By Onwueme Paul
Home based internet businesses can be a profitable experience for small scale entrepreneurs and workers looking for an additional source of income. Although it is interesting and profitable, it is also tedious and involves a lot of work especially at the formative stages of the business. However over time, the business will take on a life of its own and become very profitable and the rewards will surely dwarf the pains and agony of setting up and running an internet based business.
Enough of the preamble, let’s get cracking what are the steps one should follow in order to start an internet based business, here in Lagos, Nigeria.
Find a niche
The first step is to find a niche (a group of people with a particular need who you can provide a product or service that satisfies their need). For instance, people looking for technology news and information in Nigeria could subscribe to a blog like naijatechguide.blogspot.com to get the latest IT related information in Nigeria. In my case I chose to blog about business ideas and opportunities in Lagos, Nigeria. Before you say you want to launch an internet business, ensure that you have a niche that will enable you sustain your business.
Find a product or service for that niche
The next step is to determine how you are going to serve that niche. Are you going to run an information content website and rely on pay per click revenue? Or will you run an affiliate website providing high quality content to attract regular readers and then promote products relating to your website’s or blog’s central theme? Do you want to run a web based forum like nairaland or are you going to be selling products and services such as PCs, mobile phones, e-books and so on? The choice of which model you choose is entirely up to you and the outcome of your research.
Get internet access
No internet access, no internet business. So this is very compulsory. I started off buying airtime in cybercafés, writing most of my articles offline and only coming online to post them, read and reply comments and conduct keyword research. Today, I surf the web from the comfort of my home but occasionally I still visit the cybercafé to do some of my work. You may be lucky to have a friend or relative with internet access which you can use for free, so be creative as to how you want to access the internet, it is very crucial.
Sort out how to get paid
How do you get paid? How will you receive your money after your hard work? Obviously, if you are here in Lagos Nigeria, you will need a domiciliary account with any of our local banks to facilitate your foreign payments. Most of your payment will be by cheques issued by foreign banks and without a domiciliary account, you will have a hard time processing payments.
Get a web presence
A web presence means having something like a website, blog or portal that will enable people find and patronize you. With a free blog like blogger, you can start an internet business with little or no money, but with your own website and internet marketing campaign, take it from me you are going to spend not only money but time as well. Actually all internet businesses require time and dedication.
Market your product or service
Here is the hard part of this business. There are countless number of people from all over the world who are competing to sell the same product or service you are about to launch. What will make you stand out and beat them to it? Internet marketing is a must for all home based internet businesses and it is hard, skillful work and of course this is what will determine whether or not you will make it.
Watch your cash roll in
With successful internet marketing comes increased sales and revenues and hence profit. Now is the time to relax and watch the cash roll in but that will be after several months or years of hard, expert marketing and not wishful thinking.
With all these said, the ball is in every man’s court on whether they want to start a home based internet business and how much they will make from it.