Small Business

The Basics of Starting an Online Business

Posted on: April 10, 2010

If you have spent any time searching at all you know that there are hundreds of opportunities to start an online business. But how can you decide which one to choose and which one you would succeed in? What is the difference between network marketing and an affiliate program? How do you weed out the scams? How can you know whether you will succeed in the business?

If you have absolutely no experience with any online business all this can be quite confusing.
First, how do you find a legitimate online business? In order to be an online business some product or service must be provided. There are continually online moneymaking schemes where you simply send a given amount of money to someone somewhere above you in the scheme. Even if these are called gifting schemes to keep them from being illegal, they are not online businesses. They will not legitimately support you for any length of time.

Look for a product or service you genuinely believe in, because you will be using it yourself as well as promoting it online. One way is to select a product category, such as online marketing information or health products and look at all the online businesses you can find that provide that product or service.

There are essentially three different types of online businesses; network marketing, affiliate programs and sales. In a sales business you promote something online that you buy wholesale or make. You then ship it to customers when they buy it. In an affiliate program you market a product or service for the company that produces it and get a commission for each sale. They ship the product. In a network marketing program you promote the product or service and also recruit others to do the same. You then receive a commission on the sales of those you recruited and those they recruited.

Network marketing programs are often the most popular with newcomers because there the upline, or sponsors have a vested interest in your success and are there to help. These systems are set up in a variety of ways so that you may have two or three people in the level below you and may be paid on the sales of differing numbers of levels below that. They also have different ways of handling your recruits once the given number of levels below you fill up. Be sure you understand the system and compensation plan of any online business you are considering.

Another very important aspect of the business is how you will recruit people. In some online businesses recruiting involves several telephone calls to interested prospects. Do not choose a business like this if you have telephone phobia. In other online businesses most people sign up or buy directly from the web site. In still others paid marketers do the sales and signups for you. These are more expensive to get into, for obvious reasons. Select a recruiting and sales style you are comfortable with.

If you are new to online business a very important factor in the selection of a business is the level of support you will receive. Ask about their education program before you put any money down. Many online businesses today offer free education before you even have to put any money down. You can sign up for a free trial period, check out their educational material and then decide if you think you could make money following it. Basically they should teach you how to use advertising, forums, articles, traffic generators, links and Adwords. Some will teach you more than this and some will teach most but not all of these.

When you have found the product, type of business and education you want, sign up for the online business. Then stick with it. Despite many of the advertising claims you have seen, you are highly unlikely to make a fortune overnight. You are even highly unlikely to make a fortune in a month or two. You need to build the business. You can probably get someone to buy from you or sign up from you in two to three weeks, but you will not reach the full potential of the business in that time. Stick with it for at least six months, doing everything you are told by your sponsor or the educational program.

If you have absolutely no results in the first month, talk with your sponsor and find out what you did wrong. If you keep promoting the online business for a few more months and do not see continuing results, seek out one of the many educational programs online that will teach you, independently, to market your home business. Learn all you can from the free sites, then perhaps sign up for paid assistance if you feel you need it.

One estimate is the 1.25 million people are seeking an online business. With a little effective promotion some of these people can be drawn to your site. Persistence pays off. You will make money if you keep promoting and keep learning.

Lynn Doxon is the mother of three adopted daughters and two stepsons. She works from home writing books and managing an online business at and helping her husband manage an architectural and real estate investment business.


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