How to Start an Online Business - Tega Diegbe
Start an Online Business

How to Start an Online Business

Picture this…

It’s 2020, the world is being RAVAGED by the Coronavirus.

Businesses are being classed as “essential” and “Non-Essential.” Non essential businesses are told to shut up shop in order to control the spread of the virus.

Employees are being put on government support furlow schemes, the UK government is printing money and making promises of support to the nation. All was well with the world.

Until october 2020 when The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, stated that “Re-skilling and re-training are key parts of our Covid recovery programme and digital skills will form a crucial part of that.” 

At the time that statement was aimed towards the Arts & Entertainment industry. Cue the anger of the people who felt they were being singled out by a government that didn’t care about them and the choices they made in their lives…

Personally, I don’t entirely agree with this because I believe that people who have skills that took them a lifetime to learn shouldn’t just discard these skills in order to appease someone else’s idea of how they should live their lives and contribute to society. 

Regardless, there is no point in arguing about whether Rishi was right or wrong about this (primarily because my opinion on if Rishi was right or not doesn’t offer a solution to the problem people are facing).

I believe however that learning a new skill is definitely a great way to pursue something new and with the right in demand skill, you can change your life and the life of your family.

I am writing this blog post to break down what it takes to start a business. I am writing this for those who want financial freedom, or have already started but are struggling. As almost everyone is working or studying from home nowadays, there hasn’t been a better time for you to start a side business or side hustle online.

And online, there are opportunities, they are almost endless, provided you are ready to roll your sleeves up and apply some elbow grease.

Endless Opportunities

 

There is A LOT of information online, most of them incomplete telling you WHAT you can do to “make money online” there’s things like Amazon FBA, Dropshipping, “Dropservicing”, being a Youtuber, starting a podcast… the list goes on 

I say “incomplete information” because they tell you WHAT is working right now, and then they sell you the HOW. The HOW is where things get interesting as there are SO MANY variables that affect the results you get.

Some examples of the HOW:

How do you set yourself apart?

How do you get your first client?

How do you know how much to charge?

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (you get the gist).

I am putting this blog post together to answer all these questions and everything else. What you’re reading right now is the ultimate guide to walk you through the steps you need to take to start a business and achieve financial agility.

I am going set the bar for “financial agility” at £5000 per month

WHY £5,000 PER MONTH? 

My take on this is that if you successfully arrive at the point where your business is making that amount of money per month, I believe you will be doing better than 70-80% of those who are trying to start a business online. 

If you follow all the steps that I reveal later on in this article, you put yourself in a very good position that opens up possibilities that will allow you to achieve more and it gives you room to maneuver and achieve greater results let’s say, £10,000 per month. 

And why should you listen to me in this regard?

Why Me?

See, recently, I had a conversation with one of my friends Dan, and while we were talking he broke down the steps on how to start a business that makes money. Funnily enough, as we spoke, I thought to myself, “Yo, these steps are almost identical to what I did to build my businesses.”

In short, I’m saying that the steps that I will share in this article are the steps that I have done to earn £5,000 per month (and more) for myself. Which means that everything here has been tried and tested by yours truly. 

One LAST thing though before you I tell you what these steps are, I want you to know that everything here is just an OUTLINE, and you do not need to follow everything that I did EXACTLY the way I did, because your needs are going to be different from mine, and your business is different from my business. 

Also, even though I have already successfully implemented the steps for myself, I am still a student in this process as well so do not think of me as Master Tega who can magically take you from A to Z through the steps down below. I am sure you will have your own way of implementing everything, and I trust that you will figure everything out along the way.

To prepare you for the long journey ahead (and for easy navigation), here is an outline of the steps you need to take in order to earn £5,000 per month through an online business, dear reader:

  • Learn a Skill
  • Do Outreach
  • Get Leads
  • Charge £1,000
  • Get 5 Clients
  • Learn to Play the Guitar
  • Hire and Train People
  • Scale to the Moon Like Doge
  • Repeat Ad Infinitum!

Let’s get to it…

LEARN A SKILL 

Earlier, I spoke about the fact that there are so many opportunities out there to earn money online and that a lot of people from various industries try to sell you on a certain business idea or opportunity. 

And because there are just so many options to choose from, you can get sucked into the analysis paralysis phase and never move forward.

Analysis Paralysis

In this section, I won’t be telling you exactly what business you should start or what skill you should learn. These are mere principles to help you decide based on what I will be sharing. And this I believe is more valuable over trying to convince you to follow a certain path when I know that your interests are different from mine. 

Here is my advice on what to focus on when choosing a skill:

Choose a skill that is in demand and that people will pay for.

Read that again.

Why? Because you need to make sure that the skill you’re learning is actually valuable and can help you earn money for your business.

“But Tega, shouldn’t I learn a skill that I have a natural inclination towards? Shouldn’t it be something that I think I will enjoy?”

That’s a great question dear reader.

But let me tell you something. 

I believe that there is no skill that you are going to learn that you will enjoy learning about. As a naturally curious person, you might think that I enjoyed learning about Facebook Ads, podcast management, recruitment and whatnot. But honestly, I DID NOT enjoy learning about these (though I do enjoy doing them now that I passed the learning stage). 

The reason why I believe the learning process is never really an enjoyable one is because when you are learning something new, you are making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself in a situation where you don’t really know what’s going on. Everything is alien to you and you have so much you have to take in.

Even if let’s say you pick a skill that you have a natural inclination towards, it would be unrealistic to think that learning it would be a walk in a park. Learning will always be challenging, but more often than not, rewarding in the end.

Learning is Hard

The key takeaway here is that when you learn a new skill, you need to take into account that there is a high chance you won’t enjoy learning about it, but you have to give yourself the chance to actually go through the learning process and see if it is something that you would grow to enjoy along the way. 

You will never know until you try. 

And we’re lucky to be born in this day and age where the internet has so many resources for us to learn almost anything. You have free options like YouTube to pocket-friendly ones like Udemy to teach you the skill that you wish to learn about. 

DO OUTREACH

Once you learn your skill, you will reach a place where you need to implement the HOW. In this case, the how is knowing how to sell your skill and make money.

This means finding people who have problems that you can solve with the skill that you learned, and then converting those people into leads. 

Outreach can mean different things from sending out emails, directly messaging people, or even running Facebook Ads. 

Personally, one of the best forms of outreach for me is leveraging what you have experienced when implementing the skill you have learned and sharing it in the right places. And when I mean sharing, don’t just share your successes. Share your failures as well and how you learned to overcome these. 

I believe that people look up to those who share not just the happy side of a story, but the struggles and the ugly bits as well. 

This doesn’t just involve sharing your results, but the journey you went through to get those results. The bottomline here is to document EVERYTHING.

And when you start sharing and people become aware of your skill, they will start asking you questions about it.

From all the people who are curious about your skill, 20% will want to hire you to do it for them, and 80% will want to do it themselves (maybe because they think they can’t afford you, or they want to learn how to do it before they outsource, or they genuinely want to learn how to do it).

Outreach

All you need to focus on is the 20% that want you to do it for them because these are the people that become your leads. 

And where to find this 20%? 

Figure out where your market is at. Fish where the fish are, not where the fisherman are.

This means you shouldn’t post your experiences on Facebook when your potential clients reside in, let’s say, Twitter. Do some research so you can find out where to share your experiences so that you get discovered by the right people.

You may then be wondering what experiences you can talk about, especially when you don’t even have paying clients in the first place. Here are 2 types of experiences that you can focus on and leverage from there:

  1. Your own experiences (this ties back to my other blog post on Being Your Own Client)
  2. Experiences from pro bono clients

Let’s cover each of these experiences.

Using Your Own Experiences

By implementing the skills you have learned to your own business, you gain so much. One benefit is that by becoming your own client, you gain valuable experiences and lessons which you can share with others.

Because let’s face it, why would people want to buy your products or skills when you haven’t even used it on yourself? Why would they trust you to take care of their businesses when you haven’t even tried and tested it on your own business? 

So let’s say if you decide to run Facebook Ads for other businesses, why would people choose you to run ads for them if you don’t even run ads for yourself? 

Which boils down to the second benefit of being your own client: you set yourself apart from others.

Experiencing firsthand what your skills can do for a business allows you to step into the shoes of other businesses and know exactly what they want. And knowing exactly what they want means knowing how you can help them succeed.

That is the most important aspect that you should possess in order to set yourself apart from others. It’s not all about the uniqueness of a skill, or how you package your business. 

Experiences from pro bono clients

I am a firm believer in the power of pro bono clients because even if you don’t benefit financially, there are so many other reasons why you should offer your services for free (to the select few).

In fact, the main reason why 2 of my businesses came into fruition is because I simply wanted to help a friend and I was curious to learn the skill that would solve my friend’s problem. 

If you want to read the stories on how I started both of my businesses, you may check them out here:

Or if you don’t want to go full pro bono, you can offer your services for a minimum fee for your first few clients and then take their results from there to share with other people (with the permission of your clients of course).

GET LEADS

Fortunately for me, getting leads wasn’t such a challenge because I am an admin of a 17,000-member Facebook group full of business owners. But don’t be deceived. 

Although it is now easy for me, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, it took me 5-6 years to get to where I am now. And the reason why it took that long is because I am an introvert and I wasn’t really comfortable sharing my experiences and actively getting leads. In fact, I share more about my introversion in another blog post.

So being able to reach the point where the leads come to you rather than the other way around, it will take time, and you can’t cheat the time that is required. 

And what does it take to plant the seeds so that leads will come naturally to you? 

It’s really all about leveraging the assets that you have, which includes all your experiences and the people that you personally know around you. Your personal network can be a great start for you to get leads or pro bono clients, and in my other article on Building Your Email List from Nothing, I talk about the 3Fs that you can outreach to:

  • Friends
  • Fans
  • Followers

The gist here is that when you’re building your network, you’re naturally going to connect with people that are doing the things that you want to do or the people that you look up to.

Make Friends, Get Leads

These people eventually become your friends, and as you continue to do good stuff and post about it, you start to gain fans and followers who look up to you as an authority and a go-to person for that thing. 

Gaining fans and followers takes time (and it especially took quite long for an introvert like me), but all you need is to consistently and shamelessly talk about what you do and how you do it. 

CHARGE £1,000

Let’s be real, charging £1,000 for your skill is not cheap. But it’s not impossible as well. The reason I stuck with this amount is because £1,000 is not too high that you restrict yourself from working with people, and it’s not too low that people have the wrong opinion of you and what you do.

But when I started, I didn’t charge £1,000 initially, because I needed to gain experience first and leverage from there. In fact, the first thing I sold online was for $7 (do note that this was YEARS ago), and slowly my prices increased.

Definitely you can start charging just a small amount for a start, but you will want to reach that point where you are comfortable with charging £1,000 for your services. You need to be sure that the value you deliver is worth that amount.

£1,000 does not have to be your price immediately after you launch your business. You can start small like me, or go pro bono. Earlier, I spoke about the benefits of pro bono clients and how these can provide long-term value for your business.

Charge £1,000

But there is a limit to pro bono clients.

I believe in doing stuff for free but only up to a point where you have enough assets that you can leverage and build your business from. You can’t offer your services for free indefinitely (because it defeats the purpose of why you’re reading this post, right?).

If the above point is not clear, if you offer your service for free indefinitely, you don’t have a business, you have a very expensive hobby.

And when you offer your services for free, don’t think that just because your client isn’t paying you, that you can take this partnership lightly. This means that whenever you make a mistake, don’t consider stopping and finding another pro bono client until you get the process right and deliver results. This is a mistake I made before and I don’t want you to do the same.

If you ever do make mistakes with a pro bono client, don’t quit. Find out what went wrong, stick with this client, and keep trying until you succeed. That way, when you share about this long and challenging experience, it would be an even more worthwhile read for your potential clients because it shows perseverance and ingenuity. 

Another thing you need to consider is the people that you sell your services to. Earlier, I mentioned that you need to sell your skills to the right people, and the right people are those that can actually afford your service. 

The amount you are charging must give them a positive return. For example, it makes no sense to charge £1,000 for a product that only sells at £500 because your client will be paying more than they are going to make, and as a result won’t get decent returns.

Once you are confident to charge £1,000 and you do better than the 70-80% of people who start an online business, you can then assess whether this amount is enough to make you reach the goals you have set for yourself.

So let’s say that your goal is to earn £10,000 per month, it is up to you whether you want to stick to charging £1,000 and getting 10 clients, or increasing your rate to £2,000 for just 5 clients. 

Determining the “math” side of your goals helps you figure out how much you want to charge down the line so that you don’t have to end up working for too many clients just to reach how much you want to earn monthly.

GET 5 CLIENTS

Naturally, if you decide to price your services at £1,000 per client and want to earn £5,000 monthly, you will need 5 clients to reach that goal.

This section is pretty straightforward, but it’s important for you to decide exactly how many clients you can work with monthly. Are you willing to work with more than 10 clients because you believe your services are worth less than £1,000? Or do you think that you can eventually grow a team so that you can get more clients? 

You need to determine how much freedom you want to do the things you want to do. That way, you are aware of how much bandwidth you have so that you will know how many clients you can take in at a time.

5 clients is just a number I set here, but I want to leave that decision up to you on whether you want to charge more and get less clients, or charge less and get more clients.

LEARN TO PLAY A GUITAR/LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE (OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR TIME)

This step is obviously not required (unless you really do want to learn the guitar or study a new language). 

But the essence of this step is that because you have reached a point in your business where you are earning enough to not have to worry about any financial burdens, you have the time to focus on other things in life. 

Just like Abraham Maslowe’s Hierarchy of Needs, because you have your basic needs covered, you don’t need to worry about things such as paying your mortgage, debts or whatnot.

Hierarchy of Needs

The point I am trying to make here is that you shouldn’t forget to live your life because life is meant to be lived. 

And this ties back to deciding what your financial goals are for yourself so that you will know how much you should charge and how many clients you should work with. Do the math for yourself and figure out how much you need to be making per month so that you have your basic needs taken cared of.

So again, you don’t actually need to learn to play the guitar (which is something that I’m doing right now), but I highly recommend that live your life and don’t work for money…let money work for you.

HIRE AND TRAIN PEOPLE

If this isn’t your first time reading my blog posts, you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about systems and processes yet.

Tada, hello systems and processes!

In this step of hiring and training people, it is crucial that before you do so, you need to have systems and processes in place so that when you do decide to hire people, you know that they can do the job the same way you would.

Documentation is also very important because as you get good at your skill, you’re going to develop your own processes based on the way you think and do stuff. 

Just remember that when you hire someone new, you can’t expect this person to learn the ropes right away. There will be an input delay at the start meaning that whenever you get a client, there will be a lag from your end because you still need to train that new person before he/she can get the desired results for your client.

Hiring and training someone will need time and effort from your end, but once you get past that point, you can have that person managing your clients without you.

Luckily, there are a bunch of project management tools right now such as Trello, Teamwork, Asana, or Monday.com that can help you train your new team member smoothly. And if you want to find awesome virtual team members, you can go to places such as Upwork, Fiverr, or Onlinejobs.ph.

For more details on how you can hire and train virtual team members to grow your business, check out the full guide here.

SCALE TO THE MOON LIKE DOGE 

Just like the Dogecoin, once you establish a strong financial foundation, you can get your money working for you and you have the option to scale and increase your value even more.

Doge Coin

Scaling can mean different things for different people. It can mean setting up an agency, raising your prices, or adding more people and it all depends on your personal goals.

And once you have reached the point that you can scale (assuming this means you grow your team and increase the price of your services), you have even more time to do the things you want to do or focus on more important aspects of the business. 

Personally, scaling is charging a premium for my services and putting a guarantee on the work that we do. By scaling, I can afford to work with fewer clients and focus on doing the things that I want to do.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about the money. In fact, for me, it never was. I focus more on the experiences I provide for myself, my team, and my clients. Because for me, it’s more about the experience of doing the thing over making money doing the thing.

Yes, money is nice. But the reason why I want to earn more and have more personal time is because my goal is to make an impact through focus on more quality services to business owners. That way, I can really focus on helping my clients run profitable businesses.

And on the flipside, I can use the money that I earned to lift people up, such as the members of my team. 

But to reach that point, I’m focusing on creating even more systems and processes. That way, when I do focus on outreaching to more people and scaling my business, I am confident that I provide the right value at the right price.

JUST DO IT

If you have reached the end of this blog post, congratulations.

You have now reached the point where you are sure you want to start an online business, or already have an online business but want to scale to the moon (like doge), take the core ideas that I have shared here and implement them patiently and consistently.

Don’t worry about choosing the right tool to use, the right message to craft, or the right skill to learn. According to Shia Labeouf…

Just Do It

Just go out there and do stuff and the very act of doing stuff gets you moving. 

It doesn’t benefit you to sit and procrastinate to think about making everything perfect. Too much planning and overthinking will get you nowhere until you take the first step. 

Take that first step without worrying too much about the things that come down the road. And when you get down the road and do the actual steps, then you can start worrying about the next big thing from there. 

As quoted by Zig Ziglar, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

So let that sit, digest it, and then go take action and help other people get what they want.  

See you at the moon…with doge.

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