My favorite online business idea is a service that solves a problem, gives back to the environment, and can financially assist any charity across the U.S. I started My Kid’s Threads, an online consignment service that features amazing high-end designer children’s clothing for purchase or consignment, after working 15 years in eCommerce for Fortune 500 companies. Busy families love the convenience of shopping online, saving money, and giving back to charities or earning some cash for their kids’ outgrown clothing.
It works like a map app, but instead of just showing you the businesses around you, it will show you their products too. So if you want to know where the closest, cheapest snickers bar is, you can two finger tap your way there and find it within walking distance for $0.75. But you may be able to find it within 10 miles for $0.25 if you’re willing to drive.
Just head out to your local cafe, set up a small sign saying that in exchange for a coffee all you need is 10 minutes of someone’s time, and spend the whole day talking to people. All you really need are some concept photos, even a simple slideshow, and then talk to as many people as you’d like to gather valuable information.
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.
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.
There’s plenty of work and clients to be found. If you know where to look. To start, you need to know if there is enough demand for your skill to make it worth the effort to go out looking for work. Start by searching freelancer job boards on UpWork, Freelancer, Guru or one of the dozens of other skill-specific freelance job boards.
To test these websites, you’ll be asked to visit the site in question and record your reactions and thoughts as you go through it. To get started making extra money online by testing websites, sign up for some of the most popular services like UserTesting.com, Userlytics, TryMyUI, Userfeel, TestingTime (for people outside the U.S), or Side Income Jobs.
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.
Do you constantly come up with witty one-liners? Do you dream of the days of Mad Men-style advertising? If you’ve got some branding chops or just come up with imaginative copy, there are lots of opportunities to make money online through company naming and slogan contests. If you think you have a knack for names check out namingforce.com and squadhelp.com. If you dream of coming up with witty copy, try coming up with company slogans on Slogan Slingers and Get a Slogan.
If you have a knack for organization, you can make money online as a virtual assistant helping people to keep their days in order. A virtual assistant will do everyinthing from bookkeeping to research, database entry, booking travel, and managing email. It can also be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, and of course grow another stream of income. You can find great gigs on UpWork, Fiverr, Indeed, and Remote.co.
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.
The difference between operational and successful is in mastering man’s greatest nemesis — time. Get firsthand accounts from successful entrepreneurs who have grown their home based business into online behemoths.
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I planned to pin this to a Pinterest board by the time I was done reading it, but Pinterest rejects it simply because there is no image to be found on this page that can be used. Which gave me one more idea that you should add to this list…a business plan to seek out good articles with plenty of content out there that need photos! LoL not trying to be a smart ass, but since getting more and more into Pinterest, I can definitely see opportunity in taking content that already exists and retrofitting it for multiple platforms for continued exposure. Could be as simple as blog writers handing their article over to a company for review, in order to decide what types of media can be plugged into it that compliment the article and the point. To me, it almost seems as easy as a service offering to translate articles from one language to another by someone who is fluent in both. If I wrote blogs, I’d consider almost having a checklist of all types of media and platforms that I’d try and hit every single one of them with each story or post written.
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.
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 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.
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?
Validate the book by giving a survey to friends, an email list, and/or survey sites like Pickfu. By validating your idea before you write the book, you’ll improve the odds of people willing to buy your book (and you’re not wasting your time by writing it.)
How many postings are there for jobs similar to what you do? If there’s a decent amount and it looks like there’s steady demand, put those skills down on a shortlist and start researching the companies and industries that are hiring.
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.
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.)
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.
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, use them to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
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.
Of course, that’s a simplified version of everything it takes to build your startup. Luckily, there is now more support, education, and access to funding for budding startups than ever before. And a great place to start is with this list of 101 best free and cheap online business courses for entrepreneurs I put together.
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.
Many college consultants—some people say education consultants—are also CPAs. You could offer college consulting, and, you guessed it, tax preparation (number 16), and you’ll be hiring on staff in no time.
Strategy #3: Demonstrate your flexibility. As I mentioned earlier, people will not only want to see proof that you’ve delivered great results for other clients, they’ll want to know that you’re prepared to customize your service to meet their own unique needs.
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’d also recommend getting a second set of eyes to go through your writing as well, just to make sure that there aren’t any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. You can simply ask a friend to do this for you, or if you don’t mind spending a little bit more then you can find a professional copy editor to do it for you.
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
Sure, the owner of a bed & breakfast in Seattle may be thrilled to be attracting clients from Australia’s Gold Coast. But is the landscaper in Seattle going to be equally receptive to securing a weekly hedge trimming and lawn-mowing client from Australia? Probably not.
How you define quality content depends on your audience and what they find valuable. At Foundr, we’ve found that our Instagram audience likes motivational quotes and updates about what’s going with the Foundr podcast.
Challenge #3: You must prove your ability to deliver measurable results, while emphasizing flexibility. People will want to see proof that you’ve delivered great results for other clients, but they’ll also want to know that you’re flexible enough to meet their own unique needs.
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.
We personally use Infusionsoft at Foundr, because we have a subscriber list of over 300,000 people. For someone just starting out, however, there are several tools out there that you can use to get your email marketing into shape and even create automated email campaigns.
How do you get inspiration to strike? And what do you do to remember your ideas and put them into action? Share your ideas, or any other unique sites or businesses you’ve found. I’m always looking for strange and intriguing things.
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.
Your platform should give you the flexibility you need to stand out, the data orchestration you need for operational efficiency and the low total cost of ownership that lets’ you reallocate dollars to marketing spend, not technology debt.
If you’ve visited Amazon, you have seen products sold by third-parties with the comment “ships from Amazon.” These are sellers who send their products to Amazon fulfillment facilities, then Amazon lists the item and ships it when a buyer is found.
Consequently, they’re looking for Facebook ad specialists to step in and do it for them. Luckily, this is something you can learn fairly quickly. Once you do, you can reach out to businesses and offer to help create profitable Facebook ads.
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.
Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea and don’t know the ins and outs of how to turn it into a reality, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.