There’s a shift happening.
Everyone has felt the impacts of COVID, especially entrepreneurs. Due to the absence of physical stores and services during this era, online businesses have been booming in a way never seen before.
This has ushered in a wave of first-time online entrepreneurs offering their services, products, and solutions to problems. With the uncertainty of the economy and traditional jobs, there’s never been a better time to make the shift to making income online.
In this short guide, we’ll be going over a few basic steps to turning your passions and solutions to problems into online income in the COVID era.
1. Assess Your Skills & Resources
Whether you’re a first time entrepreneur or you have some experience you’re looking to transfer, the first step when starting a new online business is always to assess the skills and resources that you have at hand.
What can you do well?
Ex: Writing, graphic design, customer support, operations, etc.
What resources do you have at your disposal?
Ex: Startup capital, a strong network, creative software, etc.
What do you need help with?
Ex: Creating an offering, running online ads, branding and positioning, etc.
There are abundant opportunities available for making online income right now. By taking a step back and taking a mental inventory of the skills and resources you currently have, along with an idea of what you would need external help with, you’re creating a clear path of what you can realistically do at the time.
2. Finding the Pain Points
Any type of business should revolve around one simple principle — providing a unique and affordable solution to a problem designed for a specific target market.
For example, Etsy stores offering handmade masks and face coverings have exploded during COVID, providing quality and trendy masks to those who don’t have access or don’t want to create their own.
The pain points you look for should be clear, but not too complex that it confuses customers as to what they actually need to solve it.
It’s important to do research and find out what specific groups of people are struggling with while adapting to this new way of life. Another great example of businesses doing well during this time is products and services geared towards people who work out or train for a sport but no longer have access to their gyms or facilities.
Online personal training, customized workout programs, and products designed to replace and improve gym equipment at home are examples of offerings that tackle a specific pain point for a specific group of people.
3. Develop Your Offer
After taking an inventory on your skillset and resources, and determining the pain points of a specific market you want to tackle, your next step is actually developing your offering.
Whether your offering is a product, service, digital good, the process is the same, and should follow the principles mentioned above of finding a problem, and providing a direct, personal solution.
Take for example the vast amount of creators migrating to TikTok for new forms of content. If one of your skills is video editing, this is a great channel of people looking for a specific solution to the time consuming and often challenging task of editing short form videos.
After creating the idea for your offering, the next step is determining pricing and everything that will need to actually create and be ready to start testing and promoting your offering.
4. Test, Test, Test
A big lesson that many entrepreneurs learn is that almost nothing works the way you want it to the first time.
Building a business, especially in the online era, is all about testing.
Testing the actual offering, testing who you’re marketing it towards, testing your channels of promotion.
Test, test, test. And pay close attention to what’s not working, and alternatively, what is working.
This should be a constant process as you build and grow your offering or service, as there’s always more to learn from the most important source of feedback — your customers.
5. Leverage Network & Resources
When it’s time to actually start promoting and acquiring customers for your business, one of the most important things you can do is go back to your mental inventory of resources and network, and determine the best way to leverage those.
Have friends with a strong email list?
Know someone who can create killer promo videos?
Have a lump sum of startup capital you can experiment with paid ads with?
Being able to properly leverage your resources and the network you’ve built is one of the biggest keys to success, especially for first time entrepreneurs still getting their feet wet.
6. Social Media is your Friend & Business Partner
Not surprisingly, for online businesses, your web and social media presence is everything.
Without the presence of a physical location, the only things potential customers have to research and learn more about your offering is via your website and social media.
Before you even start selling your offering, it’s important to focus on developing and growing your online presence.
This consists of finding out what social platforms your customers are on, what type of content they interact with, and developing a strategy that targets and leads them directly back to you.
There has never been a better time in history to turn your passions and skills into additional or full time income.
While the world adjusts to this new way of living, there are abundant problems and groups of people that need specific solutions.
As a recap, assess your skills and resources, find your pain points, develop an offering that clearly and directly addresses those points, and leverage your network and social media to bring your target market directly to you.