Start Your Own Online Business: Matt’s 8-Step Guide For Beginners
This is my how-to guide for my friends and family and the people I meet who constantly tell me that they’d love to do what I do…but.
There’s always a BUT.
“But I don’t know where to start”
“But I’m not tech-savvy”
“But I’m not a business person”
I get it. It’s scary to truly put EVERYTHING you have into building something that can change your life.
It’s not for most people!
But for the people who are really determined to follow their dreams I’m 100% with you guys. I was at step 1 once upon a time too, not knowing where to start, who to talk to or what I needed to do.
So to you guys who’re with me, here is the to-do list that I wish I had when I first started.
Just so you know, everything I recommend I believe in, have personally used and have recommended my close friends and family to use it as well.
So to kick things off and if you haven’t read my blog before, here are the steps that I recommend you follow to get started with your own online business!
(Side note: here’s a blog post on my journey and how I moved to Thailand with my family if you’re interested 🙂 )
Step 1. DSL (Drop Ship Lifestyle)
Yes, I know. It’s expensive. But once you’re a member you’re in for life and get access to each new update that comes out.
In addition to the price, there is plenty of hate out there for DSL.
(Actually, I only really found out about the haters when I was researching for this post)
I would highly recommend you read these comments people have made first and make a truly informed decision before you proceed to buy the course.
Here are some of the comments and concerns I’ve found online:
Concern number 1. The cost is too high
When I bought the course it was $500 – $600 which was a huge investment for me at the time.
But deep down I knew that this would be the right thing to do and that I’d make it work no matter what.
In fact, the more expensive the course is the higher we value it.
From the book “Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business” by Ramit Sethi:
So think of it this way… You’re ensuring that you will see the course through no matter what.
Concern number 2. You will need to spend more on other tools to make this business work.
I had to laugh a little when reading some of the comments that haters had posted saying that they were surprised that after they paid for the DSL course that they would have to spend money on other tools before making money.
You thought that by learning how to do something that there wouldn’t be any costs involved?
C’mon guys. You’re building a REAL business here!
Let’s just take the internet away from the picture for a moment here and imagine that this was 1970.
Stay with me here guys…
You bought a course teaching you how to build a real business. Let’s just say this course consisted of a VHS, cassette tape and a bunch of books. Would you think after reading the book, watching the video and listening to the tape that you’d have everything you need to start making money?
No… You’d need to follow the action steps, do what the course says and actually build the business.
Concern number 3. The refund policy isn’t clear.
If you’ve decided that you’re going to purchase the course then be sure that you will commit to this 100%. Go all in. Take the pledge.
By this point, you should have done your own due diligence to see if DSL is right for you. For those that are with me sign up for Drop Ship Lifestyle for $197/month over 12 months below and join me on step number 2.
Step 2. Niche Selection
Once you’re in the Drop Ship Lifestyle course, Anton (the course founder) recommends writing down 20 possible niches to choose from.
I can tell you that a lot of people at the moment are recommending that you focus on building a store in a ‘passion niche’ but I tend to disagree slightly with these two recommendations.
Passion niches are great… but you’re almost certain to have a steady flow of competition from other DSLers in the future who also think that your chosen passion niche is great. Not to mention the existing competition from Big Box stores who also know that the nice is a winner.
I like to focus on finding a gap in the market and filling it – especially if you’ve got prior experience in that niche that you can use to your advantage.
Step 3. Build Your Store
Don’t be a perfectionist and know that there will be a learning curve here for many people.
Building an eCommerce website used to be hard and scary 10 years ago. These day’s it’s super easy. Plus, there’s a really cool video series in the Drop Ship Lifestyle course that teaches you how to setup your store to get it looking sweet!
Members of the DSL course also get free access to the Drop Ship Lifestyle Theme which I used on my store up until it was reaching $60,000/month in sales.
I swapped to a professional theme called Shoptimized recently for a number of reasons and it’s already shown to provide a huge increase in sales.
The DSL theme is great but If you want a head start I recommend getting the Shoptimized theme straight away.
So, to put it into dot point form this is your to do list:
1. Sign up for Shopify and claim your 14-day free trial
2. If you’re in Australia, get your .com.au domain through Crazy Domains and follow this Shopify guide on how to set up your domain for your store.
For others outside of Australia you can use a well known local hosting company or otherwise I’d recommend using NameCheap.
3. Get your store logo done for just $5 on Fiverr. Search for ‘logo’ and chose one that you feel will create something cool!
4. Get the Shoptimized theme for your store (you’ll thank me later!) and get your store looking nice. Personally, I like to chose a colour theme of no more than 2-3 colours and 1-2 fonts then build the theme ‘look’ around those.
5. Add some demo products to your store. Anton show you how to do this in the DSL course. Just follow along and add your personal touch to each product. You won’t need any more than 10 products.
Step 4. Email
Set up your email with G Suite. I wrote a detailed guide on how I set up my G Suite account for my stores. But really all you need to do is create an email like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you get stuck at any stage the G Suite support staff are awesome at helping out.
Don’t just use a Gmail email address. You’ll get denied by every good supplier straight away. Remember, you’re setting up a long term business here – build your foundation strong!
Step 5. Phone
The difference between your store and the big box stores is that you want to be seen as the niche experts. By focusing your store on once niche and one niche only you position yourself in the market at the people to talk to when it comes to your niche.
Of course, if you want to be seen as an expert, you’ll not only need a professional looking email but also a professional phone number.
Aussies – use Velox Telco to get your 1800 number.
For all others I recommend using Grasshopper.
By having a 1800 or 0800 number you’ll show that you’re a national business while also giving the impression that you’re larger than what you seem.
Step 6. Call Your Suppliers
I see so many people get hung up on this part. Don’t.
Easier said than done, I know. But if you’re dead serious about becoming an entrepreneur you’re going to need to learn and grow. That means getting out of your comfort zone and getting on the phone to talk business.
Trust me. I was shit scared the first time I called a supplier. I remember it like it was yesterday!
But I did it. I did it again and again and again. Now it’s easy and my acceptance rate is over 90%.
As with niche selection, within the Drop Ship Lifestyle course, there are a few things that I don’t fully agree with for my own personal businesses. I’m wasn’t comfortable telling someone that I’ve got a team and multiple stores when I didn’t.
So, to make things a little easier I’ve created a 3 part supplier calling kit for you guys to help give you the best possible chance of landing each supplier the way I do it.
Just sign up to my insider list below to have your supplier kit emailed to you now.
Step 7. Google Adwords
This baby will be another steep learning curve for you. But the good news is that you get $100 free Adwords credit when you create your Shopify account.
My advice here is to take your time, ask questions, search the forum and facebook group and if need be get some coaching from the Easy Ecommerce Wins guys or the DSL Coaches.
Step 8. Here Comes Your First Sale
It may take a week, it may take 6 months. But if you’ve followed the Drop Ship Lifestyle course correctly, if you’ve stayed consistent and if you’ve given this your best shot, then I’m sure you’ll see the sales coming in.
Yes, some of this game is luck. Some guys I know get it right the first time and start making $5,000+ per month on their first store.
But some, like me, don’t…
It took me 2 years to get it right and to start making consistent sales.
But those 2 years were my right of passage and were necessary for me to grow and become who I am today.
You’ll need gumption and a willpower to never give up!
Always be learning. Always be growing and be sure to reach out to me and the Lifestyle Flipper Community for advice.