afonne digital logo

How To Start An Online Business [In 9 Steps]

online business ideas

An online business is a business that is conducted online, typically through a website.

We all know that starting an online business can be a daunting task.

There are so many things to think about, from choosing the right product or service to sell, to building a website, to getting traffic to your site, to making sales.

It's no wonder that so many people never get past the first few steps.

But if you're serious about starting an online business, there's no reason why you can't succeed.

In fact, with the right planning and execution, you can start and grow a successful online business relatively quickly and with relatively little investment.

Here are the…

10 Key Aspects of Every Online Business

1. Finding a Profitable Niche

The first step to starting an online business is to find a profitable niche.

This is the market that you will be selling to.

It's important to choose a niche that is not too broad, as you want to be able to focus your marketing efforts and reach your target market.

But at the same time, you don't want to choose a niche that is too small, as you may have difficulty finding enough customers to make a profit.

2. Researching Your Niche

Once you've chosen a niche, it's time to do some research.

You need to find out everything you can about your target market.

  • Who are they?
  • What do they like?
  • What do they need?
  • What are their pain points?

This research will be instrumental in helping you create a product or service that they will want to buy.

3. Choosing a Business Model

Now that you know who your target market is and what they want, it's time to choose a business model.

There are a number of different online business models to choose from, so you'll need to decide which one is best for you.

Some of the most popular online business models include:

  • eCommerce

This is the model most people think of when they think of an online business.

With eCommerce, you create an online store and sell products or services to customers.

  • Affiliate marketing

With affiliate marketing, you promote other people's products or services and earn a commission on every sale you make.

  • Information Products

Information products are digital products that provide value to your customers.

This can include eBooks, courses, audio products, and more.

4. Creating a Website

Once you've chosen your business model, it's time to create a website.

Your website will be the foundation of your online business, so it's important to choose a platform that is easy to use and provides all the features you need.

There are a number of different website builders to choose from, but we recommend WordPress as it is the most popular and easy to use.

5. Driving Traffic to Website

Now that your website is up and running, it's time to start driving traffic to it.

There are a number of different ways to do this, but some of the most effective include:

This is the process of optimizing your website for the search engines so that you rank higher in the search results.

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

This is a form of advertising where you pay for each click on your ad.

  • Social Media Marketing

This is the process of promoting your website or product on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

6. Converting Visitors Into Leads

Once you're driving traffic to your website, you need to start converting those visitors into leads.

A lead is someone who has shown an interest in your product or service by giving you their contact information.

There are a number of different ways to do this, but some of the most effective include:

  • Creating a Lead Capture Form

This is a form that visitors can fill out to sign up for your newsletter or request more information about your product or service.

  • Offering a Freebie

This is a digital product that you offer for free in exchange for the visitor's contact information.

7. Nurture Your Leads

Now that you have a list of leads, it's time to start nurturing them.

Nurturing your leads means building a relationship with them and providing them with valuable content that will help them make a buying decision.

This can be done through a number of different channels, including:

  • Email Marketing

This is the process of sending emails to your list of leads to build a relationship with them and promote your product or service.

  • Social Media

This is the process of engaging with your leads on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

8. Convert Leads Into Customers

Once you have a relationship with your leads, it's time to start converting them into customers.

This is done by promoting your product or service to them and providing them with a reason to buy.

Some of the most effective ways to do this include:

  • Creating a Sales Page

This is a page on your website that is specifically designed to sell your product or service.

  • Creating a Webinar

A webinar is a live online seminar that you can use to promote your product or service.

You\\\\\\\'ll Want To Read Also:  Clickfunnels Ultimate Review [The Good and Ugly]

9. Deliver Your Promise, Product or Service

Once you have made a sale, it's time to deliver your product or service.

This is the process of fulfilling the order and ensuring that the customer is happy with what they have received.

10. Follow Up With Your Customers

The final step in the process is to follow up with your customers.

This is the process of staying in touch with them after the sale and ensuring that they are satisfied with your product or service.

This can be done through a number of different channels, including:

  • Email Marketing

This is the process of sending emails to your list of customers to stay in touch with them and upsell them on additional products or services.

How Can You Start An Online Business?

Start What I Call The Online Real Estate Business

Talking about online real estate, how would it feel to start a web-based version of a business model that's made more millionaires than all industrial investments combined? 

Ultimately how rich can you become? 

How's This Match?

Real estate is a business that has been successful over the years. 

On the other hand, online-based business as a business venture has made too many millionaires. 

Matching this both will be a match made in heaven. 

In short, this is what I call the Billionaire Fastlane! (inspired by the Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. Demarco).

Isn't clear yet? No probs. 

Let's start it this way;

What Is Real Estate Business and How Does It Really Work?

Simple Definition Of Real Estate

Real estate is ‘the property' made up of the land and every other thing that is built or found on, or as part of the land, within, above, or beneath. 

An example is anything made by ‘man' such as a building, or natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water.

Simple Definition of Real Estate Business

The real estate business involves buying, selling, reselling, or renting a real estate property to make money.

How Can You Do ‘Online Estate Business'

Note that, this term ‘online estate business' in the concept it is discussed here in this post, was first found and used on, though the practice of it may already be in existence, as well as the discussed topics.

Simple Definition of Online Estate Business

Online estate business involves the buying, selling, reselling, and renting of online-based properties or businesses.

That is, the buying, selling, reselling, and renting of websites, web pages, pictures, images, infographics, applications, software, blog sites, personal/business accounts, leads, digital products/ideas, services, raw/source code, plugins, post content, sales copies, etc. by an individual, group or a company to make money.

How Much To Start Online Estate Business

Unlike starting a business in real estate which looks something like; 

  • Get your strategy right.
  • Make a business plan
  • Build a unique brand 
  • Register your business
  • Raise a large lump of first required capital, and more …

…online estate business sure has some basic requirements too. But much easier and friendlier ones. 

If you have a little enough knowledge of the internet and how computers work, you are almost ready for business.

The next question will then be, hope you have some capital and lastly, are you a businessman or businesswoman?

Just those requirements coupled with the right execution attitude can make you a billionaire (or practically, a millionaire) online estate business person.

How To Kick-Start Online Estate Business

As always, time is of great essence, so this is how you can start an online version of the real estate business ASAP.

Let's get into it.

1. Leads Flipping

Imagine leads as almost-made customers' contact details.

So, leads flipping is an online estate business where a specific audience's leads are sold to someone else or a company based on their interest. 

Leads flipping is not just starting. It has been around for years already. 

And now more than ever, businesses are looking out for the next easiest way to acquire their next customer without robbing the bank.

If your leads show a significant return on investment, leads flipping can be an insanely profitable business to run (depending on what you define insane as).

The difficulty level of setting up a leads flipping business will depend on how you approach it. Because as an online estate type of business, you have the option to;

… Grow leads from scratch by yourself (most profitable).

When you choose to toll this path, the easiest part will be creating a website. But then, you will need to grow your traffic to grow your leads generation speed.


… Buy Already-made leads and resell (medium profitability)

You can as well, buy leads that have been built and cleaned up and resell to clients.

Leads Flipping Business: How Difficult is It?

  • You continue to make more money and get more clients, as long as your leads convert to sales for your clients, and this reduces (or stops entirely) as soon as your leads no longer deliver.
  • There's a limit to the number of times you can resell a particular lead, or it won't deliver efficiently again.
  • You have to grow your leads from scratch and section them according to their interests (if you choose to build your leads from scratch).
  • Your success or failure depends on the quality of your lead (if you choose to resell).
You\\\\\\\'ll Want To Read Also:  The Core Parts of a Successful Email Marketing Campaign [plus an example COPY]

2. Website Flipping

Website flipping is another method of taking the same business model that real estate agents use to make money, online.

Starting to flip websites can be as easy as buying a website that is making some money already or has seen a significant amount of traffic or both, and reselling it after some time.

In this flipping business, the waiting time before selling a website is used to increase the valuation of such a website by rebranding or increasing the traffic inflow which in turn increases the revenue turnover of the website.

How Difficult Is Website Flipping Business

In terms of difficulty, website flipping is among the easiest means of getting into the buying and selling of online properties.

With the continuous improvement in technology, it's easy enough to find a website that is for sale. 

Also, the process of assessing the quality, web traffic count, and proof of revenue is much simplified. 

Finally, it's easier now to complete the full purchasing process of a website within a day or two.

The real difficulty will come when by any chance, you buy some not realistic valued website or blog site.

How Profitable Is Website Flipping Business

Reselling a website that was bought at the right valuation will always be profitable, maybe even ‘very' profitable.

This is because the major cost of running a website flipping business is usually towards improving the look and traffic and running some website promotions to increase revenue.

And since the price of a website or blog that is to be sold is usually calculated by multiplying the current monthly/yearly turnover for 2 years time frame; the real flexibility comes with the ability to decide exactly when you wish to sell and the price.

At the same time, there's also no limit to the number of websites you can flip in a month or year, thereby making website flipping one of the most profitable online estate businesses out there.

3. Selling Your Own Website/Blog

Now, contrary to buying someone else's website, you can sell yours too. 

Just like building a lead from scratch and selling it, putting up your own website or blog for sale, is by far more profitable than flipping people's websites.

The business is easier if you already have a blog that is making money or has a few thousand visitors per month.

And if you do not have a website now, it's all great too.

You can take the next 6 months to build and grow your new website up to a “FOR SALE” status.

If it demands more than 6 months, just know that it's worth more than 6 months of work, selling your own website can give you a big break.

Fortunately, your website may even become the next big thing that you may not want to sale it again. 

Give it all it takes!

4. Renting A Custom Ads Space

On a post I published in the past, of Top List Of “The 7 Continents' ” Richest Bloggers; though their income runs in millions of dollars, a good percentage of these blog sites, had (by estimation) Display Ads as part or only source of revenue.

If you have a website, you need to consider making a little space for additional real income from custom advertisement placements and promotions.

Selling ad space is a lucrative choice even if you don't like the way ad networks place ads on websites, because you decide where and how the ads will look, and also a great combination if you do.

This is similar to renting in the case of real estate where you lease a room or an entire apartment. But in the online renting business, there's more potential to earn much more.

The cost advertiser could be charged for an ads space is measured by website quality, popularity, and traffic, and completely custom.

Renting ads space on your site that's raking in lots of traffic can pay in premium revenue.

That's the online estate business for you.

5. Affiliate Marketing

With affiliate marketing, you don't need a product to sell one.

You get the chance to earn as much as 50% of the sale price of any product you are an affiliate of.

In essence, you split the sale of every product in half for most products and the others that you don't, you get percentile-based commissions you can't resist.

The real work of an affiliate is only to drive sales. Nothing else!

The product has been made, the sales copies sometimes are already made, the product has also proven itself.

Just take the product or service to the market, do it your way, and drive that sales-making traffic; go home with your commission.

That is down to the floor one of the best business-on-business ways to make money.

You\\\\\\\'ll Want To Read Also:  Clickfunnels Ultimate Review [The Good and Ugly]

6. Bonus – Offline Business: A Franchise Business

Starting a business from scratch could be hard!

It is reported that only 25% of new startups make it to 15 years or more, while 20% of them fail during the first two years, 45% within five, then 65% during the first 10 years before eventually folding up.

Fortunately, you can still be a successful entrepreneur under the canopy of another bigger enterprise that has stood the test of time and still proved sustainable.

What Is A Franchise In Simple Terms?

It's an accredited subsidiary of a bigger firm, that has the right to sell products or services of the parent firm. In return, the franchisee pays an upfront franchise fee, then a subsequent monthly royalty fee based on a pre-agreed percentage of revenue.

These two partners are called the Franchisee and the Franchiser– gives her product/services, branding, marks, system, etc.

How Easy Is Franchising?

The franchise business model can be mastered by anybody, the success rate is also on the high side. Given this, it is easy to start a franchise, at least, it is easier than starting own company from scratch, for these reasons below.

Major Marketing Needs Are Already Taken Care of

As startups reportedly budget as much as 3% of total capital on only pre-launch marketing, just for kick-off advertisement.

With a franchise, this initial cost is offset, as one benefit of a franchise model of entrepreneurship. All you need to keep doing is pay an agreed percentage of royalties each month, as the parent company takes care of other things, allowing you to focus on what matters; growth.

Growth and increase in customer base; dominating the locality has to be the main focus of a potentially successful franchisee.

Higher Success Rate

Unlike starting a traditional business that has no guarantees for success with nowhere to fall back on, a franchisee enjoys the benefit of leveraging practically everything the franchiser banks on.

Starting from marketing, viable system, branding, integrity, their name, fame, etc., with almost everything already taken care of, an entrepreneur managing a franchise is just like a manager of a branch of the parent company. The opportunity gives a guarantee for success to an extent.

It's Not Your Risk

You may want to toll the franchise path to reduce lots of responsibilities that come with starting up a company. The risk is born entirely by the owner, while owning a franchise allows for sharing risk between two parties.

While a franchise owner has their own risk to take, a major part of the risk involved in a business is the parent company's problem to bother about.

Provided you don't mismanage funds or under manage your arm of the establishment, the franchiser is responsible for the smooth running of the organization.

Having known what a franchise model is like, how easy or hard it can be, the success rate and risk involved, it will be just as important to know how to succeed in franchising.

Consider having a written plan to determine the running of your new venture, for at least, the next 5 to 10 years. Franchising lets you exercise your full entrepreneurial skills, which is why some franchises are more successful than others.

A plan will allow you to see into the future of the franchise even before it is started. This is crucial to let you have a sneak peek of possible challenges, including the risks involved. A written plan will serve as a financial plan too, to help you make the most use of your startup capital investment for maximum profit.

Marketing is Key

Though you have less to worry about adverts, there's still a need to advertise your franchise to your locality. Social Media can easily create the necessary awareness without any overhead costs. Later, you can consider putting some money into newspaper ads, television, and billboards.

Marketing through different mediums lets you test the grounds on what works based on Returns On Investment, impact on sales, and general market exposure.

When you know your market, make realistic plans, franchising will not only be easy to buy and run but also profitable. Instead of planning on how to start your own business for months, year after year, easily leverage already-made thriving model through franchising to get your feet dipped for the first time.

The experience will worth your while.

Here's the full run down of the best online business ideas to start.


There are many ways to start an online business.

You can start an online business by creating a website, starting a blog, or selling products or services online.

You can also start an online business by becoming an affiliate marketer or by creating an e-commerce store.

Or by picking one of the many ways I have outlined in this post.

But if you are not sure how to start an online business, there are many resources available to help you.

You can find helpful articles, videos, and books on the subject.

You can also find many online courses that will teach you how to start an online business.

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to Afonne Digital at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a paid plan. Feel free to read our affiliate disclosure and our privacy policy.

Accuracy of Pricing Details:  Please be aware that pricing details for products, software, services, and tools reviewed on our site may change and may not always reflect current pricing. While we aim to provide accurate information, we can’t guarantee the validity of listed prices. For the most up-to-date pricing, please visit the official website of the respective provider.

Table of Contents



CID is a Software Engineer cum Digital Marketer. He launched Afonne Digital in 2018, a platform that empowers creators, agencies, and businesses with tools, software reviews and informational resources to create, distribute, and monetize content.