This short list of examples just goes to show that not all of the good business ideas are taken just yet. It seems to me that when I get one of those “genius” ideas, I’m always in the shower. By the time I get out and try to remember what was on my mind, it’s gone. I hope it is not just me that this happens to.
Shipping restrictions, zoning laws, and trademark considerations. These can all make or break your business. With this list, you can avoid the ecommerce landmines that derail your business before it gets off the ground.
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.
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.
But just as someone selling a product over the web needs to make a seamless transition between their sales copy and their order form, you need to make a seamless transition between your sales copy and the point of contact.
Building a YouTube channel is a lot like starting a blog or website, except that you’re working in video—not writing. The first step is to choose what kind of videos you’re going to create. Most successful YouTube channels fall under one of two categories:
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).
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.
The $15-$20 is to cover the ticket price, but the majority of these events are usually free. Keep an eye out on the speakers and guest lists and see if there’s anyone you’d like to connect with. Being in the same room with them will make it that much easier to develop a rapport and establish a relationship.
E-mail has made following up with your existing clients extremely easy and cost-effective, so there’s no excuse for not taking advantage of this source of easy extra income. Don’t be afraid to remind previous customers that you’re there.
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+).
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.
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.
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.
The great thing is that creating your own professional-looking social media is incredibly easy with a tool like Canva, which you can use by signing up for free. Even with their free version, you have access to thousands of templates and images.
Tracey Wallace is the Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she covers all things ecommerce: marketing, design, development, strategy, plus emerging trends, including omnichannel and cloud replatforming.She is often featured in publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, and ELLE, along with leading BigCommerce partners like HubSpot and Square. She launched her career in ecommerce with Y-Combinator backed Shoptiques.
On the other hand, with our Facebook audience, we’ve found videos to be particularly powerful in terms of bringing in new followers and engaging our existing followers. It’s also a great platform for us to promote the latest post on the Foundr blog, and the occasional motivational quote as well.
Believe it or not, some people have such a difficult time with dating, they don’t even want to participate in the online (or app-based) component of it. If you’re a smooth talker, you can leverage that skill into making money online as a matchmaker on sites like eFlirtExpert.
Again, CodeAcademy will give you good grounding in coding languages. Expect to train for 12 months before being able to build apps that are going to achieve lots of sales. There are a few options when it comes to building apps…
After that, you’ll need to be familiar with the other major players in the space who might be good partners or acquisition opportunities, as well as an intimate knowledge of how to raise funding, market your product, hire and manage the best talent, and keep yourself financially above water.
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.
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.
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 second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path.
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
If you possess a great deal of business experience and knowledge, why not create a business that helps aspiring entrepreneurs find success? You can use your skills to help new business owners get off to a good start and help experienced entrepreneurs keep up with demand. To show off your knowledge and skills and bring in clients, you can also write articles about business on platforms like LinkedIn.
Instead, if you can find a solid product that’s already being manufactured at a reasonable price from a marketplace like AliExpress, LightInTheBox, or DinoDirect and market it to your audience, you’ll have the start of a money-making eCommerce machine.
Although if you already have built yourself a strong audience, whether through your content or your social media, then you can dive straight into their “Growing Business” plan, which gives you access to even more features for just $10.
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.
Is your closet bursting with clothes you’re simply not wearing anymore? Rather than take them to a local thrift or consignment store, you can make money online by renting to selling your clothes. Check out sites like Tradesy, SnapGoods.com, Loanables.com, and RentNotBuy.com.
You don’t need to invest in expensive video equipment. Just learn how to use your smartphone’s video capability to upload entertaining or informative videos, and opt to have ads play before your videos to get a bit of cash for each video view. YouTube star PewDiePie earned a total of $7.4 million in revenue, according to multiple media reports.
There are a few different ways you can accomplish this. First, you should include a good, professional picture of yourself. And no, the picture of you in your Hawaiian-print shorts and “Kiss the Chef” hat from last year’s summer barbecue won’t do. Giving your visitors a professional image to associate you with will go a long way toward establishing your credibility.
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.
4. Now start posting content that supports your partners. For example, if you post a story on cruising the Mediterranean, partner with a cruise provider to promote a travel deal. They will have no problem throwing you a decent kickback for every verified sale.
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.
By the end of the week, hopefully, your book has eclipsed the top 5,000 or 10,000 overall paid ranking. From there, raise the price to $2.99, and continue raising the price $1 at a time every few days until it stops selling (then, lower it back by a dollar). This will tell you the optimal price for your book.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
Whether you’re selling your own new products or reselling other goods, you still have to consider how much stock you’re going to carry, how you’re going to fund upfront purchasing costs, and where you’re going to store your inventory. Remember, even if you avoid paying rent on a storefront, you still need to store your inventory somewhere.
How do you get inspiration to strike? And what do you do to remember your ideas and put them into action? Share your ideas, or any other unique sites or businesses you’ve found. I’m always looking for strange and intriguing things.
Next, you need to include a list of your credentials. However, don’t just give point after point of accomplishments; be sure to state exactly how each of your credentials is going to translate into a benefit for your clients. Don’t make the critical mistake of assuming that visitors to your site can make this leap on their own. Clearly spell out the benefits you offer in your sales copy. For example, if you’re a real estate agent with certification in housing inspection, you shouldn’t just tell your visitors “I’m a certified housing inspector.” Instead you should say, “Not only can I find the best home in the best location for you and your family, but as a certified housing inspector, I can give you an accurate assessment of the home’s structural soundness and let you know about any potential problems to make sure you avoid getting stuck with costly repairs in the years to come!” Doesn’t that sound better than “I’m a certified housing inspector”? Make the benefit obvious!
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
The benefit here is that you don’t have to risk buying up stock in a product and losing money if it doesn’t sell. The entry barrier is lower and you don’t have to invest nearly as much to get started.
Do you enjoy taking surveys? Some companies will pay people to take surveys so that they can gather valuable consumer and user data. It might not be the most interesting way to make a buck, but you can find websites like CashbackResearch.com that offer cash for your opinions.
Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions from people selling a service–or thinking about selling a service–over the web, asking what you need to do differently than those people marketing a physical product.