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How to Start and Grow Your Own Online Business

How to Start and Grow Your Own Online Business
November 16, 2019

How to Start and Grow Your Own Online Business

Nov 16, 2019
Chiranjeevi Maddala

Chiranjeevi Maddala is an award winning digital marketing strategist with over 18 Years of experience in Digital Media and Marketing. He is the Founder and Chief Mentor at Digital Ready.


Traditionally land, labour, capital, and entrepreneurship are considered the four major forces of production. But the internet has revolutionized that. And that is good news for people keen on starting a business at this age.

Why Are Online Businesses Rising in Popularity?

Among youths, many want to retire early and pursue something of their own or they do not want to be bound by a 9-5 schedule. Again, online businesses while no less tricky than physical businesses, allow people to do things at their own pace.

Nowadays, there are several free websites and software, which help people join the game without worrying about a large loan, lack of qualification or a warehouse full of unsold products.

Moreover, online businesses allow people to maintain a work-life balance. Given it is not restrained physically; people can choose the amount of time they want to devote working, a factor which is oft-ignored in regular work.

How To Start An Online Business?

The very first step would be to decide what you enjoy doing. There is absolutely no reason to make that decision by drawing an arbitrary conclusion on ‘what sells’. Anything that you like can be sold because you will be interested in selling it.

The next step would be to undertake a market study and find out common ground between a problem that needs to be solved and your field of interest. Leverage websites like Reddit, Instagram, Facebook to find out what people want and are unable to get easily online. 

Once you have zeroed in on a product or service, visit websites of businesses that are already dealing with it and make notes. And either learn from them and work to make your product or service better than them or look out for what features they have missed out on and emphasize them in your product or service.

The next way would be to, of course, to start a website. If that sounds too overwhelming, start with a page on Facebook or Instagram – a platform that has considerable traffic. Ensure that your page/website is clutter-free and easy to navigate. Look up points on the internet to make it eye-catching without being garish and off-putting. Ensure that all the details are there and do not hide facts, basically be honest. A good business will require a loyal customer base and goodwill. Sneaky strategies can get you business but they will be short-lived.

Once You Have Set The Ball Rolling, It Is Time To Market Your Business

Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you by itself. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then those can be distributed throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.

If that sounds overwhelming, then try affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you find an affiliate partner who has products available in the field that you are working in. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, Flipkart.com. With affiliate marketing, you offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. Commission amounts vary depending on the affiliate partner. This entails little risk on your part and virtually no investment.

Here is an Example

Vilvah, Coimbatore

Kruthika Kumaran lost her mother to a complication arising from a skin condition. To start with, Kruthika completed an online diploma in natural cosmetology and began experimenting with soaps. She started her cloud store Vilvah, an online organic skincare brand, on Instagram in 2017. It started with an initial investment of Rs 10,000 and is today seeing a turnover of Rs 15 crore. Its products are available on most popular e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Nykaa to name a few. For the next two years, the team worked on setting up the website, distribution, and logistics. It also partnered with top delivery and logistics networks for the same. The team now has a flagship store in Coimbatore but isn’t looking for other offline stores at the moment. At present, 80% of its business comes from the online store.  

Once your business starts growing, use the following free online business tools, which help you stay organised

1. Google My Business is a free tool that lets you list down your local business easily
2. Keyword Planner or Smylelytics which provides keyword ideas and traffic estimates to help you build a search network campaign.
3. Trello allows you to organize your projects into boards. In one glance, it tells you what projects are being worked on, who are working on what and where something is in a process.
4. HubSpot CRM, a central database to organize all the details of your customers.
5. Mailchimp, it enables people interested in your work or products or service to subscribe and unsubscribe to email marketing lists through sign-up forms. 
6. BuzzSumo, a research and monitoring tool, which allows any user to find out what content is popular by topic or on any website.
7. Hootsuite, a social media management system that simplifies how companies leverage social media, by providing advanced tools to engage with customers more accurately, effectively, and securely.
8. Boomerang, a plug-in available with Google allows emails to be sent to your customers at the right time.
9. Canva is a graphic design tool for non-designers to create infographics as well as other presentations, visuals, and graphics.
10. Wix, it is a free landing page builder with a wide range of templates
11. For communications, you can stick to skype
12. Grammarly can help you maintain a clean grammar and syntax
13. Wistia can be tried by those more interested in creating video content. It provides video-hosting services for businesses, including adding videos to the web, tracking performance and building audiences.
14. Upwork can help people who are interested in hiring skilled people. It is a pool of talents that quote their price and bid for your project and you can select one depending on your budget.

Business ideas: The roles that the internet allows you to take up

Blogger, virtual assistant, social media manager, social media consultant, social media influencer, ebook author, online course creator, business coach, SEO consultant, affiliate marketer, YouTube personality, podcaster, handmade business owner, web designer, website developer, graphic designer, application developer, domain reseller, freelance writer, T-shirt designer, remote tutor, online advertising specialist, travel consultant, proofreader, stock photographer, website copywriter, virtual tech support, contact customer service, software developer, marketing consultant, WordPress theme developer, researcher, membership site operator, blog network creator, the advertising network creator, online public relations, website maintenance service, website critique service, online recruiting, resume writing, meal plan service, custom illustrator, video ad creator, direct sales marketer, financial consultant, bookkeeping service, online newsletter service and lead generation service. Just take your pick!

Parting shot

Take a deep breath and tell yourself you can do it. Take one step at a time. If everything seems overwhelming, start with your good-old Facebook account or Whatsapp group. Talk about what you want to sell and gauge people’s reactions. Start small. Don’t think about becoming a Birla in a week. And accept that there will be downs, but again there will be ups. Use the internet to the fullest – for learning a subject, looking up predecessors, buying, selling and networking.

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