These are my personal book notes of How To Start An Online Business by the author Emilie Pelletier.

Let’s dive in.


  • Author: Emilie Pelletier
  • Title: How To Start An Online Business
  • Subtitle: Create A Business Around Your Lifestyle
  • First published: 2016
  • Type: non-fiction
  • Genre: online marketing
  • Author’s website:
  • Rating: 3/5
  • Recommended: Yes

Table Of Contents Of The Book

  • Becoming An Online Entrepreneur
  • Choosing A Business Model
  • Finding Your Business Idea
  • Choosing A Niche Market: Your Ideal Customers
  • Connecting With Your Audience
  • Defining Your Brand
  • Getting Past The Technical Aspects
  • Building Your Email List
  • Getting Traffic To Your Website
  • Starting To Generate Revenue
  • Setting A Price For Your Product
  • Convincing Potential Customers
  • Getting Feedback Through Testing
  • Outsourcing
  • What’s Next?

Key Concepts & Ideas

In the early 1970s, finance writer Richard Russell penned an article entitled The Perfect Business.

According to Russell, an ideal business:

  • Requires minimal labor
  • Sells to the world rather than a single neighborhood
  • Has the lowest overhead costs and capital investments
  • Generates an income that is not limited to your personal output (is passive)
  • Allows you more free time
  • Is portable or easily moveable (location-independent)
  • Satisfies your intellectual and emotional needs (provides fulfillment)

Does this sound like a professional paradise?

It was probably difficult to come up with a business idea that corresponded to all of these criteria in the 1970s, but today, with the Internet, it’s easily achievable!

There are many ways to make a living online:

  • monetizing a blog
  • offering consulting
  • offering coaching through Skype or Google Hangouts
  • creating and selling online courses
  • self-publishing eBooks
  • joining affiliate programs
  • selling physical products through an e-commerce store

There are unlimited possibilities, and we’ll explore the most popular and rewarding ones later in this book.

The Online Business Blueprint

In this book, I have compiled all of the information about starting a successful online business that I’ve collected over time so it can serve others.

The book will take you step-by-step through the different aspects you should consider when building an online business in order to increase your chances of success.

The information is presented in a logical sequence, with each chapter leading to the next.

The concepts are not to be taken lightly.

I can assure you that seriously considering them as you build your business will save you time in the long run.

This is a book that I wish I would have read a few years ago.

I now use this same framework for all of my projects, even in the writing of this book.

Of course, all businesses are different, and not all questions can be answered in a single book, but this does provide a solid framework to help you plan your project.

One last thing:

In the many examples that will be given in the following chapters, consider how you could use them in your field.

As Andrew Lock, online marketer, mentions in his book Big Lessons from Big Brands:

“The real magic happens when you think, ‘How can I adapt this concept for my business?’“

That’s a crucial part of creativity:

Using what is already there to construct something new.

While building your business, keep your eyes open and stay curious about what others say or do.

Paying attention to the dynamic world around you will help to develop new ideas.

Just To Clarify

Some people want to start an Internet business with the primary goal of making a lot of money.

Others do it for the lifestyle and freedom that an online business can provide.

Before you start your venture, you should ask yourself a very important question:

What is my primary goal in becoming an online entrepreneur?

This book is about building something valuable for both yourself and others.

Although money is a result that comes along with a successful business, this book is written for those craving fulfillment first.

There are no quick money schemes here.

First and foremost, an entrepreneur is a person that creates value.

As Jim Rohn would say:

You get paid for the value you bring to the market.
- Jim Rohn

Choosing A Business Model

There are several ways to make money online:

  • Freelancing
  • Offering online consultation and coaching
  • Creating and selling your own products
  • Enrolling in an affiliate program
  • Asking for a donation
  • Accepting sponsored articles on your blog
  • Creating a membership or subscription-based website
  • Creating a paid forum
  • Holding webinars and longer live events
  • Finding sponsors
  • Advertising

Finding Your Business Idea

  • What do you dislike about your current job and lifestyle? What would you like to change?
  • What do you appreciate about your current situation and would like to maintain?
  • What are your main interests?
    • When you enter a bookstore, which section do you head to first?
    • Which kind of magazines do you read while waiting at the dentist?
    • Which TV channels do you watch?
    • Which sections of the newspaper do you like to read?
    • Which classes did you enjoy most in school?
    • Which activities do you engage in during your free time?
    • Which websites do you like browsing?
  • What are your natural talents and strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses? (don’t pick a business model that will make things unnecessarily hard at the beginning)
  • What’s your personality like?
  • What are your skills, experience, and expertise?
  • Who is working in the field?

Find a niche topic.

It’s important to choose a topic that you’re interested in.

It’s better to choose a niche (narrow) topic.

You could always consider a niche topic within these proven-to-be-profitable categories:

  • Health (and well-being)
  • Wealth (business and finance)
  • Relationships / Dating
  • Personal development

Overcoming Doubt

Even with the Internet helping to make it much easier to become an entrepreneur, there will still be some roadblocks along the way.

One of the main obstacles you’ll encounter will be your mindset:

Your own doubts and limiting beliefs.

Doubts are part of the process and are inevitable.

At times, you’ll find yourself wondering if you have chosen the right path, and whether you’re being a fool by trying to become an entrepreneur.

You’ll doubt your idea and even your skills.

This is normal, and it happens to everyone.

You may even find that some of your peers and family members don’t understand your project and don’t give you the support you were expecting from them.

If this happens, don’t get upset.

Instead, you must find the strength of character to keep going.

That’s one of the main reasons why it’s so important to surround yourself with the best people to help you move forward, by creating a mastermind group, finding mentors and attending Meetup events in your city, as a way to meet other entrepreneurs.

Essentially, you’ll need to build your own support circle.

Also, to help you move forward with your business, always keep in mind your vision - your larger goal - and your “why.”

What’s Next?

In the preceding chapters, we discussed the main concepts to consider when starting an online business.

The formula to build a successful business isn’t very complicated.

You should:

  1. Select a topic you’re interested in and a niche market you want to serve.
  2. Find your chosen market’s “pain”.
  3. Determine the best solution (product) to their problem, and package it in a format that will be well received by your audience.
  4. Position your solution (product) well by clearly stating who it is (and isn’t) for, by differentiating it from the other offers on the market, and by pricing it properly.
  5. Clearly communicate your offer by mentioning its benefits.
  6. Conduct tests to validate your hypothesis and then adjust and improve your offer to better serve your market.
  7. Delegate and outsource some of your tasks.

Trying to cut corners in this process would mean wasting time in the end.

No matter what, at some point, you’ll have to address every aspect of this process.

But is that everything you need to start a business?

Well, no, not exactly.

You need, more than anything, to take action.

Questions you might have will only be answered once you get to work!

First, you’ll have to make room in your schedule.

How many hours per week should you be working on your business?

Well, there is no magic number.

The more time you put into your project, the faster you’ll likely see results.

I would say that you should spend at least enough hours to build a habit — around one hour per day, at least.

If you can allow 20 hours per week — let’s say eight hours on the weekend and two and a half hours every weekday — that’s even better.

It all depends on your personal situation.

It’s true that starting an online business can feel overwhelming.

Yes, there will be many things to do, and many ideas will be occupying your mind, but it’s important to take it step-by-step, and not to try to do everything at the same time.

This book gave you a step-by-step framework that you can follow to help you.

We have mentioned the importance of being curious and thirsty to learn — to take classes, listen to podcasts and attend conferences.

However, it’s better to avoid an information overload and to learn about each concept as you apply it, as you take action.

If you are at the stage of finding your niche market, then listening to podcast episodes about growing your social media following wouldn’t be helpful — you don’t need that information at that precise moment, and you probably won’t remember all the information when you eventually need it.

Learn only what you can apply right now.

Closing Thoughts

My book notes only cover small parts of the book.

So if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the author.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

PS: Start Your Own, Profitable Online Business From Scratch, Step-by-Step, Today!

==> Download The Free Online Business Blueprint (PDF)