Nathan is host of the fastest growing business podcast The Top Entrepreneurs, and CEO of Send Later, a company he recently acquired after failing to acquire Success Magazine for $5m. He founded the social giveaway SaaS startup, Heyo and is an experienced online educator at CreativeLive where he teaches Facebook Marketing for Small Business Owners. Here's his business advice for first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:
Are you an expert in your field, or do you know more than the average person about a specific subject or skill? If you have adequate skills or knowledge pertaining to a particular topic, then you’re one or two steps ahead in answering your‘why to start’ an online business question. You can use your knowledge and skills to build people up while making some cash along the way!
Because smartphones are everywhere, the demand for new and creative apps is increasing in popularity more than ever before. Between Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone market, people are using countless apps everyday. And, most of them are selling right and left. Taking the time to develop and sell a smartphone app may be worth your while since it’s a very lucrative way to earn money online. The apps cost almost nothing to actually develop and don’t involve any shipping or storage costs, which works to expand your overall profit margin. Well performing apps can make thousands in ad revenue each month for their creators, making them another great passive income strategy.
If you’re looking for a creative online business idea, look no further. Do you enjoy taking photos, whether be of yourself or others, or just enjoy being behind the lens in general? Instagram is a great way to start an online business. If you’re savvy on social media, you’ve surely seen the “influencer” craze on Instagram. It is quickly becoming more than just a platform to check in on your friends’ updates.
VIPKID provides an international learning experience to children in China between the ages 4-12. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers. The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills.
Hint: To stand out and increase your chances of receiving a response of “yes, we’re interested in your topic”, I recommend brainstorming creative titles. For instance, one of their posts is named as “How To Jazz Up Your Emails With Rich Media (Inspiration From Brands That Are Nailing It)” which perfectly describes my idea of using creativity in your post subject line.
A systems approach segments your goals into different areas of your life. This goes beyond your average goal setting because it aligns an area where you want to get something done with the value that will be realized when it's accomplished. For example, my systems approach includes a project system, skills system, health and wellness system, home maintenance system and organization system.
With affiliate marketing, you offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. It varies depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products.
HubSpot – Listed 12 out of 20 times, Hubspot is known for starting the inbound marketing movement, and they are considered for giants in the marketing universe. It is a high-quality marketing blog filled with insights and tips and presents a great example of content that delivers value to its users and target customers alike. Hubspot has three blogs: marketing, sales, and agency— each targeted to a slightly different audience.
Check if you need a model release. Photos of people can only be sold for commercial use if they've signed a 'model release' that gives you permission to use their image (children need a parent/guardian to sign). Without a release, these photos can still be sold for editorial use, as long as they were taken in a public place – eg, if you submitted a 'breaking news' shot with people in the background. If there's any doubt, always ask permission.
Being in a position where you hold all the cards can be exhilarating. The knowledge that your decisions are final is very empowering, and many strive for such freedom. If a start-up can allow such people to go from being a regular employee to being in charge of making all the decisions, then it has already achieved all the success that it needs to.
It’s one of the oldest and most proven ways to make money – buy low, sell high. The buy low part comes from searching garage sales, estate sales, and even thrift stores to find items that are in good condition (“gently used”) but selling well below what they would if they were brand-new. In this way, you might be able to acquire an item for $5, and later sell it for $50.
Clearly, there's a lot of demand on Amazon, and if any product is going to sell, it's going to sell well on Amazon. But the goal here is to source the right products that will easily sell at the world's largest online retailer. Generally, products between $10 and $50 sell very well here. Just be sure to do the right market research before jumping on this bandwagon.
Open A Facebook Group For Customer Questions — Create a group that your product specialist, and your customers join. Have you customers post questions they may have about your product and have your experts answer. Give your customers great videos showing them how to use, maintain, and other great information about your product and you will start building a lasting relationship with your customers.
You should have a succinct and compelling story about what your startup does and what problem it solves. Have this ready for potential customers and investors (although you will need to tailor it to the specific audience). Keep it to 30 seconds or less. Articulate your mission and goals, and why your product or service is compelling and unique. And if an investor is interested, be prepared to follow up with an executive summary about the company or a 12-15 slide PowerPoint “deck” that dives into more detail about the company and the market opportunity.
When creating a membership site, always offer different plans and pricing tiers to appeal to your different categories of audience. Access to specific types of content is then dependent on the plan selected by a member. Membership fees can be a one-off payment or a repeat subscription. And you can even sell products on your membership site to boost your income.
Online and mobile dating are booming. Thousands of people around the world are looking for love online and, unfortunately, many are unsuccessful in their quest. As a dating coach, you’d be responsible for helping your clients to organize and prepare for a perfect date, to refine their flirting skills and to advise on the do’s and don’ts of a dating life.
Search Engine Land – Listed 5 out of 20 times. This is actually a suite of some of the best marketing blogs that address all aspects of digital marketing. For many, this blog represents the gold standard in online marketing analysis and insights. Recent posts covered these topics: (i) The final recrawl analysis: A powerful and important last step after implementing large-scale SEO changes, (ii) How to steal the competition’s best keywords: A 3-step guide, (iii) Google adds new features to its job listings search tool released earlier this year.
If you have authentic information to share and something that’s not just regurgitated information, then you’ll gain people’s respect and confidence. Build a marketing funnel, send some Facebook traffic to a lead capture page, and sell information products. This is all possible when you email market the right way. Once you get people hooked on what you’re selling them, you will begin to see an influx of forever clients or returning customers.
"The way we’ve gotten around that is to always work with somebody on a project before we start handing over significant equity stakes or large sums of money. If the trial project goes well, then talk about expanding the scope of the relationship. Sam Altman from Y-Combinator once said something to the equivalent of 'a bad hire in the first few employees can be detrimental to a startup.' I've really taken that to heart in my business."