If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re selling your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
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.
Bootstrap: This means you’ll be self-funding your business. While not everyone will have the funds to pay for everything they need to start a startup, bootstrapping means that you retain 100% control over your company. If you can bootstrap your company to an exit or IPO, you’ll most likely never have to work another day in your life.
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.
It’s also one of the quickest ways you can get set up and start generating revenue. All you really need is an account with one of the online coaching communities I mentioned above and expertise to share.
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 last step is deciding how you’ll market and monetize your podcast. The larger of an audience you have, the more chances you have for monetizing it. Create a basic website for your show and start sharing episodes to your network. When you’re ready to monetize there are a few options you can choose from:
It’s not the sort of online money making opportunity that’s covered in glory, but everyone needs a set of eyes to make sure the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. The Income Tax School provides an array of training programs that’ll certify you with tax prep in as little as 10 weeks, and once tax season rolls around you’ll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, reports CNBC.
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!
Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Planner to look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
For those who are getting into the world of ecommerce or looking to start their own online businesses, then do be sure to check out our recent in-depth reviews of ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Big Cartel, and Squarespace, which offer free trials.
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.
While YouTube recently changed its monetization program, if you’re able to hit their new minimum bar of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the past 12 months, it’s still an incredible place to make extra money online.
If you want to clear some space out in your house and have a big stack of books you’ve been holding onto for too long, you can make money selling your books and textbooks online. Stores like Half Priced Books and others will give you cents on the dollar for each of your current books while you can check what your book is worth by simply entering the ISBN number on Book Scouter.
This is another highly valued skill in the internet marketing world. That being said, it can be a bit difficult because Google is always changing its algorithms. With it, some of the rules of search change. You always have to be on the leading edge, learning and testing new strategies.
Got a thing for numbers? Plenty of companies pay talented contractors who are good at data analysis, making this a potentially lucrative way to make money online, if you have the right credentials and experience. Platforms like Upwork and Digiserved are just two of many websites that are great for freelancers with an analytical prowess.
As you start regularly putting out content, you’ll hopefully start to build a bit of an audience. But to start seeing real money from YouTube you need to market your videos elsewhere. Share your channel on Twitter and Facebook. Distribute videos anywhere else you can think of. Also, interact with comments and build a community around the videos you’re making so people will share it with their friends.
Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look at how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales and start building your own community!)
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.
Learn from entrepreneurial experts. ($20) The average ticket price for your local entrepreneurial event is $15-$20, the knowledge and connections you get from it though? Priceless. Total cost so far: $127
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.
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.
Ever see a Google result and say “How the heck did that get there?” While Google and other search engines use powerful algorithms to determine what pages to show for search results, there are real people making money online by making sure the machines are doing their job correctly.
Another way to utilize your talent and business skills is to run corporate workshops online. Businesses are always looking for unique ways to help educate their workforce, and if you can package your talents into a day or half-day long session, you can sell that to companies all over the world to make money online. Start by building a portfolio and then reaching out on LinkedIn to influencers at relevant companies to see if they would be interested in you teaching their team.
The website Fiverr promotes members’ talent in multiple disciplines and connects them to people looking to pay for those skills. For example, if you’re a digital photo editing guru, you might find freelance projects you can complete for compensation.
Could you expand on the “Find a developer” part. You mention there are loads that are looking to partner up with people but from my experience most want paid a lot of money to consider developing your idea.
Identify target customers: Write down exactly who you want as your client and then start researching those companies and making your list. You’ll want your portfolio and cold emails to align with the companies you’re reaching out to
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.
Similar to selling your freelance services, you can also start selling your knowledge and advice in an area you specialize in as a coach or consultant. If you can bill yourself as an expert, there are tons of people out there willing to pay for your time.
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.
Or if you want to get more specific and help clients plan out their meals and nutrition, you can offer a meal planning service where you consult with clients online and then send them a plan based on your consultation.
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.
The most important thing you need before you do anything else is a problem. What do people need that they don’t have? What solution is currently out there that you can do better? This alone is the basis of every great startup.
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.
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.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
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.
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.
There’s nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started.
The best online business idea is turning your genius, or your own personal know-how, into very sellable, super-valuable, high quality eBooks, online courses, and tutorials that help will people enhance or change their lives. I love this strategy because it is mutually beneficial. You get to share what you love and earn money from it, and others get to learn and benefit from it in the same way you have.
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.
Trust me, tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Look for open positions at top editing companies like Scribendi, Top Admit, or Essay Edge or post your services online on Craigslist and other marketplaces.
Take a look at what problems you’re facing right now in your life, whether it’s something that annoys you a little bit, or something that can potentially uproot your entire day. See if you can find a solution to that problem, if you’re experiencing this issue, you can be pretty sure there are others out there who are going through the same thing.
Shopify is a great example of the freemium model. By offering some applications for free, they get exposure for their whole business. Since the company was founded in 2004, they have acquired 30,000 customers, including Pixar and the Foo Fighters. Their revolutionary “build-a-business” competitions in the past have produced over $70,000,000 in revenue for over 14,000 entrants.
Drop shipping is fairly similar to running an affiliate store. You act as the mediator without ever touching the product. The difference between a drop shipper and affiliate is that the sale with drop shipping websites is not completely managed. You might have to set up systems to automatically make a purchase with your drop shipping company, in order for it to be sent directly to the end consumer.
Many major retailers will pay you for promoting their businesses on your websites and social media pages. They might pay you in cash or gift cards. For example, some restaurants might give you a gift card if you check in on Facebook or Yelp.
From on-page tactics like copywriting headlines and meta-tags, to off-page tactics like building authoritative backlinks and generating social shares, everyone wants their site to be in the number one spot on Google. Lucky for you, they’ll pay you to help them get there.
With $200 and his wits, Branson started an empire. That got me thinking—with all the technology within entrepreneurs’ grasps, what’s the minimum you’d need these days, realistically, to start an online business?
Some sites allow you to sell your prized photos, video b-roll, original music or illustrations while giving you the option of licensing resale rights for free. This will give you royalties for each use of your photos, videos or music, resulting in longer-term residual income.