How To Start An Online Business

how to start online business

As runners, we always want that extra bit of time to be able to do what we love most – RUN.

But time is a very scarce resource these days. In order to get that time freedom, you have to think and act smartly.

My Mission at Run For Wealth is to help my audience “Run A Fulfilling Life Race”.

I do so by publishing content in what I consider to be the 8 key areas of life. One of those key areas is finances and my objective is to help my audience Create Financial Wealth.

My definition of financial wealth is earning more than twice your amount of expenditure in passive income.

Note that the amount is NOT the priority. The priority is the HOW.

Whilst there are tons of ways to make money and create financial wealth, my priority is passive income.


Because it gives me time freedom - the ability to do the things that I really love doing. And running is definitely one of those.

One of the vehicles I use to earn passive income is an Online Business.

What Is An Online Business?

An Online Business is a Direct Response Business (DRB) that it set up to sell products and services in an automated fashion.

The Reality Around Online Businesses

Whilst is may seem simple and basic, there are some realities I want to highlight.

More that 90% of businesses online fail. That’s a scary number.

I’ve been an Online Marketer for almost 10 years. For many of those years, it was simply a MASSIVE “start and stop” mission, consisting of many false starts.

As you can see in the e-mail below (sent in 2007) that I was already thinking online business:


Below are a few of the online businesses I’ve attempted to start:

  • Inspire Me To Wealth
  • Personal Financial Challenge
  • Peteni Online
  • How To Create Passive Income Biz

All the above failed. In the process, I lost a crazy amount of money and time.

I look back and I’m happy that all these businesses failed. Although they failed, they didn’t make me a failure.

I went through a lot of  learning and that has been invaluable. But, I also know that there were many occasions where I wanted to quit.

Quit because the businesses had drained my cash reserves dry.

Quit because I was frustrated.

Quit because I was horribly confused by the whole business model.

Quit because there were so many ‘experts’ who were selling crappy products and services. In the end, these ‘experts’ turned out to be nothing but crooks.

Now this will shock you: in 7 of the almost 10 years, I made just over $100 from 2 sales.

Crazy right? But, that’s the story and reality of many who attempt to start a business online.

Fast forward to today and I run Run For Wealth. Through this platform, I have been able to generate a substantial amount of income. As such, I consider myself to be incredibly privileged to talk about how you can earn an income online.

In this post, I want to share some Online Business tips.

Basic Components

Let me start off by highlighting the absolute basics you need in order to run a business online. It is worth our while to have a look at the definition of what a business is.

Wikipedia defines a business as an “entity involved in the provision of goods and/or services to consumers”.

In order to run a business online, you need:

Component 1: Traffic

This is the audience (potential clients and consumers) that you will engage on the internet.

Traffic comes in two forms: paid traffic and ‘free traffic”.

Paid traffic is traffic you can get instantly. You are able to buy this on platforms like Google and Facebook. You can also get it from other websites like LifeHack (where I am a contributing writer), a site that generates in excess of 10 million visitors per month. On any of these platforms, you buy space and that’s how you get the traffic.

I have a page that I’ve set up and I drive traffic that I buy on Facebook to that page. Below is a sample of the page:

how to start a online business

To see the full page, you can visit:

On Facebook, I then set my target audience. From the example below, I could go for a target audience in Japan, between the ages of 18 and 40 who have an interest in “entrepreneurship”:

 how to make money on the side

I can then set my budget as you can see below:

 how to make money on the internet

Within minutes, that ad goes live and I can potentially advertise to an audience of 510 000.

Incredible if you ask me.

‘Free traffic’ is traffic you get over time by publishing content. Through the content you publish, you are able to rank on search engines like Google.

Let me add this very important note. I don’t believe that there is anything free. The amount of time you spend researching and writing content for your blog is an investment. That to me is opportunity cost. So, it isn’t free.

It is only called “free” because you don’t have to spend money to get the traffic.

Again, let me show you an example.

One of the keywords I target at Run For Wealth is “how to run properly”.

In 14 December 2015, I published a post titled “Analysis On How Running Metrics Make You A Smarter Runner”.

Just over 2 months later, the article is ranked 62 for that keyword on Google:

how to run properly

This means I am on page 6 of Google. Although page 6 is no where close to ideal, I am still doing much better than most websites targeting that keyword:

running tips for beginners

Using a keyword research tool (more about this later), I know that “how to run properly” is a keyword that can generate up to 75 search engine visitors to my website daily.

To get this type of traffic, you have to be on page 1 of Google. Even on page 1, you have to pop up in the first 5 results.

I am currently ranked 62 in just over 2 months. My objective is to rank in the top 5 so I can start getting a share of the 75 visitors of ‘free traffic’.

Component 2: Value Proposition

What is your value add to the audience you engage?

What problem or problems are you solving in the lives of your potential clients?

There are thousands of businesses competing for that same audience. Why on earth should a potential client spend their hard earned cash on your business?

The “why” is what I call your value proposition.

My value proposition at Run For Wealth is to help my audience “Run A Fulfilling Life Race”. I then go on to define what that means. So I come up with solutions to any challenges or problems that I believe prevent people from living a fulfilling life.

People (especially sales people) seldom understand that “the art of selling is NEVER to sell”. Once you understand the power of this concept. you’ll begin to build your business based on VALUE and not sales!

Component 3: Products and/or Services

The next component you need is products and/or services that you can sell.

Having traffic and a fantastic value proposition is awesome if your intention is charity. But, a business has a very important component we call revenue.

Revenue can only be generated through the sale of products and provision of services.

In the internet world, you can sell your own products and/or services. This is first prize. But, it does take longer to establish yourself as an authority so you can sell your own products or services.

The alternative is to sell other people or company’s products and/or services. This practice is commonly known as Affiliate Marketing.

You are also able to sell a combination of your own products and services and other people’s products and services.

If you go to my “Products and Services” page, you will notice that I sell:

  • other company’s products (Herbalife, Wealthy Affiliate, Market Samurai and GetResponse)
  • my own products and services (Marathon Based Leadership Workshop)

If you never learn anything about an online business, always remember that the three most important components are traffic, value proposition and products and/or services.

With the above three ONLY, you can make money online.

Once you understand the basic 3 components, EVERYTHING else is merely an addition or enhancement.

This is important to understand because if you don’t you will get horribly confused.

There is an overload of information on the internet on how to make money online. As a result, you will find many ways and strategies on how to make money. Within those strategies, you will find other strategies.

It can, and often does, become this massive complex web of information that can only lead to confusion.

So, as I get into the other components, I urge you to never forge the three basic components.

Additional Asset Building Tools

Now that you have the components, I want to give you some tools that you can use online.

Again, I want to keep it basic so you don’t get confused.

In addition, I want to emphasize that one of my priorities on the platform is to help people build assets online.

Some online platforms are worth as much as $10 000 000. This is NOT a typo!

My objective is to build Run For Wealth into a platform that is worth a minimum of $500 000 over the next 10 years. With an investment of less than $5 000 (that’s my budget for building this platform over a 5 year period), I think that would be an awesome return on investment.

Keyword Research

I used a term known as “keyword research” earlier on. Keyword research is the probably the most important activity of your online success.

When people search for information, they type in a set of words known as keywords. Purchases online are driven by what people search for.

In simple terms, your target audience = keywords!

Before you ever start targeting an audience, building a value proposition and or selling products or services, you need to do some research on what people are searching for.

This search is either:

  • content based: where people want to learn something
  • purchase based, where people are seeking to buy something

It could also be a combination.

A further description of an online business is thus taking what people are searching for and providing solutions (content, products or services).

Let me give an example of how this comes together.

Earlier on, I mentioned that one of the keywords that I target if “how to run properly”.

The targeting of this keyword is not a thumb suck. It is a calculated target based on research. This research shows me that there are 75 people who search for this term daily.

How do I know this?

The answer is simple. I use a Keyword Research tool known as Market Samurai.

As you can see from the screenshot below, it shows me that 75 people search for that keyword everyday:

 keyword checker

“How To Run Properly” is a broad subject and I can publish a number of blog posts centred around that topic. So this term would form part of my “content based” strategy.

More importantly though, this keyword has little competition. From a “content based” perspective, competition is more important than the volume. There is absolutely no use is targeting keywords that have high competition.

If you look at the keyword “how to run”, it has very high competition in comparison to “how to run properly”, On my keyword research tool, the competition, is highlighted by the value under “TA Comp”. The higher the value, the more competition.

From a competition perspective, 5857 vs 2 is a no-brainer right?!

And that’s why I am able to rank in position 62 so quickly (2 months) for that keyword. It is not fluke! It would probably take me a couple of years to rank for the keyword “run properly”.

You will also note the acronym “SEOV”. This is an indication of the monetary value of the keyword. R6 437 per day is a heck of a lot of money if I can:

  • attract that audience (traffic generation)
  • add value to them (by giving them solutions on how to run properly)
  • offer them products or services that will help them run properly (since the “SEOV” indicates that they willing buyers)

I could go into so much detail with regards to Keyword Research. However, I’ll do that in a separate post.

I really hope you are starting to see the big picture around online businesses.

Own Your Publishing Platform

The other component to consider is the platform you will use to drive your business activities.

There are two options:

  • Your own
  • Other people’s platforms

The following url where I promote one of my affiliate products is NOT my url.

I do not own it.

Although I can drive traffic to that url and generate sales, I can not call it an asset because I don’t own it.

Likewise, platforms such as Blogger are awesome. But you do not own the url. You can build content, drive traffic and generate sales, but you DO NOT own the platform.

From an asset building and longevity perspective, it is vital to get your own url. is mine.

I own it!

Every minute I spend on creating content, driving traffic and generating sales directly benefits the worth of my asset.

Publish Content

I have already mentioned that there are two way of generating traffic.

You can buy traffic. But traffic can be very expensive. You also need a lot of skill and knowledge to get quality traffic, the type that converts into sales.

Buying traffic comes with a huge monetary risk, if you don’t know what you are doing. That money can disappear VERY fast. Hundreds or thousands of dollars in a matter of hours.

Publishing content, on the flip side, is ‘free’. Yes, you need to invest a lot of time researching and publishing the content.

But, if you are publishing content around an area of interest, you’ll have a completely different outlook. You’ll consider that time as an investment. I would also urge you to measure the amount of time you spend on your business. I publish a monthly activity report to measure my time invest. You can have a look at my 2016 January Activity report to get an idea of how I do it.

Ultimately, publishing content vs buying traffic is a much safer option to follow when you start out.

Build A Subscriber Base

One of the key objectives of an online business is to build subscribers.

In the long term, building subscribers is the most valuable thing you can do for your business.

This is why you will see that with every piece of content you find anywhere on Run For Wealth, I give my audience the opportunity to subscribe to the content I publish.

I do this by offering Free Downloadable Content:

Home Page:


Blog Page:


All the above are called “Opt-In” forms. I use them to build my database and then communicate with them regularly in line with my “value proposition” strategy.

To do this, I use an e-mail marketing tool known as Getresponse.

Buy Traffic

This is the most instant way of generating traffic.

With the right knowledge and skills, you can literally make a killing.

It is imperative to learn the best practices and get a solid foundation.

To get more info, check out TrafficBlackBook.

Sell A Combination of Products and Services

This is probably the trickiest part of an online business.

Without sales, you are doomed.

But, I also mentioned that “the art of selling is NEVER to sell”.

So, the idea is to get a healthy balance generating sales and not being a SPAMMER!

People hate spam. They hate “up in your face sales gimmicks”. These are online sales guys that will send you products to buy every week or every day of your life.

Those tactics MIGHT work in the short-term. But, you’ll never be able to build a solid business and asset using those tactics.

Try by all means to embark on hard selling!

Soft sells are powerful. And you can do it in 2 ways:

  • set up a “products and sales” page where people can easily view your products and services at their leisure
  • include your products and services in your blog posts smartly

Why is this approach powerful and effective?

It is based on the “value add” proposition. That approach is centred around TRUST. Help people, solve their problems and get them to trust you and the sales will happen naturally.

Profitable Business Components

Ok, let’s talk profits.

Firstly, I want you to note that this section is the last of the components. That is by design. In my head, profits should be the result of your value add in society.

Profits should not be the driving factor of your business.

However, it would be naive and rather dumb NOT to measure the progress of your business. Measuring progress includes establishing whether the business is making profits or not. And it it is, how much.

Like any business, an online business has expenses. The main expenses are:

  • Hosting of your domain
  • Keyword Research tool (you can get a free tool that comes with limited functionality)
  • E-mail marketing tool
  • Buying of traffic

If you buy traffic, then that will be a major expense to your business.

It goes without saying that the sales from your business should generate enough income to exceed your expenses.

As you get more technical and advanced, there are many other tools you can use to make your business more efficient.


Starting an online business is not as easy as most people make it out be. Many marketers online will promise you hundreds and thousands of dollars in a few days or months.

Some will be brave enough to promise you million dollar returns.

The reality is that the above is possible BUT highly unlikely.

An online business requires effort and consistency. It requires patience.

The key differences for me (and factors that drove me to pursue this business) are:

  • Low set-up costs
  • Low running costs regardless of growth
  • Potential for exponential growth
  • Passive Income generating asset
  • Time Freedom:
    • the amount of time required to build a solid online business is far less in comparison to other other conventional business
    • the amount of time required to maintain and keep an online business successful is far less in comparison to other conventional businesses
    • you can run your online business from anywhere in the world

Ultimately, I am a huge advocate of time freedom. This is the one distinguishing factor that allows me to lead a balanced life. I don’t want to be a slave to my business. I want to work ON it and not IN it. To achieve this, the concept of time freedom has to be huge consideration.

That way I can continue living an exceptionally abundant and enjoyable lifestyle.

This has been a very long post. I really hope what I’ve covered will inspire you to pursue an online business as a means of helping you “Run A Fulfilling Life Race”.

God Bless!

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