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With loads of people considering the thought of starting their own online business, the initial aspects of what is needed to start an online business comes to mind.

Not all online businesses are the same though, so you first need to discover the right online business model for you. What do I mean by this?

Well, let’s take a look.

Various Online Business Options

For some people they may already have their own physical store, and are considering opening up an online eCommerce store instead. In fact with the pandemic situation and all the strict rules affecting store owners, I can imagine this is a very common consideration.

Others may have lost their job completely, and therefore are looking for a way to earn money online. Affiliate marketing is the most common form of online money generation which springs to mind.

It’s also possible to create a course to sell online, or write an eBook. You’ll obviously need some knowledge of the subject matter, and it’s a lot easier to publish today than it was in the past. No need for sourcing a publisher willing to accept the risk.

There’s several online business opportunities to get started with, so let’s take a look at what is needed to start your online business.

What’s Needed to Begin

Let’s first start with the eCommerce option I mentioned above.

What’s Needed to Start eCommerce

There’s different types of selling online depending if you have your own products or not. Even many physical stores don’t sell their own products, they sell imported goods.

Dropshipping is a very popular form of eCommerce nowadays because it cuts out a few things, like storing inventory and self packaging. The way dropshipping works is simple.

You source your products from a supplier and advertise these products on your online store. If a sale is made, you will organize with your supplier to have the product shipped directly to the purchaser.

You pay the supplier their fee, while advertising the product at a larger price. You need to have a large enough margin on your products to make a profit.

So to get started with eCommerce you will need a website. The most common place to set up an eCommerce type website is Shopify, but BigCommerce and CS-Cart are also great options. It’s also possible to use WordPress with the WooCommerce addon, but this may be more difficult if you’re just starting out.

In terms of money, this will be more expensive than the affiliate marketing option. The reason for this is because the eCommerce hosting platforms cost more, and so do the external plugins for your store.

These external plugins are things such as a currency converter, invoice management, code coupon management or shipping organization. When I gave eCommerce a try several years ago, I used at least 8 plugins. These plugins are charged monthly, and usually about $10-$15 per month.

There’s also advertising costs to think about. Most people use Facebook or Google ads, and the costs can mount up.

What’s Needed to Start Affiliate Marketing

While it is possible to start affiliate marketing with zero funds, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you know what you’re doing. Even then, you’ll want to invest some funds at some point.

As an affiliate marketer, you’re basically promoting other people’s products on your own website. It’s also possible to promote products without a website by making YouTube videos instead.

The owner of the products you’re promoting, usually a company, will provide you with affiliate links that you place on your website. When somebody clicks on this affiliate link, which is associated with the product you’re promoting, they are taken to the owners store.

If that person makes a purchase, you’ll receive a commission for initiating the sale. The more sales you make, the more money you make. Sometimes a customer will buy 5-10 products on their store visit, and you will earn commissions on all these products.

So to begin, the best way is to start a website. Most people will go to a hosting provider such as Bluehost or GoDaddy. It will cost you to buy a domain name (your website name) and for them to host your site. This will be approximately $5-$10 per month. The more you pay the better quality web hosting you receive.

You can create a free website at either Wealthy Affiliate or Blogger. Blogger is owned by Google and is a basic website creation tool.

Wealthy Affiliate is an affiliate marketing training platform which also hosts websites. You can start a free website and receive the first 10 lessons of affiliate training. To go further in the training, you will need to go Premium.

So apart from your website with hosting, you don’t really need much more apart from patience. There’s two forms of website traffic generation, free and paid. Paid will require you to learn Facebook or Google ads, and a significant amount of money to get started.

Wealthy Affiliate teaches you how to rank your website in the search engines such as Google or Yahoo, which is the free way to get visitors to see your site. The only issue with organic search results in the search engines is the time it can take to rank. However, if you use the time wisely to educate yourself as you go along, by the time your articles are ranking you’ll have a better understanding of the whole process.

The Cost of Starting an Online Business

In my opinion, you’re best to have about $10k put aside for startup costs if going down the eCommerce route. Advertising and plugin costs can mount up, but the eCommerce model can also be advantageous.

The potential for large profits is bigger than affiliate marketing, but it’s also riskier.

Starting as an affiliate marketer can be done for free but in reality, you should be paying for website hosting and a domain name. In reality, you can get away with $200-$300 per year, maybe even less.

Signing up as a Premium member of Wealthy Affiliate will cost you a little more, but you’ll get all the training, tools and website hosting included. This in my opinion is a great option, and is exactly what I’ve done. I wouldn’t recommend a platform I didn’t trust, and I’m currently a WA member, so I can certainly endorse them.

Skills and Education

Just like with any career, knowledge is power. Understanding not just the process of either affiliate marketing or eCommerce, but how to beat your competitors is important. It’s the same with selling products on Amazon, which is another way to earn money online.

Going in blindly is not the best approach because you will not understand the intricacies of the art. I’ve reviewed many courses and can recommend a few.

The best courses I’ve reviewed for eCommerce are Adrian Morrison’s eCom Success Academy, but it does cost quite a bit. Having said that, if you follow Adrian’s advice correctly, you should make back way more than the course cost. Here’s my review of eCom Success Academy.

Alternatively, at approximately half the cost is Ricky Hayes eCom Lifestyle University. This is a brilliant course that Ricky keeps adding to. You can watch Ricky’s free webinar by visiting his website here, and clicking on the ‘Attend The Training’ button at the top of the homepage. You can read my full review of eCom Lifestyle University here.

In regards to affiliate marketing, I’ve already suggested the best platform for learning this. Wealthy Affiliate are the leaders in the industry in my opinion, and I doubt you’ll find a better all encompassing platform. You can read my Wealthy Affiliate review here.

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Final Thoughts

Depending on the model you’d like to use for an online business, the tools required are going to be different. Hence the costs will be different also.

My intention here was to give you some clarity on which online business model may be more appropriate for you. I hope I’ve succeeded.

Like many people, I struggled in my early attempts to make money online. It's really frustrating when you try product after product, searching for that elusive opportunity that is really genuine.

Eventually though, I learned how to achieve success in the online world with my own website. This website was created to show others how to do it. I direct people away from the poor opportunities and advise the good ones.

But the simplest and least complicated is [Learn more...]

Disclosure: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links will not cost you any more. More info at my disclaimer page

The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.

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