Starting an Online Business 101: Everything You Need to Know

It seems like everyone is looking for ways to make a little more money these days or find solutions where they can work from home. One of the top methods to make this happen is to start an online business. While there are tons of options out there for starting up your own business online, it’s not always an easy task.

There are decisions to be made and steps to follow to ensure your business idea really pans out. In this guide, we share everything you need to know to start an online business. Read more about it below.

What Will Your Business Be?

First things first, you need to figure out just what type of online business you’re going to operate. There are tons of online business ideas out there, so this is the time to narrow down the options and figure out what you will be doing. Do you want to sell your craft projects? Perhaps you want an Amazon storefront with popular projects. These are product-based businesses.

In addition to products, you could also base your business around services. Perhaps you are a life coach, or you can offer consultation services to other businesses. You might even decide to offer freelance writing skills or start coming up with new ideas. Most online businesses fall into these categories:

  • eCommerce (products)
  • Information or services
  • Consultation and coaching services
  • Freelancing or blogging
  • Affiliate marketing programs
  • SaaS – software as a service

These are all valid business ideas, and there are plenty more out there like them. Consider what you bring to the table and how you can make that into a thriving business and take it from there.

Create a Plan

It’s easy to just jump into starting up a business without really planning. But you will find that this leads to floundering more often than not. You don’t have to write up a 200-page business plan here, although it’s great if you do. Instead, keep it simple. Find a business plan template or guide online and follow that.

A business plan is a great way to put your ideas down on paper or on the computer. It will give you goals to work towards and organize what this business is. Even with a small online business, it’s still a good idea to create a plan and strategize. It also gives you an idea of the reality of running this business.

Think about your budget, the products and services, how you will present products and services, marketing needs, target market demographics, challenges, and other similar details. This won’t just be all butterflies and roses. You will face challenges, so do your best to prepare ahead of time.


Part of establishing your business is making it legal. A business will make money, and this will have to be reported. If you’re selling products, you will also likely have sales tax filings. You need to work through the legalities before you get things running.

Choose a business name, register your business for a business license, obtain an EIN, and check all the marks to ensure your business is legitimate. Be sure to get any legal documents in place, such as if you have a partner, or you are operating under an LLC.

Website and Marketing

Now, you’re ready to really get started. You need a website! Every valid online business has a website, and it needs to be a decent site. You’re going to need a website that is mobile-friendly and will provide the information and CTA that your prospective clients need. Learn about SEO and incorporate this into your website too.

There are plenty of website hosting services and website builders out there that you can work with. Once you get your website set up, start marketing your business. You can establish additional avenues like social media, email, advertisements, blogs, and more to ensure you are making the most of getting your name and information out there.

It’s time to start selling and making your business successful!

Final Thoughts

Getting started with an online business can be challenging, but with a few simple steps and some planning, you can be successful. Take the time to get to know the markets and organize the details before you just dive in with your business. This guide was designed to help point you in the right direction and know where to start on your business journey.

Determine what your business will be, make a plan, and get started working towards your success. You got this!

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