Escape The Cubicle – Starting Your Own Online Business

There are many of you who do not want to go to a job in an office every day. You dream of how to escape the cubicle as it is not a great place to work day after day anymore. The dreams are about starting your own online business.

I know you would prefer to work from home and be your own boss. Now, the internet has given you a way to achieve your dream of working from home. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy but it is doable and you might LOVE it.

You can create a website that sells various products and services. Then, you can operate this website from the comfort of your own home. This could be done as a side hustle first before going full-time.

However, starting a successful online business is much easier said than done. There are many others who have had the same dream. Not all these websites are going to survive.

escape the cubicle
Learn how to escape the cubicle and start your own business online.

My Personal Experience Managing A Retail Website

By all means, I can tell you from personal experience about websites that will not survive. If you have been a long-time reader here you may remember I ran a retail website selling medical scrubs.

That is what inspired me to blog. Inspire to Thrive began teaching about my experiences from that retail website.

As a result that retail website is what taught me all about social media. The largest order received came from a tweet about an NCAA team as we carried the scrubs for that team.

I learned about drop shipping and dealing with products from overseas. Backorders became the norm which was not a good thing. This was before Amazon came along with quick and free shipping.

Of course, you can have a website with services and not just products. That’s what I do now and love it.

Now, here are some of the things you need to know to get your new online business off the ground so you can escape the cubicle.

Find The Best Web Designer Who Works In Your Area

Designing a website can be a very complicated process. It is something that you might not have the skills to perform. Thus, you need to get in contact with someone who has the knowledge regarding how to write code.

There are many companies you can hire to perform this task for you. However, there are also people who design websites in their spare time.

You might be able to save a lot of money by hiring one of these people. Look online to see if any web designers in your area have posted ads for their services.

Hosting For Your Online Business

Equally important is your hosting company of choice. You want to be sure you do not have any downtime for your new website. Downtime is just like losing money. You pay for what you get when it comes to hosting.

You can sign up for Pingdom for Free to be notified if your site ever does go down offline. They send out emails daily, weekly or monthly, depending on how you request them.

Furthermore, make sure the hosting company can be reached 24/7 if your website does go down. That’s my biggest concern when enlisting a new hosting company. I want to be able to reach them ASAP.

Another concern today is web security. Be sure you go with the SSL certificate for your website and https as you will be taking money over the internet. You will want your website to be secure for your customers.

Another bonus tip: Check that the SSL doesn’t expire or your website will go down.

hosting
Get the best web hosting you can afford. I’ve had to switch a few times over the decade in business.

Promoting Your Website

You will need to let the world know about all the things that you are selling or the services you are offering on your site. This means you will need to come up with some sort of promotional plan if you want to escape the cubicle.

Otherwise, your site will not get the amount of traffic that it needs to generate an income that will make it profitable. You might want to consider hiring a company that offers online marketing services.

This type of company will devise a strategy that will target your core demographic and let them know about your site. Today an online business really needs an omnichannel marketing strategy.

online marketing for starting your own online business
Learn all you can about online marketing to promote your website so you can escape the cubicle.

Finally, you must identify your target audience when starting your own online business. Donna Merrill wrote about how to dominate in your industry by identifying your own target audience. (A must-read!)

Promoting to people who are not interested is a waste of your precious time.

Social Media To Elevate Your Website

Social media can greatly enhance your website’s visibility and reach. By leveraging popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can attract a wider audience and drive more traffic to your site.

Sharing compelling content and engaging with users through comments and direct messages can foster a sense of community and build brand loyalty. Additionally, social media offers valuable opportunities for promoting your website’s products or services, boosting conversions and sales.

Integrating social media buttons and widgets on your website can also facilitate easy sharing, increasing the potential for your content to go viral. However, beware if they slow down your website. I recently eliminated many from the website here to have a faster website.

Overall, utilizing social media can be an effective strategy to elevate your website and achieve your goals.

Hire An SEO Company For Your Website

SEO is the most effective way to get your site ranked at or near the time of search engine results. This will enable people to notice your site more easily. The traffic increase that having your site ranked highly in search results will generate cannot be underestimated.

There are plenty of companies that offer SEO services. The money you will need to spend will be a worthwhile investment.

Just be sure the company you hire has an established track record. You would be wise to speak to some of the SEO company’s current or past clients.

Ask these people if they are satisfied with the results they received. (Recently, I hired someone to do my own as I’ve learned to delegate more!)  

Get An eCommerce Shopping Cart

Having a great eCommerce shopping cart is key when starting your own online business. In fact, it will be the backbone of your sales operation. It will make it easy for your customers to put things into a shopping cart.

If they don’t check out with their items you can send them emails to remind them of what they left in their shopping cart. This is just one thing a great eCommerce shopping cart can do for your business.

Furthermore, having a speedy shopping cart is another bonus for your customers.  Everyone wants to make a purchase instantly. Consequently, a great shopping cart can ensure that!

Having a speedy shopping cart is another bonus for your customers. #onlinebusiness Click To Tweet

Sell Products You Can Deliver Fast and Cheap

Today people are used to Amazon delivery within 2 days of their orders. After all who has time to wait a week when overnight delivery is becoming the norm?

Be sure you will have enough of the products in stock too. People will not come back to your website if you are out of stock. And worse if they order from you to learn it’s out of stock after they have paid.

Starting your own online business is not easy today. It takes hard work and patience.  Check out some ideas here on what kinds of things people are buying online.

Finally, my last tip is to start an online course. Why not teach others what you know? To learn more read this post by Erik Emanuelli. 

Furthermore, learn to work from home without driving you insane. For many, that takes time and patience. You must learn new routines and ways of getting things done.

Your Turn

I’d love to know in the comments below if you have a retail website or if you are starting your own online business today.

Or do you have a services website like mine? Or would you rather climb that corporate ladder instead?

Lisa Sicard
  • Hi Lisa,

    This is a great guide. Your first tip was pretty good. I often use remote services for blog design. I never considered working with someone who lives in my area. It would actually be better since we’ll have less of a communication problem that way. I also liked your tip about focusing on SEO. You almost cannot rank on Google if you have no SEO strategy in place. I enjoy doing SEO for my own sites, though. Challenging but fun as well.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Stefan, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. Oh yes, you could probably find someone nearby too. Even then most people like to communicate virtually due to time constraints. I used someone locally and that’s what we did but I knew her work and really liked it.
      SEO certainly is a challenge and it’s always changing. Thanks for coming by Stefan and have a great day.

  • Anil Agarwal says:

    Hi Lisa, great topic!

    It’s so true what you said, so many people are tired of traditional jobs working for someone else and making peanuts even after all the work and sacrifices you make daily. But most people also don’t have a clue about how to start an online business and actually make profits from it.

    The key here is not to quit your job but to save some money in the form of emergency fund and spend some money on membership sites and online courses to learn digital marketing skills. Reading books like Influence, The One Thing, Zero to One also help you get a better idea about how you can succeed in business.

    Just make sure to focus on analysing your competitors by finding a niche before you think about starting an online business. Also find ways to get crowdfunding or investment so you can build a profitable business that makes money in the long run.

    Thanks so much for the write up Lisa. It’s always a great pleasure to read posts that come from personal experiences.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Anil, thank you. I like your process about saving for an emergency fund and to spend things on the business while you have a day job. That is so important so you can start with some cash reserve. It does take at least 5 years to really make a profit in any business according to the experts. You are welcome and I appreciate your feedback on this one Anil. Have a great weekend!

  • Cori Ramos says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. One thing I haven’t done is hire a company who specializes in SEO. Right now I’m relying on Yoast and what I’ve learned. Maybe later on down the line I’ll be able to afford it. 🙂

    You reminded me about adding a shopping cart to my site.

    I don’t have products to sell but I do offer services and later on I’ll be adding stock images. It would be good to get the shopping cart in place to hit the ground running.

    I remember you mentioned this in another post but it totally slipped my mind. But not this time, I wrote it down in my handy dandy notebook to remember. 🙂

    Love the tips and advice here Lisa! Passing this along for sure!

    Have a great week.

    Cori

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Cori, me too. It’s on my bucket list because I’d love to become even better with it. A shopping cart would do your site good Cori. I wonder how big that notebook of yours is? 🙂
      Thanks for that and for coming by Cori. I appreciate the shares on social too. Enjoy the rest of your day there and take care!

  • Elizabeta says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. It helps a lot to make our website much better.
    Elizabeta

  • Hi Lisa,

    Thanks so much for the mention here! It is so important to find our target audience otherwise it is like trying to catch a fish with no bait. (I used to fish a long time ago lol)

    It will take some time to figure that out but start with the simple question to yourself which is: Who needs this? From there dig down and write a long list of why. Then create an avatar so that everything you write will reflect on that avatar which will keep you on point.

    When creating a website, one can start with the free hosting, but later on, grow into managed hosting instead of shared. It is more costly but worth it.

    And of course, make sure that shopping cart works! You don’t want to loose buyers so choose one that is reputable.

    Love all these tips because they are spot on!

    -Donna

    • Lisa says:

      You are most welcome Donna. I love that one “Catch a fish with no bait!”. I run into people all the time who need this – I need to get that avatar down pat! So true on the shopping cart – the biggest issue I used to have was inventory. People who order and I would find out later things were on backorder. I had to drop some of the drop shippers who could not do “real time” inventory. Thanks for coming by and I hope you are feeling better Donna. Have a great weekend.

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