If your feeling unfulfilled in your career, starting a successful side hustle online is the way to go. It not only will help provide you with a profitable side income, but it is also the first step to getting rid of the 9 – 5 grind. Here we will teach you how to start your business and launch your website!
It can be a daunting task deciding what you want to do, setting up your side business and then creating a website. I totally understand. Here is the 10-step guide to help you start a successful side hustle.
The goal of this checklist is to provide you with the steps to:
- Choose your niche: a.k.a find the right side hustle for you!
- Work through the operational details of starting a business.
- Create a business plan so you can successfully make money!
- Get your website live
- and answer all the little detailed questions that most of us have along the way.
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Just one more note before I lay it all out there. I use affiliate links in this post at no cost to you;)
The 10 Step Guide to Starting a Successful Business and Launching Your Website
1. Create a Business Plan
First thing you need to know is that no matter what you are selling or what your business is, you should have at its most basic, a business plan.
This 10 Step Guide contains a combo of business plan elements + a digital framework for launching your side-hustle.
Here are the key elements that you will need to have in your business plan
- Executive Summary: what your business does and sells. Build your brand message!
- Company Description: Mission, Vision, Values.
- Market Analysis: In’s and Out’s of the industry you are trying to enter.
- Competitive Analysis: Comparison to your market competition.
- Organizational Operations: Company Structure and Employees or Independent Contractors.
- Products Suite / Services / Suppliers
- Marketing Plan: How you will market your business?
- Sales Strategy: How you will sell the products / services and / or your revenue streams.
- Request for Funding: If you need to raise money before starting identify how much and what it will be used for.
- Financial Projections: Anticipated revenue for 12 months and annual projected earnings.
Every business plan is different and you may not spend much time of each section. It all depends on what you want your business to be.
2. Establish your Niche
Establish your niche (if you haven’t already done so, download the “How to Find the Perfect Niche for your Business” from my website…its free!)
Narrow your niche even further (you cannot be everything to everyone) It is better to have 100 really great engaged followers than to have 1000 acquainted customers
Define your Target Audience
(i.e.: once your niche is narrowed you should be able to depict your ideal customer:
Here's all the basics to defining your customer...but what is really important is to define your customer's pain points! Click here to learn how to land clients!
- write down the specifics of this individual including their persona
- marital status
- typical behaviors
- buying patterns
Determine your market’s competition
Navigate to Google Trends. Google Trends is a search trends feature that allows you to see how many individuals searching Google for a particular term over a period of time to determine popularity. Go to Navigate to Lesson 4 in the “How to Find the Perfect Niche for your Business,” for more on leveraging Google Trends. Be sure to do multiple compare and contrasts of those individuals that are selling your services or products within your target market both online and locally.
Determine your niche’s profitability for your comparative analysis
A really useful tool I used to understand how much money a blog could accrue was to look at income reports of bloggers on Pinterest
Your next step: Review 3-5 different sites within your niche.
Perform case studies on those blogs:
Study each month of that blog and what they did over the course of those months to grow their revenue. This will help you to determine the profitability of your niche and analyze your potential growth rate.
3. Name Your Business
P.S ( and this is a big tip), I encourage you to have a blog, NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE SELLING. Why? Because it will build your creditability and authority as a business owner and build your SEO for your website ALL at the same time! READY…SET…GO!Decide on a name for your business.
Conduct search on Go Daddy to see if your domain name/s are available.
Then search all your social media handles (aka – social media names) to ensure availability.
Prior to buying this domain name perform a brainstorm to ensure that you love the name and it fits with your niche business topic.
Bounce the ideas off of family and friends. Then, sleep on it for a night.
When creating a personal brand some argue (youpreneur.com) that your name may be the best piece of real estate you can buy if you are selling your own personal brand, so do not discount it. Determine if you would ever sell your business to someone else, if not, then your name is a suitable option.
4. Determine Revenue Streams
You are in this to make money so it is important to define your revenue streams. Determine what will be your main source of revenue within your short-term goals. My recommendation is that you should start with a minimum of 2 sources of revenue and then plan to expand over time.
If you are selling a product: is it your own? are you buying through a third party? Are you using the drop shipping method? Will you have ads on your site? What about using affiliate marketing? Will you be guest blogging? Are you going to be creating YouTube videos? Will you be running webinars? Will you have a podcast? What about courses? Are you going to consult or be available for speaking engagements? Write these down and classify them into your short and long-term goals.
5. Finalize the Operational Business Details
Determine your business type
i.e.) LLC / Sole Proprietor / S corp / C Corp etc. Defining your business type will impact you come tax time (which is usually quarterly) so make sure that you are up to speed in what is best for you.
Typically, solo entrepreneurs become an LLC or a Sole Proprietorship. If you are an independent contractor doing freelance then you would typically want to be an LLC.
Register your Company type with your state.
This will give you the TIN (Tax identification number) / EIN (Employer Identification Number; these are sometimes interchangeable.
You can buy your domain off of your host or through another service provider. Typically, these can be purchased for two years at a time. I decided I wanted a hosting company and my domain all in one to save myself the time and effort, if you want easy and affordable, check out Bluehost here (affiliate link). TIP: Before you buy your domain, determine if all your social handles (your name on social) is available). Dependent on what platforms you envision for your brand be sure to claim them immediately.
Talk to your accountant or just get clear on what you're gonna pay in taxes.
If you have a spouse, they will be directly impacted by your decision to take on a new business, even if it is a side-hustle. It is important to discuss with your accountant together the financial ramifications at tax time and how much you will need to pay in quarterly i.e.: set aside $ to pay the bills.
Determine your budget for the first 3 months of your business to start.
If you want to see my recommendations of the business tools I used to start my website click here. Note the first expenses that you will incur:
Next, get a credit card for your business.
Organize your startup expenses
Put all startup expenses in this one space to start (excel) and keep your receipts. You can get QuickBooks or FreshBooks later, for now this will help you to organize your purchases in one place. Eventually I would recommend getting a separate savings account so that you can automatically take out and save money for taxes.
Ask yourself this question: Are you capable of doing it yourself? If so, here are your options:
Do it yourself: For the more tech savvy individual
If your completely new to the website creation game and you decide that your willing to take it on, know these 2 things that will make your life so much easier:
- Plugins – These are basically add on's to your site that you download (most are free).
- Elementor: It is a visual editor that is relatively easy to learn and will save you loads of time.
Do it yourself: for the Not so savvy individual
- Use a square space platform as it will be more intuitive for less techie people.
Outsourcing: For those that are note wanting to do it themselves
- Option 2: Get a WordPress site (Affiliate link) for the flexibility and hire a web designer.
- Option 3: Look for companies that are startups and can offer a site package for an affordable rate. Sometimes you can google for local companies and that will give you the relationship you may want.
If you are outsourcing I recommend having a good idea of what you want in a site by creating and inspiration board that indicates your ideal brand and your vision from a visual and a marketing perspective
8. Buy a Theme for Your Website
Give your website a preconstructed theme to make it more appealing and easier to manipulate.
- I use the ASHE PRO theme because it is easier to use, is dynamic and user friendly. It is also great for bloggers.
9. Design your logo
I found that a one stop shop is through Looka (previously known as Logo Joy). They helped me figure out what I wanted my concept to look like and had packages that were affordable (under $100).
10. Start Blogging
For real. Start blogging outside of your website before it is ready to go. If you start blogging on the WordPress platform you may have hours of rework as you will be finalizing your theme, typography, headers etc.
Content Pillars - Cornerstone Content
As you begin blogging and while determining your niche, decide what your cornerstone content will be (3 main pieces of content that will most appeal to your audience; it is what your brand stands for).
As you start blogging you will want to find free images. Try not to worry about these prior to launch as when you begin to input your blogs into your site later you will be able to upload these images.
One major SEO hack that you will want to remember is upon uploading images be sure to add ALT Text to your images (describes what the image is (google cannot read images) to create greater SEO.
Keywords are the main words that people use to describe a topic and also helps you in search engine ratings. Navigate to https://answerthepublic.com/ to get a good idea of what people are searching in relation to your topic.
When you outline and begin writing your blogs be sure to include these keywords throughout your blog.
Headlines are the main topic header that you provide for each blog post. These also are a key indicator to google as to the theme of your blog. Use https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer to get a good understanding of how your headline rates on google.
Typically starting your blog will entail a jump in visits right away and then you will see traffic taper off. It is now up to you to determine the best ways to market your site and measure….measure….measure your insights and analytics. For more information on the best business tools to use for your site click here.
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