How Do I Start an Online Business – Get Started Today!

Are you looking how to start an online business?  Whether you are looking at opportunities to start an online business or are looking at ways of taking your small business into the online world, this post will help you understand the steps need and also how you can get started with a platform that will help you get started online and scale your business ideas.

What Is Your Goal Online? Which Direction Are You Planning on Taking?

I appreciate your goal will be to earn money online, but there are different ways of achieving it with an online business. I have gone through 3 of the most common business types that are successful online.

Selling Your Own Products

Selling Your Own Products

If you have your own products or have a service to offer, then you already have the groundworks for an online business.  Many people creating their own products, sell them on platforms like eBay or etsy – but having your own website allows you to target multiple markets with your own brand.

Drop Shipping

If you are unsure what drop shipping is, it is where you are the storefront for products from a wholesaler.  You receive an order, you forward that order onto your supplier and they fulfil the order.

There are a few pros to this business model, but there are also a couple of cons.


  • Low Start-up Cost
  • Low Cost of Inventory, as you are not storing the stock
  • Low Order Fulfilment Cost


  • Less Control over fulfilment timescales, may not always be ideal
  • Reliance on another people’s stock, if they run out you run out. Meaning you need to constantly stay up to date with their stock levels
  • Less Profit, the profit margins are really low as you need to remain competitive.
  • Poorer Customer Service.  Anytime your supplier doesn’t deliver as expected, you will have to deal with the fallout from your customers.

Whilst there are many drop shipping opportunities out there, there is a lot of work that goes into it. Much more than any other business style.  My preferred method is Affiliate Marketing.

Affiliate Marketing

Learn Affiliate Marketing

The reason I prefer Affiliate Marketing is that you can start a business in something you are really interested in, it has a low start-up cost and you can achieve a full-time income with the right strategy.  If you are unsure on what Affiliate Marketing is, I have written a full guide, check it out here.

But in short, Affiliate Marketing is where you promote products and services and receive a commission for introducing a customer to that product or service. It is the model I have been using for a couple of years and is the one that gives many people online the freedom to build an online business.

We all don’t have a day job that is something we really want to do, but an affiliate marketing business allows you to invest in a business that you really want to do.

With the right guidance and training, Affiliate Marketing is a great online business model.

Related Article: Wealthy Affiliate Review (How I Learned Affiliate Marketing).

Whichever route you decide, starting an online business starts with picking your niche.

Find a Niche

If you haven’t got your own product or service, you need to start with picking a niche.  It needs to be based on something you have a real interest in.  The reason I say this is, you will need to fully engage in the niche to build a successful online business that actually turns profitable.

Key steps to building an online business is being able to create content, but if you pick an area that you have no interest in or know nothing about – do you think you will be able to create content in it?

Affiliate Marketing allows you to build an online business in something that you are interested in, so why wouldn’t you take the opportunity.

Now, one of the key things people get wrong is by starting too broad.  To get the best results, you need to target a niche – let’s clarify, a niche is a tiny segment of the market.

If you are interested in gaming, just targeting gaming is way too broad – what you need to consider is getting as narrow as you can, i.e. Xbox One Accessories would be a niche.

Create a Website – WordPress is the Right CMS

Once you have chosen your niche, you will want to create a website – this will be the foundation for your online business.  I recommend WordPress, as it is an awesome Content Management System and is so easy to use and customise.

You will want to create a domain name (website address) that is relevant to your niche.  Learning how to do keyword research will help you a lot in your online business.

Related Post: Keyword Research

You can choose a website name below and see if it is free…

Create Great Content that Helps!

One of the key things of any website is content.  You will get nowhere if you do not create engaging content.  No one logsCreate Content onto a website to learn about something or get help and is happy to see low quality content.

But one of the things many get wrong is they are trying to sell, rather than helping.

People are looking for help when they search online, you are looking for ways to start an online business, people need help.

Helping people converts a lot better than selling. We all hate people who oversell.

Learning how to create helpful content is going to be a great help to your journey on creating an online business.

Use Search Engines to Drive Traffic to your Website

You will need to learn how to create awesome content that is search engine friendly to drive traffic to it.  Some will recommend Pay-per-click marketing, but this is a really expensive method if you get it wrong, it will become a complete waste of money.

You are much better off using the SEO method and ranking naturally. Whilst it might take longer to rank, it is free and with great content it is easier to rank for the right keywords at the top of the search engines.

Become an Authority in your Niche

You will also need to work on your authority in your niche.  Being an authority in your niche is key to becoming a go-to website for people and it becoming a profitable online business.

Building up trust is an important step with this.

To become an authority, is actually easier than you might think, it comes from creating quality content that helps, it is content that gets engagement from people (comments are a good sign of this) and traffic.

The more content you create, the more engagement you will get, and this leads to traffic.  This is the key to getting online sales.

How to Get Started Today!

Affiliate Marketing is an awesome business model and is one that can lead to a very profitable.Join Wealthy Affiliate

But I want to share with you an opportunity that will not only give you an online business but will also provide all the training and support you need to start an online business, with help and support from myself too.

Anyone can start an online business, but that doesn’t mean it will be successful.  There is so much to learn and if you don’t get it right you will not fulfil your goals.

I started an online business a couple of years ago and without the training I recommend, I would not be earning anything from it.

The training is a step-by-step guide that will take you through building a website, creating content that converts, getting social engagement and scaling that business to a point where you are earning a full-time income through it.

Wealthy Affiliate is the platform I have been using, and they offer everything you need to get started with an online business, read my Wealthy Affiliate review for full details.

But without them, I would not be in a position where I am now.

They have training material on all aspects on an online business, they also have a community of Internet Entrepreneurs that you would be joining to bounce ideas off and get expert help and advice from them.

If you are serious about starting an online business but want to check if Wealthy Affiliate is right for you, they have a free starter membership that gives you the chance to experience it with no catch and no credit card required.

I am a Premium Member of Wealthy Affiliate, that is not a secret, but my online business would not be where it is now without Wealthy Affiliate.

Have you got any experience with starting an online business, is there anything else you might add to the list?

Have you got any questions you want to ask or anything you need to know about Wealthy Affiliate or Affiliate Marketing?  Please leave them in the comments below and I promise to come back to you.

Thanks for checking out my post and good luck with your journey towards an online business.

14 thoughts on “How Do I Start an Online Business – Get Started Today!”

  1. I do agree with you that affiliate marketing is really the best way to start an online business and build a successful career. When done the correct way, you can make tons of money and build out your brand so that your traffic may be increased. I do have to admit that Wealthy Affiliate really is a great platform to upskill yourself on all the technical jargon and learn all the skills you need to get started. Every single day there are nearly hundreds of people joining Wealthy Affiliate in the hope of just doing that. By signing up for a free membership, one simply have nothing to lose by checking it out.

    • Hey Marchelle,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      thanks for your opinion on Wealthy Affiliate – you can achieve financial freedom with your own online business and Wealthy Affiliate can definitely help.



  2. Thank you for sharing this. A lot of people think of the traditional way of starting a business as a brick and mortar place that requires a lot of capital and sometimes think it’s the same way online and it really isn’t. I like how you presented two options for starting an online business. I’ve heard of drop shipping before, but as you said, you don’t have control of the inventory if the supplier runs out. Affiliate Marketing is definitely the real deal if you’re passionate and knowledgeable about something and you can promote products in that niche that have benefited you and can benefit other people. Have you been able to replace your full time job with Affiliate Marketing?

    • Hey Brian,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      Affiliate Marketing is an awesome platform for an online business, and people are always surprised when they see the start up costs (when you find a genuine platform) are nowhere near as much as you might think.

      We are in the process of growing the business to a point where I give up my day job, but the wife was able to leave her desk job and do something she loved, which is wedding stationary.  So it has worked, Affiliate Marketing can help many people – people who are looking for part time income to supplement a wage or those that are looking for a full-time income.  

      But the key is that many people expect a full-time income too early and get disillusioned when it doesn’t happen. I have achieved half the battle and got my wife doing an online business she loves, the next step is to achieve my financial freedom.

      Thanks again Brian

  3. Some great info on getting started with affiliate marketing – thanks John.

    I totally agree that you should get started with a reputable training company and Wealthy Affiliate is one of the best having been around since 2005. I believe that affiliate marketing is the closest you can get to “passive income” and earning money while you sleep – and who wouldn’t want that?

    As well as organic search, there are other ways to get traffic to your site and I’m sure you’ll be going into that as well at some point in the future.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Les,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      thanks for your shout out about Wealthy Affiliate.  Traffic can come from plenty of different methods, including social media, paid traffic and forums to name a few.

      Traffic generation is a big topic, I will be adding additional content in due course. 

      thanks again Les


  4. Hey John- You did a really good job giving the nuts and bolts of starting an online business.  

    I was wondering if you had tried your hand at drop shipping?   I’m starting to dabble in putting together a Shopify storefront….but am sensing I may not enjoy the monitoring and hassle that seems to go along with it.   You noted some of the cons in your article….and those are my same concerns.

    I agree that I think affiliate marketing is an awesome business model…because your can create unique content and be a problem solver for people and hopefully match them with products and services that fill a need.

    Sounds like Wealthy Affiliate has been very rewarding for you.  How did you try it for free before you went to the premium membership?

    Great article…keep up the super work on your site!

    • Hey Tim,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      My wife runs a wedding stationary business, and we added a few (safe) products to add to her website that were from a drop shipping supplier.  But to be honest, the reasons I listed as cons in the article are reasons why we haven’t expanded it more – it is just too much hassle.  You need to constantly check number available.  The other thing we found was the supplier keeps changing the price, so you need to constantly check otherwise you are not making any profit.

      Whereas we used affiliate marketing for some others, where the profit margins aren’t as much – but we found we make more money from it and there is less hassle.  That is why I promote Affiliate Marketing as the way to go for an online business.

      i had experienced a scam product that I lost some money on, it was to do with binary trading.  I was led by the adverts stating I could earn a fortune with a product that does the work.  (hence why I took to helping others look for genuine opportunities online).  I came across Wealthy Affiliate shortly after and tried their free starter membership before joining their Premium membership.

      WA has helped massively with my aspirations in Affiliate Marketing, but it has also taught me so much to grow Gem’s wedding stationary business and be able to achieve our goals.

      Thanks again Tim


  5. John, great article! You’re so right when you say create content to help, not to sell. The last thing people want is another sales pitch. When they head to the internet, they’re usually looking for help or entertainment. Learning to strike the balance between helping and making money is crucial.

    • Hey Taylor,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.  You said it, sales pitches are a big online turn-off.



  6. Hello there 😉

    Starting Your own online business requires a lot of courage, self-discipline and motivation and Like You’ve said, it is very important to examine the whole thought and idea of what Your online business will be about and how it will operate. I really appreciate how You present us, the readers affiliate marketing and provide an informative and in-depth look to see what it can offer and what people can expect from it. 

    You have mentioned in Drop Shipping’s cons that there is poorer customer service due to fact that You might have to deal with customers fallout because the supplier didn’t deliver to them as expected.

     I wonder, aren’t customers aware that drop shipping website works as intermediary and that the actual shop with product will ship and deliver it to You? Or can customers order from drop shipping website without redirecting the, to the actual shop?

     I also wondered, have You ever thought about maybe trying out other online business opportunities such as YouTube and make article about it? Or perhaps You already have it?

    Anyway, I find Your article to be very informative and helpful as it covers most significant and crucial things regarding the affiliate marketing in a great detail. How do You think a content creation for affiliate website would translate into content creation for, let’s say YouTube? What do I need to be aware of when making this switch or just trying this Youtube option out? And regarding the niche- what if the niche that I have chosen already has big competition? Should I be concerned about it and how to approach competition and combat it?

    Keep up the good work 😉



    • Hey Evald,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments and questions.  I will try my best to answer them.

      The idea of drop shipping is that the customer doesn’t know, if they know that you are only an intermediary and then can get the products elsewhere cheaper, you lose your customer and the profit made.  Many drop shipping suppliers are wholesalers and are not direct to customers.  So if they fail in a delivery, you will need to act like it is your fault, address the problem and sooth your customers feelings.

      Youtube is an awesome way of advertising your brand, and some are successful at it as an entity on its own.  But personally, I feel you should utilise YouTube as a branch of your business.

      I am still building out my content for this website but YouTube will feature, as it is the second biggest search engine out there, so needs to be part of your strategy.  Wealthy Affiliate has some great training on getting the best out of YouTube.

      Content Creation needs to be thought out and engaging to your customers – so the strategies work for whether it is for a written article or for a video.

      Everyone worries about competition in your niche – but if you utilise keyword research properly and harness the low-hanging-fruit technique in my keyword post. You can succeed.  the thing to remember, is that whilst there is a lot of content out there, there is also a lot of that content that is low quality.  Making sure you write in-depth content that helps readers in your niche will definitely rank better than most of the content out there.

      I research competing posts for a keyword everytime, and I always find I can add value to anything that is written out there.  It is all part of becoming an authority.

      Hope that helps,



  7. Some years ago My children were very young and I wanted to work from home online so I could be there for my children. I wanted to start an online business. I searched online eventually I found the best place to start and that is Wealthy Affiliate. They taught me how to build a website, how to fill it with content and how to make a success of my online business. 

    • Hey Juliet,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.  Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to start an online business, it has helped many learn the necessary skills to get started.

      thanks again



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