Online travel agency- All you need to know to start one

 

onlibe travel agency

Starting an online travel agency is no mean feat, I have had my fair share of travel mishaps.

I wished that I used a travel agency to properly arrange my travel itinerary

I once traveled with my hubby and little kids, unfortunately for us, we were delayed a bit at the immigration point.

Because of that, we could not contact the cab driver who usually picked us upon arrival.

This meant we had to pick up anyone that was available.

Our mistake, because between handling 2 tired and cranky kids and offloading our travel bags when we arrived at the Hotel.

My hubby forgot his 3 cell phones in the cab, the cab driver had left before we realized it was missing.

Unfortunately for us, it was never returned.

We called the airport hoping he took it there, but since we could not give the name of the cab driver, he could not be identified.

That was how we lost those cell phones, It amazed us that those phones were never returned.

The moral of this story, had we used the services of an online travel agency,

We will probably have recovered those phones because it could have been traced to the person who picked and dropped us off.

Having said this, online travel agency is a profitable business venture which anyone who is willing to start an online home based travel agency business can engage in.

In this post, I lay it out to you step by step how to start an online travel agency.

1  Decide the Niche you will be serving

2  Search out the Host agency to use

3 Set up your online travel agency  Business

4 Market your Business

 

Steps to Starting An Online Travel Agency Business

1 Decide What Niche You Will Play in:

Deciding on a Niche to play in your business is a major question which everyone who wants to start any business online must answer.

In the world of online business, especially with starting a new online travel agency.

The only way you can make an impact and succeed is by deciding to play in a specific niche.

The jack of all trades master of none syndrome will not play here because

even Google, who you will need to advertise your business will not pick your website to display it when people search for travel agencies.

You may decide as you grow to increase your areas of expertise

But in starting out you cannot afford to be everything to everyone, you are not ice cream hahaha,

So choosing a  niche to play in is a major hoop you have to jump.

This one single decision will determine how you will attract your customers online and how you will market to them.

In  making your Niche Decision you need to answer these questions

a  Are you passionate about this niche :

Passion is a key decider of what you are going to do online because an online business requires that you be willing to work on it until you succeed.

Are you passionate enough about your niche to create products that will wow your customers?

For example, in marketing any product online, you have to write about it, that is blogging.

In some cases, you have to talk about this niche in the form of podcasting.

Now if you are not passionate about your product niche you may find yourself struggling to build this business.

even though you were excited about it a moment ago.

So before you set on starting your online travel agency, you have to answer that question, what niche will I serve and am I passionate about this niche.

b  Do you have the skills to serve this market:

In starting an online travel agency, do I have the skills to serve my market?

If you have worked with an established travel agency before you may be able to quickly answer this question because its something that you have been trained to do.

However, if all you have is just a desire to serve this market,

Then its time to take a course that will help you to acquire the skills you need in other to start an online travel agency.

You may also want to take some certifications in other to gain more credibility.

This is because people will always trust someone who was certified to do something, than someone who is just doing it without any formal training.

To become a certified travel agent you can look here for some courses to help you.

I will highlight some of the necessary certifications in the later part of this post.

Please note that these certifications do not necessarily mean you can not start an online travel agency without them.

It’s just that you will need them for credibility.

In the latter part of this post, I show you a shortcut to having the benefit of these certifications without you paying to acquire them.

Please understand that there is a difference between, certifications and training for your job.

Training for the business you want to start is just to help you to acquire the skills needed for you to set up and start your business.

While certifications are industry requirements which give you credibility.

c  Do you understand how this  market behaves :

In acquiring the skill you need, you may also want to check your industry statistics to understand what are the uptimes and downtimes for your industry.

For example, it’s not hidden that a lot of people travel during summer in the western part of the world.

That’s because the weather is good and people love to be out and about

But what you may not understand is the reverse is the case for people who live in the tropics who want to experience the cold winters in the west.

So understanding how your industry operates is a major issue in setting up your online travel agency.

Examples of Niches available in this market

-Cruise travels

-Luxury Travels

-Group Tours

-Destination specialist travels

-Disney

-Adventure travel

-Women only vacations

-Men only vacation

-Grand travels

-Disabled travelers

-Travelers with pets

d  Do you have a travel agent business plan:

In starting your online travel agency, you will have to figure out how to make money in this business.

Afterall you are in business to make money right?

What will your income streams be?

An example of the income streams in travel agencies include:

-Book travel tickets for a commission

-Sell travel guides

-Book tours for Groups

-Sell travel insurance

-Offer consulting services to people who want to set up a travel department

-Sell online courses for people who want to start this business

To learn how to write your travel agency business plan read this.

Online travel agency

2: Search Out A Host Agency To Use:

Remember the shortcut I talked about earlier, yes, this is it.

Using a Host agency as a base for setting up your online travel agency is the shortcut you will need to bypass having to get some certifications required by the industry.

So what is a Host Agency to an online travel agency

A host agency is like that big corporation that is  into  a travel agency business,

You sign up with them and you present your business to other people with their qualifications.

This means that the certifications they have are available to you because you have their permission to sell for them.

Think of your host agency as the big guy that has subcontracted its part of finding customers for it to you.

You get to use their Booking number and other certifications that are required for you to be accepted as a travel agent.

Pros of using a Host travel agency

-You bypass a lot of legal requirements which may require that you have your own accreditation before you start a business.

-Some of these requirements may be licenses and certifications

-Low start-up cost, because you do not have to worry about paying for accreditation before you have made money

-Opportunity to work with a known brand which already has credibility built up hence you cut down your time to market.

-Free training from them because they want you to succeed.

-You get to build up a portfolio of networks and suppliers and customers through them.

Cons

-Your business is typically dependent on them if they go south you go south

-You may find that you cannot build your own personal brand because you are using their name and number.

-Pay is commission based which will only come in after the buyer has used the service.

I am sure by now, you are itching to know the best Host travel agencies are  available so you can begin to apply,

Not to worry here they are

Types of Host Travel Agency

-Avoya

-Travel Planners International

-Dugans travels

-Gifted travel network

-Nexion

-Cruise one/ Dream vacations

-Flight center independent

-Oasis travel network

To learn how to choose the best travel network, watch this video 

Now that you have settled in your heart the Host travel agency to use as a travel agent, its time to set up your business.

3: Set up your Online travel agency:

To set up your online travel agency you need to take note of some legal aspects, they include:

Business license:

This includes either to set up as a DBA or an LLC or perhaps even an enterprise or a corporation.

Whatever you decide to do, ensure you are well informed as to what the tax liabilities are.

For more information on this visit Small business administration

Set up your Business:

This includes deciding from the word go how you will want to operate your online travel agency.

If you want to become an independent travel agency that has its own licenses then you have to be ready to get the required certifications and licenses.

Here are some of them

Certifications

Certified Travel agent- CTP

Travel and Tourism Professional- TTP

Total Travel certification-TTC

Professional travel agent- PTA

All these are not necessarily required before start off but they give you credibility.

Therefore, even though you may not have any as you start out, it is advisable you get one of them.

Apart from these certifications which help to boost your credibility, you are then required to have an accreditation number which helps suppliers to recognize you as an accredited travel professional.

It gives you the ability to book tickets, collect commissions and generally function as travel agency professional

Some of this Accreditation agencies are as follows as culled from Hostagency reviews

ARC- Airline reporting corporation: This is basically formed to operate for US-based travel agencies.

It acts as an accounting firm that handles financial transactions between airlines and travel agencies.

You do issue ticketing if you have the accreditation.

It may cost you up to 2000 dollars to get this accreditation and you will still get to pay 210 dollars annual fee.

To learn more go here.

 IATA: International airline transport association: This accreditation firm is quite big and offers a variety of accreditation options for their accreditation number.

Their accreditation number is recognized worldwide.

In fact, if you ask me, I will say this is probably the one I have always known until I started writing this article on online travel agency.

So here are the varieties

IATA- For international travel agency with air ticketing

IATA- International with no air ticketing

IATAN- US based travel agency with air ticketing

IATAN US based with non air ticketing.

To read more about how they operate go here

CLIA- Cruise line international Association: This accreditation is for travel agencies who sell cruise line bookings.

They are specifically for travel agencies with more than 50 agents.

This means that you gotta be big before you can apply for this one

If you are just starting out this may not be for you.

However, if you want to play in this niche then the best thing to do is to join a host agency and become a hosted travel agent.

This will give you the opportunity to use their own CLIA number since you may not have one.

TRUE: Travellers retailers universal enumeration

This accreditation is mainly for independent travel agencies who sell small tour packages, they cater to mostly niche operators and are internationally recognized.

They do not sell airline ticketing but basically tours and cruises.

People who have this code can also work with a host agency so it’s a double plus for them.

To learn more about acquiring TRUE go here.

Benefits of Having your own accreditation number

-Direct commission paid to you without splits

-Build volume and status and acquire your own customers who remain yours

-You build your own brand albeit slowly

-Choice of marketing and sales channels

-You choose what suppliers you want to work with

-Elevated credibility and status as a travel professional

Diffferent ways you can start your online travel agency firm

Independent travel agency: In this case you have your own bouquet of customers, you build your brand and get to pay for your own accreditation.

You also have to be responsible for training, marketing sales, and customers service.

In fact, it’s like running your own full-time business.

Hosted Agent: In this case, you work as a travel agent under the hosted agencies mentioned above.

The cost is minimal, except for registering your business, all you do is partner with them.

They provide you with the required training and resources to succeed, you get paid on a commission basis.

You have access to multiple accreditations without paying for it or maintaining it.

Corporate travel department: In this case you work as an independent corporate travel department official for a company.

Where you are responsible for booking flight tickets and making reservations for a companies personnel

You are like a staff member whose job it is to do such jobs, you will decide how much you are paid for your services.

If you have made up your mind on how to play in the industry, the next thing you need to do is to set up your website online.

To set up your website you will need to first  choose a hosting plan

A hosting plan here has nothing to do with a travel agency in this case.

It’s just a rent you pay your online landlord so that you can build your online business which in this case is a travel agency.

When choosing your hosting plan, you should consider these key points,

The speed of your of load of your site: How long does it take for your site to load when clicked on. The industry average is  3 seconds

Percentage uptime: What is the percentage time your site is up- 99.9% is great.

Cost: How much does your hosting plan cost

There is a variety of hosting plans out there, but the one that beats all of them hands-down is Bluehost.

That ’s why I recommend it.

Because you will get a low-cost package with a very great speed of load, a high percentage of uptimes and finally great customer service available to help you with the setup.

To get Bluehost plan, click  below

If you have never built a website before and you are afraid,

Not to worry, this 10 dollar resource will make your website set up, a walk in the park.

You just watch and do and your site is up within 2 hours.

To get the resource which is a Video which walks you through from the time you get your link from your hosting plan seller to when your site will be up

Go here to purchase it.

Wordpress Installation Guide
WordPress Installation Guide

 

4 Market your online travel agency:

If you have done a thorough job in following the steps outlined above

Then you will not find it difficult to get the customers you need in other to get your business rolling.

This is because as at now you should have determined who your customers are.

What niche you want to play in and assessed yourself to see if you have the requisite skills required.

We move on to the main gist of the matter, that is marketing your new online business.

Now that you have set up your website, the next thing is to market it to the right audience.

Before you get into marketing you have to determine what your target audience persona is

Set up your audience Persona

What is a Persona

A persona is like a fictitious person who has the characteristics you will desire in a customer.

For example, if you chose to cater to people who do special vacations like Honeymoons,

You will be looking to about to weds who may be considering going for a vacation for their honeymoon.

Some characteristics to look out for will be: their age group, market size, earning potential and also willingness to buy.

Finally, when are you likely to have a spike in the demand for such services.

Set up your social media channels

Create a brand from the onset: To learn how to build a brand for a small business go here

Blog about your service offerings

Start an email list: where you offer your readers  lead magnets so that they cam optin to your email list

Partner with parallel workers in your industry: For instance, if you do honeymoon vacations partner with wedding planners and ask them to recommend you to their customers for a commission.

Launch your business: let your family and friends know that you are into this business, ask them to recommend you to their friends for a fee, this may mean setting up affiliate commissions for your customers who refer you.

To start your Online travel agency get your hosting plan now

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5 future skills you will need to build a home business.

5 future skills you will need for the home business of the future

As the future keeps galloping towards us with a lot of innovation via technology, one question you should ask your self is; do you possess the future skills you will need to start a home business or run one?

Remember when you taught that it was impossible to see your home from anywhere?

Think of the 80’s you could not have imagined that you will log into your phone and have an immediate view of your home, such that you can find out when an intruder is trying to get into your home.

Well, one Business Ring.com has made it possible.

This is just one of the many possibilities we are seeing as we maneuver an age where technology is taking over our lives; from artificial intelligence(AI) to robotics to internet of things(IoT), you just name it and you have it here, gone are those times when the only place where  such possibilities were seen was in sci-fi movies.

The future is actually here and I want to ask you a mind-boggling question are you ready?

Are you among those who are still clinging to the past with your nails scratching and itching for the times when things were much simpler or are you constantly asking yourself how can I unlearn old ways, learn new skills and get myself ready for the future.

I know this does not look like my usual write up but hold on, I am getting to my usual sweet spot which is to say what future skills are you acquiring now that will change the way you run your home business or start a new business?

In this write-up, I share with you

5  future skills that you need to have in other to build a home business.

1 Digital Marketing:

According to Wikipedia, digital marketing is the marketing of products and services using digital technologies mainly on the internet and also on mobile phones, display advertising and via SMS.

A great majority of people’s attention has been captured by digital devices, most people now get almost all of their entertainment, business and work life done from their mobile phones, therefore, it’s of necessity that anyone who wants to reach his target market must be willing to do so through digital means.

If you are a home business owner or perhaps you are planning to start one, this is one critical skill you will need in other to succeed in business. This is because no matter how great your product or service is, if your customers can not find it you are not in business.

While the traditional modes of advertising your business may still work, they are becoming less dependable. What is the probability that someone who bought a service or product from you will refer you to another person? quite low, except of course you are offering an incentive.

Even at that, they may not be attracted enough to your incentive to want to reach out and refer you to others.

If you, therefore, want to succeed in your home business, you need to start acquiring this very important skill not only because you need it for your own products but you can also offer it as a service and charge for it.

Digital marketing skills are in hot demand now as people are constantly looking for means of selling their products.

I considered it as one of the future skills because not a good number of people who want to start businesses understand how this skill translates to your success or failure in running a home business.

Some digital marketing methods include SEO( search engine optimization) Serch engine marketing( SEM), Email marketing, Content marketing, influencer marketing, data-driven marketing strategies, social media marketing, social media optimization, sales funnel and lead generation.

If you have been struggling to make sales with your home business or your greatest headache has been how to attract your ideal customers to your blog or online business, then this may be a critical skill which is missing in your portfolio.

You can start today to learn this skills for free by reading this article and signing up for a free course to help your journey.

2-Artificial intelligence:

When you think of AI, it kind of goes over your head, I mean what has a small business got to do with AI, leave that for Elon Musk and SpaceX geniuses you are not about to go explore space.

But then, I draw open the curtain to ask you to wake up and smell the roses, most of the Jobs that are being held by humans today will be replaced by artificially intelligent robots.

If you are in one of those dead-end jobs which will be wiped out in the next  5-10 years, then its time you begin to critically look at the value chain in businesses you see that are still offline today and begin to imagine how you will develop algorithms or write codes that will help you fill that need and build a business from your home for it.

I just mentioned coding in the line before and many people reading this might begin to get angry right now asking themselves how they will learn to code in this day and age, well you can if you are interested.

Think of the fact that as the world moves towards AI, many businesses will require services of people who understand how these things work and operate it.

You may not be called to build AI systems leave that to the Googles of this world but you can seek to understand how to integrate these systems into everyday life and hence help people.

This is why I think it’s a necessary future skill for anyone who wants to work from home or run a home business.

3-Creative & Critical thinking abilities:

Gone are the days when systems were put in place and everyone was expected to just follow the norm.

This idea came from the industrial age when work was divided into piecemeal and everyone specialized in an aspect and just followed the laid down rules.

Nowadays people are looking for who will bring creative thinking solutions to problems, people who will solve old problems in new ways that save time and cost.

If you are starting a home business or maybe you have one already, your ability to be creative and also think critically will mean you will win in the marketplace.

If you are in the business of selling knowledge as a home business, i.e blogging in simple terms, this is especially for you because people will only read your blog and follow you because you offer solutions which they are cannot find anywhere else.

This skill is an essential future skill both for the creative person who designs and builds the product and also for the knowledge vendor.

I consider Creative and critical thinking as one of the future skills because I have come to realize that a lot of people are seeking fresh ideas.

New twists to old issues and also completely new innovative ideas that beats what is obtainable right now.

For example yesterday I got a call from my Phone operator to inform me of a service which they want me to sign up to.

I mentioned to the caller that I am not so keen on signing up because of issues I have with this network provider.

That customer service agent never attempted to solve my problem or even provide a solution, instead he kept on trying to sell to me his new product.

I just rang off and I thought to myself why do people never empathize with those they seek to serve.

They had rather push more products into your face than find solutions to the issues you are already experiencing with their product.

4-Organization Based skill:

This future skill is simply called project management in ordinary terms.

I termed this a future skill required by a home business owner because as the world gets more tech-savvy, there will be an overload of information.

People will be looking for those who can help them organize their knowledge and sequence it in such a way that it produces results.

There will also be a demand for organization and creation of systems that when followed will always deliver the same results.

We see that in the online business marketing strategies where they are always talking about teaching you this 3 step system that will help you win in the marketplace.

These future skills have created a whole new industry in printables called planners.

People are consistently looking for planners to organize their day and businesses and even their life.

So if you have just a little knowledge of this skill, It to time to ramp it up and create a home business built on this skill.

If you want to know how to build a business around printables please read my two posts on 6 secrets about printables and also how to start a home business selling printables.

5-Tutoring:

The classroom has left the brick and mortar building called schools, learning and education are now taking place on the internet. This future skill is not only for the future but for the now,  Teachers reward is no longer in heaven, it has come down to earth hahaha.

If you think I am not saying the truth ask Jack Ma the Chinese Tech Billionaire of Alibaba or even Peter Diamandis of the Singularity University.

This means that tutoring other people is now a major income earner for most people, there is an avalanche of online courses now that people can’t get enough of.

Tutoring is no longer just about just pouring out knowledge but about content creation, selling content, nurturing customers and altogether shaping mindsets.

The good thing about this skill is that no single person lacks the knowledge to sell, your only problem is how to organize it into a sellable format.

All the years you have spent on this earth learning a skill, experiencing something or even practicing some stuff can now be put together into a course format and sold.

You can begin, by starting a Blog, read here how to do that or you can choose to do straight out email marketing bypassing starting a blog.

Whatever route you choose, just ensure that you are delivering value for the course you are building and people will come for it.

In conclusion, I will like to ask: are you ready for the future of your home business, career, and life in general?

if you are not, its time to get learning because your future self will not forgive you if you fail to get ready for what is to come.

To round up this post, I will like to offer you a list of 20 futuristic business ideas that you can start now to work on. Click on the image to get it.

20 future home business ideas

Do you have any other ideas on the future skills you will need to run a home business, please drop a comment below.

 

 

 

10 Incredible Must-Have Tools for a Successful Online Shop( Ecommerce Store)

Must-have tools for an onlineshop

Are you thinking of opening an online store? my list of must-have tools is an important resource you cannot afford to ignore. Even if you do not read any other post on my blog, please don’t ignore this one.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know by now that I have a fixation for online shops, I mean who does not want to be sleeping and be making money. Unlike the brick and mortar store which you have to physically open and close for it to function, online shops can make sales while you are busy doing something else.

 Here Are 10 Must-Have Tools You Will Need to Make a Success of Your Online Shop

Email Provider services:

Email provider service is the number one on my list of must-have tools if you are serious about growing your customer and revenue base. They are companies that help you to not only collect email addresses from your buyers and customers but also to send email campaigns to them.

This tool is the most important tool you will ever need because it gives you direct access to your customers. Some of the more sophisticated ones like Mailchimp has all sorts of capabilities like Landing page creator,  Lists, Templates, email automation and also reports. They have a variety of templates for different types of campaign ranging from basic email templates to templates for sending out campaigns about your new products. The wonderful thing about MailChimp is that a good number of these features come with the free package. Of Course, there is a paid aspect but even the freebie is enough for you to run your online store with. To sign up with MailChimp, click here.

There are other paid email provider services like Convertkit, Sendlane, Mailjet and Vertical response. Most of these email services that I mentioned are paid platforms except for Vertical response and Mailjet which has a free part and a paid part if you want more sophisticated features. I love Mailchimp though because it can be integrated across all platforms especially with WiX platform.

I was using SENDLANE before and sincerely loved their features, but they got too expensive for my small blog and I had to stop using them.

 

Google Analytics :

Google analytics is one of the must-have tools which you cannot afford to ignore because it pulls all the data from your store and gives you a rundown of what is happening in your store. This includes the number of visits, the number of orders from your store, transaction value and even the number of unique visitors to your online store. Your google analytics is your friend if you want to track your online store data and know how to manipulate your data for future use.

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Coffee Brewing Guide for the coffee drinker.

Google Webmaster:

Google webmaster is not the same as Google analytics, I use to think they were. This tool enables you to add your store or blog to the Google webmaster so that it can crawl your website. In crawling it, its able to collect some information which you can use to determine how to make your shop rank high on google. One of the good things about this tool is that you can pull information such as the keywords which people are using to find your page on the internet, you can also see which of your products are ranking best on Google hence, optimize, using such keywords to attract more customers. To learn more about how to use Google webmaster, read this beginner’s guide by Neil Patel.

 

Pop up Creators

Have you ever been to an online shop and while browsing you saw a pop up that required some form of action from you, perhaps to prompt you to sign up for their newsletter or perhaps even offer you a gift to sign up, these are pop up forms that are used for collecting information or even informing visitors to the shop of a promotion going on in your store. A good recommendation for these type of pop-ups is Privy. Privy gives you the opportunity to integrate a pop-up flyer or form on your shop. You can use these pop-ups for different things like announcing a sale, collecting information and even automating your email series once someone signs up

 

Live chat provider:

Live Chat provider is an equivalent of store attendant in your shop, if you use an online shop provider like Wix, you will be able to enable this feature for free. With this feature, you can answer questions from anyone who is visiting your store for the first time and needs clarity. Some people don’t like to write emails, so this is the closest you will get to talking to a customer one on one. If your Live chat is on, you can see its notice on your phone that someone is currently in your store, you can even start the chat by asking how you may help the person just like you would have in person. Your ability to answer your customer’s questions immediately means that they are able to make better decisions as concerns your product.

 

Smartlook: Your greatest asset on my list of must-have tools

Have you ever wished you knew your customers’ navigation journey in your online store, you wish you had an online CCTV on that will help you know what your customers are searching for and what actions they took, before leaving your shop. The best tool to use is Smartlook. Smartlook records your online store and is able to show you the different actions your visitors took before they left your store.

They record how long they stayed in your shop, from where you are able to see, what your customers struggled with before they left or bounced. This is a good tool that provides you with feedback in a way that no other tool will. Smartlook has both a paid feature and a free feature. If you are not able to afford the paid feature, you can use the free one, Its cool, the only problem with using the free feature is that you are not able to make use of the extended capabilities like heatmaps and events. You are also restricted to 10 visitors per day which means you do not have an overall outlook on what your customers are doing. To sign up for Smartlook, click here

 

Trello a Must have tool:

Trello is a tool you can use to project manage not only your online shop but also your entire life. You can create different boards and use the features available to plan out your projects from Product research to the last post on your Blog. It’s a useful tool if you have to work in teams. Even if it’s only you that runs the store, you will find it very useful.

 

Canva:

Oh canva, what would I do without you?. Some Bloggers lives will be over without canva Lol, just kidding, but canva is a resourceful tool for creating Pins that you use to add pictures to your blog posts about your products, combine Canva with Pixabay( a free online picture repository) and you have a winner. That is why I added it to my list of must-have tools in this post.

I  love Canva because you can use it to produce a variety of things like Printables, worksheets, templates, Logos, Headers. They also provide you with thousands of Templates to choose from, Canva is not the ultimate when it comes to providing you with a platform for making beautiful Pins but it suffices for a starter like me.

 

Currency converter:

You need this tool because not everyone uses the Dollar currency, now Imagine your products are listed in Dollars and someone who uses Pounds or Lira or other not so popular denomination of currency comes to your store to buy goods, they will be doing a mental calculation of how much your goods costs in their own currency. So why not make it easier for them by providing a currency converter in your online shop, that way they can make decisions easily instead of having to leave your store to go check somewhere else. The most important resource you have in an online shop situation is time to get your customer to check out, if they are not able to do it quickly they will lose interest and not return.

 

Gsuite:

G Suite is your Google docs and the companions which you need for working on your documents. It will also help you to keep them where you can easily access them( the Cloud) since its connected to Google drive. G suite simply makes creating content easy for any blogger or online shop owner. It’s a very resourceful tool on my must-have tools list.

Keywords Everywhere:

This is an online tool that is free and enables you to do your Keyword research as quickly as possible. Just add their chrome extension to your webpage and every word you browse on Google it throws up for you the Keywords that are associated with it, including the competitive index and the pricing each keyword generates. It makes Keyword research easy because you do not have to log into the Google keyword planner. It might not be extensive like semrush and co but it helps you to choose keywords that you will use in optimizing your online shop.

The only thing about this list that I forgot to tell you,  is that you can only implement it in a standalone shops like Wix and Shopify, preferably WiX because their systems make it easy by providing you with a direct integration for all these features or simple ability to integrate  it yourself by adding a code to your online shop. If you want to see a shop I built with the Wix platform click on the picture below

Coffee and tea leaves
Coffeesantea

With the above listed must have tools, you are well on your way to running a successful online store, now over to you what tools did I miss?

Drop your comments below.

How to start an online food restaurant business

Online food restaurant

I have a love-hate relationship with food, while I may love well cooked homemade food, I do not like the cooking aspect of it. I love to experiment with food but I simply do not like to have to cook every day.

The little cooking skills I ever had had to be upgraded by my hubby after I married him. Till today he is still a better cook than I am. I come from that part of the world were cooking homemade meals is a must, of course, we can eat out once in a while but home cooking is a must for us.

While I love the fact that I get to cook what my little ones eat and hence ensure that they eat nutritionally balanced meals. I find that I struggle a lot with being creative with their meals. This is where I know I would not mind having the services of an online food restaurant which is what preempted this post on how to start an online food restaurant

An online food restaurant is basically a way of serving homemade meals to people without the necessary stress of putting down huge amounts of money to own a physical restaurant. I like to think that most businesses we have in brick and mortar can also be run online, that’s why I am tooting this idea.

Now to run an online restaurant, there is a key skill which you must have, that is selling skill or marketing skills depending on what divide you belong to. Your ability to sell your food ideas and draw in your customers will make the difference in your business, since its basically online without a physical storefront.

Before we delve into the methodologies for starting an online we need to outline some crucial tips that are necessary

Crucial Tips necessary for an online food restaurant

1 Legal requirements: Most cities have very strict regulations when it comes to food business, so you must ensure that you have your Licenses, permits and regulations looked after before you venture into this business. This is because legal trouble is the last thing you need when you already have a business booming.  Don’t think that because it’s online, it does not matter. It really matters because you will be cooking food which will be sold to strangers so make sure you have your bases covered.

2: Understand your market: For you to be successful in your online restaurant, you have to have a good understanding of your market. Because you are selling food, your business is still location specific. You can’t send cooked food to another state so you have to understand what the needs of your immediate neighborhood and be ready to meet those needs.

If you are living in a neighborhood where everyone love to cook their own food, you may find that your market may be tough because you have to cook an exceptionally good meal to make them to decide to order yours instead of cooking theirs. Statistics show that a ordering for food online is much more prevalent amongst millennials, so be sure to include this group in your market assessment.

3: Your costs matter: Cooking is a very interesting skill but you have to know that running a restaurant business has nothing to do with cooking, it will look like it’s a joke but seriously, your major business is marketing and drawing in and satisfying your customers. It’s the cook’s job to make sure the cooking is well done.  This probably means that you may have to hire a personal cook from the word go, If you are not careful about your costs, you may find yourself spending more than you are making.

Having mentioned this 3 crucial tips, we can now go on to look at different ways you can run an online restaurant food business.

Different ways you can run an online food restaurant business

When we talk about food business from home ideas, there are various ways you can make your business valuable and make money from it. You can call it the different arms or different ways to make money from the online food restaurant business and you will not be far from it.

-Sell fully cooked 3- 5-course meals

-Sell only sauces and soups

-Sell caned personal recipe homemade sauce

-Make food for group gatherings

-Get pre-orders from offices or business places.

-Sell baked goods

Tools you will need to start up your online food restaurant Business

A website: This Is basically like your shop front, the first experience people will ever have of your meals is the picture of your meals so make sure you have a well-built website that showcases what you have to offer.

I would always go with the Wix website builder because it’s basically a drag and drop website builder, very easy to manipulate and use. It does not require much technical expertise, so long as you can drag and drop parts of the website, you are in business. Plus it also offers integrations for marketing an online business. To get a Wix website, click here.

A good Camera is your Friend: In this case, you can’t possibly run an online food restaurant without your own pictures because people will buy only what appeals to their visual senses before they even taste it. So you are the best food photographer your business can have. Be ready to take pictures of your finished meals or even prep processes in other to entice people to buy from you. You can get a good quality camera such as canon, they are the best when it comes to picture quality.

Content marketing: Be willing to market your food business through the written word such as blogging, social media posts, and even online quizzes, this will help you to create an online audience that appreciates what you have to offer.

How to launch your Online Food restaurant Business 

After you have put all this aforementioned in place, create a launching program and launch your online food restaurant. Because food is often what people like to taste before they agree to give you a review, you can choose to open up by having an in-house physical open day where people can walk in and try your meals.

Try offering buffet style servings to showcase your products and give the people opportunity to critic and also review your food options. It will also give you the opportunity to collect their information such as emails and preferences so that you can build your email list.

One thing which I will not overlook in building an online food restaurant business is the need to connect with people physically, so I will advise that you have a once a month pop up restaurant kind of treat where customers can book their orders in advance and then walk in to have a dine in.

It will help them to know what it feels like to be served by you, it will also create more avenues to relate with your customers and also meet fresh customers base that you may not be aware of.

Coffee lovers travelers bundle

1-Start Blogging about it:

In this age, we are in, you start talking about your business before you have started the business, you get the drift, right. The idea is to create awareness and build anticipation about your product even before it has landed. That way you make people expectant of your D- day.

You can create that awareness through Blogging, social media posts, hand fliers and even local announcements in your local newspapers.

This will help people to be aware that a new business is about to start off. Because you are selling food online, you are to ensure that your Online website is very locally optimized to avoid getting orders from out of state.

2-Pick a date for the In-house Pop up restaurant style meetup:

It will be wonderful if you plan all my launch strategy around this idea because it will be a time for people to get to meet with you, connect with you and also have a feel of what It means to buy from you.

It’s important that you make a big deal about it, go out of your way to invite people to your open-air dining so that you can gather as much patronage as possible. Offcourse It will be nice to choose to launch in the summertime when the weather is beautiful and people are willing to go out.

Be sure that your launch day meals feature the varieties you have to offer and also ensure you announce your future menus so that people can be on the lookout for it.

Use your launch day to connect with business owners who have small groups of staff who will normally buy from food from others and entice them with the prospect of a meal that is readily home cooked and made especially for them and delivered right to their office. Highlight your unique service offerings and let them know how buying from you could be the best decision they will make.

3-Online marketing:

i Create a Buzz online

Make sure that you are also consistently creating a buzz online, you don’t want people thinking you are the brick and mortar type of restaurant, you want them to know you are mainly an online restaurant type so ensure you are directing all your offline efforts online also.

ii-Advertise on Social Media

Create your customer avatar and reach out to your persona online via advertisements on Facebook and Instagram, using the features which are available there to target your location and target market. This will help you to attract your ideal customers to your website.

iii-Build your email list

Have a landing page for email collections, you can’t have an online food restaurant business without an email list provider so be sure that you have that handy and then offer people a gift for their emails.

It could be food recipes or even meal packages in exchange for their emails. You can actually tie your open day invitations to this aspect, that is,  exchange their email address for an invitation to the open day activities.

IV-Provide an opportunity for online ordering and make sure your website is user-friendly.

I know this idea looks basic I mean what is the use of having an online restaurant without a provision for ordering right? but it will shock you that some people just drop a phone number hoping that people will call in.

One thing you should know about online business is that it takes perhaps less than a minute for people to decide that the effort to reach you is not worth it if you have a difficult layout that makes it cumbersome to make orders.

To take care of this aspect, please ensure that there are different ways of ordering your food.

This may include, an order button, a booking button, a toll-free number they can call to make orders or even a texting service with codes for different food options, this way the customer can easily choose whichever suits them.

Statistics show that the ease in ordering food online contributes to how successful your online restaurant will be.

V-List your Restaurant in Online directories

Ensure that you list your online food restaurant on local business directories that are online, that way if people are new in town and are looking for where to dine or how to get their food, your business will pop up. An example of such directories is Yelp, thefork, tripadvisor and Manta.

After putting all these in place, you can then go ahead to launch your business.

Do you have any other ideas on how to launch a restaurant online? drop your comments below.

6 secrets about Printables Business you should know

6 secrets about Printables business

In my post the Ultimate guide to a Printables business, I wrote extensively about how to start a home business selling different types of printables. If you want to know what types of software to use and where you could sell your Printable designs then get to that post and read it.

In this post, I am going to share with you 6 secrets about a Printables business that you should know. I will be dealing with such questions as; how to make printables that sell, what are the key things to look out for in making printable designs so as to ensure that your designs are popular. Finally, I will also deal with the best selling digital items on Etsy.

Some people have often asked the question how much money can you make from selling Printables ?and I often think, what limit is there to the designs that we see daily, if there is no limit to what you see as designs daily, whether its on paper or canvas or even on clothing materials, mugs and beddings, then there is no end to how much you can really make. It might not be a get rich quick scheme, but if you are consistent and people love your work. You will definitely make a living out of it.

Printables designs have been with us since man learned how to draw, the advent of design software has made it easier for people to sit down on their computer, design stuff or even think up a quote and create very beautiful designs with it. And as long as men always seek to beautify their personal spaces then you are in business, so there is really no end to how much you can make from a printable designs business.

For the sake of not throwing around figures, I know that Sarah Titus makes close to 50,000 dollars per month selling her printable designs and also binders from her online store. This I believe she has probably surpassed by now because I am on her email list and I get her emails. So I know for sure that you can make a killing just using your design skills.

Now on to the Secrets about Printables Business you should know

1-Your design is key

The first of the secrets about Printables business is your design. A digital printable is a piece of art or quote or even a binder that is first seen before it is bought, this means that you have to have a design that is appealing to the eye. If you make designs that are not appealing, then you may find it difficult to convince the buyer to buy. Therefore ensure that your designs are appealing visually.

Make use of light colors that are bright and easily noticeable, ensure that you leave lots of white space to enable contrast to play a big role in getting peoples attention to your printables.

I will always advise too that you keep your designs simple and classic. People love it when a design is simple and easy on the eyes. A jumpy graphic that gives people a lot of movements here and there may not necessarily work, but to be fair, this is my personal preference and I have also seen a simple quote sell out on Amazon.

 

The content of your designs.

The 2nd of the secrets about Printables business is your content is important.

A printable design is used to convey a message be it a wall art, a quote or a binder, the most important this is that the content is top notch and superb. For example, a kid printable wall art should have friendly kids artworks that appeal to kids, it should not be complex and difficult to understand.

Depending on the functionality you had in mind, your design should deliver the message loud and clear. For example, I love to encourage people via my coffeesantea product, so I created a wall art quote that you can put in a coffee shop that is based on both coffee an encouragement.

I posted it on my Instagram page and got a lot of comments and reactions to that post. That’s is because the message was loud and clear. People felt encouraged just reading it, and it made me feel like I had made an impact with this design

You can get this wall art for just 2.99 British pounds- Click here to buy it

if you need a table framed picture, it can be adjusted to fit in a frame too.

Espresso coffee quote Printable wall art

3-Marketing:

The 3rd part of the secrets about Printables business is strong marketing skills.

After designing your Printables, you will want to sell it right, the secret to marketing your printable designs is first knowing who you designed it for, that way you can carve out your target market and begin to work towards selling to them.

Because printable designs are a highly visual product, I will advise that you ensure that the first platform you hit is Instagram, this because you get to display beautiful pictures of your designs, while also using the right hashtags to attract your consumers. Another place where you should also be active is Pinterest, this is because 70 percent of printable business consumers are mostly women, whether it has to do with kids, blogging or even binders for the home. Women are more likely to buy from you than men, so ensure that you go to platforms where they are available and be there. Plus Pinterest is a good traffic source for your business too, you don’t want to miss out on that.

 

4-Choosing the right Niche:

There is nothing like trying to be everything to everyone, it will likely not work, except you are a magician, that is why this 4th secret is very important.  Of all the points I have mentioned about the secrets of Printables business, this is the one that takes precedence as it sets the tone for the rest.

It’s important that you choose the right niche if you want to make an impact in your printables business. If you want to know the types of niches available in the Printables business, then you can read it up on my previous post.

You can choose to combine two niches if they complement each other for example, mom and baby niche or Business printables and home business designs. The most important thing is that you understand your market and you know how to find them. I had already mentioned some niches in my previous post so I will not repeat them here but if you want to know the trending ones this year here it is

Planners: They are a huge market right now on Etsy and if you are someone who is just starting out, I will recommend you try your hand on these

-Calendar Planners

-Blog post planners

-Monthly and weekly planners

-Fitness and health trackers

-Homemaking Planners

-Meal Planners.

-Hand lettering Binders

 

5-Functionality

The   5th secret about Printables business you should know is functionality. The thing you have to consider as a printable business owner or someone who want to start one is how functional is your printables business. Can people easily understand how to use it? Does your marketing strategy convey to the users what this planner or printable design will do for them? You have to be willing to demonstrate how your printable designs can be used so that people can see the beauty.

For example, if you have made a wall art, you must show how beautiful it looks by showing a picture of the wall art on the wall. That way, the buyer looks at it and knows that he or she will like to have such a wall art hanging in the house.

To achieve this effect, you do not necessarily have to hang the picture yourself and snap it, you can use a software that helps you to achieve that effect If you wish.  A good software that enables you to do so is wallapp.

You can also inform them where it can be used and also provide whatever help that is necessary to make it more appealing. If you are making a binder, have you designed your binder in such a way that it has enough offset for punching the holes for the spiral binding? These are the considerations you should make while displaying your designs or demonstrating your product.

In designing a product that must sell, you have to do whatever possible to get your buyers attention to the point of purchase.

6-Customer service is King.

Because you are selling a digital art does not mean you should just stick it there and expect the buyers to figure out how to access your product after they have paid, that is why this last of the secrets about Printables business is very important. If you have worked so hard to attract a customer, don’t mess it up with poor customer service.

You should have clear written instructions on how to access their file download after payment. You should also provide necessary technical help if they find it difficult to access your product after they have paid, an excellent customer service will keep them coming back to your store, plus they will give you reviews that will convince other people to buy from you.

Qualities of a Printables design that sells

-Beautiful design and font

-A clear demonstration of product use

-Classic and simplicity

-Funny and creative designs

-Good use of color complements

Key things to help make your designs popular

-Offer Freebies

-Offer little to nothing  some of your designs, for example, create 1 dollar deals in your online store so that if someone is just browsing through but don’t want to make a big purchase they can purchase the small-priced ones

-Create a buzz by collaborating with other people to launch your collection

-Look for ways creative ways of putting your designs out there, like making designs that are catchy and fun and posting daily on your Instagram page.

Having learned about the 7 secrets about your Printables business, I hope you implement them and be on your way to creating a profitable online business via the selling of printables

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