What Are the Things I Need to Start an Online Business?

Written by Zoe King ✏️

Last updated May 22, 2024

If you’re asking: “what are the things I need to start an online business?” then hang on because I’m about to show you everything.

In this guide, I’ll show you:

  • The blow-by-blow detail of exactly what you need to launch a business online — together with a comprehensive table of the list of requirements
  • Quick funding sources for starters
  • How to start an online business on a shoestring with the potential to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars.


What are the things I need to start an online business?


Before we dive deeper into the content, here’s what you need to understand:

The cost of starting an online business may not necessarily be a one-size-fits-all scenario. It may vary for every business based on factors like business model, tools requirements, education, marketing strategy, and so on.

Why? Because all online businesses are not the same.

For some, the startup costs could be so low you’d make jokes with your dog about it. For others, it could be high enough to mess with your life savings.

However, there are certain requirements that are common to all online businesses.


Common Requirements for Starting a Business Online


To answer the question “What are the things I need to start an online business?” here are the common requirements:


1. Business idea


The first thing you need is to answer the question: “What kind of business do I want to build?”

Your business idea is so important. It is the core foundation upon which the whole business is built.

Nail it and you’ll be on your way to building a failproof business. Choose the wrong idea and you’ll be wasting your time and money on a dead-end project.


2. Skill or knowledge


You don’t need a degree to start an online business, but having at least one skill or investing in some form of education is essential for success.

Whether it’s seeking guidance from a coach or mentor, dedicating time to learning from free online resources or enrolling in an online course, the choice is yours.

Additionally, continuous learning is essential for staying up-to-date with industry trends and adapting to the ever-changing digital space.


3. Gadgets and devices


To bring your online business to life, having the right gadgets and devices is crucial.

A computer is the primary tool for most online entrepreneurs. It’s where you’ll manage your website, handle communication, and execute various tasks.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need additional gadgets such as a smartphone or a camera.

Investing in the right tools will enhance your productivity and efficiency.


4. Internet access


A stable and reliable internet connection is non-negotiable.

Your business operations, from communication to online transactions, depend on a consistent and fast internet connection.

Invest in a service provider that meets your business needs and provides uninterrupted connectivity.


5. Website (domain name and web hosting)


Every online business needs a website, or at least some form of digital storefront or virtual office for converting interested traffic into buyers.

To build a website, you’ll need a domain name (this is your website’s address, e.g. www.example.com) and web hosting (this is where you store your website’s files and data).

For an unparalleled web hosting experience, Cloudways takes the lead as the most reliable choice, providing cutting-edge, performance-oriented cloud hosting solutions. When building your website, consider using them together with Divi or GeneratePress to make your website stand out.

If you’re exploring alternative options, Kinsta and Scala Hosting also stand out as excellent choices, offering robust solutions for your hosting needs.


6. Professional email address


Having a professional email address is highly recommended for online businesses. Why? Because relying on a free email service like Gmail may not be sufficient. Many contacts and customers tend to view emails from generic or random addresses as less trustworthy, diminishing their credibility.

Ensure your professional email address follows a format like yourname@yourbusiness.com. This not only presents a more polished image but also instills confidence in your communications, fostering a sense of professionalism and reliability.

Cloudways also offers Rackspace Email add-on for reliable, fast, and secure email hosting. With this, you can create professional email addresses easily.


7. Payment gateway


If you’re selling products or services online, you’ll need a payment gateway (or payment processor) so that customers can pay you for your offerings.

This service allows customers to pay via credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, and other acceptable means of payment.

Ensure that your payment gateway complies with industry security standards and protects both your business and your customers’ financial information.


8. Marketing


If you’re going to see results, you need to market your business.

As I usually tell my students, marketing is what stands between the starting point and getting your first paying customer. And you’ll need to do lots of it.

Both organic and paid marketing strategies are important. Organic marketing involves optimizing your website for search engines (SEO) and building relationships through social media engagement. Paid marketing involves running ads on search engines, social media platforms, or other relevant websites.

9. Software and services


Depending on the nature and scope of your online business, you may need to invest in certain software and services to help you get the job done.

Head over to our Tools page to see the software and services that are relevant to your business.


10. Time and patience


Building an online business takes time and patience. It takes time to build an audience, generate traffic, and convert visitors into customers.

You’ll need to put in your time daily or very regularly to see results.

Just like any other business, an online business requires dedication and hard work.


Online Business Requirements Tables


The tables below answer the question: what are the things I need to start an online business?


Shoestring List


The Shoestring List consists of the core requirements for launching a new business online. It’s possible to start making money with just these tools but to expand, you’ll need more.


Gadgets/devicesList of topnotch laptops on Amazon
Internet accessList of quality internet solutions on Amazon
Domain name (URL for your website)Namecheap
Web hostingCloudways or Kinsta
Professional email addressCloudways comes with Rackspace email add-on for creating professional email address
CMS/website building platformWordPress.org
Payment processingStripe, PayPal, Payoneer, Verifone, or any relevant one
Online courses and educationSHiFTCADEMY


Bells and Whistles List


Apart from the requirements listed above, there are other tools that you may need based on the “bells and whistles” you want to add to your business or based on the kind of business you’re building.

Thumb through the list, pick what you need based on your business idea, and then do the math for yourself.


Premium WordPress themesDivi or GeneratePress
High-converting sales funnels/market, sell, and deliver products and servicesClickFunnels
Email marketing and newsletterGetResponse or ActiveCampaign or Moosend
Landing page and list buildingClickFunnels or Systeme.io
CRM and marketing/sales automationActiveCampaign
SEO and ContentSurfer SEO or Scalenut
Website builder/Web designDivi or Elementor Pro
Course platformPodia
Where to learn new skillsSkillShare
Print-on-demand servicePrintful (integrates with Shopify)
Hire freelancers and Virtual AssistantsFiverr
Holding webinars and online classesLivestorm
Design worksCanva
All-in-one digital marketingSysteme.io
YouTube SEOvidIQ or TubeBuddy
Online activities protection and privacyNordVPN
Password management and protectionLastPass
AI video creationSynthesia or Invideo
Social media automationTailwind
Application and database hostingDigitalOcean
Subscription billing and recurring billing automationPabbly
Repurpose content for multiple social media platformsRepurpose.io


Funding Options for High-Capital Online Businesses

Launching a high-capital online business can be a daunting task, especially when considering the significant financial investments required. However, there are several effective strategies to secure funding and bring your entrepreneurial dreams to life.

  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe offer an excellent opportunity to validate your business idea and raise funds from a passionate audience. These platforms allow you to present your concept, showcase its potential, and attract financial support from individuals who believe in your vision.
  • Leveraging Other People’s Resources (OPR): OPR involves strategically utilizing the resources of others to minimize your own capital outlay. This could be other people’s money, time, knowledge, systems, contacts, or even communication and distribution channels.


About the Author

Zoé King is a successful digital entrepreneur and creator who founded SHiFTCADEMY.COM as a way to help awesome people like you find legitimate and future-proof income ideas so you can make money and shift your life forward!

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