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So You're Thinking About Starting An Online Business?

Aug 17, 2007
Many people dream of working at home in their pajamas but few have the drive to take that dream into reality. Are you one of the few?

If you have been thinking about starting your own online business then here's some thoughts you can use to turn those dreams into a real business.

1. If you don't already have an idea of what type of business you want to do, then try listing out 5 hobbies, interests or areas of expertise. If you want to start a new business, you'd better choose a subject that you like and a subject where you can show expertise. You will have more fun and you will be more competitive.

2. Since running a business isn't all fun and games you should think about what you are good at and what do you enjoy doing. Make two lists - one of all the jobs you like and/or are good at, and one of all the jobs you hate and/or really don't do very well. Take the second list and have a look at what you might outsource or automate. Do you really love doing those accounts or would your time be better spent in forward planning while your accountant does the sums? Must you personally reply to every last enquiry or could you create a FAQ which you can post on your website and refer people to by autoresponder? Obviously in the early stages of your business you might find you don't have the money to pay someone to do the jobs you hate but you've got to think about what is best for you and your business long term. The more routine jobs you can outsource or automate the more time you have to plan and to market your business, and to think about even more ways to bring in all that lovely cash - not to mention you get to spend more of your time doing the things you really enjoy doing.

3. Since every online business needs a website, you may need to brush up on your web skills unless you can afford to hire someone to do all the website work for you. Regardless, you need to decide the outlay of your site, if it will have a shopping cart, will you need auto responders, how often to update the site, if you want to send out a newsletter etc... Don't forget about the details like picking a domain name, registering it and finding affordable hosting.

4. Be prepared for failures. Not everything you do will be perfect - sometimes things you've tried will be a total disaster - but it's the way you react to problems that matters. If you curl up in a ball and give up at the first sign of failure you'd better not be in business. "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams. It's all about attitude.

5. Have a plan and stick to it as far as possible but always be prepared to be flexible and open minded. Sometimes the most unexpected opportunities come up and you need to be ready to seize them with both hands - as Joe Vitale says 'Money likes speed'.

The most important thing in starting an online business is to take action! Don't let anyone else inject self doubt - if this is your dream don't let anyone ruin it for you!
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for Minding Your Business where you can get more tips and ideas for small businesses.
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