Finding out how to become a successful online business owner takes knowledge and discipline to execute until you achieve success. Becoming an online business owner offers several exciting benefits. You can earn an income comparable to law or medicine without undertaking an expensive degree or studying for complicated tests. Even better, you can choose when and how much you work, which means running an online business offers exceptional flexibility.
This blog aims to provide you with everything you need to know about becoming a business owner:
1. Can I become an online business owner?
Almost any type of person can start an online business with the right motivation, ideas, and commitment. Take note of these successful online business owners to show what’s possible.
- Military veteran turned business owner
John Lee Dumas – a military veteran – has created a million-dollar company based on a business podcast called Entrepreneurs On Fire.
- American man with disabilities creates successful blogging business
Jon Morrow, who is paralyzed from the neck down, has also created a successful online business called Smart Blogger. Despite his limitations, Morrow is reported to earn an estimated $100,000 per month.
- From laid off to entrepreneur
Not everybody is born with dreams of starting their own business – some discover the world of business ownership later in life. Jon Rush was a Sprint Nextel salesperson before starting C7 Device Recycle – an online business that buys and sells used smartphones.
- Busy mother creates million dollar online business
Becoming a successful online business owner is also open to women. Rosemarie Groner, who runs the Busy Budgeter website, earns a reported $86,000 per month.
Now you’ve seen just a few of the online business stories, let’s take a look at how you can create a successful business. Now, get started by choosing your business idea.
2. The most popular online business ideas: Which one fits you?
Becoming a business owner starts with choosing a business idea that applies to your skills, interests, and resources. If you already have valuable business skills, one of the easiest ways to get started is to launch a service-based company where you act as a freelancer or consultant.
2.1. Start an online service-based business
Starting a service-based business is one of the fastest ways to start an online business. In essence, you earn income by performing services for clients. In previous posts, we’ve covered multiple types of service businesses, including:
- How To Become A Life Coach
- Become A Social Media Consultant
- How To Get Clients As A Freelance Content Writer
- Five Ways To Start An Online Consulting Business
While a freelance or service business is easy to start, there are downsides to this type of business. It is difficult to earn income from this type of business unless you personally work with clients. It is also relatively difficult to scale up a service business to earn millions of dollars.
2.2. Launch an online product based company
Selling products, especially digital products, represents a different way to earn a high income as an online business owner. To illustrate some of the opportunities available today, see some of the business ideas we’ve covered in past posts:
2.3. Monetize your online audience
When you have a significant online audience, you can build a business around that following. For example, a blog owner with 50,000 monthly visitors can earn revenue from display advertising, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing deals. The advantage of this business idea is that you can earn passive income – the website can make revenue even while you sleep! The disadvantage is that it can take months or even years to build up a sizable online presence.
In addition, this business idea also works on social media. If you have a large number of followers on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or other platforms, you can earn income by charging companies for sponsored posts.
For more information on these ideas, see the following posts from our blog:
The third way to create an online company is to create an online following and earn income from that audience over time.
2.4. Build an app
Do you have coding skills or the desire to learn? If so, creating a business based on app might be the right choice for you. Unlike some of the other business ideas outlined above, an app company has the potential to become a billion-dollar business! The downside is that successful apps take significant effort to build.
To help you decide if building an app business is right for you, check out these resources:
3. Seven steps to start your online business
Becoming an online business owner is painless when you follow these steps.
3.1. Choose an online business idea
Take a few hours to explore some of the online business ideas outlined above and choose an idea that appeals to you. Don’t get too stressed out about finding the perfect idea. You can choose an idea today, work on it for a while and try something else.
3.2. Make it easy for customers to pay you
Nothing happens in online business until there is a way for customers to buy. You can add CheckYa to your business in minutes. Once you add CheckYa, you can accept payments from across the world. You don’t even have to create a website to accept payments.
3.3. Dedicate time every day to marketing your business
Some new online business owners mistake copying the tactics and strategies of established business owners. There is a significant danger in that thinking, however. New entrepreneurs should spend 50% or more of their work time on sales and marketing. Resist the urge to create elaborate logos or set up a complex website.
The best approach is to set aside scheduled time each day to reach out to new customers or create content to attract prospects. Dedicating at least one hour per day to seeking out new customers will go a long way to creating a successful online business.
3.4. Track your online business finances regularly
As an online business owner, you are responsible for income and expenses. Several tools make it easy to track your business finances. If money is tight, you can start using a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Once your business takes off, you may find it beneficial to buy a more full-featured package like Quickbooks or Freshbooks.
For additional tips on managing your business finances (including budgeting for taxes), see our post: A-Z Guide To Managing Your Finances As A Freelancer.
3.5. Develop additional streams of income
Once you have one proven product or service in the marketplace, it is time to expand your business! For example, an online consultant might experiment with selling digital products like checklists or ebooks based on their expertise. Alternatively, you might create online courses or group coaching programs to scale your expertise.
A product-based business might add revenue by offering consulting or coaching services to customers. For example, software companies like HubSpot and Microsoft earn significant revenue through professional services (i.e., helping companies implement and use their software effectively).
3.6. Leverage software and automation for additional productivity
As a busy online business owner, you will find that there are specific tasks that you perform repeatedly. For example, your audience might send you the same questions repeatedly which an AI chatbot can answer 24/7. If you work with clients, you need the same information to start a project (e.g., describe your brand, your business growth goals, etc).
You can save time and effectively increase your revenue through better processes and automation in these situations. For example, you can create templates and checklists to make sure you never miss an important step in your business. In addition, using software tools like Zapier can help you save time on many tasks that involve websites and apps.
3.7. Scale up with people
The final way to achieve exceptional growth as an online business owner is to hire employees, contractors, and consultants. At a minimum, a successful entrepreneur should consider hiring a virtual assistant to help with administrative tasks. You can also scale up by outsourcing time-consuming personal tasks like cleaning, so you have more energy to focus on your business.
4.1. Small Business Owner Salary – What To Expect?
There is a wide range of earnings for small business owners. Since a small business owner has a direct impact on the company’s revenues and expenses, your decisions can increase or decrease your salary. For example, imagine your business generates $200,000 in revenue and you decide to hire a virtual assistant for $50,000 per year. In the short term, this added expense may reduce your income as a small business owner. Over time, a well trained virtual assistant can improve your productivity which can increase your income.
According to Freshbooks, an accounting software company, the average small business owner makes $71,900 in the US. However, some small business owners earn much more than that when you consider bonuses and commissions. Your experience as a business owner also effects your income. According to Freshbooks, business owners with over 20 years of experience make about $99,000 per year while newer owners tend to make around $49,000 per year.
4.2. What degree do you need to be a business owner?
Unlike other high earning professionals like accounting, medicine and law, there is no degree required to become a business owner. In fact, there are many examples of high school graduates and college dropouts earning high incomes as an entrepreneur. Instead, you need to learn proven success skills. For more insight on this area, read “The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful” by Michael Ellsberg. In his book, Ellsberg illustrates specific skills like networking, sales and marketing that almost all millionaires depend on.
While a degree is not required to find success as a business owner, learning is still highly valuable. For a broad introduction to the fundamentals of business, read a book like “The Personal MBA” by Josh Kaufman. If you are running a service based business, reading “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port could be invaluable. In addition to reading books, many small business owners find it valuable to work with specialized coaches and consultants.
4.3. How to pay yourself as a business owner?
As a business owner, there are a variety of ways you can pay yourself. In some cases, you may find it helpful to pay yourself a combination of salary, bonuses and dividends. Using non-salary methods to pay yourself like dividends is attractive because dividends are typically taxed at a lower tax rate than wages and salaries.
For the best results, meet with a qualified accountant to discuss your compensation options. Paying for professional tax advice today could help you save plenty of money in the long run. There are limitations on how much you can use strategies to reduce your tax bill. For example, CNBC points out that “[owners of a S Corp] requires its owners to take a salary that’s comparable to what someone in their position would make elsewhere. The IRS doesn’t want people to pay themselves a small salary and then take the rest as dividends.”
5. Business owner quotes to inspire you
The sky is the limit in terms of your personal income when you run a successful small business. Beyond the numbers, you might be wondering what it is like to actually run a company. The following small business owner quotes will give you some perspective on the life of an entrepreneur.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed. You only have to be right once.” – Mark Cuban
“There’s a silly notion that failure’s not an option at NASA. Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk
“Business opportunities are like buses: there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson
“If people haven’t laughed at your dreams, then you aren’t dreaming big enough. Just keep pushing forward.” – Daymond John, founder, President, and CEO of FUBU
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
Starting and running a business offers significant rewards but don’t expect it to be easy or stress free.
6. How to have stress free payments in your business
For many business owners, getting paid by customers and clients is a constant worry. When you have pay large fees or wait a long time for payments to reach your bank account, it can be tough to sleep. That’s where using CheckYa can make a world of difference for business owners. By using CheckYa, you can send invoices (and get paid!) by customers around the world. It’s one of the best ways to scale up your business: click here to sign up for CheckYa.