

The first step to the #ForeverVacation philosophy is to start a side business while you are still a full-time employee. That way you can get comfortable with running a business and get some momentum before you decide to quit your 9-5 job.

The strategies you will find below have been proven-effective by hundreds of people, including myself, in creating a successful, automated business. Over the course of eight years, I have created twelve businesses using the principles below and I am now able to live out my #ForeverVacation. Ok let’s jump right into it!

1

Misconceptions of Starting a Business






Unfortunately, in today’s world, everybody thinks they are an “expert.” People end up listening to others’ advice even though they have no real-life experience or success in what they are actually teaching. This being the case, you will see there are a bunch of misconceptions floating around about starting a business.


FALSE: “Starting a business is very expensive!”



This is the most common misconception I hear. However, I can show you below how you can get your first business up and running for less than $500. These days, with technology being what it is, you can easily find developers, designers, copywriters, etc. all around the world who can help you launch your business. The great thing is that you can always find someone who will do amazing work for you without spending too much money! Also, the type of business I will teach you to create below will not require an office, full-time employees, lots of inventory, etc. so we can keep the business super cheap!



FALSE: “Starting a business seems so complicated. I have no idea how to do it.”



This is the second most common misconception I hear. Sure, there are a handful of businesses that can be very complicated to start, however, many businesses are pretty straight forward and all the information you need to get started is accessible on the web. You have already taken the first step by reaching out and requesting this guide to help get your business started. In the upcoming sections, I will teach you about a handful of businesses you can start that are straightforward and can be launched in less than a month. Starting a business isn’t necessarily complicated to start. It just takes the will to learn about the business and some hard work!



FALSE: “I don’t have the time to start a business.”



This misconception is one just really gets on my nerves. Everything that you do in life comes down to priorities. It’s as simple as that. For example, one of my students recently told me, “I wish i could travel to Paris for a week and see the Eiffel Tower.” My immediate response was, “Well… why don’t you?” She started making up excuses about vacation days and money. . Instantly, I realized that it wasn’t a top priority to her. If she really wanted to travel to Paris, then she would save her money for the trip rather than buying the new clothes she wanted and would have saved up her vacation days for the Paris trip rather than using them for other things.






So my point is
if you want to start a business, you will make it a priority,
which means you will find the time for it. I will teach you some tricks below
that will help automate your business so you don’t have to spend as much time on it.


2

What type of Business
Should i Start?

This is a very important question and will be your basis as you start the process of creating a business. For the purpose of #ForeverVacation,
I only teach businesses that can be done online, which gives you the ability to work anywhere in the world. So for this section, I’m not going to teach you how to run a brick and mortar business
(like a coffee shop or tanning salon). Those can be great businesses,
but will have higher overhead expenses and will most likely
require you to be around the physical location.



Let’s dive into the different types of online businesses:

●  Consulting or skill-based business
●  Content-based site (review site, etc.)
●  E-commerce store or individual product
●  Mobile app or software



→  Consulting or Skill-based business



This is probably the easiest type of business to set up and make your first dollar. There are hundreds of different services you could offer that could strictly be done online. First, you need to think about what you are good at and where you have had success.





Here are some examples of skill-based businesses
that have been set up by my students


↓  Nutritionist and fitness coach

One of my students lost a lot of weight and got into amazing shape in less than a year. When he posted a picture of himself online, people instantly asked him how he did it and if he could help them. Just like that, he had a business overnight. He now runs a successful website where he designs meal plans and workout routines for each person and can work from anywhere in the world.

↓  Web and Graphic Designer

Another student of mine was a graphic design major in college and also liked to create websites in his spare time. His friends would ask him to design logos, flyers, and websites.. Within a few months, he had a steady client base and was profiting more than $4,000/mo consistently. He decided to quit his full-time job and commit his time to his design business. He is now traveling around the world and making money from his computer.

↓  Social Media Manager

I had a student who majored in art history in college and ended up working for a staffing company out of college. She hated her job and would spend most of her time on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. After talking to her a bit, I could tell she was very knowledgeable about social media so I told her she should do freelance marketing on the side. I suggested she go around to local businesses and see if they would like her to manage their social media. Within the first week, she had two clients that were paying her $350/mo to manage their social media. Then I recommended she create a free profile on www.Upwork.com. Upwork is a marketplace where you can find freelancers as well as freelance jobs. Categories include marketing, graphic design, data entry, legal help, writing and many more. After two months of applying to jobs, she quickly was making an extra $2,000/mo just from using UpWork.

The above examples are only a small sample of the different skill-based jobs that are available. Think about something that you are really good at and where other people would be willing to pay for your knowledge or skill. Remember, all you need is a few clients to get started. Start small, determine who your ideal client is, and then scale the business.



→  Content-Based Website



This type of business is very cheap to set up and easy to get started. However, most of the time, it requires a lot of visitors to your site in order to make a substantial income. This is due to the fact that the majority of content-based businesses generate revenue through advertising. Generally, the more people you have on your site, the more money you will make.

●  Here are some examples of content based sites:
●  Online blog (travel blog, cooking blog, etc.)
●  Review site (review products, movies, etc.)
●  News site (cover topics on different industries, countries, etc)

These are just a few of the different content-based businesses you could start. I will cover how to get this type of business started as well as how to monetize them in a later section.



→  E-commerce Store



With an e-commerce store, you could sell a variety of products or only one product. You could resell other products that are already available in the market or you could create your own product. The products that you sell could range from physical products to e-books. The choices are endless for your ecommerce store.

In the #Forever Vacation model I’m a big believer in automation. One thing that can inhibit automation is inventory. That’s why I’m a big believer in utilizing drop shipping for your ecommerce store. Drop shipping is an automated process that allows an order placed through your online store to be sent to another company who actually packs and ships the product. Depending on the company, most of the time they will also handle the customer support. This way you do not have to deal with customer complaints or ordering inventory. All you have to do is drive the customer to your site and get them to make a purchase.



→  Mobile App or Software



Lastly, you could create a unique mobile app or piece of software that solves a problem in the market. Over the past eight years, the majority of my business success has fallen under this category.

Some examples of these type of products are:

●  Tinder (dating app where nearby people can connect)
●  Craigslist (online marketplace where you can buy, sell and exchange)
●  WhatsApp (mobile chat application)

These type of businesses tend to be more difficult, however, if done correctly, they could lead to a lot of success. The difficult part isn’t necessarily creating the software, it’s actually scaling the product and monetizing it. In the next section I will discuss what you need and how to find the resources to get started.



3

Getting
Your Business Started











In this section I will outline the things you need to bring your business from an idea to an actual product. For the most part, all four types of businesses will have similar requirements. When starting a business, I believe in the acronym, “KISS” (Keep it Simple Stupid). When you first launch, don’t worry about adding every bell and whistle. Get your business live in the market and then change and evolve it as you see where the demand is. The purpose of this guide is to help you get your business started, but if you want more information on how to grow your specific business you can refer to the information on www.ForeverVacation.com.




Here are the basic things you need in order to get started once you have an idea:



●  Plan of Action
●  Brand Identity
   •  Logo
   •  Social media pages
   •  Website
●  Marketing Strategy
   •  Marketing channels
   •  Communication Strategy



↓  Plan of Action



Now that you have your idea, it’s time to develop a plan of action. I’m not a big believer in creating a formal business/marketing plan, but I do believe you should create a rough plan to visualize the future. You will want to think of things like:

•  Who are my competitors and how can I stand out among them?
•  Who is my ideal client? Male or female? Age? Location?
•  What verticals will I use to promote my business?
•  What potential problems could I face in the future and how would I overcome them?


Again, I don’t want you to create a formal plan
but I do want you to put together a general plan for how you will launch
and grow your business. You should launch your business as soon as possible
and then evolve and adapt your business as you go.






↓  Brand Identity



Logo and Branding

As you start to plan and create your business, you will want to think about your branding and logo. Again, I would suggest using UpWork (as mentioned above) in order to find a designer to help you create your branding. You will be able to find a designer on UpWork to create your logo for less than $100. They should also be able to help you create unique images for your website if needed.

Social Media Pages

Next, you will want to create social media accounts for your business. The most popular networks are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. All of these are free and will help you gain exposure and drive traffic to your business. You can do a simple Google search if you need information on how to create these social media accounts. Once the accounts are created, be sure to advertise them on your website.



Website

Today, it is very inexpensive and quick to set up a website. If you don’t know how to set up a website yourself this is what you do:

1. Go to www.godaddy.com and buy a domain you want to use. It will be roughly $8/year
(ex. www.MyFitness.com). You will also need hosting which is less than $10/month. Hosting will allow your website to be accessed via the internet.

2. Go to www.themeforest.net

3. Find a template that you would like to use for your business. Themeforest has thousands of website templates already created for e-commerce sites, blogs, consultants, etc. You will be able to purchase most templates for less than $50.

4. Next you will need someone to set up the website for you. You can also have them customize different parts of the website, change pictures, add sections, etc. To do this, I would suggest posting a message on Facebook or asking around to find if anyone you know has the skills to set up websites. If that doesn’t work, create a free account and post the job on UpWork (www.upwork.com). Here you will be able to find developers from all around the world that can help you set it up for no more than $150. If you end up having problems finding a resource, just send me an email and I can refer you to someone.



↓  Marketing Strategy



Marketing Channels

Now that you have your website setup and positioned for success, it’s time to plan out how you will get visitors/customers. I don’t believe you need to create a formal marketing plan before you launch your business, but I do believe you should have a general idea on how you will get customers and what verticals you would like to use.



Some ways to market your business are as follows:

●  Referral marketing
    •  Incentivize your users to refer other potential customers to your business

●  Social media channels
    •  Promote your business across your social media pages

●  Email marketing
    •  Utilizing email to get new customers and reengage current customers

●  SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    • Developing an SEO strategy to help increase your chances of potential customers
       finding your business organically

●  Reciprocal marketing
    •  You promote a business in exchange for them promoting your business

●  Paid advertising
    •  Leveraging other websites through paid marketing to help increase your visibility more quickly


↓  Communication Strategy


Now that you have started marketing and are starting to get new users/clients, it is important to keep them engaged and effectively communicate with them. If you don’t communicate with them enough they will forget you. If you communicate with them too much, they might stop listening. Here are the tools you should use to communicate with your customers.



Email Marketing

Having a successful email strategy is crucial to your business’ success. Email is one of best ways to engage with your audience and get them back to your site. The first thing you will need is an email platform.

Here are a few email platforms that I would recommend:

●  Mailchimp - www.mailchimp.com
●  aweber - www.aweber.com
●  Constant Contact - www.constantcontact.com

All the platforms above offer a free trial or free subscription depending on how many subscribers you have or emails you send per month. Once you have the account created, you can use the developer you found on UpWork to integrate an email signup form on your website. You can incentivize people to sign up for your newsletter by giving them a coupon for one of your products/services, offering exclusive benefits for members only or just promising to send them great content.


Social Media

You will want to leverage social media to connect with your audience and communicate with them. It will be important to post across your social media channels frequently, but be sure to always deliver informative and helpful content. If you are posting repeatedly but your customers are not benefiting from the content, you risk losing them. I suggest that you post one or more times per day across your social media channels. Social Media is a great way to introduce new products to your customers, get feedback, and share new content.


Push Notifications

If you are creating a mobile app, push notifications are a great way to get customer retention. A recent poll states that over 40% of people only use 6-10 apps on their phone and the average user has more than 50 apps on their phone. Push notifications are notifications that are “pushed” to the user and it appears as an alert with the purpose of bringing the user back into the app.. If you are building an app, you will want to integrate push notifications to communicate with your users and get them more engaged. You can use a push notification to inform them about a new feature, notify them when something is ready, or offer them a coupon/discount.

Be sure you stay in constant communication with your audience and be open to listening to their feedback. The closer you can get to your customers, the better you can tailor your business towards them.

4

How to
Generate Revenue

Now that your company has been launched, it’s time to start generating some revenue. For the most part, revenue can be generated in two ways:

Selling a product or service
Working with advertisers




Selling a Product or Service



When you are selling a product or service, you will get paid when someone actually buys a product from your site or hires you for a service. This type of revenue is typically found in a consulting/skill-based business or an ecommerce site. It can be found in the other two types of businesses as well, however, it is more commonly found in these two.

With this type of revenue model, you generally don’t need as many clients as you would in an advertising-based model to make decent revenue. This is due to the fact that you are actually selling a product/service rather than displaying ads. Depending on your line of business, you might only need one client to support yourself full-time. For example, if you are a freelance social media manager you might have one client that pays you a retainer of $4,000/month.

With this revenue model you will start generating revenue right from the start once you have your marketing strategy in place that will bring in clients.



Advertising-Based Model



When you are selling a product or service, you will get paid when someone actually buys a product from your site or hires you for a service. This type of revenue is typically found in a consulting/skill-based business or an ecommerce site. It can be found in the other two types of businesses as well, however, it is more commonly found in these two.

With this type of revenue model, you generally don’t need as many clients as you would in an advertising-based model to make decent revenue. This is due to the fact that you are actually selling a product/service rather than displaying ads. Depending on your line of business, you might only need one client to support yourself full-time. For example, if you are a freelance social media manager you might have one client that pays you a retainer of $4,000/month.

With this revenue model you will start generating revenue right from the start once you have your marketing strategy in place that will bring in clients.

CPC (Cost Per Click)
You get paid when a user clicks on an advertisement on your website
CPM (Cost per Thousand)
You get paid a set fee for every 1,000 views/impressions on an advertisement
CPV (Cost Per View)
You get paid when an advertiser video is viewed
CPI (Cost Per Install)
You get paid when a user downloads an advertiser’s mobile app
CPL (Cost Per Lead)
You get paid when a user completes some kind of lead capture (for example, a user enters their email address to receive more information from the advertiser)


There are more types of advertising models, however, these tend to be the most common in the industry.

Generally, you will need a large amount of users to make significant revenue with an advertising-based model. However, it’s typically easier to get users on an advertising-based model due to the fact that the user usually does not have to pay for anything to view the website.

Now that you know the two different types of revenue generation, you can pick the best one that fits your business and begin to implement it.

5

How to
Automate your Business




Ok. You have built a business
and started to generate some revenue.
Now, it’s time to automate it!





The point of #ForeverVacation is to have more time and money to do the things you actually want to do. The last thing you want is a business that commands all your time.

Don’t get me wrong.

In the beginning you will probably work harder than you ever have in your life. However, since you’re working towards your #ForeverVacation it will not feel like actual “work.”

That being said, you want to be in control of your business. You DO NOT want your business to be in control of you. In order to be in control of your business you need to set it up so you can automate 90% of the business. This means eliminating the majority of the manual tasks that occur in a business.



Some things that can inhibit automation in a business are the following:

●  Inventory & shipping
●  In-house customer service & call support
●  Direct sales
●  Billing and invoicing

Service-based businesses such as graphic design will require more manual components because you actually need to physically make the designs, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t automate all other parts of the business.

Here are some things to think about in order to automate your business:

●  Hire a secretary/assistant on UpWork.com to do all your “dirty work.” You can find people around the world that speak fluent English for as little as $7 or $8 per hour. Assistants are great for handling customer support, sending emails, doing research and other manual tasks.

●  If you own an e-commerce store, utilize drop shipping (as mentioned above) so you don’t have to worry about purchasing and carrying inventory.

●  If you are constantly having to sell and find new clients, that is going to greatly hurt your automation process. If you have a content-based site, you can just incorporate an advertising network into your business so you are constantly generating revenue when customers visit your site. No need to directly find advertises for your website. Also, you can create a referral sales network where if other people refer clients to you then they will receive some kind of incentive (cash, free products, etc). This way you enable and incentivize others to do the sales for you.

●  With technology where it is today, you should never have to manually send out another invoice or worry about bills that have yet to be paid. There are a handful of great payment platforms that support online payments, automatically send out invoices and notifies you when payments have been collected

●  These are a just handful of ways to help automate your business. There are hundreds of other tips and tricks but the most important thing is to think about where you spend your most time in your business and then start thinking of ways you can work to automate those tasks.




I knew that I wanted to purchase real estate,
but I didn’t want it to inhibit my travels
so I instantly went to work automating my rental properties.





The first thing I did was find someone who would stage my entire condo with furniture, silverware, decorations, etc. This was cheaper and easier than buying and decorating everything myself. The agreement I have in place now covers everything in the house so if something breaks or if I want new decorations, the company will go in there and fix everything up. I pay the company a nominal fee per month for this service.

Next, all my mortgage, insurance and utility payments are all automated. I set up my bill pay through my bank account so a few days before the bills are due, the bank automatically sends a check to the designated addresses. I don’t even have to think about paying my bills, as they are all automated. This is the same with collecting payments from my tenants. All payments are collected through the website or PayPal and then instantly transferred directly to my bank account. Easy as that!

Lastly, since you need to operate the condos similar to a hotel, I knew I would need a cleaning crew to clean after each tenant left, order new supplies like soap and toilet paper and also have someone around the area in case a tenant needed help. After a bit of research, I found an amazing woman who takes care of all of this. I give her access to my online calendar and she can go in to see when a new tenant is checking in and when they are checking out. She orders new supplies when needed and just bills me at the end of the month. I pay her for every cleaning and just charge it back to the tenant so it costs me nothing to have her clean my condos. She is so essential to the automation and it allows me to travel while my condos continue to generate revenue.

So you can see from the example above how easy it is to automate things that you generally didn’t think could be automated. Automation is one of the most important steps in the #ForeverVacation model. It will allow you to travel the world freely while still generating income.

That’s a Wrap!



So after reading the above guide to starting an online business, you should have what you need to get your business up and running. Once your business is launched and it begins to grow, refer back to ForeverVacation.com to find more information on how to continue the growth of your business.

The most important step is just to do it. The longer you wait and think about it, the more time your mind will have to convince you not to do it. Once you decide to start a business, you will learn more than you have ever learned before. You will gain more respect from others and you will live a happier and more fulfilling life.

What are you waiting for? Go get started and, as always,
if you have any questions, contact me..


Best of luck on your journey towards your
#ForeverVacation


Ben Dolgoff







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