My best friend, Esosa, took a sip of his drink, saying nothing. We were having ..... The Web hosting company is like a landlord on the internet. For your site to ...
“I’m going to write a book about how to set up an online business”, I said as I sipped that can of Smirnoff Ice. My best friend, Esosa, took a sip of his drink, saying nothing. We were having another session of our usual business-heads discussions, and I just shared what I thought would be a great idea. That was a month ago. It was 2 weeks later before I finally got around to doing it. This book is not perfect. My website is not perfect. I haven’t signed out of my housemanship. I’m at a crossroads, I have to decide between chasing my dreams and playing it safe. I choose to defy the odds, and do what they said I can’t.
“And having a fine disregard for the rules, he picked up the ball and ran…”
1. 2. 3. 4. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)
It starts with an idea… and ends with action. How to come up with an online business idea. Fewer requirements… so What’s really holding you back? Welcome to the Process Getting your domain name Getting your hosting Setting up your website Promoting your business Getting your first client
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” –George Patton
“Vision without execution is just hallucination” - Henry Ford
It starts with an idea… and ends with action
“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.” -
Okay. Yes, I know. There’s no introductory chapter to this book. That is deliberate. The fact of the matter is if you’re reading this book, you aren’t looking for an introduction. You’re reading this because you’ve dreamt about starting an online business for quite some time now, and maybe you’ve even tried to start one but you got stuck somewhere. Then you tried again, and got stuck… again and again. And you’d like that to stop ASAP. They say, “Desperate times call for desperate measures”. And I don’t know a more desperate time than this time of change. Maybe you’re unemployed. Which means no money. No tata for yan-yan. Or you probably work for someone else. You go through hell for a month or more, in anticipation of that day when you “go get alert”, but that day seems like a mirage- it just keeps moving further and further into the future. I heard about a lady who worked free for a year hoping she’ll get paid but then just as the year came to a close, that company went bankrupt and closed down. I mean.. what the hell? Oh, and then sometimes payday comes but the money is usually already spent before it arrives because you had to pay for this or that thing and you borrowed money to do it.
You then go broke again and repeat the same cycle while letting your idea for an online business die a slow death in the dark recesses of your mind. Enough is enough. Say it with me now (Yes, you): ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! This book is here to solve that problem. It’s here to show you exactly what to do at each step to set up your online business and to start earning money for yourself instead of waiting for that end of the month when salary go enter. But first, you may have an idea already. You talk about it a lot. You tell your friends about it and they give you props so in your small mind, you feel great that you have this great idea that is going to be successful. Oga. Madam. Bet why? The fact of the matter is, an idea in your mind is worth 50 in the bush. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Every millisecond, somebody somewhere in this world is farting out an idea. Ideas are all well and good but they are a figment of your imagination till you do something about it. Ideas are worth nothing till you take action. Take, for example, this book you’re reading. It was an idea, but you won’t be reading it if I had not taken action and wrote the damn thing. Yes, I know. I know. You’re waiting for the right time. The perfect moment. NEWS FLASH: “Just like the idea you haven’t done anything about yet, the perfect moment or the right time is a figment of your own imagination.”
The right time is when you decide that the pain has become too unbearable and you have to do something about it right now. Casey Neistat, one of the greatest vloggers of all time, said:
“The right time is always now.” I absolutely believe that you should embrace that philosophy. Stop looking for the right time to start your online business because there will never be one till you make it so. If you want a right time, you have to pick the time and make it right.
“Imperfect execution beats perfect procrastination” - Steve Harris Oh, I know what the problem is. You don’t want to fail. That’s it, right? You want to just wake up, try something and be an instant success. That’s all well and good, but here’s the thing – failure is a necessary ingredient for success. Failure is how you learn what not to do. And by extension, what to do. So yes, you may fail a few times before you get it right but success is the ultimate reward.
Stop talking about your ideas, and how your success will look like when you get there. Start taking action. Right now. “The only way to begin is to quit talking and start doing.”- Walt Disney. Before we go on, let me make it clear who this book is for.
If you have already set up your online business, and you’re looking for insight as to how to grow your business, then Congrats, but this book is not for you. You should wait for my next book. This book is for new solopreneurs i.e. you’re new to this entrepreneur thing, you’re the only employee of your new online business idea and you don’t know how to start. This book is not for talkers, so if you would rather just talk and dream about your idea, then by all means, stop reading now and send me back my book. But if you want to stop talking about it and finally stop talking about it and set up your online business, and you want to do it this weekend then stay with me. Keep reading because that’s what this book is going to show you. Keep in mind though that this book is about showing you you can set up your online business. And if you follow the steps covered here, you will be able to set up at the very least a functional version of your business. This book is not an all-exhaustive guide to everything concerning your online business. This book is about getting you to get off your ass, follow a few steps and finally get your online business online. It’s a step by step guide to getting at least a minimum viable form of your business up and running. What you do from that point on is up to you. Of course, I’m going to write another book that shows you what to do next, but at the very least, this book will help you get your online business up and running.
But first let’s talk about....
How to come up with online business ideas I remember reading about Facebook once, thinking : “How the hell did he come up with that idea?” We’ll get to that in a bit. I did a lot idea-bashing in the last chapter. Let’s just make something clear. Ideas may not be worth much without action, but they are the starting point. I can’t name one single business that started without an idea. Can you? Exactly. So ideas are definitely important, but execution is what counts. Now how do you come up with an online business idea? Well, a lot of people have a lot to say on that topic. I googled it myself when I was doing research for this book, and just looking at all the results that Big Daddy Google arranged for me, was just exhausting. To come up with an online business idea, you only need to follow 2 main steps: 1.
You need to keep your eyes and ears open for problems, complaints etcetera shmetcetera because that’s where the money is! My dad would say look for a need. Take for example, Facebook. Mark Z probably figured out that people usually lose contact after high school and he found a way to connect those people. Sounds easy enough, but then it scaled up. People began meeting people online through Facebook. Then it went a step further. Businesses started connecting with their clients through Facebook. The first step in creating an online business is to first find a problem... and then... 2. Create a unique online solution . Amazon solves the problem of tracking down difficult to find books and getting them to you. All you have to do is search for the book you want, order it and wait for it to come to you.
Amazon makes it almost as easy as A,B,C. Uber solves the problem of having to wait too long for a cab. All you have to do is download their mobile app, register, order for an Uber, watch it for when the cab arrives and when it does, you get a call that lets you know your cab has arrived. If you want to create an online business idea, you have to offer an online alternative to offline methods (if there are any) of dealing with an offline problem that makes it easier, faster or simpler for the client to do that it becomes a no-brainer and they’ll decide to use your service every time. That’s the easiest way to come up with an online business idea. Also, if it’s really a great business idea, chances are somebody else is already trying to do it or has already started doing it. Don't worry, competition only means there’s money to be made. And that is always a good thing. Study your competition and come up with a better solution and all things being equal you’ll dominate the industry.
“Because you weren’’t first doesn’t mean you can’’t be the best” - Gary Vaynerchuk
The “Do What You Love” Conundrum Lets face it. “Do what you love and the money will follow” is bad advice. Oohhh.. I can already hear the “Do what you love”-ers sharpening their swords and preparing for war. Hear me out first. Take for example: I love lounging at home in bed, rolling around changing positions… you know how it is.
Now “Do what you love” says I should keep doing that and somehow money will come. Erm.. no. Not in a million years. I think that saying needs a little editing and should read: “Love what you do, connect that with the needs of the market and then the money will come.” This means while you're doing what you love, find something you love doing, something that meets the needs of a particular group, let them know you can do it for them for a fee and then the money will come. There you go. My 2 kobos.
So now you probably already have the idea, but you just can’t start, even though there are…
Fewer requirements... so what’s really holding you back? So let’s deal with that first part. What do you need to set up your online business idea? 1.
This is definitely top of my list. And should be at the top of yours. I can’t overstress this. I know say una don tire for me but the facts are the facts. Ideas aint shit till you execute. To execute, you need guts! Because the minute you take a decision, life always begins to throw punches at you just to see how much you really want it. Yes, to see how much you really want it! To see if you want it bad enough. So do you? You do? Okay, well you’re going to need guts to stick it out when you are faced with obstacles. You need to stay strong. The entrepreneur’s road is a tough one. It’s a jungle out there, only the tough survive. All successful entrepreneurs since the beginning of time have had guts. It took guts for Bill Gates to take on a project to write software that didn’t exist at the time for a computer that had just been created. It took guts for Thomas Edison to keep trying to invent the same thing over and over till after the 10,000th time he did.
Guts are non negotiable. You need to either have them or get some. 2.
Computer with internet capabilities
Yeah, this is one of the top essentials. It’s basic. Sure, the world is becoming a little more mobile. There are smarter smartphones and amazing tablets, but nothing beats the ease of use of the screen and keyboard model. You absolutely need a computer. Now I never said it has to be yours. But you need to find a computer you can work with. Regardless of how you get it, you need to work with a computer so you definitely need to get one.
Naija has changed a lot in the past few years but one thing that will always remain the same about the internet is that to set up an online business, you need an internet connection. Don’t give me that “Do you know how much data is?” look. Bamidele Onibalusi, online writer (and yes, he is Nigerian, born and raised) online writer (yes, nigerian born and raised) of Writers in charge, made a deal with a cybercafe owner and basically started his online business in a cybercafe. However you want to go about it, just get it done. No excuses. Just do it.
Yes, you will need at least 10k. For what? You ask. Well, you will need to get a domain name for your website and a hosting plan.
Sure, you can start working freelance online and all that without a website, but the fact is, 9 times out of 10, having a website will always win over not having a website. There’s also the fact that you can add your website on a business card and basically look professional. Now, obviously if you’re Richy Rich, you can go for a more expensive hosting plan. But right now I’m talking about the basic level that anybody can do. No matter how broke you or your friends may be, you can always come up with 10k. Yes, even in this time of change. It doesn’t matter if it was a community effort or whatever, if you have the 10k for your domain and web hosting, you have it. Shikena! So get 10k. There are many hosting companies out there, but I recommend you find the company WhogoHost (whogohost.com). They offer a wonderful, cheap hosting plans there and excellent customer service personnel that are patient and always willing to help. When you’re just starting out, that’s exactly what you need. I host both my sites with them. Hold off on hosting for now, and just keep reading. We’ll come back to this later.
willingness to learn and make mistakes.
Every move you make outside of the normal is fraught with risk. And yes, you might fail at first, but the worst failure is to fail before starting by giving up because “oh, it seems too difficult” and you need to learn new things and bla bla black sheep. You need to have an open mind. You absolutely need to be willing to take action, make mistakes and learn from them. A mistake does not equal failure. You only truly fail when you give up. Reread that so it hits you in the head. YOU ONLY TRULY FAIL WHEN YOU GIVE UP!!!!
There is no wildly successful person that has never failed. They try something, it doesn’t work. So they try again and again using different approaches till they find the approach that works. At the end of the day, no one cares how many times Thomas Edison failed. We’re all glad we have light bulbs. People don’t care that he had to try about 10,000 times before he succeeded. They only care that he did. So as long as you don’t give up, you will eventually succeed. But first you have to have an open mind, and a willingness to try anything, make a lot of mistakes and learn from them. There you go, only 5 main requirements before you can start your online business.
What’s still holding you back? That feeling of uneasiness That whole butterfly in your stomach syndrome that says hold on, wait.. you don’t have this or that. It can be tough to describe at times, but that keeps holding you back. I find if you call it by its true name, it begins to lose power. So let’s call it by its name: FEAR OF FAILURE. You can make up different arguments: “I don't have enough capital.” “I don't know how to design a website.”how to design and set up a website.” “It's not the perfect time.” “My parents don’t support me.” “I don't have a laptop.”
“I don’t have free time.” “I don’t have internet.” Whatever your argument or your well-thought-out “reason” is, behind that reason is the same one thing. FEAR of failure You are afraid. That’s a fact. It’s not because you don’t have enough capital. It’s because you’re afraid you would fail if you did it, so you come up with a legit “reason” why you can’t do it. It’s not because your parents don’t support you. It’s because you’re afraid that if you do it without their permission and fail, they would tell you they told you so. It's not because you don't have time. I mean you have the time to watch Telemundo and download that new episode of Empire. No matter how you look at it, behind all your excuses is that big bad monster. FEAR OF FAILURE- killer of dreams and maker of depressed people. So how do you deal with fear of failure? Well, it’s a common subject and some people say mentally rehearse the situation so much in your mind that it becomes second nature. And a simple Google search will give you millions of results all pertaining to the topic. I’ve tried a lot of different approaches, and the best method I have found is this- Face that fear squarely in the face. Which means, get out there, and fail… A LOT. If you want to set up an online business, just like with any other business, you need to get used to the reality that not every idea you have will be the next Instagram or Snapchat. The path of being an entrepreneur has obstacles and failures at every turn or bend in the road.
My advise to you is this: Embrace the fact that your first idea might not work out, then get all 5 requirements mentioned earlier and set up your online business anyway. And work at it like it could succeed.. Because the very fact that you’ve started, there’s a chance that it will. “ The plan never survives first contact with the enemy.” Be ready, open minded, willing to change course, adapt and learn from every failure or mistake. Then move forward.
What type of online business do I set up? All businesses solve a particular problem. That’s basic. But what problem do you want to solve? And what if you don’t fully grasp the concept of solving problems? Let me make it simpler. Your online business should provide value. Every online business provides some form of value in one of two ways (or both): 1. Selling a Product that solves a particular problem. 2. Selling a Service that solves a particular problem. No matter how you look at it, when you strip any online business down to its core, it does one of the above. Take this book, for example, the purpose is to inform and educate, enlighten and inspire you to take action and start your online business. Facebook connects people. It basically serves as a networking tool.
Youtube provides entertainment, and information while at the same time, displaying ads with products that solve one problem you might be having. There has to be some form of value your business provides, or it’s not a business. It’s either a scam or a hobby. Value exchanges for money. That’s how the equation goes.Ideally, whatever kind of online business you want to set up should be connected to something you’re passionate about.
What’s Passion got to do… got to do with it? The fact is, without passion, ko le werk. Yes, I said it. For it to be successful, your business has to be built around something you're passionate about. Without passion, you won’t make it through the times when things are tough, and you have to struggle. Ronke Edoho, of 9ja foodie, is obviously passionate about food and cooking and runs an amazing cooking blog. Bamidele Onibalusi enjoys writing, writes about writing and teaches writers how to make a living on his site “Writers in Charge.” Olajide Olatunji started his career as a Youtuber basically recording himself playing FIFA and commenting on it. Weird, isn’t it? But this is the new world. So yeah, ideally your online business should be based on something you’re passionate about. Now, before you go and start pricing pots and pans in the market, think about you for a minute. What do you love doing? How can you turn that into a business?
Why do you want to turn that into an online business? There has to be a strong “Why” behind what you do. Sure, you heard you could make money online but the people making any real money online are the ones who took what they’re passionate about and created a business around it. Find your passion first. Then build a business around that. “But Tomi, what do I do if I don’t know what I’m passionate about?” Well, then you have to experiment. Get out there, and try different things. Try a bunch of stuff at the same time and you’ll quickly figure out what you don’t like, and slowly gravitate towards what you love doing. Now, enough talk. Time to get to the action.
Welcome to the Process Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of setting up your online business in one weekend. Are you excited? (You better be). Well, I am. I’m currently doing shoki while jumping on my bed. No, I’m not. Okay, maybe, just a little. So, there are just a few simple steps (a) (b) (c) (d) (e)
Getting your domain name Getting your hosting plan Setting up your website Promoting your business Getting your first client.
Yes, just 5 main steps. I've never been a big fan of overcomplicating things and sometimes 6 steps is just too much for me to follow. Now, hope you’ve gotten all 5 requirements I mentioned earlier because this chapter is about doing. If you’re ready (and even if you aren’t) Let's begin…
Getting your domain name and hosting Wikipedia defines a domain name as: “ an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name.”
I know what you’re thinking: “Big english… which one be domain name again?” Thank you, Wikipedia for that confusing albeit amazing definition. A domain name is simply what you type into the browser when you want to go to a particular website. “www.facebook.com “www.google.com” That’s a domain name. I could look up the Wikipedia definition of web hosting but I think an analogy my Dad told me once would serve you better. The Web hosting company is like a landlord on the internet. For your site to show up online, it needs to get an apartment (a web hosting plan). So you get a domain, then you pay rent to get it officially online. Yes, you can get free hosting, but just like with life in general you get what you pay for. Free hosting limits the capabilities of your site and it doesn’t really make sense as an option when getting paid hosting has never been cheaper. Now, how do you come up with a domain name? Well, there are 2 main ways; 1. You could basically use a domain name that ties into your product or service. Something like www.webdesigndictionary.com. That tells you it’s a website and a dictionary for words about web design. Take my site for example: www.500nairawriter.com
That basically tells you I’m a writer and this site would be about my writing and some other things. Or (and my favorite approach) 2. You could come up with a unique name. You can basically use any name: www.google.com www.yahoo.com www.bing.com www.irokotv.com www.crazyegg.com And then you can build a brand around that. There are just a few rules to remember when picking your domain name: 1. It has to be catchy and easy to remember In other words, no long thing or difficult to spell words Try to make it 1- 3 words maximum. And if possible try to make it spell the way it is pronounced, or at least not too far from its pronunciation. So no, www.ekspandyorhorisin.com is not a good domain name. 2. Try to go with a dot com Yes, there are other options: .ng, .gov.ng, .co.uk It’s easy to think that those extra “senrenre” at the end of the domain name will make it sound cool. Rookie move.
Have you ever been sitting around trying to remember whether a site ends in .com, or .lib, or .edu, or whatever. (What dot is this?) Trust me, it’s a pain in the ass and the average web surfer will not have time for that. After about 2 tries, unless he is really hungry for what you’re selling and desperate to buy from you, he will quickly move on to any of your competition with an easy to remember domain name. 3. Your domain name should match the name of your company. This one is a no-brainer. I almost felt I should leave it out, but for the sake of the ultimate beginner, please and please… don’t use a domain name that doesn’t match your company name or your site title. It just confuses everybody. A confused customer is a “not-gonna-pay-you-anything” customer. Don’t confuse your customer.
Now, let me walk you through the process of getting a domain name from the web provider I’m currently using: Whogohost. Aside: I know you might be thinking : “Is Whogohost paying him to advertise for them?” I’m not getting paid one kobo. I just remember having to search for a reliable hosting company in Nigeria, and how everybody keeps having different suggestions for which company to use (Nairaland has an entire topic dedicated to that) which further confused me. I’m not going to confuse you. If you already have a hosting company in mind, then by all means, use that company. However, I can only write about what I have done and the 10K online business set up works well if you use Whogohost. 1. Go to www.whogohost.com
You should see this in your browser. Create an account with them. Done that? Good. Now, where it says “Get your domain of choice now!”, type in the domain name you have chosen, this should lead you to another window where you find out if that domain name is available. For example:
If the domain name is unavailable or :
If it is available.
That icon beside the place where it says “1 year/s @ N4200” , if you click that, it will show you a drop down menu that allows you to pay for 2 years or more, at higher rates of course. But for now, just go with 1 year. Scroll down and click “Continue”. You should see this:
Select that box with ID protection, unless you would love hackers to steal your personal information. Then look at where it says “No Hosting! Click to Add”, click on that. You should see this next page:
If you scroll down, you would see a lot of interesting parameters for each level. Basically, webspace and bandwidth are the most important ones on there because they determine how much you can do with your site. If you be big boy, obviously you can pick their “Giant” offer, but omo, if na 10k you hol’ , mehn go with the Aspire option. Scroll down and click order now, below the Aspire option. You should see this next page:
Click on Use. This is what you’ll see next.
At the right , click on that box that says “Continue”
This is what you’ll see next.
Then you click on continue and you’ll get to a page that looks like this:
Click the box where it says “Checkout” That will lead you to a page where you need to fill in your personal information, billing address and method of payment. I advise you to take the QuickTeller option because it’s an easy step by step process and it allows you to pay from home without too much “senrenre”. Wait… Did you think I was going to buy that yamsupplier.com domain? Come on now. Who the hell wants to sell yam online? Okay, don’t get me wrong. I believe it’s possible to be successful in anything, but yam? Really? Nahhh.. I’m good. Okay, when you complete the payment process, you will receive a few emails from Whogohost.com. Look for one that looks like this:
Click on that and you will find a lot of big english and interesting information, which you should probably read (no, not really). Just scroll down till you see where it says New Account Info, then start paying attention. You would see a Username and a password. Copy and paste those somewhere safe. Now, sure you have the domain name and hosting but your work’s not done yet, as you will see if you try to go to your site:
So, to start working on your site, first you will need to access your website’s cpanel. Cpanel? Which one be that again? Don’t worry. Cpanel is just short form for a control panel for your website that allows you to develop and manage your website. So you would need to log in. But how do you get there?
Simply type in your domain name, and then add /cpanel at the end. So for my site, 500nairawriter.com, I would type in 500nairawriter.com/cpanel, and I see this:
If you do the same with your site, you should be seeing this right now. Next, remember that username and password I asked you to copy earlier? Here’s where you use them. Put them in their respective boxes, and click login and you should see this:
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. That right there is what simplicity looks like… or is it, really? There’s a lot of interesting tools here, which you can come back to learn more about later. Our only concern is setting up your online business in one weekend so no long thing, leggo. Scroll down till you see where it says “Software”.
Okay, let’s stop here for a minute. Now, there’s always the option to get a professional web designer to design your website for you if you have the naira, but as a pure-bred yoruba boy with that tinge of Igbo/Ijebu spirit, why buy the malu when you can get the milk for free? Back in the first days of the internet, you needed to know how to code before you could build a website. Nowadays, there’s what’s known as a Content Management Software that has basically taken the code and transformed it into simple english functions that anybody can understand. There are various types on the market but in my honest opinion, none of them comes close to Wordpress, and you’ll see why in a couple of minutes: So you should be looking at that place where it says Software, in the middle column, on the 3rd row, you’ll find a link “Softaculous Apps installer”, click on that. That will take you here:
Can you see “Wordpress”? Click on that. That will take you here:
Click on the box that says “Install Now” You will see this page next
Take a look at that third box where it says: “In Directory”. Delete wp from that box.
Why? You ask? Well I had to learn the hard way when after installation, I had to access one of my sites by adding “/wp” after the domain name. Meaning instead of having something crisp like “500nairawriter.com”, I’d have to type in “500nairawriter.com/wp” Good luck trying to explain to your customers what “wp” means and why they have to remember to put in “/wp” after your domain name. Oh, and when I tried to rectify the error (with my limited knowledge about directories, web hosting and ftp at the time), I kinda accidentally erased my site. So to avoid all that, just delete the wp. Okay, now scroll down. Next you see Site Settings. There’s a field marked Site name- this is where you put in the name of your site, which, well, should match your domain name. The next field Site Description- This where you put in the tagline, something that describes what you do and basically tells your visitors what your site is about. Try to put something simple and easy to understand here. Ideally, this is where you put in your unique selling point. Whatever it is, it should tie into a benefit for the client. For example, a site I’m currently working on for a client. The tagline says “Your No. 1 online store for (ahem) in Nigeria” Ahem.. don’t go to the site yet o. I never finish am! But you get the idea. So when you’re done with that part, scroll down and you should see a section titled “Admin account”, just like below. Choose a username, and a password (preferably a strong one) and input them into those fields.
The default language selected is already English so no need to bother with that, unless your target audience is from a non-English speaking country, in which case, you need to select that language here. Below the language field is a Select plugins section. There you’ll see “Limit login attempts (Loginizer)” and a check box right next to it. Only tick that box if you will have absolutely no problem remembering your password ever. For now, leave it unchecked. You can always change this setting later. Next, you’ll see “ Advanced Options” and beneath that “Select Theme”. You can pick your theme now, but for the sake of time, just skip that, and go right to the “Install” button at the bottom of the page. Click on it to install Wordpress.
Once you’ve installed Wordpress, you can at least view your site but your work is not done yet. Type your domain name into your browser and you should see your site… well, what your site looks like now. Now, add “/wp-admin” after your domain name, and this would lead you to a page just like this:
Enter your username and password (the ones you entered in when you were setting up wordpress) and click on “Log in”
This will take you to your site’s wordpress dashboard
Wow… a lotta options. Where do you start? Well I suggest you follow the options outlined in that first area, the one that says “Get Started” By default, especially if you did not already select a theme, your site will be running on the Wordpress 2017 theme. It’s not bad, but with the wide array of themes available to choose from, why stick with that? Click on “Change your theme completely”. This will take you to a page that looks like (or at least somewhat like) this:
Now, your choice of theme would depend on what kind of online business you want to run. With the site above, I have already installed different themes, so you’re definitely not going to get these same themes in your Wordpress. You’ll probably just have the Twenty Sixteen and the Twenty Seventeen themes. And that’s okay. Because you can always install any theme you like, as long as it’s free. Click the “Add New” button right next to Themes. This will take you to a page that looks like this:
First you get the Featured themes, and then the Popular themes, the Latest and your favorites. Well, I’m not going to go into detail on that. Just know that with each tab, you get different options of themes to use. Look through, and when you find one that you like, put your cursor on it. When you do that, you should see this.
“Details & Preview” comes up when your cursor hovers above any of the themes. Click on that to see a preview.
If you like the theme, all you have to do is click on that blue “Install” button to install the theme, and then you activate it and save.
A word about themes. For a basic run of the mill blog, you could simply go with any theme that catches your eye. But for an online business, you might not want to just use any theme. Look for something professional, and neat. If you’re setting up an ecommerce site (like the one I’m about to set up), you might want to choose a theme that supports this. Simply look for themes that end in “store” or just do a search for “store” and you’ll see them. So now, you have your theme. We’ll come back to customizing and all that later. Next, you want to at least make a few changes to your settings: Hover over the Settings bar at the lower part of your left sidebar and click on “General”
Now, I have already adjusted the settings just how I want them so I’m not going to make any changes here, but you should definitely have an email address dedicated to your website, unless you don’t mind having your email overflowing with mails concerning your business.
In my case, I already have a too many unread emails from various sites I’m subscribed to and I won’t want to miss out on an important email so I have one dedicated to the site. Enter that email into the field for Email address. The sections “ Writing”, “Reading”, Discussion, Media are sections you really shouldn’t bother with right now. Go to the permalink section Now, you should see this:
Now, a permalink is basically, what shows up in the top part of your browser, when you click on a link. It’s like the permanent URL (uniform resource locator) for that page. It basically is what you type into your browser anytime you want to see that page. With the current setting, when you create a post, you will have a nasty looking permalink I think it might be better if I just showed you.
Look at that. Doesn’t that just make you want to scratch your eyes out?
I know my eyes are already sore from too much scratching. And when you go to your site…
Switch the setting to post name so rather than having a nasty permalink like that, when you publish a post or a page, you see something cool like this.
Ahh… beautiful permalink, isn’t it? Anyway, so after you select “Post name”, scroll down and click on Save Changes.
Now, let’s talk about pages. Okay, this is something I picked up a few days ago, from the Seth Godin book : “The Red Fez” (Which is an awesome book, by the way… and there’s a picture of a monkey wearing a red cap on it… you obviously can’t go wrong with a weird picture like that… Don’t quote me on that though.. hehe). He likened visitors on a site to … well.. Monkeys. And we all know the one thing monkeys are always looking for: the banana. Now, the banana is the ultimate purpose on the page. Main rules of the banana: 1. You should have a banana for each page There has to be a purpose for each page. Don’t just go online, look at other sites and just decide “Oh, most sites have a Home page, About page, Products, Services, Courses, etc” If you follow that approach (like I once did), you’d just have too many pages online, with no real purpose. And if the monkey can’t find the banana, he moves away from that tree (or in the case of your visitors, they leave your site to never come back again). 2. Only one banana per page Have you ever visited a site, where somehow there were just too many options and too many choices and you ended up not knowing where to start? Then you looked at the upper left corner and saw the Back button, and it was just sitting there so lonely and all… So you clicked it, and never came back to that site.
Yeah, don’t do that. Let there be only one banana per page. Meaning, don’t offer too many options. Dont litter your page with ads.
3. The Banana must be obvious. Things like a pretty red box with the words: “Sign up for our free newsletter” or “Give me the eBook” and a field underneath for an email address make it pretty obvious what the visitor is supposed to do. Use them.
It’s not enough to just create a page. It’s also important to know what the purpose of the page is, and make it obvious because if you don’t know what the page is for, neither will your visitor.
For the sake of this book, I’m not going to bore you with too much semantics. You’re just starting out right now. In the beginning, you are going to need at least a homepage, an About page and a services page. The purpose of the Home page is to welcome your visitor, and show him where to go next, in most cases to your services page. Rules of the home page 1.No long thing The home page is not where you talk about your family or company history, all the challenges you’ve faced , etcetera shmetcetera. Keep it sweet, write plainly and make it clear what you’re about. 2. What’s in it For Me?
The visitor is always asking himself (or herself) this question as he looks at your site. If it’s not apparent what your visitors can benefit from interacting with your site, they’ll click the Back button. Remember the banana. Make it obvious where the benefit is, and show them the path to get there. That’s what your homepage should do.
Rules of The Services Page Here, you should do what you can to explain clearly to your visitor: “how exactly you do what you do”. 1. That means no business speak or tech jargon (unless your visitors are of the business and tech related fields). “Keep it simple stupid” is always a good rule to follow with content. 2. Also, try to limit the number of sentences or paragraphs. Visitors want to know what you do, but nobody wants to read huge blocks of paragraphs just trying to understand what you do. 3. Remember to tie each element of your service with the benefit to the prospective client. Remember “What’s in it for me?”
Rules of The About Page Yes, now you get to talk about you. There is no hard and fast rule about how to write an About Page. I think it depends on the size of your company and who you’re writing for. If your target audience are mainly stuffed shirts in business suits, you might wanna be a bit formal.
If they’re average, everyday people, you can be a bit more relaxed. And if your visitors are looking for entertainment, you could be a bit funny. Also, if your company has already achieved some major feats in your industry, this is where you mention it. It’s not bragging if it’s true. If not, don’t say you have. That should be pretty obvious. You can also talk about your passion and what drives you or what made you set up the business. Keep it real. Keep it authentic. Also, you might want to leave contact details in this section (or create a separate page for that). Ideally, it should include a phone number (or two), email, and some of your social media accounts.
The “How Much I go pay?” Question Depending on what your online business is about, you might or might not want to include a page about Pricing. In my opinion, you should have a page with your prices. Because, well, in real life, do you really trust a supermarket that has no prices on its wares, and every time you want to place an order, you have to walk all the way back to the cashier to ask? I won’t. Don’t get me wrong, I might still buy the item but there’s always that nagging feeling that maybe the pricing keeps changing depending on how I look, or whatever. On the internet, imagine having to contact Jumia to find out price every time you wanted to place an order? Yeah, you’d get sick of it after a while, and stroll over to Konga. So in my opinion, a page with pricing is important and you should definitely have one.
But first, how do you create a page?... Creating A Page Check the left sidebar in your Wordpress dashboard, you should see a tab with Pages. Click on it, this will lead you to a window that looks like this:
Then you click that “Add new” button right next to “Pages”. The editor will come up. You can then enter your desired page title, your page content, and publish it by clicking the button at the right sidebar where it says “Publish”
So you have your pages set up. What next?
To Blog or Not to Blog? Most Wordpress themes come along with blog capabilities. That’s what the Posts section is for. I know what you’re thinking: “I want to run a business, not a blog.” Well, you have every right to think that, but the fact of the matter is, a blog is one of the best ways to build trust between you and your customers. By building a loyal blog audience (and of course getting subscribers), you have a ready-to-buy pool of customers to sell your services/ product to. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. More often than not, the people who will buy from you usually consume content about and within your industry. And with the large pool of impersonal corporations, a blog is a great way to stand out from the pack, engage with customers on a regular basis, build trust and get to know your customers better. If this seems like it’s a lot of work, that’s because it is. The best things always are. If you don’t blog, you’ll lose out on lot of visitors that you could have transformed into clients and who could have helped market you by word of mouse (Yes, Seth Godin, I totally stole that :D ) which is basically social media sharing and well, inviting their friends to use your product or service. A better way would be to blog about relevant topics within your industry (which ironically makes you appear like an expert), thereby showing your knowledge and capabilities to the prospective customer and convincing him to hire you or place an order. Well, the next question would obviously be: “How do I blog?” Sadly, the answer to that question could be a book in itself, or at least a chapter so we’re not going to go into much detail right now. I will say this though:
Create great, mind blowing, informative, epic content, then promote that content appropriately and you can’t go wrong. Also, remember: “Content is King, Traffic is his Army General, and Keyword research is his most trusted adviser”. I’ll have to explain that in another book, maybe a follow up to this one.
So now, you can go back to Customize your theme. Basically, Customizing your theme is about deciding what goes where. Go back to your dashboard. Click on Customize your theme and you should see this:
Now, at the left sidebar, you have different options for customising your site, and at the right you’ll see a preview that shows you what each change you make does to your site. I could go through each of these options but I believe customising your site is something you need to do on your own so you can figure out how each change you make affects your site and this will help you in the future when you need to change something. I will leave you with a tip though.
Some Wordpress themes come with a static front page option. More often than not, it’s always a good option to go with that (unless you’re running an e-commerce site and you need to keep changing the products you display on the home page). If you don’t choose that option, you might end up with something a little bit disordered like I currently have on www.500nairawriter.com. Yes, I know. I’ve been meaning to get to that. I’m not perfect. But I’m good enough. And good enough is all you really need to be, when you’re starting out. So play with the customizing options a little bit, and you’ll quickly get the hang of it. An hour or two should be enough to at least have something functional. Et Voila! You have your website set up. To those perfectionists out there looking at their sites now thinking: “It’s not perfect”, I reply with a quote from Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn). “ If you’re not ashamed of the first version of your product, you launched too late.” Whatever isn’t perfect right now, can be improved upon as you go along. The fact of the matter is although it may not feel that way, you have set up your online business. Crazy, right? All you did was follow a bunch of steps, do some things and your online business is set up? Now, you’re probably thinking: “NO, it can’t have been that simple… No, it’s not that simple.” Ohhh,, and now we’ll take a quote from one of my new favorite movies, “Bleed for this”. The main character, Vinnie Pazienza, was a boxing champion who broke his neck, lost his titles and was told he would never box again. He not only recovered from the neck injury, but came back to win a title fight.
He was being interviewed in the final scene of the movie and the lady conducting the interview asked him a question- “What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever been told?” He replies with: “It’s not that simple... It’s what they tell you so you would give up.” “ The truth is that it is that simple. That if you just do what they tell you you can’t, then it’s done. Then you realize that it is that simple. That it always was.” I think you get the point. Yes, you have set up your online business, and let me be the first to say: “ CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!” “You are now an online business owner!!!”
But this is only just the beginning. There’s still a lot of work to be done, landing your first client, promoting your online business and improving on it. In classic Nollywood style, I’m going to have to tell you to watch out for Part 2. My next book is going to be about taking this online business you have set up and growing it step by step. But for now, you need to go out, turn up and celebrate because you just did something most people won’t have the guts to do. Congratulations again.
P.S. Obviously, you still have to go register your company at the nearest Corporate Affairs Commission office, but in the beginning with no tata for yan-yan, that really isn’t your biggest priority, and also isn’t in the scope of this book.
Wait… I’m just kidding. The book is not done yet. Let’s talk briefly about promoting your business and landing your first client...
Promoting your business and Landing that first client Let’s face it. Most times, if you don’t toot your own horn, nobody else will. If you don’t believe in your product or service enough to tell the world about it, nobody would too. So yes, whether you like it or not, you must promote your business. There are many ways to do this- Social media ads, SEO, guestblogging, etcetera shmetcetera. And that’s nice, you can get to all that later. But, when you’re just starting out, you probably don’t know jack about any of the above. So what’s a solopreneur to do? Simple. Word of mouth marketing. All you have to do is keep connecting with people and tell them what you do. Find out what they do, see if your service can help them and offer it to them. Keep spreading and creating awareness about what you do, because the fact of the matter is, most businesses don’t get enough sales because nobody has heard about them. And the reason they don’t get enough sales is because of poor marketing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try SEO, guestblogging, social media ads, etc. I’m currently having a lot of fun on Instagram (see @the_tomijoshuashow). All I’m saying is you’re going to need to do a lot more leg work than post on the internet and hope somebody finds your business. Go out, meet people, stop socializing, start networking and pushing your hustle.
Your business won’t work if you don’t. Now, to land that first client… We all know “Charity begins at home.” Start with family and friends. Start promoting to them. Sure, they might not want to pay you. Take the job either way. You’ll need to build a portfolio and have testimonials, which you won’t have when you’re just starting out so use these first few jobs for family and friends to both gain experience and build your portfolio. There’s also the very real possibility that someone would see work you’ve done for a friend and want to hire you. So take those jobs, and when you get your first client, go all in on that job. Do better than you’ve ever done. Seth Godin said in his book, Purple Cow, “The product is its own marketing”. Heed that. And it shalt serve thee well. I could go on all day, but this right here, has been a long ramble… and we’re done. You have in your hands a rough and ready approach to starting your own online business in one weekend (or today if you’re super-motivated). The only question is (just like Eminem asked in “Lose Yourself”):” If you had one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted… one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?” Marinate on that.