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How to Build a Successful Online Business: The 5 Pillars of Success

So you want to learn how to build a successful online business. I don’t know your exact situation right now, but I can guess that you probably fall into one of 2 categories: either you are currently working the 9-5 and want to find an alternative or you are already in an online business and are looking to increase your income. So let’s have a look at the 5 pillars of how to build a successful online business.Success Pillar 1: Have a PlanIf you were going to setup a brick-and-mortar business and had to borrow money for the bank, they would certainly require to provide them a business plan. They want to know that you are organized enough and focused enough that the money they lend you will not be wasted.The same applies to an online business. Once you open the door to making money online, you will soon be bombarded by all sorts of offers and opportunities. Who knows, you may have already experienced this. Without a good plan of action, you may be tempted to listen to all those offers. If you don’t focus your energies towards one goal, you are wasting your time.”In order to succeed, your arrow of focus must be pointed in one direction”When creating your business plan you will want to focus on the following:1) “Why”: What is the reason for starting your online business? And don’t just write that you want to make money. Take a moment to reflect on the real reason you want to succeed online. Are you doing this to provide a steady income for your family, do you want to work from home and have time freedom, or do you want to share and teach your success to others? Don’t worry about making it perfect, write it down today and you can modify it as you go along.2) Goals: Set realistic goals within a time frame. For example, if you just got started, a good goal would be to make you first 500$ within a 1 month period. If you are already making 500$ a month, set your goal to double that within a month. As you start seeing success from your efforts, you can start stepping up your goals to be more challenging.3) Actions: What actions are necessary to achieve your goals (be specific). If you are just starting up, actions like setting up your domain and website would be a good one, then setting up your capture page and autoresponder. If your system is already set up, you could take action to increase traffic for your site or you could tweak your capture page to increase conversion.Success Pillar 2: Pick a good mentorA good mentor will make the difference between success and no success. A good mentor knows the way and can show you the ropes. When I got started, I didn’t have someone like me to show me what to do. I was here and there and nothing seemed to work. It wasn’t until I found a good mentor to show me what steps to take that I was able to achieve success in my business.Picking a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean to partner up with the Top Gun of your company. Oftentimes they are so busy doing what they need to do that they don’t have the time or energy to hand hold all the newbies. You are much better off finding a leader that has the time to help you along the way and guide you as you take the steps to success.Success Pillar 3: Self-BrandingThe most common mistake when starting an online business is to lead with your business/product/payplan. It is truly an important part of the business, but not the most important. The #1 key principle is to BRAND YOURSELF. Who knows, you may be with a particular company today, but what happens if you decide to change? If you spent your time branding yourself, the transition will be easy. If you branded your company, you will have to start all over from scratch.Look at all the top producers in the industry. Jonathan Budd, Brad Callen, Mike Dillard, just to name a few, have all branded themselves very strongly. When they create a new product, it is easy for them to sell it because their customers know, trust and like their brand (themselves) and will trust the new product being offered.The best way to brand yourself is not to hide behind a computer screen. Create a website with your name as the domain, have real life pictures of yourself, create videos in which you offer value to your viewers, use the social media platform and be visible. You don’t have to be the best in the world to be liked, just offer valuable content to the best of your abilities.Success Pillar 4: Systems and Follow-upThe main reason for creating an online business is to leverage the internet to free your time. By having systems do most of the work for you you achieve two things: 1) you build relationships without having to actually be there and 2) you can spend your time and efforts on other things that will increase your results.Disclaimer: I’m not talking about the “push this button and make money without lifting a finger” Just like building a real business, you need to put effort and time to create your online business system and then promote it.So what kind of systems am I talking about? The main components of your system will be: Your website/salespage and your autoresponder.Your website: This system is meant to allow visitor to get to know you and your opportunity. It should answer most of the frequently asked questions about your business and give a bit of your personality so that visitor and potential business partners get to know you as a person.Your autoresponder: This is a series of emails that will continue to touch base on autopilot with the people who have shown interest in your opportunity. It should be packed with valuable information and obviously lead back to your opportunity. There are 3 major players as far as autoresponders: aweber, iContact and get response. I choose one over the others.Success Pillar 5: Marketing and TrafficTraffic is the lifeblood of any business. When it comes to the topic of online traffic, you could search online for days and still find new products that will teach you the “new best way” to drive tons of traffic to your website. The truth of it is, if you bulk up the information, traffic can be grouped into 3 categories: Link Building, SEO and Advertising.1) Link Building: Link building not only increases your traffic, but has the added bonus of increasing your SEO. Link buiding, put simply, is the activity of producing and publishing content online in order to increase the number of links pointing back at your site. There are many many ways of doing this and I will share with you my favorite ones: Articles Marketing, Video Marketing, Hubpage/Squidoo marketing (if you don’t know what this means, don’t worry) and finally, Forum participation.2) SEO: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and means to optimize your web content for the search engines (like Google). Done properly, this will generate a large amount of free traffic from the different search engines.Just to give an example: I created a small website for my real estate business about 3 years back. I optimized the content for a particular keyword and published a few articles about the topic to build links. Ever since the website appears on the first page of Google, that website has been receiving 20-30 hits per day and generating 2-3 leads a day. And I only spent a few hours creating and optimizing that site. I’m not saying that it’s always that easy, but once you get there it’s a breath of fresh air.Link building for SEO: Links are like votes for your site. The more links you have, the more you have authority and search engines look for authority sites. So as you put effort in your link building for traffic, you are also building vote towards your site which will lead to better ranking in the search engines.3) Advertising: The are 2 ways to advertise: Free and Paid. Free advertising is like posting ads on Craigslist. A good example of paid advertising is the Google sponsored results or PPC (pay per click). This topic is very broad and surpass the scope of this article. I would definitely recommend focusing on link building at the beginning. PPC is quite complex and for someone that doesn’t know how to do it, it can be quite costly. I’ve personally burned a few hundred dollars in a few days on Google PPC without much to show for it.So there you have it, the 5 pillars of how to build a successful online business. If there are things in this article that you did not understand, please be assured that everything will come together soon.