If you want to start a profitable side business, start with these essentials.
By Ryan Robinson
Updated January 13, 2016
If you're one of the millions of us aspiring to one day be a fully self-employed entrepreneur, the best way to get started on hitting that goal, is to launch (and grow) a profitable side business.
Once you're able to find the right business idea, develop your unique value propositions, define your competitive advantages, and start bringing on your first customers, you'll get a very clear sense for how quickly you'll be able to grow your business.
As a major component of the online courses I teach, I've developed a systematic approach to building up side income, to a level that'll still allow for a comfortable lifestyle once my students are ready to quit their day jobs. In order to do that, we lean heavily on these useful tools and resources.
Choosing to go with a WordPress hosted website is one of the smartest decision I've made with each of my side businesses. Because the customization possibilities are essentially unlimited with this free Content Management System, it's a great platform for building an easy-to-use site with the potential for scalability as the business grows. By now, there are tons of online courses, free resources, and tutorials that'll show you how to set up (and customize) your WordPress site.
Shopify started as a platform for setting up and hosting an easy-to-build online storefront, and they've since evolved into that and much more.
If you have a physical product-based business, you can use their suite of online tools to sell products from your website, directly on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest with their custom integrations into the social networks. When you're just getting started with your business, this is a great option that'll save you tons of time compared to building a custom solution on your own website.
If you're going to successfully start a side business while keeping your day job, you'll need to quickly determine which aspects within your business, you can afford to outsource. From there, it's time to do your homework on who you know that can help, or which online communities have the best chance of helping you net some talented help. Upwork is one of the biggest and most diverse. Here, I've found writers, copyeditors, designers, and developers to help me scale my side businesses quicker and more effectively.
If you're looking for talented help in the growth department with your business, then look no further than GrowthGeeks. Their growth marketers are well-versed in growing your Instagram following, converting your Twitter audience, and designing high quality infographics.
This is the WordPress theme I use for my websites. It's specifically designed for building marketing and sales-optimized websites. The visual editing tool allows you to create your site without writing any code yourself, and all of your pages will be fully responsive.
Moz is the premier online authority and tool set for SEO. I use their chrome extension to quickly establish a website's domain authority, credibility, and if they could be potentially relevant to me as a partner opportunity.
Even more, their suite of tools and detailed tests can reveal any bad SEO practices that may be inhibiting you from ranking better in Google search results. By following their recommendations, you can relatively quickly begin experiencing the benefits of increased traffic to your website--if there's a demand for what you have to offer.
7. Keyword Planner (Google).
This is by far my favorite tool to research new potential business ideas and pieces of content for my blog. Enter the keywords that are associated with the type of product (or solution) you're going to be offering, and you'll be able to see the estimated monthly Google search volume for related terms. From here, you can determine if there's enough demand (people searching) for your solutions, and you'll get a sense of how competitive it'll be to outrank other established businesses vying for business around those search terms.
Another great research tool, Buzzsumo will give you a more socially relevant picture of how much demand there is for content associated with your target keywords, on social media channels. It'll also show you which websites and specific pieces of content are currently being shared most. Buzzsumo is great for determining blog post titles, researching the competition, identifying influencers who may be interested in sharing my content, and locating potential partners for me to reach out to.
9. Google AdWords.
Once you're ready to test paid advertising, AdWords is one of your best options on where to start (also consider Facebook Ads). The original in paid search advertisements, Google's AdWords can place your product ads at the top of Google search results, and on relevant websites throughout their vast ad network--gaining you more targeted exposure and placing your offer in front of a more relevant audience.
10. Google Trends.
Similar to Google's Keyword tool, Trends will give you a higher level picture of how much a topic has been trending on the internet, on a scale of one to ten, over a pre-defined period of time. A quick Trends search can give you some valuable insight as to whether your solution is increasing in demand, staying steady, or declining online.
11. Google Drive.
This is truly the ultimate collaboration and creation tool. The days of Microsoft Office products are all but gone for me. Now, I use Google Drive to create outlines, draft blog posts, track spreadsheets and presentations, and do so while collaborating with others directly within each document.
If any part of your business involves creating sharable graphics, images to place within blog posts or on social media, infographics, or visually appealing presentations, then Canva is a must. Their suite of easy-to-use design tools will help you create professional looking content, as quickly as possible.
source - the balance