All the steps you need to take to launch an online business the right way
If tomorrow I lost everything and needed to start a new online business from the ground up, these are the exact steps I would take over a 4-week period.
Setting up your business
- Decide which high-demand skill you want to build a business around. We all have a few superpowers. Figure out yours and think which you could do all day, every day without getting tired. Your superpower is where your interest, your talent, and your passion align. A common mistake is to try to offer too many services. Less is more. Be the best within your zone of genius. You can be good at many things but only great at one or two things.
- Figure out your niche. This is a step many get wrong by going too broad. A red flag is when I ask “Who do you serve?” or “Who do you write for?” and the answer is vague like “Coaches” or even worse “Professionals.” This is the best way to fail your business. Niche down! Take the time to define your ideal customer avatar and then reach out to those types for networking to better get to know them.
- Take Care of Business Formalities:
- Set up your business entity in your state
- Determine a business address (open a P.O. Box if you need to)
- Set up a business phone number (VOIP is the best)
- Reserve your business name URL and create social account names
- Get a website host. I’m an affiliate with Siteground.
- Set up a business email (look professional, please!)
- Open a business account (you’ll need a copy of your filed business articles of incorporation, your business address, and your business phone number)
- Set up your Paypal and Stripe business accounts online (you’ll need a copy of your filed business articles of incorporation, your business address, and your business phone number)
- Set up your bookkeeping software (I like Quickbooks and Freshbooks)
- Set up your appointment scheduling software (I like Calendly).
Relax! This all is a one-time effort. Now you are good to go. Congratulate yourself and have a nice weekend.
- Decide based on your personality (extrovert/introvert) where you prefer to be (on stages or behind the scenes). You can choose how to deliver your services. Ask yourself, ‘Do I want to coach people?’ or ‘Do I prefer to build a course and sell it online?’ There is no one-size-fits-all answer. If you are stuck here, hire a coach for guidance to help design the ideal strategy for you.
- Tell your story. All of us have a story. Yours is what makes you unique and special. The best consultants understand a problem deeply first-hand.
a) Write down the story of your personal transformation from stuck to thriving. This is the key to authenticity and relatability with your audience.
b) Write down all the problems under the umbrella issue you serve that you could possibly help your ideal customer with.
c) Circle the top three problems you feel matter most
d) Using all the information you’ve worked through so far, write out your unique value proposition as follows:
I HELP (INSERT WHOM) WITH (INSERT PROBLEM) BY (INSERT SERVICES)
3. Take the services you picked at the beginning of week 2 and map them into the multiple revenue stream spreadsheet to calculate your desired revenue and finalize your pricing strategy for your services. If you need more help, sign up for a money workshop (a course is also coming soon!).
4. Write out your annual goals. If you need more help, take the Goal Setting and Success Habits course, or at least, check out more free resources here. I sincerely believe one of the biggest determining factors of people who fail or succeed is the seriousness with which they take goal setting. More success tips here. This step will make or break you. Highlight it and live it.
- Schedule a branded photoshoot. As a business, you’ll come to learn that a picture is worth a thousand words. Think about your own buying habits. Do you buy from websites with small or no photos? Of course not. Time for your first of many photo shoots to come, of you, your products, or both!
- Write a great bio. This will be used in many places, such as your About page on your website, your social profiles, and your sales materials.
- Using the work you did last week, finalize the list of services you want to offer and save it. You’ll need it for your Services website page and your sales brochure.
- Using your story that you wrote down last week and your unique value proposition, record a sales video. It should be 3–5 minutes, well-lit, and you should be radiating positive energy.
- Go back to the social accounts you set up last week and update your new bio and your new services.
- Let’s map out your entire content strategy next. You’ll need to plan for posts, videos, live streams, and much more. If you need help, join the group program I run specifically for marketing for creatives and business owners called From Follower to Leader.
- Set up your email marketing tool. I am an affiliate of Convertkit and love them!
- Now it is time to write out all of your sales emails. If social media is the door, email is the living room of your business strategy. While people pass by your door all the time, people who come inside are your fans. If you need help, join the group program I run specifically for marketing for creatives and business owners called From Follower to Leader.
- It’s time to set up your branding. When you are just starting, you don’t need anything fancy and would be fine using Canva to create some basic graphics. But it is also very easy to hire an affordable designer on Upwork or Fiverr.
- Now that you have your branding, copy, your photos, your video, your sales brochure, and your business information set, it is time to set up a basic website. I like WordPress because it is the most versatile. You can hire an affordable web developer on Upwork or Fiverr and purchase ready-to-use templates to make your site look amazing with the cost of custom designs.
- To be a business owner means having a different mentality than an employee. You’ll need to master your time. Believe me when I tell you this will be much harder than you think. Such a seemingly small detail can lead you to either making money or being broke. It is such a hard thing for many yet so imperial to your success that I am releasing a course on it.
- Map out your goals for Month 2. The prerequisite for this step is the goal-setting you did in Week 2.
- Plan out your perfect week so that starting in Month 2, you are as efficient as possible. The prerequisite for this step is to have your monthly goals planned out.
- In week 3 you mapped out your content strategy. Now it is time to start producing and automating your content.
- Build out your process flows. I use Asana for this. This is a big secret to getting more done, focusing on what matters, and being able to hire a team or bring on collaborators on a project basis.
- Now that you have Month 1 complete, take a detailed audit of all your business and personal expenses, check them against your projected revenue targets, and plan out your strategy to hit your financial goals in Month 2 and beyond. Note: This last point will become something you do every single month as a business owner.
Starting a business has never been easier than today. A job is no longer enough. At the very least, start a side hustle to diversify your income. Putting all your eggs in one basket is not good for anyone. But, remember, that entrepreneurship is not the solution for everyone. To know if it is for you, take the quiz.
Do you want a downloadable PDF version of my business checklist? You can get one here.