How I Developed My Online Business [And How You Can Too]

Kumar Gauraw

Many people ask how did I start making money online and if I could help. I wanted to share some of my experiences while building my online business and to share how I didΒ  it.
Starting Business Online-Businessman-Cutting-Ribbon
I have been an online marketer for at least 5 years now with a thriving web development business, a managed WordPress hosting business, and social media marketing services business. Today, I do small-to-large scale website design/development projects for professionals and companies with an offshore development center in India.

It amazes many people when I say that I didn’t know the difference between a static web page and a blog post. I was already making a six figure income through my profession which had nothing to do with online marketing or websites.

That means, I didn’t have to learn this if I didn’t want to. I didn’t even have an idea that I could have a business like this one day.

How Did I Get Good At This Stuff?

The only reasonΒ  I wanted to start my website was the desire to work on my personal branding. Facebook was new, social media marketing was catching up fast and I didn’t want to be an average Joe posting status messages.

I wanted to create an online identity. That was my motivation to overcome my technical limitations.

I’ve shared this before. The guy I was about to hire to design my website had quoted me about $500 for a 3 page website because he was going to do it using static HTML coding.

Well, I just got lucky and somebody at work told me that my guy was doing what people used toΒ  do before there was any WordPress (20th century stuff!)

That’s it. I decided to stop beating around the bushes and buckle up do it myself. A competitive spirit and my IT background helped.

I Learned By Doing It

You might have heard many people say that we learn the best when we actually do the work. I have seen many people and I have experienced this to be true myself.

It also came naturally to me because the only way you succeed in the IT industry (means you can keep your job,) is by doing things you have never done before. There is always something new thrown at you and you are expected to deliver.

So, I treated my pursuit to personal branding the same way. Here is what I did:

  • I learned the basics of HTML, CSS and did some practical practice. One of my favorite places to go and I had a question about this stuff was http://www.w3schools.com/.
  • I learned about WordPress by reading about it on blogs, watching training videos and visiting forums.
  • Started my first free WordPress blog at WordPress.com which became my first playground to play with basics.
  • I learnt basics of SEO the same way although testing what I learnt took time because you really have to wait a few days for Google to show the results of your work.
  • I practiced and practiced and practiced until I felt confident to start my self-hosted WordPress website.
  • I repeated the same process. I learnt and then implemented what I learnt, analyzed the results and adjusted things again to see better results.

Even today, I continue learning new things, new strategies and new technologies the same way and I think that learning while you are doing is the best way to learn anything.

How Did I Get My First Client?

I have discussed this a couple of times on this blog as well and I find that relevant for this post as well.

I had no intention of building any online business on web development, web hosting, or social media marketing. I was just working on my personal branding and focusing on my off-line businesses.

However, one day in a networking event, a lady that I had exchanged numbers with a couple of weeks earlier, came up to me and asked if I would help her build her personal brand on social media and tell her my charges.

That was the first time somebody, including myself, thought that I had something which others wanted and she wanted to pay for it.

Long story short, I began helping her set up her Facebook pages, Twitter handles and also helped her set up her first WordPress blog where she wanted to share her YouTube videos. I charged her a nominal fee and that day marked my beginning as an online entrepreneur.

I Started Teaching What I Was Learning

This is another one of my strengths.

When I graduated from college, I did not know much about Java so I decided to join a training institution in Bangalore, India as it has a Java teaching faculty. It was a challenging assignment, and I soon realized that people who had taken my interview knew less than I did about Java.

That boosted my self-image for sure. But, that also tells you how I got the job πŸ™‚

Well, my competitive spirit came in handy. I started to read, research and practice before every session I taught in classrooms. Six months later, I got so good at it that people came asking to enroll in next batches of Java classes only if I was going to be the faculty.

Was it a proud moment for me, or what?

My online businesses have also grown because I built my personal brand as an entrepreneur, as an expert who loves to teach good stuff. I began teaching what I was discovering, sharing what I was learning and tips that other people were looking for.

The more I shared, the more business I attracted. I continue to do that and my online business keeps growing and expanding.

I Started Giving Away Without Expecting

This is the hardest part of entrepreneurship for many. It would have been hard for me too, if it wasn’t for the incredible mentorship I received early on in my career.

There were instances when good people were struggling with technical challenges with their websites, plugins, WordPress issues, social media management etc. They could not afford to hire someone, even if you found somebody who could help.

I took those opportunities to help those people – many times at no charge. Some of them became good friends and an admirer. Others, although no more in touch, gave their blessings before they moved on πŸ™‚

These acts, although they did not generate business revenue, did help create some good karma. Probably that is the reason God gives me more business than I can handle sometimes.

To this day, I continue to help people who I find struggling and unable to get any professional help. It’s something I really enjoy doing.

This selfless service also helps me gain more knowledge, more issues and fine-tune my marketing strategy. It helps me grow my online businesses even more.

I Stayed Consistent No Matter What

A lot of people get started with good intentions and to some of the things I shared in this post. In fact, some of them do way more than I did in my beginning as a blogger and as an online entrepreneur.

The problem, however, is that they just can’t stay consistent. They start to lose the dream the moment they have their first challenge. They begin to question themselves and the process as they face a few roadblocks.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of education.

I always remember and teach that anybody can start something. But, it takes a winner to finish it. In most cases, that’s the difference between a winner and a loser.

I stayed consistent whether or not I had a job situation. I stayed consistent whether or not I had a family situation. I stayed consistent whether or not I have a health challenge. I continue to stay consistent and not question the process because I know that success without hard work and consistency doesn’t happen.

You Can Do It Too

There are many schools of thought and people are successful in their own ways. However, these are the ways that have worked for me. These are the things I did and this is how I went from nobody to become somebody on the Internet. This is how I started to build and continue to grow my online business.

I believe that if you are planning to start a business online, my experience can be helpful to you and if nothing else, I hope that the message of consistency stays with you and that you are able to make it happen for yourself.

You Turn To Share Now

Do you have an online business? What are some of the tips would you like to share with my readers from your experience?

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Did my story help you get any ideas to help you succeed in your business?

Please share your thoughts and add value to this discussion. I would love to know how you think on this topic. Thank you kindly!

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Kumar Gauraw

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Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

19 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...


  1. Twitter:
    Hi Kumar,

    What an interesting post! There is nothing like sharing our story to inspire others. When it comes down to it, it is all about learning, and keep on learning no matter what.

    You have given without expectation! That is the key to good Karma. I’ve had my own off line business for decades and always have done the same thing. This only brought wonderful clients to me that I care about and they care about me. Now, does it get any better than that?

    Your story has made me think of how I used my off line experience and repeated it online. Actually the main reason I came online was to be a forerunner for my clients that needed to set up a side business, a dream, or just about anything they could do to earn more money or replace their jobs that they were unhappy with.

    When some of them did so, there was no greater joy!

    -Donna
    donna merrill Recently Posted: Building TrustMy Profile


    • Twitter:
      Hi Donna,

      There is no better joy than to see someone grow, more forward because you inspired them. This is what I think real success is all about.

      I am glad that you not only related with my story, also enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your journey online. You are a great example!

      Regards,
      Kumar
      Kumar Gauraw Recently Posted: How I Developed My Online Business [And How You Can Too]My Profile


  2. Twitter:
    Hi Kumar,

    I agree with Donna – nothing works better than sharing your own life story to inspire and motivate people πŸ™‚

    You surely have gone through a lot and learnt along the way, to reach where you are today. All of this takes hard work, dedication, commitment, and consistent effort.

    When you teach what you learn, you become better in it, something that works even with teachers, having been one πŸ™‚ I guess that helps you in your online life too, if you have to teach someone about business, blogging, or anything related.

    Yes, when you reach out and help others without expecting anything in return, you connect at a better level with them and they start relating to you, which you did in your earlier years, and that’s where it all started working for you. Very similar to mine, something I do now through my blog, just help people. I can imagine the excitement to get your first paid assignment too, having gone through the same phase years back.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Have a nice week ahead πŸ™‚
    Harleena Singh Recently Posted: How To Cope With Teenage Pregnancy As A ParentMy Profile


    • Twitter:
      Hi Harleena,

      Success principles do not change and your comment proves it one more time. You did the same thing and you received the same results πŸ™‚ Donna said the same thing already. People who give away selflessly, receive even more and people who are always thinking “What is in it for me?” are those who always find dissatisfaction and frustration. It’s amazing equation!

      Thank you for stopping by and adding value. I know you do a tremendous job with your blog and you are helping some many people think right through your awesome posts.

      Have a successful new week!

      Regards,
      Kumar
      Kumar Gauraw Recently Posted: How I Developed My Online Business [And How You Can Too]My Profile


  3. Twitter:
    Hi Kumar

    Very inspirational post with lot of messages to learn both for new and struggling bloggers.

    First time I read a success story free from any rhetoric and any fairy tale in it. You never mentioned in the post that:
    1) No one properly guided you
    2) You wandered a lot before becoming somebody
    3) You did a lot of mistakes
    4) You had wrong concepts of online business in the beginning
    5) You could have done a lot more if someone would have guided you.

    Instead of this you very innocently narrated your story as

    1) Your learn a few things formally
    2) You developed your free online hub
    3) You got the advance knoweldge
    4) You got the first business order and came to know you have value to sell
    5) You stayed consistent and worked hard

    How simple is your way of narration of your struggle that must had lot of hurdles, problems, frustrations and desperations. But this is the art of a great online marketing he tells his name to others in quite an inspirational way.

    You did a great a job and I need not to mention here what I am doing with regard to online business. If I do I will spoil the whole taste of motivation I got after reading this wonderful post.

    Thank you buddy.
    Mi Muba Recently Posted: How to find serious online buyers in a crowd?My Profile


    • Twitter:
      Hi Mi,

      I would love to hear your story, what you have done and how you are doing what you are doing. May be, I can pick up a few great stuff from your story because I believe in learning from people who are in the zone making it happen.

      May be, some day you will share the story on your blog or in one or other form. When you do, please do let me know.

      Thank you for dropping by and your kind words of appreciation.

      Regards,
      Kumar
      Kumar Gauraw Recently Posted: How To Get Up Early And Get An Enormous Edge Over Rest Of The WorldMy Profile


  4. Twitter:
    Hey Kumar,

    Wow, thanks for sharing your story because I think I’ve heard bits and pieces but not everything all in one place. Sharing your story though really can help others relate, Donna is right about that.

    That’s the way I learn too, I’m a hands on person. You can try to explain it to me but I’m a doer. Same thing with directions. I can get me there but I can’t tell you which road to turn on but I can tell you how many streets it is, how many lights or stop signs you have to go through, etc. Weird but what works for me might not work for others.

    I personally love to learn and I did the same thing when I was in corporate America. I volunteered for new jobs because I wanted to learn and that was one more thing on my resume that would get my foot into the next door. I’m no dummy, they love people who are motivated.

    Seven years later and here I am sharing with people how to build a blog too. I might not know as much coding as you do but I taught myself the basics to get me by and when I bought Thesis I taught myself how to set it up and configure it as well. So many people will tell you today that you don’t need to waste time on things like that, just hire someone, but like your experience with the HTML guy who wanted to charge you $500 to build a site! Too many people get ripped off and I want to know what’s involved so I can make sure others aren’t taken advantage of as well.

    Thank you Kumar for sharing this with us and I hope you’re thrilled with where you are today in your business. I’m sure it’s booming as ever.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne Recently Posted: Why You Are Not Welcome On My BlogMy Profile


    • Twitter:
      Wow! Thank you for sharing your story a little bit Adrienne!
      Not having knowledge is definitely dangerous and hiring someone to do the job when you know what the job is – it’s not a bad idea. For example, I do have a team offshore in India which does my web development tasks. I know everything that we are doing as a team. I know who is working on what. But, I don’t waste my time sitting and doing everything. Since my team knows that I know the stuff, they work with me sincerely and come to me for guidance when there is a challenge.

      So, while I do recommend not doing everything by yourself and burn yourself out. However, I also recommend to learn how to keep a tab on the work if someone else is doing because if you don’t, chances of getting ripped off gets higher πŸ™‚

      Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts through your experience again Adrienne! You added great value through your comment.

      Regards,
      Kumar
      Kumar Gauraw Recently Posted: Website Setup Education Online – A Powerful Course!My Profile


  5. Twitter:
    Hi Kumar,

    Wow, you are fantastic! Anyone becoming good at java, CSS or HTML impresses me to no end.

    What you’re saying about consistency is so true and works for everything. If we do not keep on keeping one we may never succeed. But if we do, however, the rewards are great.

    Reading this made me visualized the things I’ve got good at in my life and there are the ones I’ve never gave up on. The one that I keep on improving relentlessly.

    Consistency is very important for anyone working online maybe more than anywhere else. Those who are not consistent tend to disappear after a while.

    Great post πŸ™‚
    Sylviane Nuccio Recently Posted: 4 Extra Juicy Tips Before You Order Your WritingMy Profile

  6. Hi Kumar,
    What an Interring post,
    I love to entire post. really great hard work.
    to see your work. I can say. everything is possible but little hard work.
    I really share my short story. I work in my initial days. after 5-6 month hard work, now I am happy with Good Income. and Now i work gradually and now I have no tension about my work.
    Areesha Noor Recently Posted: Good morning quotes for facebookMy Profile


  7. Twitter:
    Hi, Kumar,
    As many said already, thank you so much for sharing your story and the way you added values to many people. I can testify who you are, though we did not meet face to face. I truly love your story. It reminded me one of my life motto’ β€œLife is all about Sharing what you (HAVE-DO-KNOW) in order to make a difference in someone else’s life.
    Helping others is the best secret people do not know. But it is true that when you give, you are likely to get back!
    While writing this comment, I remembered a book which can also be great for your readers “give and take by Adam Grant.
    Once again, thank you,
    Charmant


  8. Twitter:
    Hello Kumar,

    Thanks for sharing your story here. This is really inspiring. I am very new to this blogging industry and establishing my blog now. I came into this blogging field through inspiration of fellow bloggers like you and Harleena.

    Somehow, I am also providing my online services to other marketers but, i called it freelancing. Not yet established my online business like you. But, I can plan for one after reading your great post.

    Hope, I will get success.

    Thanks
    Nisha
    Nisha Pandey Recently Posted: Hostoople VPS Hosting: The Best ever Feature Rich Affordable Hosting You will GetMy Profile


    • Twitter:
      Hello Nisha,

      Glad to meet you and congratulations on setting up your new blog! We all start the same way more or less πŸ™‚

      I will check out your blog soon and find out what freelance services you offer.

      If you need any help, please feel free to ping me.

      Regards,
      Kumar

  9. Hey Kumar,

    The one reason why wanted to connect with you last year was because your were an entrepreneur that happened to be in IT.

    I really like your story, and it goes to show the although someone’s in IT, it doesn’t mean they know everything that is considered technical like learning HTML, Java and CSS. And you’re right, if you’re in IT, you have to be up for any challenges, whether you already know the answer or not. This is how you grow, and it definitely ties into entrepreneurship!

    But I do have to agree that consistency is key when it comes to growing your online business. I have been inconsistent quite a few times and I did pay the cost of it. But we should never let set backs hinder us from going forward. You learn as you go forward, whether you make mistakes or don’t get the results in a certain time period!

    Thanks for the inspiration and I hope you’re having a great week!
    sherman smith Recently Posted: How To Rebuild Traffic After Taking A BreakMy Profile


    • Twitter:
      Hi Sherman,

      Glad to hear from you my friend! You are right about IT. We have to be up to the challenges and deliver. There is ways something new to learn in every new project we undertake.

      Is that awesome or what? This what makes us so different from other industries and that is why salaries in IT is way more than that in other industries.

      Regarding consistency, again, that is the key. You can’t be fired up for a few days and then go in resting mode for a few days and then come back to see if business grew or not. It doesn’t work that way although we would love to have it that way.

      Thanks for stopping by and adding value.

      Regards,
      Kumar


  10. Twitter:
    Hi Kumar,

    You know I am also the one who wanted to know about your success journey.:)

    It’s not only me, most of people want to know about successful people like you. As you have mentioned above to learn about HTML, CSS and some other languages.

    I am trying to know more about PHP now a days. JAVA is not a part of my study yet.

    The way have devoted your time and do hard work to build your online brand is really remarkable.
    I agree that some decisions need to be taken with the time.

    Thanks for this motivational post.

    Have a great weekend.:)

    ~Ravi
    Ravi Chahar Recently Posted: Many Things Which Can Make You look Bad On Twitter : Avoid ThemMy Profile


  11. Twitter:
    Hey Kumar
    What a great story you had.
    Learning IT was scratch is certainly no easy feat. And having learnt Java myself, I have to take my hat off to you. That is hard indeed.
    But it is the way you approached it and did things that I think is important. Learning what you need to, to get you where you needed to go. And then once, you were there, helping others get there too. The work seems to flow naturally from there.
    Although I am not flooded with offers (yet) I imagine with time people approach you for what you know and share and come back for me. That is what blogging is all about!
    ashley
    Ashley Faulkes Recently Posted: Do You Have An Email List Punk? Do Ya?My Profile

  12. Hey All

    I had started my online business but still unsuccessful please help me for the same .

  13. Everyone trying to get into online business. This article is really helpfull to get known how the online system and segment workout. Before stating any business the person should collect detailed information about their business and how they are going to perform action to get their business to the top level.

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