These 24 Hours

How to Start an Online Business: Why 2023 is The Golden Year for Entrepreneurship

how to start an online business
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I get it, everyone says “This IS THE time TO ACT, or It's TOO LATEEEE!!!”.

Most of us just ignore that false sense of urgency that marketers bombard us with.

Truthfully, there is no perfect time to start a new business, you can start anything you want at any time and have it be successful.

The process of business success is really simple at its core: continued learning, acting on that knowledge, and adapting your approach through successes and failures. There, that's all you need, close your browser and go start your business! 😊

Though, my page title is not entirely clickbait, there is great significance to this time in history for starting a new business.

The way COVID affected our work and spending habits has dramatically reduced the barrier to entry on starting a small business. Allow me to throw some bullet-pointed stats at you – we all love that!

Why “now” is the best time to start a business

  • The global e-commerce market is expected to reach $8.1 trillion by 2026. (source: Statista)
  • The number of internet users worldwide has surpassed 5 billion. (source: Internet World Stats)
  • The average cost of starting a business has decreased significantly in recent years. Many businesses can be started for free! (source: Small Business Trends)
  • COVID accelerated the shift to online shopping. (source: McKinsey & Company)
  • The rise of remote work has made it easier than ever to start and run a business from anywhere. (source: Upwork)
  • Social media platforms (over 4.9 billion active users worldwide) provide a free and effective way to connect with potential customers and promote your business. (source: Sprout Social)

I started my business in the dark ages

starting a small business

I began freelancing (graphic and web design services) right out of college in 2001. It was primarily just word-of-mouth business that eventually grew to a point that I could sustain our newly growing family (check out my full story here).

When I would tell people I owned my own business or worked from home, they would look at me like a delusional leper. As they expressed their pity for my sad state, they would say the same things:

  • Do you actually make money doing that?
  • I don't think I could do that, I need a steady paycheck.
  • How do you get anything done at home, I could never stay focused!

It's true, just 20 years ago, being “self-employed” was code for “I have no job”.

It was an extremely uphill battle to make a small business work, but I stuck with it. Now after 20+ years of successes and failures, I want to equip new entrepreneurs with all the right strategies and tips to make your business work and stick!

Take Advantage of This Golden Era

Fast forward to 2023, and the landscape has significantly transformed. The pandemic has not only reshaped our lives but has also opened new doors for entrepreneurs.

You have the highest percentage chance of succeding with a new business than at any other point in history.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you've been thinking about how to start an online business. But you've held back. Maybe you think you're not ready, or perhaps you're waiting for a “sign.” Listen up: 2023 is your sign, and it's blinking in neon lights!

I created this whole site to be a step-by-step guide you can follow to start an online business, build the website, and grow it from there. Skip content you don't need, buy a course, don't buy a course, take all the free info you can… I don't care how you use the site.

My only hope is that I can help get your business started fast, encourage you to push through when it gets difficult, and finally to a place of freedom – realizing you have control of your time again.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Socrates, Greek philosopher

No more wasting time, let's begin! Here's how to act on this golden opportunity—before it slips through your fingers.

The Mindset Needed

Having the right mindset to own and operate a business is where it all begins. I can't stress enough how essential it is to be persistent, flexible, and brutally honest with yourself.

mindset of a business owner

“I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

Steve Jobs


There will be times when the path ahead seems insurmountable. Challenges will mount, competitors will emerge, and failures will occur. But the key is to keep pushing forward, to persevere even when the odds seem stacked against you. Every setback is a setup for a comeback.

If you're not wired to push through, you will need to develop some grit!

I'm not sugar-coating perseverance and persistence, because this is the main reason I was able to get through the “up in the middle of the night” stressful times and enjoy the promised land on the other side.


In the business world, change is the only constant.

From evolving market trends to shifts in consumer behavior, you must adapt to stay relevant. Being flexible doesn't mean compromising your core values, no, you will lose yourself that way. Instead, it means understanding the landscape and pivoting your strategies to align with the current wave.

Web design has changed significantly from when I began in 2001. As long as I kept learning and adapting to new technologies, the same foundational principles of design and human nature applied.

Beyond just technology and medium, you need to be flexible with a client's individual needs. Those who only want to do it their way will struggle greatly with owning a business.

Don't just run away from a slightly difficult person, learn ways to connect with that type of personality – It will stretch you in good ways!

Brutal Honesty

Being brutally honest with yourself is critical to owning and operating a business.

Also, how do you accept criticism from others? Just ask a few people who know you well “How well do I hear and accept criticism?”. That's a fun activity for the dinner table 😂

It's not always easy to admit when you're wrong or when your initial idea needs refining.

Assess your strengths and weaknesses, recognize when you need help, and most importantly, understand when to persevere and when to pivot.

If you're not brutally honest with yourself, you'll find out the truth very quickly while operating a small business.

Choosing The Perfect Niche

COVID-19 has spiked the demand for digital products by 27% (GlobalWebIndex). If you don't fill the gap, someone else will.

What to Do:

  • Research Market Trends: Use tools like Google Trends or SEMrush.
  • Identify Customer Pain Points: Look at customer reviews in your chosen industry.
  • Test the Waters: Start small—sell a mini-product or service to gauge demand.

Business Plan + Your “Why”

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Act Now Because:

Small businesses with a business plan are 30% more likely to succeed. Do you really want to gamble with those odds?

What to Do:

  1. Write Your Business Plan: Include your mission, vision, and financial forecasts.
  2. Clarify Your ‘Why': Why should customers care about your business?
  3. Review Quarterly: Your business plan should evolve with your business.

Permits, Licenses, and Taxes – Oh My!

Governmental post-COVID initiatives are simplifying business setups (World Bank). Don't miss out.

What to Do:

  1. Check Local Laws: Requirements differ by state and country.
  2. Apply for an EIN: It's usually free and can often be done online.
  3. Hire an Accountant: Seriously, don't try to DIY your business taxes.

No Marketing = No Money

53% of all website traffic comes from organic search (BrightEdge). Your future customers are searching for you. Are you visible?

What to Do:

  1. Master SEO: Learn it or hire someone who does.
  2. Leverage Social Media: Build brand loyalty and customer engagement.
  3. Implement Email Marketing: It's old but gold for a reason.

Customer Service is King

“It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.”

Vince Lombardi

Bad customer service can cost you customers and money. 89% of customers have switched because of a poor experience (Harris Interactive).

What to Do:

  1. Set up a Customer Service System: Use tools like Zendesk or Freshdesk.
  2. Train Your Team: Even if it’s just you, act professionally.
  3. Collect Feedback: And act on it.

Plan to Give Up!

Only 50% of new businesses survive for five years (SBA). Having an exit plan is not defeatist; it's practical.

What to Do:

  1. Identify Exit Triggers: Under what conditions will you sell or pivot?
  2. Value Your Business: Know your worth before negotiating.
  3. Consult a Legal Advisor: When drafting your exit strategy.

The clock's ticking, the world's moving, and opportunities are sprouting everywhere in 2023. Are you going to be a part of it, or will you let another year slip away?

On This Page

Hello, I'm Ben.

I’ve been growing businesses online for over 20 years. I created this site to share what I’ve learned and help others start their own profitable online business.