Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I’ve personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.
It’s a good question. Because while almost all the selling and traffic generation techniques I teach work equally well for both product- and service-based business models, there are a few unique challenges faced by those selling services that warrant special discussion.
For those who like to make handcrafted items, websites such as Etsy are ideal to make some money off of such hobbies. Dedicated handcrafters should check Etsy and similar sites to find the best fit for their products.
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.
You can optimize your videos to rank higher by experimenting with attention-grabbing descriptions and previews as well as using relevant tags. You need to stand out and make people want to click on your video.
Of course, that’s a simplified version of everything it takes to build your startup. Luckily, there is now more support, education, and access to funding for budding startups than ever before. And a great place to start is with this list of 101 best free and cheap online business courses for entrepreneurs I put together.
As you grow your podcast, you can offer paid sponsorships and sell your own products and services. Through the podcast, you’ll be able to earn the trust of your listeners, which makes them that much more likely to buy what you have to offer.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
No matter what kind of industry you’re in, you’re going to have to learn how to use social media as part of your marketing. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, you’ll need to master at least one of these platforms.
Telemarketing services are great for appointment setting as well as creating warm leads. More and more companies are looking to outsource their marketing efforts and this is where you could fit in. Telemarketers charge £15-30 per hour depending on the size and type of operation.
Next, you need to set up and build your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is your homebase for all your content. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or Google Drive, then you can use that to log-in to YouTube and start setting up your channel. Pick a username that works for you and is memorable (if you’re using an existing Google account you’ll have to edit your username in Google+).
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 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.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to make money online doing something you love via a niche website. That of course, is easier said than done. Creating a profitable niche website takes time and is not intended for the faint of heart. But, if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it and eventually monetize through advertising, affiliates, or other relevant products.
Shopify is a great example of the freemium model. By offering some applications for free, they get exposure for their whole business. Since the company was founded in 2004, they have acquired 30,000 customers, including Pixar and the Foo Fighters. Their revolutionary “build-a-business” competitions in the past have produced over $70,000,000 in revenue for over 14,000 entrants.
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.
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter 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 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.
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).
With over 3.2 billion people now actively using the internet, we’re well into a massive transformation in how the world does business. We’re living in an age where there’s no longer limitations on what you can achieve based on geographic location or lack of financial resources.
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.
eGobie handles one of life’s more important, albeit time-consuming daily errands. The company specializes in mobile car wash/detailing services and mobile oil change service. With the use of a smartphone app, customers can order these services with a few clicks of a button. Customers can register for a free account, log in, tell eGobie what service they would like to receive, when to receive it, and where to receive it.
There are quite literally hundreds of clever ways to make money online. From taking online surveys, to renting or selling your old clothes, flipping your iPhone to someone in a different country, and even buying low-cost products locally, just to resell them for a higher price on Amazon. There’s truly no shortage of unique ways to make money online.
2. Take advantage of sites like eLance.com. Depending on the type of service you offer, professional services marketplaces like eLance.com , FreeLance.com and Daylo.com may be a great source of clients and leads. Post your qualifications and bid on posted jobs, using your website to help close the deal once you’ve entered into a one-on-one discussion with a potential client.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
Strategy #6:Network and get listed with professional services websites. While almost all the traffic techniques used to drive visitors to product-based sites can be applied to service-based sites, I’d like to mention a couple that those of you who need local traffic will find useful.
Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea and don’t know the ins and outs of how to turn it into a reality, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.
Courses and other knowledge products like e-books, are what’s called passive income. That simply means that once the upfront time and effort is put in, with just a bit of regular upkeep and marketing you’ll be able to continue to sell and make money from them for months and years.
You’ve thought about it every year. You’ve gone over countless online business ideas in your head and imagined what your life would be like if you could quit your job and generate money on the internet.
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Leslie Samuel’s great guide to selling eBooks online or follow Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!
If you have a marketable skill—like writing, designing, web development, marketing, project management, or anything else—one of the easiest ways to make sustainable extra money online is to start freelancing.
Phase 3: Quickly write, record, and edit the course content. As he already knew there was demand, it made sense to create the content as quickly as possible. He could always go back and update or edit based on feedback from his initial students.
You’ll need to think, “growth”—both geographically and regarding services. One Concierge, operating globally and with a host of offerings, is a good role model. And judging from their membership page, business is good.
For the former, do a smoke test by building a simple landing page advertising your product and what it’s all about. You don’t need a ton of bells and whistles; all you need to know is whether or not people will actually pay money for it.
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.
Businesses of all sizes are in constant need of bringing in more customers, which is where you come in with your business idea. Start by pitching creative small business marketing ideas to local businesses and you’ll be sure to impress the first set of clients you begin working with in your area.
Once you’ve launched your blog (or niche website), the next step is figuring out which products and companies you can partner with as an affiliate to help facilitate sales of a related, helpful product for your audience of future readers.
Are you interested in home decor? Do you love re-imagining home spaces? Consider a career as an online interior decor. You can create mood boards, set up design strategies, and make furniture and fabric recommendations all online.
The best entrepreneurs are always the most curious ones, and getting a library card, or the other free alternative of your choice, can open up a whole world of information for you. And if you make sure to actually return your books on time, then you don’t have to worry about late fees either!
Once you hit the 1,000 subscriber/4,000 hour threshold, you can start monetizing your videos by selecting “Monetize with ads” under the Monetization tab of your channel. While it can take a while to build up a decent following for your YouTube channel, it can be a lot of fun to do as well as become a steady source of extra income.
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).
Journalists, doctors, lawyers, academics, and researchers record interviews every single day and need someone to transcribe what’s been said. So, if you’re comfortable with listening to the same audio over and over while writing it down you can make good money online doing transcriptions.
Content creators, marketers, publishers, attorneys, political groups, and probably a few college students—the potential client list is endless. Start with very competitive pricing, but as your project load builds, ramp up to charging more.
Consider building a Shopify store. Shopify is a system built for ecommerce. 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.
Not only is Airbnb a great way to make extra money online by renting out your spare bedroom, but you also get the benefit of meeting new people (if that’s your kind of thing). You can even rent out an entirely new apartment just to manage as an Airbnb.
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).
And don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. If you’ve done a good job for someone, they’ll likely be more than happy to refer their friends and business associates to you. But if you don’t ask, they’ll rarely think to do it. Don’t leave this to chance.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
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.
In 2017, there were almost 90 million pet dogs in the US. Which has opened up a huge opportunity to make money online as a dog watcher or sitter. Specialized sites like Rover or Care.com connect pet owners with pet walkers, sitters, and boarding houses to help look after their best friends when they’re at work or on a trip. If you’re an animal lover, you can make extra money and get to spend some quality time with a furry friend.
If you can consistently provide companies with successful social media campaigns and improve their profiles, they will pay. Clorox Bleach had some huge success with one of their recent social media campaigns.
It’s not the sort of online money making opportunity that’s covered in glory, but everyone needs a set of eyes to make sure the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. The Income Tax School provides an array of training programs that’ll certify you with tax prep in as little as 10 weeks, and once tax season rolls around you’ll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, reports CNBC.
Instead, go with a self-hosted site (like my blog here is)—this means your blog will be hosted on your own server and you’ll have full control over it. There are tons of highly reputable, affordable companies you can choose to host your website, like Bluehost, Kinsta, or A2 Hosting.
Writer, side project aficionado, and part-time entrepreneur. Join me here, on ryrob.com and learn how to start a business while working full-time. Let’s chat on Twitter about business and side projects.
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.
If you’re a person who loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.