Why don’t you start an online business? Do you have online business ideas?
It would be strange if you haven’t heard someone tell you or anyone you know this. Working online has become so popular that 4.7 million Americans work remotely, either on an online business, regular 9-5 jobs, or freelance opportunities. In 2019, the sales for e-commerce stores were roughly $3.453 billion. Clearly, there is great potential in earning money online, and customer behavior continues to favor shopping online and relying on subscription services, which will push these numbers higher.
But the big question is, which is the best online business to start? Honestly, there is no black and white answer because a successful online business is a combination of skills and experience. From the research we’ve done, here is a list of seven online businesses you can start today.
1. Affiliate marketing
For most people, affiliate marketing is the best way to start making money online. The online business idea is simple. You sell other people’s products or services through an affiliate site and earn a commission if someone buys through your marketing efforts. As an affiliate, you can make anything from a few hundred dollars a month to tens of thousands, depending on your chosen niche and the effort you put into promoting it.
Your main task will be building a niche affiliate site, selecting products to promote, and, most importantly, driving enough traffic to your site to earn a meaningful income. This method is easy, but you shouldn’t expect to make quick sales or easy money.
2. E-commerce store
E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of products and services using the internet. It incorporates the transfer of money and data used to execute these transactions. Most people understand it as the sale of physical products online. According to statistics, around 95% of all purchases will be through e-commerce, so this is the best time to start leaving a digital footprint.
Your first task is to research the eCommerce space you are most interested in and find a niche. Next, choose a business name, and legal structure, and apply for an EIN to be in the IRS’s good books. Like a brick-and-mortar business, you will need business permits and licenses. From there, choose an e-commerce platform and create your website. You can either source or develop products, but once you have them uploaded to your store, your job is to market the site and increase traffic to attract customers.
3. Buy an online business
We get it. Starting a business from scratch is not easy, but buying one may be a great option if you already have the skills and the money. Buying helps you skip all the stages of setting up, which involves long hours working on setting up systems, establishing traffic, sourcing inventory, and generating customers. By buying a pre-established, you can move straight to expanding and growing the business.
But you have to be careful because buying an online business is not about a quick google search, and you are done. Finding the right online business can be time-consuming, and the seller may withhold vital information from you even after you identify a good business. Ensure you have the necessary legal counsel on your team to oversee the sale and protect you from bad decisions.
4. Consulting online
What are you good at? Do you have experience and a proven track record? The job market is changing. Full-time jobs are disintegrating as higher-paying jobs continue to be hard to land. On the other hand, consulting continues to be more lucrative, with the industry bringing in $100 billion each year. There is never a better time to sell what you are already good at than now.
You can start by choosing a target niche or you can go a little broader now and narrow down the focus when you gain more experience. You must, however, select a specific problem you want to solve and do your market research to ensure people are willing to pay for the solution. Test your online business idea, and go back to the drawing board if things don’t work out at first. If they do, scale.
E-commerce stores are a huge undertaking. You have tons of paperwork to get through, and you must have enough capital to buy, store, and ship products. If you want to skip all these but still sell physical products, dropshipping is your best option. With dropshipping, you create a website and sell products without holding any inventory or shipping them yourself. Instead, a customer buys a product from your site and pays for it. You then place an order with a third party, pay them, and have the items shipped to your customer. Your biggest task becomes choosing the product, finding clients, and coordinating the sale.
6. Information marketing/E-books publishing
Amazon has made publishing books easier and affordable, but even before this, people were creating and selling e-books and other information online. With more people relying on the internet to research, get advice, and so much more, you can package and sell any information. Like other online businesses, however, you must choose a niche for your book and be willing to market it.
7. Social media management
Internet marketing services are in high demand as more businesses target the netizens. Your role will be to drive traffic to the website, create active and engaging communities around the company’s services and products, as well as promote the company’s brand online. You may also need to provide customer service by answering questions and solving problems, analyzing the competition, researching the target market, and assessing and optimizing the results.
Granted, it’s possible to make money online, and the internet will continue to create more avenues such as influencer marketing. These options are, however, not automatic or get-rich-quick schemes. You have to be willing to learn the skills by researching or through a mentor. Whichever option you choose, get a product or service you are excited about, determine the market demand, then create systems to reach your customers.