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The top 4 questions about starting an online business

My clients have so many questions about How to start an online business. 

The idea of starting an online business is exciting – but can feel overwhelming, too.

Jessie from Saved By The Bell is excited and scared.

But there are 4 questions about starting an online business that I get asked all the time…

So I’m going to begin right there…

The number one question is… what should I do?

That’s THE question just about every client asks me. 

It’s easy to get stuck and define ourselves only by what we’ve already done. If you are over 40, the experience section on your resume likely maps out your career path for the last 15 to 20+ years. That’s if you list out all the years and all the jobs – which I don’t recommend. But that’s another post for another day.

The point is that you’ve been along for the ride on this career journey for a while. You likely feel defined by a job title. And it’s hard to visualize what else you might do – especially if you aren’t loving your current job.

And that’s the reason I created my course, Your License to Shine™. Because so many women struggle to answer this question, they stay stuck. They are trapped in a job that doesn’t work for who they are or the life they want to lead going forward. Your License to Shine™ shows you how to find answers and get moving.

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Click here to learn more about Your License to Shine™

Second question… how long does it take to get started with an online business? 

A sensible question. It’s natural, especially when starting something new, to want to define the things we can. It makes us more comfortable when we take that risk to know there are some boundaries around it or milestones we should expect to achieve in a certain period of time.

Asking questions and planning is a good thing.

But starting an online business is also an adventure that is unique to you. And the best thing you can do for yourself is just get started!

Third question… can I start an online business while keeping my day job?

Another great question! There definitely are factors you need to consider when it comes to starting your business while working full time.

I’ll list the most important things to think about below…. 

  • Time in your day: what does your typical day really look like, and how would a business become part of that?
  • How hard your desire is burning: do you want this to happen last week, or are you cool with cruising into things a bit more slowly?
  • What you need (and I mean really need – not think you need) to learn before you start: the difference between what you ACTUALLY need to learn and what you THINK you need to learn is a big topic for another day. But you might need to dedicate some time to expanding your knowledge base up front. So you will need to plan that in.

You might just be saying “screw the day job. I’m done.” If so, take a look at this post before handing in your resignation.

Last question… how much does it cost to start an online business?

As far as cost… here’s the thing. Go ahead and Google online businesses you can start for free. You’ll get loads of results.

But the truth is you can’t start ANY business for free.

Why? Well, if you learn nothing else from me, it’s that YOUR time has value.

There is a cost associated with your time. I want you to keep that in mind now and going forward. 

What you do – whether it’s for yourself as you start and grow your business or for a client – is NOT free labor. This idea continues to be important as your business scales. You constantly will evaluate the cost of your time when deciding your priorities.

For example, do you devote hours to learning WordPress so you can build your own website from scratch? Because then you “don’t have to pay for it?”

You really are paying for that website. Because every minute you spend learning and building your site  is time that you are NOT spending on money-generating activities for your business.

All of these are great questions about starting an online business.

But, as you are probably starting to see, the answer to all the questions is… “it depends.”

I can just about hear all the eyes rolling, but it’s the only honest answer.

Why is that? Well…. 

The answers depend on your Shine-ability™.

If you haven’t heard me talk about Shine-ability™ before, it’s the melding of the things you are good at with the things you are passionate about. 

Knowing your Shine-ability™ allows you to start the RIGHT business for you. Which means it’s easier create a life and a future you’re excited about.

I talk all things Shine-ability™ each week on The Shine-ability Show™, and I help you define your Shine-ability™ in Your License to Shine™.

The answers also depend on how much time you want to put into starting your online business. 

Do you plan to ditch your 9-5, and you are looking at your business to replace that full time income? 

Or are you looking for a side business that provides you with supplemental income and an outlet for your creative energy? 

Your choice here likely will affect the amount of time you want to devote to starting your online business.

You’ll also need to consider how busy your life is right now. Where can you chunk out some time for your business?

For instance, when I was balancing my 9-5 with my online business, my lunch hour was prime real estate for working on my business.

In addition, I started getting up 45 minutes earlier to go to work – which was a bit of a challenge for me as I’m not a morning person. But, the commute went a lot faster because there was less traffic. When I got to the office, I’d work on my business until it was time to clock in.

Everyone is busy. If you ask, no one seems to have extra time. But if you really look at your day, you can find that time if starting your online business is a priority for you.

Finally, the answers depend on what type of business you decide to start.

If your online business is very closely related to what you do in your day job, you can start signing clients today. There are some things you’ll need to do for your online business such as getting your accounts set up, getting your agreements and other forms together, setting up an onboarding system for your clients, and so on, but you really can jump in pretty quickly.

If you are shifting to something new, you may need to do some learning first. For example, if you are a graphic designer who wants to move into web design, you may need to pick up some coding skills and learn about WordPress. That means a bigger investment of time and money for you to get started. But that’s ok if it’s what YOU want to do.

All that said, depending on your skillset and want-to-ness, there are online businesses you can start today for a relatively small Financial investment.

Here are twelve examples:

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Community Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Consultant 
  • Web Designer 
  • Graphic Designer
  • E-Commerce Store
  • Drop Shipping
  • Tutoring
  • Resume Writer
  • Freelance Writer
  • Coach

Whatever you choose to do when you start your online business, it should be exciting to you. This isn’t the time to settle, nor do you want to simply recreate the day job you already feel stuck in.

Looking for support on your journey into the world of online business? Join my free community where we talk about all the shifts – career, business, and life.