Unless you’ve been floating in an isolation tank watching reruns of the Office these past six years or so, you’ve likely stumbled across some reference to the “why, what and how” of starting your own online business. Potential answers to these questions are, quite literally, everywhere on the Internet. The challenge is finding your own unique answer to each of these questions. Why you might choose to build an online income stream is usually fairly self evident — you can do it from home and it affords unprecedented personal freedom. That’s an alluring combination for anyone feeling fed up with the mind-grinding strictures of nine to five life.

What, by contrast, is dizzyingly complex. There’s a vast range of online business options, from the carefully crafted profit track of the MLM company Amway to the Wild West frontier of making a name for yourself as a freelancer. Which brings us to the question of how to start your online business. For anyone trying to find their way into securing an online business income, this question of how is the goldilocks question, neither too self-evident nor too dauntingly complex. In short, it’s a great way to begin.

 

So let’s look at four ways to tackle this question of how to start your own online business.

 

Choose the Right Business

Sounds obvious, right? But you’d be surprised how few people actually spend time carefully deciding which online business opportunity fits with their personality and lifestyle. The cold, hard fact is, enthusiasm at the starting gate isn’t enough. You need sustained hunger to make working from home work, and for that to happen you need to be doing something you enjoy.

So take a moment to think about what drives you. What do you do for fun? Do you enjoy bringing order to chaos? Exec Admin work might be a great track for you. Do you enjoy putting your personality out there? Something in sales might be right up your alley. You get the idea. Whatever it is you actually enjoy doing should be the starting point for your research.  

 

Wrestle Your Social Media Strategy Into Submission

Love it or hate it, sooner or later you will need to get professional and systematic about how you manage your online presence. Whatever kind of online business opportunity you pursue, sooner or later you’ll be in the business of attracting clientele through some form of social media. This won’t go away. The sooner you get really granular about how to kick ass and take names with social media, the easier your journey to profitability will become.

 

So let’s start with how not to do social media. The number one mistake people make when building up an online presence is overcommitting. Remember, every social media channel you choose to maintain requires time and mental bandwidth. Invest in some upfront research. Find out where your clientele are most likely to be and get active right there. You can always expand later, but early on you should focus on building a strong online presence where it counts.

 

If you’re unsure of how to even begin, jump on to an online training site like Udemy and take a course. You can always sink some cash into having an expert help you get started, through one of the popular freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork.

 

Set Up a Work Zone and Schedule

In a recent survey of over 20,000 telecommuters, well over half reported that children or family distractions are a large, ongoing issue. It’s hard — after all, for many of us a big reason for working from home is precisely to be closer to our loved ones — but you’re going to need to build boundaries. And it’s best to do this right from the beginning of your journey. A great first step is to establish an isolated work zone in your home. In the best case scenario this will be a dedicated home office. But even if this isn’t feasible, be sure to invest in noise canceling headphones and build up awareness among your family that there are times in the day where you’re simply not available.

 

Respect The Challenge

Finally, it’s crucial that you keep your expectations in check. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, you’re unlikely to fall into your dream job situation at the outset. Building up an online business is a challenge. If it weren’t everyone would be doing it! So, respect and embrace the challenge.

Prepare for frustrating days. Prepare for months where you don’t earn as much money as you had planned. Prepare to go to bed with your mind gnawing on the many challenges of finding success without the safety of a nine to five lifestyle wrapped around you.

The people most likely to make an online business possess one vital characteristic. It isn’t brilliance. It isn’t a silver tongue. It isn’t even business acumen. It’s patience. Knowing how to build your online income is a first and crucial step. Spend time analyzing this before leaping into the fray. Each decision and realization you reach will make the process that much easier. Get busy!