9 Proven Online Businesses (that you can start today)
Last Updated on January 7, 2023 by James Wilson
Building an online business is not much different to building a bricks and mortar style business. One thing holds true in both cases, you must pick a niche that you are passionate about. The main reason is that, when things get tough you’ll hang in there if you are dedicated to the business. Online business is rewarding, fast paced, scalable and the best bit:
Work from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection
With so many different opportunities to choose from it is easy to suffer from “shiny object syndrome” and fleet from one idea to the next. I’m sure you have a tonne of amazing business ideas. However, it is important to stick to one area and be consistent before expanding into other areas.
Choosing the best online business idea that suits you is easier than you might have previously thought. It’s all about spreading a message, service or range of products that you feel will enhance lives.
A few things I’d like to mention before we get started. Creating a website is great, but the main thing is getting people over to it. To even things out a little, it is important to balance your online business activity out. By that I mean – you should share your business with people who can benefit. Find out where they are (online and off) and let them know about your online business. Also you’ll need to split your activities up and wear three hats, namely:
1. Money making/ working
1. Start a Blog
BEST FOR; People who are looking for a long term sustainable business, love writing and have a passion or idea to share with the world
It’s not too late to start a blog and share your message with the world in 2019. In fact there are many ways you can get up and running – TODAY & FOR FREE. So there are no excuses.
The main thing about your blog is being consistent in creating content. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get organised (wink-wink) you can easily schedule both your blog posts and social media posts to advertise your articles. So if you’re like me and like to get everything done in one go – you can.
There are free tools that can help you stay organised with scheduling such as Sendible and Hootsuite, where you can schedule all or some of your social media activities. Hootsuite offers a nice 30-day free trial. However if you are super organized then your calendar will look more organised.
How long should your blogs be?
This is a great question, as Google’s algorithms change continually. In 2019, the perfect length of blog is 1705 (believe it or not). The minimum blog post length should be 300 words; however Google prefers blog posts over 1000 words. The SEO keywords in your blog are equally as important as the length.
What Will You Write About?
You have two choices here, create unique content OR go ahead and copy people that inspire you. Both approaches will take dedication – but the main thing you should do in either case, is write about subjects that are of interest to you.
Monetizing your blog
OK, great, you’re thinking about starting a blog, or already have one and want to make the most of it. But how do you make money from your blog? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
· Digital Products
· List / Community Building
· eCommerce – Sell Physical Products
· Sell Your Website[/vc_column_text]
✔ Get started for free
✔ Learn more about subjects that interest you
✔ Share your expertise and help others
✔ Work from anywhere in the world – live the “laptop lifestyle”
✔ Fans and traffic compounds over time (if done correctly)
✔ A great foundation to branch out into other areas in the future
✔ You don’t need to speak to customers
✔ Set your own schedule
✘ You need to be interested in writing or hire someone that is
✘ In most cases you’ll need to drive traffic to your blog
✘ It is a long term project, so it might time to build a following and make money
2. Start An Online Store
BEST FOR; Hardworking people who are comfortable dealing with physical products and customers
Again, the main thing (with any online business) is choosing products/ services that interest you and benefit others. Logistically an online store or “ecommerce” as it is known, is a lot more difficult than starting a blog.
An eCommerce business is basically the same as starting any shop/ store, the only key difference is that people don’t normally visit your warehouse in person. When you ship the products you’ll need to ensure that this is handled professionally and the chosen company are competent and cost effective. Additionally, the postage and packaging, tax and other costs must be considered when deciding on a price for your products.
Check out what others are doing on Amazon and on their personal sites to decide on pricing.
If you’d rather not set up your own ecommerce website to start with, then you can create a store on Amazon or Ebay. The benefit of starting this way is that you will have access to the site’s audience. In the case of Amazon, they have done so much advertising, it’d be silly to miss out on that opportunity. Even if you are thinking of starting your own ecommerce website, then it is a good idea to also sell on Amazon.
How Will I Get Customers Over To My Ecommerce Website?
This is a great question, because often people start up an ecommerce store and then wonder why there is no traffic. Realistically, nobody is going to find your online store unless you advertise it. The best ways to advertise your online store are SEO, Social Media/ Google Ads, Inbound Content Marketing and taking advantage of massive sites like Amazon and Ebay.
How Much Does it Cost To Start An Ecommerce Store?
You will need hosting, an ecommerce solution and also a domain name. The domain name will be your brand identity – so that part is important. On the other hand, you can set up an online store easily with a solution like Shopify. Shopify now has 800,000 store fronts and does all of the hosting and tech stuff for you. They have a free trial, which means you can get started for FREE today (Which is amazing).
✔ Building your online store is rewarding, both financially and as a business owner (there is something about tangible products)
✔ You can get started for free or minimal cost, as many hosts scale as you grow your business
✔ Delivery day is exciting if you are selling products that you are passionate about
✔ The opportunity to grow a massive business is very realistic
✔ Can be coupled with other online opportunities to drive traffic, like adding a blog
✘ Products can get lost in the post
✘ Good customer service is required
✘ Suppliers can take time to deliver or run out of stock
✘ You’ll need a good secure, dry space to keep your products in
Alternatively if you don’t want to hold products you can dropship….
Dropshipping is where you advertise product and you don’t personally have it. When the product sells, you simply ask your supplier to send the product to your customer. For many this is a very lucrative way to do e-commerce, as they don’t have the financial outlay of buying and storing products. On the other hand – if you choose to dropship, the process is out with your control and you can find yourself stuck in the middle of the dropshipping company and your customer.
3. Affiliate Marketing
BEST FOR; Someone who has experience with sales funnels, SEO and online marketing principles
There are many avenues to venture down when it comes to affiliate marketing. Basically as an affiliate marketer you are getting in-between the supplier and buyer and taking your cut. A bit like drop shipping. Sorry to harp on again here, but it is preferable to select a market that you are really passionate about.
It is easy to get started with Affiliate Marketing and it can be incorporated in a blog. For instance, if you are in the health niche, then you can promote people’s detox or weight loss products and take your cut. The customer gets the product at the same (or lower costs) and you get to take some money home. Often Affiliate marketers can take home 50% or more of a digital product and quite a bit less if you are promoting a physical product.
How Do I Advertise An Affiliate Product?
There are many ways to advertise affiliate products, such as sending a mail out to your email list, promoting on your Facebook business page (not your personal page), creating sales funnels and through your blog. Google Ads, Youtube and Facebook ads will be your best friend if you are an affiliate marketer.
PRO TIP: You’ll need to understand basic SEO, Sales Funnels and Copywriting to be able to succeed in this niche.
✔ You can get started for free
✔ Places like Clickbank are a powerhouse of affiliate activity – you can find products in every niche
✔ Get started straight away
✔ Can be incorporated into other online business activities
✘ Physical products normally offer a low commission
✘ There are some big dogs out there spending a fortune on advertising with tried and tested strategies
✘ Advertising can be expensive
4. Publish A Book
BEST FOR; People who love writing and have a story to share or something to teach the world
Always wanted to write a book? Today it is easier than ever to self-publish. Sure you’ll want your book to be amazing, but you can do this easily by setting aside time every day to focus on writing your book. When compounded, 20-30mins of writing per day amounts to over 150 hours (even with some time off).
The publishing part is now super easy thanks to platforms like Amazon. You can publish your book inside a day, easily. However, before you write your book it is a good idea to validate your idea. Also, and most importantly you’ll want to make sure that there is a sizeable audience.
In some cases it is good to niche down, however when it comes to books, you can niche down too much and create a book for a tiny audience. This guide is extremely valuable if you are looking to self-publish a book.
[81% of Americans Want To Publish A Book #selfpublish #author #book #publish]
PRO TIP: If you want to sell physical copies of your book, then bear in mind Amazon take quite a while to create a proof and send it out to you. There is an added fee for their expedited service, however – you’ll want to set at least a month aside to get the proofs looking perfect.
✔ With just a few books you can create a great recurring income
✔ Very low start-up costs
✔ Your book is an asset or IP that you can build on
✔ Tell your story and inspire others
✔ Be able to say you are an author
✘ Very time consuming
✘ Mental blocks can seriously get in the way of writing and promoting your book/s
5. Create a Course
BEST FOR; teachers, coaches, consultants or people who already have a book
If you’ve written a book, then you can use this as the foundation of your online course (especially if there is a lot of interest in your book). Online courses are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people come online. Your online course can also be turned into a live workshop, or vice-versa.
There are three parts to creating an online course:-
3. Course Materials
An online course can be a fantastic tool to share your knowledge (and turn a profit at the same time). You can use a free or basic website and teach over Zoom or Skype and then create course materials on your laptop. To encourage collaboration and interaction, you can also create a Facebook group for classmates to meet up and support each other.
✔ You can turn your book into a course
✔ Share your knowledge with an unlimited number of people
✔ No product outlay
✔ A course is IP that can build a nice portfolio of recurring income
✘ Time consuming
✘ Can be overwhelming with all of the moving parts
6. Start a Podcast
BEST FOR; people who don’t like to be on camera but want to take advantage of a growing online platform
Podcasts are becoming popular as people are increasingly busy. Podcasts are great for people on the go. Simply listening to a podcast on your smartphone is so much easier than watching a video if you are short on time.
In short, podcasts are great for people who like to multi task. Consistency is key with a Podcast, when you get fans – they’ll want to listen at a specific time every single week. The good news is that you can record your podcast with your phone or if you want to edit it then you can use free software like Audacity.
A podcast can be added to your blog – and so your online empire begins!
Once you know your niche and name, you’ll need to decide on your podcast show format. This is a good example of a podcast show format. A simple podcast can be done in an interview format. With a guest or interview based podcast you’ll never be short of people to reach out to so that you can share their expertise with your audience. You’ll also need a podcasting website, if you don’t already have one – you can set up a free website to get started promoting your podcast and show schedule.
✔ Start for free
✔ No video required, so you don’t need to get dressed up every time you go live
✔ Free software to record and edit
✔ Use your phone as a microphone
✔ A booming industry
✔ Meet lots of new people with similar interests
✘ You’ll need a high-quality microphone (unless you have a great phone)
✘ Building an audience takes time, consistency and patience
7. Start a Youtube Channel
BEST FOR; people who like to be on camera and have a message to spread
First off, I’d like to state, that becoming a Youtuber isn’t for everyone. It can take years to get your channel off the ground, so there is a lot of commitment required. However, for some people they are passionate about making videos, maybe that’s you, if so – I’m jealous.
Youtubing is a fantastic skill to have. Over time you can build your Youtube channel up and then branch out into some other avenues like we have discussed such as a blog, ecommerce store, digital products or merchandise.
Now is a great time to become a Youtuber. Many marketers are stating that they want to take advantage of Youtube and influencers. Youtube is extremely popular and can lead to a wealth of opportunities, such as speaking gigs and expansion into other online businesses. The best way to start a Youtube channel in 2019 is by using an iPhone. When speaking to the BBC I found out that they often cut videos from iPhone – so you’ll be creating professional content with very little kit.
✔ Get better at storytelling
✔ Build your brand
✔ The best way to reach a large audience
✔ Free and easy to start (so long as you have a good quality smartphone)
✔ Have to think about your character and presentation
✔ Very little outlay
✘ Can be embarrassing if you are not used to being in front of a camera
✘ You’ll need to be consistent
✘ Video editing can be time consuming
8. Become a Freelancer
BEST FOR; people who want money upfront and already have a developed skill
In 2019 there is no longer a need to meet your clients in person. So there is now a lot of opportunity for people to share their skills to benefit others. Any area of a business can now be outsourced, from HR to graphic design – so no matter what you are good at, or what you want to try, there is a lot of scope for earning a decent income online. Here are just a few jobs that you can do online as a freelancer:
App Developer/ Programmer
· Graphic Design
· Social Media Manager
· SEO Expert
Sites like Peopleperhour and Upwork make it really easy to connect with people who want to hire freelancers. You can make a profile for free and get started within a day. Payment is normally taken via Paypal and a cut will be given to the platform after you have successfully completed the job.
On the other hand, you can also create a Freelancer website to help you get higher paying clients. If you decide to go this route you can still use the freelancer sites and direct people to your online portfolio based website.
✔ You can get started straight away (for free)
✔ There are many freelance platforms that you can find jobs on
✔ Get paid for the work you do quickly
✔ Work from anywhere
✔ No boss
✔ Choose your own clients
✘ No job security (if that is even a thing anymore?)
✘ Days off and holidays are not paid
✘ No company pension
✘ Money can fluctuate
✘ You have to run the whole business and wear many hats.
9. Coaching or Consulting
BEST FOR; people who want to help others and make money at the same time
Starting a coaching or consulting business can be very rewarding. Consultants and coaches can make a lot of money (if they are good). What’s more there is a lot of scope for expanding into other areas. For example you could write a book on your expertise and use it to generate traffic to your consultancy website.
You can help people in just about every area of life, however you’ll need to choose your own coaching niche. Did you know that Opera Winfrey has a coach for every area of her life? When you need a little extra accountability or guidance, your coach is your guide on the side. You can lean on your coach. A coach can offer group or 1 to 1 coaching in all areas of life. There are even Fortnite coaches out there (believe it or not).
How do I get traffic to my consultancy website?
The best way is for you to set time aside to help others for free. So for instance you could provide assistance to people on forums or in Facebook groups. Make sure that you choose groups and forums that have a lot of traffic, so that you can reach more people.
✔ Very low start-up costs
✔ High income potential
✔ Lots of scope to expand your business
✔ Help people from all around the world via Skype or Zoom
✔ Work from the comfort of your own home
✘ You’ll need to be very confident in your sector
✘ Building rapport and positioning yourself as an expert can be time consuming
There is now so much opportunity to make a great living online. However, it can be daunting to know what is best for you. Make sure you take time to figure out what you want to focus on. Pick a niche and the type of platform that resonates with you and your audience. If you love writing, then you could start a freelance copywriting business and a blog. On the other hand if you’d love to help others, becoming an coach or an online consultant could be the best route.
So What Are You Waiting For?
Start your online empire today with one of the above ideas, you can always add to it when you have the foundations laid.