Help! How can I start an online business with no technical skills or knowledge?

If I had a pound for every mum who thinks her lack or technical understanding, skill or knowledge means she cannot start an online business, I’d be writing this from a beach I own somewhere on an island only I knew existed.

If that’s what you’ve been telling yourself, get ready for a complete transformation of your thinking!

Long gone are the days when only web developers had the magic keys and charged a small fortune to build a couple of pages online for people. These days, with the likes of open source (ie free, for those not well-acquainted with the term – yet) website platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and the rest, and an abundance of free theme (templates) that can be customised at the drop of a hat to create the website of your dreams, website design is a lot cheaper than it used to be.

How much does it cost?

It all depends on the type of website you want to build. Bit. If you have £50-£100, you can get yourself a decent WordPress website that either gives you a website presence so people can call or book online for your services, or an online store that you can update.

Is it a scam…nothing worth having is that cheap, is it?

Another question I get asked all the time…

No – WordPress is not a scam! Big brands like eBay use it for some of their blogs – even Motherswhowork.co.uk uses it…and we are not interested in working with any products or software that is a scam!

Think of it like a charity shop…most of the people who work there do it out of the kindness of their hearts. They don’t get paid, but they get up everyday to open the shop, tidy the shop, add new (well, old) merchandise to the shop, do the bookkeeping for it etc etc.

Open source software is built by people who are altruistic in that way – they believe in coming together with others to create something great, not for money bunt because they want to be involved in helping other people…it may sound odd in this day and age, but such people still do exist.

How do I start, then?

The first thing you need to do is know what type of website you want, and what purpose it will serve for you. Is it to sell red shoes? Is it to enable people to book in for your physio sessions?

Do you want people to pay online, or just book and pay you in person? Do you want to sell your products globally?

They send like a lot to consider, but they really are basic questions that will help a web designer build the website for you, in the best way from the outset. With web design, it is a lot cheaper to get it right the first time than to keep making tweaks.

That said, if you use WordPress as your content management system, you can pretty much get any new features you want for free, because there are thousands of people developing plugins (add ons) for WordPress everyday, which means you save money when you add a new feature.

If you want to get started but still need more help, advice or support, check out the Mothers Who Work Club – it’s there to help and support you.

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