#128 – How To Start An Online Business In 2016

In this episode we’re talking about a great hypothetical situation: what it looks like to start a business from scratch in 2016.

Off The Charts Business PodcastWhen I first started my business in 2009, things were a lot different.

From costs to technology, the business tools we use are under constant change and revision. The more we can adapt, the stronger our businesses will be.

The Plan

So here’s a practical, step by step plan of what it would look like if I were to start my business from scratch in 2016 – without my existing skills, tools, and experiences:

First, I would definitely start with quality website hosting and a domain name. The cheap hosting options are less stable and can allow malware and virus attacks on your website – definitely not worth your time.  Personally, I would still choose my own name in my domain name. Throughout all of the changes in my business model, it’s the one thing that has remained the same.

Secondly, I believe that WordPress is the choice for business owners who are serious about their company. As an open source software with full customization options, you are given complete control over what your online presence looks like.


I’ve taken so many courses throughout the years to help me connect with the resources I need to make my business a success.

It’s really easy to try to learn everything when you’re starting out. It’s really difficult to implement the mass of knowledge that you’re feeding yourself. So there are two courses I’d really recommend taking:

  • Marie Forleo’s B-School – solid business fundamentals from someone who runs an incredibly successful business.
  • Amy Porterfield’s Webinars that Convert – the tools and information you need to run a great webinar. I’d want my first webinar to be up and running within 30 days of setting up my site.

The third training I’d want would be focused on whatever medium I wanted to invest in with my business.  If I wanted to focus on podcasts, for example, I’d want to learn everything there is to know about running a podcast so I could do it well. The same would be true if I decided to mainly do videos, blogging, etc.


Attending conferences is such a powerful way to make new connections that can help you to grow and maintain your passion. In this podcast, I share a few events that I would recommend – as well as the reasons why:

How to Spend Your Time

Here, it’s best to find magic sauce and start offering a service!  A lot of people try to make a company first, but I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to commit to making a service that fits in with your skill set. To find your skill set, take time to reflect and write down everything that comes naturally to you. Then, look for patterns and intersections between what you’re good at and where people might need help.

Don’t start a business that’s based on a passion.  Personally, I can get fired up about something for a long time (months, even years). But eventually, I will lose steam.

Your skills + the needs of clients = your business sweet spot.

After you’ve found your service, it’s time to find people who are looking for your service and willing to pay for it.

Find out where they hang out by using Google keywords to discover websites and by locating the groups and networks on Facebook where they congregate.  At this point, don’t try to sell to them. Just observe and get a feel for their style and needs. When you’re truly a part of their community, you can start connecting with them on a personal level to talk and find out if your service will actually work.

Don’t ever base your business strategy off of what other companies are doing! Their market might not be your market, and the strategies you’re observing might not be converting for them.  Instead, talk to a live human being to find out what you can do for them, instead.

How to Build Your Email List

A webinar is a great opt-in strategy.  To start strong, I’d invite people from my online communities to help build my list and expand from there.

If I still don’t have any people signed up for my service after my webinar and promotions are over, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Gain Momentum in Your Business

A lot of what I’m talking about today comes from Marie Forleo’s B-School program. If you’re looking for more specific details that walk you through this process, she can definitely be a great guide.

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I’m the founder of a tech startup called AccessAlly, a powerful course and membership platform for coaching industry leaders.

I’m also the creator of the free 30 Day List Building Challenge:

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Digital + physical books to help you create and sell your course like a pro:

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The Off The Charts Business Podcast:

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