How to choose the Online Business that's Perfect for you
I'm hoping my last post on 25 ways your Mum skills already mean you're qualified to run your own business has inspired you to take your business dream a step further than the dream stage and into the realms of Serious Thinking! I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and say there's one of two reasons you're reading this post. Either:
a) You really want to work for yourself but are having trouble finding a viable business idea, or
b) You have a million and one ideas but don't know if any of them are any good!
So, lets get started on the road to finding the Online Business that's Perfect for You.
Your Ultimate Business Idea is a magic place where you can use your knowledge and skills and unique view of the World to help people with their problems and fulfil their goals. You need to find the overlap between what you know, what your audience needs and what you can create that your audience are willing to pay you for (this could be advice, products or services). You want to provide an experience to your target market that makes them land on your blog / website / shop and think, ‘yay, I’ve arrived - I can stop searching now!’
Choosing the right business for you
The first stage is Brainstorming - this is the ‘coming up with ideas stage’, the ‘no-holds-barred, write whatever pops into your head stage’. This is where you let your imagine run wild and plan with no limitations and no such thing as silly ideas
Wondering where the worksheets are? Here! Download and fill out your 3-page 'Start Your Perfect Online Business' Worksheets (<< Click that link or the image below and they're all yours!)
All about You
The first thing you need to do is look in depth at your own areas of interest and expertise and what you want this business to do for you. Answer the following questions on your All About You worksheet.
What do you absolutely love to do?
If you had a whole day totally 100% free all to yourself what would you spend it doing?
What are you really good at?
What do people compliment you on? It can be anything - interior design, putting an outfit together, gardening, sniffing out a bargain - everything you would win Gold at if it were an Olympic sport!
What are your areas of expertise?
What do you know lots about? Include life experiences you've dealt with as well as education and work experience. You don’t need to have a University education and be an ‘expert’ in an area to make it your business. But you do need to be genuinely knowledgeable and able, deeply interested in your subject and be able to organise your content and present your products in a way that is attractive, engaging and above all helpful to others that know less than you.
What are you obsessed with?
What do you read about online and in books and magazines? What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind? What would you study if you were to go back to University?
What are your life goals that your business is going to help you achieve?
Do you want to be retired by 40? Do you want to be able to travel and work at the same time? Do you feel a need to prevent other people going through a situation you've been through? Do you want a big house in the country with room for a pony and an indoor swimming pool? Do you want to be rid of debt and be able to buy nice things for you and your family to enjoy? Or do you simply want to be able to make enough money from doing something you enjoy that you can stay at home with your kiddos and not have to go back to work?
Be super duper truthful with your answers. No-one is going to see them apart from you!
All about your Customers
Next, consider your potential customers. A little Badass BusinessMum tip I found out the hard way - You will find marketing, branding, creating products, (basically everything) a whole lot easier if you know your customers' type personally.
Download and fill out your All About your Customers worksheet by answering the following questions
What type of people do you know really well?
It could be people like you, or like you were a few years ago. Think about people you relate to from both your personal and professional life. Think Big - I relate to Mums for example. Then go small - twin Mums that live in The Scottish Highlands / Mums that run online businesses (Hello!) / Mums that suffer with PND / Mums that had preemie babies in SCBU/NICU and so on…..
What do your customers want / need?
Consider all of your potential audiences’ hopes for life. Their struggles, deepest fears and insecurities and what makes them laugh and feel glad to be alive.
Are you already the ‘go to’ gal on a particular subject?
What are you regularly asked for help with and who by?
The basic types of Online Business Model
So know we're getting down to the nitty gritty! How are you going to actually make money?
My Income comes from 4 different sources:
- Blog Branding & Design Template store on Etsy
- Affiliate Marketing both on this Blog and The 52 Blogs Project
- Blog design and Research Services
- Blog Organisation and Planning and Design & Branding Classes on Skillshare
The following five Business Models are the ways that cover most types of online businesses. The lines between them are often blurred (eg; you can be a coach that also sells an e-book that you wrote, your might be a design freelancer that also makes money from ads and affiliate links on your blog etc etc..) and having multiple streams of income makes very good business sense, so don't be constrained by thinking, 'but bloggers (for example) don't do that'. Different is good in the World of Online Business!
I present them to you to give you some ideas you may not have thought of or generate a business idea you didn't even know existed!!
You know what an online shop is - I'm not going to explain it! You can sell physical products, digital products, or a mixture of both. Selling physical handmade products is the most time consuming but also very rewarding and you can command a premium price for a custom, handmade product when marketing to the right customer.
Digital downloads and printables are very popular with customers because of their instant availability. For you selling digital products, after the initial creation of the product, you don't have to factor in the time to pack, post and replenish sold stock like you would with a physical, handmade product. Generally digital products are sold at low prices but because it takes no more effort to sell 1000 than it does to sell 10, if you've got your marketing right, they are an excellent way of creating a steady income with not a lot of effort!
You can set up shop on your own website by integrating e-commerce software or you can use a website such as Etsy, Folksy (for UK sellers) or Shopify. This blog post goes further in depth at what to look for when choosing an online shop website.
Coaching is when you provide personalised advice, training and support to help your clients' improve a particular area of their business or personal lives. As a coach you work with your client to set goals and plans and then work with them to make sure they achieve those goals. You offer practical, emotional and moral support, depending on what type of area you coach in. You can offer coaching in person or online, one-on-one or in groups and you can tailor your packages to suit you and your clients. So you might provide an initial consultation and then follow up weekly, or monthly or offer unlimited support whenever it is needed for a set length of time or on a per month basis.
To be a coach you need to have in-depth knowledge and experience of whatever you're coaching and be able to adapt that knowledge to different scenarios to offer tailored solutions to your clients.
You can coach someone in pretty much anything! Examples include
Business (including specific areas such as marketing, branding or content creation)
Health (eg; diet or exercise)
Wellness (eg; being more positive, de-stressing your life)
Creativity (eg; writing or art)
Freelancing is when you work for yourself but you complete projects to your clients' specifications. Freelancing is an excellent option if you have qualifications and/or tons of experience in a certain area but don't like the 9-5, the commute or the not being your own boss!
To be a freelancer, you need to be organised and self-motivated to deal with your clients and get work completed on time. As well as the actual project work you will need to create contracts, communicate ideas and requirements, keep your clients updated and set detailed expectations for what they can expect from you including payment terms, after-care service etc. For some freelancing work you will also need industry qualifications.
The list of Freelance jobs can go on forever, but here's just a few ideas!
Selling Information Products
Information Products (eg; e-courses, workbooks, e-books, online workshops) can be included as product options in all of the Business Models listed here. I have included them separately here because they are a totally legit business model in their own right!
The 'Infopreneur' business model (first brought to my attention by Regina at byregina.com) is a fairly new concept but is increasing in popularity pretty much daily! If you have a lot of experience or knowledge in a certain area, as an infopreneur your business is teaching others how they can use that knowledge to their advantage. Infopreneurs create and sell e-courses, e-books, workbooks, video training workshops, membership sites for access to training resources and so on.
The wonderful thing about selling Information Products is you don't need to be an expert (but you do need to know what you're talking about!) you just need to know more than the people who are at the lower levels of 'expertise' than you (and be good at explaining things in a helpful, encouraging, easy-to-follow way)
You can create Information products on absolutely anything! Just think of something you're really good at, that people are always asking you how you do it! Here's a few topic and product ideas to get you started!
Cooking (recipe books, 'how to ' video training, e-courses)
Gardening (year round gardening planner, e-course on growing veg, gardening for wildlife e-book)
Knitting (beginner guide e-book, pattern book, monthly subscription for access to new patterns every month)
Website design (workbook on designing your website from start to finish, video training on creating a colour palette. This is an excellent example of where you could add Information Products to your freelancing work in this area, and also sell pre-made website templates)
Assertiveness (e-course '30 days to a new assertive you', membership site with access to a private forum for support and guidance, life planner with daily reminders and tips. This is another example of where Information Products can be sold alongside other services - eg; coaching in this area)
Blogging isn't only a business model on it's own. It is also a platform to boost your website's SEO, increase trust in your brand, build your authority in your area of expertise and it is The. Most. Excellent. Content Marketing Tool. Ever Invented!
But, as well as using a blog for marketing your business you can also earn money from it with things like running ads, selling ad space, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, working with brands, paid reviews and paid guest posting as well as selling your own products or services. Blogging is also an excellent way to get into freelance writing and speaking engagements.
Earning money purely from your blog content (eg; the ways I just mentioned) can take a while because most of it is traffic dependant, which does take time to build up. But if you are not wanting to make mega bucks straight away (if you are - you're on the wrong site!) and you have a topic that you are both passionate and knowledgeable about, starting, growing and monetising a blog is a rewarding first step into the world of online business!
Online Business start-up Resources (further reading)
Time to take action! If you haven't already, download and fill out the 'Choose your Perfect Online Business' worksheets to get ideas on your areas of expertise and some notes on your potential target market. Now take those notes and that little list of online Business Models, your task is to brainstorm business ideas (there's a 'Brainstorm Notes' sheet with the download) that bring all those things together to get you to a business that is at that spot where you know stuff, you know how to attract the attention of people that want to know that stuff and you can create something to help those people know (or get) that stuff!