How to Start Your Online Vegan Business (in 2021)

SHīDO

SHīDO

Ever dreamed of turning your vegan passion into your day job?

With record-breaking signups for Veganuary each year, impressive forecasts like ‘vegan meat to reach $140 billion in sales by 2029‘, and the major investments being put into big vegan businesses like Oatly and Beyond Meat, there is now no denying the significance of the vegan market.

So it is no surprise that many people are now looking to start up their own vegan businesses. As a vegan digital marketing agency, we see first hand the increase in new vegan businesses showing up on the market.

In particular, many of these businesses are now cropping up online, rather than taking the traditional route of starting out with a physical store and/or office space.

Starting an online vegan business means you can work remotely doing what you love

Whys that? Well, the pandemic has taught us many things. First off, the majority of us can work remotely. Secondly, more and more people are now buying online rather than going in-store.

The Benefits of Making Your Vegan Business Online

Starting an offline business can come at a cost. Consider the cost of rent, staff, office supplies, energy bills, and much more.

Starting your business online however, has much cheaper costs. You will need to factor in your website costs and any digital marketing work you may want to outsource.

Depending on your vegan business idea, you may have minimal costs. But if you are going down the production route, particularly with vegan foods, do consider the extra costs of this (packaging, manufacturing, etc.).

The Online Vegan Market

Just check out Google, have a quick search for all your favourite vegan products, we bet you’ll find hundreds of vegan stores providing you with exactly what you’re looking for, all online.

Be warned though, just because the online vegan market is getting bigger and more popular doesn’t mean that your new online vegan business will be an instant success.

There are a few initial factors to consider before getting started:
– How saturated is the marketplace for what you want to offer?
– Or, is there any demand for what you want to offer?

Woman working remotely at her online vegan business

But that’s not just it. In order to make a successful online vegan business you need to build a sustainable plan.

A Sustainable Vegan Business Plan

We’ve witnessed the starting up of many online vegan businesses and the majority of them which succeed have a solid plan encompassing the following elements (click on the links to take you to the relevant sections):

  1. A vegan business idea that fills a need
  2. A simple easy-to-navigate website
  3. Compelling copy
  4. A digital marketing strategy
  5. Brand authority building

It may seem overwhelming right now, but we are going to take you through this step-by-step so you can incorporate these elements into your own planning.

How To Start Your Online Vegan Business (In 2021) with a vegan group of entrepreneurs

1. A Vegan Business Idea That Fills a Need

Always start with a search.

What are people searching for? What trends are emerging? What problems are people experiencing?

How do you find out all of this?

Easy, there are loads of handy tips and tricks that can help you:

Is there one common problem that people are looking for a solution for? Have you searched for a vegan product and you aren’t finding the perfect offering? Are there loads of people searching for a particular product/service and you feel like you can bring something new to the table?

Make sure to do your research and then consider gathering a few ideas and asking people yourself. Is this product/service important? Does it fill a gap? Will you buy it?

How To Start Your Online Vegan Business (In 2021) with an easy to navigate website

2. A Simple Easy-To-Navigate Website

Just like in the real world, your online business needs a storefront. Somewhere you can show off about what it is that you do and why.

If you don’t have the budget to pay for a design team to do the build for you, fear not, it is really simple and easy to make one yourself. The trick is to download a pre-built theme through WordPress and drag and drop your own information in there.

Avoid buying a cheap website from someone off Fiverr as you’ll probably end up having to get it fixed, or fixing it yourself. Save yourself the time and energy, just follow these simple steps:

Easy Steps To Make Your Vegan Website

1. Buy the domain name for your vegan website

You’ve decided upon your business so now you need to buy it’s spot on the internet.

We use Google Domains as all of our email accounts run through Google, making it easy to buy and set up straight from their admin panel. You can also use other sites like GoDaddy or 123-reg.

use google domains to buy your vegan business domain name

When picking a domain you will want to make sure it is the same as/similar to your brand name so that people recognise it.

For SEO purposes it also helps to have your brand name as your domain because it is then more likely to show up on search engines for any brand-related searches.

Try and stick to common domain endings like .com, .org, or .uk (if you are location bound!).

2. Buy green hosting to bring your vegan website to life

Did you know that hosting your website costs the earth? Thats right, it takes up a lot of energy for a server to host websites.

This is why it is important to have control over what company is hosting your website.

Unfortunately, all-in-one website builders like Shopify & Squarespace do not allow you the freedom to choose. Which is just one of the reasons why we recommend using WordPress (more on that shortly…).

So, when it comes to hosting a green-thinking vegan website, we whole-heartedly recommend using Green Geeks. They 300% energy match. Not just 100%, but 300 whole %. Impressive, right?

We use green geeks to make our website 300% green

We use Green Geeks for our website and we wouldn’t recommend a host whom we don’t trust!

why we use green geeks hosting because of their great pricing and 300% energy match
Check out their cheap pricing & amazing green energy offers

Now that you have your hosting paid for you will want to update the DNS settings in Google Domains. Follow these tips here.

3. Download WordPress to build your vegan website

Now that you’d set up your Green Geeks hosting, you’ll want to download WordPress for your website.

Head to your website’s cPanel on Green Geeks and then type in WordPress:

Here you can install WordPress for your domain.

Once it is downloaded you may have to wait a few hours for it to set up before being able to log in to the back end of your new WordPress website.

Why use WordPress?

There are so many reasons you should be using WordPress.

  • It provides way more flexibility on themes, design, and capabilities than website builders (like Shopify & Squarespace)
  • It is MUCH cheaper to run than the aforementioned website builders. The fees for a platform like Shopify really add up over time and they lock you in! With a self-hosted WordPress website, you can choose your host (GreenGeeks is fairly priced!) and WordPress costs you nothing. There are many plugins you can use for your WordPress site that are 100% free, and many amazing themes also!
  • WordPress is much more flexible when it comes to SEO meaning that your website will be more visible to your ideal clients.
‘I’m terrible at design, I won’t be able to use WordPress!’

This is one of the most common responses we get from people who we recommend WordPress to.

It is a big myth that you need to be a designer in order to make a WordPress website.

If you have no coding experience then we would definitely recommend you avoiding Drupal for instance, but definitely don’t be scared about WordPress.

Once WordPress is set up and you’ve made it into the WordPress admin dashboard head to Appearances > Themes.

We recommend searching for the Astra theme as it is quick and easy to customise. When you download the theme choose ‘Elementor’ as your page builder. It is in our opinion the most intuitive and user-friendly option out there!

Once you’ve downloaded the Astra theme it will then suggest downloading the demo import plugin. This allows you to use a pre-built theme.

Check out their amazing free pre-built themes here!

Whilst building the website, considering using a coming soon page to collect sign-ups whilst you design the website in the background. Find out how to do that with Elementor here.

Make sure to download the following plugins to get started:

Smush (for optimising all your images)
Rankmath (for SEO)
WooCommerce (if you are running an e-commerce business)

Most websites will need at least a minimum of 5 pages (homepage, about page, contact page, services/products, and a blog)

Don’t have time to build your own website? Have a chat with our friends at Kakadu Creative!

3. Compelling Copy

Why should someone buy from your brand?

This is what you will want to display clearly in your copy.

What is your brand’s personality? Is it funny? Serious? Provocative?

Do you want to use the word vegan?

We recommend brainstorming your brand voice and thinking up clever ways of conveying your brand’s message in writing. This will then build the foundations of all your website copy, social copy, and much more!

4. A Digital Marketing Strategy

Your vegan business is going to be online, so it NEEDS a digital marketing strategy.

Make sure to have the following covered:

  • Start social media pages for your brand (Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok?)
  • Consider running social media ads and Google Ads to get your brand out there
  • Work on the SEO of your website (write blogs & do some outreach)
  • Retarget site visitors by capturing their emails and sending welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, and monthly newsletters

Don’t have a clue about digital marketing?

5. Brand Authority Building

No one will know about your brand if you never speak up about it. Be present on platforms where like-minded individuals hangout, do some networking, chat with fellow vegan business owners.

We love the communities on LinkedIn. We are also really enjoying clubhouse for the vegan & plant-based talks that are happening there.

Also try getting yourself on some podcasts. There are tonnes of amazing vegans out there promoting vegan businesses through their shows – all for free!

Building up a network of fellow vegan business owners around you will not only help your business to grow, but it will also help you to discover new ways of doing things.

You are not alone in this vegan marketplace. There are tonnes of support groups and resources to guide you along the way.

Here are a few that we recommend:

VEGPRENEUR – to meet other vegan entrepreneurs

Vevolution – to seek vegan investment!

Vegan Business Tribe – for monthly networking