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How I Built a Thriving Online Business in 12 Months, With Zero Experience

A lot of people have heard about the “simplicity” of the internet lifestyle and “how easy” it is to make a living online. Some of them are tired of living the 9-5 and others are looking for ways to break free from the shackles of unemployment. Making money online is truly possible for everybody irrespective of whom they are and from where they are in the world but the reality is that a very large percentage of those venturing into online businesses lack what it takes to build a successful business.

Believe me, you might have a lot of knowledge as far as your corporate job is concerned and you might even be someone who is just very intelligent and is promoted every year, but I can assure you, all these has nothing to do with building a thriving online business. In the online business world, we have our own rules, and we play on different grounds compared to those in the corporate world, you have to realize this in order to build a successful online business and this post will be giving you some insights into how I built a thriving online business in 12 months.

You Have to Know Your Audience

It is true that the importance of having a plan should never be underestimated in business but I’d like you to know that knowing your audience is even more important. It doesn’t matter how great your plan is or how renowned your business planner is your plan will be of no effect if it isn’t tailored to your audience and there is no way to tailor a plan to an audience if you hardly know them.

The first step to building a successful online business is to know your audience since every part of your business will be focused on them. The real secret to building successful businesses lies in contributing great value to your market, contributing great value to your audience who will in turn help you make money from your efforts, and there is no how you can help someone you barely know.

There are several ways to know your audience and the first thing to do is have a clear knowledge of what you have to offer. It is your offering that will determine who you will do business with. What you have to offer can also vary depending on so many factors; for example, if you’re a blogger your approach will be different from that of someone who is only selling information products. After knowing what you have to offer, research and take a proper look at some of the top people in your niche offering the same thing, try to examine how they do it and which kind of people they offer their services to, try to know where they spend their top advertising dollars or where they promote their business the most, from this you should be able to know which type of audience they target and start targeting the same.

Differentiate Yourself

By taking a look at my last sentence in the above point you will notice I told you to research and target the same audience as the top people in your industry. My question now is, since this people are the top and most respected in your industry can you truly achieve success by targeting the same audience as them? While this is a complex question the answer is yes depending on so many factors. You should also know that your aim isn’t to create a competition here but to be a better alternative to them.

The only key to succeeding when you’re in the same niche as so many highly successful people is differentiation. You have to prove to people that you’re completely different and are the best when compared to them both in your approach, how you deliver, how you gain customers and some other things like that. If these top experts in your niche are used to writing short filler posts everyday why not focus your efforts on writing highly comprehensive, detailed articles once or twice a week? If these people are used to getting the bulk of their traffic via Google Adwords and the likes why not focus your efforts on guest blogging and SEO? If these people are used to utilizing strategies that helps them make quick cash why not follow an approach that gives value first and make money later?

At this point I will also like you to know that, differentiation or not, there is nothing called overnight success. The fact that your approach is different doesn’t mean you should get results immediately and we all know that the patient dog eats the fattest bone. Some of these top people in your niche didn’t achieve any result for years after starting their business and you should also prepare for the worse, the difference is that you differentiating your business will have an impact on your business and accelerate your success but it wouldn’t guarantee overnight success.

Identify Your Business

Or let other people do it for you…

If I were you I wouldn’t leave the fate of my business into other people’s hand but will determine its future myself. The name of your business has a great impact on how far you can go, the website address and tagline of your blog has a huge impact on how successful you can be. You don’t just need to build a copycat business but rather build something millions of people will happily identify with.

When I first started in the blogosphere I started with a domain name called “”. I didn’t know anything about that industry when I started but after four months of building my blog to a stage (3k monthly visitors, Google pagerank 4, Alexa rank 100,000k etc.) I realized that the data entry industry is one labeled as a scam industry and no matter how hard I try I won’t achieve success with such a domain name. It was time for change and this kind of change was really difficult to make but due to me knowing the importance of a name and how it can affect my success I went through with it and created “”. 11 months later, I’m so happy I did it.

Another thing you should also realize is that your tagline is also very important. I mostly talk about building a successful online business here but I do get a lot of emails from entrepreneurs, my blog is being categorized with entrepreneurs and I have been ranked on some lists with some of the best young entrepreneurs in the blogging industry. Why? Because of the name and tagline of this blog. The title of this blog references young entrepreneurs and the tagline also does the same, the impact this has is that the first thing anybody who comes to this blog will think is that this is a young entrepreneur blog (it is in some sense) and they will treat it like that.

Your business doesn’t need to be static and it can be really complex if you’re blogging about more than one subject (blogging, make money online, social media, SEO, getting traffic etc.) but you don’t need people to make the conclusion for you, you can easily do that for them by naming your business so instead of having party A call you a “blogging tips blog” and party B calling you a “make money online blog” and party C calling you a “website traffic blog” you can easily make everything easy for them and call your blog a “blogging tips blog”. Blogging entails the whole process of building a successful business which includes getting traffic, social media etc. and entrepreneurship entails the process of building a successful business and promoting your business (in which case I’m justified).

Market Your Business Like You Have No Other Choice

Exceptional content is great but marketing is what makes the difference. Your content is useless if it isn’t read, no matter how great it is, and your service is useless if no one is using it.

One of the major things I did with this blog is market it as much as I can. I wrote a lot of guest posts for other blogs, I tried to be the first to comment on some of the big blogs and I sometimes enlisted the help of my friends to help me spread the word about my content. Marketing is what differentiates a successful business from a failed one so you should always do your best to market your online business.

It doesn’t matter whether it is paid or free, as long as it is an effective form of marketing make sure you do your best to gain that first, few, loyal fans that will do anything to spread the word about your business and your business will easily take off from there.

If you love this post you can follow me on twitter here.

Category: blogging

39 Comments on "How I Built a Thriving Online Business in 12 Months, With Zero Experience"

  1. Bojan says:

    Differentiate Yourself could be the easiest part. If people just trusted that they are valuable and that they have years of experience behind themselves that they can share, it can put them a notch in front of everyone who are trying to be someone else.

    You are differentiating yourself, simply by being yourself.

    • Marlee says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more Bojan. I think people are just really afraid to inject who they are into what they do. Ironically it’s one of the best…and easiest ways to set yourself apart.

      Congrats on your continued growth Onibalusi!

      • ipad skins says:

        Yes, marlee. You are absolutely right. I dont like to agree with Bojan.

    • PRINCE says:

      i will like to agree with you Bojan , being different is the spice of life.In my website i tried so hard to make sure that i become different.Good post by the way

    • semmy @ Make Money Online says:

      I agree with you Bojan, we’re unique person. Congratulation on your growing your business Oni.

  2. Kenny Voon @ IMoney2day says:

    I believe differentiation is important not only in online business, but it applies to all business.

    Only through differentiation we see Pepsi can conquer a market share with Cola.

  3. dee oneal says:

    I agree with this article. I always enjoyed reading your new post every time I visit here. Your post has a lot of inspiration and I agree with them most of the time. Just like this one we know that there are successful website owners who actually start from zero and look at them now they are indeed successful. Here it only shows that if you want something and your eager to reach your goal then you’ll persevere hard to achieve it. You are one of those successful and I’m happy for you.

  4. Samuel says:

    Awesome post bro, it’s always good to know your audience, because without that building an online business won’t be easy. “stand out from the rest” is the way to go. Be yourself and trust your guts. Great marketing plan is the soul of a business. Without that there’s no business. Thanks for sharing.

  5. 4 well-explained point Dele. Thanks for sharing your in-depth knowledge about successful online venture.

  6. Andreas says:

    You must have had experience and a passion in writing, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to post over 200 top quality guest blogs within the first year.

  7. Daisy @ Tinnitus Treatment says:

    Another excellent post Oni,
    Thinking out of the box is what required as you quoted in this post. I think the thing which have benefited you most is guest blogging. You have created a buzz of guest blogging and that’s what attracts people like me to your blog.

    BTW i have noticed that you have started to write a bit longer posts than that you were previously writing on this. I would like to know your thoughts about it, Like was it intentional from your side to write longer posts or is it that writing has became as a back of your hand?

  8. I totally agreed with you here. First you need to identify your business and then you need to do proper study about it and find out what extra you can do to be successful and then implement it.

  9. Ben says:

    Blogging is a long-term venture. Anyone can do well with it if they provide good content, and stick it out for the long haul. Doing just a little bit of traffic generation and marketing each day, will add up over time. Guest posts, and blog commenting are a great way to start.

  10. Dave Grimes II says:

    These bits of advice are echoed all around the Internet marketing world… but most bloggers don’t go into the with the depth you have here. This is an excellent resource. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Oni – I get what you are saying when it comes to writing great content and distinguishing yourself form the rest.

    I’ve writing some pretty great content that is now being discovered by top entrepreneurs in the Industry and these guys are not only linking to my blog but I am also getting requests for guest blogs, interviews and just yesterday I received a request for marketing add space on my blog.

    I am sure I’ve achieved a turning point in my blog recently but like you said it did not happen over night. The work that has gone into building my blog, building the content and getting it noticed has taken an immense amount of work.

    I’m just getting started however and I’ve gotten the train moving down the tracks. It’s full steam ahead!

  12. Bussiness Matters says:

    the hardest one is branding..
    it’s hard for me…
    really2 hard…

  13. semmy @ Make Money Online says:

    Hi Oni another great post!!! I agree with you. give a value first and money later!! that’s right!!

  14. ipad skins says:

    I definitely agree with the article. Money is not important at all.

    • semmy @ Make Money Online says:

      Hello Ipad I think money is also important but it’s not number one.

  15. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

  16. Brother toners says:

    Differentiating my online business is difficult to me because I have many competitors in my niche. But I know there is a way on how to be different, I just need to keeps earching.

  17. Dan says:

    Online competition is harsh, so in order to differentiate yourself from others you really need a good strategy, or a comfortable niche. Indeed, you need a lot of patience before reaching success, and when it happens be prepared to make it stay.

  18. says:

    This is just in time. I need these tips for my business. Thanks Oni

  19. Jen @ SheBloggs says:

    You learn from your mistakes along the way, which actually sharpens your business.

    For example, I originally planned to write about something completely different and ended up focusing more on personal finance and developing a business as I continued to write. This is exactly what is happening in my life now, so it was only natural that I’d have more to say about that.

    You have to be passionate about what you write. You slowly develop your brand and then start marketing it like crazy.

    Thank you for the excellent advice!


  20. Dave Lucas says:

    Onibalusi, I’ve been following your career on the net and I am very impressed! You are one of the real true “good guys” of the blogosphere! I’m subbing to your newsletter, and recommend your works to others!

  21. Jon says:

    Differentiate! Or have a well-defined USP for sure. That will help you offer that better alternative instead of placing you toe-to-toe with more established competitors. Good points, Oni!

    But before any of that even comes into play; you led off with knowing your audience. So many headaches can be avoided (with so many months of toiling) if the proper market research is performed from the outset.


  22. Kevin Fleming says:

    “Market Your Business Like You Have No Other Choice” – I couldn’t have said it better myself. Great post Onibalusi!

  23. Bakare O. says:

    This is surely interesting as well as entertaining, you have really made outstanding progress and you really stand out among the many. Well done I am a follower of you. I’m learning to differentiate myself too. Keep going.

  24. Ye Tun Win says:

    That’s great man. I noticed you as I frequently saw you at the top of Pat’s post comments. Good Job!

  25. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Every point is well explained Dele.I think patience is the key to get success in blogging.

  26. Emily Dill says:

    This is very informative and helpful…thanks a lot! 🙂

  27. mrohila says:

    Hi Oni another great post!!! I agree with you. give a value first and money later!! that’s right!!

  28. Zero Passive Income says:

    What a great post! Differentiating your self I think is key. If you’re not differentiating yourself then you’ll get lost in the wave of copycats. People are looking for high quality unique content that answers questions and helps them with their problems.

  29. says:

    Great facts you shared with the users. I have applied many of them to perform online B2B practically and always found very helpful.

  30. SEO says:

    If someone who is starting his own online business and follow these tips then can boost in the e-commerce market.

  31. Accident claim company says:

    I concur with your conclusion about this matter. Thats a great point to bring up. Great post.

  32. mrohila says:

    What a great post! Differentiating your self I think is key. If you’re not differentiating yourself then you’ll get lost in the wave of copycats. People are looking for high quality unique content that answers questions and helps them with their problems.

  33. Terje Sannarnes says:

    I think that an online entrepreneur should be able to estimate the demand for the products offered and competition level in business field. So, if you feel that you can suceed in business, just do this as quickly as possible.

  34. Home Depot Patio Furniture says:

    Hy… oni great tips. But its really hard to go there from 0….. It needs so much hard work like you did.


Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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