It seems everyone you know has started an online business. With the advent of DIY websites, low-cost hosting, user-friendly technology and social media, starting an online business looks easier than ever.
Thinking about jumping in? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Unlike traditional employment where your employer withdraws payroll taxes each pay period, you will be responsible for your own taxes. In the U.S., for example, business owners must also pay their own taxes toward Medicare and Social Security programs over and above income taxes.
Before launching your business, consult with a tax expert. They’ll advise you of any potential pitfalls, and can help you estimate how much you’ll need to set aside each month to cover your taxes.
Is there a need for your product or service?
The most successful online ventures solve a problem or fulfill a need. For example, outdoor roller skating took off during the earlier days of the pandemic when sport facilities were closed and people wanted to head outdoors for exercise. Online skate shops were created to meet the exploding demand for roller skates.
Brick and mortar rinks and skate shops added an eCommerce platform to fulfill orders from across the U.S. and around the world.
Skating coaches turned to social media to become content creators, offering tips and instruction to a broader audience while rinks were closed.
These businesses solved a problem (lack of access to indoor facilities, skate instruction and safety, meeting the demand for skates) and fulfilled a need (get outdoors, exercise, and interact with other people).
If you’re planning an online business, think of how your product or services can either solve a problem and/or fulfill a need that your potential clients have.
Do you feel a connection to the work you are doing?
Having your own business can mean long hours, interacting with difficult clients, inconsistent income, and other headaches. If you’re not engaged with the product or service you plan to offer, your business can be doomed before launch.
If you are connected and engaged with your product or service, you stand a much better chance of succeeding. As cheesy at it sounds, enthusiasm is contagious.
Do you have the financial resources to sustain you during start-up?
Unless you have generous backing from investors like the whiz kids in Silicon Valley, you’ll still need to cover your living expenses and potential business expenses during start-up.
If you don’t have the resources, you’ll be contending with not only the stress of start-up, but also the stress of supporting yourself. It’s OK to continue to work your “day job” while launching your online business.
Sources of start-up funds can include small business loans, small business grants from local non-profits or accelerators, loans from friends or family, or entering into a partnership and pooling resources. Consider each option carefully. Consult with a business mentor or small business expert if need be.
Are you comfortable marketing your product or service?
Visit any LinkedIn feed and you’ll see plenty of posts imploring you to “put yourself out there.” Having a high comfort level discussing your product or service with friends, family, colleagues and potential clients is key to your success.
A talented marketing person can help you identify your ideal client or customer. They’ll help create a targeting marketing campaign that will help convert prospects to paying customers.
Creating an online business venture is stressful, rewarding, and can even be fun when you’re engaged with the work you’ll be doing. By keeping a realistic mindset and understanding the ins and outs of small business ownership, you can set yourself up for success from the very beginning.
If you’re already in business but need a little help with marketing, web design, content creation, or general admin. services, our staff of highly qualified VAs are ready to help. Get in touch with us today to get started.