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9 questions to determine your ideal client 



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The right fit

You already know you need to identify your ideal client. The process starts with visualizing the person most likely to buy your service or product, and then describing them in full detail from demographics to their emotional state.

You’ve described their personality, traits, values, buying behavior, interests, and pain points.

You’ve considered aspects such as market segment and business size. All are crucial in finding and engaging with folks most likely to want — and be willing to pay for — what you’re offering. It’s a crucial step you can’t afford to skip.

But just because someone fits your ideal client demographics description, it doesn’t mean they’re an ideal client for you. I visualize the ideal fit discussion in two sections: Demographic fit, and Circumstantial fit.

Demographic fit is just what it sounds like. By all indications, clients matching all of your demographic criteria should be a good fit. But what is Circumstantial fit? The client could check every box in your Demographic fit list, but circumstances still indicate it would be unwise to engage.

Related: Tips for creating an ideal client profile and putting it to work

Why include Circumstantial fit as part of the overall client evaluation? 

There’s no shortage of guidance around Demographic fit. Coming up with your own list of Circumstantial fit questions is equally important.

There’s plenty of work out there.

Why be unhappy or resentful when you could just as easily find work and clients you love?

Here are 9 questions not for potential clients, but for you. Formulating answers will help you evaluate responses during initial conversations, and do a better job of pre-qualifying potential clients.

1. How flexible are you willing to be regarding timeline?

Even if they are the perfect Demographic fit, if the client needs a new site in two weeks, and you’re booked for the next two months, that’s a potential deal-breaker.

If the client really wants you, they might wait, but that’s not always an option.

  • Are you willing to take rush projects? Would you charge extra?
  • Are you willing to re-prioritize your workload in order to take on a highly coveted client?
  • Are you willing to extend your working hours to finish this project on time?

2. How flexible are you willing to be regarding price?

If client expectations about the price range are far below yours, where do you draw the line?

  • Are you willing to offer a discounted price to get the job, even if it means reducing profit?
  • Are you prepared to suggest a phased, scaled-back approach, with hopes that more work can be done in a few months?
  • Are you willing to trade services to offset a budget difference?

Related: Pricing for web pros — how to stop sabotaging your pricing strategy

3. Are you willing to engage in a lowest-bid competition to land a project?

If I learn the client is running a bidding war, I gracefully bow out. I already know mine won’t be the lowest proposal. My approach: “You can’t be the best and the cheapest at the same time.”

Are you willing to:

  • Low-ball your estimate to win a bidding war?
  • Disclose up-front that you don’t engage in low-bid competitions?
  • take a lower-paying project that steals time which could be applied to a more profitable project?

4. Are you a purist working in only one platform?

If you’re a WordPress expert, you may think you’d never even talk to someone requesting a Joomla site. But if they fit all of your other criteria, a discussion is worthwhile in case one of you is willing to consider alternatives.

  • Will you only work on a single platform?
  • Are you willing to learn another platform to land an otherwise-perfect fit client?

5. Is client location a concern?

I prefer taking clients in my major metropolitan area. I like being close enough that we could conceivably meet other than on Zoom, and love helping my clients network with each other.

It’s my policy, so I can allow a rare exception when it makes sense.

One long-term local client suggested his brother contact me about redesigning his website. While the brother lives in another state, I was willing to talk with him given the existing relationship. We hit it off and now both brothers are long-term clients.

  • Do you limit clients by geographic constraints?
  • In which cases would you consider making an exception?
  • How far apart can timezones be, where you still find a comfortable overlap for meetings?

6. Do you evaluate clients for strategic positioning within your portfolio?

If you specialize in a niche market, at some point you could be approached by an existing client’s competitor. If they’re not in the same geographic area, it may not matter, but with so many online businesses, it very well could. If they’re in the same area, it could be a conflict of interest if you’re simultaneously trying to optimize SEO on both sites for the city name or other local factors.

Since so much of my work is local, I avoid taking direct competitors as clients. In addition, I actively volunteer on local political issues and campaigns. It would be unethical to accept website projects for opposing candidates, and I’ve turned down work on this basis.

  • Do you have a policy about not accepting clients when there is a conflict of interest?
  • If you would consider potentially competing clients, would you notify both clients? If so, what would you say?

7. Are you focused on short-term or long-term work?

Most web pros prefer long-term engagements. Short-term projects without opportunity for ongoing maintenance or additional projects mean more marketing and sales to replace them in your pipeline.

In addition to Care Plan commitment, my ideal-fit clients have additional billable work for me, such as content creation, social media, newsletter, or print collateral. A short-term project doesn’t rule out a client, but I’d rather invest the time in a client with long-term potential.

  • What is your definition of “long-term?”
  • Would you consider short-term projects, even if there is no long-term work with this client on the horizon?

8. Would you turn down a client based on your perception of their business skills?

There are also red flags you may not discover during the Demographics fit discussion, especially if that first screening is in the form of an online questionnaire. There are no easy questions to ask clients to get answers on these topics, until you’re having a discussion.

Would you turn down a client if they…

  • Have an unethical or unstable business model?
  • Can’t clearly articulate their business or site goals?
  • Don’t seem to be on board with your expectations around payment, communication, and day-to-day engagement?

9. Would you turn down a client based on interpersonal skills?

In addition to the definable characteristics, I listen closely to how the client speaks about their project. Seemingly casual statements can foreshadow potential issues down the road.

Would you turn down a client if they…

  • Vocally expressed opinions indicating you’re on opposite ends of the political spectrum?
  • Appear to have poor communication skills?
  • Have what you consider an offensive sense of humor?
  • Say they “want the best” but also say they have a very limited budget?
  • Perceive cost to be a burden (as opposed to an investment) and ask “how much will this set me back?”
  • Start the conversation with a barter offer?
  • Promise visibility in lieu of payment?
  • Say “I don’t know how to describe what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it?”

Related: The 17 types of clients that every web designer deals with

What if you discover a Circumstantial bad-fit situation?

If it’s not the right fit, I recommend orchestrating a graceful exit as soon as possible. There’s no point in wasting either party’s time.

  • If I can confirm a solid reason for rejection, I’ll do my best to explain it so the client knows why. If it’s an item related to interpersonal skills, I may avoid direct confrontation or embarrassment, and just say “Sorry, I don’t think this is going to work out.”
  • If there’s a logical opportunity to make an exception, I’ll consider it — but I never feel obligated. I might tell the client I have a concern, need to consider the options, and will get back to them.
  • If the client is someone I’d like to work with but can’t due to Circumstantial fit, and I can suggest another web pro I trust, I’ll offer to make a referral. I’ll say “I can’t take the project, but let me check with some trusted peers, to see if they’re available.” I never want to send referrals without first checking the person has the bandwidth to take on new clients.


Before speaking with potential clients, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of the topics on which you’re willing to compromise. Starting with a self-questionnaire clarifies your boundaries, leading to better preparation before Discovery Sessions or other preliminary “is this a good fit” conversations.

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Business Ideas

10 Signs Your Side Hustle Will Be a Success




While lots of people are interested in taking up side hustles, far fewer actually succeed with them. What’s one sign a side hustle will likely do well, and why is that such a good indication of its success?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

1. It Breeds Consistency

A side hustle that’ll likely do well is the one that breeds consistency. There’s no such thing as overnight success; you’ll fail multiple times until you reach your goal. The reason most side hustles don’t make it is that people quit midway and don’t see things through. If you don’t mind giving 100% despite failing at something multiple times, you’ll eventually find a way to turn things around.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

2. It’s Based on Your Expertise

One strong indication of a side hustle’s potential success is when it’s based on your area of expertise. When you share what you’re good at, not only do you have the chance to earn extra income, but you also deepen your understanding of the subject. Teaching requires exploring every aspect of your craft, keeping you engaged and pushing you to improve continuously.

Yury Sokolov, Finazon

3. You Have a Well-Defined Business Plan for It

A side hustle will likely do well if there is a clear and well-defined business plan outlining the goals, strategies, target market, financial projections and operational details of the side hustle. It helps the side hustler stay focused, make informed decisions and navigate challenges effectively. A well-structured plan shows that the side hustler has thoroughly thought through their venture.

Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT

4. You’re Passionate About It

Is it a job or a passion project? Are you pursuing it for the dollars it will bring? Or are you pursuing it because you enjoy it? In order for any venture to be successful, you need to invest your time, energy and commitment. If you’re not enjoying it, you won’t pursue it for long enough. Choose a side hustle that doesn’t feel like a hustle! Success and money will follow.

Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day

Working on a side hustle

5. It’s Low-Cost and Automatable

Side hustles that can be automated and run on low overhead costs are more likely to succeed. A side hustle should only take up a maximum of five to 10 hours a week, and anything longer starts to creep into part-time job territory. Try to generate a positive return on investment using a sustainable revenue plan within three to six months before you worry about scaling or investing more money.

Ian Blair, BuildFire

6. It Offers a Unique Solution

If you can define a unique value proposition for your side hustle, you’ll know that you can achieve success from it. Look for ways your users can benefit from your product or service. Is it different from your competitors? Does it offer a unique solution to solve the pain points of your users? These are a couple questions that can help you identify your unique value proposition.

Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

7. It Increasingly Engages Customers

A promising sign of a successful side hustle is consistent, increasing customer interest and engagement. Whether through sales, inquiries or social media interactions, sustained customer engagement indicates your offering resonates with people. It’s a practical metric of market validation, which is crucial to the longevity and success of any business venture.

Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck

Business owner working on a side hustle

8. It Combines a Growing Trends With Your Own Interests

A side hustle will likely do well when it encompasses a growing trend that happens to coincide with one of your interests. Starting a side hustle may sound fascinating, but people often don’t give 100% to it. But when it aligns with your interests, work becomes fun. So, you’re more likely to commit to it even after a busy day at work, day in and day out. That’s what ensures its success.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

9. You’ve Done the Market Research for It

People often take up side hustles without careful consideration, and that’s one of the major reasons they don’t succeed. Market research is very important and provides you with relevant insights to make informed decisions. So, you should consider different factors such as market demand and competition along with careful analysis of your available resources before getting started.

Chris Klosowski, Easy Digital Downloads

10. It Has Expandability and Longevity

A key factor for a successful side hustle is its “expandability and longevity.” If your venture can grow without a significant increase in effort or resources, it’s likely to thrive. Also, it’s crucial that your side hustle isn’t a fleeting trend but addresses a long-term need. This balance ensures your side hustle can evolve over time, providing a steady income and satisfaction.

Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

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Growing a Business

Transforming Your Business Ideas into Action: 13 Ways



Embarking on the journey of turning a business idea into reality is a thrilling adventure for eager entrepreneurs. It’s a quest that demands meticulous planning, flawless execution, and a rock-solid strategy to breathe life into that idea.

Read on to embark on a voyage where we’ll unravel the vital steps and intriguing factors involved in metamorphosing your business ideas into tangible plans that can pave the way to triumph. So, fasten your seat belts and get ready for an exhilarating ride toward success!

photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

1. Validate Your Idea

Before diving into execution, validate your business idea to ensure it has market potential and addresses a real need or problem. Conduct market research, seek feedback from your target audience, and analyze the competitive landscape. This validation process helps refine your idea, identify potential challenges, and validate its viability.

2. Create a Business Plan

Develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your vision, goals, target market, competitive analysis, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operational details. A well-crafted business plan serves as a roadmap for your business and provides a framework for decision-making and securing funding if needed.

3. Build a Support Network

Surround yourself with a support network of mentors, advisors, and like-minded individuals who can provide guidance, expertise, and encouragement. Seek out networking opportunities, join entrepreneurial communities, and engage with industry professionals. A strong support network can offer insights, challenge your ideas, and provide valuable connections and resources.

4. Develop an Execution Strategy

Break down your business plan into actionable steps and develop an execution strategy. Identify the key milestones, tasks, and timelines required to bring your idea to life. Assign responsibilities and establish accountability to ensure progress and track your achievements. Regularly review and adapt your strategy as needed to stay agile in a dynamic business environment.

5. Secure Funding

Assess your financial needs and explore funding options to support your business idea. This may include self-funding, seeking loans or grants, or attracting investors. Prepare a compelling pitch, create a financial forecast, and be diligent in presenting your business’s value proposition to potential funders. Consider utilizing crowdfunding platforms or alternative financing options to fuel your business’s growth.

Product devlopers discussing

6. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Consider developing a minimum viable product (MVP) as an initial version of your product or service. An MVP allows you to test your idea in the market, gather feedback, and make necessary improvements. It can also attract early adopters and potential investors by showcasing the value your business offers.

7. Establish Strong Partnerships

Identify strategic partners or collaborators who can complement your strengths and help accelerate your business’s growth. Establishing strong partnerships can provide access to new markets, distribution channels, expertise, or resources. Nurture these relationships and ensure that they align with your long-term goals and values.

8. Embrace Continuous Learning

Entrepreneurship is a journey of continuous learning and adaptation. Stay curious, invest in your personal and professional development, and embrace opportunities to learn from both successes and failures. Seek feedback, attend industry conferences or workshops, and stay updated on emerging trends and technologies relevant to your business.

9. Leverage Digital Marketing and Online Presence

Utilize digital marketing strategies to build your brand and reach your target audience. Establish a strong online presence through a well-designed website, social media platforms, and content marketing. Engage with your audience, build relationships, and leverage digital tools to expand your business’s visibility and attract customers.

Entrepreneurs working on a business idea

10. Stay Resilient and Adapt

Entrepreneurship is filled with challenges and uncertainties. Stay resilient, be prepared to adapt your plans when necessary, and embrace change as an opportunity for growth. Learn from setbacks, pivot if needed, and maintain a positive mindset. The ability to navigate adversity and adapt to evolving market conditions will contribute to your business’s long-term success.

11. Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the progress and success of your business. Identify metrics that are relevant to your goals and regularly monitor them. KPIs can provide valuable insights into your business’s performance, highlight areas for improvement, and help you make data-driven decisions to optimize your operations.

12. Cultivate a Customer-Centric Approach

Place your customers at the center of your business. Understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. Seek feedback, engage in customer surveys, and actively listen to their concerns. By cultivating a customer-centric approach, you can tailor your products, services, and marketing strategies to better serve your target audience and build long-term customer loyalty.

13. Continuously Innovate and Stay Ahead

Encourage a culture of innovation within your business. Foster creativity, encourage new ideas, and promote a willingness to take calculated risks. Stay informed about emerging trends and technologies in your industry and explore ways to incorporate them into your business. By continuously innovating and staying ahead of the competition, you can differentiate your business and seize new opportunities.

Entrepreneur learning growth strategy

To Conclude…

Transforming your business ideas into actionable plans requires thoughtful consideration, strategic planning, and consistent execution.

By validating your idea, creating a comprehensive business plan, building a support network, developing an execution strategy, securing funding, building a minimum viable product (MVP), establishing strong partnerships, embracing continuous learning, leveraging digital marketing and online presence, staying resilient and adaptable, monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), cultivating a customer-centric approach, and continuously innovating, you can bring your entrepreneurial vision to life.

Embrace the challenges, remain adaptable, and continuously refine your approach as you navigate the journey from idea to reality. Get ready to embark on a rewarding adventure where creativity and determination pave the way to success!

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How to start selling online, full guide for beginners



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Get your business online

Is selling online over-saturated? No way! It’s still very doable to make money from anywhere with a laptop. You just need to learn how to sell online and have the dedication to make it work.

This guide will give you proven methods to sell products and services online with insights from people making money using digital platforms. Plus, we’re sharing tips for building your own website and the secrets to selling with social media.

How to start selling online

Before jumping in and making your first sale, you need to know what you’re selling and who to. Through market research, you will find the answers.

Do market research

Once you’ve brainstormed the products or services that you’d like to sell online, you’ll need to see if there’s a market for those products. To do this, there are market research tools online that you can use.

Market research involves gathering information about your target market, competitors and industry trends. The goal is to determine whether or not your ideas are likely to make money and, if they are, how you can reach an audience interested in buying from you.

Market research includes:

  • Competitor analysis to see what others are doing and what works for them. You need to look at where you fit within the market, what makes you stand out and what you can offer that competitors don’t.
  • Analyzing online forums where your audience hangs out to build a picture of who your audience is and what they need so that you can target them better.
  • Look for trends to discover products people are looking for now.

Top tip: When it comes to identifying trends, you can use Google Trends, which is a free tool. Search the product or service you’re considering selling and see how interested people are.

For example, a search for ‘buy selfie stick’ shows that searches for this product peaked in 2018 and have steadily declined in search volume; probably not the product for you right now.

Google Trends can help you choose what to sell online. The screenshot shows a steady decline for the keyword ‘buy selfie stick’.

Searches for air fryers, on the other hand, increased in 2020 and have remained relatively stable ever since.

Google Trends can help you choose what to sell online. The screenshot shows a stable search volume for the keyword ‘buy air fryer. An air fryer may be a great choice of product to sell online.

Google Trends can help you choose what to sell online. The screenshot shows a stable search volume for the keyword ‘buy air fryer. An air fryer may be a great choice of product to sell online.

Choose a niche and product

If you’re starting your online selling venture from scratch, it’s best to start with a niche product or service.

Niching allows you to build out an audience looking to solve a specific problem. You will get to know your buyer deeply, and only then can you provide them with all the reasons why your chosen product or service helps them.

Top tip: it will help if you genuinely like and believe in what you’re selling, especially if you’re going to sell on social media (more on that later).

Choose a platform or create an online store

The key to choosing a platform – or platforms – is not to spread yourself too thinly. If you’ve done your market research thoroughly enough, you will already have an idea of where your audience is hanging out online.

Top tip: consider your time. You are better off covering fewer platforms well than covering many badly. You can always scale later.

Market and sell

Once you’ve covered the above, it’s time to jump into your marketing plan. You’ll need a marketing plan that considers the buyer funnel. Think about the content you need to create to persuade prospective customers to buy from you. You will also want to build trust as part of your marketing strategy.

Top tip: sites like Reddit and Quora are free and provide insight into your audiences, their problems, their issues with competitors and so much more. The same applies to Google’s People Also Ask.

Sticking with the idea of selling air fryers, a quick search of the word ‘air fryers’ returns commonly asked questions about pros and cons.

Screenshot of Google’s People Also Ask shows questions about air fryers asking mostly about advantages and disadvantages. The screenshot shows how someone selling this product might want to answer these buyer queries.

Screenshot of Google’s People Also Ask shows questions about air fryers asking mostly about advantages and disadvantages. The screenshot shows how someone selling this product might want to answer these buyer queries.

Now that you’ve got your marketing plan started, it’s time to choose a platform for selling online.

Sell on your own online store

You can’t sell online without a digital store or platform. While you can sell on social media (more on this later), an owned channel like a website can become an asset over time.

Here’s some guidance on setting up your own platform.

Choose a domain

Check your desired domain name is available and buy online. Your domain name should be the same as your business name. It should be memorable, easy to spell, and relevant.

Create your store

Create an online store using GoDaddy’s Website Builder and set up shop within a day. You can add products, take payments and sell online from anywhere in the world.

Add payment processing

You need to integrate your online store with a payment gateway to accept payments. The gateway you choose comes down to personal preferences, terms and conditions and transaction fees.

PayPal is free to integrate but may charge a higher rate per sale, but if you want to test your ecommerce store before committing to a gateway like Stripe, PayPal can be a good start.

Manage inventory

Inventory management is crucial for any ecommerce business, especially if you receive orders online. If you have physical products, your inventory must match what’s available online; otherwise, your risk selling more products than you have in stock, resulting in disappointed customers.

If you’re selling online and offline, stock inventory can get more complicated as you must regularly update your online inventory.  Larger businesses have inventory management systems for this, but as a start-up, you can sometimes manage inventory updates with good administration.

Choose a shipping provider

Shipping can get rather complex, especially if you’re planning on handling international orders. You need to think about shipping costs and how you will manage them. Some businesses choose to absorb shipping so there’s no obvious cost to the buyer. Of course, if you do this, shipping costs should be factored into your product price.

Shipping calculations vary, but here are some options.

  • Flat-rate shipping is as it sounds. The business charges the same shipping cost for all packages, regardless of weight or distance. Flat-rate shipping should be carefully monitored. With a flat rate, your business expects to profit on some purchases and lose on others, especially if you’re shipping internationally. Flat-rate will only work if the profits and losses are approximately balanced.
  • Actual cost is a calculation where the business calculates the exact shipping cost for each package and charges this to the customer. This is usually done automatically at checkout using a shipping calculator. The calculation will take into account location, weight, size and more.

You can incentivize a purchase with free shipping, and you can also offer more expensive shopping options for faster delivery.

Top tip: Test your shopping experience before you start. You must ensure your prospective customers have a seamless experience from finding you to buying. That means no broken checkout.

Sell on Marketplaces

Marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, eBay and Craigslist offer excellent opportunities to reach a broad audience and sell your products. Service-based businesses can try Freelancer, Upwork, Toptal and more.

You can sell on many of these marketplaces and your website. You can try the marketplaces and see how they perform.

Naturally, each marketplace will take a percentage of the sale, so you’ll need to factor that in.


Any ecommerce brand should at least try out Amazon. It is a search engine for products, and some of your buyers will go to Amazon before Google.


  • Amazon is one of the largest ecommerce marketplaces.
  • It’s simple to set up a seller account and list your products.
  • Users may use Amazon as a search engine rather than Google, so you’re reaching a new audience.


  • Amazon has over two million sellers, so you need good product photography to stand out.
  • For users to find you on Amazon, you need to know a little about Amazon SEO.


Etsy is a popular marketplace for crafts, handmade and vintage products. But Etsy is also an excellent marketplace for digital products like guides, ebooks and more.


  • If your product is crafty, handmade or vintage, you can know that users are heading to Etsy to find it.
  • It’s cheap to start selling.


  • It is a busy marketplace with lots of sellers.
  • You don’t have the same control over your Etsy store as you do your store.
  • Customers often expect personalization on Etsy.


eBay is one of the oldest ecommerce marketplaces. By now, most of us have probably sold (or tried to sell) something on eBay.


  • It’s familiar.
  • You may already have an account with some reviews to build trust.


  • eBay’s UX isn’t as friendly as some alternatives.


Craigslist is a classified advertisements website that allows you to sell products locally.


  • There are no fees
  • You can sell locally, which helps with shipping fees if you want to keep your business geographically small.


  • Local sales only can be limiting once you have the desire to grow.

Sell on social media

Once the products or services are available to buy, your first task is to drive traffic to the site. Here are some tips for promoting and selling your products digitally.

Social media

Social media is a great place to build an audience and, importantly, a brand. Through social media, you get to know your audience, and they get to know you; social media is personal.


TikTok is a platform credited for its generous algorithm providing accounts with excellent reach. As one of the fastest-growing platforms with over 1 billion users, your audience is likely hanging out there.

Mia Steele is a TikTok creator who began monetizing content in April 2022. She reports great success on the platform.

Steele says, “In less than six weeks of posting on TikTok and diving into User Generated Content (UGC), I began monetizing my content. I managed to replace my income by creating content and ads for brands.

“As my TikTok following grew, I even sold my own digital products to my audience.”

Steele’s top tip for a successful social media account is, ‘Devote time to cultivate and nurture your own audience, so you can capitalize on the traffic to sell your own products.’

TikTok also has TikTok Shop that you can access once you have 1,000 followers. TikTok Shop allows you to take a commission from items promoted and sold within your videos.

Facebook and Instagram

Like TikTok, you can grow an audience on Facebook and follow the path of selling digital products. Facebook and Instagram also have Shop functionality to sell products directly on the platform.

Facebook and Instagram benefit from the ability to post from Instagram to Facebook automatically, which will save you time.


Pinterest allows you to create a shoppable feed to list your products and sell them directly on the platform. You can also use Pinterest to drive traffic to your online store or blog.

Pinterest marketer Kayla Ihrig says, “The best way to make money on Pinterest is by making pins that lead to your services or products. Unlike other platforms where you need to constantly share valuable information to market your product or service, on Pinterest, users are searching for it and just want to be able to find it. Creators need to create images or videos (called pins) that display what they offer and then optimize them for search. Then, when a user searches for a solution to their problem, they find your content and go back to your website.”

Ihrig’s pin, pictured below, is the perfect example of a pin that leads a user to her service-based site.

Screenshot of a Pinterest pin demonstrating Pinterest done well. The pin links to a website where a sale can be made online.

Screenshot of a Pinterest pin demonstrating Pinterest done well. The pin links to a website where a sale can be made online.

Selling on social media opens a window of opportunity for entrepreneurs. You can sell your own products and services or explore affiliate and email marketing, which you can advertise in tandem with your platform.

Affiliate marketing

With a combination of your website and social media, you could sell products online without actually owning or stocking a single item. Ideal for the entrepreneur craving ultimate freedom.

With affiliate marketing, you take a percentage of sales made via your channels using trackable affiliate URLs.

Mia Steele drives traffic from her social media following of 20,000 to her website. She started with a domain name from GoDaddy and started her journey into affiliate marketing.  Steele says, “Within just seven months, I had joined more than 15 affiliate programs, built an email list of over 3000 subscribers, and earned over $90,000 in commissions by promoting products on TikTok and through my blog.”

The key, Steele says, is “Building your email list from day one. I underestimated the power of an email list until I ventured into affiliate marketing, and I regretted not starting earlier. Having a compelling free lead magnet and consistently producing high-quality content to drive traffic to your offers will be the key to your success.”

Email marketing

Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach your target audience and promote your products. Done well, every email you send can make money. At least, this is the case for the team at Siligrams.

Arlene Battishill, Chief Marketing Officer, says, “Our email marketing is killing it with an average 55% open rate. Every email makes money. A recent email marketing campaign – a series of 10 daily emails – had an average 63% open rate because the campaign was nothing but stories and bad jokes and had absolutely nothing to do with our product!”

The secret to Battishill’s campaigns is consistency and humor; not every email is a sales plea that likely contributes to the sales success. Siligrams choose to humor and engage their audience instead of going for a hard sell. Remember, people buy from people.

Top tip: you can create and send stylish emails in bulk using GoDaddy’s marketing suite.

Trust the process when selling online

If it were easy, everyone would do it. Although the online selling path is simple, it requires dedication. Commit to your product, trust the process and be consistent.

As a budding entrepreneur, you have a lot to explore, and a platform that works for one business may not work for another, so be bold and experiment.

Sell online FAQ

Finally, we’re answering some of the most asked questions when it comes to selling online.

How do I sell online for the first time?

Your first online sale is the result of small steps made consistently. Follow the steps in this guide, from idea generation and market research to marketing and set-up, and you will make your first sale.

What are the most profitable items to sell online?

The most profitable items to sell online vary based on trends, but some items stand the test of time. These items include SaaS products via affiliate marketing since you earn recurring revenue.

For physical products, you can explore items in the following categories:

  • electronics
  • fashion accessories
  • beauty products
  • home decor
  • health and wellness

Naturally, these categories are also some of the most competitive, and you should consider the challenges. For example, electronics can go wrong, resulting in customer service issues and refund requests. Health and wellness is challenging to build authority in, especially if you’re relying on a new, owned website to sell from.

How can I sell products online legally?

The legal requirements for selling online can vary, and you must research to ensure you comply fully with laws and regulations.  You must consider registering your business, correctly paying your taxes, and customer privacy and security. Advertising online also requires you to adhere to rules and regulations, from product information to the types of images and ad copy.

What is the easiest platform to sell online?

Ease of use is a priority for any platform that allows you to sell online. You can set up an eBay, Etsy or Amazon store within a day. The platforms are already geared to helping people like you sell.

If you want to own your platform, which is not a good idea, website builders help you set up shop as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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