Anytime is a good time to start a blog or shop. The ownership and control you have over being able to make your own money is essential in getting through hard times. And it gives peace of mind when everything around you seems to be falling apart. Having an online business offers you a variety of opportunities to make money remotely and creatively contribute. Here are a few ways you can get started NOW on your next big dream. It’s a perfect time to take some action and reclaim your power when everything seems so uncertain.
Starting an Online Business
Know that what we’ll share here is just the tip of the iceberg. Still, it should be enough to get you thinking and seeking more information to help you along this journey. In this post, we’ll go through some nitty-gritty steps to get you started while you may be stuck at home. This business stuff is by far the most time-consuming and the first barrier most people hit in the process. So just get it out of the way now. After that, it should be a passion project for you that you can just enjoy and create and benefit from.
What do you want to create?
Before you start any of the heavy lifting below, think about what you want to create and why. We like money as much as anyone, but our main goal for this blog is to help people have better, more magical Disney Vacations by sharing our personal experiences and giving them the information they need to navigate the happiest place on Earth. Apart from earning money, what are you hoping your business/ blog/ shop will offer others? Think about it. If you don’t have any immediate answers for this, jump to the What Really Matters section below first.
Start a Blog or Shop: It’s all in the details
Believe it or not, the sooner you can take action toward the dream, the faster it will fall into place for you. We have all lived in analysis paralysis, and know that you can think of an idea to death before ultimately deciding it won’t work. Your best bet is to just get started. No thought is required. This is just a series of actions that will build the foundation of your business.
- Pick a name. Any name. While there are massive benefits to picking a name that somewhat describes your blog or shop or online business, for search purposes, knows that you will be able to make this work regardless of the name you choose now.
- Check the availability of the name at domain services like godaddy.com, at a blog service like wordpress.com, and on socials like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. If you are planning on starting a shop, check to make sure your name is available on marketplaces like Etsy.
- Create a business email with the name you finally decide on. You can get a free email at gmail.com to start.
- Sign up for an e-mail marketing service, like Mailchimp. Just start with the free plan. Whether you have a blog or shop, collecting emails from customers is a must-do. Don’t skip this step.
- Claim your Online Presence. Buy your domain name ( your website address), and sign up for the socials you’ll need for your business with your new business email.
Building the Structure of your Online Business
This is HOW you start. If it feels like you’re signing up for everything and going at lightning speed- then you’re doing it right. What you’re doing here is simply creating the space where all your ideas, products and community will grow. Once this stuff is in place, you can get to the important work of creating, sharing, helping, and selling.
- Choose your Platform for a Blog. If you’re building a blog, you can always start with a free wordpress.com account, but there are limits on what plugins you use, and you can’t use it to make money. So, we recommend committing to this journey by starting with everything you need. You can do this by signing up for an account with Bluehost. Super cheap and easy, this blog hosting platform will allow you the freedom to make money, add features and get access to the best customer service.
- Or Choose your Platform for a Shop If you’re building a shop try out Etsy. As a marketplace, Etsy has its own internal marketing which is helpful for new shops. You can always transition to an e-commerce site like Shopify or woocommerce once you have an established audience, but starting somewhere like Etsy will usually be the best way to get your feet wet.
- Choose Your Theme. Whether you’re building a blog or shop when you set this up you will have to pick a theme. Pick a theme that feels like you. This can always be changed later. Don’t get caught up in this step. You can also browse amazing themes at Creative Market.
Write it all down
At this point in the game, you will have built the structure of your business. Once all these things are in place you will be ready for the fun stuff.
- You will have a place to blog or a shop storefront ( on Etsy or Shopify)
- Your social accounts will all match your new business name and solidify your presence online
- The email marketing platform will allow people to sign up for your stuff from your blog or shop or socials.
- And your business email address will allow people to get in contact with you.
We highly recommend simply copying and pasting all your logins, and site addresses for your blog, shop, socials, etc. into a word document. Making sure these things are available and at your fingertips is important. Grab the Free Printable Business Information Sheet to get started.
What Really Matters
Once your structure is built for whatever you’re creating, it’s time to think about the next steps. Here are a couple of questions to help you get clear on what really matters, and how you will share it with others.
- If blogging-What is your blog topic? If running a shop-What are you selling?
- What problem does this solve for people?
- If you had to write a blog post, or add a new product to your shop once a week for a full year (52 weeks) could you? Start writing down 52 things ( topics or product ideas) that could fill the next year of your business.
- What social media outlet will you use for marketing? Instagram and Facebook build community, Twitter is good for live engagement, YouTube is good for teaching classes, reviews, etc. and Pinterest is good for building traffic. Pick one to master first.
The Next Best Step
From here, with your structure in place and some ideas brewing, it’s simply time to start. Write your first blog post. List your first product. The action of just starting will take away some of the fear. Once you have a blog post or a product, then the real work begins. You’ve created something that now needs to be marketed and shared. It won’t matter how amazing your work is if no one sees it. Now is the time to share your content on social, pin it on Pinterest, and get the word out.
Online Business Resources to Get You Started
As bloggers and shop owners, we put together resources with all the services we’ve used to build our blog and shop so far. Check out all the Resources we use for running our online business.
There is no time like the present to start working on your future. Let us know what your big online business questions are in the comments. We’re happy to help!
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.