How to Succeed in Running an Online Business from Home

Applying proven strategies from mainstream businesses to your online venture significantly improves your chances of success.

The Myths around Online Businesses

There is a commonly held view that online businesses are so completely different from traditional business models that the normal rules of success do not apply.  This fantasy is helped by online advertisements promoting online business opportunities that promise overnight success and enormous passive incomes with almost zero effort.

The power of wishful thinking lures thousands of people into buying into the dream of easy money, early retirement and riches beyond their wildest dreams.  Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of online business owners do not become millionaires and the ones who do, succeed because they have planned, strategised and invested enormous amounts of time into building their ventures.

That is not to say that you cannot make a very respectable income from working online.  There are great opportunities in all kinds of online businesses but the same rules apply to online working as to working in traditional businesses.  By applying the following strategies to your online work-from-home business, you will maximise your chances of success and increase the likelihood of growing your venture into a long-lasting and profitable business.

The Reality of Running an Online Business

Like any business, you will need to spend time researching, planning and learning before you do anything.  The number one rule to improve your chances of success is to treat your online venture just like you’d treat any other business.  Expect to have to work hard, overcome challenges and put in lots of time and effort before you reap any rewards.

Many people see online businesses as an easy way to make some extra cash while also holding down a full-time job.  If you view your online business as a hobby, then don’t expect it to yield rewards.  You can set up your new venture on part-time hours but you’ll have to be prepared to set aside several hours every week where you can consistently work on your new project.

Just like any new business, you’ll have to spend time on marketing, finance, website maintenance, ad testing and product testing.  Managing cash and your own time should be your two highest priorities and you should expect to invest a substantial percentage of any profits back into your business so that you can continue growing.

Like any business, you’ll only succeed if you are selling a product that has real value.  Identify your market and be proactive about attracting your potential customers to your website.

Be Professional and Available

Building trust in your brand is key to succeeding in your online business.  Being available to your customers is a great way to do this.  Make sure that visitors to your website can contact you easily. Provide a phone number and email address and you may want to link to social media so that they can get in touch via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Respond quickly to messages and queries and always maintain a professional tone when doing so.

Include a recent photograph of yourself in a professional situation on your page.  Being able to see your face instils confidence in visitors and makes them more likely to connect with you and your brand.

Track your Successes and Failures and Change your Behaviours Accordingly

If email marketing is part of your business, you will want to keep a close eye on statistics.  Figure out what influences your opt-in and opt-out data and make changes when you need to.  One of the greatest things about the Internet is that you can track everything.  Make the most of this and regularly analyse your data so that you can detect and understand changes as they happen.  Track the ways that customers find your website. When you are changing or updating information on your Website, do one thing at a time so that you can monitor the results of each change.

When things go well, it’s important to understand why and the same rule applies when things go wrong. Look closely at your sales and pay particular attention to your click-through to sales conversion.  Establish which are your highest performing keywords and keep track of these and how they change.  Understanding your conversation rates is vital, particularly if you use PPC or similar paid ads.  You should be constantly monitoring these and adjusting your practices in response.

Following all of these steps may seem like a lot of work but if you remain disciplined and do these on a regular basis, it will soon become like second nature.  Combining a disciplined approach with a genuine commitment to your business vastly increases your chance of success.

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