Online Business Ideas
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Maybe you’re still thinking about starting a new online business this year.
A remote gig lifestyle offers you the chance for freedom and profitability.
But didn’t you think about it last year and maybe the year before?
Let’s admit it: Steady income from a secure job is alluring.
But life is boring, each year is the same.
If you’re still working as an employee only because you’re lazy, then just stop reading right here.
The most important ingredient for success in any business is persistence.
To start your own independent company you’ll need to be willing to work to overcome obstacles.
If you’re looking for the best online business ideas, keep reading.
We’ve spent a couple of long weeks reviewing 50+ good internet startup ideas.
Some possibilities look great on paper, but you’d need software coding skills that few people have.
Or, they cost thousands of dollars to launch.
This article gives a quick overview of the 3 easiest ways to become successful with an internet business, without any special skills, experience or investment.
Before quitting your daytime job to get on a roller-coaster….
Do enough homework to explore opportunities in the niches that fit your own personality, experience, and risk-reward profile.
When you’re an independent business owner, there’s always another opportunity waiting ahead.
Yet, owning a business is entirely different than getting a regular paycheck from an employer.
Even if you contract your services through Upwork and other reliable gig platforms that seem like employers, there’s always a gatekeeper between you and the clients.
That means you’ll probably get paid if you complain to the gatekeeper about a slow-paying customer.
But when you run an independent online business there’s more of a chance you’ll be cheated by a customer.
Keep in mind that you’ll be on the hook for any bad business decisions made as an independent contractor instead of employee.
For example, your PayPal account might be frozen for reasons mostly beyond your control
Before going into any business venture, think carefully about the balance between potential risks and rewards.
Be especially leery about having partners or co-owners in your business.
Trouble with partnerships is the rule rather than the exception.
Choose the best online business
With all those warnings out of the way, let’s look at the three best online business ideas for 2019 and the next few years.
# 1 – Monetize a blog
When you’re looking for the most obvious way to cash-out with any sort of written content, monetizing a blog is the simplest option.
You’re selling information, expertise and sometimes entertainment.
Before making money, you’ll need to have a website.
Don’t have a blog yet? It’s easy to start one.
Or, you can pay a small amount to register your own domain name with GoDaddy or another low-cost provider.
Once you have a site, just post attention-grabbing written content accompanied by decent graphics.
You’ll soon attract a loyal audience.
What to blog about
Publish blog articles that help solve problems
Successful blogs are those that help people solve problems whether personal or business.
Any blog article can be profitable if it helps solve a problem that readers have, or provides other recognizable value such as entertainment.
Authority is highly marketable.
Are you an expert when it comes to a specific topic? That’s what you should blog about.
The trick is to discover and highlight your own niche areas, and aim to reach that audience with pinpoint accuracy.
If readers get valuable information and/or entertainment from the blog, you’ll quickly establish yourself as an authority in the target communities.
It’s easy to be a blogger, even if you’re semi-literate
Have you ever noticed how often major celebrities and public leaders get away with gaffes in their writing?
If you’re an authority in any field, then grammar isn’t very important.
It’s easy to write your own blog content, even with limited writing skills.
Fueled by texting and Twitter, the general writing standards for “good grammar” have slipped low enough that consumers will accept poorly-written blog content as long as it’s exceptionally informative or entertaining – or both.
Speak with a powerful voice and the blog can be monetized regardless of your own writing ability.
Find a good ghostwriter
Let’s say you like the idea of blogging as an online business, but don’t like the task of writing.
Don’t worry – Through the magic of ghostwriting, you can still blog your way to financial success.
Whether you want to earn income from blogging, eCommerce or podcasting, a qualified ghostwriter will help you be more successful.
Post your requirements on the job board at Problogger.com for only $70 for one month.
You won’t have to wait long – Within a couple of days you’ll receive several dozen well-qualified replies along with several hundred wannabes.
Screen the candidates by skimming through their replies.
Good writers stand out from the herd.
Pick a couple of the best-qualified candidates and offer a paid test project to see how well they write about your brand.
It’s OK to use multiple writers for side-by-side blog articles. You can get plenty of new content that way.
Just make sure they all stick to the same style guide so the overall voice of your blog is consistent.
Use analytical tools to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
How to ca$h out from blogging
✔ Membership &, sponsorship
✔ Digital products
✔ Consulting & coaching
Sell them something
It’s relatively easy to monetize a blog if you consistently give valuable content to an audience.
But in order to get paid you’ll need to sell something to readers or advertisers, or both.
Just giving great (free) advice attracts an audience, but you still need to convince them to spend money.
There are multiple ways to cash out, depending on whether your online business is simple or complex.
Multiple online businesses
Or you can combine blogging together with eBooks, podcasting, social media, affiliate marketing and throw in a few elements of eCommerce too.
That’s the strategy used by Neil Patel and other leading marketers.
Standout blogging success story
Here’s a great example of a highly successful blogger: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.
She’s a standout blogger with a reported annual income over $1.5 million. Her flagship blog is MakingSenseofCents.com.
Her niche is personal finance. She started the blog as a way to track her own finances.
After starting the blog, she quickly found her niche, established herself as an authority, and successfully monetized her content.
Now she’s said to be earning at least $50,000 monthly from affiliate marketing, plus another $15,000 from sponsorship, and about $40,000 from other forms of advertising.
She’s said to spend her time traveling the world – At first in an RV, and nowadays aboard a luxury sailboat with her husband.
How much does blogging cost, and how much can you earn?
You can start a blog free, or get a cheap website for a few dollars per month.
Successful bloggers earn anything from several hundred to $10,000+ monthly from their blogs.
2. Start an eCommerce business
Thanks to new business models that offer more options, it’s much easier to open an online store now than it was a couple of years ago.
Back then you had to hire a web designer to create the site.
Once you were up and running, the next step was chasing SEO for higher page rankings.
Or, you had to rely on paid traffic in the form of PPC advertising.
The ordering and fulfillment processes were hard to integrate.
Inventory, deliveries, and customer service could be a real headache.
Cherry-pick the transactions
Today eCommerce is much easier with more options.
As always, you can sell and ship your own products.
Or, you can choose drop-shipping. Just have the manufacturer or distributor handle all packing and shipping.
In any case, you have the flexibility to pick and choose which parts of the transaction to handle yourself.
Focus on the most-profitable operations and leave everything else to others.
Hosted eCommerce platforms are better than gatekeeper marketplaces
Avoid Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces that won’t let you “own” your customers by having direct access to their information.
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, it’s much better to build your store using shopping cart software on a hosted platform.
If you already know WordPress and want more control over the entire process, try self-hosting with WooCommerce.
You’ll earn the most income on Shopify and other eCommerce platforms that let you sell products and ship directly from your own store.
That way there’s less to worry about.
Turnaround time is the main drawback of drop-shipping. It can take a month or six weeks.
Standout eCommerce success story
NastyGal Vintage offers a good example of a highly profitable eCommerce business that started out on eBay, then quickly moved to an independent platform.
Founder Sophia Amoruso was a college dropout recently fired from a job in a shoe store when she started her online business.
She discovered her eCommerce niche in vintage clothing and housewares.
After opening an eBay store in 2006, she was booted out in 2008 when she tried to promote her upcoming independent store.
Amoruso then launched Nasty Gal Vintage. By 2011 she reportedly reached $28 million in annual revenue.
The company has continued to grow rapidly ever since.
How much does an eCommerce startup cost, and how much can you earn?
You can start selling on a hosted eCommerce platform for about $30 per month on a basic plan, and premium plans can provide more services.
3. Monetize a podcast
It’s super easy to start a podcast. Podcasting can be a great online business idea if you love to talk and want to get paid for doing so.
You can grow very quickly if you’re already a niche authority with an existing audience such as from blogging, social media or YouTube.
As highlighted elsewhere you should podcast about topics within your own narrow field of expertise.
Bring good value, speak with an authoritative voice and the audience will reward you financially.
How to start podcasting
First find a great podcast hosting service such as ZenCast.
The next step is to get a good-quality microphone, either USB or XLR type, as well as editing software.
You can gather the basic equipment and software for about $100.
The fastest-growing podcasts nearly always feature a host-interviews-guest format.
Usually this format consists of a less-expert host interviewing a more-expert guest.
Sometimes the format involves co-hosting.
It’s easy to sign up knowledgeable guests for your shows.
You may already have plenty of friends who are experts in your field.
Just ask them to be guests on your show.
If you’re short on friends who happen to be specialists, there’s another easy way to locate potential guests for your podcast shows.
Find authority guests in any niche by checking for new book releases on Amazon and similar platforms.
Send messages to these expert authors asking them to appear on your podcast to talk about similar topics.
Most are willing to take advantage of the opportunity to promote their new books.
Record the episodes
To ensure the clearest sound quality when you have remote guests, each participant should separately record their audio files.
This is called a double-ender recording.
Editing & post-production
Once you’ve recorded an episode, use free or low-cost audio-editing software to add music, intros, outros, and advertisements.
Write good show notes
To attract an audience, you’ll need a well-written description (show note) for each episode.
Good show notes compel listeners to share a podcast with others.
Here’s a checklist for writing them.
- Plan for each episode by writing a basic outline first
- Recap that outline in your show notes
- Think of a catchy title for each episode
- Use bold graphics or images
- Keep the text easy to read
- Use a dramatic closing and a strong call to action
How to get paid for podcasting
The same as it is with blogging, the quickest way to monetize a podcast is by selling something to your audience.
As the audience grows, so do your money-making opportunities.
You can first cash out by selling paid membership and sponsorship as well as merchandise promoting the show.
For example, you might offer a general (free) membership as well as a paid monthly subscription that gives access to special content.
Once you’re reaching an audience of 1,000+ listeners, a podcast becomes highly valuable.
For each 1,000 listeners you can sell pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll podcast advertising at rates ranging from $15 for a ten-second ad upward to $30 or more for a sixty-second ad.
So, by podcasting daily to a happy audience you can earn several hundred up to several thousand dollars weekly.
Become an influencer and earn referral fees
Another “gold mine” in podcasting is the money you can earn as a community influencer.
When you consistently give good information and entertainment value to consumers, you gain influence, and they trust your advice.
As an influencer you’ll have plenty of opportunities for professional referrals and consulting work.
Just point listeners toward your chosen sellers and service providers.
Let’s assume you’re already linking your podcast to social media and affiliate marketing.
The next step is to sign referral agreements with selected professional service providers in related niches.
Keep in mind these should be non-competitive with your own niche.
They should be professional providers that you’d recommend to your own family and friends.
When you send a new client, they pay a referral fee.
Being a trusted community influencer and niche authority is the richest way to monetize your podcast.
Standout podcasting success story
Many people earn a reasonable income from podcasting, and of course there are some rags-to-riches podcasters.
One great example is Entrepreneurs on Fire, hosted daily by John Lee Dumas (JLD to his audience).
His niche is entrepreneurship and other business topics.
Like most highly successful podcasts, his show relies on an expert-guest-interview format.
Before finding his niche in podcasting, JLD struggled for years.
Upon graduation from college, he served as an Army officer in Iraq for 8 years.
Next he tried law school, but dropped out during the first semester.
Finally, his entrepreneurial instincts were rewarded when he found himself selling real estate in 2009, in the middle of a severe economic recession.
He realized there were very few business podcasts focused on interviewing entrepreneurs.
So that’s where he found his podcasting niche.
Today JLD reportedly earns annual net income of more than $1.2 million from podcasting and related marketing.
Let’s say you’re an average person with ordinary job experience (think Starbucks).
We’ll also assume you have plenty of ambition and energy but only limited experience, no major tech skills, and almost zero investment money.
Your best chance of online business success will probably be through blogging, podcasting, eCommerce, or some combination thereof.
Research shows that these areas are the easiest to commercialize.
They’re also the likeliest to remain income-stable during the next few years.
Look into the crystal ball and ask – Where do you see yourself in five years?
If you’re an entrepreneur and want a better future, now is the right time to start up your own online business.
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