Running an Online Business? It’s Complicated!

Over the short time that I was blogging, it dawned on me how complicated running an online business could be. Even a simple blog demands a lot.

Come to think of it. For you to start, you need these bare minimum:

Website

You need to set up needed infrastructure. Many claim that it’s easy to set up a WordPress site. For someone who’s learning, like me, how come it isn’t? You need to do these tasks:

  • look for a hosting service where you “play” with your cpanel
  • search for a brandable or keyword-rich domain name
  • decide on a content management system or platform to use like WordPress
  • select a theme for your website
  • install needed plugins that you think suit your needs
  • set up an autoresponder including setting it up, creating your squeeze page or opt-in form, writing email sequences.

Content

You need to consistently create content. Content creation means:

  • researching or searching for relevant topics and resources
  • writing your post
  • finding images that don’t infringe on any person’s or business’ copyright
  • searching up quotes
  • composing your graphics
  • recording videos.

Traffic

Driving traffic to your website entails the following activities:

  • use of valuable keywords
  • finding a group to work with
  • engaging in social media, and
  • so much more.

Even with great content, if no one comes to read them, it is useless; unless, of course, you are writing for fun or self-expression or building up content for a book to publish.

Product or Service

You need to create or find a product or service to sell or promote. If you are eyeing to set up a business, you need something to sell. Without that, what you do may end up as a hobby that gives you pleasure, form of distraction to kill time or while away boredom, or venue for self-expression like a journal.

Promotion

You need to constantly promote your products and services. How would people know that you have valuable products and services if you don’t let them know? Ways to promote are:

  • reaching out to people you already know and who know you
  • tapping joint venture partners or broad networks of people and organizations related to your business
  • paying for eyeballs to your content, product, or service through social media advertising, solo ads, among others.

List-Building

Coloring Book WormYou need to consistently build an email list. An email list, as successful marketers would point out, is your ticket to success. You have a captive market for your content as well as products and services. It’s your one-click ticket to the bank. It’s where the money is.

To a beginner, this looks complicated and far from what successful marketers say. You have to set up your:

  • autoresponder
  • opt-in pages
  • thank you page
  • email sequence
  • giveaway as lead magnet
  • driving traffic.

However, when you’re all set, things seem easy.

That’s the bare minimum. Seriously? Bare minimum?

Or am I hallucinating and just imagining things.

I don’t know. This list is what I hear most marketers say needs to be done to keep business rolling. I bet there are more to this list, and more are on the way.

Quick Assessment: How Do You Fare?

How do I fare?

Where am I? What have I accomplished, so far?

A quick assessment tells me that I still have a long way to go. Here’s my report card:

Website (NI)

  • Hosting (check) - I have chosen an excellent hosting service - Momsweb - that provides fast, almost round-the-clock, personalized support.
  • Domain name (check) - I’m satisfied with my name. I know in my mind why I chose it. It has the keywords coloring book and the concept of the bookworm is highly brandable.
  • WordPress (check) - I have chosen this as my content management system. It’s free, easy to use and gets constantly upgraded. Many developers invest time and money to come up with improved themes and plugins.
  • Themes and Plugins (needs improvement) - I have set up the Divi Elegant Theme as well as plugins that I think I need. I still have much to do though with customizing Divi. It’s challenging for me and I don’t have the time, energy and patience, for now, to deal with it. I also don’t have the budget to outsource it plus I don’t know who to trust to do the work.
  • Autoresponder (fail) - I use MailChimp and have set up my opt-in. I need to test it, get the hang of it, and maximize its capabilities. I also need to create my email sequences including my thank you page.

Content (WIP)

  • Content Creation (Work-in-progress) - I am working on this. It’s truly challenging because it distracts me from creating my art.

Traffic (NI)

  • Blogging Challenge (NI) - I have joined a number of groups who do the 30-day blogging challenge. I have written on most days but have to keep going.
  • Social Media (NI) - I have a Facebook Page that needs a lot of work. My Twitter is at the infancy stage. I have no Pinterest account. My Instagram has nothing in it.

Product or Service (WIP)

  • Existing Products (WIP) - I have a number of products in other selling platforms. However, I need to bring them over to this blog to sell.
  • Others (WIP) - I have many on the works and I need to focus on completing them.

Promotion (Fail)

  • Social Media (NI) - I need to actively work on building my social media presence like create a Pinterest account, populate Instagram, promote my Facebook, and send out targeted tweets at Twitter. This is highly challenging for me. It demands a significant amount of time and, thus, distracts me from creating coloring pages.
  • Giveaways (Fail) - I need to create a lead giveaway product to attract my target market. I haven’t done this yet.
  • Document-sharing (Fail) - I already have the apps, specifically Designrr and Beacon - to easily do this. I just need to do it.
  • Blogging (NI) - I need to reach out to my target market. Right now, I don’t think I do.

List-Building (Fail)

  • Autoresponder (NI) - I need to test if MailChimp works.
  • Opt-in (NI) - I have one at the bottom of each post but none at the home page and about page.
  • Thank you (Fail) - I haven’t done this yet.
  • Email Sequences (Fail) - I haven’t started this yet.
  • Giveaway (Fail) This serves as a lead magnet to attract potential subscribers. This is in the form of a free product to give to subscribers.  I haven’t done any of this yet.
  • Traffic (Fail) - I don’t have a product or service set up, no landing page, and no working autoresponder system. As such, I haven’t thought of actively driving targeted traffic to a special page.

What Next?

Path of least resistance quoteWith all these that I need to do for my business, it’s so easy to have ADD. Which one should I prioritize?

For sure, I could hire a staff or outsource work. But with the way things are going, i am not yet at that stage to do that.

This assessment is a great start though. I now know the things that I need to:

  • keep on doing (WIP)
  • improve on (NI)
  • exert more energy and resources on (Fail).

I only have limited time on my hands. Which comes first? Which ones should I work on first?

  • The urgent or important? The important, obviously.
  • The long- and medium-term (strategic) or short-term (tactical)? Short-term where each step is geared towards the strategic.

How do I hurdle all these?

It’s hard but I think if I stop now, I am certain to get nowhere.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~Confucius

Those who now taste the fruits of success sure had struggled with their learning curve. They may also have gone through a hell of trials and tribulations, and didn’t get to where they through wishful thinking.

What do you think of my list? Did I miss something important?

What should I do, you think?

I would love your thoughts on this post.