With the current rise in the rate of unemployment in countries like Nigeria, it is paramount for young people to invest in the creative sector by operating their own businesses especially on the internet.
It offers independence and the option of making money on your own terms. Starting an online business is a bit tedious because of the existence of too many competitors, it attracts stiff opposition, it takes time, money, efforts, focus and drive but it offers true freedom which to the entrepreneur is priceless.
There are different types of internet business ideas that may interest you, this write up will highlight them and reveal details on how to set up and run a budding internet business.
The products and services you are willing to offer will determine the type of internet business you are going to set up, so you will get to choose from below, your most suitable or preferable form:
E-COMMERCE STORE: is a direct form of internet business which is self hosted. Here, you can sell your products and render services directly to consumers without an intermediary because you have absolute control over your site which will be tailored to specifically meet your needs.
All you need to do is set up your site or domain in a user friendly, accessible, and professional way. E commerce stores thrive in countries with good educational system, internet penetration and a populace that is not averse to spending online. Example of Nigerian e commerce stores are Jumia, konga and kaymu.
Etsy and Ebay Stores: although they are not common in Nigeria, these are valid internet business stores. An Etsy store deals mainly with handmade goods, it is mostly for people who sell vintage items, consumers will need to go through an interface to purchase your goods.
On Ebay, you have little or no control over the visual layout of your store and this is a plus or minus depending on your brand. Unlike Etsy, Ebay stores do not insist on vintage items but certain goods are prohibited on the site.
Blogs: Blogs are domains that usually focus on growing an audience through content marketing. You can monetise your blog by offering products and services.
In cases where you posses a skill like photography, sculpture, make up or any other firm of creativity, you can create a blog to show off your best work and build your portfolio online.
You can share knowledge on your blog to a selected audience for a good sum of money. We also have entertainment blogs and Linda ikeji blog is a practical example of blogging as an internet business in Nigeria.
Micro Sites: These are smaller than blogs; they contain limited contents that focus on narrow or specific topics and sell affiliate products. They generate traffic from the search engine through low competition key words that rank easily in the search engine, building contents around those keywords and linking to the website by various links. Referral commissions can be earned on a micro site by referring people to sites or vendors set up to pay affiliate fees once a sale is made. Example of a Nigerian micro site is shopdirect.ng
Membership Sites: These are sites built for small audience with focus on creating solutions to a particular problem by offering highly valuable information, tools, services and resources to help their members succeed. They offer special mentoring programs by videos, podcasts and audios.
With a membership site, you don’t need to wait for individuals to make purchases on a product because you’ll enjoy income from your members every month.
The fact that you enjoy reoccurring monthly income should spur you to give your best by high quality content and services. Most fitness gurus and nutritionists in Nigeria run membership sites.
SETTING UP YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS
To set up an internet business from the scratch, you will need to:
1. CARRY OUT PROPER RESEARCH: there is already an influx of people into the internet business, the probability that your brand will be diluted once you join is very high so in order to avoid this, you will have to carry out extensive research on the business you want to venture into.
Find out the extra mile you have to go to distinguish you from others in your line of business, what will set you apart from others? How do you make profit?
How do professionals in your line of business run their brands? These are pertinent questions you need to ask yourself; make inquiries, get vital information and apply it.
Write out your business plan and analyze it, detail it to essentials and stipulate your means of funding then implement an income generating plan.
2. BUILD YOUR BRAND: Set up your brand by registering a well thought out domain name, if you can’t set it up yourself, contact a professional to get it done at an affordable rate.
Be sure it is easy to access, user friendly and professional with your goals and mission clearly communicated. Your content strategy must align with a promotion schedule that will build your business.
3. MAKE YOUR BUSINESS LEGAL: Make your business a legal entity by checking for rules and tax obligations that apply to online business in your country and adhere to them. Create solid background laws that ensure the authenticity, reliability and legality of your transactions. Make use of the services of a good lawyer.
4. BUILD CONTENT: Contents give life and colour to your brand, you must have something worthwhile to show people who will want to explore it.
Show off your products and services in a very attractive way; create a catalogue of your products if you need to. It is of utmost importance to keep your contents relevant and engaging to urge interactions with customers, let it reflect your brand in tone and style.
Lastly, make your contents visible and credible.
4. BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE: The first step to building your audience is to identify the demographic characteristics of consumers who will benefit from your goods and services and base your marketing strategies on them; you can also build your audience by being a guest post on a popular blog or podcast that will increase the traffic on your site.
5. TEST AND MODIFY: After implementing and executing your plans, you must review and study them to find out what works and what fails, check for loop holes and work on weak areas; this is a very effective yardstick for measuring success in business and preventing reoccurring losses.
Now that you are equipped with this brief introduction to internet business, you can start up something on the internet and work consistently on it until it pays off.