Modern technology has enabled entrepreneurs to do their work from literally anywhere.
In fact, many companies nowadays operate in a wholly digital environment, lowering overhead costs and offering freedom to entrepreneurs who want to conduct business on the move.
Creating an online business is simply a matter of focusing on your strengths and expanding your network. Here are 12 great online business ideas to get you started.
1. SEO Consultant
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the process of getting a website to rank higher for certain “search terms” in search engines like Google.
When a website ranks higher, it gets more relevant traffic and in turn, can make more revenue.
This is one of the most sought after skills in the internet marketing world. That being said, it can be a bit difficult because Google is always changing its algorithms. With it, some of the rules of search change. You always have to be on the leading edge, learning and testing new strategies.
If you can master SEO, companies will always be willing to pay you for your help.
2. Business Coaching
Creating a digital product or course is similar to writing an e-book. You’re monetizing your expertise by teaching it to the others.
That being said, you don’t have the benefit of big players like Amazon promoting your course. You have to do the promoting yourself through your own website, your email lists, and possibly through affiliate partnerships.
You also need to create a compelling sales page that will convince visitors to buy from you.
If you don’t already have an audience, it might be better to self-publish on Amazon first. That way, you can validate your course idea, grow your email list (just make sure to have an email opt-in at the front and back of the book!), and more or less create a rough draft of the course (since it will probably be similar to the book).
Here are some additional resources to help you with an online course creation:
- TheRiseToTheTop.com – David Siteman Garland’s website that’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs launch profitable online courses.
- Monetize Your Expertise Podcast – Helpful episodes by online course expert Grant Weherley to help you start your fist online course.
3. Specialized Retailer
There’s an audience for everything, whether it’s making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. And one of the best ways to earn online income is through setting up an e-Commerce store that provides such specific products.
Here’s the plus side: If you try to go the route of affiliate marketing (more on that below), the best affiliate marketers right now are focused on 3 main niches: Dating, weight loss, and making money online. You would have to compete with the best of the best, and it’s not easy.
With the e-Commerce route, in many markets, you’ll be competing against old-school business people who may or may not have any internet marketing experience. Many of them have glitchy, out-of-date websites, which in turn leaves you a lot of room for improvement, and you can capitalize on their shortcomings.
It’s still not easy by any means. It requires hard work, and you need to stand out amongst the hundreds of thousands of e-Commerce websites and online stores. But by filling a unique niche and executing the right marketing techniques, you can make your e-Commerce store a profitable success.
Here are some tips to help you get started with your own e-Commerce store:
- Find a profitable market. Brainstorm some ideas, do keyword research, and try to get as specific as possible. For example, there is probably a lot of competition for selling surfboards. But if you narrow it down to surfboard racks, you may have a better chance of standing out in the market.
- Ask yourself, “Is the product expensive?”. There are costs associated with manufacturing, distribution, reselling, etc.. If your product isn’t expensive (at least $50 or more), there may be no profit left by the time you sell the product.
- Ask yourself, “Is the product in a growth market?”. Do your research first. If your market has already passed its peak (i.e.. the VCR market) and is on the down slope, you probably don’t want to get involved. Instead, you’d want to get into an industry that’s on the upswing – that’s where you’ll have the most profit and growth potential.
- Consider building a Shopify store. Shopify is a system built specifically for e-Commerce. With some basic web knowledge, you can set up a good-looking store very quickly, with a low-cost investment and with no coding needed. Shopify has a 30-day free trial too, so you can get started without spending a dime.
Here are some additional resources for creating a successful online store:
4. Facebook Advertising Consultant
Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads.
But here’s the problem: A lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.
Consequently, they’re looking for Facebook ad specialists to step in and do it for them. Luckily, this is something you can learn fairly quickly. Once you do, you can reach out to businesses and offer to help create profitable Facebook ads.
Here are some Facebook Ad resources you can learn from:
- How to Create a Facebook Ads Funnel: 2 Strategies by Jon Loomer
- The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Advertising by AdEspresso
5. Web Design & Building
Ever saw a beautiful sales page or a website design that really jumps out at you? That’s all due to a graphic designer.
Graphic designers are basically visual communicators. They design web pages, sales pages, logos, and really anything else that needs to look sharp.
To be a great graphic designer, you don’t need to be great at drawing, you don’t need a college degree, and you don’t need to buy a fancy expensive computer. But you do need to be a visual thinker, you do need to specialize in something, and you definitely need a portfolio.
The same goes for building niche websites.
The idea behind a niche website is to target a specific niche (for example, a specific kind of photography), rank on Google for the keywords related to that niche, and then turn that traffic into earnings through affiliate offers or through selling your own products.
A lot of research goes into this – you should be ready for a bit of workload. If you create a good niche site, it can bring you an extra $500 a month or more.
6. Assistant/Task Manager
Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out multiple tasks simultaneously?
Maybe it’s time to put those skills to good use by becoming an online personal assistant or task manager.
Companies like TaskRabbit or Zirtual allow you to sign up for tasks you want to complete – including data research, virtual assistant or running errands – and begin building clientele.
7. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is basically the process of earning a commission by promoting somebody else’s product.
There are two main ways most people do affiliate marketing:
- Information products. You promote products like e-books, membership sites, video series, etc.. This type of affiliate marketing can earn you up to 50% or more in commission, has relatively low barriers to entry, and it’s easy to find products to promote.
- Amazon partners. Many affiliate marketers have success with Amazon. There are literally millions of products to choose from, and it can be quite profitable. For more information, you can check out the Amazon Associates Program.
Quick side note: Before you start affiliate marketing, it helps to have at least a basic knowledge of SEO and copywriting.
8. Remote Technical Support
Many SMEs can’t afford the luxury of acquiring a full-time IT employee. So when their systems go on the fritz, they’ll usually call a computer-savvy friend or family member.
If you have experience working on computers and networks, you can eliminate their need to call in a favor and offer immediate remote technical assistance.
9. Handmade Craft Seller
Ah, talking about the ever-demanded world of handmade products.
Online sites like Etsy and ArtFire are platforms that make it extremely easy for crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items, like crocheted blankets, leatherwork, woodwork or unique painted glassware.
Startup costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn around orders quickly, you’ll be making a profit in no time at all.
It’s even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.
10. App Development
Mobile usage is on the rise, especially in the Southeast Asia, and mobile apps are getting more and more popular by the year. If you have an idea for a cool, useful, and/or fun app for a phone or a tablet, this may be the way to go.
It helps to have some coding knowledge, but it’s not an absolute necessity. There are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.
Word of caution: The app market is saturated right now, so make sure you validate your app and do your research before investing lots of money in your idea.
Here are some resources to help you in the app development process:
- How to Build Your First Mobile App in 12 Steps by Forbes
- 3 Must-Use Ways to Find an App Developer by Entrepreneur
11. Instagram Consulting
Despite Instagram’s growing popularity, not all brands know what they’re doing on the app.
If you have a background in social media and marketing and a passion for photography and Instagram, starting a consulting business that focuses on the popular photo app can be a great way to make money while helping other businesses improve their content and thrive.
12. Social media consulting
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but SMEs 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 social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy.
As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Sure, there are plenty of renowned businesses offering social media consulting services, but you can stand out from the crowd by focusing primarily on networks that are still gathering steam with businesses.
Facebook and Twitter are still the top networks, but businesses tend to struggle the most nowadays with more visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat. All of these platforms have huge audiences, but many businesses don’t realize how big they really are, how effective they can be and how to make them work for their niche.
Snapchat has more than 158 million users per day, according to Business Insider. Instagram has more than 500 million daily active users, according to Statista, and Pinterest has more than 200 million.
If you’ve got a background in social media and a deep understanding of these particular platforms, try starting a social consulting business that focuses less on the basics and more on helping businesses take advantage of the millions of users they’re not reaching by sticking solely with Facebook and Twitter.