What's the best online business for a total beginner?
If you’re ready to start an online business, but unsure which of the many digital business models is the best fit for you, you’ve landed in the right place. We’ll discuss the three top business models for new digital entrepreneurs - affiliate marketing, e-commerce and coaching - so that you can get the clarity you need to take your life to the next level.
Before I started my first online business, I had a lot of questions and did a lot of research, possibly like you are now. But with so much conflicting information out there, along with my fear of failure, I ended up confused and completely overwhelmed.
Since hindsight is 20/20 (or as close as we’ll get), I'll share what I've learned to save you the time and stress of going around in circles researching all of the business models, so that you can start building your dream online business today.
What should your first online business be?
First things first. The business model you choose now does not need to be your ‘forever’ business. Chances are, you will actually explore many different businesses throughout your entrepreneurial career and since affiliate marketing, e-commerce and coaching are all such accessible and logical business models, you’ll likely do a little of all of these, probably even simultaneously.
As much as your decision should be logical, intuition is a big part of entrepreneurship and most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they learned to trust their gut. So, the best business to start with right now should be the one that feels best for you - after you explore your options, of course.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is as simple as recommending another company’s product with a unique referral link and if the person you recommend the product to purchases, you earn a commission. Some companies even offer lifetime commissions for repeat purchases by each referred customer.
Affiliate marketing is a great business model for new entrepreneurs because no time or money is required to develop a product. You can leverage products and services that are already in demand, that you already love and that already have a strong sales process in place to take care of your referral and maximise your sales.
Marketing is a skill every single entrepreneur should learn and it’s a vital part of all businesses. Human psychology is the foundation of marketing, so even if you plan to outsource your marketing later, it will develop your interpersonal skills and ultimately, it will contribute to a successful business and improved relationships.
Is e-commerce a good place for beginners to start?
Many new entrepreneurs choose e-commerce as their first online business because they see commerce every day and understand what it is. Simply put, e-commerce is the sale of physical products, just like in any store, except the store is online. You can design and develop the products yourself or buy products in bulk and resell with a markup.
Platforms like Amazon FBA are great for beginners because of the large volumes of traffic on those sites. They also take care of the storage and order fulfillment, so you can focus on researching and sourcing in demand products and the marketing element of your business.
There are variations of e-commerce such as drop-shipping and print on demand, which enables you to test products without investing heavily in bulk purchase, shipping and storage. They will also manage order fulfillment, but the markup on these models is typically lower than with bulk purchase.
Once you have the all important marketing skills mentioned above, you can leverage your skill to drive higher traffic volumes and negotiate a discounted price, which in turn increases your margins.
How can you turn your experience into a business?
Coaching covers a broad range of services and products that can all be sold online. Coaches usually work one on one with clients or in groups, to share their expertise in a particular area. This can be life coaching, health coaching, relationships coaching, empowerment coaching, business coaching, mindset coaching, money coaching...
Whatever your need, there’s a coach out there to help. This also means that whatever your experience, there are clients out there that need your help. However, coaching does not need to be in-person or face to face, although this is good practice, particularly in the beginning as you develop your business.
You can build courses teaching people how to do what you’ve done - how to start a business, how to mend a broken heart, how to stay healthy around a busy lifestyle, how to find happiness through gratitude…whatever it is you have experience in, you can build a business teaching people exactly that.
The coaching industry is the fastest growing today with more people than ever attaining certifications, despite the industry being largely unregulated. You can develop a coaching business around any area you feel passionate about, but you will still need to know a thing or two about marketing and this skill will also help you to develop a better coaching product.
So where do you actually start?
Many new and aspiring entrepreneurs have a great desire to succeed, but not always quite enough patience to see it through. Of course you can try every business model out there and you can have many on the go at the same time, particularly if you choose models that can be largely automated and complement each other.
All three of these business models can be highly profitable and highly automated if built intentionally to give you freedom over your own life. Whatever business you feel is best to start with, my recommendation would be to choose one only for now and then FOCUS - Focus One Course Until Successful.
How important is marketing?
Marketing is crucial to the success of any business. Marketing can also be a big expense for a business to outsource to marketing agencies, which proves it a worthwhile skill to learn. Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, but the foundation is human psychology.
Focusing on learning the right skills can be of great benefit to any business and marketing can be a fascinating learning experience if you’re in any way creative or interested in people or how we think.
If you’re interested in learning more about online business, particularly affiliate marketing or e-commerce, sign up below to access a free 4-part workshop series on how to start an online business from scratch. This free training is helping thousands of people all over the world learn the skills to build successful businesses, while also providing the support new entrepreneurs need to avoid rookie mistakes.
Any of these business models can be highly profitable, flexible and well suited to brand new digital entrepreneurs. To maximise your chances of success in your first online business, choosing a business model where you don't have to design and develop your own product, such as affiliate marketing, is a great place to start.
"Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the things you did do."
- Mark Twain
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