Every single day I speak to entrepreneurs who have no clue if they’re making the right financial decisions for their online business.
Should I get a better website?
Should I invest in a coach?
Should I hire a Virtual Assistant?
Do I need the latest teleseminar or webinar service?
The list goes on and on.
The plain truth is that every solopreneur running an online business needs to identify their own specific needs to make that determination.
From my experience in running an online business for quite a few years there are several basic essentials you must have to start.
The Online Essentials:
A Website That Converts:
It should come as no surprise to you that you need to have a website. But what I often hear is that business owners don’t want to invest the money in one and prefer low cost options or to do it themselves.
Here’s the problem with that – it you want to be taken seriously online, attract better clients and become a credible business owner, you need to look like it.
Your website is your online business card. It’s the first thing people look for when they’re doing a search. You’ve got under 7 seconds to charm them with your brand, your marketing copy and get them to sign up for your Free Offer.
If your website is poorly designed, moves slowly or doesn’t function like you need – then you must invest in a better one.
You don’t need to spend a small fortune to have a website that works well for you but you do need to have someone optimize yours so that it helps you attract clients and make money.
Before you hire a web designer do your homework. Get help with your branding if you can’t figure it out yourself. Get a professional photo done that represents who you are. Look at other websites and decide what you like. And write out your website copy so that it’s ready to go when your designer is too.
Websites can cost anywhere between $1,200-$5,000 or more. So make sure you choose someone you trust because this is a necessary investment.
A Newsletter Service for Lead Generation:
I can’t tell you how often I have to convince my new clients to write a newsletter. No matter what anyone says you need a tool to communicate with your leads online (and social media alone won’t cut it).
One of the best things you can do for your newsletter is to have one that’s branded and have someone create a template for you. It looks professional and allows you to follow the same format every time it’s sent out.
There are plenty of newsletter services from MailChimp, Aweber, 1ShoppingCart, InfusionSoft and more.
They range in price from $10-$300 per month. Some general rules on how to choose – if you have less than 1,000 subscribers than a lower cost service will be fine. However if you want to include affiliate marketing and an online shopping cart you may need to spend a little more on a robust service.
A Shopping Cart
There’s no way around this, if you want to make money online then you need to have a way to collect money online.
Most entrepreneurs start out with PayPal and use their “Buy Now” buttons on their website.
PayPal is fine but it’s not as robust as some of the other online services.
Plus when you’re in the midst of closing a sale, a great deal breaker is to send them to your website and then have them not be able to complete the sale.
There are a few other ways to collect payment online such as 1ShoppingCart, PremiumWebCart, FreshBooks (for invoices) and InfusionSoft. All of them allow you collect payment smoothly.
Another great way to collect payment while on the phone with a new client is to process their credit card through Authorize.net or Square.
They range in price from $69-$299, may have transaction fees and so forth. So do your research before you decide.
These are just a few essentials you need to running your online business. In future articles I’ll be providing even more resources.
No matter what you decide, don’t skimp. People notice.
I’d love to hear from you, what questions do you have about which online resources you need to running your business?
Now let's talk about creating a profitable online business? In my upcoming Revenue Workshop I'm breaking down how to create offers that sell, your pricing and profitable income streams so that you can make more money in your business. Join me LIVE for The Revenue Workshop on June 27th click here to learn more.