The Persistent Entrepreneur

How to Start an Online Business Part 7 – Spread the Word

I’m often approached by people who want to start an online business but don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to post some pointers. Over the next several days I will post one task or item on How to Start an Online Business (or HSOB because I’m lazy and don’t want to type it out). Many of these apply to any business, not just online businesses.

Spread the Word – Tell everyone about your online business. If you have a Facebook account, spread the word there. If you don’t, get one. Same goes for twitter. Also, get business cards and give them out to everyone you meet. These days you can get 1000 full color, glossy business cards for about $50.

Share SHARE

How to Start an Online Business Part 6 – Get a Web Site

I’m often approached by people who want to start an online business but don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to post some pointers. Over the next several days I will post one task or item on How to Start an Online Business (or HSOB because I’m lazy and don’t want to type it out). Many of these apply to any business, not just online businesses.

Get a Website – Now that you have your domain name and a web host, you need  a website. There are many options here. Since you are reading this I’m assuming you are a budget minded do-it-yourselfer. If you only have a few products to sell you could create a blog website like this one. If you want a more complex store I recommend Zen Cart. In fact I will have videos available soon on setting up and configuring an online store using Zen Cart.

Share SHARE

How to Start an Online Business Part 5 – Get a Web Host

I’m often approached by people who want to start an online business but don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to post some pointers. Over the next several days I will post one task or item on How to Start an Online Business (or HSOB because I’m lazy and don’t want to type it out). Many of these apply to any business, not just online businesses.

Get a Web Host – A web host gives you a place to put your website. I highly recommend using a host that offers cPanel. When you register your domain name at godaddy, they will try to sell you hosting. I don’t know how good their hosting is or if they include cPanel. All of my sites are hosted at DesertLord.net (Disclaimer: I own DesertLord.net). Unless you are running an adult site, hosting should be pretty affordable, typically under $10/month.

Share SHARE

How to Start an Online Business Part 4 – Get a Sales Tax License

I’m often approached by people who want to start an online business but don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to post some pointers. Over the next several days I will post one task or item on How to Start an Online Business (or HSOB because I’m lazy and don’t want to type it out). Many of these apply to any business, not just online businesses.

Get a Sales Tax License – Also known as a Transaction Privilege Tax license. If you sell products, you will probably need this. It’s not difficult to get. Search your state dept. of revenue website for info. Here in Phoenix, AZ I had to file with both the state and the city.  This is also the license that allows you to buy products wholesale.

Share SHARE

How to Start an Online Business Part 3 – Get a Domain Name

I’m often approached by people who want to start an online business but don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to post some pointers. Over the next several days I will post one task or item on How to Start an Online Business (or HSOB because I’m lazy and don’t want to type it out). Many of these apply to any business, not just online businesses.

Get a Domain Name – If you want to sell products online you will need a website. In fact I recommend every business have a website. And if you want it to be something cool like www.MyBigBadWebsite.com vs. www.myisp.com/~mylamewebsite then you will need a domain name. Getting a domain name doesn’t get you a website or a place to put it, it’s just the name, but it’s a very important step. You can get one at GoDaddy.com for about $10/yr. When choosing your business name you will probably want to make sure you can get the matching domain name. I have created a short video that will walk you through registering a domain name with GoDaddy.

Or I could make it more unique such as www.RicksSCSD.com (Not recommended, not very descriptive) or www.RicksSuperCoolScreenDoorsArizona.com. Now you see why I said that name might be a bit long.

Share SHARE

How to Start an Online Business Part 2 – Make Your Business Official

I’m often approached by people who want to start an online business but don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to post some pointers. Over the next several days I will post one task or item on How to Start an Online Business (or HSOB because I’m lazy and don’t want to type it out). Many of these apply to any business, not just online businesses.

Make Your Business Official – This is where people get scared away, but please bear with me. You will need to decide if you will be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc. Honestly the differences are beyond the scope of this post and I’m not qualified to advise you which to choose. An LLC is what works for me. I think it only cost about $130 to setup since I handled it myself. I highly recommend you speak to a lawyer and/or your accountant. Wow, I used to hate it when people told me that. I used to think “Are you crazy, I can’t afford a lawyer or an accountant! I’m just a little guy.”. Well, it’s really not that expensive. My accountant saves me much more in taxes than he costs and with pre-paid legal services you can talk to a lawyer for a low monthly fee. I get pre-paid legal through my good friends the Ferguson’s. Besides, this is a step you really want to get right.

Once you decide which business structure is right for you, you will need to make it official. How you do that will vary state to state and depend on your structure. Here in AZ, if you wish to be a corporation or LLC, you will need to file articles of organization with the state Corporation Commission. For Sole Proprietorships, you just need to file a DBA. I recommend you use Legal Zoom to file the appropriate documents. It’s quick, easy and affordable.

Share SHARE

How to Start an Online Business Part 1 – Choose a Business Name

I’m often approached by people who want to start an online business but don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to post some pointers. Over the next several days I will post one task or item on How to Start an Online Business (or HSOB because I’m lazy and don’t want to type it out). Many of these apply to any business, not just online businesses.

Choose a Business Name – There are several things to consider when choosing a name for your business. It’s really going to depend on what you intend to do. For this site, my name is my brand. But if I sold screen doors I might want to name my business “Rick’s Super Cool Screen Doors”. Actually that’s probably a bit long but you get the idea. Or you could make it more generic if you would like to use the name for a broader range of products and services. An example of that could be “Rick Enterprises”.

Also, you will need to make sure your name is available to use. Do a google search for your intended name. Be sure to include quotes so it searches for that exact phrase. For example, I’d search for “Rick’s Super Cool Screen Doors” including the quotes. I just checked and there are no matches. Without the quotes, any site with any of those words will show up as a result. Just checked that as well and there are over 75,000 results. You can also search your states Corporation Commission database. I just checked Arizona’s and there are no matches.

Another thing to consider is your domain name (web address). If www.RicksSuperCoolScreenDoors.com is not available for me to register, I might want to choose another name. Although I could change it up a bit to be more unique, but we’ll get into that later.

Lastly, you might want to consider name availability on social media sites. Personally I think this is the least important thing to consider, but you should decide for yourself if it’s important to you. Eventually you will want to have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and maybe a YouTube account for your business. Perhaps there are others I’m not thinking of. These sites often use your username in your url. Facebook calls these “Vanity URLs”. For example: www.Facebook.com/RicksSuperCoolScreenDoors.

So it looks like I’m good to go with “Rick’s Super Cool Screen Doors”. Watch out screen door industry, here I come!

Share SHARE

Your Logo – Keep It Simple Stupid!

It may be tempting to create a big, flashy, full color logo at first. Resist the temptation! Eventually you will want to print it on shirts, pens, golf balls, etc. A big, flashy, full color logo will either be prohibitively expensive to print or won’t be possible to print at all. The fewer colors the more affordable it is to print as well. Think of some big brand companies logo’s you’ve seen and recognize. I bet they are either one or two colors and are very simple.

Share SHARE

Don’t Fail Before You Start

In my experience, many people who want to sell online sabotage themselves before they even start selling. They pay someone lot’s of money to create a website for them but when it comes time for them to come up with the content (bio, product pics and descriptions, etc) they get lazy and don’t do anything. So they end up with a shell of a website with no content. I know, I’ve created some myself. I have one client who was seriously gung-ho when we started, but I’ve been waiting for 5 or 6 months now for him to come up with some content.  Don’t fall into that trap, your success depends on it.

The biggest challenge is maintaining enthusiasm through the launch process. Once the money starts coming in it’s easy to be enthused but you’ll never get to that point if you get lazy before launch time.

Share SHARE

How to Register a Domain Name

The first thing you need when starting a website is a domain name. Here is a video that will walk you through the process.



Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll let you know when I add more free videos.

Step By Step Instructions:

  • First go to www.godaddy.com
  • If you don’t already have an account you will need to create one.
  • If you do have an account, you can just login.
  • Search for the domain that you want to register.
  • If the domain is available add it to your cart. Verify the spelling first, you don’t want to accidentally purchase the wrong name.
  • Click continue to registration
  • Now it’s going to try to sell you other products and services that we don’t really need. I recommend you just skip through all of the offers.
  • Choose the registration length.
  • Select “No thanks, I’m ready to check out”.
  • Select your method of payment
  • Check the boxes for terms of service and domain registration agreement. Of course you should read these first.
  • Continue with CHECK-OUT
  • Select your payment method and complete the purchase.
  • It’s that simple. Now you are on your way to having your own website.

    Share SHARE