Unlike most jobs in life where you're asked to provide a CV and a list of qualifications, setting up your own home based business allows you to be the master (or mistress) of your own destiny. No matter whether you have a string of GCSE's, a degree, a PhD, or no qualifications at all, you can enjoy online success. So if qualifications and education is not the key to online success, what is?
1. Not being afraid of hard work. If you fancy your chances at online success, do not ever be fooled into thinking it's the easy option. Online businesses require a huge amount of dedication, devotion and hard work. It's not simply a case of logging on and trotting down to the bank! One of the main keys to online success is relentless hard work. Dusting yourself down in the face of failure, getting back up and facing the challenges head on when you think you've tried everything and nothing is working. Now that's not easy!
2. Being a self starter. When you set up a home based business, you have the luxury of no one to answer to, no one asking you what you've done today, what you've achieved today or what you're planning for tomorrow. While that may sound idyllic, the downside is that we all need drive to make us achieve. We need something to push us to work and succeed when the pressure is on to do other things: to have coffee with friends; to walk the dog; to paint the spare bedroom … none of these things will help your online business become a success. You need to be able to motivate yourself. You need to set targets for yourself and achieve them. You need to measure your success and take action if it's not working out. In other words, you need to be a complete and devoted self starter.
3. Being interested in business. If you've always worked in a salaried position and have never been interested in the practicalities or the mechanics of business, it's possible that an online business is not for you. In order to succeed online you need to understand business and know how you're going to convert your idea into a money spinner. You need to study business and start to think with a "business head": you need to get into the mindset of a successful entrepreneur to have any chance of succeeding.
4. Having vision. One of the most important aspects of online success is vision. While most people are able to see the potential of a physical business (no matter whether it's selling products or services), some people struggle to see the possibilities of online businesses. In order to experience success online, you must be able to visualize your offering; visualize your potential customers and visualize your sales process and customer service procedure. You need to be able to see how you will set out your (virtual) stall and how you will present your offering so people will be drawn to buy from you. Needless to say, you also need to be able to visualise your success.
5. A great idea. It sounds really obvious, but one of the things often forgot by online beginners is that your idea has to be great. There's no point in simply copying something which is already being done or indeed, at the other end of the spectrum, thinking something up which is so bizarre that there's no demand for it. Your idea needs to make sense. It needs to make as much sense (if not more!) Than a physical business. You need to be sure there's a market for whatever you hope to sell and you need to know that you can reach that market and deliver the product or service to them at a price they're pay.
6. Presentation, preparation and promotion. Online businesses require in some respects even more careful presentation, preparation and promotion than physical businesses. The internet contains millions upon millions of online businesses jockeying for the attention of the consumer. In order to make your business stand out, it needs to be presented professionally, you need to have prepared your online offering in such a way that it looks essentially irresistible and finally you need to promote your online business, ideally on and offline to get the attention of those all important people with money in their pockets.
7. Conversion. Online products and services, as with all businesses need to be "sold" to potential customers. There's no point setting out a great stall, to a great array of potential customers at a price they can afford then failing to convince them to buy. Converting your site visitors into paying customers is not always easy, but is one of the keys to online success. How you convert your visits into sales revenue depends entirely upon what you¡¯re selling and may require personal contact, email contact or a telephone call. Either way the important thing when planning your online business is never to lose sight of the fact that you need to go the extra mile to get customers to part with their hard-earned cash.
8. Delivering great customer service. It's only an online fool who thinks customer service does not matter on the internet, because there's no such thing as an online smile! You could not be further from the truth. Customer service online is even more important than face to face. It is essential that all emails are replied to promptly and courteously. Auto-responders might be tempting, but before adopting the easy approach make sure your business is firing on all cylinders. Also remember that if you promise 24 hour delivery, 25 or 26 hours just is not good enough. As with any business, a happy customer may only tell one other person, but an unhappy customer will tell a crowd!
9. Perseverance. With online failure rates arguably the highest of all business flops, you need perseverance to make sure that your business is not the next victim. If you're convinced that your idea is good, your presentation and your price is right and you're getting the attention of your target market, what's required thereafter is perseverance. It's not always easy to persevere in the face of failure, but online it's absolutely essential. You need to have the character and the stamina to come back fighting when all looks to be lost; to pull a trick out of the hat when you think you've already tried everything; to get up and dust yourself down when you feel as if you've taken the final punch. That's what will make your online business stand out from all the others.
10. Networking. In today's world of social media of tweets on Twitter, fans on Facebook and connections on LinkedIn, there's no excuse for not having a strong and focussed network to help promote your business, so get networking.
So, in summary, online success relies on education? Absolutely not! Follow our guide to success and you'll be well on the way, no matter how many or how few educational certificates you have. Good luck.