Salt and Charcoal, working online in a bus

How To Start An Online Business In Australia: The 9-Step Guide We Wish We Had

Starting your own online business is one of the best adventures you will go on.

The rewards are limitless, you can earn more than you ever dreamed and work from anywhere.

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).

Our online business allows us to fund travels like this one (Waitpinga Cliffs overnight hike, Heysen Trail)

That journey started +5 years ago… And we’ve learned SO MUCH since and want to share it with you. 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!

Key takeaways

  • Identify your unique angle for your online business
  • Set your goals and figure out your why
  • Create a step by step plan, this will be your compass throughout your journey.
  • Choose what type of online business you want to have, validate the idea, and determine your income opportunities.
  • Take care of the legal stuff before setting up your online presence.
  • See challenges as learning opportunities.

Our online business is earning money through 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.

Working from a cafe on your online business in Australia
Working from cafes is one of the perks to running online business

1) Understand your “why”

It’s important to determine “why” you are building an online business, perhaps you want:

  • More time with your children.
  • To inspire and support people.
  • To change the world in your way.
  • Financial freedom.
  • The ability to work from anywhere.
  • Travel the world.
  • Take care of your loved ones.
  • Pursue your passion.
  • Make yourself proud that you went after your dreams.
  • All or none of the above.

Your “why” gives you purpose and direction while helping you stay motivated during hard times. Plus this will help you plan your goal setting.

For example: our “why” is to inspire people to run an online business and travel the world. The opposite option (working for someone else) was making us sick and unhappy.

We know if we can support people to do what we do, we could potentially impact their lives in a positive way. Those people will go on to do the same for others and in that, we create change.

2) Set your goals

Visualise your dream future. What does it look like?

Write this down and dream big. Once you have an idea start writing down your goals. They should be clear and specific.

You can section them off under the following headings:

  1. Health (Your wellness, mental health, diet, physical appearance, energy, exercise habits etc)
  2. Wealth (Your income, coaching, courses, business size, portfolio, investments, bank accounts etc)
  3. Happiness (Family, friendships, personal goals, hobbies, home, endeavours)
  4. Giving (Supporting others, charities, volunteering etc)

Goals should follow a S.M.A.R.T format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)

For example: workout 3 times per week at gym, climb Mt Kilimanjaro in January next year, complete a mindset course by July, establish my online business by February etc.

Bigger goals like “establish my online business” need to be broken down into smaller actionable steps.

So the first step might be “Get a business number”, “Get a graphic designer to create my logo” and so on.

You can set these goal items for the near future, whereas have my product completed, could be set for further down the track.

Create a timeline with a checklist of what needs to be done and when. Make the milestones and deadlines clear.

Often people create a list for: 5 years time, 1 years time and 3 months time. They break it down into actionable steps from there. This takes time, but it is essential.

Is your “why” travelling? Here’s a step-by-step on how to work remotely while travelling every corner of Australia

3) What kind of business do you want to have?

Once you have it all mapped out, you will see that:

Success comes from doing a lot of small things, slowly and consistently

Now that you know your “why“, it’s time to really get clear on “how” you are going to make it happen.

When we talk about “online businesses”, most people think that means creating an online store to sell products online but there are so many other ways.

Plus a store is hard work to run! You need to be good at marketing to reach your customers and branding to stay relevant.

Having an online store is one of many ways to earn online, but don’t think it is the easiest because it’s not

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. (Selling other peoples products)
  • Creating and selling an online course.
  • Running a community of like minded people.
  • Building, buying, and selling websites.

For us, our online business is building, buying, and selling websites.

We like this because we:

  • Don’t have to hold any stock
  • Sell other peoples products instead
  • Earn through advertising on our websites
  • Have learned the skills to run a community or sell a course
  • We can write content on topics we are interested in (like this topic for example!)
  • We have a team that help us do a lot of the work too!
  • Have built our freedom and earn semi-passive income

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 monetise in any way you prefer. Or you can buy, renovate, and resell the website 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 starting out for free with a webinar just click below to begin.

4) Validate your idea – Check out your competition

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 researching and planning.

Hop on Google, or Instagram and look at competitors in your niche (your niche is the industry your business is in).

You want to go and examine the people who are doing what you want to do. Look at their products, their marketing, their social media etc. This will give you ideas, not to copy them, just to start planning your unique strategy.

Remember: You will likely get feelings of imposter syndrome or social comparison but just keep pushing through because everyone starts from the beginning.

There are always customers that want what YOU offer, not every customer wants to go with the HUGE brand. So your idea has space. There is always room for new businesses.

The idea is to learn from other online bloggers, companies etc, identify what they could do better, products missing in the market, find gaps you can fill, read reviews from existing customers, etc.

This will help you determine your target audience and help you tailor your products or services accordingly. For more info on how to validate products and services, check this article.

5) 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.
  • Consulting.
  • 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.

Get the FREE 7-day email course: How to travel full-time without worrying about how to afford it

6) Create your budget

To everyone but accounts people, this sounds boring, but it’s essential. You must confirm that your business is profitable. Think about what you are spending verses what you will be earning.

Determine how much will it cost YOU to make a sale. You might need to pay for ads, staff, programs, subscriptions etc. All of this adds up!

You also need to know where you’ll get paid. If you work with different currencies, we recommend using Wise. It’s an online bank where you can get paid from pretty much any currency, plus their fees are the lowest in the market. We even use it to pay our team overseas! Check it here.

Write down you set up costs and list out everything you can think of in a Google spreadsheet.

If your business has a clear way to revenue you are likely onto a good thing!

It’s ok and normal to earn nothing for the first few years while you build it up though. Just have a plan to HOW you will make money from your online business.

We didn’t earn revenue for almost a year, but we were setting everything up for that. Now our income streams are brand partnerships, photography sales, advertising revenue, affiliate commissions from tour companies and more.

S&C Tip

7) Register your business and obtain the necessary permits

This is another really fun part – not.

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.

8) 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.

Social media is one of many ways to get in front of your potential customers

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.
  • Make your logo, branding and other items needed to run your business
  • 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.

9) 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.

FAQs

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!

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