Is starting an online business expensive?
I get this question asked by someone or another just about every day. And my answer starts off the same way – “Whether starting and growing your online business will be expensive or not will depend entirely on your mindset and expectations”.
In one of my previous blogs, I had already elaborated on why anyone should start an online business. So, there is no practical reason to delve into that further in this blog. Rather, it would be best to discuss the practical aspects and the costs associated with them as needed to run an online business.
It’s always the mindset, an entrepreneurial mindset, which will be responsible for the success of your online business and the costs thereof. As there are several types of mainstream online businesses, my focus here will be more affiliate marketing centric as that is my chosen model of online business.
The reason affiliate marketing resonates very well with me is that I do not necessarily prefer to create products to sell. Promoting products which are already available and getting a commission per sale or action suits me just fine. This mindset also allows me to find and promote offers rather quickly, whenever I want to.
In such a business model, I always leverage on certain tools to assist me to derive the best results and profitability. I would like to highlight here that I do not have any people related expenses in my online business. Rather, I leverage on several tools and automations to run my online business 24×7.
This has been one of my cornerstone strategies even before starting out. Such a strategy helped me to identify and select any products or services to promote, which would suit me the best.
Keep in mind that just like any business, keeping costs low at the beginning stage of your online business should be your paramount concern. It is highly unlikely that you will make any significant income right from the get go.
While many people do not use their own website for their affiliate business, I deem that to be a grave mistake. It tells me that these people are simply dabblers and not very serious at all about making money online. You will find all highly successful affiliate marketers have their own website, perhaps even several websites, to use as the base of their multiple types of promotions and to build their brand(s).
All it takes is a domain name and hosting to get started with. This cost doesn’t even compare with the enormous startup costs of a traditional brick and mortar business. Design and development of a website is becoming so easy these days as compared to a decade ago.
I do all the design and development work of this website all by myself. To do this, I use WordPress (which is free by the way) and some free tools/plugins. There are zillions of YouTube videos available for you to learn from on how to do this. As many of you know that I am not a coder or developer by any stretch of the words. Yet, here I am running a very successful affiliate business online.
The next aspect you will need to focus on is building an email list. In addition to your website(s), you will need to grow an email list over time so that you can market anything to the people who already knows you or your brand. The more you communicate to them and offer valuable content, the more they will be prone to buying something at your suggestion.
But keep in mind that your email list consists of real people and they must be treated as such. Most modern marketers I see these days tend not to treat them with such intentions and view them as a name on their list only. Whether your subscribers buy anything or not, they are your audience and you must treat them with respect and offer them value at every turn.
In order to build this email list, you will need to subscribe to an email autoresponder service. Some such services do have some free offers limited to the number of total subscribers in your list. There may also be some restrictions on how many emails being sent per month. You should explore this to find the service that best suits your business strategy.
Using the autoresponder, you can set up a series of emails, as campaigns, to be sent out at a predetermined intervals without you having to intervene with personally. For example, anyone who would subscribed to your email list will automatically get a welcome email regardless of what time of the day or night it may be. They will continue to receive your emails from the pre-set campaign at your chosen intervals.
I have found that most autoresponder services are not friendly with the affiliate marketers. Hence, the frequency of the emails you may sent may trigger them to stop your service without any prior notice. Also a point of concern is the amount of actual emails you sent out that would actually end up in the inbox of the intended recipient rather than their spam folders.
For my business, I had chosen to work with Aweber because of their reputation and reliability. It’s also very easy to use, even for a person like me. I never had a problem with them what so ever. Their delivery rate is also one of the highest in the industry. It is however a paid service from the start. They do offer a trial period for you to try out the service and cancel if you are not satisfied.
GetResponse is another reputable autoresponder service that you could look into.
I stress again that having an email autoresponder is a key tool to impact the profitability of any type of online business.
Webinars are a very hot promotional tool these days used by all the top online marketers. While you can hold live sessions at some of the social platforms, it is best to organize them independently for Live Casting, Event Streaming and Webinar Broadcasting for maximum level of impact with your viewers. You can also record the session for future promotions.
I use WebinarJam. It’s packed with useful features such as private rooms, virtual whiteboards, live streaming, polls, live chat, autoresponder integration, analytics, etc. For my further promotions, I use the recordings of the live webinars afterwards on social media platforms to drive more traffic to my offers.
Holding regular webinar sessions is a great way to engage with your audience regardless of whichever part of the world they may live in. I suggest to hold regular webinar sessions to any type of online businesses and not just to affiliate marketers.
I always suggest to find the products or services to promote through a credible affiliate platform rather than signing up with any specific merchant directly. For a wide range of products and services for you to promote, I recommend ShareASale and CJ. My recommended platforms for info products are JVZoo, Warrior Plus and Clickbank.
Using such platforms are free of cost. Personally, I tend to sign up first for the products I intend to promote, even if it’s for a trial run, so that I could familiarize myself with it before I start to promote it. Often this way you will incur some costs but my advice to you will be to know the products first hand before you start to promote to your audience.
Marketing Your Affiliate Links
Marketing is a vast topic and I have already covered some popular ways in my previous blogs here. Yet, you will need to do a very critical thing before you start marketing your links. Whether you are promoting your own product links or affiliate links, your primary intention should be to always capture the email addresses of the visitors.
You will need to have an email capture form in a page where the visitors will enter their names and email addresses in order to proceed onwards to the actual offer page. Often these capture pages are called the landing page, bridge page, squeeze page, sales page, etc.
This can be developed with the help of certain free plug-ins if you are using WordPress. Just be sure that the plug-in integrates with whichever autoresponder you may be using. There are other service providers who can provide you with the bridge pages such as ClickFunnels, Builderall, TheConversionPros, etc.
Having captured the email addresses is simply the beginning of the marketing process. I had always said that there is a right way of doing things and just about hundreds of wrong ways of doing things. I discussed this in details in my e-book, How To Earn Riches Like A Super Affiliate.
You can download the e-book for absolutely free from this site and get the detailed information from there on this. No need to repeat all of that info here again.
One thing I will mention here as a reinforcement is that ideally there should be two types of affiliate programs you should be promoting. The first is a program that which gives you a monthly recurring income. The second should be a high ticket affiliate program which would give you a greater level of commission from every sale through you.
Marketing high ticket programs could take a bit of work but it certainly isn’t rocket science. There aren’t many such programs out there and finding the right one for you should be a priority level task.
Learning and Training
The one constant for any online business is that the learning never stops. You can always learn something new to improve your business and profits. You can always find some content at YouTube to learn from. However, you should have a way to learn how to become successful with your online business in a more methodical way. Bits and pieces of learning in YouTube is just that. All training should be done in a systematic way by credible sources with a proven track record.
I always recommend my 100 days challenge which has a lot of methodical tips and a systematic approaches for anyone who wants to fast track their learning while they also are able to earn. Give it a try for free today.
You should always set aside a budget for any training at least annually. You will always appreciate it and be rewarded by it.
In summary, it always boils down to your mindset. As you can see that there are certain absolute expenses involved to get started, yet there are some free options also. Somethings can be done very well using the free options while somethings should be absolutely done with proven tools.
Even from the very start you should always target a six figure income. As such, certain small expenses for some essential tools should be budgeted for even if your income hasn’t yet started. Investing into such tools will fast track the growth of your online business and create very profitable conversions.
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