Here is your free guide on how to start an online business that you can run from home with a laptop and an internet connection. This free course is divided into 5 days to make things smooth and easy for you. I suggest you bookmark this page so you can find it easily whenever you want to access it.
- Introduction and About me
- Day 1: How to create a website without any knowledge of coding
- Day 2: How to create an offer page on your website that showcases your product or service (Landing Page)
- Day 3: How to get customers using Facebook advertising
- Day 4: How to make an online database of your customers so you can reach them anytime
- Day 5: How to Sell Efficiently
Introduction and About me
Hi there. I’m Kush Sharma.
I’m an online entrepreneur, trainer, speaker, writer and photographer based out of Pune, India.
I’ve created this free course because of two reasons:
- I simply love teaching.
- I want you to avoid the mistakes I made when I started of my online adventure.
When I started out my journey post college, I quickly realised I wasn’t meant for the 9-6 corporate world.
After leaving over 10 jobs in quick succession, it was natural that I started tilting towards entrepreneurship.
During my various job stints, one thing that was working in my favour was that I was continually learning about online marketing and entrepreneurship through various blogs, videos and online courses that I took.
Just like a scene from a movie, my breakthrough moment actually came on the day I had resigned from one of the jobs where I had lasted 3 months.
I had just reached back home after quitting and was aimlessly surfing the internet. At that moment, my brother informed me that I had received some sort of a cheque that was lying in the mailbox.
When I checked (pun intended), I saw that there was, not one but three cheques of different amounts to my name. The total value was somewhere around $450. Not a lot of money but I was thrilled and out of my mind not because of the amount of money, but because I exactly knew what had happened.
Around 8 months before that day, I had created a website called SoccerQuick, where I had written a short tutorial on how to learn to play Soccer. At the end of the those series of articles, I had referred a video product that was related to learning Soccer. If someone bought that product from my website, I would receive a commission.
Now after making the website, I had completely let go of any hope as I had not seen any results. But during these 8 months, what had happened was that my website had started to rank amongst top 3 spots on Google when someone typed in phrases related to learning soccer, like “How to kick a soccer ball”.
This had started generating traffic on my website and some people bought the product I had referred, thereby resulting in me earning the commission.
It was at that point I started to believe in myself.
But I no longer wanted to create mini-website businesses like those so in a few days time I sold my soccer website on Flippa.com (a site where you can sell websites) for $1000.
Post that, I tried a lot of other type of online ventures that failed, before eventually finding success with Creative Pad Photography (www.creativepadphotography.com), a business I created revolving around conducting photography workshops.
This business taught me a very vital lesson, which is that running an online business should not be viewed as something different than running a normal offline business.
A lot of online entrepreneurs I see regularly think that an online business means that every aspect of that business has to be online.
That’s not true.
My photography workshops are live workshops.
But what makes it an online business?
The fact that the MARKETING is done online. I get my students almost completely by using online advertising and marketing, which allows me the freedom to work from anywhere.
This is what separates an online business from an offline one.
It doesn’t matter how and where you sell your product and service.
The main benefit of having an online business is that majority of the marketing should be done as conveniently as possible, with nothing more than a laptop and internet.
Initially, don’t worry too much about fancy terms like making a ‘passive income’, something which is so popular amongst newbie internet marketers.
When you start out, you should only have the following three things in mind:
- A business idea that you are passionate about.
- Coming up with a product or service around it.
- Learning how to get customers for your business using online marketing.
I cannot teach you the first two, but through this free course I will try my best to teach you the third.
This course will make you understand the whole blueprint of online marketing, something that took me almost 2 years to understand.
Remember, treat an online business as a real business because it is.
I wish you good luck!
Day 1: How to create a website without any knowledge of coding
Knowing how to create and maintain your website is one of the most crucial skills that you can learn in this whole online business thing.
Because it will save you a lot of time, money and frustration that comes with having to get it made from a website designer or developer.
The truth is that creating a website is a very simple affair these days, provided your website is not a very complex one.
But before I go any further and teach you how to exactly create a website, let me tell you one thing very honestly.
Right now, when you are learning this website thing, it’s alright to experiment and do things your own way. But when you really start a proper website around your business, make sure it looks really professional. I’ll be showing you how to get your hands on professional looking themes.
Never make the mistake of letting your website look casual. In the online world, your website represents you.
It’s one of the mistakes I made early on. Just to save a few bucks, I used to have very sloppy looking websites with poor looking logos that I had designed myself. Let me give you an example:
This was one the logos of one of my first ever websites., which was a dating website I had started to counsel and advice men on dating (LOL).
Unsurprisingly, it did not last long.
Not only was my business idea bad, it was executed in a very sloppy manner.
Whenever you do something, first learn the trade and then attempt to go full professional.
So learn how to make a website, but then also strive to make it look totally professional. That may involve outsourcing some things you are not good at, like designing logos and other designs.
Also, I should point out that unless you are really willing to put in effort in learning how to create a website, you should outsource it to a web designer.
Even if that’s the case, you can still do this free course because it will teach you what you will need to tell your designer to do. This course will make you understand the whole blueprint of an online business.
Website creation is a part of that blueprint. It is not tough but it’s also not for the lazy ones.
But I can guarantee you that if you do take the effort of learning how to create a website, you’ll possess one of the most vital skills that an online entrepreneur can have. So let’s get started:
Here are three things you need to create a website:
- A domain name – This is name or address of your website, like, www.yourwebsitename.com
- A Hosting Service Provider – Your website will have a lot of text/images/videos and other content. All this needs to be stored somewhere, just like you store all the stuff on your computer. So think of hosting service like an online directory where all the content of your website is stored. To store this content, the hosting provider will charge you a monthly/yearly fee. It’s just like paying rent to a landlord for using their space.
- WordPress – Though there are lot of softwares you can use to create your website, WordPress is the most popular.
In this tutorial, we’ll be looking at how to use all these three elements to create our website.
Now there are ways to create a website – the free way or the paid one. I’ll be showing you both the methods.
For now, what you have to understand is that if you choose the free way, you will end up with a website that will have a domain name like www.yourwebsitename.123456.xyaerds.com. Basically, an unprofessional looking one.
What my advice to you would be to go for the paid approach. It won’t cost you a lot of money and your website will look really professional. When I started out, one of best things I did was to invest into a paid website (which means I used paid hosting, something that we will be seeing soon) . As an online entrepreneur you have to remember that your website communicates your professionalism and you don’t want to scare away your customer by having a website that sounds or looks really bad.
Paid Approach to Creating a Website
To create a professional sounding and looking website, you need to purchase a domain name and hosting service.
My recommendation for beginners is to head over to Hostgator, which is definitely the most popular hosting service in the world.
I’ve been using them since I started and never experienced any kind of problems.
Once you’re on the Hostgator website, take the following steps:
- Click on Shared Hosting > Linux Shared Hosting
- Select the monthly option under Hatchling plan (under the Hatchling plan, you can only use one website. In case you want to start another website later on, you can always upgrade to a Baby plan)
- Click on Buy Now
- Hostgator will ask you if you already have a domain name. I’m assuming you don’t. So click on No. It will ask you to type in the domain name you want. So whatever business you have in mind, type in the name there. In case you don’t have any business idea in mind, just type in your name and select the extension as .com. Though you can select any extension, .com extensions sound the most professional. They are slightly more expensive than other extensions but cost should really not be an issue when it comes to buying domains since they remain valid for a whole year.
- Next, it will show if you if your chosen name is available or not. If it’s available, click on Add to Cart and then checkout.
- You should see the following screen in front of you.
- Here, delete anything that is not required, like Sitelock, Codeguard and Privacy Protect features. Though they are recommended, right now you should only be paying for the domain name and the monthly hosting charges. Once you understand how everything works, you can buy these later on too if you wish.
- Then just fill in your personal information and billing information and BOOM! You’re done.
- Hostgator will send you an e-mail which will have the link to your Hostgator Control Panel along with the username and password that is required to log into the control panel.
- Enter the control panel and then head to the QuickInstall option under Software as shown below:
- Then, click on WordPress.
- Then select the domain you had bought.
- Then fill out the information below:
- Then click on Install Now. Once WordPress installs, it’ll provide you a link to your website’s login page which will look something like www.yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin along with the username and password. Click on that and you’ll see a page like the one below:
- Once you log in, you’ll see the WordPress dashboard as shown below. This is the back-end of your website.
- From here on, watch the video below where I explain you some basics of using WordPress:VideoFree Approach to Creating a Website
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to create a website, then I recommend using www.wix.com.
Wix is a drag and drop type interface where you can easily create a wesbite with ready-made templates for different categories.
However, it’s not as powerful as WordPress and later on when you want some advanced functionalities on your website, you’ll mostly have to get in touch with a developer.
Also, if you want to keep things free on Wix, you’ll be getting a very bad looking and long domain name which won’t look professional.
You can connect Wix to your own domain name but to do that you’ll have to use their paid services.
As I mentioned before, I really recommend that you use WordPress. Yes, it’s slightly tougher to get used to but once you do, you will possess the vital skill of creating and maintaining a website, which is bound to prevent endless number of headaches.
Day 2: How to create an offer page on your website that showcases your product or service (Landing Page)
A landing page is THE most important part of your website. It refers to the page where you sell a product or service, or accomplish some task related to your business, like acquiring the e-mail address of your customer (we’ll be looking at this in Day 4).
Just to get a better idea, I want you to have a look at the landing page of my photography business, which I use to get people for my workshops. You can use the link below to see this page:
Though my photography website has a lot of pages in it, this is by far the most important page as this where I sell my main service – the photography workshop.
In this part, we’ll be creating a basic landing page and in the next part, we’ll learn how to get traffic to this page.
When it comes to getting traffic, your number one priority should be to get traffic to your landing page as this where the action takes place.
So let’s get started. Log into your WordPress dashboard and then click on Pages> Add New like shown below:
Then on the following screen, give your page a title and add some body to it. Like here, the example I’ve taken is of a fitness consultation service:
A good landing page consists of the following parts:
- A strong headline that grabs the attention of your customer
- A brief into to what the product/service is.
- Information on how the customer will benefit from this product/service
- An ‘about me’ section (option, but recommended, especially for services)
- Testimonials of people who have used the product
- Payment section ( I use Instamojo for this. It’s one of the easiest to use to collect payments from your customers right on your website and into your bank account.)
- An F.A.Q section to answer some general queries.
Once you are done with the body, just click on ‘Publish’ and the click on ‘View Page’ on top to view your page.
When you use better and professional looking themes, you get more options to make very professional looking landing pages. I use Themeforest to buy themes for my WordPress website. You can find a theme on any category. For instance, let’s say you have opened a gym and want to create a website for it. The easiest thing you can do in that case is to install WordPress like I showed you on DAY 1 and then just head over to Themeforest, type in ‘gym’, like shown below:
Then go through all the themes. You can even see a live demo to see how they will actually look.
Then choose the one you like, pay for it and then simply install it just like I showed you in the WordPress video in Day 1. That’s how easy it is to get an ultra-professional looking website using WordPress.
Yes, these themes do cost a little bit of money but trust me, the satisfaction you get from a good looking website and the positive impact it has on conversions totally make it worth it.
Day 3: How to get customers using Facebook advertising
Now that we have our landing page ready, it’s time to get traffic to it so we can start selling.
While there are a plethora of advertising options on the internet, the one that is the hottest right now is FACEBOOK ADVERTISING.
There has NEVER EVER been a more effective advertising mechanism developed in the entire history of this universe than Facebook advertising.
The only way to make you believe that is to show you an example:
Let’s say you are a Yoga teacher who is looking to get students for her class.
The traditional way of going about advertising your class would be to take all the physical effort of pasting flyers, distributing pamphlets and talking to close friends and relatives and asking them to spread the word.
Then you would hope that someone sees and hears all that and comes to you.
And if you’re rich, you would approach big publishers like newspapers and health magazines.
But the hope factor would still be present as none of the methods used are LASER TARGETED.
Now let’s say you did not do all those difficult things mentioned above and instead just relaxed on your favourite couch at home, switched on your laptop, connected it to the internet and logged into Facebook.
Then you create what is known as a Facebook ad which displays your services and BOOM! You start getting clients!
Sounds easy? WELL IT IS EASY.
Let’s see the process in detail.
First let me show you how an ad looks on Facebook. See the image below:
Look at the big image in the centre which says ‘Become a certified Digital Marketer’.
Do you see the word Sponsored on top the image?
Whenever you see that, it means it’s an ad. As you can see here, the advertiser is Upgrad.
Now let’s see what happens when I click on this ad.
I click and I’m redirected to the advertiser’s website where they are displaying the Digital Marketing course that was shown in the ad, like shown below:
So, how does this ad mechanism work on Facebook?
It’s very simple:
- You create an ad on Facebook (we’ll soon see how this is done)
- You select the type of people on Facebook whom you want to show this ad to (we’ll be seeing this too).
- Facebook runs your ad just like the image you saw above.
- When people click on your ad, they are redirected to your website (that’s where you sell your product or service).
- Facebook charges you some amount of money when someone clicks on your ad and your aim to make the sale of your product or service to generate a profit.
Now let’s look at all this in detail.
I will create an ad for the Yoga classes that we had talked about.
Here’s how the process will work. Watch the video below:
Day 4: How to make an online database of your customers so you can reach them anytime
So far you’ve learned how to create a website and a landing page and then how to get targeted traffic to it using Facebook advertising.
Now this would be enough for amateur marketers but the professional ones know that there’s more to the game.
You see the problem is that when you are just starting out, people are not aware of you and your brand.
So when you advertise your product or service, people come to your landing page, see all the details but may not make a purchase.
Some will do and that’s good for you.
But why should you not do something about the others?
This is where the concept of acquiring e-mail addresses comes in.
A smart marketer knows that once they are successful in capturing their customer’s email-id, they can reach out to them again and again.
The more the number of times you follow-up with your customer, the more chance you have of eventually converting them.
In fact, marketing researches have shown that a customer can take up to 7 to 8 times of seeing a product or service before they decide to buy it.
If you simply advertise a page and don’t have any mechanism to collect emails on it, the people who visit your page and leave are a complete waste of advertising resources for you.
This is where a very important tool comes to your aid – An E-mail Autoresponder.
An autoresponder lets you do the following three things:
- Enables you to place a form on your website which allows users to submit their e-mail id, like the one shown below:
- When people submit their e-mail, it helps you store all the e-mails in a database which is referred to as an e-mail list. Imagine it like you manually saving a list of emails in an excel sheet. It just does that work for you on its own.
- It lets you send e-mails to your whole list. Again imagine a scenario where you have collected 1000 e-mails (we’ll soon be seeing how to actually collect e-mails). Now let’s say you want to send them an e-mail about a new product that you are launching. If you are not using an autoresponder, you will have to copy paste all the emails, put them in bcc using Gmail or Yahoo or something similar. And then send the e-mail. Such an e-mail will most likely go into Spam because of so many e-mail addresses. This is because Gmail or Yahoo are not designed for marketing purposes.With an autoresponder, all you do is write the e-mail inside the software and then send it. It goes to all the emails in your list no matter how many e-mails you have in that list. In fact you can have a series of pre-written emails which start going to your subscriber the moment they give you their e-mail id. You can set the interval between the e-mails. So in that case, once you make the series of e-mails, you never even have to be present and still the software keeps sending the emails at regular intervals. Talk about smart outsourcing.
Which autoresponder to use?
I won’t be showing you all the steps on how to set up your Autoresponder because to be frank, once you sign up for any autoresponder, they literally hand hold you and guide you in making your first form and putting it on your website. The whole process doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.
I am more interested in teaching you the strategy used to acquire e-mails. So let’s go there:
How to acquire e-mails of customers?
The thing to remember about acquiring e-mails is that just having a form on your website with the words ‘Subscribe by filling in your e-mail ID‘ is not going to work for you unless you are Tom Cruise.
You are new. People don’t know you and don’t trust you. Why on earth should they subscribe to you?
What you need my friend , is an offer.
An offer for your prospective customer.
What do I mean by an offer?
An offer means a deal that is too hard to resist for your customer. Let me give you an example. Click on the link below:
Here you can see that I’m offering a free e-book in exchange for the visitor’s e-mail ID.
Once they give their email, my autoresponder sends them an e-mail that contains the link to download the e-book.
My visitor likes this because they get a free e-book. Who doesn’t like free stuff?
I like it because I get their e-mail id and now I can e-mail them whenever my photography workshop comes up or I come up with a new product/service.
In fact even on my other landing pages (like the main workshop landing page I showed you in DAY 3), I tend to put in a form first and then the visitor has to fill in the form first to get redirected to the payment page for the workshop.
This way, even if someone does not end up buying the ticket for my workshop, I still get their e-mail and can approach them when another workshop comes up. If I did not have their e-mail and they left, it would be a waste of resources for me.
This is the reason all internet marketers emphasize so much on ‘building your e-mail list‘. In DAY 5, we’ll see how you can use your list to market yourself in a lot of ways and why your list needs to be one of your main priorities.
Day 5: How to Sell Efficiently
Right now you’re at a stage where you are doing two things:
- Running ads that bring traffic to your main landing page with the hope that the you will make sales.
- More importantly, you are collecting e-mail addresses by having a form (called opt-in from) on your landing page and also by giving away free gifts (offers) in exchange for e-mails.
So even if you don’t sell, at least you will be collecting e-mails and making a list.
This list is what will make sure your business remains sustainable.
Because tomorrow you never know what happens –
- Facebook could shut down or stop their ad mechanism
- Google could change their search engine algorithm which can result in your site’s ranking going down
- WordPress may shut down resulting in the end of your website
Basically, any factor that is not under your control could go wrong and you can suffer.
However, one thing won’t change, which is, the fact that you OWN AN E-MAIL LIST.
No body can take that away from you.
This may not sound like a big deal when you are starting out but imagine a scenario where you’ve been collecting e-mails for a long time and let’s say you have built a list of 1,00,000 emails.
Now even if something were to go wrong, you would still have a huge customer base to turn to and start all over again.
And it’s use is not just in cases of emergency.
Imagine everything is going well and you decide to come up with a new product.
Instead of spending all that money on advertising and finding new customers, all you would have to do will be to send an e-mail to your list and BOOM! You’ll start to get sales.
This is what selling efficiently is.
Why is it efficient?
First of all, the people who give your e-mail are super targeted because they have shown interest in your business in some way.
Secondly, these people are ‘action-takers‘, since they performed an action by giving you their e-mail. Action takers are always likely to convert more into sales.
Thirdly, since you will be sending e-mails to your list often, these people become familiar with your brand and hence start to trust you more. That increases their likelihood of buying from you. In business, trust means sales.
Not just selling, you can use your list for a lot of other purposes. Let’s say you decide to start a blog on your website where you will be writing articles that educate your visitors about your products or services.
When you get done with writing your blog post, you simply send an e-mail to your list and you have a ready-made base of readers, which in turn will make your blog gain traction, ultimately resulting in more people visiting your website and hence, more sales.
To take another example, let’s say you decide to open an account on Instagram. Instead of waiting for a long time to get followers, all you do is just send an e-mail to your list informing them about this new account and you’ll instantly get new followers.
So are you seeing how important is to focus on creating a list?
I’ll also tell you of a common trick used by marketers when it comes building an e-mail list, which I call the Thank-You page trick.
In Day 4, I showed you how I give away a free e-book to build my e-mail list.
Now let’s say you want to run Facebook ads to get people to this page so they can sign up.
But because the only result is them giving you an e-mail, this will mean that your money goes without you earning anything since you are not selling anything on that page.
This is where you can use the Thank-you page to your advantage.
What is a thank-you page?
When you make an opt-in form using an Autoresponder like Mailchimp, you get a chance to redirect the user to another page when they click on the Submit button after filling their e-mail address.
For instance, go back to the free e-book page I showed you before:
Here, when people fill in the form and click on Download Now, they get redirected to the following thank-you page:
On this page, I am making them an offer to buy my main photography e-book at a discount, so I can recover the money I spend on building my e-mail list.
You can use the thank-you page to simply make the customer aware of your products or services too.
They may or may not buy them at that point of time but at least it will stay in their minds. And then because you have their e-mail address, you can reach out to them any time you want and remind them.
Another thing you can try is to create a Facebook group for your customers.
In my case, whenever someone attends my photography workshops, I add them to a private Facebook group where they can post shots.
This group adds value to my customers because their learning process never stops.
It helps me too since, just like an e-mail list, I get another medium to stay in touch with my customers and hence develop trust amongst them.
You can create a Facebook group within minutes by logging into your personal profile and then using the main menu on the top right, like shown in the image below:
I hope you liked the free online marketing course.
Before we end, I would like to just give you one more piece of advice.
Whatever you decide to start, always make sure that you are passionate about that business.
Because running an online business requires you to stay close to your business operations on a regular basis.
And if you don’t like what you are doing, you’ll soon run out of energy.
You don’t have to get things right from the word go, but develop the habit of continually asking yourself – What can I do to make this more exciting for me?
A lot of times, you may have to change some things or start something else.
That’s perfectly fine.
The reason I say all this is because I see a lot of people, especially in the online world, start a business with a very short term point of view.
So they’ll start something just to earn some quick money.
I was one of them.
Avoid that road.
Start something professional. Start something that you like and something that adds real value to your customers’ life.
Take your time. Think about what you want to do. And when it feels good, go for it.
From there on, keep steering yourself in the right direction.
I wish you good luck! 🙂
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