Starting your own online business is one of the few ways to earn money where there’s absolutely no ceiling on how much you can earn.
This is the path we chose to fund our travels around Australia and be financially secure. It’s challenging, but also extremely rewarding (both emotionally and economically).
That journey started +5 years ago… And we’ve learned SO MUCH since. So, here’s the guide we wished we had back then.
Below, we’ll explain how to start an online business in Australia. From choosing the right idea to the steps you need to take to get it from the paper into reality.
If you have a burning desire to explore Australia’s awe-inspiring landscapes while earning a reliable income, keep reading!
Our online business is building and renovating websites. Anyone can learn how to do it, we learnt everything with this course (it’s for beginners and non-techies): The Digital Investors Program.
Table of contents
1) Identify why you want to have a business online
Most people start by thinking about how the website will look like, what kind of social media posts you’ll do, or even what products you’ll sell.
All that is very important, but we’d argue that understanding why you want to start an online business is the FIRST thing you should do.
It will be the compass that guides you towards your final goal, which can be:
- Financial freedom.
- The ability to work from anywhere.
- Travel the world.
- Take care of your loved ones.
- Spend as much time as you want with your kids.
- Pursuing your passion.
- All or none of the above.
Having a strong “why” is the foundation for making important decisions and overcoming challenges along the way. It gives you purpose and direction while helping you stay motivated during hard times.
Is your “why” travelling? Here’s a step-by-step on how to work remotely while travelling every corner of Australia
2) What kind of business do you want to have?
Once you understand why you want to do this, it’s time to think about how you are going to make it happen.
Now, when we talk about “online businesses”, most people think that means creating an online store to sell products online. This is perfect if you already have a product in mind and just need to start your online shop.
But you don’t need to sell physical products online to earn money. There are DOZENS of other things to do that don’t require you to do this, for example:
- Offering consulting services online.
- Doing affiliate marketing.
- Creating an online course.
- Building, buying, and selling websites.
We wrote an entire guide about this, with 30 ways to work remotely so you can travel when you want. Whether you’re a newbie looking for ideas or a seasoned remote worker wanting to branch out, we’re sure you’ll find something there that sparks your interest:
Get the FREE guide: 30 Ways To Work Online So You Can Travel When You Want
For us, our online business is building, buying, and selling websites.
Nowadays, websites are actually assets. If you monetize them, you can sell them for profit (much like property!) or keep them for passive income.
There are different ways to monetize a website, we usually do it by showing ads on our blogs, affiliate marketing, and lead generation, among other things (we explain this in detail in the guide mentioned above).
This means you can create your own website(s) and monetize it any way you prefer. Or buy, renovate, and resell them for a profit.
We learned how to do this with Matt & Liz, founders of the eBusiness Institute.
They’re an Aussie couple that have spent the last decade creating, renovating, and selling websites, while also teaching others how to do it from scratch.
When we say “from scratch” it’s literal – they teach you everything, and they cater especially to non-techies. Chris was a student from theirs when he was in FIFO.
It’s not a popular or flashy way to earn money online, but it WORKS. And you don’t need special qualifications, degrees, or even be tech-savvy to start – Matt and Liz will teach you all you need to know.
3) Validate your idea
Validating online business ideas helps determine if the idea is likely to succeed. This is a crucial step particularly for those who want to sell products or services, as it proves if:
- There is a market for your products or online services.
- If customers are willing to pay for it.
There are a few ways to do this. But to start, we recommend doing the good ol’ Google search.
If you want to sell products, go online shopping for them! Learn from other online companies, identify what they’re doing wrong, find gaps you can fill, read reviews from existing customers, etc.
You’ll also have to determine your target audience. This will help you tailor your products or services accordingly. For more info on how to validate products and services, check this article.
4) Identify different ways to earn money
As a new online business, it’s wise to find different ways you can earn income. This can make it easier for you to find stability and increase your chances of success.
Relying on just one source of income can be risky for a new business owner. If something goes wrong or that source dries up, your business could be in trouble.
By diversifying your income streams, you create multiple ways to generate revenue. This could include:
- Showing ads on your blogs.
- Affiliate marketing with Amazon or other brands.
- Becoming a brand ambassador.
- Providing exclusive content behind a paywall (e.g. Patreon).
Having multiple income streams spreads out the risk and ensures that even if one source is not performing well, others can compensate and keep your business afloat.
It’s like having a safety net that safeguards your business’s financial health and gives you more opportunities to thrive.
5) Register your business and obtain the necessary permits
This is the boring part.
In Australia, before you can start operating your online business, you’ll need to register your business name and structure with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
At the very minimum, you’ll have to apply for an Australian business number (ABN), which is free to do. You can do it here.
Depending on your business structure, small business owners may also have to get relevant permits or licenses.
Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and consult with a professional to ensure compliance with all regulations – this will save you headaches (and potentially money) in the long run.
6) Set up your online presence
And here’s the fun part! This is what most of us daydream about when starting our online business.
This includes all the different ways your potential customers will hear from you before buying your products/services.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Create a professional website to show off your offerings. There are many free and paid tools available.
- Pick a domain name that represents your business well.
- Use social media platforms to connect with your ideal customers.
- If you want to sell products online, there are plenty of user-friendly e-commerce platforms to start with.
- If you want to write blogs to promote products or educate your audience, use search engine optimisation practices – you’ll find more potential customers this way.
7) Continuously learn and adapt
The online business world is always changing. By staying open to learning, you can gain new knowledge and skills that will help you keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
Adapting means being flexible and making adjustments based on the feedback you get from your customers, and the challenges you face.
This way, you will improve your products or services, find better ways to reach your customers, and stay ahead of the competition.
Is it a good idea to start an online business?
Yes, it’s a good idea to start an online business, as long as you are clear on why you want to do it.
An online business is one of many ways to help you get to wherever you want to be – whether that’s travelling full time, being financially free, taking care of loved ones, etc.
But the early years of your online business can be challenging. You need to be patient, work hard, and trust the process to reap the rewards.
If you are not comfortable with that, starting an online business may not be a good idea for you at this moment.
How can I start a digital business with no money?
To start a digital business with no money, you have to:
-Identify your skills.
-Find a specific area within your skillset where there’s a demand.
-Use free online platforms to showcase your work and connect with potential clients.
-Offer your services for free or at a low cost initially, to get traction and build reputation.
-Network and collaborate with others in your industry for potential opportunities.
-Take advantage of free online resources, tutorials, and courses to enhance your skills and knowledge.
It’s a bit more challenging, but 100% doable.
What legal issues should I know when starting an online business in Australia?
The legal issues you should know when starting an online business in Australia are:
-Applying for an ABN.
-Getting the necessary permits or licenses.
-Adhering to consumer protection laws.
-Ensuring compliance with privacy regulations.
It’s best to consult with a legal professional if you’re unsure. This will save you problems in the future.
The bottom line
Owning an online business allows you to fully embrace the freedom of working remotely and fund your travels (or whatever else you want to do).
It’s an exciting journey, but it has its fair share of challenges. Having a clear “why” in mind will keep you motivated to push through and succeed.
Building a successful online business takes time, effort, and perseverance. But with the right mindset and a solid plan, you will turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality!
FREE Guide: 30 Ways To Make Money Online So You Can Travel When You Want
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