4 Steps to Start Your First Online Business

Let me start by saying entrepreneurship is all about you. A startup is nothing without the vision of the founder. Think of what Apple would have been without Steve Jobs. If you’re looking to become an entrepreneur for an easy route to success, I’m sorry to break the news to you but entrepreneurship is probably one of the most grueling roles you can take on.

The reason people become entrepreneurs is to have ownership in their work. People created the apps, software, and products that we use everyday. One of the main motivators for entrepreneurs is seeing people use their products.

If you want to start your first online business, you’re going to have to take full responsibility for the journey ahead.

When I first started my brand Cork Supply Co, I thought I was in it for the money. I soon realized that it was much more satisfying to see someone rock one of our cork snapback hats than to see a new order placed online.

Though money can be a motivating factor to become an entrepreneur, I would never gamble success on someone having money as a main motivator.

If you’ve gotten to the stage where you’re ready to start your first online business, follow these steps to make it happen:

Find your niche


When deciding what business to start, I think your best bet is to start in an industry you already know. For example, if you’re into limited edition sneakers, maybe you should start an online marketplace for sneakerheads like StockX.

It always bothers me when I see entrepreneurs trying to start a business in an industry they have no personal experience with—I’m thinking of this bra company I once saw that was started by a male. It makes sense to start a business in a industry you already know.

Source your product


One of the biggest hurdles facing first time entrepreneurs today is the pursuit to find the right manufacturer. In the past I’ve spent hundreds of hours sorting through sites like Alibaba to find the right one, but never seemed to find trust in any.

That is why I now use Sourcify, a marketplace for the world’s top manufacturers. Sourcify is a concierge service that introduces entrepreneurs to pre-vetted manufacturers so entrepreneurs can source in a easy, trustworthy, and secure manner.

Setup your online store


Thanks to the likes of Shopify, setting up your online store has become a piece of cake. You no longer need to code anything to setup an online store. Instead, you now simply need to find the right theme to match your aesthetic. Themes are like templates for your online store that enable you to easily customize the look.

If you’re looking to find a theme for your store, I recommend searching Themeforest. This is probably the world’s top marketplace for online store themes. As a starting point, I would find five online stores that fit your aesthetic appeal and then find similar themes that match those stores.

Fire up the market


Now that you have your niche chosen, product sourced, and online store ready to rock, it’s time to start marketing your business. There are a couple main ways that I recommend starting: social media, cross promotions, giveaways, content marketing, SEO, and if you can afford it, paid ads. These marketing mediums will enable you to drive traffic to your new business in an effective manner.

It is also important to find which social media outlet your customers connect with most. A lot of brands are utilizing Instagram right now for its high engagement levels. For an even bigger boost on Instagram, I would suggest using Kickstagram, an Instagram marketing tool that will help grow your following and boost engagement. Though Instagram isn’t right for all, the most important aspect of marketing is the ability to test and iterate what works.

There is only so much thinking that can go into starting a business. Entrepreneurship is all about execution and your business doesn’t have to be perfect to launch. As most entrepreneurs say, “The best time to start a business was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.” What are you waiting for?

Title photo credit: Youtube

Written by Nathan Resnick

Nathan is the founder of Sourcify.

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