I get so many e-mails from people asking me how to start selling their own products or services online. Creating an online business is the easiest thing in the world to do. It’s one of the fastest ways to start a real business on earth and I’m going to explain exactly how to do it in 9 easy steps.
Step 1: Sell something people want. Business is and always has been all about finding a need or a want in a market and filling it with a product or service. So why are you spending six months trying to come up with a perfect idea? Go out there, research a market, come up with something good to offer the market and sell it.
Step 2: Get your website designed. Use a good graphic designer or go somewhere like 99Designs.com and have them provide you with a layered Photoshop file for your coder. Have the designer create a “Home” page, which is the first page your customers see, and an “Inner” page, where you will sell your products or provide more information, with a left or right bar. If you want a different look for a landing page have them create this also.
Step 3: Take your layered Photoshop file and give it to your coder, which is someone who can make the file internet-ready. This usually costs between $100-$200 for a high quality person to slice the PSD file into well-coded CSS/HTML. If you don’t want to go through this you can go the free route and simply use WordPress. But no matter what, you’ll want to integrate WordPress into your website design for your blogging needs.
Step 4: Use a quality host that handles all your internet traffic. No traffic = no sales! I personally recommend Servint. I have a dedicated server but if you don’t need a dedicated server, just get their $49 Essential VPS hosting.
Step 5: Sign up for an e-mail provider. I use Aweber for all of my e-mail list management. Their delivery is great and I’ve never had a problem in over seven years.
Step 6: Add a shopping cart. If you plan on selling ANYTHING you’ll need a high quality shopping cart. The shopping cart makes it easy for people to buy your product. I recommend 1ShoppingCart. I’ve used self hosted shopping carts in the past but it was VERY annoying because of the SSL certificates, technical issues, things breaking, etc. With 1ShoppingCart you pay a low monthly fee and can set it and forget it!
Step 7: Get a gateway and a merchant account. We use Authorize.net for our Gateway and have a Merchant Account through Bank of America. When someone makes a purchase on your website, the money goes through the shopping cart. Then it goes to your gateway, and then from your gateway to your merchant account. Once your merchant account batches your account daily, it deposits the money into your bank account. It’s a very simple process.
Step 8: Create your product or service. You can either create your own product or you can have it created for you. Now, this could be a product or it could be a service such as offering Lace Wigs or Cornrows. Just remember step one: it should be something people want. You just need something to sell.
Step 9: Generate traffic. By now you have a website, you have an e-mail management system, you have a shopping cart, and you have a product. Now you need traffic. In this step, you simply want to be wherever your market is at! The first thing I recommend you do is buy some traffic. You can buy ads on Facebook, Google Adwords, and other websites and blogs. You can buy banner ads, text links, etc.
And that’s it. In 9 easy steps you created your own online business. You have a website, you can accept money, you’re offering a product or a service, and you’re ready to roll! If you really want to make money you’re going to have to hustle and work hard. There’s no magic to it. But I can promise, if you work it, you can achieve anything you want!