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How To START An Online Business For Beginners

If you’ve been on the fence about starting an online business (even as a side hustle), because either you’re not sure about what to start OR you think you’re just too busy, I want to help you today by unpacking EXACTLY what you need to do to get started in as little as just 30 minutes a day.

Hey friend, I’m Brad Long and welcome to the channel where we help career burnouts achieve financial independence by starting and growing an online business. 

If you follow the 6 steps in this video, you will be able to start your very own online business that generates $500-$1000/mo in sustainable income within your first 180 days, all with about 30-60 minutes per day of effort, even if you’re already SUPER busy.

And by the way, if you’re too busy to even watch this video, you can just download my FREE “How To Start An Online Business” Quick Start Guide which also INCLUDES an audio training if you’re too busy to read it. :)

The FREE guide actually goes into much more detail than I’m able to cover in this short video, so make sure you grab that.

Let’s jump right into it.


Step 1: Find Your Profitable Idea (Niche)

This is the step where you decide on what subject matter you want to address in your online business (a.k.a. niche). 

The “sweet spot” in finding your niche is found between the intersection of  1) what you love to talk about and 2) what people are willing to pay for (once you start creating digital products).

1. Questions To Ask Yourself 

  • What do you love to talk about?
  • What are you genuinely interested in?
  • If you had a whole day to research a subject, what would it be?
  • What subject(s) could you talk about for hours on end?
  • What do people tell you you’re good at?
  • What kinds of issues do people come to you for advice?
  • What subjects do you love to teach?
  • On what topics would you consider yourself to know more than most people?

As you start to define and narrow down your topic and who you’ll serve, you’ll want to ask deeper probing questions (to friends, family and social media).

  • Question 1: What are your biggest frustrations with [your topic] right now?
  • Question 2: What are your biggest goals/desires with [your topic] right now?


 2. What are people willing to pay for (once you start creating digital products)?

 This is the part where you want to start thinking through the intersection of your interests AND what people are willing to pay for to get help and results.

Don’t be afraid to tighten your focus and get even more specific about who you serve (a.ka. “niching down”). And equally importantly, it’s okay if you don’t know yet.

Helpful Insight: Don’t be discouraged if you’re in a “crowded niche” as those (i.e. fitness, cooking, personal finance, online business, etc.) are usually evidence that there’s actually profit to be made in that space.

Now, keep in mind that these next 3 steps are all worked semi-simultaneously.


Step 2: Start Creating Content

So, your free and amazing content will be the foundation and trademark of your brand. 

Creating highly valuable, free content on a consistent basis (I recommend at least weekly) will be the engine that drives your business in the coming weeks, months and years. 

Think of each piece of content as a little “employee” out there in the ether, adding value to your audience, driving them toward your lead magnet and then to your email list where you can deliver even more value. 

Your emails help them to better know you, like you and trust you. This beautiful process cultivates raving fans that become customers.


Choose A Content Format

Choose the primary format to deliver your content (preferably at-least weekly):

  • Written (blog posts)
  • Video (YouTube videos)
  • Audio (podcast content)

To avoid you getting overwhelmed, I’d recommend starting with one format. You can ultimately pivot to doing all 3 simultaneously, but I recommend the simplicity as you start.


Every Time You Release New Content

  1. Make sure to offer your lead magnet. This builds your email list (more on that later).
  2. Email your weekly content to your list. This is a way to “nurture” the relationship.
  3. Share your weekly content on your social media channels to help reach new people.

Congratulations, you’re now a content creator!

Next let’s talk about your lead magnet.


Step 3: Create A Lead Magnet

Your lead magnet initiates the “next level” of your relationship with your audience. 

This is what converts your passive audience members into active subscribers, engaged students and ultimately into paying customers.

Okay, so you’ve picked your niche and have started asking your audience questions, creating content and solving problems for them. So, what’s next?


What Is A Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a free exclusive piece of content aimed at solving one of your audience’s problems in a succinct and valuable way. This content is delivered to them in exchange for their email address and accomplishes the following:

  • Promotes your brand as a valuable solution (and generates new leads)
  • Increases your credibility as a creator
  • Delivers a high perceived value (informative, helpful, solves a problem)
  • Increases the probability that your new fan will convert to a paying customer


Lead Magnet Forms

  • Downloadable/printable PDFs (like this guide)
  • Checklists
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Assessments with recommendations
  • Free audio trainings
  • Free video workshops (or even mini-courses)

I highly recommend PDF guides, checklists and cheat sheets, especially as you’re starting.


Two Lead Magnet Must-Haves

  1. Your lead magnet must be relevant to your audience's needs and deliver on a realistic promise. Make sure to focus on the naming as that is what most people see.
  2. Ideally, your lead magnet should offer them a quick win and be granular enough to get them real results without going too much into the weeds. 

Okay, now that we’ve got some basic elements of lead magnets down, let’s go ahead and build your “lead capturing” website.


Step 4: Build Your Website

In this step, you’re building the centralized hub for your brand. 

Your website is the destination you’ll be driving traffic from your social media and search engine presence (i.e. Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) in order to get them on your email list.

Your website is where you will: house your blog/content, your “about” page, landing pages, your lead magnets and ultimately your digital courses. Don’t worry, we’ll get there.


Keep It Super Simple (KISS)

Because it’s SO tempting to get lost in the weeds here, I want you to keep hold this thought: 

The primary function of your website is to capture your visitors’ email addresses, period.

Yes, that’s right. It’s really not about you, your history, accomplishments or offerings. 

Priority #1 of your site is to capture email addresses. So  focus on optimizing for that and you’ll win.

Now, am I saying that you should totally ignore content or aesthetics, absolutely not. 

What I AM saying is that, while content and aesthetics are indeed important, the MOST important thing that your website serves is to capture your prospects' email addresses.

Why so much emphasis on this? Because, as we’ll cover in Step 5, email marketing is still the #1 way to sell to your audience. Again, we’ll go into much more depth on this point in Step 5.


Website Platform Options

This is not meant to be a deep dive on platform options, but I will say that, back in 2018, I started my platform on WordPress which has a VERY steep learning curve in my opinion. 

So, if you’re just starting, I would recommend another, more user friendly platform like Wix.com, SquareSpace.com or even Kajabi (more on that later) to keep you from pulling your hair out as you’re getting started.

Much more to say, but let’s move on to…


Step 5: Start Capturing Emails

Why Email? 

With email you own the relationship and are not at the whims of “algorithm” changes on your various social media platforms. 

But even beyond that, email marketing is statistically THE BEST way to own and nurture your relationship with your audience. And there’s TONS of data on this.

Case in point, according to Hubspot:

“40 percent of B2B marketers say email newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success, and 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email. Furthermore, 99% of consumers check their email every day and it is by far the preferred way to receive updates from brands.”


How To Start Capturing Emails

As you’ve probably already gathered, your free content and your lead magnet starts this beautiful process. As you’re creating amazing free content, a curious percentage of your audience will see value in your lead magnet and “opt-in” to your email list to gain access.

Besides immediately delivering your lead magnet, email marketing will give you the opportunity to 1) deliver more value to your subscribers, 2) nurture your relationship with them, 3) build your credibility and 4) give you the ability to sell them your products directly. 


Tools To Use

This is where you choose an email service to host your list. I started with MailerLite and eventually moved over to Kajabi, which houses my entire platform (not just my email list).

Whichever you choose, the email service will allow you to deliver your lead magnet as soon as someone subscribes to your list and will give you direct access to their email inbox. 


Never Stop Growing (And Loving On) Your Email List

Now that you’ve set up your lead generation machine, you want to make sure that you’re always in “list growth” mode and that you’re loving the stew out of your people. Some ways to do this are to regularly: 

1) notify them of your weekly content, 

2) offer them additional free resources and 

3) offer (i.e. sell)  them your digital products (monthly or at least quarterly).


Step 6: Build And Launch Your Online Course

Your Life-Changing Digital Products

This is where you finally start to hit “pay dirt”. While it does take some work to get here, if you follow the previous steps, you’ll be building an audience of super fans who are starving for your courses, like a marathon runner who hasn’t eaten for a month. 

And THAT’S exactly what you want!

Now, unfortunately building an online course is the first thing that most people gravitate toward because some Lambo-flaunting, mansion-posing fake guru told them, “you can build your product over the weekend by just “repurposing” someone else's material, launch it with FB ads and pop the cork of your favorite bubbly as you watch endless streams of  cash roll on in.” 

I don’t think I need to tell you how incredibly inaccurate this is. As you’ve probably already gathered, the very first thing we need to do is create massive value for your audience, THEN we have the right to ask them to trade currency for the value we’ve created.


The True Value Of An Online Course

If you’re anything like I was starting out, you’re probably thinking something like, “man, what can I create that hasn’t already been done?” There’s already SO much information out there in the clouds of the vast, open interwebs about [your topic], won’t I just be adding more noise?”.  Understandable objection, but let me explain how you overcome it.

What you’re actually doing when you create a solid, relevant digital course is that you’re giving your audience a comprehensive, step-by-step roadmap that solves their specific pain point and allows you to be compensated generously for the value you’re creating..

You’re offering them transformation. And you’re doing it by giving them a granular, turn-by-turn roadmap to guide them into the transformation that they’re looking to achieve.


Your First $500-$1000

Now, the entire point of this video is to get you up and running and profitable asap. 

So, let’s do some quick math. When you get to the point where you can sell 5-10 courses (@%50-$100) per month passively, you’re already at the $500-$1000/mo in passive income. 

It might take you some time and effort to get there, but the good news is, if you can get there, you can get to 50-100 courses per month and beyond! Welcome to the beauty of online business!

Okay, let’s talk about a little bonus step to bring this all together.


Next Steps

First, let’s recap what we’ve covered.

My goal for you by the end of this “no-nonsense” video is: To be able to start your very own online business that generates $500-$1000/mo in sustainable income within your first 180 days, all with about 30-60 minutes per day of effort, even if you’re already SUPER busy.

So the question is, can you see it? Can you see the potential? Can you visualize what it would look like to have $500-$1000+/mo of passive income coming in?

Well, I’m here to tell you that, if you follow the steps, with consistency and get help as you progress, those numbers are the BARE MINIMUM of what’s possible. 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s an even easier way to start earning right away.


The Benefits Of Starting With Coaching

One of the immediate things you can do to accelerate your trajectory toward generating passive income is to start offering coaching or consulting services to your audience. Is it passive? No. BUT it can greatly benefit your new online platform  in the following ways:

  • It’s the fastest way to monetize your efforts.
  • Helps you develop your authority and confidence with your audience.
  • Helps you better understand your audience’s needs (deep customer research).
  • Excellent source for finding/refining material for your digital courses.

This was the immediate way I was able to monetize my personal finance content. I simply started offering free coaching to a couple of my students under the condition that they would provide a testimonial. Then, I actively started offering paid coaching to my audience.

This turned out to be a treasure trove of data I was able to use to: 1) make my content more magnetic, 2) understand the questions behind the questions that I got on a regular basis and 3) helped me to develop super-relevant course content based on my 1:1 coaching interactions.


Do This Next

Go download my FREE “How To Start An Online Business” Quick Start Guide which also INCLUDES an audio training you can listen to on your way to the office.

Link in the description below.

Like I said earlier, the FREE guide actually goes into much more detail than I’m able to cover in this short video, so make sure you grab that.

Just start with the steps in this guide. I can promise you that if you follow them faithfully  you WILL get to profitability and man… will you be hooked! 

I remember my very first online course sale coming in and thinking to myself, “this is absolutely amazing!”

And while building an online business is not a complicated process, it does take time, effort and commitment. 

I’ll never promise you overnight success, but I can promise you that with diligence and guidance, you will have a profitable, sustainable online business that brings you passive income every month! 

And I want it for you almost as badly as you want it for yourself!

So, don’t forget to download your free guide and let me know your idea in the comments below.

Thanks so much for watching and we’ll see you in the next video.


Struggling Or Feeling Alone?

Join Our Private FB Group:

Now, if this decision process is something you struggle with and you constantly feel isolated about, I’ve got some great news for you and it’s free.

Our private Facebook group. It’s a group of like minded people that are all somewhere along this P2P/debt-elimination/on their way to FI continuum. So click the image above and apply to join us. :)


How can ZeroDebtCoach help you? 4 ways...


1. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the notifications bell to make sure you get our new videos every week. 


2. Download one of our free personal finance guides. You’ll learn some of the exact strategies I teach my private coaching students on how to organize and optimize their finances, obliterate debt and move on to financial independence by starting and growing online businesses.


3. If you’re looking for a community of motivated and like-minded people, go ahead and get on the waitlist to join our private financial coaching community. We only open it for new students a couple of times a year, so make sure to get on the waitlist.



4. If you need some help right now because you’ve got a burning issue, you need a problem solved, you want to talk through a complex situation, click on the button below.



All that said, let's keep on building your financial acumen and make this your best year yet!

Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you in the next video post!


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