What do you need to start an online business?

Starting an online business can be one big stress fest. You need a company name, some branding, and an online presence that gets you noticed.

So where do you start?

Picking a domain name/company name is the first step to getting online. It is important that you are A-ok with it as this is one of the most important parts of building your online business.

I struggled with this for a long time. I would say it was a good 4 months. I was constantly on Name Boy searching for a domain name and becoming frustrated when all the good ones were taken.

Mind map to get online

Then I tried going with a brand name specialist on Fivver. Getting started I just didn’t have the bucks to hire a brand specialist. But this was inexpensive and I only needed a name.

I answered the questions required for the Fivver gal (who had the best reviews) to get started. 

What type of business am I starting and so on. Paid my money, I think it was about $100.00.

I didn’t like any of them. I thought with about 30 or 40 she provided I was bound to like 1 of them? But no dice.

Back to the drawing board

I went back online and researched some articles.

Quite a few have stated to incorporate keywords of what your business is about into your name. 

I thought of webdesignbyadrianne.com might be a good choice and it was available but my business isn’t designing websites for clients.

Many Google searches led to articles saying to go with your own name, be the face of your brand. Well, not only do I have to spell my first name many times, I also have to spell my last name too.

I did think about “Yo Adrianne”. I love all the Rocky movies, and my spelling is different from Rocky’s wife (God rest her soul), but I wasn’t feeling it in my gut. And it was taken.

I decided I did want to incorporate my first name into my company name. 

Started googling “Designs By Adrianne”, “Adrianne’s Agency”, “Adrianne’s Web” all too specific – my business is about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs create their online space. I was not building an agency or just focusing only on building websites.

Ta Da! Finally came up with by Adrianne.

So how did I decide on by Adrianne? I came across another online entrepreneur who did this. I can’t remember how I stumbled on to her site. I liked it. Simple.

I struggled with this as I felt like I was stealing. But her business is different from mine, and I Googled other names with the word “by” in front and found many others.

So many people who’s first and last name don’t flow (and have 6 syllables or more), have done this.

Problem solved with the name, moving on.

Branding yourself or hire someone

Brand Identity

I am a graphic designer so I decided to create my own logo.

But for entrepreneurs who are not in the design space and don’t have the thousands of dollars to hire a branding agency, where do you start?

First off Logo and Branding are 2 different things.

Logo Design: It is a graphic symbol that represents your company, it is the visual identity of your brand. A logo is a combination of typography, symbol, and color. 

Brand Identity: It is what makes you stand out from other businesses. It is who you are, who you serve, how you communicate your product and message, and what you stand for.

Why is branding important to consumers?

Adrianne, don’t you mean why it’s important to my business?

Yes, branding is important to your business but it needs to focus on your customers too.

According to Purely Branded “…..a brand lives and evolves in the minds and hearts of potential clients.”, “With the infinite number of choices offered to consumers these days, many companies are looking for unique ways to connect emotionally with consumers.”

Branding on a budget

In an article by Blog Hubspot they break it down into 5 Steps. 

  1. Research your audience, value proposition, and competition.
  2. Design the logo and a template for it.
  3. Integrate language you can use to connect, advertise, and embody on social media.
  4. Know what to avoid.
  5. Monitor your brand to maintain its brand identity.

Would you like to try this fun resource? This Visual Brand Quiz by Sibila Ribeiro gets you a 10 page brand style guide.

I took the quiz after I decided on my color palette, font, and design style. It’s pretty spot on, I tell you.

The results were so accurate I was like is she some kind of computer spy? That developed a hacking software that accesses all my Illustrator and Photoshop files on my computer when I take the quiz?

I wish I would have found this when I was choosing my style/colors. It would have saved me loads of time.

Do your research

Google your product or service and research the competition. See what they offer your target audience. 

Never copy, there is always enough business for everyone. Put your own spin on what you offer. What can you do that they can’t?

Create your logo

Research color palettes that align with your business. Is your business fun, conserative, a bakery?

You can find a ton of color ideas on Canva. They are free to join and offer courses in Branding, Graphic Design Basics and Social Media.

You can create a logo on Canva with their design templates or if you would like to invest a small amount of money Here are some links to online logo design companies:

Logo Bee

  • 100% Custom
  • No Clip Art, No Templates
  • Lowest Package Price is $249


  • AI Powered Online Logo Maker
  • Unlimited Revisions
  • Full Ownership of Logo after 1 Year Subscription of $59.88 (Basic)

The Logo Company

  • 5 Logo Designer, 5 Concepts
  • Unlimited Redraws and Revisions
  • Lowest Package Price is $199

Consistency is key

Keep your colors, and design consistent throughout all your assets. Social media posts, website, and printables.

Create your online presence

Build your website

It is so much easier to build your website these days.

You can get started with Squarespace

Or you can use WordPress. I’ve developed a [thrive_2step id=’1399′]FREE GUIDE[/thrive_2step] to easily get you started. It includes info for hosting, choosing a template, plugins and more.

Connect with your audience

You can do this through social media and building an email list.

For building an email list you can get a great downloadable resource from Amy Porterfield. The link also shows a grouping of her podcasts geared to growing your list. 

Know what to say and how to say it

Research the voice of your customer.

What do they struggle with? How can you help them?

Use a language that they understand. This is easily done by getting into facebook groups or following people in your space on instagram. Listen, interact (but don’t be salesy), be helpful.

Keep in mind

The online space changes so quickly.

But the basics never change. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it is not easy building an online business. The tips above are to help you get started.

Don’t waste time overthinking every little thing. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. Keep it simple in the beginning.

You can fine tune along your online journey.

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