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.
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).
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.
If you’re looking to build a true online business, or start a side business idea that has the potential to truly change your life (and you’re not afraid of investing months & years of work into the business), this where you should start.
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.
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.
For example, on his website, the owner of a martial arts school offered basic summary descriptions of his classes. Instead of general descriptions, he’d be better off breaking his sales copy down from his existing summary descriptions into more detailed copy that explains the key differences between his child, teen, and adult classes. By focusing on these client groups separately, he could more closely target their unique needs (and therefore attract more customers) by emphasizing the benefits that apply directly to each.
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You might have to offer a free service now and build a freemium model (offer free accounts with limited features, then charge for upgrades) for the future in order to make some large amounts of cash. It’s one of the good business ideas for those with extensive amounts of knowledge. You could:
It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.
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.
Also, no matter what your career, it’s important to diversify where your income is coming from. This means having multiple revenue streams from multiple sources, like selling your freelance services, affiliate and passive income, as well as coaching and other online odd jobs.
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Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out these tasks? Maybe it’s time to put those skills to good use by becoming an online personal assistant or task manager. Companies like TaskRabbit or Zirtual allow you to sign up for tasks you want to complete — including data research, virtual assistant or running errands — and begin building clientele.
Not only will this multiply the money you’re bringing in in a serious way, but it protects you against any sudden changes in the market or in your business. Remember that old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? A few hours a week committed to just one or two of the following opportunities will put you in a much stronger position to be financially safe and independent.
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+).
While there are certainly expensive services out there that you can use to create your ebook, you can actually do it yourself for free with tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Canva. Armed with nothing but these tools, you can easily create a well-designed eBook lead magnet.
If you have an interest or skill in web development, there is a big demand for designers to build winning sites for businesses or organizations. Sites like eLance.com are a good place to start to find clients and build your portfolio.
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.
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.
Being a new teacher can be nerve wracking. Which is why so many people are looking to buy your old teaching plans to help them feel more comfortable in front of their first class. If you’re a teacher, you can make money online through a site like Teachers Pay Teachers, which lets you buy and sell your original teaching materials.
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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.
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.
Pitch to VCs/Angels/other investors: If you need some serious cash to grow your startup, you’ll want to put together a pitch deck and reach out to investors who might want to give you the money you need in return for a stake in your company.
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!)
This is where you dig even deeper to understand your ideal shopper. Who are they? What do they like? How can you tailor both your product and your website experience to appeal to your perfect shopper?
Starting a business these days is also surprisingly cheap. If you’re dying to get out there and start making money online, but you think that surely you’ll need thousands in the bank first, we’re about to prove you wrong.
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.
One last quick thing to note before we dive in: I’m going to be talking a lot about your niche for every way of making money online that we cover here. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, all it means is your unique topic, angle, market, audience, or voice that will make people stand up and notice your business.
Once you’ve got your domain name, you’ll need a platform to build your site on. While you could pick a free option like Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress.com, these won’t give you the flexibility or authority you need to build a truly successful affiliate site.
Social media is an important part of any online business. The problem? Time! Most business owners simply don’t have the time to be involved with Twitter, LinkedIn, Face Book and other sites, in a pro-active way. That is where you can help.
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.
For example, a site that sells a product like gift baskets might include some brief “About Us” information that gives details about who the website owners are, why they started their business and how long they’ve been online.
Every day, couples in love get engaged. And every day, couples who have fallen out of love separate or break an engagement. When the latter happened to Josh Opperman, his fiancee was kind enough to return the engagement ring, and he didn’t know what to do with it. Since the wholesale markup on engagement rings is insanely high, he would have taken a huge loss in returning it. So instead, he started his business, I Do Now I Don’t, an online marketplace for unwanted engagement rings. Customers can buy rings at prices far cheaper than you’d find at a traditional store, and you can sell at rates that are better than you’d get if you tried to return the ring. Business started booming, and now you can buy and sell other jewelry items there too.
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
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 $15-$20 is to cover the ticket price, but the majority of these events are usually free. Keep an eye out on the speakers and guest lists and see if there’s anyone you’d like to connect with. Being in the same room with them will make it that much easier to develop a rapport and establish a relationship.
You can optimize your videos to rank higher by experimenting with attention-grabbing descriptions and previews as well as using relevant tags. You need to stand out and make people want to click on your video.
If you’re a person who loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.
Many small businesses don’t have room in their budget for a full-time IT employee, so when their systems go on the fritz, they’ll usually call a computer-savvy friend or family member. If you have experience working on computers and networks, you can eliminate their need to call in a favor and offer immediate remote technical assistance.