Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.
Just head out to your local cafe, set up a small sign saying that in exchange for a coffee all you need is 10 minutes of someone’s time, and spend the whole day talking to people. All you really need are some concept photos, even a simple slideshow, and then talk to as many people as you’d like to gather valuable information.
The second part of the equation is consistency, as you can’t build a strong social media following without consistency. While you can post onto your preferred social media platform manually, it can end up becoming a real chore.
My favorite online business idea is from a current client who is looking to create an online marketplace for new and/or gently used consignment items. It stems from the concept created by folks such as Thredup that allow consumers to gain some monetary return when they are done with their clothing that in many cases were quite expensive when first purchased.
Websites aren’t too dissimilar to stocks. Many are junk, but some can generate serious income for you, making buying an existing website a strong potential idea for making money online (if you have an eye for spotting the diamond in the rough).
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It works like a map app, but instead of just showing you the businesses around you, it will show you their products too. So if you want to know where the closest, cheapest snickers bar is, you can two finger tap your way there and find it within walking distance for $0.75. But you may be able to find it within 10 miles for $0.25 if you’re willing to drive.
Pitch, cold email, and sign your first clients: Now it’s time to go after clients. Mention them in your content. Reach out to them over email or LinkedIn. Tailor your pitch to show what kind of value you bring to the table. (You can even read my personal cold email templates).
While Etsy is fantastic for handmade goods that you’ve already created, if you’ve got killer designs that would look good on phone cases, t-shirts, or even wall hangings, pillows, and duvets, you can sell them on Society6 without paying anything to start. Society6 lets artists upload their designs and create their own shops where they choose what products their designs can be used on. That means one design can be used to make a whole range of awesome products that are printed and shipped on demand whenever someone buys from you. With top creators making thousands every month just from selling their designs.
Before you start selling, you need to find the right product with the potential for serious profitability. You’ll learn how to research different niches and even examine your own life to find problems that can be solved.
Strategy #4: Make it easy for leads to contact you. Here’s another obvious one. But I bring it up because I’m continually shocked by how difficult some sites make it for visitors to contact them. If you’re selling a service over the web, then you’re generating leads–your goal is to compel visitors to contact you.
Many major retailers will pay you for promoting their businesses on your websites and social media pages. They might pay you in cash or gift cards. For example, some restaurants might give you a gift card if you check in on Facebook or Yelp.
This site is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I am a fit and frisky 56 y.o. single dad working 2 jobs, with an unquenchable thirst for learning new things. I’ve been surreptitiously studying the New Thought writers (from Atkinson to Proctor right up to some of the really sharp, young people creating YouTube videos). I think I’m getting a grip on the self-motivation and metaphysics of the whole thing, but am too scattered to decide exactly what kind of business to start! many of your 27 ideas I have some familiarity with (one of my old army buddies got me in to Bombardier Transport in early 2011 for 3 months to help meet a deadline on some tech pubs…it was a lot of fun! I was told I’m a natural, but could not find any more jobs in that sector….Oy Gevalt). Anyway, thank you so much for this site! I can give you a progress report every few months or so (including showing you how any websites I may be creating are doing). Happy New Year!
Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Planner to look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
If you’ve visited Amazon, you have seen products sold by third-parties with the comment “ships from Amazon.” These are sellers who send their products to Amazon fulfillment facilities, then Amazon lists the item and ships it when a buyer is found.
Though recycling has been popular for years, practical-use items made from recyclable items and materials are quickly becoming more desirable. From clothes and bags to water bottles and wallets, these unique items are high-quality goods that let people show off the positive difference they’re making for the environment. Alchemy Goods was originally born not out of ingenuity, but of necessity.
Bluehost even has a nifty domain name availability checker you can use right here to quickly find out whether or not your desired website URL is available (and if it’s not, they’ll give you suggestions on the next best idea):
I talk a lot about how to start a blog on this website, and for good reason. In 2018, it’s easier to start a blog than ever before, and your blog can also be a big potential source of income (if you know how to monetize it).
Identify target customers: Write down exactly who you want as your client and then start researching those companies and making your list. You’ll want your portfolio and cold emails to align with the companies you’re reaching out to
Bootstrap: This means you’ll be self-funding your business. While not everyone will have the funds to pay for everything they need to start a startup, bootstrapping means that you retain 100% control over your company. If you can bootstrap your company to an exit or IPO, you’ll most likely never have to work another day in your life.
This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I’ve made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, use them to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
When I first heard about Santa Mail, I had one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. The premise couldn’t be simpler: Parents order letters for children, and Santa Claus himself puts a note in the mail. For just under $10, your kids will get a personalized letter from Santa that is (genuinely) postmarked from the North Pole in Alaska. The site isn’t flashy, but it’s simple and effective.
Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off, there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as a way to make money online. Before you dive in, however, beware that some experts doubt the long-term viability of this idea for making money online. However, there’s always the change you might just land on a lucrative domain name for a future billion-dollar company. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names.
None of the above matters if you don’t have an ecommerce store that sells your product, provides an intuitive shopping experience, and makes customers want to return. We’ll show you how to go from zero to beautiful online store in a matter of minutes using powerful ecommerce software (spoiler alert – we have a recommendation).
You know you have the right product, who your customer is, and how to set up your business. It’s time to get the physical product. We’ll walk you through different ways to source your product and how to avoid common pitfalls.
With tens of thousands of new drones being purchased, and subsequently crashed or damaged, there is an opportunity to start an online drone blog, advice, and repair business. Here’s the clever part: use a 3D printer to print good quality spare parts cheaply and use those for repairs and spares. Customers with damaged parts can order them online, have them printed, and delivered. Alternatively, they can post the damaged drone to you to your workshop, have it repaired, and sent back.
Your platform should give you the flexibility you need to stand out, the data orchestration you need for operational efficiency and the low total cost of ownership that lets’ you reallocate dollars to marketing spend, not technology debt.
Boat sharing creates a unique, private boating experience for everything from sunset cruises and snorkeling excursions to fishing charters or parties at the sandbar. You can own the experience, not the boat!
With over 350,000,000 websites on the internet, there is a huge demand for content. If you have experience or skills relating to writing, offering a blog posting service could be for you. Lower paid projects might start at around £1 per 100 words, with quality focused projects being in the £2.50-10 per 100 words range. Sites like People Per Hour and Elance are great for picking up paid writing gigs, without actually having a website.
Everyone is an expert in something. Maybe you know a lot about copywriting or meal planning or raising a credit score. And, if you can teach what you know, there’s probably someone who’s willing to pay for it.
Taking a successful business model from someone else and building on it is no crime. In fact, it is how most leaders build businesses. It doesn’t always take a “stroke of genius” to get to the top. But when those once-in-a-lifetime ideas strike, your window to act may be small. I don’t accept the idea that all of the good ideas have been taken. These five unique businesses are proof that you can find prosperity, even in a market that may not have even existed when you first had your idea.
While you’ll certainly have higher levels of success if you can nail creating and marketing your own unique product, from my own experience (and that of many other entrepreneurs), I know the extremely high costs and risk associated with starting a product-based business.
Strategy #5: Get your site listed in local search directories. Current estimates say 40 percent of search engine queries are now for local businesses and services. When you combine this with research that indicates 92 percent of local searches convert later offline, you can start to see a pattern of consumer behavior.