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.
Do you love video? The bar for entry is much lower than it used to be. Now, you can create high quality videos from your smartphone. Upload those videos on a site like YouTube, and monetize it with advertisements. If you get popular enough, you can also benefit from company sponsorships.
If you want a bit more polish on the design of your site and you’re willing to spend a little more, then I’d highly recommend that you check out marketplaces like Creative Market or ThemeForest and purchase a template or design that you like.
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.
Sites like Tutor.com and TutorVista.com will connect you with people looking for help learning a subject, and you might be in particularly high demand if you’re good with math, science or a foreign language. You have to go through an application process, and once you’re approved you can start getting paid.
Now, if you don’t know people who might want your coaching services, there are a number of online tools and communities that make it incredibly easy to find clients and teach, on just about any topic area you can think of. Community driven platforms like Savvy.is, Clarity.fm, and Coach.me provide you with a network of potential clients to interact with, as well an integrated payment solution.
If you have an interest or skill in web development, there is a big demand for designers to build winning sites for businesses or organizations. Sites like eLance.com are a good place to start to find clients and build your portfolio.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
Founded in 2003, Small Business Trends is an award-winning online publication for small business owners, entrepreneurs and the people who interact with them. It is one of the most popular independent small business publications on the web.
And while building, launching, and marketing an online course does take a considerable amount of upfront effort, their earning potential is through the roof (especially compared to a lot of the other online ways to make money we’re talking about).
Some people have made big dollars by owning desired domains and selling them to hungry buyers. For a minimum investment of buying domain names you feel will be popular (typically $10 to $20), you might make a big profit selling it down the line.
It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who’ve done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time online personal trainer can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. As well, I’d recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.
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.
Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out these tasks? 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.
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.
You might not have even heard of Zappos, an online shoe store. Well, that goes to show how big the internet really is and how big your online business could be. Maybe it might even come to close to the acquisition of Zappos by Amazon for a reported $900,000,000.
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of great opportunities to make money online today. It’s that the most common ideas have been picked through a lot more than they were a few years ago. To stand out you need to be smart, look for the best opportunities, and be unique in the ways you approach making money online. And I’m here to help.
Do you love teaching people something new? Are people always asking you to teach them how to do a specific task? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you should definitely create a course. Sites like Udemy and TutsPlus are always looking for new instructors and class ideas.
Set up a website for your business. ($30 – $60) Go to a hosting service, purchase a domain, find a nice website theme or find a designer. Setting up your first landing page is quick, easy, and most importantly, cheap. Total cost so far: $77
Starting a business these days is also surprisingly cheap. If you’re dying to get out there and start making money online, but you think that surely you’ll need thousands in the bank first, we’re about to prove you wrong.
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.
For example, on his website, the owner of a martial arts school offered basic summary descriptions of his classes. Instead of general descriptions, he’d be better off breaking his sales copy down from his existing summary descriptions into more detailed copy that explains the key differences between his child, teen, and adult classes. By focusing on these client groups separately, he could more closely target their unique needs (and therefore attract more customers) by emphasizing the benefits that apply directly to each.
Being a new teacher can be nerve wracking. Which is why so many people are looking to buy your old teaching plans to help them feel more comfortable in front of their first class. If you’re a teacher, you can make money online through a site like Teachers Pay Teachers, which lets you buy and sell your original teaching materials.
A web developer is someone who knows how to build a website from the bottom up. In order to do this, you need to learn coding, which will take time and hard work. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, it can pay quite well.
You need to make it easy for your visitors to contact you. Provide an online form, your e-mail address, phone number, fax number, physical mailing address and any other relevant information (like the best times to call you). And make sure this information is highly visible and easily accessible from every page of your site. Why not invite a few honest friends to check out your site and time them to see how long it takes for them to find your contact information? What’s obvious to you may not be obvious to the rest of the world.
Walk around your neighborhood or town and I’m sure you’ll see tons of great local businesses with terrible design. However, with increasingly easy-to-use tools like Adobe Illustrator, Stencil, and Visme, just about anyone with a creative mindset and a good amount of motivation can start making money online by being a graphic designer for local companies.
Just on the Foundr blog, we’ve got full articles detailing how to do a product launch, in-depth guides on how to grow your Instagram account, the best ways to come up with a startup idea, and so much more. The best part is that it’s all free.
The difference between operational and successful is in mastering man’s greatest nemesis — time. Get firsthand accounts from successful entrepreneurs who have grown their home based business into online behemoths.
People on your email list are not only more likely to be customers, but you can use the power of email to help nurture a lead by regularly sending them quality content through something like a newsletter.
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.
If you’re looking to build a new career online, the first ten ways we just ran through are some of the best, long-term plays for making money online. However, for a lot of people (myself included), you probably want to find other, quick online business opportunities where you can start seeing a return more quickly.
WebsiteSetup is a free resource site for creating websites. WebsiteSetup was founded in 2013 by Robert Mening. The main goal of this website is to provide step-by-step instructions for setting up a website, blog or e-commerce site.
Build your list by creating a lead magnet. ($10) An eBook is as low-cost as you get when it comes to lead magnets. You can easily find someone to create a great-looking design for you for $10 or less. Total cost so far: $107
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.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
Many college consultants—some people say education consultants—are also CPAs. You could offer college consulting, and, you guessed it, tax preparation (number 16), and you’ll be hiring on staff in no time.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make money online, not to mention open some doors for you to travel the world if you’d like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker and have the ability to teach, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to tutor them English via Skype. Check out Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co for remote english tutoring jobs or sign up on a specialized site like VerbalPlanet or Chegg Tutors.