For the past several years, I’ve been on a mission to experiment with the best ways to create sustainable online income and chase my dreams of self-employment. And while I’ve seen my fair share of success, things haven’t always been easy either.
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.
Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can never assume that providing information about what you’ve done for other clients will enable visitors to your site to make that leap and picture what you’ll be able to do for their businesses. You need to be very, very specific about what you’re offering. To help you do that, look at other similar service providers and ask yourself these questions:
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+).
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.
If you need some guidance on how to connect with influencers, download our free step-by-step guide, “How to Connect with Influencers & Land Interviews.” We even include the exact “copy & paste” emails we used to contact Sir Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and many more A-players.
And while freelancing might not be as scalable as some of the other ideas we’ve spoken about, it’s not uncommon for solopreneurs to build healthy six-figure freelance businesses for themselves. (In fact, I’ve interviewed tons of them on my podcast!)
Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites like cast.market to see what’s currently out there and popular.
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.
You probably have a pretty strong idea of what makes a good website. Is the design clean and easy to navigate? Does the content make sense? Luckily, there are plenty of people out there who want to hear your thoughts. And they’ll even pay you decent money for it (most sites pay ~$10 per 20 minutes, or ~$30 per hour!)
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.
These days, one of the main tools you need to start a business is an internet connection. There are so many different opportunities out there to start businesses online. And in some cases, you don’t even need much more than that connection in order to get your business going. Here are 50 online business ideas you can start right away.
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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.
Selling your know-how can really pay off. Even if your know-how is super nerdy and small — I created an online course that teaches people how to start a business proofreading transcripts for court reporters. Lives have been changed in the process, including mine! The course has earned me over $166,000 in profit since its launch in February, exactly four months ago today.
Learning how to earn money online as an affiliate isn’t easy. But there are lots of people worldwide that are making over $1,000,000 a year doing it. Most will not be a successful unless they have some formal help and training. Affiliate stores are web stores where people purchase items on a site, but through a third party.
Market your course: The beauty of using a course to make money online is that you can continue to sell it for as long as you’d like. Look for niche communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Reddit that might benefit from your content. Guest post on relevant blogs and sites. Look for anywhere you might be able to get in front of the right people. With just a few hours a month you can continue to generate sales.
While Etsy is a great place to get in front of potential customers who wouldn’t have otherwise found you, once you’re up and running and have built a decent audience, you can move your store over to Shopify and retain a larger portion of the income you make from selling your goods.
This is where you dig even deeper to understand your ideal shopper. Who are they? What do they like? How can you tailor both your product and your website experience to appeal to your perfect shopper?
When Alchemy owner Eli Reich’s messenger bag was stolen, he decided that instead of buying another, he would make one himself. With plenty of bicycle inner tubes lying around, he decided to make it the primary material for his new bag. Long story short, the completed product was a huge hit at the office, and Eli began to make them on a much larger scale. Today, Alchemy products are carried in many stores across the country.
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.
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.