Things to know before starting an online business in Nigeria

Planning to start your own business but you’re wondering about the most important things you need to know before starting an online business?

About 8 years ago, I was exactly like you. I remember asking this question on Google as i made preparations to start my business.

Unlike you, I didn’t have a lot of options. Most of what I read were not very practical either.

Although I decided to start my business based on some of those tips, but it was more like a lot of trial and error. I made mistakes, here and there. A lot of them. And sometimes, very costly mistakes.

Through the course of experience and time, I was able to learn a lot of lessons both on the negative and positive sides. And over the years, these lessons have shaped my business experiences.

As a start up entrepreneur, I don’t want you to go through the same tough experience i went through. So today without much ado, in the following paragraphs, I will be sharing with you some of the most important business tips I learned and some things to expect before starting an online business…

Get ready to Work

One of the first things to know before starting an online business is to get ready to work.

Unless you’re a freelancer, the odds are you’re going to work pretty harder to build your online business than you would on a paid job is very high. Especially if you’re going to be your first and only employee for a start.

At some point, you’re going to have to put in serious effort to build the business in advance. You’re also going to work over time in the early stages without a decent pay.

For example, If you’re into info marketing like writing ebooks for instance, this is when you’re going to put in effort in researching and writing your ebooks.

All effort you’re expending at this time is geared towards getting the business started off the ground. And you are not expected to be paid at this point.

With time, when your business starts generating a decent turnover, you’ll be able to afford employees, and a dedicated team to work with but in the early days, for the fact you’re starting on a shoestring budget, you’re going to have to do a bulk of the work on your own.

Note that this is usually the period a lot of entrepreneurs feel like quitting and leaving the business because it can be really demanding. Instead of focusing on the challenges at this stage, get to focus on the possibilities.

Work on your Savings

When it comes to running a personal business, saving is inevitable. This is one of the things you need to know before starting an online business.

Unlike a paid staff, as an entrepreneur, your salary is not as important as keeping the business running. So, you’ll have to make a lot of sacrifices while saving up funds for the business.

So, whether saving for the rainy days or just saving to grow the business, you’ll need to do a lot of savings on your part to keep your business running.

And for this reason, you want to have a budget that covers your expenses and estimated income. And then work on getting some funds to save after settling your expenses.

Re-evaluate your Priorities

Running a business comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of these includes finding time to build the business to the stage it can actually survive the first few years.

To do this successfully, you’ll need to put in extra time than you may have. If you’re a content creator for instance, you’ll want to spend more time researching and creating content that will make your brand stand out.

Starting on a shoestring budget with barely any employee, you’ll be the same person working on promoting your business and providing the actual services for your clients, whenever you have them. And combining this two will be very demanding of you.

So, with all these activities, you’ll certainly have less time to spend with family and friends, less time to do some other important tasks or engage in activities that were previously important to you.

To handle this effectively, you’ll have to re-evaluate your prioritize and prioritize things accordingly. Kick off things that are not adding value to your goals on your to-do list and then re-focus your energy on the most important tasks and activities while trying to create an optimum work-life balance that works for you.

Brace up for Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification means delaying the need for an immediate reward in order to get a later reward which will be better and more fulfilling. This is another important thing to expect before starting an online business.

And there’s probably no where you need this more than in the online business world.

Yes! Because a lot of people believe the simplicity of starting a business online makes it one of the fastest ways to make money fast and cash out.

This is the mindset that will make people ask questions like; “how can i make money online, fast”.

Truth be told. There’s no hard and fast rule about when you should start making money with your online business. There are online businesses you can start earning within the first few weeks you get started.

There are also others that will take years and effort before you earn from it. Don’t get torn between the two or spend too much focus on making and spending your income on frivolities instead, work on building and growing your business.

If you’re running a business that has capacity to get you up to 5-10k dollars per job within one year, don’t leave it because your friend is balling, charging clients 50 dollars a job within the first few weeks.

Focus on building and growing your business first. This is very important.

Plan for free & almost free gigs

For a beginner, one of the easiest strategies to start out and gain publicity is by giving out a lot of freebies and promo services. And this is an important things you need to know before starting an online business.

As a Graphics Designer, a nice mention from an NGO you build their logo can get you a handful of new clients. It could be part of the things you’ll want to use to tell your brand story.

Also, giving huge discounts to clients as a new comer can encourage them to patronize you, while referring their friends. But, you’ll want to be careful and strategic on how you go about giving out freebies and subsidized services.

Be careful that you don’t run promos and discounts in such a way that clients get to lose the worth of the services you’re offering them.

Be firm when you have to be. Have a time tag for all your discounts and promos. Don’t get clients too comfortable charging you pea nuts because you’re a new business. Also, do not entirely rely on this as your marketing strategy.

Brace up for Rejections at Some Point

As art of the things you need to know before starting an online business, you need to brace up for rejections.

This is not abnormal. Every new business gets rejections at one point or the other. So, you and your business proposals can be rejected by a potential clients due to one reason or the other.

Most times it’s not because you lack the competence. It could be that you have not demonstrated it enough in your branding or the particular client has trust issues.

Either ways, you can’t base the potentials of your startup on the number of rejections you receive. Instead, find out the cause of each rejection whenever you come across one. And when you do, if you realize you’re sure you’re inadequate in some skills, work on those skills.

Learn more. Get more certifications, tell your brand story about your achievements and work on getting some reputable clients to build a better portfolio.

If you’re lacking some major resources, work on collaborating with other businesses that’s got those resources and then negotiate on sharing the proceeds.

Plan to Learn New Skills

Another thing you need to know before starting an online business? Plan to learn new skills.

It’s possible you might not have been social media savvy, good at content marketing, or blogging.

But as someone with a new online business, you have to learn some of these skills. Your business depends on them. If not you may have difficulties running your business.

You’ll also work on getting some industry related certifications as you build your business. This all goes to boost your expertise while giving your brand a boost.

Besides the hard skills, you’ll also want to sharpen your soft skills. Work on building better inter personal skills. This will help in your business-client relationships.

Learn to negotiate well and work on getting to network and collaborate with others. These are very useful skills that will help your business.

Final Words

Now that you’ve learned about the important things you need to know before starting an online business, I want you to remember that starting a new business entails a lot.

Yes, from creating a business plan to setting up your website correctly and learning how to take calculated risks. There’s a whole lot to learn but the good thing is that you don’t have to learn everything in a single day.

You’ll learn a lot as you go out there to build your business and with persistence and time, you will build the business of your dream.

So, here’s to your success. And of course I know that the journey to building a thriving business can be lonely, unpredictable and tasking so, I’m offering you an opportunity to work with our team to build your business. Reach out to us here.

Now, it’s over to you. What’s your biggest challenges when it comes to starting an online business? Drop your comments!

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Victor Winners

Victor Winners

A Nigerian trained Law graduate and British LL.M candidate, using his widespread experience in tech, law and innovation, to evolve cutting edge and growth driven solutions for brands and businesses in Africa and beyond.As a Law-trained tech expert, Victor brings in over 7 years experience working in the Digital Marketing, SEO, Web Development, Online Publishing, Social Media and Legaltech sectors, to create result driven content and innovative solutions to brands and businesses.Named as one of the top 50 Web Design Influencers Globally, Victor Winners started one of Africa's most widely read blogs on Digital Marketing and Strategy.With this platform, he has impacted the lives of over 2 million readers spanning more than 135 countries in 8+ years

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