GenXer’s Guide to Starting an Online Business

GenXer’s Guide to Starting an Online Business

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series The GenX Marketer

Many people enter the business world of online entrepreneurs focused mainly on making their first profit. Sometimes success seems out of reach, so they struggle gaining any traction once they do start to see some money trickle in.

The best thing you can do as a new Internet marketer is to not only have a plan for your initial earnings, but a general strategy for how you intend to grow it from the beginning into something successful.

This can be done in a number of ways – from adding more niches or business models to increasing production of products, or even delegating to double your efforts and get more done.

Develop a Niche Expansion Plan

Picking a niche can be one of the most enjoyable or stressful (depending on your mindset) parts of starting an online business. There’s a certain amount of excitement in getting to choose what you’ll be focused on – whether it’s something you happen to be knowledgeable about, such as a health condition – or something you have a passion for, like gardening.

But before you even get going, make sure that you’re looking for growth opportunities. You don’t want to pigeon-hole yourself into one narrow, niche topic for the rest of your online career.

You want to know what options are available for you as you learn more about how to make money online. You have a few ways you can branch out over the coming months and years.

If your initial strategy is to go very narrow, such as keto dieting for diabetics, then you can always expand into a broader niche topic, such as keto dieting or diabetic diets. You can even go as broad as weight loss and expand into all sorts of diets and audiences.

I prefer the reverse approach. Starting off broad, giving you the option to narrow down into a variety of topics. In addition to keto dieting for diabetics, you might choose to focus on keto dieting to lose over 100 pounds, or keto desserts for diabetics.

There may be times when you feel burned out on focusing on just one topic. It can get draining thinking about and writing about keto dieting day after day. So you may want to make plans to expand your online business into unrelated niches, too.

Brainstorm to see all topics you have an interest in sharing or learning. It might be camping, survival tactics, arts and crafts, raising and caring for pets, beauty or anti-aging, and more.

You might even get into the Internet marketing niche just to teach other marketers everything you’ve learned from your personal journey to entrepreneurial success. Newbies love learning from people who aren’t so far advanced that they can’t understand what they’re teaching.

Have a Mindful Strategy for Adding Business Models

Niches aren’t the only choices you’ll be making along the way. If you don’t want to become stagnant, you can add a variety of business models when you feel capable of taking on more responsibilities.

You want to figure out which business model would be easiest for you to learn and implement to start with. Then have a list of other ones you plan to integrate into your business over time.

It may help to develop a schedule and plan for each one. For example, you might start with the one that costs the least and is easiest to learn and implement – affiliate marketing. With this business model, you don’t have to have any fancy online store or launch your own sales page and product. There’s no recruitment of affiliates or any expertise needed. Having a blog or youtube channel and an autoresponder is required though.

Just your opinion and guidance. So once you get the ball rolling as an affiliate, plan for what else you’ll want to try. You might love writing product reviews, so you plan to become a PLR (private label rights) provider who sells reviews to other bloggers.

Or, you may decide that you have so much expertise, that instead of putting it all into one small blog post at a time, you’d like to create one big info product and sell it as an eBook or online course to the same audience.

You might have an audience who keeps asking if you do coaching. Some people don’t realize that their knowledge is valuable to those who don’t have it, and getting one-on-one help is even more incredible to the paying public.

You might coach people in an individual setting online via Skype or Zoom – or have group coaching for those who need the assistance. There are many people who love to hire coaches for guidance on relationships, weight loss, stress management and more.

You might want to integrate a business model that works as a side hustle for you, adding a bit more income in your spare hours. This could be something like blog installations, ghostwriting, graphic design, or even administrative tasks for other marketers.

Devise a System for Profit Growth

Sometimes, it’s not a new niche or business model that needs to be expanded upon, but the current projects you’re involved in. It’s normal for newbies to feel hesitant to put in a lot of effort or commit to doing things that are outside their comfort zone.

But scaling up is often the one thing that can start a consistent income and keep it going. Take your blog, for example. A blog with three measly posts created over the course of three months won’t catch the attention of any search engine.

But if you scale it up and start posting three times a week, then they may take notice of your expertise. Growth of profits means paying attention to what’s working and doing more of it.

It also means trying new things to see what is a hit with your dedicated audience. For example, you may be a productive affiliate marketer. But you start noticing that only some of your posts generate any revenue.

Maybe it was an in-depth post about one specific product. You talked about the features, included a variety of images, gave tips on how to use the product and more. When you compare it to other posts on your blog, they don’t measure up.

The posts you did where you simply gave a one paragraph summary of ten different products were the pages that people bounced on. They didn’t achieve the same click-through status of the in-depth review.

When you’re paying attention to small details and sales, you can hone in on what works and scale up to do more of it. But with this kind of strategy, there will eventually come a time when you have more ideas than hours.

When (not if) this happens, you’ll want to learn how to delegate or outsource some tasks to others. This allows you to continue growing your business without having to hit a ceiling of earnings.

You might hire a ghostwriter and give them the exact formula for how you want your product reviews created. If you’re adequately writing three reviews a week, and they’re able to write four, then you’re blogging daily and seeing a strong increase in traffic, subscribers and sales.

If you expand on your business through delegation or outsourcing, never skimp. The repairs you’ll have to make on content or other mistakes will sometimes be even more difficult than if you’d done the entire project yourself.

That doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot more for quality. But you do need to be careful in choosing the right bidder and freelancer to entrust your business growth to. If you only look at price, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Know When to Kill Failing Projects

There are so many marketers who keep going with something only because they’re afraid to admit and accept failure. It’s okay to change course and correct what you’re doing, even if that means completely stopping one niche or business model (or project) and pursing something else.

You have to know the difference between being someone who can’t commit to anything, where you’re constantly looking for a shiny new object, and making a smart business decision not to pour more effort into something that’s not a good fit.

So let’s say you start off as an info product creator in the survival niche. You create a course about gathering food supplies and water, self defense and other relevant topics. You put it out there and no one buys it.

First, look at what you’re missing to see if you can simply implement a course correcting campaign. That might be traffic generation or branding. You may need to network with others or sell it on a different platform – or at a different price.

If you’ve done everything you can think of to make it work and it’s still not bringing in any money, don’t simply toss it aside. Look for ways you can repurpose it. You might sell the private label rights to the course, or use it as your lead magnet as a freebie to build a list.

You might realize that instead of being a product creator, you do better as an affiliate marketer. So you can swap the course creation tasks for reviews of other peoples’ products.

As you expand in other areas of your business, such as with niches or business models, you may realize that one niche or business model far exceeds the original one in terms of profitability or even personal satisfaction.

If this is the case, make an executive decision to cut the dead weight and focus on things you enjoy that make you more money. If your affiliate sales take off and you want to nix the product creation or coaching, do it.

And most important of all – do it without regret or hesitation. You can always reintroduce anything you cut loose at a later date if you decide to. But you want to be able to seamlessly alter the course of your business without having to apologize for your decisions.

Marketers who have seen great success are used to ending projects and adding on new ones. They don’t second-guess themselves, and they don’t live in fear that they’ve made the wrong decision.

Commit to Networking and Learning

Before you start earning online, you should be absorbing as much information as possible so that you can safely steer your business to success without risk. You should learn from a variety of individuals who teach different concepts and strategies.

You want to find five people who all teach list building or traffic generation a different way. Instead of letting that confused or overwhelm you, embrace it as a buffet of options available to you.

Delight in the fact that you get to choose one or more strategies and mix and match them to create a system of your own if you want to. Over time, there will be many tips and tricks that you shy away from – and many that you embrace.

The learning process is something you should carve time out for on and ongoing basis. It needs to be part of your weekly regimen. You might start a list of topics you want to learn or people you would like to learn from.

Not only will you need to commit to the learning process, but you need to be someone who is comfortable networking with others. You’ll be networking with fellow marketers as friends who will offer insight and support when you need it.

You’ll also be networking with the competition in an effort to bring them onboard for a future endeavor – whether it’s a product launch that you want them to be an affiliate for – or a guest blogging situation.

Of course, you can’t forget the customers. They’ll be able to access communication with you via email, in your blog comments or contact page, and on social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube – they will expect a response when they engage.

You might start out with a plan to network with one person each week. But scale that up over time as you get to know people and know their expertise compared to how it might benefit you in your business.

If traffic is your downfall, then find out who knows traffic best, and start befriending them You’ll learn from them and get to gain insight they share with trusted friends that may not be published for all to see in the beginning. Starting an online business is a situation when you have many choices to make. But don’t just plan for the present. Create a strategy that helps you see growth and improvements in income over time.

Keep these ideas in mind as you plan your online business strategy. Always have your end goal in mind but remember this is a journey, as with most journeys there may be pitfalls and detours on the road to your destination.

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