For quite a while now we have seen internet and website technology improving in leaps and bounds. Platform based websites like uber, airbnb and wework have taken advantage of this technology and created billion dollar industries, disrupting the way these businesses work and taking over huge portions of the market share within very short periods of time.

Then we have the golden social media platforms that have been around for almost 20 years, in fact, some have surpassed the 20 year mark. We talking about facebook, linkedIn, Google + and twitter, to name a few. All these corporations have become a huge success, and all within a relatively short time.

What all of these corporations have in common is the fact that they use computing and internet technologies to create new or disrupt old markets and establish themselves in a relatively short period of time.

We have a massive trend towards businesses creating an online presence and taking advantage of an international playground, receiving online payments, creating sales and marketing opportunities, creating virtual meeting places, etc. We already have the likes of Amazon, whose entire business runs off a massive website, from procurement, to sales and even the way they store their goods in their warehouses has all been taken care of by their platform. If you are Amazon’s competitor, you can even take advantage of their warehouse and website to market and sell your goods.

The point I’m trying to get across to you is that the internet has become a massive market and the future of business is without a doubt going to take place online. Savvy business people will be constantly referring to web technologies in their management meetings, trying to find ways to automate their marketing and sales platforms, creating new digital and physical products that scale well and are easy to push through their web technologies to increase sales, since their web platforms are easily scalable without the additional costs.

It is absolutely the most important but underused part of any business that for a relatively low investment can be turned into a company’s most prized asset. The unfortunate attitude here in Zimbabwe is that we throw a website together so that it is confirmation that we have a legitimate business. But what if we could make it a real asset? What if Zimbabwe, as we stand today, began to utilize this technology to create a brighter future for itself?  With such high unemployment in our country, yet so much talent that is being wasted, having a web based business really could be something that we have all missed for one reason or another.

With an extremely low barrier to entry, yet such high potential for returns in the global market, and all this at our fingertips, it just seems almost ridiculous that we aren’t taking advantage of what we literally have right in front of our noses.

In today’s modern age, you no longer have to keep doing work that you hate, or juggling multiple jobs just to bring food to the table. You no longer have to put up with bosses that you find difficult to get along with. There really are many new ways to make a living online and provided that you have a decent internet package, you don’t even need to leave home. Online business really is the most efficient, most promising and rewarding ways that you can create a new source of income and if you have been thinking about it for some time, or are in the planning stages, you really are on the right track.

some of the reasons why you should start an online business:

Very Little Capital needed

Unlike most business models, which may require some serious funding to set up, an online business can be created for very little. As a matter of fact, if you really want to create something for as little as possible, the only true money that you need to spend would be on the hosting and the domain name.

In some cases that may not even be required, for instance if you were to start a youtube channel, creating an account on the youtube platform is completely free, all you need to do is to be entertaining and upload your content, which in this case would be videos.

Just between you and I, let me tell you that my plans Sellpore Systems goes well beyond being a web design, seo and content marketing company. As time goes on we will be doing other projects and reporting on those projects as well, but back to the subject now.

You can work from home

One of the benefits of starting an online business would be the fact that provided you have a decent internet package, you can actually run the entire business from your home. That means that most of your expenses you would require to setup a regular business just wouldn’t exist to begin with.

If you consider that with a normal job, you would have to spend over 40 hours of your work week away from your family, and in cases where you may have work several jobs to get you through the month, you may as well be a stranger because soon your little boy won’t know who you are.

As a parent, especially as a single parent, creating your own online business will give you the freedom to decide where and how you spend your time without the need to rack up unnecessary expenses, and you get to have regular contact with your little boy every day.

You are your own boss

Soon after I left school, long, long ago, I got my first and only regular job with a company called Midsec. I started out my career in Kadoma as a Security Officer and a couple of years later I somehow managed to get promoted to Harare as the Operations Manager.

I’ll never forget the day that the Regional Director and the Branch Manager called me into their office and accused me of using “Company Transport” for my personal use in Chegutu. I had spent the time in question in Harare, but their reasoning was that I was seen from the back, in other words, someone saw the back of my “head” and apparently that was enough convincing evidence that it was me.

I promptly resigned, and they immediately accepted. My thoughts were very plain and simple, “Why should I spend all this time making my bosses rich, when I can put in the same amount of energy and perhaps one day, maybe I may also be rich. As naive as I was as a 21 year old boy, it was enough to decide to leave. They asked me to come back by the way about 3 months later after going through three other Operations Managers and discovering that the guy who was seen in Chegutu, was actually the Security Officer who had taken over from me in Kadoma. Anyway, point is that was the last time I have ever been employed.

I’m not saying that being your own boss is all glory and that it’s a one way ticket to untold riches, because it’s not. It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone, but if you are in a job with no potential to rise and earning a pittance, then what have you got to lose?

I’m going to use the talents that I have developed over the years and I’m going to keep publishing content, helping you with as much advise as I can to fast track your success. It is my desire to see more Zimbabweans taking that leap of faith instead of wasting their precious time in a job that has very little satisfaction and hardly any renumeration for the time and energy you put into it.

I apologize, I really am passionate about this.

You can run an online business from anywhere

One of the greatest advantages of running an online business is that you can set it up, connect with 7 billion people around the globe and if you have been really smart about it and you have put a lot of thought and effort into the business, you can really be anywhere in the world and still tend to your business as though you were in your home office. You can target a group of customers on any continent or in several continents, the possibilities are endless. You could even deal with your customers in your PJs and who would know?

It allows you to reach a global audience

Unlike most other businesses whose client base is limited to a certain geographical location, online businesses allow you to gain clients from all over the world. It allows you to connect with people from different backgrounds and where possible, provide goods or services to them.

So now that we have discussed a few advantages of owning your own business in the virtual world, and you have also discovered a few things about me that I would not ordinarily share, lets discuss how you could go about going from zero to a completed online business.

How to start an online business from home – A 10 Step Guide

Step 1: Decide whether or not to pursue the idea of an online business.

The most important decisions you can make right now is to figure out whether this is for you or not, whether you can dedicate enough time to put into an online project and if it is worth taking the risk.

Not everyone wants to run an online business and not everyone will be suited to this line of work, whatever your decision, its alright, don’t stress too much about it. It is your life after all. If you cannot see the opportunity in your mind, then you’ve lost nothing.

Some of you may start considering the opportunity and you might not be ready to make a commitment right now, the timing may be wrong, you have plenty of time, the internet is not going anywhere and there will always be new and exciting opportunities as time goes by. If you feel that you want to research, whatever the case, good for you. Start when you are ready.

There may be those of you who are ready to take action, start researching and gathering some knowledge on the subject. I have been thinking about this project now since February 2018, I starting taking action in about September 2018 and have since been actively creating and editing my website, and as of today I still consider this project unfinished. A work in progress, but I have many plans that I still want to implement, and I’m still learning, researching, and actively adding content to this site.

Step 2. Decide which type of online business you want to start

There are so many options and different types of internet businesses that you could start, the possibilities are really endless. You may want to start a web design business, SEO, Content Marketing, there are opportunities as a Social Media Consultant, selling photos or videos to stock photo websites, your could consider blogging, affiliate marketing, drop shipping, Youtubing, creating and selling ebooks through Amazon, if you have writing skills you could write content for websites, these are just a few examples of what you could do.

Next consider the following:

Step 3.Your strengths or preferences

Choose a type of business that you are familiar with and have a competitive edge. For instance, if you are a fitness expert, you can start an online business based on your fitness expertise such as starting a fitness channel on YouTube, selling fitness programs on your own website, you could blog about fitness and explain the latest fitness techniques.

Step 4. Solve a customer problem

If you can figure out how to solve a problem that many people have in a way that’s going to save them time and money, you have a business on your hands. Your customers will buy products and services that will solve their problems better or quicker than they can do it right now. So if you have solutions to a particular problem or a group of problems you can start an online business today and you’ll soon be making a decent income.

Step 5: Get the equipment that you need.

Getting the right tools for the job is key to running any business and depending on what you choose to do, will require a certain set of tools. For instance, if you choose to design websites, you may need to get some training in Adobe Photoshop, WordPress, Joomla or whichever platform you may find interesting. You may need some training in Search Engine Optimisation, etc. If you wanted to start a Youtube Channel, you would definitely need to invest in some camera, audio and lighting equipment. Either way you also going to need to perhaps invest in a notebook or laptop so that you can work more efficiently. So depending on the type of online business you need to consider the types of tools that you need to invest in.

Step 6: identify your target market

Do you know who is going to buy your product? When starting a business, you should have a clear picture in mind of the people who you expect to be interested in your products or services. Who are they? Where are they? What do they like? All these are questions that you should ask yourself as everything about your business should be done in accordance with your client preferences.

For instance, a 25 year old newly married woman who is pregnant with her first baby, is probably going to have very little interest in dirt biking for example, but if you have products that will make her baby comfortable, safe and well fed, you may be onto something.

So taking a little bit of time to consider your demographics will definitely go a long way in getting you closer to your goals very quickly.

Step 7: analyze your competitors

Yes you will have many online competitors, that’s the nature of business. See what they’re doing, how they are doing it and from where. They’re targeting to get a piece of your local market, so think globally and act locally and globally. The big key here is to think globally, not only will you eventually offer a globally competitive product, but think of how your local market will react to you being in their back yard. It’s a win- win for everyone.

If you are going into business online, you must be ready to compete against thousands of businesses offering the same product or service as you. Find out who your competitors are, what makes them successful and what you think you can improve upon.

Step 8: Set up your website

Most online businesses will require you to set up a website. Your website is the first chance you get to make a good impression on your potential customers. As such, you should create an engaging website that captures the attention of your audience and is easy to use. It is highly recommended that you hire an expert to design and build your website that functions properly and has a strong marketing message.

Once your website is running, consider creating some blogs that will be informative to your audience. You can read more about that here. Along with the website, you should create and link to social media accounts for your business to help connect with a larger audience.

Step 9: Learn the rules

There are various laws you may be subject to based on the type of online business you have; zoning laws, shipping restrictions, taxes, trademark considerations, search engine rules, among others. Rules can make or break your business so it’s important to know them. We’ll put out a blog about some of these topics in the near future.

Step 10: Choose a marketing strategy

There are many ways to market your business online. We have put out some blogs on the topic, but let’s outline some of them here as well, as you might be in a hurry.

Blogging

If you  have good writing skills, this is definitely something that you sound be doing on your site, it takes a lot of time but they pay off will be huge, take a look at some of my other blogs to get a more detailed idea.

Onsite and offsite SEO

Get your page to load quickly, make sure that your website is optimized for smart phones, tablet and laptops. Make sure that your website is clear about what you do so that the search engines understand your market. Optimize your photos as well. Speed is important. Learn more about this topic here.

Social Media

As I said before, create some social media accounts and link back to your site, learn more about this topic here.

Google and Bing Paid Advertising

Sometimes you need to pay for your advertising, especially if you don’t have time to wait for the search engines to rank your website. Make sure that you have set aside a budget for this, many people spend all their money on everything else and by the time they realise that they need to do some paid advertising, they’re often out of pocket. Google does this best, so set up your account with them, it will be well worth it as the results are immediate.

We all need a marketing strategy for any business that we want to start, and working out a budget early on will really help prevent any surprises down the line.

Considering which keywords you are going to use is going to be key to your marketing budget as every advert relies on using a set of appropriate keywords. Now depending on how saturated your market is and where you plan to market, ie, whether your advertising will be local, regional or international, you may find yourself paying a premium to be able to compete against others in your market. So strategy is key.

I will put out a blog on the topic as soon as I can, but for now just be aware and do your research so that you can compete and get a flow of income to your business.

In conclusion

Starting your own online business could be a great option for you if you feel that you could make something out of it. You can do it from home and if you have a limited budget it is still very much something that you can create. In my opinion, it is far better to be your own boss and own your own business, work your own hours and spend more time with your family, it might not be the case in the beginning but if you take the time to think about each aspect as we have discussed here, take the time to plan what kind of business and who and where your market is. Think globally and up your skills to compete appropriately. Get the tools that you need and make sure that they are quality tools, you don’t want your tools letting you down at the most critical time. All these things considered with massive action and your chances of success are really good.

Thanks very much guys for taking the time out to read through my articles. If I have been of help to you and you like my articles, please leave a comment down below and let me know if there is anything you would like me to write about. I do read all my messages and I will get back to you as soon as I can.