So, you always wanted to have your own business and always wondered what software or tools you need to have in place in order to actually run that business? Here are my 6 steps to help you start an online business. (+ my fav tools)
1 Buy a domain name
First things first, you have to buy a domain! The domain is not something you can save off of, you just have to have it! These days a lot of the .com domains are taken, but that's not such a big problem. Instead, you can have .net or a fancy .co domain (those are a bit more expensive). I personally use Namecheap to buy my domains- it's super easy and intuitive.
2 Set up your email address
Once you own a domain name, you can set up an email that goes with it. Having an email with your name and the domain of your business makes your brand new business look so much more professional. Do not settle for a lousy @gmail.com account! Imagine your client receives an email from you. Which sender do you think looks more trustworthy- email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ?
3 Create a website
This one is a bit tricky. While some people won't need a very complicated website and would be good with just a homepage showing their name and listing their services, others may require a custom-coded online shop.Luckily for you, we have website builders in 2018, so that you don't need to hire a developer to code a website for you. The two platforms I recommend are Squarespace and WordPress. They are quite similar in the sense that they are both website builders, but a self-hosted WordPress website offers a little more customization options than Squarespace. Having said that, WordPress also has a steeper learning curve. You can do your own research and decide which one is best for you. Here's an article that offers a great comparison between both platforms.
In case you are a WordPress fan, you can also read this blog post on How to Start a Blog with WordPress.
4 Brand your business
Branding is the one thing that can make your business stand out!There is no way around that.Since you are just starting out with your business, I wouldn't recommend investing too much money in hiring a professional designer though. Instead, you should either buy a pre-made logo on Etsy or design your own using Canva. I do believe that everyone can be a designer and since there isn't anyone else that knows your business better than you do, you can do a great job branding your own business.
5 Find Payment provider
Having a business means that you sell something. Whether it's products or services, you have to be able to charge your clients. There are so many tools available on the market, but you can always start with PayPal or Stripe.If you are looking for a more advanced solution that also creates invoices for you, I would try either Dubsado (US clients) or Debitoor (EU clients).
6 Set up an email list
I cannot stress enough the importance of building your own email list. You should make it your number one priority to build a targeted email list. That way, you can reach your (potential) customers in a very personalized matter and start building a relationship with them. My current email provider is called ConvertKit .I started using it the end of 2016 and I love it!
By following these easy steps, you will have an online business in no time!