- Have a Plan – Before you do anything like buying books, it is important to have a set plan as to what you want to do with your business. Things to consider would be what kind of business you want to start, what your goals are, how big you want to be, etc… It will only hurt you if you decide to just jump in head first without any kind of plan. This includes a contingency plan, it might be a good idea for you to remain employed while your starting up your online business. Unfortunately you’re not guaranteed to be successful. It’s important that you make sure you don’t overstep what you can afford for your business sapling. Make sure that whatever money you invest in your business is within your means, and even if you lost every penny you invested in it, that you would still be able to live comfortably. If you want to have a big company and you really feel like you need a large initial investment, then write up a business plan and make it look as professional as you can. Take it to a bank and speak with a representative there. Getting a loan might be just the thing that you need to do to hit the ground running.
- Web Hosting Services – Once you have a good business plan, and you’re ready to go it’s time to start looking for a web host, and a web developer to get you started. When looking for a good web hosting company, you need to make sure that the one you choose is going to suit your needs. Things to look for are going to be reliability (up-time), speed (which improves your SERP ranking), and if they offer Magento hosting. Magento is the best open source ecommerce platform to date, and it should be used by any online business. Elief offers this free of charge.
- Acquiring a Tax ID Number – Once you’re just about done with all the preliminary stuff, it’s important for you to get an IRS Tax ID Number. It’s a number for your business that protects you from having to give out your SSN all the time. Another important reason to get this, is because often times other companies wont even do business with you if you don’t have one. You can acquire an IRS Tax ID Number at IRS.gov
- SEO – Search engine optimization is one of the most important things for an online business to work on. No matter how good your website looks, or how great the products that you sell are. None of it matters if people can’t find you on the internet. Having good SEO means that you will rank higher on the SERP (search engine results page). Your goal should always be to get as close to the number 1 slot on page 1 of the SERP. You do this by acquiring links all over the web. The higher the page rank of the website that you get a link on, the more it will be worth to you. If possible try and get links on pages that are .gov or .edu, as this will yield more authority for your website. If you’re having a hard time figuring out where you should be acquiring links from, visit opensiteexplorer.org. With this website, you can type in the domain name of one of your competitors that ranks higher than you on the SERP and see where they’re getting their links from and try to get a link in the same place, or a similar website.
- Work Ethic – If you’re lucky, and you business starts to be successful early on, make sure you don’t start slacking. If anything, start working harder! Being somewhat successful opens up doors to you that weren’t available previously. Start looking for affiliates, hire someone to help you out with the more mundane tasks of your business like SEO, so that you can work on more business related tasks.
- Communication – Keep in contact with your customers. Make sure you give them optimal service, and give them a reason to come back. Stand out as much as you can from the crowd. Make sure that people, especially ones that have done business with you in the past, know about deals and promotions that you may currently be running. When someone does business with you, you should have an email list that people can optionally sign up for to keep contact. Make sure your brand is synonymous with quality, good services, and optimal customer service.
- Love What You Do – Finally make sure that you go into something you love. What ever it is that your selling, make sure that it isn’t something that you loathe doing, or something that goes against some value or moral that you hold. If you love what you do, then your morale will be high, and you will have the motivation to do well and flourish. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people. The internet is an excellent resource for you to use. I hope this post helped all of you out. I wish you all the best of luck in all your endeavors, business or other.
Starting up a successful web hosting company can be quite difficult if one is not properly equipped with knowledge as to how to do it. Think about it, when you start selling web space, in a sea of other people selling the same thing, how do you get customers to get their web hosting from you?
What Makes You so Special?
Most people that are going to be buying web hosting from you are not going to be as technologically savvy as you. So throwing a bunch of stats and numbers at them may fall on deaf ears. Yet you need to tell them things that will make them perceive you as being superior to your competitors. Can you offer 24/7 support? That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s something you’re going to want to mention. Can you offer 99% up time for your servers? It would be a good idea to mention it somewhere on your site. This will show the customers that you are reliable, and they can feel safer getting their service from you. Keep in mind, don’t make any promises you can’t keep. A couple of people with some bad experiences could easily be the demise of your business if word gets out.
What Should Your Prices be?
Pricing may seem like it is one of the harder things to determine, but in reality it’s not. You may be looking at some of the ridiculously low prices that some other web hosts are offering, and cringe in fear, and wonder how they can afford to do so. Often times people that offer web hosting for so cheap, have less than exemplary servers and equipment. Not to mention, people who are looking for crazy deals on the internet for a web hosting service are often times the people who have the least amount of experience and will be constantly harassing you for technical support. Don’t sell yourself short, people are more likely to respect your reseller hosting company if you have a fair and reasonable price around the range of ten to fifteen dollars per month.
Do Your Customers Love you?
This is one of the most important aspects of whether or not you will succeed. Get them excited and proud to use your brand. Give them an excellent experience, and encourage them to want to tell everyone about how great your web hosting company is. Brand recognition is very important, make sure you spend a lot of time thinking of a unique and clever name and logo, and don’t just choose something generic. The more generic your business is, the more you will blend in with everyone else.
In summation, web hosting is a very generic service, and a consumer can be overwhelmed with all the potential web hosts out there. Web hosts are a dime a dozen, and it’s up to you to get noticed. SEO, (search engine optimization) can be your best friend. If you rank high on a search engine like Google, then you have a higher chance of being seen. It doesn’t matter how good your service is, or how many people you have working in your company. If no one notices you, you will not succeed. eLief wishes you all the best of luck out there!
We at eLief offer great reseller hosting accounts to jump start your web hosting business. Feel free to post if you have any questions.
One very important thing you need to ask yourself is: Are you in this to make some quick cash, or are you doing this to build a long-term successful company? If you are not in it to do the latter, then you will greatly suffer and lose out on long term rewards.
Suppose you would like to start up a web hosting company using a reseller hosting account. You would have to do sufficient research, and purchase all the necessary utilities: a reseller hosting plan with enough resources, web design, billing system (included free on your eLief account), customer support, etc. Completing these first steps gives you a great feeling of accomplishment, since you’re now ready to take the several months of planning and turn your dream into a reality.
The Beginning Stages
This is the part where most hosting companies will fail. After several months, you become so totally absorbed into your new business that you start forgetting about your normal, daily life. When you speak with friends or family, eventually the topic of your business will come up. The first question from them will always be “How’s your business doing?”, and then occasionally “How much money are you making?”
In the early stages, that question will absolutely CRUSH any persons entrepreneurial excitement. This is normal. You’ll need to swallow your pride when you realize that the answer to that question isn’t yet what you would like it to be.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve now set an invisible goal for yourself. You now believe that in-order to prove to the world that your hosting business is not a failure, you have to show that you have a large profit margin.
You shouldn’t get discouraged if your business isn’t an instant success. Infact, most businesses in general do not usually turn a profit for the first 12-24 months. If you’re counting on being the exception instead of the rule, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Making Money and Building a Business are Two Different Things
This is especially true for startups. The majority of new web hosts invest copious amounts of time into the startup of the business, and then if they don’t see immediate results, they abandon their business with nothing to show except debt and lost time.
Not seeing the profit and cash flow after the first 6-18 months can be a very scary feeling. That feeling is what will drive many startups to give up or sell their business. This is a huge mistake.
Perhaps an analogy will help; My wife recently has been cooking some amazing food with home grown vegetables. Think of the time and effort put into a reseller web hosting company, as the time and effort put into a garden. If you were to plant a seed and water it, fertilize it, and after a few days or weeks you don’t see any vegetables. Would you give up on it so soon? Probably not, because you can see the physical growth and see your plants slowly developing. With a business, it’s the same idea, except not as easy to see, and is on a much grander scale.
My advice to you: Don’t worry about making money in the beginning stages.
Planning ahead is imperative. It would not be wise for you to quit your day job immediately. Make sure that you have a strong business plan, and are financially secured for 6 months at the very least prior to starting out. Work on the business in your off time, and the business will succeed if the right amount of time, planning, and effort is put into it.
Don’t give up and the next time someone asks that dreaded question, your answer will feel much more admirable. Good luck!
Look out for the follow-up series of articles coming in the next couple weeks, where we will go into some of the more technical aspects and business strategies specifically related to reseller web hosting, and why an eLief reseller hosting account would be an excellent avenue for you to get started.
Below are some very useful tips for aspiring entrepreneurs. I found this interesting and thought you could gain value from this as well:
1. Find a strength for your weakness.
2. Work with people that are just as passionate about the business. You have to be “all-in” and fully committed to the business.
3. Always think “how can I add more value to the end user?”
4. Murphy’s Law – Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
5. Realize that as an entrepreneur, you are innately optimistic. Try and step outside yourself, ask others, and try and be more realistic.
6. Networking is more important than you can even imagine. Never eat alone. Ask lots of questions to people who have been there and done that. Surround yourself with wise people. As Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
7. Make mistakes; just don’t do it again. Embracing failure and learning from your mistakes is integral to growth.
8. Money is always a problem. Deal with it.
9. Continually innovate and think outside the box.
10. Never lose focus on your mission.
11. Customer service should always be a core value.
12. Write down and document everything. Be concise on all documents. The devil is in the details.
13. Don’t underestimate the power of social media.
14. Write a SWOT analysis of every one of your competitors.
15. Periodically revise your business plan to better organize your thoughts.
16. Communication is key.
17. Every single night write a to-do list for the next day and don’t go to bed until you complete the tasks.
18. Make sure to schedule in some personal time everyday.
19. Luck happens when hard work meets opportunity.
20. Nothing is a greater high than when people use your product and see value in it.