What online business should I start?

So you’ve decided to join the club and make some money online. It’s a good idea and doesn’t need much capital. Unlike other businesses, you can start your online venture with close to zero. There are lots of free tools available to start you off, but of course you can spend a little if you want to make a bigger impression. After all, you can get a website for less than $20 and a merchant account that charges per sale instead of per month.

If this sounds confusing, here’s a basic translation. Your website is like your digital office or shop. You’d have to buy a domain (that’s your www) for about $10 a year, and a hosting package (that’s like your office rent) for another $10 a month or thereabouts. Then you can build the site (which is like painting your office walls) for free using WordPress, or hire developer.

Next you can add plug-ins or social media integration (that’s like furnishing your office), and of course you need the social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. for customer care and marketing. They give you direct access to your customers. Alternatively, go to site-builders like Wix or Squarespace. They do all the above at a monthly fee (which is like renting a furnished office that comes with its own receptionist).

Getting started

But those are details. Before you get there, you have to decide exactly what business you’re going to run. Will you make a product, sell a skill, or re-sell other people’s goods and services? Those are the main categories for online business, though there are many sub-categories. For example, if you want to re-sell, you can sign up for an Amazon sellers’ account, then source your products and sell them. Alibaba is a good source for wholesale goods from China.

What online business should I start?

So you’ve decided to join the club and make some money online. It’s a good idea and doesn’t need much capital. Unlike other businesses, you can start your online venture with close to zero. There are lots of free tools available to start you off, but of course you can spend a little if you want to make a bigger impression. After all, you can get a website for less than $20 and a merchant account that charges per sale instead of per month.

If this sounds confusing, here’s a basic translation. Your website is like your digital office or shop. You’d have to buy a domain (that’s your www) for about $10 a year, and a hosting package (that’s like your office rent) for another $10 a month or thereabouts. Then you can build the site (which is like painting your office walls) for free using WordPress, or hire developer.

Next you can add plug-ins or social media integration (that’s like furnishing your office), and of course you need the social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. for customer care and marketing. They give you direct access to your customers. Alternatively, go to site-builders like Wix or Squarespace. They do all the above at a monthly fee (which is like renting a furnished office that comes with its own receptionist).

Getting started

But those are details. Before you get there, you have to decide exactly what business you’re going to run. Will you make a product, sell a skill, or re-sell other people’s goods and services? Those are the main categories for online business, though there are many sub-categories. For example, if you want to re-sell, you can sign up for an Amazon sellers’ account, then source your products and sell them. Alibaba is a good source for wholesale goods from China.

In terms of what to sell, you could look around your home, school, neighbourhood, or friends’ group to see what they may be interested in purchasing. It has to be something they can’t easily get on their own. It also helps if it’s something you have an interest in (or can learn about quickly), because product knowledge helps to boost sales. Start with small volumes. You don’t want wall-to-wall product that you can’t move.

Learn from the net

If you’re more interested in making something, the same approach applies. Is there something you already know how to make that people would be willing to pay money for? It could be knitted mittens, pencil drawings, custom cupcakes, or origami. Make a list of things you like to make. It can be as complex or silly as you like. Then run a poll of your online friends to see which of your products they’d be willing to pay money for.

Another option is to do a quick tutorial. YouTube has step by step video lessons on everything from watercolour painting to making scented candles. Pick something interesting, learn how to make it, and see if you can sell it. Whichever direction you select, make sure it’s something people would willingly pay for.

How to find cash to start your online business

One of the biggest challenges any entrepreneur faces is raising capital. It’s a lucrative industry, which is why there are so many reality shows based on the concept. Shark Tank, The Pitch, and even companies dedicated to venture capital. Lots of billionaires double up as angel investors, funding start-ups so they can cash in later.

As an online business entrepreneur, all these avenues are open to you. Your main advantage is you can succeed with far less start-up cash. Chris Guillebeau wrote a book called The $100 start-up and hosts a podcast called Side Hustle School. In both, he gives numerous examples of low-income start-ups and gives stats on their progress.

The ventures showcased include things as zany as chicken saddles, worm farms, and importing crickets … to more ‘serious’ gigs like developing online training programmes for accountants and special needs teachers. The entrepreneurs on the show range from tweens and teenagers to retirees, and a lot of them started with $100 or less.

How much do you need?

Your best starting point is to trim your budget as far as it will go. Work out of your home, or use a friend’s space to cut down rent and utilities. Don’t make or buy excess stock until you’re sure you can move it. This also saves the expense of storage space. Where possible, request pre-orders and deposits so you don’t have to produce out of pocket. Get someone you trust to draft your starting costs. They’re more likely to be objective.Once you have a figure, look into your savings. Ideally, we’re focusing on $100, maybe $500 on the upper side. If you start inching towards $1,000, consider a smaller project, at least to start with. If you have a weekly or hourly job, decide to focus on raising that $100 to $500. Forego some treats and be ruthless in your savings tactics for a few weeks or months, until you can raise that amount.

External investors

Another option is to ask friends and family to invest in your business. You could sell them shares, or take a soft loan, depending on the relationship you have with them. If you’re offering shares, make sure you always retain majority stake, just so they don’t turn on you when your venture succeeds. For example, you could sell 30% of your shares.

Say you divide your company in 1,000 shares. Keep 700 and sell the rest at $1 each. This way, you only need 5 investors of $20, or 10 investors of $50 each. This same approach can be used on crowd-funding sites. If your business is arts-related e.g. a writer, film-maker, podcaster, v-logger, or robot-designer, you could open a Patreon and request fans of your work to support you. Many will be willing to sponsor you with $1 to $5 a month.

In exchange, offer exclusive access to your stuff. Or you could use sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Appbackr, or Sellaband. Whether they’re intimates or strangers, the best way to raise funds is to just ask … so pick your prospective sponsors wisely.

Open a PADI Dive Center / Resort

Have you ever considered managing your business and enjoying the unique lifestyle of a PADI Dive Shop / Rsort owner? Are you ready for:

  • Create your dream job?
  • Love what you do and be the boss of yourself?
  • Being paid to immerse yourself and help others transform their lives?
  • Listening to people’s exclamations of wonder when you explain what you do for a living?

If you answered yes to some of these questions, then you are ready to enter the entrepreneurial mode and open a dive center. A PADI Dive Center / Resort is the heart of the diving industry. As a dive center owner you will have the privilege and responsibility of introducing your community to the fabulous world of diving and aquatic conservation.

How to start your underwater business

Starting your business can be exciting and difficult. To be successful, especially in the modern market – which has more sophisticated competition and customers than ever before, it takes entrepreneurial skills and realism.

Tips to start
  • Learn about powerful PADI benefits , including business training programs for owners and managers of diving centers.
  • Get the following PADI products: The Professional Reference Collection DVD and The Business of Diving publication – A Guide to Success in the Recreational Dive Industry . This product also includes the book – Children and Scuba Diving: A Resource Guide for Instructors and Parents and a collection of key articles called – The Best of The Undersea Journal , which provides you with a more in-depth analysis of the underwater business. You can get this DVD from your PADI Regional Headquqrters.
  • Do a search on what it takes to open a business. In many countries, as a method of promoting their business packages, bank service providers offer initial advice for small businesses. This could be useful when you need to prepare your business plan. Use resources such as the US Small Business Administration – www.sba.gov
  • Consider buying an existing sub center instead of opening one again. If you are a PADI Member, check the Classified Ads on the PADI Pros website .
  • Create a business plan that includes strategies for the facilities you plan to use, the operations and educational procedures you need, marketing and public relations, understanding your local market and demographic, the cost of investments and projections collection.
  • Check the PADI statistics .
  • Give yourself a good time to open your dive center .
  • It starts! Get in touch with the PADI Retail and Resort Association at your PADI Regional Headquarters. Ask the standards for the PADI Dive Center and Resort. Also check the affiliation levels of the PADI centers .

Open a hotel with no money

If there is one thing that really annoys me of what I see and hear around Italy in recent years, it is the general climate of distrust that has been created.

Let me be clear, even I live in the real world:  I constantly read the production data of the hotels I follow and I am perfectly aware that we are not in the era of “fat cows”.

But while I understand and accept the complaints of experienced hoteliers who demoralize by comparing today’s data and earnings with those of 20 years ago, I find no justification in the depression of young aspiring hoteliers.

Unfortunately I often meet guys in their 30s who have already accumulated a certain experience, have a great passion for hotels, but have in fact already given up their dreamof starting their own because “they are no longer the times” because “today without money do not go anywhere or because “there are no more margins to do this job” ..

too many young people got screwedSHARE TWEET

The news only talks about bankruptcies and suicides, entrepreneurs complain about the crisis and parents at home indicate the opening of a company as the shortest way to bankruptcy.

If you are in the same situation, I’ll give you three antidotes on the fly to avoid the same end.

  1. Do not watch the news again (today on the internet you can choose YOUR sources of information)
  2. Talk about your projects and compare only with successful entrepreneurs (success = they did it and when they encounter difficulties, they look for a way to overcome them instead of blaming the crisis)
  3. Unless your parents are part of the above category, talk to them about the good memories you have in common, cooking, football, whatever you want, but do not let their fears stifle your plans.

Now, the reason that you pushed me to write today’s article and tell you the story of Joseph is a discussion that I witnessed a few weeks ago on a group fb …

In practice, a guy asked for advice on how to make a business plan and I turned a link to an old article of mine. (if you are interested , find it here )

Up to here everything is ok.

Then he asked me if with a business plan it is possible to borrow money from the banks I simply answered the truth: “yes”.

The reactions that were unleashed under my comment were truly disheartening and unfortunately are a disturbing mirror of the society in which we live today.

It goes from the classic “banks lend money only to those who have” to “remain to be the receptionist and not create mess alone” to  “forget to open a hotel today if you do not want to starve” until you get to “not listen to these charlatans who tell only fairy tales “.

Having overcome the instinct to start a media war , I remained faithful to my principles:

I disabled the notifications to the comment, I closed fb and I went back to work.SHARE THE TWEET

Despite this, I had a little voice inside that did not leave me alone.

Although I am convinced that discussing who is the victim of his wrong beliefs and speaks only by hearsay is a huge waste of time and energy, I could not help but think about the consequences that those comments may have on the future choices of that boy and those like him, want to realize their own entrepreneurial project.

So I decided to do the thing that seems more correct: I thought of a real case of a boy I know (and know that it is not the only one), I called him and asked him if he was willing to share his history with all aspiring hoteliers who need some encouragement.