Want to build a highly profitable online business in 2023 and 2024?
As I’ve worked with thousands of people who want to build an online business, I’ve found that most people struggle with similar issues, get caught up in the same destructive patterns, and if they fail in their quest to create a business, they tend to fail for similar reasons.
And, over the years, I’ve discovered 14 keys that, if you follow them, will enable you to avoid most of those issues, so you can grow a more profitable business, in a fraction of the time, and with minimal issues.
Here they are, 14 keys for creating a highly profitable online business quickly and easily, from scratch. (Yes, you get a special bonus: 4 more keys than I discussed in the video above!)
1. Choose a high-margin online business
That has a high probability of success and profits
Many of the online business opportunities that are talked about the most either have a low probability of success or tend to be high-cost/low-profit businesses. Though it is possible you may be able to make them succeed, (and some people have,) it’s usually best to start with a business where you’re much more likely to succeed.
Given those parameters (high probability of success, high-profit business) I recommend that you avoid the following business models unless you have specific skills or circumstances that would give you a competitive advantage:
Instead, focus on businesses with high margins and high probabilities of success, like:
2. Start with two things, and two things only:
Figuring out what you’re going to sell (and who you’re going to sell it to,) and building your email list
Despite what everyone else does and what many teach, when you’re just getting started in your business you don’t have to set up a business entity, get a business license, create a logo, build a fancy website, figure out your branding, purchase a full technology suite, acquire office space, decide on what courses to take, etc.
You can, and should ignore all of those for now. Trust me, we’ll do them all later. But first, you have to figure out what you’re going to sell, who you’re going to sell it to, and start the process of developing your email list of those people, because list-building takes time and is the most valuable asset you’ll have in your business once you’ve got it started.
3. Carve out time, preferably every day, as “work time” on your online business
The more, the better
There are two important parts to this step. The first is to carve out time every day and keep that appointment with yourself (and your future.) Well-used time is what turns your dream into a business.
The second is to make that block of hours “work time,” time when you’re actually working on the things that have to be done to create and sell products for your business. It’s important to note that work time does not include studying or taking courses because those things are not actually business-building activities. Though those things are important, they need to happen outside of your work time blocks. If you don’t do that, those tasks will expand to fill your work time blocks, and weeks later you will have nothing concrete that will actually build your business.
Work time activities may include:
Notice how all of the above are action-oriented. You are doing the things that build your business, not getting caught in the time-sucking process of learning, thinking about, researching, comparing, and trying to choose the ideal process for the long term.
4. Put a date on your calendar when you’re going to launch your new business
Probably 3-5 months from now, longer if you’re doing this as a side gig around an existing job
Then commit to doing whatever you have to do to meet that date.
5. Focus on building your list
Create your product later
That’s the most important thing right now. If you’re creating a course, you can do that later. You have to get the marketing right, or everything else is useless.
6. Preserve cash
Spend as little as possible so you can pour money into your business
Do everything you can to preserve cash while you’re building your business, so you can increase the amount you put into marketing and delay the time before you have to get a job or outside funding, like:
Personal cash-preserving steps:
You can have all those things later, right now you’re building a business!
From a business side, preserve cash by:
7. Avoid butterflies and other distractions
Choose your business model then refuse to chase other business ideas that fly by and tempt you
Put your foot down, say to yourself and the world “this is what I’m doing and nothing else is going to tempt me.” Unsubscribe from lists, avoid ads, and recognize there is no such thing as getting rich quickly! Real business takes work and dedication.
8. Be willing to advertise your online business
It’s the fastest route to success
I realize that there is a constant battle between preserving cash and spending it on advertising. But of all possible expenses, advertising (and outsourcing certain tasks) is the one that has the highest probability of turning cash spent into profit in your pocket.
Of course, be wise. Test. Build in spending limits, so you don’t get surprised. And don’t advertise to build your brand, that can come later. Right now, 100% of ad spend needs to be devoted to either building your list or actually selling your product.
9. DIY wherever possible
You probably can't afford to outsource when you're just getting started, especially marketing services
You don’t need to hire most things out. A few searches, and watching a video or two can teach you enough to do most of the things you need to get started in business. You don’t need to hire someone to set up an email autoresponder, create a landing page, create a sales page, create a video, set up a shopping cart, and so many other things.
Even if you’re not comfortable with technology, a few hours of watching videos on how to do these things, pausing the video while you do them yourself, can give you not only the satisfaction of accomplishment but a skill that enables you to do it yourself in the future. A few minutes/hours learning now will literally save you tens of thousands over time.
Outsource these simple things when you’ve got the revenue to afford it.
Plus, be aware of hiring people and agencies to do many of the strategic and marketing tasks in your business. I constantly talk to people who have wasted hundreds of thousands on branding services, PR agencies, fractional CMOs/COOs, marketing consultants, web designers, etc.
Many, if not most, of those services don’t give you positive ROI, especially when you’re just getting started.
10. You don’t need a fancy, expensive website
You only need a few key marketing and sales pages
Most people who pay tens of thousands to create them end up throwing them away when they discover they weren’t created properly.
11. Commit yourself
Make a decision to be all in - waffling creates failure
When you have a job, you commit yourself to working for that boss at a certain time and place and for a certain number of hours each week.
Your business needs to be the same.
Tell yourself and the world “this is who I am, this is what I’m doing, at this time every day. And, this is more important than other things I could be doing.”
Time and money freedom will come later. Hustle now, so you can get those freedoms later.
12. Find and model a person
Someone who has done it, who is actually doing it, to follow and get advice from
Make sure that person is actually doing what they’re teaching you, not just making their money selling courses and coaching on how to do them.
And, I recommend you focus on just one person. Following multiple people invariably results in conflicting advice and trying to make choices when you’re uninformed.
13. Ruthlessly eliminate time-wasters in your life
Growing an online business takes time and focus, you can't afford distractions
Whether it’s reading social media, Netflix, eating out, going to the bar with friends, or whatever, most of us have a habit, pastime, or personal indulgence that eats up several hours every day in activities that, let’s just say, are “less productive” than they could be.
I’m not saying you should never relax. Re-creation (not recreation) is absolutely essential to personal health and productivity.
What I am saying is that you know, deep down in your heart, the activities you could sacrifice to build a business.
Why not just do that?
14. Don’t think you’re the exception
Don't believe these these rules don't apply to you!
As you read the above, my guess is you’ve had a couple of times when you’ve said, “I hear you, Don, and can see how this could be a problem for most people, but me, I’m an exception, so I’m going to ignore this one and do it my way.”
Trust me, that, right there, is a big piece of the problem.
Everyone feels like they’re an exception. So they don’t follow the advice, and their business never gets off the ground.
You don’t want that to happen to you, right?
So there they are - 14 keys to creating a powerful profitable online business this year.
Are you going to do them?
What are you going to create? Let me know in the comments!
And, “just go do this stuff!”