for women entrepreneurs

Quit your Job and Start an Online Business in 2023

(Here’s 4 things I learned from experience that might help you)

Start an online business - woman working on her laptop - Ruffle Mentoring

“Business women are changing. We build digital empires. We make money from our phones. We change the world with wifi.” – Bossbabe

Are you one of the many women re-evaluating your life goals, and thinking to quit your job and start an online business in 2023?

You’re not alone.

Women entrepreneurs are one of the fastest growing sectors, with many of us choosing to swap the traditional workforce structure to start an online business. By doing so, we gain financial independence, flexibility of time, and a choice in the work we do. 

Entrepreneur further reports that women in particular are excelling at running a successful online business. 

Good to know, right? 

So, whether you plan to quit your job outright or side-hustle your online business for a while, I have outlined 4 essential points I learned purely from experience. 

Why Does Online Business Work Well for Women?

Being the primary caregiver for kids, aging parents – hell, even the dog – is reality for most women. This extra unpaid work can directly influence our career decisions. We need flexibility. But we also want a career that allows us to leverage our skills and expertise, and of course, earn good money!

So, instead of depending on corporations to bridge the gender economic gap, women like us are choosing to take control of our professional and financial futures once and for all. If you’re considering quitting your job and taking the plunge, go you! (see disclaimer further down though!).

For some, like me, this can be the perfect opportunity to build a profitable online business that combines a passion project. Not only is Ruffle helping Mentors grow their income and women grow professionally and personally, but the profits from Ruffle will provide housing for at-risk women. So every single day, working on my online business feels fulfilling and gives my life purpose.

Where do You Start With Your Online Business Idea?

I’ve made the most of online business opportunities over the years and have built them all lovingly from scratch. Starting Ruffle Mentoring online business has been no exception. Creating a successful and profitable online business from scratch is fun, but it sure has its challenges!

My first online business was a coaching program where I posted out DVD’s – yes, sounds archaic now, right? Then an online magazine business that started as a hobby and gobsmackingly ended up in the top 7 digital magazines (Editor of the Year, DMA, London, 2015) Blew my mind!

I share the above with you for 3 reasons:

  1. Because both those first two were businesses that grew from my kitchen table and I had no real idea what I was doing in the beginning.
  2. It was easier then to get traffic, however MUCH more difficult from a technical standpoint.
  3. Skills and knowledge can be learned. It was my drive and obsession that made my idea work

In your research to find and start your best online business opportunities, you’ll find LOADS of information online to help you!

From online business opportunities, online store ideas, how to buy and flip websites through to how to register your business to comply with your government. (For example, whether you live in USA or Australia – it’s all there on the internet).

So you don’t need info like that from me today. What I want to help you with is the important foundational stuff that will keep you on track.

My Valuable Lessons in Starting an Online Business

Like everything, there have been huge lessons for me. And there continues to be!

At the time of writing this, Ruffle is still a start-up online business, and as we scale I will continue to share our online business journey here on this blog from time to time.

Despite the fact that the online business landscape continues to change and evolve, I am fortunate enough to have many valuable business lessons (learned the hard way) to fall back on.

So I thought I’d share the four main ones with you today.

These are my four online business lessons that continue to be my guiding star. ⭐️ Whenever I feel stuck in my business or feel unsure what to do next, I revisit these four points.

1. How's the Money, Honey?

Knowing exactly how much cash I have on hand to invest in my online business at any given time is essential. In addition, keeping a tight reign on what the burn rate will be (burning through cash) at least monthly, means I won’t have any unpleasant surprises. Nothing worse, right?

This is true whether you are planning to stay at your full-time job until your online business gains traction or whether you have an investor. Either way, I tend to prepare now for a burn rate that goes longer than I expect. Because it often does.

It can be this very reason that makes many throw in the towel before they enjoy sweet success. Sadly, the passion they had for that great online business idea can fade pretty fast when the money runs out.

Just a quick disclaimer here! I am in no way advocating you should throw caution to the wind, chuck in your job, and just go for it! If you’re thinking to quit your job and start an online business in 2023, your money plan might also include your income. Unless you plan on living on savings, many women side-hustle their online business until it can replace their salary. Alternatively, if you’re like Julie (my fabulous business partner) and me, you may be the investors in your business and have other streams of income that allow you to work full-time on your online business. 

Your financial plan doesn’t need to be complex – keep it simple. Whether you scribble in a notebook, write up a spreadsheet, or use an app – as long as you know your numbers like the back of your hand, you’ll be sweet. 

And make sure you reach out for help. It can save you a lot of money in the long run. 

2. How Flexible is your plan?

Even with the best business plan in place, I’ve learned the most essential ingredient in any start-up business – and most particularly an online business – is to remain flexible.

I’ll admit, with Ruffle, it was a bit more extreme, though.  I’d never been smack-bang in the process of launching an online business when a global pandemic hit before.

Didn’t see that coming.

Ruffle originally started out as quite a different subscription model but when the pandemic hit, we surveyed many women and learned they needed low commitment since they didn’t know if they would have a job the following week. In addition to this, despite people buying more online, scams grew exponentially during this time and people started to distrust unknown brands.

The most important thing was (and still is) listening to our customers. What are they saying? What are they not saying?

The magic in marketing an online business is of course being able to track our user’s experience. However, when we first launched and had very little data – the best way was to simply ask women for feedback. It was no use sticking rigidly to our plan if it wasn’t what our customers valued or needed – no matter how great we thought our idea was.

Listen. Stay flexible. Stay agile.

3. Run your business for your Niche Target Market.

This is one that seems really simple but it is the one many have trouble nailing down. Once upon a time, we could choose a market such as “Professional women aged between 35 – 50” for example. Seems simple, right? However, these days, a woman at 40 could be a first-time mother or a grandmother or have no children. She could be a high-earning corporate executive or bootstrapping her new business from her kitchen table. And she could be partnered or single (a growing trend, however, that’s another blog for another day).

I have observed over the years that to pigeonhole a gender with a specific age group is no longer sufficient as we can really miss the mark on the needs of our market and therefore miss the mark on providing a unique solution – which is the purpose of our business, right? 

Not only have I learned to drill right down on this, but we create a ‘perfect client’ avatar. And we even name her. 

Then we run our business especially for her. Every. Single. Day.

Over the years in my various businesses, we’ve even had a picture of our perfect client avatar on the staff room or office wall. This is to remind us who we are there to serve and why. Then, whenever we make a decision on whether to implement something new, we ask ourselves “What would Skye think of this? How would it help make her life easier, exactly?” If it doesn’t help her, we don’t do it. 

If you’re a creator like me, this keeps us on track without wandering off on another amazing idea – which in truth might be amazing – but not one that will add value to our avatar’s life.

4. If you're not an expert, don't abdicate.

Oh, this is one I’ve had the discomfort of learning multiple times. You’d think I’d get it by now, wouldn’t you? 

I have, many times, engaged ‘experts’ and assumed their knowledge and expertise to be far greater than mine. And don’t get me wrong, it often is.

However, no one knows my business like I do. I’m the vision holder. The brand protector. And there’s a difference between directing our experts to achieve what we want… and abdicating.

Years ago, my wise accountant, Janet, said to me “You don’t have to be an accountant Karyn, but you have to know enough to direct one.” This is true for everything. While we don’t have to be a marketer, we need to understand the fundamentals enough to direct one. 

Let me tell you a recent story about this. 

We engaged an energetic team to do Ruffle SEO. Before I go any further, let me tell you they did an amazing job! However, after 6 months, we could see things on the website weren’t exactly how we wanted them to be.

This was our fault completely. Yep, we had abdicated.

Those words rang in our ears, “You don’t have to be an SEO expert but you have to know enough to direct one.”

Julie (my fabulous business partner) and I have since set about to understand advanced SEO. So we can effectively direct one.

Engage experts, hire people smarter than you, absolutely!  

But remember, you are the vision holder, the brand protector, and no one gets it quite like you do.

So, should you quit your job and start an online business in 2023?

Ask for help!

Well, you might think “Of course, you’d say that Karyn, you run a mentoring and coaching platform!”

But that’s precisely why I started it. I know how many times in my life I saw getting help as a kind of weakness – that I ‘should’ know.

In actual fact, getting help is a strength. Because it takes courage to be vulnerable. (OK, now I’m channeling Bréné Brown!).

Julie and I still use mentors and coaches all the time. Because we know how much it accelerates our business and our personal growth. 

So go on, quit your job and start an online business in 2023! (But not necessarily in that order!)

I look forward to hearing of your success!

Feel free to message me here.

Karyn Lynch is co-founder of Ruffle, and has been a highly sought-after business coach and speaker for almost 2 decades. She is your go-to coach to grow your business and get clear on your vision, goals, marketing, pricing, sales, or profit.
Karyn specialises in helping online businesses and coaching businesses achieve their goals.

View Karyn’s profile

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