Owning and maintaining an online business gives entrepreneurs the freedom to make money from anywhere in the world. The idea is enticing, and more possible than ever, but many entrepreneurs don’t know where to start.
The most important step in starting a profitable online business is to find a business idea that matches your skills and strengths. Compare the top credit card processing providers to find a partner that can help you accept payements online.
1. SEO consultant
If you know the ins and outs of search engines and have technical skills in platforms like Google Ads and Google Analytics, becoming an SEO consultant could be a lucrative option for you. Many small business owners don’t realize how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. Start your online consulting business by educating those business owners on the power of SEO to help transform their websites and increase their conversion rates.
You could use your marketing skills to show business owners the benefits of using analytics data, strategic keywords and content structure to gain more organic web traffic. If you are unfamiliar with SEO or want to brush up on your digital marketing skills, you can refer to Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
Keep in mind that Google’s algorithms are always changing, so you will need to continue your education on SEO to stay relevant and successful in this field.
2. Small business consultant
If you have a great deal of business experience and knowledge, why not create a business that helps aspiring entrepreneurs find success? As a business consultant, you could use your skills to help new business owners get off to a good start and help experienced entrepreneurs keep up with demand. Your chances of success are greater if you focus your strategy on a niche aspect of business consulting.
To add to your credibility, demonstrate your expertise and bring in clients, it is helpful to be present in the digital business community.
3. Social media consultant
Larger enterprises can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their social media accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of a social media presence to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a social media consultant, you can help small businesses determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Facebook and Twitter are still the top business networks, but businesses often tend to struggle with more visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat. All of these platforms have huge consumer audiences, but many businesses don’t realize how big they are, how effective they can be and how to make them work for their brand. If you have a background in social media marketing and a passion for photography, focusing your consulting business on one specific platform, like Instagram, can be a great way to make money while helping other businesses improve their content and achieve their business goals.
4. Niche market e-commerce retailer
There’s an audience for everything, even if it’s as specific as dollhouse furniture or organic dog food. With a niche e-commerce site, you can reach customers who seek your specific products. Building a business in a niche market can help you differentiate yourself from other brands and build your credibility and expertise. Look to social media or your own consumer needs to come up with a product to sell on your online store.
To get your e-commerce business up and running, all you need is a web hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or e-commerce software. To simplify the shipping process, you can work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf. This can reduce the amount of inventory you need to keep onsite.
5. Web designer or web developer
If you are a creative, digital professional who thrives on forming the layout, visual theme, font set and color palette of a website, freelance web design may be a good path for you. If you have little to no experience in this field, you can learn the basics of web design and master the tools you’ll need for success, like Adobe XD, Chrome DevTools and text editor software.
Put your technical and creative skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.
Blogging may seem like an outdated business strategy, since nearly everybody already has one, but the competition should not deter you from starting this online business journey. If you love writing or have important information to share, blogging may be a profitable business for you.
Starting a blog as a business is very simple with website builders like Weebly and WordPress, but the key to success is consistency and quality. To gain a steady following, you must continually write and produce high-quality content that provides value to your readers. Content that educates, informs or entertains your readers gives them a reason to follow you.
Once you’ve mastered the creation of consistent content, you can make money through your blog by selling products like online courses, digital coaching, e-books or webinars. You can also sell ad space or sponsored posts. This business strategy may take a little more time and effort to monetize, but it can be very profitable in the end.
7. Affiliate marketer
If you love leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, you may want to look into affiliate marketing as a source of income. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and many businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public.
Affiliate programs break down into different levels of involvement: unattached, related and involved. Unattached affiliate marketing is a basic pay-per-click campaign that requires little to no involvement with the product you are promoting. Related affiliate marketing requires you to have some authority and content on the product you are marketing, but you don’t personally use the product. Involved affiliate marketing is perhaps the most effective, as you’ll be marketing a product that you actually use and enjoy.
If you have a personal website or social media presence with a large following, affiliate programs may be a profitable approach for you. PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates and influencers they can send free samples to.
8. App developer
If you have an app idea but don’t know the ins and outs of coding, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation. Depending on your situation and know-how, you may be able to make a lucrative business out of app development.
If you want to run an e-commerce site, you might be worried about storing inventory. With dropshipping, you can take customer orders on an online store and send them directly to a third-party retailer for fulfillment. As long as your business model involves selling items at a price higher than what you’ll pay to the third-party retailer, your dropshipping business will be set for success.
10. Digital courses
Similarly to tutoring, people all over the world might benefit from you sharing your expertise with them. Starting an online business that offers digital courses to anybody interested in the topic can easily earn you money – you can sell prepared written materials or other downloadable content for a fee.