Starting an online business is fairly similar to starting a traditional business, except it’s just much less hassle.

You don’t need to worry about physical location, staff, inventory and a whole host of other things that traditional business owners have to deal with.

This makes running an online business more profitable that their traditional business counterparts (think Walmart and Amazon). Online businesses just don’t have anywhere near as many costs as a lot of traditional businesses have.

In this article, we’ll go over the whole process of getting yourself setup online, including all the steps you’ll need to follow to have to your business up and running.

Types of online business models

There is a large amount of online business ideas out there. There are plenty of options for you to choose. Here are some of the most common types of online businesses that people tend to get started with:

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a business model that is based on referrals. It works by recommending products and services from other companies. Everytime you make a referral you get paid a commission.

There are plenty of big brand online businesses that are essentially just glorified affiliate marketing websites. Plenty of people in the blogging space have launched successful affiliate marketing websites and continue to rake in staggering commissions from their affiliate referrals.

Affiliate marketing is great because you don’t need to create or sell your own products. You just get paid to attract targeted traffic for other businesses.

The best affiliate programs pay high commissions rates for their products, meaning you don’t need to make tons of sales to generate a really good income for yourself.

It’s one of the easiest types of businesses to get started with and also one with the lowest levels of risk, as it barely requires any startup capital.

Ecommerce Store

An Ecommerce store is another popular way to start an online business. With your own Ecommerce website, you’ll be selling products directly to your customers without using a middle-man of any kind.

The best thing about having your own Ecommerce site and hosting all your products on there is that you have complete control over your online store. You’ll have the ability to fully customise anything as you see fit. The caveat this positive is that it makes everything quite a bit more complex.

Choosing the right web design for your ecommerce store is so important. Ensuring you have great shopping cart software is equally important for your business. Shopify offer a whole Ecommerce website solution with some fantastic features.

An eBay Store

Starting an Ebay store has some big advantages to setting yourself up as a standalone Ecommerce website business. With an eBay store, you won’t need to set yourself up with your own website, customise the front of your store or pick a shopping cart software to use.

When you use eBay to sell products, all that is automatically taken care of for you.

The downside to working with eBay is that they have high seller fee’s that will add up to a significant portion of your revenue every month. You’ll also have very little control over how your website looks as the site isn’t yours!

3 Steps To Starting An Online Business

Create a plan of action

Just because you’ll be running an online business it doesn’t mean you don’t need to create a business plan. Your planning process should include competitor analysis as well as plans on marketing strategy and income streams for your business.

For online businesses, most people don’t need to go to the bank to look for funding because most businesses don’t cost much to get started. You can create a simple plan on a Google docs spreadsheet. This will save you time and keep things lightweight.

The last thing you want to do is to complicate things unnecessarily.

Register your domain and setup your site

If you’ve chosen to do affiliate marketing or setup yourself up with an Ecommerce store, you want to make sure the domain name you want is still available. Once you’ve purchased it, you can start setting up your website!

Unless you’re absolutely terrible with computers, you won’t need to outsource this to a professional. It doesn’t take expert knowledge to build a beautiful website in this day and age.

Sort out the legal stuff

You want to make sure you’re trading legally. The last thing you want is the tax man after you!

There are a few differences to legalities when it comes to online business.

You want to read up on online business law. These laws are all about the collection of personal information, including privacy and other regulations. Make sure you cover this information before you get started.

In terms of tax obligations, it just depends on your situation. If you’re running your business from home, you’re eligible for a certain tax discounts (depending on the country you’re in).

It may be worth hiring a lawyer to make sure you have everything covered. You can’t be too careful when it comes to all these legalities.

To summarise, starting an online business is much easier compared to a traditional brick and mortar one. You’ll have less overheads and less things to think about, not to mention higher profit margins!

You’ll still need to have a solid plan for your business and an awesome website but if you nail these two things and stay consistent to your plan, you’ll soon reap the financial rewards of your efforts.