To many people it's a fantastic proposition: to be able to earn a substantial income, online, from the comfort of home, free of the responsibilities and ties that a 'day job' typically demands.
The ‘interconnectivity' available to most of us offers a real opportunity to bring this prospect to fruition, but it will take plenty of clever thinking, combined with hard work and determination.
“Starting and building an online business is not some mystical, magical art,” writes marketing strategist Paul Maxey in an article on the Internet Alchemy website. “It’s all about willpower, focus, and just having the guts to get out there and do it.
“It’s taking the first step, putting one foot in front of the other, having a plan and sticking with that plan, and keeping your eyes on the prize.”
Whatever you choose to focus your business on, you need a deep knowledge of the subject, creativity and unwavering stamina, says internet marketer Nicholas Pratt.
According to Pratt, it's a matter of using proven systems in an innovative way, combining traditional business techniques with the latest technology.
“Remember that the principles of running an 'offline' business also apply to running an 'online' business,” he says in a blog on the Web Traffic Lounge website.
“An internet business could be selling things on Ebay or Amazon. Or, it could be affiliate marketing, online network marketing or something else. The point is that in all these examples, 'selling stuff' is involved.
“Essentially, you make money by providing the best solution for the target market.”
Vinny La Barbera, founder and CEO of internet marketing agency imFORZA, says any online business strategy should consist of several different components, which must all work in sync for it to be effective.
La Barbera says this should include:
- a user-friendly, conversion-oriented website,
- sound and creative SEO,
- unique, useful content,
- effective content distribution and promotion,
- community building,
- targeted lead nurturing, and
- regular testing, tracking and reporting.
La Barbera also nominates the burgeoning social media universe as an essential launching pad for any small business owner starting from scratch. “A strong social media strategy with a loyal following can create a lot of opportunities for a company to grow its business,” he says.
“Keeping people on your website with great design, content and usability is vital to its overall success. The same goes for your social media pages and profiles.”
Great digital design will only get you so far, he cautions, as social media (in 2014 especially) is a place of activity and engagement.
“To truly attract and keep people interested and engaged in your social media channels and content you have to be responsive to their comments, genuine with your replies and helpful with your answers.
“Focus on building your following organically, as it will force you to create better content and actually spend the time interacting with your audience where they spend their time online.”