What Kind Of Business Can I Start Online?
There are lots of people that make loads of money online. You will have heard about them in the news and seen all sorts of people on social media with great success stories. Starting your own online business my seem daunting, especially if you have no clue on where to start. In this post, I am going to answer the question of “What Kind Of Business Can I Start Online?”. I will give you top top tips on how tom make sure that you choose the right business for you to start, tell you how other people do it and give you some great examples to look in to.
Set Some Rules For your New Online Business
To make the most out of your business, you need to have a real passion for it. If you don’t, you won’t enjoy it and won’t put everything in to it to make it work. Therefore, you need to make sure you choose the right business for you. If you have some ideas already, I would like you to put them aside for a moment.
Before I started my online business, I set some prerequisites that my new business had to fulfil:
- It had to allow me to work on it at any time I wanted – I did not want to be tied down to certain working hours
- It had to be able to be done from anywhere – I haven’t got any plans to move from my home in the French alps, but you never know what the future brings. Therefore, I want to be able take my business anywhere without interrupting how it works
- It had to be worth the effort – I really don’t want to be wasting my time on something that isn’t going to earn me any money
- It had to be legitimate – I didn’t want to fall for any scams or be involved in something that would mislead other people
- It had to have quality and reliable ways of learning how to do it – I was starting from scratch, so I wanted to make sure I was as well informed as I could possibly be
Before you decide on what kind of online business you want to start, I suggest you make a list of things you want your business to do for you. This will help you eliminate some options while you are researching them. If it doesn’t meet your requirements, you can rule it out.
Selling Stuff Online
At the end of the day, you are selling something. This may be a physical product you make, a product that is made by somebody else or a service you provide. But what ever it is, it has to benefit your potential customers in some way. I am going to go through a few different methods people sell stuff online.
Selling Your Own Physical Products
If you make your own physical product, you can sell it online. There are a number of ways you can sell physical products on the internet:
1. Your Own Website
There are a number of eCommerce platforms you can base a website around in order to sell your own products. The great thing about having your own website, is that you have full control over the design and layout. This means you can make it easy to navigate and draw you customer’s attention to the most important products. You will have to pay for credit card fees, but you won’t have to pay for transaction or seller’s fees that you will find if you were selling via Amazon or Ebay.
Building your own website isn’t that difficult, even if you have no knowledge or experience. You can have a fully functioning website in just a few minutes. It is quite cheap to build a website too.
The difficult part of selling your own products online, is that you will need to attract people to your website. There are a number of ways to do this, but you need to learn some digital marketing techniques, such as search engine optimisation and Facebook and Google adverts.
Ebay is a household name with a huge user base. Because of this, you can easily sell pretty much anything anywhere in the world. The problem with Ebay, is that there is a lot of competition and Ebay take 10% of your profit. Additionally, the fact that people can bid for products makes the nature of Ebay unpredictable and frustrating.
Amazon is another household name and can be used as a third party to sell your products. Amazon is seen as a trusted online store, so it removes a lot of doubt from your customer’s minds. However, Amazon will take a percentage of your profit and you will have to pay a monthly listing fee, if you make lots of sales. Additionally, selling on Amazon can be quite technically difficult.
Etsy is a website where you can sell your niche products. It os geared for people that like to buy handmade, quirky or vintage items. Etsy also charge for listing and take a percentage of your profits. Something else to think about, is that if your cutters pay via PayPal, you will need to factor in their fees too.
5. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook marketplace is a good place to start if you are selling within your local area. The good thing about Facebook marketplace, is that it is free to list your products. But, you have to do all the work and there is no protection for you or the customer.
6. Google Shopping
Google Shopping is a way to bolster up the efforts you put in with your website. When people search for products on Google a list of relevant and appropriate products are put in front of them. You pay for each click you get through Google Shopping. Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee a sale, but you have a high chance of selling to a wide audience.
Selling Your Own Digital Products
A digital product is something that someone can download. Selling digital products is very profitable, as you only make the product once and it can be sold many times. You don’t have to store a room full of them or post them to the customer. You will need to set up a website, but there are a few different types of digital product you can sell:
Those of you that are a dab hand at photography will be able to make money from your pics. This is a good way to earn extra cash or even build a successful business from. There are millions of pieces of content being created every day from social media posts, blogs books, leaflets and adverts that need stock photos.
In particular, the biggest selling types of photos are:
- People – Photos of people of all ages and from different parts of the world are in high demand. They can be doing all sorts of things, such as working, participating in sports or just going about their daily business
- Food – Photos of all stages of food preparation right up to empty plates are very popular
- Tools – Or anything industrial that will help set a scene for potential customers
- Travel – Anything that sparks emotion of far away places is very popular. Cities, nature, buildings, commuters, boats, planes, mountains and beaches etc
You can sell your photos on your own website, but there are a number of websites that will pay to use your photos as stock images or allow you to sell prints to customers, such as:
It is a huge achievement to write an eBook and it can earn you lots of money too. Your ebook could be a story, a guide on how to do something or just about anything you can think of. Once you have completed your book, you need to get it in front of its intended audience. There are number of ways you can sell your eBook online:
- Payhip – This allows you to host your eBook and also create promotional campaigns. You can also create affiliates, so people will be rewarded when they promote your book to other people.
- Fiverr – This is a very popular website to sell any type of digital product or service. It is a great place to launch your eBook when it is ready to go.
- Amazon – Amazon is the most popular place to sell eBooks. You can earn between 35 and 70% of the sales price of your eBook through Amazon. As Amazon gets a huge amount of traffic each day, you stand a good chance of making sales.
For those of you with a particular skill, you can create online courses to sell. For example, a fitness instructor could create a series of courses for people to download. You can charge per course or even have a paid members area where subscribers have access to all of the courses you provide.
Courses could be videos or in the form of documents that your customers download. The great thing about this, is that your customers can be anywhere in the world and can download the course at anytime. This makes selling courses an excellent source of passive income.
There are a two forms of music that can be sold online. The first type, is selling your own music as an artist. If you are good enough and appeal to a large enough audience, releasing tour music online is a good way to get started if you are struggling to get signed.
The other way to make money from selling music, is to market it towards people that need music for adverts and videos. You can charge per tune, or people that regularly create content that need music can subscribe to a member’s area of your website. This means they will pay you to download all the music they need.
Selling Other People's Products
You can of course sell other people’s products and make a very good living from it. One way of doing this, is to buy a load of products in bulk and sell them through your website. But, for me this is too much work. There are a couple of other ways to sell products without buying them first, or even seeing them in the flesh.
Drop shipping is when you sell products through your online store. The first great thing about drop shipping, is that you don’t have to pay for the product until someone buys it. This means you don’t have to buy a load of products and store them, in the hope you will sell them.
The next great thing about drop shipping, is that once somebody buys the product, you put the order through to the supplier, who sends it to the customer for you.
The way you make money drop shipping, is by buying the product from the supplier, but put it in your online store with a hefty mark up. You just need to make sure that your sipping costs are covered, so they don’t encroach in to your profit margin too much.
This all seems very easy, but there are a few things you need to get right to make it work:
- Choose the right drop shipping niche – If you don’t get this right, you will fail before you have even started. You need to choose a focussed niche, but one that is popular enough to have a big enough market
- Choose the right drop shipping products – If you pick boring products that can easily be picked up in a supermarket, you are going to fail. Your products need to trigger an impulse purchase
- Marketing – The marketing is the hardest part. You need to create Facebook adverts that are targeted at the people within your niche. This takes some trial and error and can be expensive, but you can start with a $5 per day budget to reduce your risk.
You can read about this in more detail in my guide on how to start a drop shipping online business.
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products or services in return for a commission. You will probably see people online telling you that you should start affiliate marketing by just using social media. This may work for some, but you are relying on setting up paid adverts. The most effective way of making money with affiliate marketing is cresting great content that people are searching for online.
The key here is to provide content that people will find useful. Examples of which are:
- Product reviews
- Buyer’s guides
- Blog posts
Just like drop shipping, you need to choose your affiliate marketing niche wisely. This also needs to be focussed, so you appeal to a small, but dedicated group of people. The advantage affiliate marketing has over drop shipping, is that by cresting quality content around quality keywords and using good SEO techniques, you will attract traffic to your website without spending a penny.
The main disadvantage of affiliate marketing, is that it take a long time to make any money at all. To be honest, this is the same for any business. But, affiliate marketing is a very low cost way of starting a business. If you follow the correct techniques and are patient, you will start to make some very good money.
To learn more about this type of online business, check out my guide on how to make money affiliate marketing.
Selling Your Services
So what if you didn’t want to sell products, but you did want to sell your time? If you have a particular skill (or thinking of learning a new one), you will be able to sell your services to other people and businesses. What you do all depends on what you want to do and what your particular skills are. Here are some examples of online work you can do, if you have the skills:
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Social media agency
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if like the look of one of these, but don’t have the skills yet, don’t worry. Use this as a starting point, but make sure your choice gives you the lifestyle you really want.
What Kind Of Business Can I Start Online? - Answered!
Now you have some ideas on what kind of online business to start. The important part is to make sure you choose a business that you are going to enjoy working on. The journey will be tough enough without picking something you are not happy with.
Starting an online business is a life changing move. I started my affiliate marketing business with a view to allow me to enjoy my time without having to adhere to someone else’s working hours. I would never go back to my old life working for somebody else.
Having your own business is difficult, but worth it. It takes a long time to earn money, but when you start to earn money while you are asleep from content you created a few months ago, the effort pays off.
If you have any questions or thoughts about this subject, please let me know in the comments section below.