Start Your Business From Scratch.  Go From no idea to open for business in 90 days or less  White writing on a deep red background

A step-by-step course for complete beginners that will show you how to start a successful online business that can grow with you to the size you want it to be.

Learn How To Start Your Own Online Business

With Trudy Rankin

So you'd like to start your own business?  That's fantastic!  Starting a business is one of the best ways to take control of your own employment situation and build a financial future for yourself and your family.  But the process for getting started can feel overwhelming.

What kind of business should it be?  What kind of website do you need?  How do you find customers?  And even after you find customers, how will you know how much to charge them?

I'm going to help you cut through the confusion – to not only learn how to come up with a great idea for a business you'll love, but to make sure you build it on solid foundations that will last.

In “Start Your Business”, I'll walk you step-by-step througbh the entire process of getting your business set up online.  With good-quality videos and great examples to follow, you'll have your business up and online in no time, so you can start attracting and serving your customers.

And your custsomers are out there waiting for you to help them.

Meet Your Course Instructors

Start Your Business Course Instructor Trudy Rankin who is smiling and wearing a pink shirt with a collar

Hello, my name is Trudy Rankin.  My team and I've helped a lot of people start their online business.  Here's how we can help you.

I've been running my own business (West Island Digital) since 2015.

I started out as a consultant helping organisations start using digital technology.  But I didn't stop there.

I've founded Online Business Lift-Off, which helps people take their business to the next level.  And I love working in collaboration with other online business owners to come up with digital assets (like quizzes) that give customers a better experience without adding a lot of work.

Throughout the course of creating, launching and marketing these stand-alone businesses and collaborations, I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, how to grow once the business is set up and what will scale and what won't.

And over the past few years, I've taken what I've learned and used it to help hundreds of people get their business up and running through our intensive Online Business Lift-off program.

But many of those people have told me that they would love to be able do the OBL program at their own pace and at times that work for them.  So we've turned the OBL program into the self-paced “Start Your Business” course.  A course that's run by people who have been there and done it, to help guid them through the whole process.


What You'll Learn In The “Start Your Business” Course


Across 4 distinct course stages, you'll learn everything you to know about setting up a business online:

How To Find And Validate Your Business Idea 

You'll understand how to explore your strengths, interests and experience to come up with an idea for a business you'll still be happy working on years from now.

Getting Started With Your Online Business Platform 

You'll learn what software you need for your business, all the pieces that make up a website and how to pull them together.  And we'll get you started thinking about what you might want to say to potential customers on your website.

How To Start Building Your Business 

You'll be introduced to lead generation funnels, what they are and how to build one for your business.  And you'll learn how to start using social media and a content marketing strategy to start attracting people to your website so they can discover what you have to offer.

 All Systems Go

You'll learn how to put your content marketing plan into action, create your first piece of content and do it with style.  And we'll show you how to read the data from your website analytics (even if you think you're no good at maths) to show what to work on next as you discover what works and what doesn't in helping you grow your website traffic.

Want To Know More About What You'll Learn As You Go From Idea To Launch?

(Remember we'll be there to help guide and support you)

OBL Start Your Business Course Learning Points

How This Course Sets You Up For Success


I know how intimidating it can be to start an online business, when you've never done it before.  It took me a couple of years after I quit my job, to feel like I really knew what I was doing.

There was so much to learn.  But mostly I felt afraid.  Afraid I'd fail.  Afraid I would look silly.  Afraid I might be doing it all wrong.

I don't want you to have to go through those feelings for as long as I did.  I want you to feel excited that you'll be learning new things.

Things that are going to help you build your business and open up new opportunities for you and the people you care about.

And as you learn, we'll be there to answer questions and guide you through the process.  Our OBL “Start Your Business” course has a couple of ways for you to get support:


Access To Our Weekly Q&A Sessions 

Sometimes, it's the little things that are the most confusing.  And you just need to ask someone a question.  That's why we host a weekly Zoom call that's only available to our students and community members.  

You can ask your questions and you can listen in as others get their questions asnswered.  And you'll be able to access the most recent Q&A session replays.

Access To Our Private OBL Community

And if you need your question answered right now, you can ask your question inside our OBL Community forum.

Ask A Question Channel in the OBL Community Forum

The OBL Community Forum is our private  community—the place where you can ask questions to get you “unstuck”.  A place to ask for and give honest feedback from other community members like you.

The OBL Community Forum is hosted on the Circle platform and moderated by the OBL Team.  It's not like other groups that are hosted on Facebook or other social media platforms.

We're Not Just Blowing Our Own Horns …

So as we tell our story, in the next few paragraphs, Real Online Business Lift-Off (Start Your Course) students share their experience, how it helped them start their business … and even made a difference to their lives.

Start Your Online Business with Trudy Rankin

After starting West Island Digital in 2015, Director Trudy Rankin was looking for an intern.

In her more than 15 years of helping big organisations use digital technology to achieve their goals (over 6 of those years in CIO-type roles) she had always run internship programs. And now, she wanted to continue her practice of giving the next generation an opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

Thanks to Vision Australia's employment service, Shahan Cheong joined the West Island Digital team for 3 months. Partway through those months, Trudy discovered that Shahan had been writing a blog for years and had a lot of people coming to his website every month.

Logo for Vision Australia

What he didn't realise was that his blog … something he wrote to stop himself getting bored … could be used to generate an income for himself.  So over the rest of the internship and with some coaching beyond that, Trudy helped Shahan figure out how to use his blog to start earning money.

Over time, Shahan has built a business for himself, buying and selling antiques online.  He has his own YouTube channel where he makes videos about restoring antiques and he still blogs about history and antiques on his site Throughout History.

From that experience, the Online Business Lift-Off (OBL) program was born.

Trudy originally piloted the OBL program over a period of 7 months in 2016-2017 with some of Vision Australia's blind and partially sighted clients (including Shahan).

Participants in the program said that it opened up so many opportunities for them, that they hadn't been aware of before. All but one of the participants went on to build an online business or pursue training opportunities that they had become aware of through the program.

Listen To What Participant Ken Moulang Has To Say About Our OBL Program

Logo for the Department of Social Services

We're proudly supported by the Try, Test and Learn Fund — an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Because of that success, Trudy and her team refined the curriculum and began searching for ways to make it available to people with disabilities who want to work, but struggle to find traditional kinds of employment.  And in 2019, the Federal Government asked her to run another pilot program, working with Carers and people aged 50+ who needed a way to support themselves that fit with their and their family's schedules. 

Unfortunately, my position and other General Manager’s positions were made redundant in July 2019. I was lucky to receive a redundancy package, but I still needed to work out how to supply my income.  

I wasn’t sure whether my career as an employee for not-for-profit organisations should be my only alternative going forward, especially now that I’m approaching retirement age. Also, the prospect of using my skills as a visual artist to turn my passion for the arts into part of an income stream was very alluring! But I was worried about my absolute lack of knowledge around online business.

 I joined OBL in November 2019 after my wife’s colleague explained what OBL does.

One of the main things I would like to share is that Online Business Lift-off not only provided the technical expertise and assistance that I needed to set up my online business, but more importantly, they made me realise that what I can offer to other people, really matters.

Hans van Weerd

Art On Your Wall

Now our goal for the Online Business Lift-Off program is to make it available to anyone who want to find an alternative to traditional employment. 

You might be a student, a stay-at-home parent, a carer whose availability for work is limited due to carer responsibilities. Or you might be someone who is older and struggling to get back into the employment scene.

The OBL “Start Your Business” course is for anyone who, because of circumstances, needs to set their own schedule or needs non-traditional employment alternatives.

We see creating your own online business as a viable alternative to working for someone else. So whether you want to set up a full-time business or just a “side-hustle” to bring in a bit of cash, the Online Business Lift-Off program can help.


Over the years I’ve always thought that having an online shop would be a good idea but I wasn’t sure where to begin. Also, sometimes you get caught up in your own business just doing the things that get you by and you need some support or something to push you to think in different ways.

I started the program in March, which was the right time for me, especially with everything that’s happened this year with COVID19. Over the years I’ve seen the online store as sort of a side business for the shop. I’d always focused on the events, exhibitions and pushing the product from a physical store, but now I needed to transition. I knew I needed help, I wanted to focus on what the business needed and to concentrate on building my online store properly. 

Going through this process was good but I still had a business to run. Some weeks I admit I was a bit distracted but I did maintain the commitment and see the course through.

The regular group check-ins and level of support is great, it’s nice to be working on something together even though everyone has separate businesses – it’s like you’re looking for answers together. The feedback is also amazing – the OBL team is proactive and always ready to help.

Lorenza Bini

Bini Gallery

These are real people, just like you. They knew they wanted to start their own business—just like you do.  The OBL “Start Your Business Course helped them start their business so they could create new opportunties for themselves and their loved ones.  Let it help you, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

About The Course

When does the course start and finish?

You can do the course at your own pace and at a time that suits you.  There is no time limit on completion.

How long will I have access to the course?

You will have lift-time access to the course through our OBL Community Forum (which is hosted on Circle).

I'm not very good with computers.  Can I still start an online business?

Yes. You don't need to be tech-savvy in order to create your own online business.  You DO have to be comfortable with using the internet, though. If you can do Facebook, you can do online business.

What kind of tools do I need to get started?

You are going to need an internet connection or some way to regularly access the internet. You will also need a desktop computer or a laptop. It may be possible to use a tablet in the future, but for now it's best to have a desktop computer or a laptop.

What if I already have an idea for a business?  Would I be wasting my money doing the course? 

That's exciting that you already have an idea for an online business!  Doing the OBL “Start Your Business” course is going to help you validate your idea and actually turn it into reality. More importantly, you'll have our expert guidance and support, which results in fewer unnecessary mistakes and dead ends. Which will save you time, money and energy.

What if I live in a different time zone?

The great thing about the internet is that you can take our courses at times that suit you.  We want everyone to succeed, and we'll do our best to make sure we help you with any questions as quickly as possible.

Purchasing The Course

Can I pay with PayPal?

Yes.  On the checkout page you will be able to choose PayPal

What if I'm not happy with the course?

We definitely want you to be happy with the course.  We offer a 30-day money back guarantee. If you are unhappy with the course for any reason, let us know within the first 30 days by emailing and we will refund your payment.  

Getting Help

What do I do if I need help?

For questions about your billing or accessing the course materials, email [email protected].

If you have a question about how to apply what you've learned in the course to your own business, you can ask those in the “Ask A Question” section of the course (in the OBL Community Forum) or at one of our regular Q&A sessions.

Starting An Online Business Doesn't Have To Be Hard

You just need to get started.  We will show you step-by-step what to do and be there to guide you through the process, including finding an idea, getting your website set up and letting people know you're open for business.

We Want To Be Clear And Open With You … Our OBL Disclaimer

Hi, it's Trudy Rankin here, CEO of West Island Digital and Founder of Online Business Lift-off. Please understand that the kinds of online businesses we teach you to create are not get rich quick schemes. It takes a lot of persistence and effort to build a business, especially an online business.  The results the team and I've achieved are not always typical, and your results will vary significantly.  Not all businesses succeed, and this course is an educational tool, not a guarantee of your success.

Running a business involves risk. That means that some businesses will succeed and some will fail. Our testimonials are real, but they are not guarantees that you will obtain the same results.

Also, please note when we refer to various products and services here, we will often use affiliate links that we will receive compensation from (at no extra cost to you) and for which we thank you if you use them.  My team and I want you to know that we only promote those products or services that we have investigated.  And, even then, we only promote them if we feel they will be useful for you.