Why It’s STILL a Good Time to Start or Expand an Online Business

A little over a year ago, I recorded a podcast I never thought I would need to.

It was March 26th, and nearly every state (including Hawaii, where I live), had entered a lockdown. Schools moved online or got canceled. Nonessential businesses shut down. Concerts, parades, fundraisers, recitals, and much more were rescheduled or postponed indefinitely.

Life changed dramatically for almost everyone. We went from a fairly predictable life and economy to a time where all bets were called off. Nobody knew what was going to happen, so why would they take the risk to invest toward anything?

This led to the rise of a phenomenon known as ‘doomscrolling,’ where individuals spent exponentially more time on social media, driven (mostly) by fear, wondering what would happen. I know this because I did it too, during the early days.

Then I realized something. I had just started my own platform to encourage others to begin and improve their online businesses… and we had just entered history’s greatest opportunity for online business.

I don’t say that to minimize the real pain myself and others have experienced due to the pandemic. I say it to assert that even when life hands us the biggest, most sour lemons, we can still find a way to squeeze some lemonade out of it.

So I went about (online) business as usual, and recorded a podcast encouraging others to do the same. Now, listening to it a year later, it holds true:

For savvy entrepreneurs, right now is a fantastic opportunity to start an online business… or incorporate online elements into your business.

Why Me? Why Now?

I once heard a business person I respected say this:

Be fearful when everyone is greedy, and be greedy when everyone is fearful.

He didn’t mean literal greed that selfishly hoards your resources at the expense of others, but rather a mindset that boldly hunts for the next opportunity while others prefer to play it safe. He found that when the majority of people in an economic system are greedy, a downturn is inevitable. 

He also found that investments made when most others are afraid tend to appreciate like none other.

The same goes for 2021. As I opened up my news app and social media this morning, I realized that many outlets aren’t even trying to disguise their intentions. I saw headlines titled “The horrifying truth about X”, “Ten terrifying photos of X that will GUARANTEE you don’t sleep tonight,” and a headline that literally said “Why You Should Be Afraid.”

I had to chuckle to myself. Fear sells. It’s easier to hook someone’s attention with a threat than anything else, and many content creators realize this. Many of them also threw subtlety out the window, though.

A year into the pandemic, people are still very much afraid. And that means that there will be less competition for you, since a terrified person rarely starts a business.

Plus, we’ve seen over the past year that the digital marketplace is incredibly powerful. Most established online shops reported an increase in traffic, cart sizes, and sales. Anything sold online had a better chance of being sold, and this trend hasn’t diminished… even as many communities attempt a return to normalcy.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has given you any more free time, you should invest it into starting an online business, or adding online aspects to your current business.

You can use the power of fear toward something positive, helpful, and productive, by the way. Here’s how to ethically use scarcity to sell more.

A Few Practical Steps 

If you agree that opening an online business is a fantastic idea for RIGHT NOW, then follow these steps to get started.

  • Start Before You’re Ready

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing hundreds of people take our courses and use them to launch successful online businesses. Some of them even made six figures in their first year! I’m glad they took my advice and started an online business when they did.

They all had one thing in common, too: none of them felt 100% ready to start.

I know I didn’t feel ready when I started my marketing business. I had been fired from my previous job and was running out of time to find something that worked.

The same goes for you. If you wait until you feel good and ready, you will wait forever. There will always be a convenient, rational, comfortable excuse for staying in your lane.

But if you want to break free from working for someone else and take advantage of the immense opportunity in front of you, then you need to take a risk. So start.

  • Combine Two Magic Ingredients

Many people starting in online business are surprised to discover how simple it really is. Sure, you can go to school for a couple of years and get a degree in business with an emphasis on electronic commerce… Or wait until you find the perfect course to teach you everything.

Or you can simply combine one hungry market with one skill you already possess, and build from there. 

Formal education is good. Courses, seminars, and private coaching are wonderful. But they are no substitute for locating a hungry market, and offering something that solves their problems. This is how you generate your first revenue, and how you gain your first batch of happy clients.

To learn more about this, and access my tried-and-true success recipe, download my FREE e-guide here.

  • Push Into E-Commerce

This one is for folks who already run a business. There’s a piece of the online business pie for you, too. 

Take one element of your business and make it available for digital purchase. The “how” will change depending on the product. Here are a few examples:

  • A bakery/restaurant selling the ingredients and recipes for one of their best dishes.
  • A general contractor developing courses that teach people woodworking.
  • A tourism firm selling a box full of items eliciting the sights, sounds, and smells of their destination i.e. “Maui-In-A-Box.”

No matter the nature of your business, you have a skill or product to sell online. It will simply take a bit of creativity and work on your end, but it pays off in a new stream of revenue.

The iron is hot. It’s STILL an amazing time to start or expand an online business. For more secrets to success in this growing market, listen and subscribe to my podcast:

About the Author
Tom is the host of What's the Secret podcast and co-founder of Offlinesharks.com

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