Top 10 ‘No BS’ Tips to Creating & Launching Your First Virtual Business! (Part 1)

by Chris C. Ducker · 54 comments

Starting a Virtual Business - Part 1

I’m in the process of editing my first ever VBL-related product, and I have to say, its been a massive learning experience for me.

The fact is that I could have released this thing months ago. But, I have changed things around, procrastinated a certain amount, and quite frankly, put it on the back-burner a lot because of other, more pressing business opportunities and commitments. However, I now have a goal in place to launch this sucker by the time I fly to LA to speak at BlogWorld at the beginning of November.

So, today I’d like follow on from last weeks fantastic discussion on this subject – and present the first part, in a two-part post series with my quick fire tips to getting a virtual business up and running, from scratch, possibly even, for the first time ever…

Lets start…

1. Start a Blog

If you haven’t already got a blog up and running, start one. People like to do business (and spend money) with people. Not businesses, or websites – as far as I’m concerned, anyway. Since starting this blog, my business empire has grown and grown, and even my core business, the Live2Sell Group has expanded – I’ve even had new clients come to me from this blog, who now have 10-15 full-time employees sitting under my company’s roof. Love it!

2. Build Your Brand

Get onto YouTube – now. Again, the personal branding side of doing business virtually, or online, comes into play again. Talking into your webcam is all you need to start off with. Keep your videos short and sweet, provide value, stay on target and include a call to action, such as ‘visit my blog for more free info’, for example.

3. Engage Your Tribe

As the weeks and months go by you’ll start to build a following. FACT – your following online doesnt have to be huge to make good money. I know some marketers online with lists as small as 800-1,000 subscribers who are making $5,000+ each month. Engage your tribe and make them feel welcome. Thank them for commenting on your posts and retweeting your links. Doing things proves you’re real, appreciative and most of all starts conversation – conversation leads to relationships. And relationships are EVERYTHING in business.

4. Ask Your Audience

Before you start putting ideas in place to create a product or service, ask your audience what they need help with. Solving a problem for someone is the oldest sales shooting-star in the book! People will pay good money for things that solve a problem, or make their life easier, or help acheive their dreams… You get where I’m coming from, right? Collating information from the people that follow you will enable you to create a product or service that will knock ‘em off their feet and put their hand in their pocket!

5. Start Planning Your Offering

Whether you are anticipating putting together a product (either downloadable, or physical), or a service related offering, start planning sooner, rather than later. The worst case scenario is that you have to change a few things in the future, before launching. I have been planning my upcoming eCourse ‘Virtual Business for Virgins!’ for over a year. I have tweaked its message several times, but the overall ‘guts’ of the product have remained the same – show people how to create and launch a virtual business in 30 days or less!

Having a solid marketing plan in place is also extremely important when planning and launching a new business – whether it be virtual, or not. In the second part of this two-part series, I will go over how you should ‘think in the now’ when producing a solid marketing and launch plan, instead of copying what people were doing years ago – just because it worked for them.

Real time marketing is upon us, ladies and gents. Jump on board, or be left behind. Plain and simple.

Anyone got any comments, insights, feedback and ideas on these first five points? Please jot them down below so we can ALL benefit from them – plus, feel free to include ideas for the second part of this series, too!

UPDATE: Part Two of this series is now LIVE and available HERE! 

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

steve wyman September 21, 2011 at 20:46

Hi Chris

As always solid advice packaged cleanly.

My number 1 would have been

“Start”

after day dreaming, just Start, get up early, go to bed late, work through lunch. Just start. Paper is not a bad place to scrible the inital idea down.

A Virtual business costs almost nothing to start, othe rthan your time, so dont worry about other peoples opinions of your great idea. A domain name and hosting or even a free bloging platform. Just dont go and spend a lot of money on design etc until you have a least a few other people joining your tribe.

regards

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Lucy September 21, 2011 at 23:45

Starting is the HARDEST part! It took me a very long time to figure out HOW to start.

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steve wyman September 22, 2011 at 01:10

Sure. But its a good idea to think through lots of ideas before you start. Its going to be a big commitment.

I now have too many ideas, 10 a day sometimes and have to try to ignore them :-)

regards

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:04

10 a day – is that all, Steve.

Jeez – you’re slipping, my man! :-)

But, Lucy – Steve is right… Commitment is what its about. Pick one. Commit, and then make it happen.

C

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:08

Agreed.

Procrastination is also a SOB for most entrepreneurs… However, once you get over it all, you’re set! :-)

Keep focused, Lucy.

C

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:13

Hi Steve

Yeah, man – you hit the nail on the head. So many people get side-tracked or just plain procrastinate. I have been guilty of this myself in the past (like most good entrepreneurs!).

You’re bang-on in regards to the little amount of funds needed to get things going online, too.

Thanks for the inspiring comment, bud.

C

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Joe Magnotti September 25, 2011 at 13:12

I find having a daily plan helps. It seems like if you have too much time you get less done, if that makes sense. I just wrote a post on my daily schedule, but I have to say it helps to live in a place where everything is just taken care of for you. I have outsourced the boring parts of my life, like cooking and cleaning!

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Chris C. Ducker September 25, 2011 at 14:29

Hi Joe

Good points here. I’m also a fan of daily schedules, but they can sometimes get massively over booked.

What I do is completely blank out at least one day (normally two) days once a week. That way I have time for ME and the projects I want to work on. That doesn’t mean that I don’t work hard on my businesses. It simply means that I allow time in my weekly schedule to sound time doing the things I like the most… Creating, inspiring and motivating.

Thanks for the input, bud.

C

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Tshepo Mashigo September 25, 2011 at 06:33

Hi Chris

Thanks for continuing to inspire me. I just revamped my personal blog and included an Ebook Offering with it, I already have a niche website, looking to get started on the second one now as my current niche has taken off and is practically running on autopilot now.

Keep up the Good Work.

Tshepo

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Chris C. Ducker September 25, 2011 at 14:22

Hi Tshepo

Thanks for the comment and welcome to the VBL Tribe. I believe this was the first time you’d posted a comment on the blog.

Your site looks good. Keep passionate about what you’re doing, above and beyond everything else, and you’ll be just fine, I reckon.

Just think ‘massive value’ on your content and the rest will come…

I look forward to communicating with you here on the blog more!

C

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Felix Albutra September 21, 2011 at 21:33

Hi Chris,

This is a good advice. But I am having some problem with building my brand by video marketing or by speaking in front the camera. It is because I don’t have a good English speaking skills.

– Felix

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:12

Hi Felix

I believe I mentioned to you that you should focus on the local, PINOY market…

If you do that, you wont have to worry about English. Speak in Tagalog, my man. Get people into what you do… Be exceptional in your videos and show value… The rest will come along, I believe.

Focus on what you ROCK at, and then it will drop into place… :-)

C

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Lucy September 21, 2011 at 23:44

That’s a good list, I’m actually trying for all of them lol…I get sooo hung up on the details it’s hard to get anywhere. The thing that has helped the most was meeting with an IM person, he made me see that you dont need perfect work to get things going. I’m trying to focus on adding value now.

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:09

Thanks for the comment, Lucy!

Having people that know what they’re talking about to chat to and bounce ideas off, certainly helps, thats for sure!

Thats one of the reasons I put so much effort into this blog – the VBL Tribe is awesome. Its grown at a blistering pace and continues to become stronger and more ‘in-depth’, in regards to the multitude of great players here, that it makes it all worthwhile.

Get to know some of us a little better, Lucy – I think you’ll thank me for it! :-)

C

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Frank Schwarz September 21, 2011 at 23:46

Chris,

I HAD to cut this and put it on my evernote files so I can come back again and again.
Such awesome information. Quick, real and valuable.
We are weeks away from getting your company to help us grow our company and are just tying up the ends.

Thank you for being a voice and inspiration I can keep coming back too.

Frank

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:07

Hi Franz

Awesome!!! Love comments like this – I bet all bloggers do!

My focus is to simply help and inspire. I’m glad its working… :-)

Appreciate your support, too, buddy.

Cheers,
C

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John Collly September 21, 2011 at 23:59

Hi Chris

Great Advice thanks – I am speaking at a conference tomorrow and have a 45 minute presentation all ready to go. Now I have broken it up into six parts, recorded a sound track over the presentation (in Keynote) and then will up load this to YouTube (privately for the moment).

This material will then be available for future blog posts at which time I can make the video public or as a special offer to subscribers.

In the meantime it serves as a very good way to rehearse my presentation

Hope this tip helps your readers. They can find me at my blog – the Six Minute Strategist – http://jbdcolley.com

Just added you to my blog role on my site too. Thank you very much indeed for your great content and hard work

best regards

John

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:05

Hi John

Excellent stuff, mate. Thats the way to attack things like that – break things up into smaller segments and attack them one by one, until youre finished. :-) And then – make money off it, forever!

Appreciate the add to your BR, too. Thanks for that! Looks good…

Appreciate your insights, and ideas.

C

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Adam September 22, 2011 at 01:23

Chris,

Starting a blog is huge. I used to think that my blog was just there to make a passive income but now I see how much business it has brought me.

Within the last 3 months I have booked 8 new clients and have hired 3 virtual assistants.

Also in the last 3 months I have tripled my income simply because I do all the costly tasks and I delegate all the cheap tasks. As a business owner you have to be the one doing what makes the most money or else you are just wasting your time. Would you agree with this Chris?

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:03

Hi Adam

Awesome stuff, bud.

Thats the way to do it – handle the stuff that YOU feel you NEED to handle and then get someone else to handle the rest – maximizing time is 100% important to every business owner. I think we all know this already, but hey, mentioning it wont kill me! :-)

Agreed, 100%.

Thanks for the great comment.

C

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Wasim Ismail September 22, 2011 at 07:16

Building a blog is important for every business to succeed online, it’s not just a platform where you write your opinions , news, and information, it’s the means of building your brand and authority, gaining more customers, and engaging with your visitors online.

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Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:01

Building brand and authority – there it is, right there.

Great comment, Wasim – and the fact that you’re pointing this out is absolutely definitive to everyones success online – whether they are selling a product, promoting a service, consultancy, etc. All very clear and apparent to those that are already crushing it.

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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Jeff September 24, 2011 at 02:37

These are all great points Chris. Engaging your tribe and being a “real person” are some of the strongest tips.

And as Steve mentioned….. just “starting” is crucial. Even just getting one small thing a day builds the momentum. It’s understanding you don’t how to know how to do everything before starting.

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Chris C. Ducker September 25, 2011 at 14:17

Hi Jeff

You make a great point here. You’re bang on.

In fact, expecting that you should know everything right off the bat is just silly, if you think about it.

As entrepreneurs we learn from experience, and if you’re just starting out, you’ll have little or no experience. Learning on the job is the best way to pick up what will work.

Thanks for the comment, bud.

C

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Naomi September 25, 2011 at 12:40

Super excited about your’ Virtual Business for Virgins!’ 30 day ecourse!!
And hope that gets rolling out soon as I just have finally bought a domain name!

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Chris C. Ducker September 25, 2011 at 14:24

Hi Naomi

Awesome news! Finally… :-)

I’m planning on launching it in the next month. Timing is tight, but I’m doing my best. It all comes down to how much time I can allot to it… Lots going on right now!

Good to see you’ll be on board with it though! :-)

C

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Diane September 26, 2011 at 16:07

Hi Chris

On the subject of blogging what do you think is better wordpress or blogger?

A lot of what I hear online is focused more on wordpress, but I still see plenty of people getting started with blogger. Im confused.

Thanks,

Diane

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Chris C. Ducker September 26, 2011 at 18:37

Hi Diane

Wordpress all the way.

The platform is just a lot more powerful, what with all the free plugins and extensions you can incorporate.

Plus its a lot more customizable than Blogger from a coding standpoint, too!

Hope that helps and thanks for the question.

C

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John September 26, 2011 at 16:45

I have been thinking about number two here a lot recently.

I feel like I have a brand to build after all the experience I’ve had but I really don’t know how to ‘build’ it. If that makes sense. Have you got any tips mate?

Thanks.

John

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Chris C. Ducker September 26, 2011 at 18:38

Hey John

Lots of ‘em…

Check out my free guide on the subject of building your online brand – you’ll find it jam packed with ideas and how to info!

Here’s the LINK!

Plug OVER! :-)

Thanks for dropping by, bud.

C

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Hachie Mae September 26, 2011 at 17:02

Hi Chris

This is such a cool little list to get going with. Thats the one thing I really always like about your stuff here. Its very digestible and thats important for me.

Thanks so much and I cant wait for Part 2.

When is that BTW?

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Chris C. Ducker September 26, 2011 at 18:39

Hi Hachie

Part 2 will be out on Monday next week!

Standby!!!

C

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Abrienda Jones September 26, 2011 at 17:07

Hi Chris

I have been reading your blog for a while now and love what you do. Thanks for this great list to get started in the virtual biz world. I am looking forward to the second part and to your guide’s release.

I hope you are not a greedy man and try to charge too much like some people!!!!!!

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Chris C. Ducker September 26, 2011 at 18:41

Hi Abrienda

Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.

The eGuide will be reasonably prices, I issue you. Unlike a lot of bloggers and internet marketers out there, I actually make the majority of my earnings OFFLINE. So, the stuff I do online is mainly to help people and inspire.

Although, it takes some time putting this type of stuff together – so a small charge will be attached to it. It’ll be affordable for everyone wanting to get started with their own virtual business… lets put it that way!

:-)

C

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Bojan September 26, 2011 at 17:30

My word of advice to all newcomers is to start working on the product from the day one. Internet is a tool of promoting your product, so the foundation of your business is a product.

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Chris C. Ducker September 26, 2011 at 18:42

Couldn’t agree more here…

Great play on words, Bojan.

Nice to see you popping in to spread a little productivity wisdom today… Cheers!

C

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Gary September 26, 2011 at 18:15

Chris, looking forward to the VBL product, it looks like it will answer the Top 10 NO BS tips and techniques.

My experience to date is probably typical of most new fish, and the answer seems to scream out in the blog comments.

It simple, and yet its the hardest thing to do…… START.

I heard a good quote which really sums my difficulty to start, knowlegde will always give you enough reasons not to act.

Well there is the title to the new launch, START NO BS.

Also today I will send my VA the first email on what I want to do…. Looks like I am making a START.

Gary

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Chris C. Ducker September 26, 2011 at 18:43

Hi Gary

Good stuff!

Its all about that PASSION and the ACTION that goes behind it… Keep up the great work, and stay focused, bud.

C

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angeline September 26, 2011 at 20:01

Hi

For me my struggle is getting started in the first place. So many idea so little time. What do you suggest I do to get my calendar looking a little better??

angeline

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Chris C. Ducker September 27, 2011 at 16:46

Hi Angeline

I would suggest putting an hour or two to one side, just blocking it off, as a regular act, so to speak, and then focusing on just idea digging during that time. Away from the computer is best. Less distractions that way.

I like using my huge white boards, or sometimes my iPad.

Good luck with creating a little more ‘me time’, and dont forget to breathe. It helps.

C

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steve wyman September 27, 2011 at 21:26

Hi Chris, the breathe comemnt made me smile i have this very bad habit of holding my breathe when hype stressed! not a good thing lol.

Hi Angeline, Just wanted to back up chris’s comment with my own way of doin gthat. I take a pad of paper a pen and go sit in Starbucks for a few hours (one free refills in the uk :-)). Do a Brain Dump and then wittle it down to 4-5 ideas/niches maximum. Then just leave it to gestate for a day or so and go back again.

If im actually looking at microbrand niche sites then i actually start by doing a ton of keyword research first then go to starbucks.

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Chris C. Ducker September 28, 2011 at 12:00

Hey Steve

Yes, generally speaking its a good idea to try and breathe as regularly as normal in everyday life!!!!!!! :-)

Love Starbucks, as you know. My third favorite office, after my home and facility ones! (in that order).

C

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steve September 28, 2011 at 20:00

Hi Chris

Yep its a strange habit thats for sure..

Did you know that Starnucks used the term “the third place” in their branding a few years ago ! That latched onto this idea. I thnk they should reuse it again its veryneat.

cheers

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Chris C. Ducker September 28, 2011 at 20:12

Wow. I had no idea on that, actually…

Just goes to show you that its what people are ALREADY thinking. Should re-use and re-introduce, for sure…!

C

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steve September 28, 2011 at 20:41

Hi

as im on a starbucks break :-) Americano, extra shot and soya milk

http://www.usatoday.com/life/2006-10-04-third-space_x.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place

its been around for a while :-)

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Ryan McKay September 29, 2011 at 04:57

An excellent collection of tips Chris! In a related question, do you have any suggestions for blog syndication tools? I’ve been using networkedblogs and had a very positive experience, but I’m always on the lookout for suggestions from the veterans of the process!

Thankee m’friend!
-Ryan C McKay

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2011 at 15:09

Hi Ryan

Networkedblogs is a great starting point, I know. But, to be honest, I’m also at a bit of a loss on this one.

May I turn this over to the VBL Tribe….? Anyone got any other ideas….?

C

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Andy September 30, 2011 at 14:47

Great job of boiling down the essential starting points. This sounds pretty much like the same model that has propelled Copyblogger to their current status as an elite blog…pump out killer content, build a loyal following, then monetize on the back end through products that are complimentary to your blog’s content.

I love this model, but the problem I have with it is that I (like so many others) am not in a position where I can spend months, or even years, building a brand before flipping the switch to cash in. That seems to be the catch-22 I find myself up against.

Looking forward to part 2.

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Chris C. Ducker October 3, 2011 at 13:00

Hi Andy

Thanks for the comment and the kind words.

That Catch22 is a bummer, thats for sure, and you are NOT alone, thats obvious. The thing is, to be able to build something solid online, you HAVE to work on it for a period of time nowadays, as people want to get to know you, as I mentioned, before parting with their hard-earned cash.

Stick with it, bud. I’m sure if your heart is in it, you’ll do just fine… :-)

C

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Andy October 3, 2011 at 13:14

Thanks for the encouragement. Keep up the good work!

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Chris C. Ducker October 3, 2011 at 21:28

No problems, buddy.

Thats what the VBL Tribe is all about……. :-)

C

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Joe Magnotti October 1, 2011 at 09:10

Chris, great post. Perhaps tip 1a should be break your posts into two parts — nothing like getting more content from the same subject.

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Chris C. Ducker October 3, 2011 at 13:04

Hi Joe

Ah, my secret is out of the bag….!!!! :-)

Glad you liked the post, bud.

C

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Chris C. Ducker October 17, 2011 at 17:13

UPDATE:

Hi All

The second part in this series is now LIVE!

You can check it out by clicking the link below:

http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com/2011/10/start-virtual-business-part-2/

Enjoy.

C

Reply

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