With COVID-19, lockdowns, and travel restrictions, many businesses are having a hard time staying afloat. What this means is that the unemployment rate has sadly skyrocketed. If you fall into this boat, you have likely discovered that finding gainful employment right now is a struggle. One way to look at this time, however, is that it could be the time to start that online business you have been dreaming about for so long. It may not initially have the stability that you once had, but every little bit of income helps. And you never know, it could take off and become your primary source of income over time. If that is your current plan, then we have a few things that you need to know before starting your own online business.

Step One: Assess

To start, you need to evaluate start up costs and business viability. Just because you can start a business online does not mean that you should. If you cannot afford the basic supplies that you will need to get your business up and running, then perhaps this is not the venture for you right now. Not only that, you will need to determine just how “in demand” your product will be. Afterall, no business can succeed if there is no market for it. If you spend all your money on startup costs and no one buys your product, then you have nothing. That is not a good place for a business owner to be. Part of this step should be market research. Start asking around for what people are looking for and determine if there is a demand for what you plan to sell. You can also ask what people would be willing to pay for certain items to help you determine what your price point should be.

Step Two: Become Legally Compliant

This is the part where you choose a business name, create a business structure, and follow up on any details regarding incorporating your business. It is also at this point that you should consult with a small business attorney to ensure that you are completing all the necessary paperwork to be considered legally complaint within your state.

Step Three: Build Your Website

This is the fun part for many business owners. Building the website gives you the opportunity to flex some creative muscles and make a site that is uniquely yours. You do not need to be a technical wizard to be able to complete this step. There are many websites and programs out there that will help you to do this. They have pre-built templates that you can tweak and customize for your business and your products. Just remember that simpler is better for your customers. If they cannot figure out how to navigate your website, they will be less likely to buy your products.

Step Four: Launch

It is finally time for the big day: the day you launch your new online business. Congratulations! Now is the time to advertise and put your business in front of as many eyes as you can online. You can push your business through social media, search engines, traditional ads, or even through email lists. Just remember that the more people who see your business, the more potential customers you will have.