Steli is the CEO of Close.io, a high-powered inside sales communication platform (and my pick as the best CRM for small business) that's powered by his years of experience driving millions of dollars in sales for hundreds of venture backed Silicon Valley startups. Here's what Steli has to share as far as business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business today:
Jim is the Founder and CEO of Owler, a crowdsourced competitive intelligence platform. Prior to Owler, Jim founded Jigsaw in 2003 and was CEO until it was acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $175 million. Before his career in technology, Jim was owner and operator of Lookout Pass, a ski resort in Idaho, and served in the U.S. Navy as a diving and salvage officer. He's seriously the man. Here's Jim's business advice to first-time entrepreneur who want to start a business:
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.
Creating new content is an important engine of branding your business and delivering value. Still, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with ten articles on the same subject. As you build a social and email following, odds are good that many of your followers haven’t seen your old content yet. As long as it’s still accurate and relevant, don’t hesitate to send it out again.
Of course we have to include our very own ROI Factor Blog. We take pride in our work, and we enjoy discussing a number of different topics that shape the industry in which we operate. Our digital marketing blog prompts a number of different conversations from digital trends, to marketing innovation and best practices. We balance the scale between the importance of technical and results-driven marketing, and creative campaigns, and work to highlight everything in between through our bi-weekly posts. From strategy, design, and marketing, to website and mobile app development, you can find it all here at BFM. Digital marketing blogs are a great way to stay on top of what is going on in this rapidly-changing industry. Are there any digital marketing blogs that you love that we missed on our list? Comment below or tweet us @BFMweb.

It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who've done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. Or you can even buy into well-established franchise businesses like Rhea Lana that sell fashionable, affordable kids clothing and get the backing of a proven organization to fuel your online sales. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.


Zappos, Sears, Way fair, and Amazon are just a few of the larger known business brands that started with drop shipping. Even without your products in stock, you can still feature and sell the items on your website. Drop shipping takes the shipping process off of your plate entirely. When people buy from you, they purchase it from a third-party seller who then sells your item to your customer.
One of the cool things about Google AdSense is that it's so easy to get set up. If you have a blog or website, you can sign up for a free Google AdSense Account. From there, Google will give you a unique code that you will paste onto your website. Google takes it from there, tracking your page views, traffic, and earnings on your behalf. There is no upkeep or maintenance to get this thing going, which makes it a no-brainer if you have a website already.

Cloudwords is one of the many companies that is taking advantage of the $30billion that is spent worldwide on translation related products or services.This is one of the more complex work from home ideas out there, simply because from day 1, it’s likely clients will be small to medium sized businesses trying to negotiate deals abroad. The market it is there, now you just need to find your niche.
Some subjects are much better paid than others, so although you may love the idea of writing about travel (badly paid) a better bet would be a niche like finance (much higher rates of pay). Check out the Pro Blogger job board for high paid freelance writing jobs – other places to look might be Textbroker or you can look at the “gigs” section on Craigslist.

The quote above was taken from one of Baer’s presentations, Youtility, which talks about how marketing isn’t just competing for attention against other products, but other life elements around your target audience (such as family and friends). Companies shouldn’t be thinking about how they can become more exciting, but how they can help their target audience better.


If you’re handy or creative, you could craft your products and sell them on sites like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, straight out of your home. The biggest challenge would be getting discovered, depending on your niche and how viral your products are. But thankfully, there’s tons of advice out there, from pricing your work properly to taking the best photography possible.


Drop shipping a supply chain management technique whereby you make money by taking care of product shipments on behalf of a retailer. Also, you need to work with them to make sales which will then lead to earning revenue from the delivery of the products. If you want to get involved in drop shipping, you should do some detailed research beforehand and look for a type of company that will put emphasis on assessment of potential business partners, not just ask for a fee to join their program. You can find a list of UK Drop shippers here. Alternatively, you can also contact small business owners and ask if they’d be interested in this type of cooperation. Examples of drop shipping companies include Sellerbot.
One of the great things about the internet is that you can go into business for yourself from the comfort of your home. All you need is an internet connection, and you can make money online. Diving into the online world will free you from the daily 9 to 5 grind of a desk job and afford you more time to travel, indulge in hobbies, and spend time with the family.
You see, flipping common household goods (or any goods for that matter), isn’t a new concept. There’s no better feeling than picking up something at a yard sale, only to flip it on eBay for more than what you paid for it. And that’s where dropshipping comes in. Think of it as flipping items, but at scale. You setup your own personal store on a platform like Shopify (with way more customization options than a store through Ebay) and you sell products to consumers looking to buy them, but with one simple (but amazing) catch. 
Not to worry—online thrift shops and consignments stores, like thredUP, are just one model you can follow to achieve that goal. There are other businesses that crawl through sites like eBay to find cool, unique, interesting objects, then present them in compelling ways. Good copywriting and a strong brand can go a long way to separating you from the crowd here.
The quote above comes from a ConversionXL article by Tommy Walker titled How To Calculate & Increase Customer Lifetime Value. Walker states that many businesses focus on transactional customer value, and in doing so forget to invest in the post-conversion experience. He recommends determining customer lifetime value and improving customer experience by offering a better post-purchase experience. Walker says Internet marketers should view every customer interaction as an opportunity to improve loyalty, find ways to build habits around your product, make it easy for customers to connect and “incorporate customer feedback to improve everything from user experience to product features & design.”
The truth is that with the internet you can successfully do video calling (Skype calling et al) and live chat with you clients no matter the part of the world where they live in. Just ensure that you list your consulting services online and you will be amazed at the numbers of people from all over the world that will come calling for your services especially if you are considered a pro in the industry.
Not only is it important to update your content, but if your website looks like it’s from the 1990s it’s time for a total makeover. Website design is constantly evolving, so it’s important to keep up with the current trends so that you can compete in your market. Old website design can give out spammy vibes to customers who will quickly leave your site and move on to one that is more aesthetically appealing.
It can take time to build up your personal freelance business. Yet, there is more demand than ever for freelancers. So, if you want to kick start making money online through freelancing you can join one of the top freelance networks, such as Flexjobs, SolidGigs, Contena, Upwork, Fiverr, or PeoplePerHour. Sign up, build your profile, upload some samples of your work and start making extra money by doing small freelance jobs.
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with logistics like printing, warehousing and customer service. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income. 

If you’re a software engineer, the perks of working at a startup or tech giant are pretty sizable, but if you’re more invested in flexibility, diversity of projects, taking on work at your own pace, and the freedom of being your own boss, then freelance coding is one of the greatest online business ideas around. Whether you’re into web design—an especially popular freelance coding category—or another kind of software development, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to find clients you’re interested in helping out.


There are loads of resources out there for networking, knowledge sharing and advice. Networking is not just for new business opportunities; it can be a wonderful source of support and fresh ideas. Attend events such as Leaderex (free master classes) and My Biz Expo (free if you register before a certain date). Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from those around you (such as your intermediary, bank manager, landlord or neighbouring businesses),  or online forums and Facebook community groups in your area.
Social media is an integral part of any business but it’s time-consuming and ever-changing – so really quite difficult to keep up with and, more importantly, capitalize on. Many business owners are willing to outsource this time-intensive task, so it’s a great opportunity for social media fanatics. Bundle together a few interesting offers, such as “Startup social media kit” or “Small Business Social Media Starter Kit” that encompass everything from social media graphics to analytics reports and the seamless experience will bring you more clients than you expect.

It’s almost always harder and takes longer to raise startup financing than you think. You must ensure you have a cushion for all the product development and marketing expenses you will incur. In an ideal world, you will have sufficient capital for your operations to break even. Don’t worry about diluting your percentage ownership in the company. Developing a great product takes time and money.


If you’re passionate about writing and feel strongly about certain subjects, type your way to riches by creating your own blog. Launching your own blog doesn’t require a great deal of technical or computer skills. It is important, however, that you do know what you’re talking about relative to the subject you’re writing on. Over time, you’ll start to develop an audience since people will trust your expertise and knowledge.
Chris Ducker is a virtual CEO and founder of Virtual Staff Finder, which is one of Hubstaff’s 7 Awesome Virtual Assistant Companies in the Philippines. The quote above comes from an article titled 6 Ways to Make Money While Building an Online Business. Ducker says that in order to be successful at online selling, marketers should position themselves in a market where people need what they offer.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Running a business can be challenging, and it takes hard work and perseverance to achieve a high level of success. Whether you’re already in business, or looking to start a business, it pays to heed the advice of others who have walked in your shoes. I asked a few self-made millionaire entrepreneurs to share their advice for being successful in business. Here’s what they had to say:

Dating sites and apps are extremely popular and have become more and more niche as the industry develops. They can also be very profitable, as there are many ways to monetize them. You can charge a joining fee, provide premium subscriptions, or make money from advertising on your site. White Label Dating provides a pre-built dating platform for your project. You simply choose the niche and branding for your new dating site. Once your website goes live, you just need to promote it, manage the users, and collect the earnings.

There’s an excellent chance that you have one or several musical instruments sitting in storage that haven’t been used in years. Perhaps it’s a leftover from when you were in school, or even from your days playing in a band. Whatever the reason that you have it, it’s probably worth money if you can sell it. Brand-new instruments are ridiculously expensive, so people often look to buy used equipment instead, particularly if they are novices.

Are you a freelancer, and do you have ample time at your disposal? If your answer was a yes to the above questions, then you can make money as a freelance research for several organizations and individuals scattered across the world. All you need is to prove to them that you have what it takes to deliver on set targets and you will secure good paying research and report writing jobs.


Jim is the Founder and CEO of Owler, a crowdsourced competitive intelligence platform. Prior to Owler, Jim founded Jigsaw in 2003 and was CEO until it was acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $175 million. Before his career in technology, Jim was owner and operator of Lookout Pass, a ski resort in Idaho, and served in the U.S. Navy as a diving and salvage officer. He's seriously the man. Here's Jim's business advice to first-time entrepreneur who want to start a business:
The very popular and a comprehensive online authority publication in search engine marketing is called Search Engine Journal. It is dedicated to producing the latest search news, the best guides and how-tos for the SEO and marketer community. This site offers the latest updates to search engine algorithms, useful SEO information and different useful tactics.

As you start regularly putting out content, you’ll hopefully start to build a bit of an audience. But to start seeing real money from YouTube you need to market your videos elsewhere. Share your channel on Twitter and Facebook. Distribute videos anywhere else you can think of. Also, interact with comments and build a community around the videos you’re making so people will share it with their friends.
Pro tip for first-timers: Carefully consider the pay rates that are listed. Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler has used the platform to find freelance writing gigs, and she reports low rates — like $3 for 500 written words. It’s probably not worth it. (And, yes, you’ll have to scroll through a whole lot of these low-paying listings to find the good ones.)
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