You can test your market. If you have an idea, start blogging about it. Answer the common questions people might have and provide valuable content in your idea’s niche. Once you have an audience, you can pitch a product/service to them and effectively test that market before jumping into it.
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.
This pattern has also been recognized by the major search portals, as Yahoo!, Google, AOL, and MSN have all recently launched local search services. Even if you don’t have a website, a local listing can provide your business with an online presence, which is increasingly important as consumers routinely use the web to find businesses close to home.
Shopify and Squarespace each offer a 14-day free trial of their services, which is more than enough time for you to get a basic version of your store up and running as a test. Other sites like Big Cartel allow you to use their service for free if you have fewer than five product listings.
Your email list is going to be your most direct form of contact with your audience. It’s been proven to be the most effective marketing channel available to you, and for years, email marketing has consistently outperformed every other digital channel when it comes to acquiring sales, leads, and customers.
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There’s bound to be at least a dozen different events going on in your city no matter where you live, and participating in these events not only gives you the opportunity to develop your network and relationships. But every event brings you one step closer to learning directly from an expert.
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.
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).
Do you love the feeling of waiting for something in the mail? I know I do, and that’s why I tried out Something Store. A few years ago, I saw a piece in a popular magazine about an online store that sells mystery objects. I was intrigued. For $10 (no shipping cost), they send you a random item. It could be anything in the world. Since 2007, they’ve shipped over 50,000 “somethings” to customers who wait with anxious anticipation.
When you’re selling a service, however, you are the product. So establishing your credibility–essentially establishing your value–is critical to closing the sale. You need to not only establish the benefits of the service you’re offering but also establish the value of you providing this service.
Parking is at a premium in most thriving cities. Renting an unused space in your driveway or vacant deeded parking space can generate additional income. Advertising availability on Craigslist exposes this opportunity to local people, and up-and-coming apps like JustPark also allow you to easily rent out your parking space when it’s not in use.
Do you have in-depth expertise about a specific hobby or any other subject? You could create a website that offers your expertise to others for a price, like offering a music lesson over Skype for a fee or charging for video lessons on gardening. You can make extra income or become wildly successful with this method of making money online.
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.
Depending on what hosting service you decide to go with, the initial cost can potentially be as low as $5 a month. On average though, purchasing a single domain name and setting up a basic wordpress site shouldn’t cost you more than $10, leaving you with just enough to invest into your site’s design.
If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you’re pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.
Next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
Do you love taking photos and dream of building up a great Instagram following? As you grow your following, more sponsorship opportunities will become available. For example, if your account is focused on fitness, you may be able to sponsor products like protein powder, supplements, etc.
However, the majority of the site would focus on establishing the value of the actual product–the gift baskets–and providing detailed information about guarantees, delivery procedures, etc. Including reams of misplaced information about the website owners could actually hurt sales more than help because, in this case, visitors’ chief focus should be directed to the value of the product.
Fulfilled by Amazon: Rather than drop shipping, Amazon lets you store your products in their own warehouses, making them available for Free 2-Day Shipping to Prime members. Which has been proven to significantly increase sales.
If you design a wildly popular app (which is harder than it sounds), you might be pleasantly surprised with the income they generate. Offering one or more apps at the iTunes or Android app store gives your creations wide exposure to prospects. And income can be generated by charging for the app, displaying in-app ads, or charging for in-app features and upgrades.
Boatsetter boats can be rented with a captain or without (so no experience is required), and the fleet ranges from yachts to sailboats to pontoon boats. Boat owners and boat captains are able to earn income through the online platform.
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as “You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech,” seems like something you would want to do, you can make good money online.
Podcasts are super hot right now, and for good reason. With how busy our lives are getting, more and more people are looking for passive ways to take in content. Which makes them both a great opportunity to build an audience and to make money online.
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.
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.
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…
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.
I’ve been a seller on Etsy since 2006 and have sold over 10,000 pieces of handmade pottery through that site. In 2014, I opened a second Etsy shop to sell my watercolor paintings…it’s a little slower but a great way to get your art out there. I live in a little tiny town up in the mountains of Colorado, so the online presence has been a wonderful way to be able to create my art in this environment and then sell it all over the world.
Strategy #1: Establish your credibility. When you sell a service, you’re typically selling a relationship with yourself. And this requires spending more time and effort establishing your credibility and developing a rapport with your visitors than is typically required on a site selling a physical product.
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.
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.
Do you know the ins and outs of search engines and have skills in platforms like Google Analytics? The owners of a lot of smaller companies don’t realize how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. Educate those business owners on the power of SEO to help transform their websites into a more SEO-friendly property. Use your skills to show business owners how to read and use their analytics data the right way, and how to properly use keywords and structure content to get more traffic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Santa Mail has been around since 2003, and as far as I can tell, it was the first company of its kind. Since then, at least four sites offering the same service have popped up. Even though someone may come along and offer something better, for now, Santa Mail is at the top of its niche.
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.
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.
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.
If you can couple video production with the ability to be creative, you can make videos go viral. If you can do that, your £500 video is going to be worth £5,000 or even £50,000 to a client. Checkout the results from the Old Spice video campaign!
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!
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+).
It gives you a place to deliver your content, allows your community members to interact with each other, allows you to limit access to qualified members, and also allows you to moderate and control the group.
Sure, some of them may be good for creating a few hundred or even thousand dollars in one-time revenue. But they’re not going to help you unlock financial freedom and achieve complete control of your lifestyle.