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2 rules you must know before you start an online business

Start an online business

If you’ve been thinking about starting an online business, but feel stuck on creating an idea, or if you have too many ideas and you don’t know where to start – you’re not alone! I am just like you, and it took me 6 years to get my ass in gear.

For 6 years, I toyed around with different websites, failed at an online apparel company, had some success consulting, and then spent 4 years and thousands of dollars taking courses, reading and figuring out how it all really works.

I don’t want you to suffer, struggle and most importantly, procrastinate like I did. There is no time like the present to be an entrepreneur and start you own business. The barrier to entry has never been lower, and the ability to scale has never been higher.

[RELATED RESOURCE: Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World, by Peter Diamandis – a must read book for every entrepreneur]

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Here are the two you must know before you start an online business:

Rule #1: Just Do It

A little over two years ago I wrote an article about “Why Nike has the best marketing strategy.” To be honest when I wrote the article, It was part of my experiments to see how SEO worked and if I could rank for “Marketing Strategy.” Interestingly, a lot of traffic to my website is for “Just Do It” – which ironically is what every “WANTRAPRENEUR” needs to do – JUST DO IT.

Click to Tweet: “The Way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney from @douglasjfoley

You no longer need to write a business plan, apply for a loan, buy real estate, hire people, develop a marketing plan, blah, blah, blah. Today, you can have a store open to sell your product in less than a couple hours, and even faster if you are creating a blog and plan to make affiliate commission.

[Related: What does it take to create your own lifestyle business? Great podcast link here with tools to help you get started]

Rule #2: Content is KING!

Content, has always been, and will always be KING! The Beetles and The Bible – both tremendous pieces of content that are still as relevant today and have massive movements surrounding them.

The success to any online business is generating and distributing quality content to build an audience so you have people to sell to. Social media is the connection to engage your audience with the content.

In a previous article, “What does it take to start your own lifestyle business,” I shared Kevin Kelly’s thoughts on “1,000 Ture Fans.” In the article it discusses the importance of having a dedicated audience who is likely purchase anything you produce.

Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day’s wages per year in support of what you do. That “one-day-wage” is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that.  Let’s peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks. – Kevin Kelly

How do you build an audience?

Consistency + Quality + Time! The real secret to building 1,000 true fans is consistently creating quality content over time. There are no real shortcuts that will result in a sustainable business.

Think about your audience the same way any musician would. You start off playing at a few dive bars doing mostly cover songs, with a few of your own songs. After time and a little luck, you might get discovered and open for a more well-known brand, get signed by a label and be on your way to the top of Billboard. I don’t know a single artist that picked up a guitar and the next day was at the top of the charts – online businesses and creating quality content is no different.

Reaching the tops of the charts, and getting that “opening act” (in content marketing that would be ‘guest posts’), is much easier. You can control your outlet through social media. You can control your message through your blog. You can dictate your future.

Does content marketing work?

Since January, I committed to writing weekly and sharing the posts on Twitter and LinkedIn. I didn’t map out a master business plan, I didn’t create a content strategy or have anything to sell.  I just started writing  and sharing what I believed was the best quality content I could find. The results…

  1. I have been featured in YFS Magazine
  2. I’ve landed a dream job working for an amazing content agency (St Joseph Communications, Content Group)
  3. My website traffic continues to grow exponentially every month (here’s the proof):
Website Traffic

Web traffic for from January 1 to June 27

How can you start your own online business, blog, or even earn money on the side?

In 3 weeks, I will be launching a free training program with tools, resources and lessons I learned over the past 6 years, including what NOT to do. I will be closing the private group after the first 50 people. Click here to pre-register!


Doug Foley
Doug Foley is a podcast host, content marketer, and problem solver. He is also the youngest of 7 brothers and sisters, a proud father of 2, and is on a mission to help people find their passion, take action, and build the life they want to live. He frequently writes about entrepreneurship, personal development, and motivation.
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