If you want to start your own business online, all you need is a computer and a few bucks for hosting fees.
Glenn Allsopp shares some really good lessons from his first 18 months as an Internet entrepreneur. There are a lot of really good nuggets but he has an excellent point about creating a mission statement:
This isn’t an elevator pitch you need to tell anyone, or a mission statement you need to share. Instead, the aim of these sentences is to help you stay on track. If someone offers you a partnership in a large project, you simply have to look towards your mission statement to decide whether it’s a good use of your time. If you’ve heard about a new way of doing things, you simply have to look at your mission statement to see if it might be right for you.
You really need to focus on your skills and passions. Otherwise you will be taking work that isn’t much better than the job you quit.
Yes you should be flexible. But once you create a framework for what you want to do, you will find a lot of opportunity to work within it.
The whole post has great advice. It’s the best reading you will find today.
UPDATE: Chris Brogan takes on this subject with his post How to Put Your Small Business On the Web. It’s a bit more specific and tactical. He recommends what you need to do to establish an online presence. He makes a good case for using WordPress – which I agree with.