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How to Start an Online Business From Scratch, According to Successful CEO Tom Bilyeu
Tom Bilyeu
Entrepreneurs

How to Start an Online Business From Scratch, According to Successful CEO Tom Bilyeu

Want to start an online business but have zero to no money to get the ball rolling? It’s possible, but takes careful planning.

Co-founder and CEO of Quest Nutrition and host of Impact Theory Tom Bilyeu knows a thing or two about starting a business from scratch.


As it turns out, living room floors are great places to launch a successful online business. For example, take Quest Nutrition. In its first three years of operations alone, the company grew by 57,000%. Today, it’s a billion-dollar venture.

“Put yourself out there with an open mind, a willingness to learn and on a long enough timeline, you will succeed,” says Bilyeu.

Have a similar vision? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how you can start a business and make money online, according to Tom Bilyeu:

1. Start with the “why”

The days of trying to sell a mediocre product are behind us, as consumer awareness continues to grow. People want to know where their money is going -- what they’re supporting.

This means you have to ask yourself some important question: What’s your mission? What’s your intention behind selling your product? Your most important marketing tool is your story, it will let you connect to your consumers in an authentic way. Make sure it’s good.

“You’re going to need something other than money, I promise you, to see you through the hard times,” says Bilyeu.

2. Decide on your product

Is it going to be a physical product? An informational product? Are you going to be a reseller or an affiliate marketer?

There are pros and cons to each model, but the important thing here is to be realistic about what suits your personality best, the amount of investment you’re willing to put into it and what kind of return you’re aiming for.

3. Solve a real problem

Make sure that your product solves a problem for your consumer base, regardless of what it is. Be ready to show clients how it can help solve a problem that they know they have. If you’re able to convince them, consider it a mission accomplished.

4. Market and sell your product

Let the world know your product exists and give it some meaning. Tell your neighbor, your grandmother and your cousin twice-removed about the kind of problems your product solves.

But before you even get too caught up with the whole marketing process, you need to pick a name for your company. You want to make sure it represents you well -- it needs to be broad but not too generic.

“Pay attention to the associations people have with the name, make sure it’s saying to people something you want it to say,” says Bilyeu.

Some things to consider:

  1. Be present on social media. Create interesting content across platforms and make sure it adds value to what you’re trying to sell.
  2. Get your website up and running. “It’s how you’re going to build something that no one’s going to take away from you, it’s the place where you can have a direct relationship with your audience."
  3. Perfect your sales funnel by building trust. This is how you turn your customer’s awareness into a purchase.
  4. Take advantage of pre-made e-commerce solutions to process sales and simplify things.

5. Register your company

Setting up a business has never been easier with the advent of online legal services such as LegalZoom. Let the experts help. “The legal and tax side of things is the least fun, at least for me, but it’s absolutely critical,” says Bilyeu.

6. Get started

“The only thing that matters is execution,” says Bilyeu. Actions speak louder than words. Don’t let all the technical and legal mumble-jumble overwhelm you. Tell people about your idea and get the ball rolling.

“All it takes is a commitment to neverending learning, he says. “Don’t worry about being great today, just be committed to getting great overtime and nothing teaches more powerfully than action and failure.”

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