While starting an online business can have its challenges, there’s a proven process you can follow when you start a small online business. I’ve helped hundreds of businesses implement this checklist with a high success rate. If you want to start a business, this 7 step checklist works and it’s one of the most cost effective ways to build an online business.

  1. Find a need and fill that need
  2. Begin building your audience and get feedback
  3. Identify your ideal client
  4. Begin building your online assets
  5. Position yourself as the expert
  6. Master copywriting and storytelling
  7. Pre-launch your product or service

If you can follow these 7 steps, you’ll learn one of the most cost effective strategies to build an online business.

This is the same strategies I teach in-depth in the Digital Marketing Accelerator Program.

Step 1: Find A Need And Fill That Need

Many new people make the mistake of trying to find a product first and a market opportunity second. That’s a huge mistake and one that will cause you to fail.

The first thing you need to do is find the market opportunity. It’s simple, find a need in the market and fill that need.

This is where your market research will come in hand. You need to find an audience or group of people searching for answers to a big problem. For now, be a great observer and a better listener. If you have a specific niche in mind due to your experience or interest in that niche, that’s fine. However, don’t let your passion cloud your judgement.

Now, where can you find these conversations taking place?

  • Facebook, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, Reddit, Social Media Platforms (Always the best place to start)
  • Q&A platforms such as Quora, Yahoo Answers
  • Niche Specific Forums
  • Search Specific Keywords And Hashtags
  • Blogs, Comments On Blogs, Discussions

Look for patterns, common problems being brought up over and over again.

Step 2: Begin Building An Audience And Getting Feedback

You can’t start an online business without an audience.

Once you’ve identified the big problem you want to solve, it’s time to start building an audience, begin building relationships and start getting feedback that will help outline your core offer later.

By now, you know where the conversations are taking place. It’s time for you to quit lurking and become a part of the conversation.

Listen to their wants and needs. In order to get this level of insight, you’ll need to be building real friendships with your audience. I wouldn’t recommend just following anyone, I’d rather see you start building conversations with people who have common interest as you.

One of the best strategies I’ve used myself and teach my students/clients is sending a personal video. Think about it, how many times has someone sent you a personal video? Likely never I would imagine. It’s a great way to make a great first impression.

Make sure you’re documenting everything. You’ll be using a lot of data points in step 3.

Step 3: Identify Your Ideal Clients Or Customers

Before you create any content, build a website or start writing a free offer, you better identify the ideal client you’ll be serving. This is another huge mistake people make as they’ll begin writing and marketing before they ever identify their perfect customer. Don’t make the mistake.

At this stage, you know the market, you know the big problem and you have an idea of the solution you’ll provide. You’ve been gathering feedback and should know your ideal client’s wants, needs, desires, goals, objections, fears and so on. (If not, you need to ask those questions)

When building your ideal client avatar, some of the characteristics below may be used while others are not. It all depends on your specific niche and market.

  • Name – What is his or her name?
  • Age – What age or age range?
  • Sex – Male, Female, Both?
  • Race – White, Black, ect?
  • Occupation – What job do they have?
  • Annual Income – How much do they make a year?
  • Weight – What weight or weight range?
  • Height – What height or height range?
  • Location – What city, state, country, region?
  • Religion – What is their religion?
  • Education – High school, some college, ect?
  • Books – What books do they read?
  • Websites – What websites do they visit?
  • Magazines – What magazines do they read?
  • Experts – What experts do they follow?


  • Wants – What do they want most?
  • Desires – What do they desire most?
  • Needs – What do they feel they need most?
  • Goals – What are their goals?
  • Pains – What pain points are they experiencing?
  • Challenges – What challenges do they face?
  • Fears – What do they fear most?
  • Objections – What objections will they have to buying?

These small details matter a lot because your content will need to speak to them and only them. It’s impossible to write anything correctly without knowing these.

Step 4: Begin Building Your Online Assets

Now that you know your ideal client and know exactly what they want, it’s time to start building your online assets.

Where do you start?

WordPress Website

Let’s cover the basics, you need a website. A good old WordPress website. You’ll need a domain name too. I wish I had someone to tell me this when I first started, “make sure you choose a great domain name.” Choose a name that people will remember or make sure it makes “sense” with the business you want to start.

Core Offer Outline

Now, by step 4, you know what your audience wants, needs and desires. Your solution to this is going to be your core offer.

Do not build your core offer, only create an outline of the offer right now. (I’ll explain why you don’t build it now later)

Grab a sheet of paper, on the top write “Start” and on the bottom write “Finished.” Your clients or customers will be at the starting line. The result they want will be the finish line. Your job is to outline what they will need to get from one end to the next.

One Powerhouse Blog

Next, you need to start working on your first blog. Make it a great one, specifically written for your target audience. If you have a blog already, make a great piece of content.

Once you finish it, turn this blog into a lead magnet. So, your lead magnet better focus on a main problem, pain or challenge your ideal client has.

Take this blog you’re reading right now, this was wrote for you. I knew my target audience needs step-by-step instructions to start their online business. Everyone tells you to start a business and some people give you dumb steps to follow that don’t make sense. I wanted a guide that focused on the basics of starting an online business.

This free offer will be used to for generating leads.

Entry And Mid Tier Offers

In total, I recommend using 4 offers. You have your core offer and your free, entry and mid tier offers are pieces of your core offer.

  • Free Offer – Used to generate new leads
  • Entry Offer – A small micro-commitment to become a customer
  • Mid Offer – The next step up from the entry offer; a mid priced offer.
  • Core Offer – Your complete solution for your target audience

All of your offers should relate to one another. That’s why it’s best to outline your core offer first and the other offers are smaller pieces of your core product or service.

I recommend you visualize the value ladder here, with the free offer being the bottom step and your core offer being at the top.

*With your offers, you want to validate quickly. What offers work? What offers don’t? Get feedback from your clients, these insights are value to your growth.

Step 5: Begin Positioning Yourself As The Expert

At this stage, the foundation of your online business is set. You have your 4 offers to send your prospects too. By this time, you should be working with offers that are working.

Now, it’s time to position yourself as the expert.

Here’s the good news, you will viewed as the “expert” by anyone that doesn’t know as much as you. Don’t forget that. I know some of you are brand new to digital marketing, that’s fine. You have to start somewhere.

I recommend the Social Media Power Kit. It’s the perfect cost-effective training to build quick momentum on social media. More than likely, you can find your audience on social media.

Step 6: Master Copywriting And Storytelling

If there’s one skill set you can learn that can make you a 6-7 figure entrepreneur, it’s copywriting.

Copywriting focuses on human behavior and that is humans have not changed. This is why a 70 year old copywriting book still makes sense today.

If you can become great at writing copy, you’ll be able to sell nearly anything (if not everything). If I could go back, I would of learned copywriting many years ago, it’s an essential skill in direct response marketing.

Storytelling is another skill that is worth its weight in gold to learn. The best part? You already have a story, now it’s time to share it with the world.

It took me several years before I shared my story because my past was hurtful. I don’t like bringing up old ghost. My past was the worse of my life, my rock bottom as I was homeless before I started my journey a decade ago.

Something special happened though when I finally shared my story. I inspired others, come to find out there’s thousands that can relate to my story. I know others will relate to your story too.

Step 7: Pre-Launch Your Product Or Service

Remember the core offer you outlined? It’s time to pre-launch your product or service now.

If you built your core offer outline and followed the steps above, you have everything you need to pre-launch your core offer.

Now, one of the great benefits to building a business like this is the fact that you don’t have your core offer built (well, you shouldn’t). However, you have everything outlined and that’s more than enough to build your sales funnel.

If your core offer fails, no biggie. You don’t have time, effort and money in it. It’s a small loss. Go back to the drawing board if it fails and do it again.

What if your core offer takes off? Then you have it! Build it and go to the town on it.

Are you following?

With this strategy, I can set up a sales page and get paid while I build my core offer. How cool is that?

I like it this way because it’s awesome to get paid while you’re building your core offer.

So many people make the mistake of building their core offer out and launching. Don’t do it, it may not work out. Why put in all the effort when you don’t have too? Do it my way and you’ll avoid losing time, money and effort.

That’s it ladies and gentlemen.

If you follow these simple 7 steps, you’re going to save you a lot of stress, time and money. Most importantly, you’re going to be able to build your business!

You don’t have to start a business by yourself, that’s where Teaching Online Business can help. Check out our Digital Marketing Accelerator Program that will help accelerate your new business. No experience? Don’t worry, that’s exactly why I created this program, so go check it out.