If you are in the very first stages of building an online business on sweat equity, your first dilemma will probably NOT revolve around creating revenue, but asking where do I set up my online business shop or presence in the first place, and how do I attract my audience to it?
If you were to open a shop on the high street you would immediately be exposed to passing trade, and while the internet opens your exposure up to half the world’s population, in the beginning none of them are walking past your door…
In recent times, you could say that Amazon has become the high street of the internet and that it would make sense to set up shop there. Not as smart as you might think. Read on…
The problem here is that, just like ebay, or facebook, your page, site, or shop on any of these platforms does NOT belong to you, and the people that visit you there are NOT your customers. At least not in the eyes of those platforms who consider your visitors to still be THEIR customers.
And if they suspect you are trying to lure anyone away from their platform, they will suspend your account right away. Worse still, a competitor can merely claim to Amazon that you are doing that and you can get your account suspended.
And that’s only the beginning of your problems when it comes to Amazon, as many traders on their platform will tell you, it’s like trying to do business on quicksand.
The trend in recent years is now to open your own shop on your own site to negate the vulnerabilities you are exposed to on the big platforms. There have been a proliferation of third party options catering to this trend, the biggest perhaps being Shopify which kind of falls in the middle of the risk spectrum.
At one end lies Amazon and Ebay, with established footfall. You will be found on these platforms if you know the tricks of the trade. Customers will have higher trust buying from you because they know they have the might of the platform to back them up should anything go wrong.
On the other hand, you have higher fees to pay which are subject to change at any time, and the balance of power is too heavily weighed in the favour of the customers. Should a customer choose to cry wolf to Amazon or Ebay, prepare to get trampled underfoot, and swallow the collateral damage as they rush to have the back of the customer.
At the other end of the spectrum, starting a online business based at your own website with your own shop, you have your own reputation which you are keen to build, and you are in complete control. No high fees to pay and no waking up in the morning to find your account hijacked, suspended, or shut down.
The downside, of course, when just starting a online business is that nobody knows who you are or that you exist. And when they DO find you, they don’t trust you until you have grown big, got many reviews and a fine reputation. Catch 22.
So, we return to your first dilemma in starting a online business, where and do you choose to establish yourself?
Having experienced both Amazon and Ebay first hand, and because I am selling digital programs rather than physical goods, I have chosen to future proof by creating my online business shop and membership area on my own website, then going out to find my audience, and finally doing my damnedest to build a solid reputation and deliver massive value.
Almost all online entrepreneurs will talk about increasing your leads and sales from the perspective of already having an established following. In the ‘Build an online business challenge’ I am starting from zero in every respect. If you would like to follow and see how I build an audience from scratch click below.
B U S I N E S S L E U T H
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