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.
Strategy #2: Be specific about exactly what you’re offering. We’ve already talked a bit about this, but this is such a common mistake I see website owners making–whether they’re selling a service or a product–that I think it warrants further explanation.
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.
If you can consistently provide companies with successful social media campaigns and improve their profiles, they will pay. Clorox Bleach had some huge success with one of their recent social media campaigns.
With over 350,000,000 websites on the internet, there is a huge demand for content. If you have experience or skills relating to writing, offering a blog posting service could be for you. Lower paid projects might start at around £1 per 100 words, with quality focused projects being in the £2.50-10 per 100 words range. Sites like People Per Hour and Elance are great for picking up paid writing gigs, without actually having a website.
The ease and convenience of having a prepaid shipping bag sent to your home which you can stuff and send back to be sold online is a trend I see catching fire in the next couple years; I would not be surprised to see a number of other players in this space emerge. It’s a novel alternative to donating a $200 shirt for instance when someone might be willing to give you $50 online for it.
Like talking to people and helping walk them through problems? You can bring in extra income as a contract customer support superstar for companies all over the world. Due to the 24/7 nature of online businesses, companies are looking for people in different time zones to help deal with issues that their users are having. Better yet, if you have experience in service or retail you’ll be perfectly suited. Check out indeed or the other remote job boards I listed earlier to find opportunities.
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.
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.
You know you have the right product, who your customer is, and how to set up your business. It’s time to get the physical product. We’ll walk you through different ways to source your product and how to avoid common pitfalls.
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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.
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.
With Amazon, you can self-publish a book fairly easily, and really make money from it. There are some simple and inexpensive guides like this one to help you write your book AND have it generate consistent income.
Being an online coach or consultant is a great way to make money online, as instead of giving your client ongoing deliverables (like when you’re a freelancer), you’re teaching them to be better, faster, stronger than the competition. Your expertise becomes the product you’re selling.
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.
There’s a ton of great services out there that you can use once your brand is more established and you can afford to access features like built-in analytics, managing multiple channels, and link trackers.
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.
Walk around your neighborhood or town and I’m sure you’ll see tons of great local businesses with terrible design. However, with increasingly easy-to-use tools like Adobe Illustrator, Stencil, and Visme, just about anyone with a creative mindset and a good amount of motivation can start making money online by being a graphic designer for local companies.
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.
Selling graphic T-shirts is big business. Customized T-shirts with clever sayings or graphics are ideal for online sales. Sites like Teespring allow you to sell customer shirts. Teespring’s unique model allows you to design the shirt and get buyers lined up to purchase it. This saves you from the initial investment in stock and the time on processing and shipping orders, though you’ll likely make a smaller profit on each shirt sold.
Now the cost of this one might vary depending on the library near you, but in my experience, a membership to your local library is always one of the best investments you can make. And most of the time, they are free.
Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn’t working as a Purch B2B staff writer, she’s writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. The only time Sammi doesn’t play it safe is when she’s writing. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.
Strategy #7: Encourage referrals and repeat customers. Always, always, always follow up with existing clients! Are they happy with the job you did for them? Is there anything else you can do for them? Do they know anyone else who might benefit from your service?
Some people have made big dollars by owning desired domains and selling them to hungry buyers. For a minimum investment of buying domain names you feel will be popular (typically $10 to $20), you might make a big profit selling it down the line.
Educational content: People always want to find the quickest way to learn something new. And YouTube searches including the phrase “How to” are growing 70% year over year, making YouTube an incredible place to teach what you know.
Here’s my online business idea: A website where you can enter in the name of your online date and the business will research the person for you. So let’s say you find someone on a site like Match.com that you want to set up a date with, but you want to learn more about them first. You can submit the name into this website and the business will research all of the social profiles and anything else they can find online about the potential match for a flat fee. There would also be an option for a background check.
It takes time and effort, but website owners like myself and Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, have built life-changing careers through affiliate marketing. In fact, Pat even publishes his income reports online, showing how he made over $2 million in the past 12 months alone.