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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

2016 Learning Trends on Udemy

2016 Learning Trends on Udemy

Check out the infographic we just released showing what people around the U.S. are learning on Udemy and the interesting geographic and generational trends we’re tracking. Are you typical of your age and city?

Friday, 27 May 2016

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Sunday, 22 May 2016

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In Fact, This Same

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Is Online Business Good for YOU?

That’s not surprising. The internet is full of advice, some of it good, some not so good. How do you sort out the wheat from the chaff?
You’ll find lots of articles advising what to do. For example you may read somewhere that:
  • You should start by buying the latest high specification computer
  • You need  a state-of-the-art home office
  • You’ve got to write an “all-singing, all-dancing” business plan
  • All you need is to register a domain, install WordPress, and start publishing content
  • You should join a Mastermind group, network with others and then focus on joint ventures
  • …. and so on.
The list can seem endless, expensive, and overwhelming. Some advice might just raise alarm bells in your mind. You know how it goes, “that sounds too good to be true.”
In reality, there are questions you need to ask yourself before you do or buy anything. They are questions that many solopreneurs wish they’d asked themselves before starting their businesses.
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And you may be surprised to know that they’re not governed so much by the “how” of starting a business online, as they are by the “why.”
Here are eight of the most critical questions for you to consider before you start an online business.

1. What is your passion?

Real passion, that is, not just something you once thought you might be interested in but now you’re not so sure. Something that catches your imagination, excites you, makes you come alive when you think about it.
Running and managing an online business sounds (and is) exciting, but it’s also hard work, and can be quite isolating. It takes stamina, determination, and persistence. Having a business in a niche you’re passionate about is critical if you’re to sustain long-term commitment and see your business succeed.
So think about it.
  • What energizes you?
  • What invigorates you?
  • What would motivate you to carry on even when it’s difficult, or when you feel tired, or when you have the impression no-one cares about what you have to say?
Make sure your online business reflects your passion. Your fans, followers and customers will certainly latch on to your enthusiasm and reflect it straight back at you.
Don’t gloss over these questions. Take your time. Mull them over. Brainstorm yourself. And when you find your passion, hold onto it. Your creativity will flow, and your enthusiasm will help shape your influence in the online world.

2. Why are you different?

You may have decided where your passion lies, but there are likely to be many other websites and blogs covering the same subject.
Think about it. In time you’ll attract  people to your site who have dozens of choices for other websites to visit. Your website will be competing for attention in a string of browser windows. How do you ensure your site is the one that stays open and active?
You’ll need to answer that question quickly and surely, before your audience—your potential customers—have the chance to hit the back or close button.
This is nothing to do with coming up with the next big idea. Having your own “Eureka” moment means working out what it is about you and your brand that adds value to the world. So what will make your site stand out from the crowd?
The short answer is simple — it’s you!
You are individual, and your perspective within your niche will be authentic. You have a story to tell, knowledge to impart. Your unique voice on your subject is what will set you apart.
It will give you the confidence not to become intimidated by the success of others. You’ll be fearless in your wish to communicate what you know, and that fearlessness will be a key your success.
So think about it. What is your story?

3. Do you have the foresight to listen to what your customers want?

You have passion. You have thought about your story. Now, you can’t wait to tell the world.
But wait just one moment. How much do you know about your potential customers? What are their most pressing issues? What are they most interested in learning about?
Some businesses fail because they solve the wrong problems. Imagine trying to sell a new and improved pencil sharpener to a group of digital artists. Oops!
On a niche website about dogs, you may write the most knowledgeable content about how to present your prize dog for showing, but if your audience wants to know how to teach a puppy how to use a crate, it will not be of much interest.
On an e-commerce shopping site you may have the most stunning jewelry on offer, but if it’s out of the financial reach of your client base, you will not sell it.
You may be the most highly accomplished dentist in your area, but if you talk about teeth whitening when your clients need to know how quickly they can get an appointment to cure their toothache, they will go elsewhere.
You might find certain topics interesting, but unless you’re meeting the needs and desires of your audience, your website is unlikely to attract return visits, and the products/services it eventually sells will remain unnoticed and unsold.
How do you know which is the most important content to write? How do you persuade your site visitors that you’re a person to be trusted to answer questions that are critically important to them?
The answer to this question too lies within you. Your passion about your subject must be communicated in well written, easily understood articles based on your knowledge of the subject and your customers. No doubt you will know some of the questions that need to be answered—after all, you have personal experience of the problems.
But you also need to have the confidence to know that your site visitors are the best people to ask about what it is they need, what solutions they’re looking for, what would make their life easier, or more enjoyable, or safer.
How to find out? Be wherever your customers are. Use the same social media they use, visit the same forums. And, once you have your website and you start to build loyal visitors, build your email list and ask them!
You don’t have all the answers—but they may be able to help you to help them!.

4.  Do you want to build a business, or pursue a hobby?

The best websites begin with publishing  well written, accurate, high quality content. There’s no fee, no catches. You are building loyalty and making your mark as an expert in your niche. You’ll delight in seeing your website grow, and the numbers of people visiting it increase month by month.
But publishing free content is not in itself a business. It’s the foundation for a business, certainly, but, even with the addition of a passive income stream such as Adsense, it will never make you a regular income.
For many people, that’s not a problem. Their website is a hobby, created simply to give them, and their readers, pleasure. Its purpose is not to make money but to communicate their passion about a particular subject to the world.
Other people know from the start that building an online business is exactly that—a business. They may enjoy it, and they hope their readers will too, but their goal is to create a sustainable profit.
There’s another group that falls between these two: would-be website owners who don’t really know which they want to be. They start writing as a hobby and, after some time, want to change tactics and become e-commerce business owners.
Which can, of course, be done. A website full of quality content is a good launching pad for selling because it likely has  loyal and trusting followers.
The problem with this switch is that, if you give away content for free and without strings for any length of time, your visitors will become used to it. When they’re then asked to pay for the content you’ve decided you want to sell as a Kindle book, for example, it comes as a shock. And an audience who is shocked may not be inclined  to buy.
So consider this question carefully. Which do you want? Try to project into the future. Do you genuinely not care about making money, so that for you, a hobby website would be fine? Or do you recognize that you want to be financially rewarded for the time you’ll spend writing content, answering questions on social media and writing newsletters?

5. Are you prepared to take risks?

You have your passion, unique voice and knowledge in place. You know you want to make a profit. Now ask yourself how prepared you are to take risks. Not risks with money—you don’t need to outlay a large amount of money to start an online business—but risks related to your own self-belief.
Why? Because one of the greatest uncertainties you’ll face in business is whether anyone will like what you have to offer, whether free content or paid products.
Even if you decide you want to run a business for profit, it’s easy once you’re in a routine of creating content to carry on doing it without ever offering something for sale. You’ve created a comfort zone, and it can be difficult to move outside it. You’ve spent a lot of time building content and engaging with your readers, your readers appreciate your passion—and you don’t want to fail.
It’s a fatal trap. If you’re building a business, it’s an issue you need to address head on.
Your first Kindle book may not be the best one ever. Your carefully painted silk scarves may sit on the shelf gathering dust. Your first yoga class may not be very well attended. But the sooner you put something out there, the more you learn and the closer you come to creating a sustainable business.
How do you avoid the mistakes? First, remember that your site visitors are a mine of information about what they want and need (see #3 above).
Second, and very importantly, accept that you will make mistakes. No-one’s perfect. Don’t use any failure as a reason to stop moving forward. Use it as a way of learning what works and what doesn’t. Next time, your product will be more appropriate, your content more focused.

6.  How much time and energy can you invest?

Creating a website, if you’ve never done anything like it before, is a big undertaking. It involves a steep learning curve. There’s technology to be grappled with, hosting to be found, platforms to be understood.
Writing well researched, good quality content doesn’t happen overnight. It evolves over the weeks, months, and years of your website’s existence. It requires time and energy, and a big chunk of commitment.
Working from home is many people’s dream, and it can be your reality. But you need to ask yourselfhonestly how much time you have. Work out how best this can happen for you.
  • Do you have a family? Can they help with tasks around the home which would normally fall to you? Do you have a spare hour (or more) during the day which you’d normally spend watching T.V.?
  • Do you have a day job? Can you grab an extra hour by getting up earlier each day? Can you work on your business during your lunchtime? Are weekends available to you?
Do a self-audit. Take two or three typical days during one week, and log the time you spend doing different tasks. In particular, make a note of any time you have which is your own – even if it’s just an hour. You may be surprised by the opportunities you have.
Don’t be put off by what may look like a very short space. A successful website can be built from only an hour or two a week – it just takes longer.
But do be realistic about this. If your expectations are too high, it will be hard to sustain your passion and enjoyment.

7.  What support can you rely on?

Remember: if you’re a one-person business, you’re about to be both a business owner and a member of your own workforce, quite often working in isolation. It can be lonely at times.
Don’t expect that everyone you know will automatically be pleased with your decision to start an online business, or be as enthusiastic about it as you are.  They may not understand what you’re about to do, or they may understand and think it’s foolhardy. “How can you possibly think you’ll earn any money using your computer?” is a fairly common reaction among friends and family.
Family and friends are important, of course, and it’s crucial to have the conversation with them before you launch into the online world. How much do they understand of what you’re planning to do? How supportive are they of the fact that your time with them may become more limited than it has been previously? What practical household support can you expect?
Unfortunately, there will always be doubters. Your true close friends will always be there for you, but if you experience constant negativity, it may be time to change your support group. Their negative attitudes will undermine your confidence, wear down your optimism and make you doubt yourself. Starting any business is hard enough without having to deal with that.
Instead, find support from solopreneurs who are at a similar stage to you, and from others who have more experience and are further down the line. They will  understand the struggles and celebrate the achievements. You’ll no longer feel you’re crazy for wanting an online business, and you’ll know that they’ll be there to share the struggles and goals, and to give advice and feedback when it’s needed.
So, surround yourself with a like-minded group of people you can relate to and who offer positive reinforcement. Post on forums, join platforms like Linkedin or Twitter to make connections, identify groups in a similar niche on Facebook.
Find encouragement in places like the SBI! community, who will share your ups and downs, provide you with genuine support, and cheer you on when you most need it. And remember, you’ll be able to offer them support and encouragement in return.

8.  Finally, how much belief do you have in yourself?

Make no mistake, there will be times when you think: “Maybe I don’t have what it takes, after all.” Someone may criticize your content; your product may not sell as well as you’d hoped; your family may complain that they never see you; your energy may wane.
At times like these, your mindset will be critical.
You need to know that not everything has to be perfect, first time round. Stop over-analyzing and procrastinating. Know you can rely on the support of others to help you through the difficult times. Most of all, have the confidence to keep moving forward.
If you’re sure of your passion, you know the unique voice you can present and what makes your site different, you have ambition and drive, and you can offer something to your audience that will make their life easier.
Roll up your sleeves. You’re ready to do some work.
We at SiteSell are here to support you in every step of your business building journey.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Sale Become a PaySpree Affiliate or Vendor..

If you sell digital products online you are no doubt aware of the two most popular affiliate networks, ClickBank and PayDotCom.

The Instant Commission Affiliate Network

While both of these are great and I highly recommend each of them, today I came across a brand new service that really caught my attention. It's called PaySpree and the reason it caught my attention is that ALL its members get paid for their sales instantly. And they can choose whether to be paid by PayPal, AlertPay or Credit Card.

Even affiliates get paid for their referred sales instantly.

I expect it to become quite a hit as the lure of 'instant commissions'  played a big part in the massive success of products such as 7DollarSecrets and the RapidActionProfits scripts. And PaySpree offers even more than what you get with those.

I've actually come across products for sale that are just lists of affiliate programs that pay instant paypal commission. And I've seen many threads in the various internet marketing forums asking about where to find instant commission affiliate programs. Now there is an entire site and marketplace dedicated to them.

As soon as you become a member you can start promoting any product in the marketplace, and you can add your own products so affiliates can promote them for you. All commission payments are handled automatically by PaySpree, it sounds like a winner to me.

I've just signed up and had a look around the site and it seems pretty simple and non cluttered, check it out at the link below and let me know what you think:

CLICK HERE

Friday, 11 March 2016

Common Mistakes to Avoid as You Build Your Online Business

Written By: Ken Evoy in How Solopreneurs Build Their Business | March 11, 2016


Of course, you want to be successful. No-one starts an online business because they think they’ll fail.
But what do “success” and “failure” really mean? And how can you, at the start of your online business journey, bring about success, and leave behind failure?

Let’s Define Success

Success is more than merely the absence of failure. It’s also the absence of failure in the nitty-gritty, in-the-trenches sense.
What do I mean by that?…
Success is the absence of making mistakes.
Yes, it’s also about doing things well, but that’s not the focus of this discussion.
No single mistake will doom you (except picking a terribly wrong niche). But a combination of them certainly will.
SBI! can claim many successful sites. They are the result of the passion, determination, and hard work of their solopreneur authors.
Of course, passion and determination alone won’t hack it. They need combining with the trusted SBI! process of
Content > Traffic > PRE-Selling > Monetization
outlined in the SBI! ‘Action Guide’.
But every SBI! site, no matter how successful, contains at least one or two (or three!) errors. And that’s OK. The C > T > P > M process is strong enough to overcome the occasional boo-boo.
What if you make a whole bunch of errors? Well, you’re headed in the wrong direction, to put it mildly.
image00

How SBI! Helps Avoid Mistakes

For SBIers, errors only come about when people fail to follow the very specific advice in the Action Guide. For example, putting some rarely searched word as your home page’s Specific Keyword is not the advice contained in the Action Guide.
Picking the wrong niche is another error. A biggie. If you follow the Guide well you shouldn’t make a mistake like this.
Perhaps you come to your new business with a pre-conceived idea about the niche you’d like to choose. That’s understandable. Lots of people do.
But it’s better to keep an open mind until SBI!’s tools have helped you make an informeddecision.
Tools? What tools?
Well, there’s “Niche Choose It!”, for example. This nifty piece of decision-making software helps you weigh up all critical factors: passion, knowledge, time available, monetization potential. It takes a complex – and crucial – decision-making process, and makes it easy.
And then there’s Brainstorm It!. This is a combination of Brainstormer, which in a matter of minutes generates potential keywords for your website, and the Master Keyword List, where you analyze and filter those keywords until you have a blueprint for your site’s content.
But I digress.  Let’s get back to the big picture of this article…

What Are The Major Mistakes People Make?

I don’t know a single successful person in my life who has not made any mistakes.
If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.
I asked SBIers in the forums to identify some avoidable boo-boos – either mistakes they’ve made themselves, or gaffes they’ve seen others make. Here’s a sampling of the most common and important.
Side-step these mistakes as you build your business.

1. “Oh Look – a Squirrel” Syndrome

This is to do with lack of focus, and it’s a very common error amongst would-be solopreneurs. It may be for good reason – creative people tend to get distracted more easily – but it can lead to chasing the “latest-greatest” thing – which then turns out not to be so great after all.
Even within SBI! it can happen. There’s no point chasing down every last keyword that looks like it could be the next great niche sent from heaven.
So if you tend to get over-excited by the latest “bright shiny object” which is sure to make you a millionaire overnight – don’t do it. Plan. Re-focus on the task in hand. Don’t go chasing squirrels.
Keep calm red poster in modern line style

2. Mistakes of Omission

This involves leaving things undone altogether, or skimming through things rather than applying proven advice conscientiously. Of all the issues raised in terms of errors made by new solopreneurs starting an online business, this one came out top.
Here are some of the most common “mistakes of omission,” straight from our customers’ mouth:
  • Skipping through the Action Guide, anxious and eager to “get to the real stuff” and not re-reading or re-watching the Guide to get the important aspects of site-building right.
  • Not taking full advantage of SBI!’s tools. It’s obvious when people aren’t actually using the tools; when they haven’t really read the Action Guide; when they haven’t read Make Your Content PReSell!.
  • So many people don’t take the time to read and learn the basics of “Make Your Content Sell” – yet it is the definitive guide for writing on the web. It includes formatting; writing short, sharp, active sentences; using headlines, lists, and other skimmable writing techniques to keep visitors’ eyes moving down the page.
  • Not taking full advantage of the collective wisdom and experience in the SBI! Forums and the Tips’n’Techniques articles. These work together with the Action Guide, and extend it.
  • Not looking at your competition. It’s a great roadmap if you look at your “successful” competition, learn what they do – and follow suit. I don’t mean to “copy” but if you see that they are using ads in a certain way, or if they come into the forums and make a recommendation, listen to them.
  • Not planning monetization carefully enough, and settling for easy ways to monetize. Dig deeper. Look for better affiliate partners. Think about making your own products.
  • Not having a newsletter, or not being clear that the site has one. The newsletter is one of the best pre-selling tools that I know of. Besides that, it’s one of the top ways to draw visitors back to your site.
  • I know a newsletter is a commitment. But in return, you get to directly reach those who liked your site the most. That’s a whole new relationship. Even if you just take 15 minutes a month to give a “breezy” update about what’s new on the site … It’s a commitment that’s well worth it.
  • Learning that everything hinges on everything else. It’s a lot like putting a puzzle together, if one piece is wrong or missing, you’ll have some scrambling to do to fix it.

3. Mistakes of Commission

These errors involve actively fighting against proven advice, techniques and tools.
Consider these forum comments from experienced SBIers about the mistakes they see people making. Then, make up your mind that you won’t fall into the same traps.
  • Choosing a niche solely because “the numbers are so great” – presumably because it will be profitable. No passion or personal experience or knowledge, which are vital elements. Numbers alone don’t do it.
  • Choosing the wrong niche for your circumstances, time-wise. If you only have an hour or two per week, that’s fine, but you have to “go narrow.”
  • Using very broad keywords that don’t have a hope of getting ranked, for example:  “money,” “health,” “fit,” “food,” “baby,” and “love”.
  • Not knowing your potential audience is a huge mistake. For whom are you writing? That’s the first question people should be asking before they start to write, and definitely before they try to sell.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves”
Steve Jobs.
  • Against all Action Guide advice, I see people not writing sufficient quality content on their pages. Content is the start of it all.
  • People often have loads of affiliate banners, and try to sell far too early.

4. Mistakes of Personality

These are the issues that come with solopreneurs being individuals, with all their flaws and foibles. Look hard at yourself. Is this you? How do you need to change, to make sure these errors can be corrected?
  • Think long, think hard, plan, and sleep on it – but then, decide!
  • Getting discouraged too soon and freezing up before taking any action is a problem. I get way too involved at wanting to understand exactly what I’m doing, and why, before taking any action whatsoever.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Trying to be a perfectionist is a big problem which holds people back. Making mistakes is part of the learning process.
image01
  • Being scared of making “mistakes” is a mistake in itself. I admit to this one. I secretly think that my mistakes reflect on who I am. I’ve allowed this, perfectionism and over-analyzing to keep me from putting content up fast, easily, and with a jaunty spirit.
  • The problem is making the mistakes twice. That means you haven’t learned anything. No one can live without making mistakes. So make mistakes, make many – but make sure you learn from them.
  • Staying inside our comfort zone is a mistake. I think this is a biggie that’s not talked about enough. We all tend to do what we like to do, not what scares us.
  • Not getting help from outsiders, if necessary. I use local agents simply because they’re better in setting up deals with locals than I can do. Local talks easier with locals. It cost me a little extra money, but in the long run I make more.

And Finally …

Let’s wrap up the list of errors to avoid with a suggestion by Travis Wilkerson, one of SBI!’s many successful solopreneurs.
This is probably the greatest error of all.
“Not treating your online journey like it’s a real business.”
This is a critically important attitude to eliminate.
If you really, deeply think of it as a business, you’ll be far more creative on the monetization side of things.
Sometimes, calling it an “e-business” is just too “low-risk”. If it had a big, expensive lease and expensive inventory, you’d wake up thinking about new ways to turn traffic into dollars every morning.
So, do just that. Think of your online business as a business. Consider the mistakes above. Think about how to avoid them.
And above all, remember: your past mistakes are meant to guide you – not define you. If you make a mistake, learn from it – and then move on, to your success.
What mistakes have you made while building your business? Please share in the comments below.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

How to Start an Online Business Without Breaking the Bank

Written By: Cath Andrews in What It Means To Be A Solopreneur | March 9, 2016

So you’re excited!
You’ve made that important decision – you want to be a solopreneur.  You have the passion and you’ve thought through all the implications.
(If you’re not sure about the implications, this article will help.)
It is exciting – and perhaps a little scary at the same time.
Some of your anxiety may be about confidence: “Do I know enough?”; “Why would people listen to me?” for example. That’s perfectly natural – and we will deal with that, step by step.
Part of you, though, may be worried about the financial side of things. After all, you’ve seen ads by people offering to build your website for thousands of dollars. Or maybe you’ve listened to webinars by “gurus” who promise you will become a millionaire overnight – but only if you sign up to their $2,000 course.
Or perhaps you’re worried that you’ll have to invest in massive resources. Will your business leave the family savings account empty?
Let’s look at what resources you’ll actually need to start your own online business – today.

Resources You Need That Won’t Cost a Cent

You may think the most important resources are physical: a computer, an office, business cards…
You will need those things, of course – we’ll come to that later – but they’re not the most important. Not by a long way.
The most important resource for anyone starting a new business is –
Business success is never guaranteed, no matter how much money you throw at it (despite what the “gurus” might tell you.) It’s not about the money.
The clue is in the name: “Solopreneur”.
It’s all about you.
But that’s a bit vague, so let’s narrow “you” down.
Your passion. You might have the most brilliant money-making ideas in the world, but without a genuine excitement for the subject of your business, your energy and motivation will wane. You’ll find the days are becoming a drag.
Don’t worry at this stage about whether the ideas you have for your business are a viable proposition. SBI!’s Action Guide will help you think through that, later. If you have more than one idea, it will also help you decide which is the more achievable.
But for now…
Ask yourself: What do I really love doing? What did I used to love doing as a child? Might that be something I can turn into a business? Will writing about my chosen topic day in, day out for years to come lift my spirits? Or will it make me feel I don’t want to get up in the morning? In other words, brainstorm yourself!
Your knowledge and experience. It’s not only about passion, of course. Knowledge and experience are two of your most valuable assets. Knowledge can be acquired; in fact it’s a good idea to budget a small amount each month to buy one or two books about your niche. You can use them for reference when necessary, and review them to sell too!
But you don’t want your online business to become another WikiPedia. That’s where your experience comes in.
Ask yourself: Thinking about my potential business topic (or “niche”), do I have enough knowledge? Could I acquire it? What experience do I have? How might I use that to help other people?
Your perspective. This is what SBI! calls a “Valuable PRE-selling Proposition”. It’s your unique take on your chosen subject. It’s what makes you stand out from the rest. It’s what inspires your potential customers to like and trust you.
Ask yourself: What is it about you which would make your business stand out from all the others in your niche? What would make people want to come back to your website rather than anyone else’s? How determined are you to provide your customers with outstanding, personalized service?
“When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.” Richard Branson
Let’s take these three areas together.
Suppose you’re thinking of a niche related to your great passion: gardening. You love gardening. You can’t get out there enough. In fact, if there were 24 hours of daylight, that’s where you’d want to spend it.
You may not have in-depth knowledge about every variety of plant. But, thinking back to the days when you had your first garden, you can relate to people who are just starting out. You’ve been there. You know what it’s like trying to work out which plants like sun, which can’t tolerate cold. In fact, you could write a book about it!
This could work!
Can you see how “having resources” to start an online business begins, not with money, but  with you? Your passion. Your motivation. Your experience. Your unique take on the world.
Your self belief.
You do have self-belief, right?
Not sure?  OK – let’s talk about it a little.

Self Belief

There’s evidence that if you will believe you’re going to succeed, you probably will.
This isn’t to do with arrogance. It’s to do with acknowledging weaknesses as well as strengths. It’s about being proud of your achievements, no matter how small. It’s about not listening to the voices in your head telling you “I can’t” and replacing them with “Oh yes, I can!”
It may include finding the right tools to help you with your business. The right platform to host your website. The right learning program to develop your knowledge.
Ask yourself: What’s stopping you from having a belief in yourself? Are you prepared to investigate what you need to build your self-confidence? Are you ready to invest time and money in your own development?
Above all, do you have the conviction to make it work? Because giving yourself to your business is not without its own costs. Not in terms of hard cash, but time.
So…

Let’s Talk About Time

You probably recognize that time is a resource – one of your most valuable resources, in fact. But do you recognize it as an outlay for your business, even though it’s not costing you hard cash?
Think of it this way. If you were paying someone to come up with the kind of high quality, personal content you need, how much would you expect it to cost? $15 an hour? $20? More?
(I can tell you – you would be paying a premium for that kind of work!)
Your business won’t feel it as a cost, because you’re not paying yourself. But it’s a resource you cannot do without, and it can come at an emotional and physical cost.
Solopreneurs tend to be far more motivated than people who work for someone else. After all, you’re building your own business, not putting money into someone else’s pocket.
That’s a great benefit. If you’re prepared to put in the time, and use that time wisely, you’ll start out streets ahead of your competitors.
Many people starting an online business think they just need to put up a pretty website.  Hey presto – the money will start rolling in!
But – life’s not like that.
But your time investment can come at a cost, too. Make no mistake. This precious resource will take effort. It will take time away from your family, your other interests, your time out.
“How much time will it take?” – I hear you asking.  The answer to that is… as long as it takes. It will vary from one person to another.
What matters is how long it will take you. And that will depend in part on how well you can focus.
Ask yourself: Being realistic, how much time will you have to devote to your business? What can you do to make that time count? How can you get a break from the household chores, the day job, the family?
Need to read more about prioritizing, including how to focus your time? This article will help!

Find Yourself a Community!

You may not need paying hard cash – at least, not at the start of your online business journey. But you still need an investment.
It’s not always easy being a solopreneur. Anyone who tells you differently may be trying to shield you from the cold, hard, truth.
Sometimes, it’s difficult. Difficult to sustain motivation. Difficult to work in isolation. Don’t forget, you won’t have colleagues around you to share ideas with.
Or will you?
Colleagues are an immensely important resource. You need to investigate this as a priority. Find like-minded people who’ve been there, done that. They can help when the going gets tough – and celebrate the victories, too.
There’s no need to buy into a training program to do that, at least not at first. When you’re starting out, the information they provide can become overwhelming. And they tend to be expensive.
It’s tempting, though, because “gurus” generally offer a support resource like a Facebook group.
Those groups can be fun. Some include very knowledgeable people. But often they’re tied into courses, so they come at a financial cost. Sometimes this is hundreds of dollars per course – sometimes thousands.
Take a look instead at SBI! Forums. They’re exactly the kind of place a new solopreneur needs. SBIers gather there to ask and answer questions; to “help and be helped.” No question is too small, or too “stupid.”
SBIers know exactly where you’re coming from, because they’ve been there, too.
I was pleasantly surprised about the SBI! forums, how community driven the spirit of SiteSell is. It’s not just the corporate entity there to help you. You’ve got all the people within SBI!. They all help you. It doesn’t matter if a question has been asked a thousand times. And the nice thing about it is, it does again feel very familiar and it’s something you move into easily because you feel you are part of a family.

It’s Not All About You!

So that’s your most precious, your most “costly”, your most immediate resource – YOU! That’s the resource you should examine first.
Because without it, you do not have a solopreneur business.
And with it, you have – almost – everything.
I can hear the cogs whizzing round in your head now. “Aha! Now comes the crunch. Nowshe’s going to ask us for thousands of dollars!”
Wrong!
But it would be wrong to suggest that starting an online business comes at no monetary cost. Of course, there are resources you’re going to have to find which will need a financial outlay. But probably not quite as much as you might have thought.
Let’s take a look at some physical resources you’re going to need. Is it possible to get them without breaking the bank?

An Office

Well, that would be nice.
Somewhere to shut yourself away from the distractions of the outside world. A nice, cosy “den” with a coffee machine and an en-suite bathroom. Somewhere the kids can’t interrupt and there’s no noise from the family T.V.
Wonderful!
Let’s be realistic, though. For most people, that’s a dream. It’s a dream which may one day become a reality.
But at the start of your solopreneur journey, it probably is – just a dream.
And that’s fine!
Why?
Because there’s always a way, and your way does not have to cost you money. Maybe you don’t have a spare room you can turn into an office. Is there a corner of a room you could work in? A kitchen table you could work on when it’s not in use?
Or, failing that, how about somewhere outside the home? One of the massive benefits of having an online business is that you can work from anywhere, at any time.
How about a desk at your local library? Or a cafe with free internet access?
Remember J. K. Rowling? She wrote the Harry Potter books. Her life as a writer began when she had no money. She wrote in longhand, balancing her notebook on tables in local cafés. She was too poor to afford anything else. Even now, as a multi-millionaire author, she believes that cafés are the best places to write:
“It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writer’s block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think.”
Ask yourself: Whereabouts would be a good place for me to start my business? Where would I feel most comfortable? Where am I likely to be most productive? If there’s no space in my home, where else could I go?

A Computer and Internet Connection

Well, you’re starting an online business. So it stands to reason you will need a means of getting online.
Mobile devices are good for day-to-day work like checking emails, or responding to customer queries. They’re more challenging when it comes to designing and building your website.
For that reason, use of a desk- or laptop computer is a must, as is an internet connection and modem. You need to count these as a financial cost of setting up your business.
You don’t need an all-singing, all dancing set-up, though. That can come later, once your business is established and earning enough money to upgrade.
Start with the best you can afford without going overboard. Remember J. K. Rowling, and if finances don’t run to a computer at the moment, start thinking outside the box.
Ask yourself: What resources do you currently have which you could use? If you don’t have a desktop or laptop, could you borrow one? Can you use one at your day job, outside working hours? Is there a local library which provides free use of computers?

A Website and Hosting Company

Yep. An online business needs a website. So does an offline business. That can be pretty daunting, especially if this is your first venture into the world of website building.
So it can be tempting to look at the many ads from agencies or individuals, offering to set up a website for you. It will likely come complete with color palette, logo, all necessary coding, plug-ins, dancing pigs…
If that’s the way you want to go, and you have the resources to do it – great!
The reality is, though, that you may end up with a site which you don’t much like, don’t feel any connection to and don’t know how to use.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to do all that yourself.
I can feel your feet getting colder even now. “Me? Never!”
(Oh, listen! There are those pesky voices again!)
Not by yourself, perhaps. Unless you want to spend countless hours researching different platforms, templates and site-building processes.
Take a look at SBI!’s platform. It makes building an online business straightforward. Ask any of the solopreneurs who started off exactly where you are now.
Listen to them talk about:
  • the ease of creating your own site from a range of designer templates
  • using a simple “drag and drop” method to create pages
  • the “Action Guide”, which took them from where you are now to owning a successful business, in ten steps
  • how good it is to have a hosting company whose aim is to “cover your back” from all those hackers and bugs.
Then, ask them how much all this costs. You may well be surprised at the reply.

What About an Advertising Budget?

Surely a website can’t get anywhere these days without a big advertising budget?
Actually, it can!
Of course, once you have your website up and running, you want people to find it. For that reason, many new solopreneurs are advised to set aside a marketing budget. Sometimes they’re advised to set aside thousands of dollars.
But it’s really not necessary. So stop stressing about it!
Instead, while you’re reading about those successful SBIers, look for mentions of this:
  • SBI! tools help you understand exactly how your site can “rank” with the all-important Search Engines.
Your website’s high quality, personalized, original content will do all the advertising for you. Later, your business will grow and you’ll begin to develop contacts. At that stage you may want to pay for business cards and stationery.
But for now, at the start of your journey, it’s not necessary.
So, can you start your online business journey now?
Yep.

Where to Go Next?

Starting an online business as a solopreneur is not about spending lots of money. Nor is it about an intricate knowledge of how to build a website.
It’s about viewing yourself as a resource, and being prepared to nurture and develop that resource as you would any other.
Of course, you can’t run a business with no outlay at all. But it’s much less costly, and requires far fewer resources, than you might have thought.
Here’s the bottom line. From your own resources, you need:
  • passion for and experience of your niche
  • belief in yourself
  • an unique view which will help you stand out
  • willingness to invest time and energy
  • vision, and a commitment to working hard
From external resources, you need:
  • somewhere to work
  • access to basic “tools of the trade”: a computer and internet connection
  • a reliable hosting company
  • an easy to use platform which guides you through building a successful business, step by step
  • colleagues to help when the going gets tough – and to celebrate the victories.
Success is never guaranteed. It depends largely on your own, and your external, resources.
Don’t delay. It’s your time.

After all, if J. K. Rowling can do it from a standing start – why not you?


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