Your Skills and Attributes:

If you are genuinely serious about starting up an online business there are certain skills and aspects you will definitely need. I do not want to come across as patronising or condescending – I will leave other people and sites to do that – (NB! see my blog post/rant about people over 50), and I find it easier to not assume any prior knowledge, skills or personal capabilities.

We are all different and have different levels of skills and interest. Firstly, I have listed a number of attributes that are necessary, then a further list of specific computer skills and knowledge:-

1) A computer of some sort – laptop, desktop, etc … (obvious I know, but see what I mean about trying NOT to be patronising). This does not have to be the latest specification but the newer and more up-to-date the better. NB! I recommend the Operating System to be Windows XP or newer. For all round capability a laptop is better – you can use this anywhere.

  • 2) Startup capital – I know it is possible to do things nigh-on for free, but it’s better with some capital for better software and outsourcing some necessary tasks
  • 3) A good, reliable broadband connection  – difficult in some areas of the UK unfortunately

4) An Email address – hotmail. gmail, etc …free sign up options online

5) An Antivirus program – there are many free, good programs on the internet, e.g.AVG, Kaspersky, Avast, amongst others

6) Zip program (free options are available, e.g. 7-zip

7) Productivity software MS Word, Excel, etc …there is a brilliant free option available called ‘openoffice’

8) A ‘Paypal’ account. You are able get a free account via PayPal.

9) Telephone – with broadband, you can use Skype for your phone service.

10) Business Entity. You can  start as a sole proprietor, then decide later if you want to form a Limited Company, etc … If you are in business for yourself, you should do the right thing with respect to HMRC, Insurance, Accountant, etc … and do it properly.

11) Backup drive (Highly recommended and USE IT regularly !).

Computer Skills:

You may be a bit rusty on the ‘old’ computer, so the items below are things you will need to know how to do & be comfortable with to be able to run your online business. I also assume that you have the required PC/laptop, internet connection, hardware & software as stated above:-

Again these points are not meant to patronise anyone or be condescending, but I have to assume that some people may not be as comfortable or clued-up as others:-

1) Using and having a basic understanding of Windows or whatever Operating System (OS) you may have
2) Navigation on your computer/laptop
3) Mouse – Left click, right click & double click
4) Working with (and in) windows (Not Windows OS): Open, close, minimize, maximize, resize, move, etc …
5) Using software such as Word, Excel or OpenOffice
6) Moving between multiple open programs/windows
7) Writing, sending and receiving of emails
8) Changing the ‘view’ of your folder
9) Naming and renaming files
10) Dragging and dropping & Copying and moving files/folders
11) Copying and Pasting files
12) Zipping and unzipping files
13) Opening various different programs
14) Opening a PDF file with Adobe reader – converting files to PDF files (easy in Open Office)
15) Editing and saving files/documents, using ‘Save’ and ‘Save As’ and understanding the differences
16) Using a web browser to navigate the internet – Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc …
17) “Googling” and using other online search engines
18) Installing software programs safely
19) Creating and saving separate folders of (the same) documents
20) Attending Webinars

As said above, it’s quite easy to sound patronising and the above may be totally obvious to some people, but everyone has different abilities with their use of a computer, so the above points assume no or very little knowledge and skills.

There are many free programs and software on the internet, and as long as you can search and navigate around the web, there will be instructions out there if you struggle at any of the above.

Till next time,


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