Or you can instead focus on growing your own social media accounts. And if you garner enough influence within your network, you can build a business as an influencer that works with brands to promote products and services on your account.
A common mistake that many people make when it comes to validating their business idea is that they’ll need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars developing an MVP. You actually want to spend very little at this stage.
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.
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.
We went micro-niche with Chicken Armor poultry saddles when we were unable to find chicken saddles/aprons that were affordable and didn’t need to be laundered. Chicken saddles are worn by chickens like a vest and help to protect their backs against mating and molting injuries.
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.
The college debt crisis is everywhere. News, politics, they can’t get enough of it. People are afraid to go into debt now, and a lot of them will pay good money for help through the financial aid maze.
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.
If you need to brush up on your sales skills, check out online courses like Sales Training and Prospecting on Udemy, The Guide to Pitching and Selling Clients on CreativeLive. And once you’re ready, head over to Angel List and see if there any open sales position opportunities align with your interests.
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.
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.
Bluehost even has a nifty domain name availability checker you can use right here to quickly find out whether or not your desired website URL is available (and if it’s not, they’ll give you suggestions on the next best idea):
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)
Blogs are a time tested form of online business that can always be monetized through adsense, affiliate links, advertising, and a number of other creative applications.There are two big reasons why a blog should be your first online business.
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.
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.
Rather than making money through subscriptions, YouTube channels are based on a traditional advertising system. Meaning the more viewers you get, the more you make. Once you’re approved for the YouTube Partner Program and can start including ads on your videos, with every 1,000 views, you will make approximately $2-$4. Which might not seem like a lot, but if you have 100 videos with 5,000 views a month each, that would be $1,000–$2,000 already. Just imagine if your videos start hitting millions of views!
Bridging the gap between online and offline shopping and getting people over the uncertainties of online shopping is key in converting customers. In order to do this, online retailers must create a flawless shopping experience that caters to the needs of their customers. Four Mine is an online jeweler specializing in diamond engagement rings and wedding bands. What’s unique about us? We offer a free try-before-you-buy replica ring service. Our high quality diamond simulant and metal alloy rings look and feel as close to the real ring as possible. Consumers can try their favorite three styles at home, with no obligation to purchase.
Of course, there’s a higher price per product and your margins are lower, but you’re able to start your online store with little more than a Shopify theme and some hosted images of your products. When a customer makes a purchase, you in turn buy the product from your supplier who then ships it directly to your customer.
With North Pole Notes, subscribers sign up to send personalized and unique letters as Santa Claus, not just in the holiday season, but ALL year. Perfect for parents, Godparents, Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles, or just about any gift giver!
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.
“I always tell podcasters to use as many streams as possible. Don’t just sell ads on your show. Don’t just sell T-shirts. Don’t just do crowdfunding. Do all of it. Combine it and find the right mix, and together it adds up to something that’s stronger and more dependable.”
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.
While most of the ideas for making money online we’ve covered so far can be done on the side, if you’re looking to completely change your career and start working online there are thousands of companies looking to hire who don’t care where you are.
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
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.
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So here, again, thorough sales copy that clearly explains how you’re willing to customize your services will be very important. Do your clients typically fall into a few different categories? Can you talk about each group and explain how you adapt and change to meet their individual needs?
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you’ve built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
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.
A great online business for people who want to work from home, earn a great income, and need a flexible schedule is a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business. HRNs pre-screen and refer painters, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and more to local homeowners. The HRN owner earns a commission for any work secured. Homeowners can go online and request a contractor and they are custom matched with a contractor from my network.
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
When you sell a service, you are the product, whether you’re a real estate agent, doctor, lawyer, bed & breakfast owner, auto-mechanic, caterer, hair stylist, fitness trainer, accountant, investment advisor, childcare provider, housekeeper, dog walker, landscaper, whatever.