This post is going to be a game changer for you. You will learn how to start a business from home with this step by step guide. This tutorial is based on what I learned from launching a few of my own stores, with some being successes and failures. We will discuss website design, marketing, sales, and more as you will find great tips in this post to help you complete this whole process in a short amount of time. You can have your store up in running, with less than $15! Let’s get started!
Disclosure: This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.
I bumped my head so many times with starting a business from home on my own. I literally operated on 3-4 hours of sleep a night for two weeks straight, fueled by excitement and daily double shots of espresso from Starbucks. I was relieved when I got to a point of satisfaction with my first store, and was ready to launch. Only one thing is, I needed sales. Which I at the time thought, no problem. People will do a search for my exact product, which were t-shirts, and then boom, I would wake up the next morning with at least a few hundred dollars in my account. I woke up with the same amount of money that I went to bed with. I was perplexed but still running on excitement and another macchiato. I understood later on after I decided to create 5 more stores, which 2 were mild successes and 3 that went no where. I was at the point where I knew how to create a great looking store website, upload hundreds of products manually, and yet did not properly understand the marketing. I learned what I was doing wrong over the course of a few months and found a way to really realize my dream of being a work from home store owner.
To my detriment, I did what so many other people do which was to focus on how great the store looked and understood nothing about marketing. I had social media pages with a few likes, which came from friends and family. The whole process seems unreachable starting out, but after finishing this guide and really understanding the key tips, you will prevail.
Here is what you will gain after reading this article today:
- Finding your niche
- Deciding on your name/brand of the store.
- Securing your domain and store platform.
- Beginning your store design.
Don’t get carried away with emotion as we begin this journey, as it will compound any developing frustration and anxiety. I want you to be excited about your entrepreneurial journey, but also want you to stay on the ground while taking in the information and applying it. You will be able to find out everything you need to do to get started today, so let’s begin.
Finding Your Niche
This is usually a huge hurdle for most when the decision has to be made on what products to sell. I can relieve any worries that you have right now about trying to figure out how much will it cost to buy inventory. The answer is zero! You will be drop shipping your products and do not have to worry about filling your garage up with product. Now, how do we go about narrowing down what to focus on? Are you going to go in the direction of having a flex store such as Target and Walmart, and carry a variety of product, or are you going in the direction of a niche store such as The Children’s Place? We will approach narrowing down what you will focus on by always considering these three points.
- Detecting and discovering trends.
- Following your passion or area of expertise.
- Looking for the opportunity gap.
We will first start by using a free tool called Google Trends to tackle the first point. This free tool will give you so much insight to any of the ideas that you are jotting down. Put your idea into the search bar to see if it is on an incline or decline. For example, Keto Diet has been heavily trending for 2018. So opening a Keto store that targets Keto Dieters by selling them kitchen tools could be a score in comparison to opening a store for Atkins Dieters. See example below.
Staying current on trends and keeping an ear to the ground about what’s popular will be an asset for you. You will also search for hashtags and keywords on social media to see if your idea/niche is trending. You can totally start a store selling items that are of no interest to you if you know that it is trending. Another example would be when Pokemon Go App came out and people were bumping into each other trying to catch em’ all :). Starting a store selling Pokemon related items would be riding the wave, with the knowledge of knowing that waves will crash eventually. There will be many trends that come and go, but you can jump on as soon as they happen, make your money, and move on to your next project. Which brings me to my next point.
BEING EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED
Don’t get me wrong, your emotions will be involved but they can also betray you with decisions. You might love the idea, but is it the right decision to make? This will be a constant question you ask yourself on this journey. Thankfully, we have feedback and data to sometimes help us through those moments. Have a business name? Survey family and friends, and ask for their complete honesty. Take a step back and ask yourself would a stranger or customer respond positively to it. Do they have to use algebra to figure out the actual meaning of your name or use a dictionary to know how to pronounce it? Judge your ideas and as soon as they come to mind. An idea that you love today could become an idea you despise next week. Trust me, it happens. You will be excited about this journey, but we also want you to not let feelings be the driver to your entrepreneurial destination.
CHOOSING BUSINESS TYPE
Once you jot down a few niches that interest you, and the following research to see if those niches are trending on Google Trends and searching for its popularity on social media, it’s time to decide on your business type:
- Blogging: Perhaps you will start a blog to share your knowledge about your expertise or an issue close to your heart.
- Service Business: Maybe you will start a service business to scale up your current skill of being a hair dresser, photographer, and etc.
- Drop shipping: You found a validated niche and want to put your own unique spin to it.
- T-Shirts: You have an unique concept and believe that what you have to say, should spark joy in others.
- Subscription: Maybe you know exactly what a sub group of people want on a monthly basis.
*Click the hyperlinks to read either blog posts or direct access to the site for your needs.
Above we talked about not being overly emotionally attached. Let’s balance it out with discussing your passion. You can have over flowing passion for the spirit of entrepreneurship that is in you and pair it with your expertise. You can be a passionate hair stylist that wants to start an affordable, and professional website, while also offering drop shipped hair care products to your clients. But you are also an ethical hair stylist who wouldn’t drop ship some miracle cream that over promises and seems suspect for the sake of a dollar.
Perhaps you are a local photographer and want to also have a website where you can also offer your clients stunning frames for their finished photos or to offer them the chance to buy some of the same memorable props you used for the photo shoot. Do the parents want to buy the same stuffed animal that you just used today on the photo shoot? Maybe you offer them a discount code to incentivize them into buying the prop or a few frames.
The goal is for you to find an opportunity gap. You can think of your own experience as a customer and jot down what you wish your favorite stores would do or improve on. Do you have a favorite luxury brand that you wish would come down on the price? Create your own luxury brand style that doesn’t come with all of the high cost. Start within your own day to day life and start being mindful of the common everyday problems. Is there anyway to make the life of a school teacher more tolerable? Is there a specific type of toy that needs more attention as you have seen your own child blossom from using? Maybe you create a one stop shop for meal preppers. What could a first time mom really use? You can get as specific as you want in determining your niche. Again, we are paying attention to the trends and also trying to create convenience.
Download the free business plan from us to help you work out your strategy to determine which direction you should go.
NAMING YOUR BUSINESS
You may have decided on the name of your store. If not, then how do you decide or finalize that name? Go to Name Checkr and check as it will allow you to see if the domain and social media names are taken. Can’t think of any names? Go to Shopify name generator and let them help you out. In the beginning, I use to be paralyzed when it came to finding a name that I liked. I’ve learned since then that the craziest of names have made tons of money, and that I just needed to be quicker about the name. There are a few rules to remember when coming up with the name.
- Don’t create an overly lengthy name.
- Keep it simple.
- Don’t be fancy with the spelling and make it difficult for your customer to find you.
- Make sure the domain is available on a .com.
- Don’t lock yourself in a restrictive name in case you expand your product line.
Don’t overthink this part of the process. Take a couple days on it, but don’t take weeks. Once name has been decided, it is time to sign up for your site and purchase your domain.
I mentioned in the beginning that you can have a store up and running for $15. Let me lay out the cost for you.
- You sign up for your store.
- You purchase a domain for $11-14.
- Your store comes with a free 2 week trial.
If you are committed to your goal and like the experience so far of those two weeks, then you can commit to a MONTHLY plan starting at $29. That’s it! You are spending $29 a month to have your site up and running! The beauty is that there are no long term contracts to sign up for. You are spending a little bit less than a $1 a day to get started on your dream. I have several sites with Shopify where I pay the $29 a month per site and it gets easier each time to sign up for more, as I pursue more business ideas.
What’s more is that you are signing up for a wealth of information. I can’t elaborate enough on how much I have learned over the years from Shopify’s free tutorials and video walkthroughs of every single step. They have 24/7 online support that is superb.
You have picked out a name and signed up for a store! Now it is time to design that site. This is really a fun part for me as it is a way to express my creativity. Lucky for you, Shopify makes this process easy. You just need to pick out a theme first.
Think of a theme like a power point slide. You are choosing what you want your site to look like. Shopify has plenty of great quality free themes to choose from. I always started with the Brooklyn theme as it is a common favorite. Million dollar stores have been made using the free themes. I have never purchased a theme from Shopify, as I always go to Theme Forest for that, if I have a more extravagant idea in mind. But, start with the free ones.
You now have the task of sourcing your photos for the site, writing content, and tuning the store for official readiness. Before getting start on that process, download our free business launch checklist, to help organize and keep you on task.
Google free stock photography, or use Burst on Shopify for free stock photos. No need in purchasing high end photos. (Check out our resources page for a list of free stock photography sites).
With the $29 a month price, you can take the time to really set your site up the way that you want. If you just don’t have the time or desire to design the site yourself, book my extremely affordable site design service, and allow me to help you over that creative hump.
I want to close by saying that I never thought I could change the course of my life for that low amount of money. It takes commitment, a few dollars, and a willingness to educate yourself on the wealth of knowledge now at your fingertips. Be sure to check the other blog posts for the how to’s of getting started in your chosen direction. If you are feeling nervous, anxious, or just want to hear that you can do this, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a free 30 minute consultation to help relieve you of the butterflies. Just know that you can survive and thrive in the world of entrepreneurship 🙂