It doesn’t cost much to start an online business. You can start and build your online business without quitting your current job. We are assuming that you’re starting your online business at home. This usually means you also have a limited budget. You may already have most of the equipment you need. The hardest part of starting an online business is to deciding what type of business you want that will fit your budget.
-Putting Your Business Online-
There are several low cost options available to today’s netpreneur. You can take your current product or service to the net or develop an information product. Affiliate programs are great if you don’t have a product or don’t want to create one. Over the next few issues we will go into depth on each of these business options. All you have to do is choose the type of business that meets your financial, emotional, and intellectual requirements and get going.
Next you’ll need a name for your business. Having your own domain name is critical to your business success. People will feel more comfortable doing business with you. You also get better placement in the search engines. Your business name should be able to stand alone without the dot com. Registering your domain will be about $8-$35 for one year. This varies from register to register.
You will need to have a web site and a company to host your site. Forget the free hosting and free domain name sites if you want to be taken serious. Search engines don’t treat them with much respect. You’ll need a FTP program to upload your site. Cute FTP is a good program for about $35. You can get decent hosting for about $25 a month, $300 a year.
Instant Web Site
An excellent option to jump start your online business is Site Build It®. They will register your domain name and host your site for a year. Site Build It® takes you step by step to create your web pages that will score well at the major search engines. You don’t need to know HTML or worry about FTP or how to use META tags. Site Build It® creates these for you. This is a great cost effective tool for starting an online business.
-Your Home Office Requirements-
A separate room is ideal but you can set your business up in a dedicated corner in a room. Make sure there are outlets available.
You should have a separate phone line for your business with voice mail. Your phone should forward into your voice mail when the line is busy. Your phone can be a residential line. It is much cheaper than a business line. A business line will get you listed in the yellow pages.
An Ergonomic Chair is a must. Don’t skimp on the quality or price here. Comfort is critical. It is hard to sit and work when your back is hurting. Sit on the chair and test it out. Some office furniture companies will let you test-drive the chair before buying. Expect to pay at least $300. You won’t regret it.
Your other office furniture can be bought second hand. You can make shift your desk with a board on two file cabinets.
Set up a separate checking account for your business.
Your current computer is probably sufficient. If you don’t have one or you’ve been looking for an excuse to by a new one, you don’t need the latest and fastest unless you have the money to spare. A 550 MHZ, Pentium III computer is adequate and economical. Average price is $1500. You will also need a printer to go with that computer and a 56K modem for your Internet connection and fax.
Your fax machine can be a stand alone or in your computer.
We have given you the bare essentials to get you going. Buy only what you really need to get started and add as your business grows. You’ll probably have just about all you need to start your own Internet business if you already have a computer and Internet access.