The Internet has changed the face of entrepreneurship. Starting a business is no longer reserved for the privileged few, nor does it require vast amounts of start up capital. Anyone that understands the basics of operating a computer can now start their own online business. Even better, we live in a society that embraces online shopping as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of physical retail stores.
Learning how to start your own business and making money online doesn't mean that you need to obtain vast amounts of technical skill. Even those with limited computer experience can create a business online. You can easily set up your website with any of the best website builders out there. Every day someone is making the choice to empower themselves as an entrepreneur, and you could be the person that makes the next Internet fortune.
The Advantages of Starting an Online Business
Having your own business confers many advantages. Some of these advantages are the same for all new business owners whether they own a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce website.
For starters you don't need to answer to a boss. You can set your own business hours, and decide how much you want to make. When the profits are good you can give yourself a raise. There is no need to call in to a supervisor when you are sick. What you must remember is that this type of freedom comes with a high level of responsibility. You must be able to self-manage and discipline yourself to work every day.
There are, however, some exclusive advantages for owners of an online business. Not only do you benefit from the things mentioned above, you also have the opportunity to work from home. The Internet is open 24/7, 365 days each year. Your online business can be, too. If you want to work at 3 a.m. you can do that. You can even do it in your pajamas.
Very little capital is needed to begin an online business and home based business. It is possible to create a blog or even a full website for free with WordPress. You can become an affiliate for websites like Amazon and use their platform to sell goods in exchange for a commission. Aside from the cost of your Internet connection there is minimal expense involved.
Keys to a Successful Online Business
While the advantages are great and starting an online business can be simple, no one can promise you that success will be easy. The truth is that you are going to have to work hard and be committed to growing your business. It pays to consider a few simple truths before you make the decision to start marketing goods and services online.
Selling to online customers involves a completely different dynamic than selling face-to-face. Because your customers don't have the opportunity to interact with you directly, it can take more time to build trust and authority. That's why many people choose to partner with a large company like Amazon when they start an online business. The trust in the brand is already present. It is also true that affiliate platforms are much simpler to set up. In many cases, the company does all the work for you.
A successful online business is one that is customer-focused. Think of it this way. You will exist to solve a problem that your customers have. You have to think about why they need what you are selling and the benefits a product will offer.
Stepping outside of your own personal comfort zone is also important. You might be a great fisherman and have a genuine passion for catching fish, but you might also be a poor salesman of fishing supplies. You'll also have lots of competition to contend with. You need to accept that the most successful online business models could be ones that you are initially unfamiliar with. Don't let this stop you. Be willing to learn.
What Are the Best Online Businesses to Start?
A few online business opportunities stand tall above the rest in today's marketplace. Knowing which type of business gives you the best chance of success is very important. We're going to take an in-depth look at the following online business models:
- Drop Shipping Companies
- Affiliate Marketing Programs
- Online Video Creation
- Software and Apps
- Information Products and Online Courses
- Start Blogging
- Physical Products
No one type will suit all online entrepreneurs. You should devote some time to determining which of these online businesses suits your interests and your strengths. Each one of these business ideas has its own advantages and disadvantages, but all of them have been used successfully by people just like you to build a reliable income.
For many years drop shipping has been one of the most lucrative businesses to start. It was even used before the rise of the Internet by many entrepreneurs that wanted to work from home. This business model allows you to sell popular physical products that people want without having to maintain inventory. You never need to handle or see the products that you are selling.
Drop shipping is very simple in theory. You select a product and then list that product for sale on your personal website or sites like eBay and Amazon. Etsy is another platform where you can list products for sale. Once a purchase is made by a consumer you will buy the product from a drop shipping company at a wholesale price that is lower than what you sold it for. The drop shipper will then complete the order by shipping the product to your customer.
There are several advantages for you when you choose to operate a drop shipping online business:
- You do not have to spend money up front on inventory
- There is no risk of buying products that you cannot sell
- The process can be automated in some cases
This business model is not without its downsides. You will need to select a supplier that has a good reputation. If the supplier fails to send the order or doesn't deliver it in a reasonable amount of time, you are left holding the bag. A reputation for poor delivery after the sale will kill your efforts. Competition with other drop shippers can also mean that your margin of profit is very low in some cases.
Even though there are some disadvantages to deal with, drop shipping is one of the best online businesses to start when you have no money. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection to list products on various websites.
Make no mistake. There was a time when affiliate marketing created actual millionaires who began with a simple website. It is much harder to make millions today with affiliate marketing, but you could still earn a decent income by referring individuals to other service providers in exchange for a healthy commission.
Have you ever seen a website that reviews the top ten exercise bikes or maybe the best online casinos? These are two common examples of an affiliate marketing online business. The entrepreneur will create a website to promote an affiliate's product. When someone clicks on the affiliate ad and makes a purchase, the marketer is rewarded with a commission. The amount of the commission can vary. It may be a fixed amount like $50 per sale or it may be a percentage of what someone spends.
There are affiliate marketing programs for everything you can imagine. Physical products like books, clothes, and pretty much anything you can find on Amazon can be promoted. You can also promote credit cards. Information products are one of the most lucrative affiliate marketing ventures. Finally, many online casinos and sports betting websites will pay you to send them players.
The big advantage of affiliate marketing is that it involves even less work than drop shipping. Once again you don't need to maintain an inventory of products, but in this case you never even deal with the customer. Once they click on your affiliate link they are taken to the website of the product or service you are promoting. Everything is handled from there without any involvement from you. All you have to do is collect the commissions when they come in.
You can probably suspect some of the disadvantages of affiliate marketing. To get clicks on your affiliate links you are going to need to rank your website high in Google for very specific search terms. That can be difficult to do given the number of affiliates that are promoting products. Also, it can be very easy to run afoul of Google by violating its terms of service when it comes to advertising and product promotion. When that happens you will have a hard time getting your website ranked again.
Some people believe that the competition has just become too vast for affiliate marketing to be profitable today. That's probably not true. It can still be done by those who understand the best practices of product promotion.
Online Video Creation
Video is hot right now. There are literally thousands of channels on YouTube and other video platforms that feature entertaining and educational videos. Some of the people that host and produce these videos have become celebrities. Jake and Logan Paul are just two examples of the current crop of video creators.
To start this online business you only need a creative mind and some rudimentary video equipment. You will create videos that are engaging and fun to watch. Individuals will subscribe to your channel and watch the videos you make. When you achieve a certain threshold of views for your videos, YouTube will allow you to monetize the content you create through advertising.
Short advertising videos will be placed at points of your video, or they will precede the video you make. The more views your video gets, the more money you can make. There is a strategy, of course. You have to make videos that are engaging and fun to watch. You need to be interacting with your audience so that you can build subscribers, and you need those subscribers to share your videos on their favorite social networks.
While this type of online business can be very lucrative for creators with thousands or millions of subscribers, it is much harder for those who are just starting. If you are willing to put in the time, though, building a massive following could land you sponsorships from large companies. These types of deals can put money in your pocket in addition to swag from the sponsors.
Software and Apps
If you are one of those individuals that has some coding skills, developing your own software and apps is an online business you can start for very little money. Our mobile society has created a large demand for phone apps of every type. Just take a look at Google Play or the App Store and you'll see how popular this market is.
There is also the potential to make money selling software and apps to other individuals that want to start an online business. In particular, WordPress plug-ins and themes sell very well. Someone that knows how to build these applications has an almost ready-made audience that is willing to buy.
Those with grander expectations should know that creating the next Facebook or Instagram is going to be costly and difficult. It is better to focus on smaller projects when starting this type of business.
The key to success in this type of business is really zeroing in on the needs of customers. Throwing any old app up on the marketplace won't get it done. You are going to have to invent a new concept or improve upon an existing one. Otherwise, your app is going to fall into that great void where thousands of apps go when they won't sell. Once you are buried in that heap, consider the app dead.
Information Products and Online Courses
Famous Internet marketers like John Delevera have been saying for years that information marketing is the only way to make serious money online. When you think about it, the claim makes sense. Why do people turn to the Internet in the first place? They want to find information.
When you create your own product to sell there is no middleman to drain your profits. The material is yours. This also means that the more unique your product is, the better chance it will have of becoming a viral sensation.
So, what makes a good e-book or info product? The best ones are those which offer something entirely new. If you have a diet plan that you created, write an e-book about it. Have you developed your own strategies for playing video games? Create a webinar or video course. The possibilities here are endless.
There is a minimum amount of overhead in operating this type of business. You may need to pay a small amount to get graphics designed for your product, and you may need to do some advertising. Still, these costs are far less than what you would encounter when starting another type of online business.
Online courses are very popular right now. These are video presentations that teach people how to create their own online business, how to live well, how to invest, or other important things. Think about your life experience. There is something you have done that may be of value to others. When you market an online course properly, the income you receive can be massive.
What many people like about this online business model is that it generates passive income for a long time. Think about it. You create the online course once, but you are able to sell it thousands of times. There are some online courses which generate revenues for their creators over a period of five to ten years. Imagine making that one course and being able to depend upon a residual income that arrives every month just like clockwork.
To be fair, creating online courses does involve some expense. You will need some expertise in making videos, and you will need some software to polish up your work. Even so, the cost to create an online course can be much less than the cost to launch a physical product.
Content is king, or so they say. To a certain extent this is still true. Blogs are one of the most popular forms of content on the Internet. Those who create and write for them can find themselves in the middle of a profitable online business.
A great thing about blogging is that it is virtually free. You can use WordPress to make a free blog. You can choose any topic that you want to write about. You can also use your blog to review products and perhaps make some affiliate sales.
There are a few things you need to know before you start blogging in the hopes of making money online. First, unless you have a brand attached to your name it is pointless to blog about yourself. You would be far better served to blog on items that are of interest to others. This is often referred to as niche marketing, and it works.
What you want to do is choose a field that you are interested in. Let's say that you have a fondness for reptiles and know how to care for them. You could create a blog about the general care of a certain reptile species. The more specific your topic becomes, the greater chance you will have of ranking your blog high in Google.
How do you make money from a blog? You make it from advertising. Google has programs like AdSense that will pay you to put ads on your blog. You might also be able to land sponsorships with big companies if your blog becomes very popular. To get to that level you will need to produce a lot of viral content.
There is a large market at the moment for high-quality coaching services. People want to learn how to become successful, and many of them are willing to pay for the privilege. Do you have something to offer in a particular field of knowledge? Perhaps you are skilled at real estate or investing. Maybe you know a lot about cryptocurrencies. Whatever your area of expertise, you may be able to monetize it by coaching others.
Coaching is a very fast way to become an online entrepreneur. All you really need is a website, some information about your credentials, and the ability to accept payments from your clients.
Something to remember here is perceived value. One of the most successful Internet coaches online is a fellow named Steve G. Jones. He began his journey toward online coaching as a hypnotherapist in Beverly Hills. Jones has said that he only became successful at coaching when he began charging more than his competitors. The reason for this is that people associate a higher fee with more proficiency and experience.
You have to deliver, of course. Don't market yourself as something you aren't. This could land you in some serious trouble.
Finally, you could opt to sell your own physical products online. There are certainly some individuals who do it well and make a nice living. Unfortunately, the number of these people is relatively smaller than those who succeed with other online business models.
The problems with this approach should be apparent. You are going to have to maintain an inventory of products. You will have to handle all of your own shipping. You'll also need to obtain some form of credit card processing, and that can carry a lot of fees.
If creating physical products and selling them online is your passion, go for it. Just be aware that it may not offer the same level of rewards that you will find with other methods of starting your own online business.
General Online Business Questions
This section covers the basic questions people have about starting online businesses. Start here to get a good foundation for more specific questions about online businesses.
How to Start My Own Online Business?
The first thing any online business needs is a website. Additionally, you’ll want to check your local and state laws to see if you need a business license and what taxes you’ll need to pay.
How to Start Online Business with No Money?
You can start an online business with no money with a free website. Once you start generating a profit, you’ll be able to upgrade your domain. Just pick a talent you have and start selling it online.
How to Start a Small Online Business?
You’ll need to check state and local laws about business registration and taxes. After that, it’s simply a matter of making a website and starting your business. There are lots of companies that offer sites with built in payment gateways to make the process easy.
How to Create an Online Business?
You can create an online business by deciding what kind of product or service you want to offer. After that, we recommend using an online business website platform like Shopify or Wix to get started.
How to Start an Online Business for Free?
It can be difficult to start an online business for free. You’ll need some capital for hosting and domain registration. However, you can start by posting in free classified ads for your area.
How to Set Up an Online Business?
The exact process to set up an online business varies according to the type of business. You’ll need a website and to check local laws. After that you’ll need a marketing strategy and a way for customers to pay you, or a payment gateway.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business Online?
That depends on the type of business you want to start. However, services like drop shipping and print on demand can make it surprisingly cheap to start an online business.
How to Get Money from Online Business?
You can get money from an online business by figuring out what skills you have and offering them online. For example, if you’re good with numbers you can start an online bookkeeping business. After that, you’ll just need to market your business effectively.
How to Make a Profitable Online Business?
Making a profitable online business is all about getting traffic. You can promote your business in the physical world around your town. You can also buy Google ads, Facebook ads, and more. Finally, you can check out your competition and price yourself so your business looks more attractive.
How to Set Up Website for Online Business?
We recommend using a hosting service that offers a free CMS to make setting your website up easy. Just get a theme and customize it for your business. These sorts of sites also have built in payment gateways and are easy to use.
How to Start a Successful Online Business?
Starting a successful online business is a matter of driving traffic to your site. Pick an area that has enough interest to be profitable, but not so much interest that you’ll be hard-pressed to compete with established sites.
How to Build an Online Business?
One of the best ways to build an online business is to create social media accounts for your business. If you’re active on social media then your business will get more and more attention, helping it grow. For more ideas on how to start a side hustle online check out our more in depth article.
How to Run an Online Business?
You run an online business the same way you’d run a brick-and-mortar business. Find customers or clients and get them to pay you for goods and/or services. The only difference is that anyone in the world can be your client. Some people like to have a portable hotspot which allows them to connect to the internet on the go and always be able to work on their online business.
Marketing Online Businesses
Marketing is essential to any business, and online businesses are no different. This section provides some basic tips about marketing online businesses.
How to Promote Your Business Online?
There are two broad ways to promote your business online. You can use a paid method, like paid guest posts, affiliate deals, Google ads, and Facebook ads. You can also use free strategies like engaging in social media conversations with well-known entities in your industry. If you're going to offline conventions and conferences for your niche then you will want to at least have some cheap business cards to spread the word.
How to Advertise Your Business Online for Free?
The best way to advertise for free is to promote your business on social media. Take part in conversations within your target market and engage people in your local area to raise awareness.
How Can I Market My Business Online for Free?
The two best ways to market your business online for free are to use comments sections on articles and blog posts that are relevant to your business and using free social media accounts to engage with your target market.
How to Promote Your Direct Sales Business Online?
The best way to promote a direct sales business online is to find people and companies that might want your products on social media. You can use paid ads to target these individuals to drive more traffic to your website.
How to Attract Customers in an Online Business?
Content marketing is a great way to attract customers to an online business. Write blog posts that target keywords your important markets will be targeting. People will find the posts and articles online and become more aware of your business.
How to Grow Your Online Business Fast?
The best way to grow an online business fast is by investing money into online ads. Google ads and Facebook ads are particularly effective, as you can target specific types of users that will be most interested in your product. You can also use social media to start a massive engagement campaign with your target market segments.
Starting Different Types of Online Businesses
There’s a ton of different options for online businesses. This section provides tips and answers for how to start different types of businesses online. All online businesses need a website, so we’ll leave that part out of our advice.
How to Start a Dropship Online Business?
Starting a drop shipping online business is easy. Most online business hosting companies have drop shipping apps you can easily add using their CMS platform. It’s just a matter of picking a drop shipping provider and connecting with them on your site.
How to Start a Clothing Business Online?
You can start a clothing business online using online shopping website platforms like Shopify or Wix. These services allow you to easily add products and pictures, organize your site, and even have a blog so you can engage in content marketing.
How to Start an Online Retail Business?
Once you have your product list and legal requirements handled you’ll just need to use a online commerce hosting platform. These will give you a payment gateway and make it easy to manage your site through easy-to-use CMS platforms.
How to Start a Jewelry Business Online?
Starting a jewelry business online works best with retail hosting. After that, social media is a great way to promote your products. You can also use content marketing or hire paid bloggers to review your products.
How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business?
The best way to start an online t-shirt business is through on-demand printing, or drop printing. This will let you design the shirts and another company will print and ship them for you. That way you can offer all of your designs in different colors and sizes without having to track inventory.
How to Start an Online Marketing Business?
The best way to start an online marketing business is to pick a niche you want to work in. This will help narrow down your competition while giving you an established customer base you’re familiar with.
How to Start a Tutoring Business Online?
The best way to start an online tutoring business is to find one thing to specialize in. That way there will be less competition for search results when people look for your company. You can also promote your business with free tips as content marketing.
How to Start a Coaching Business Online?
Starting an online coaching business works like most other types of online businesses. The best way to start the business is by promoting it on social media and targeting the types of people you think you’d be good at coaching.
How to Start a Baking Business Online?
One of the keys to starting an online baking business is figuring out how to ship your creations. After all, no one likes crushed baked goods. After that, it’s easy to promote your baking business on social media platforms like Instagram.
How to Start an Online Personal Training Business?
The best way to start an online personal trainer business is to use a content marketing strategy to attract customers. Post blogs and YouTube videos to give people basic help. Then they’ll come to your site to pay you for more services.
How to Start an Online Boutique Business?
The best way to start an online boutique business is by using social media. You can also take advantage of the fashion blogging industry. Find a popular blogger and send them free products to review. That will help drive traffic to your site.
How to Start Online Flight Booking Business?
The best way to start an online flight booking business is by working out affiliate deals with different airlines. The airlines will offer people who book through your site a better price and you’ll get a commission on every ticket booked.
How to Set Up an Online Advertising Business?
Online advertising is a huge business, so the best way to get started is to pick a niche for your company. Don’t just do online advertising in general – pick a specific industry or sub-industry to specialize in. That will help your company stand out from the pack.
How to Start an Online Tarot Business?
The best way to get an online Tarot business going is through customer testimonials. These will help convince people that your services are legit and also help you move up in search rankings.
How to Start an Online Cupcake Business from Home?
The best way to start an online cupcake business from home is by using an aggressive social media strategy. You can also promote your business through giveaways and samples at places like local businesses. These are great full or part time jobs for stay at home mom.
How to Create an Online Casino Business?
It can be tricky to start an online casino business. You’ll need to check the laws in your city, state, and country before getting started. Casino businesses need to be hosted in specific locations to comply with rules.
How to Start a Vintage Clothing Business Online?
A great way to start a vintage clothing business online is with an aggressive social media push. You can also use content marketing and start a fashion blog to drive traffic to your site. Some sites also pay fashion bloggers for guest posts to increase traffic and views.
How to Start a Dog Treat Business Online?
Starting a dog training business online should start with simple YouTube videos. Make videos with helpful tips to get people more interested in visiting your site and hiring your services.
How to Start a Candy Business Online?
Social media promotion is the best way to start an online candy business. Candy looks delicious, so getting lots of pictures of your creations will help a lot. You can also give your business a story to help people better identify with your business and make them want to order from you.
How to Start an Online Art Gallery Business?
An online art gallery business can be really easy to run. We recommend a combination of content marketing and social media pushes to make people aware of the art you have on offer. You can also set up deals with online artists to sell their work through an affiliate program. The artists websites should link back to your store to boost your traffic and increase your sales.
How to Start an Online Bracelet Business?
Coupling your online bracelet business with a fashion blog and drop-shipping is a great way to get started. The fashion blog will help attract people to your site and the drop shipping means you don’t have to fuss with inventory and shipping. It’s a win-win.
How to Start a Chocolate Business Online?
An online chocolate business is a great example of niche selection. Find attractive packaging to ship your creations and promote unboxing videos for your products to get more traffic and customers.
How to Start an Online Grocery Delivery Business?
The best way to start an online grocery delivery business is to focus on target areas of operation. After that, talk to local store managers and work out an affiliate deal. If you’re successful, the grocery store will promote your business for you.
How to Start an Online Classified Ads Business?
Starting an online classified ads business is best achieved by focusing on a specific aspect of classified ads first and then adding new areas. You can focus on jobs, for sale, rentals, or something else entirely.
Other Online Business Questions
There are lots of questions about starting online businesses. This section covers questions that don’t fit into our other categories.
Do You Need a Business License to Sell Online?
That depends on lots of different factors. If you’re selling as an individual on eBay or Amazon then you’re probably good. However, if you have a website and online store then the laws vary based on your state.
How to Run a Successful Online Retail Business?
The best tip for running a successful online retail business is to take advantage of drop-shipping. This allows you to focus on marketing and your core operations without worrying about inventory storage, management, or shipping.
What is a Good Online Business?
Anything can be a good online business. The better question is what’s a good online business for you? Focus on the skills you have and figure out a way to apply them to people’s problems online and you’ve got yourself an online business.
What Online Business Should I Start?
That depends on what your skills and talents are. We recommend doing something you’re good at and you enjoy. That will help ensure that you’ll have the energy to get the business going and growing quickly.
Why do Online Businesses Fail?
There are any number of reasons why an online business might fail. Many fail because people don’t effectively market their business. Use social media, content marketing, and paid internet ads to get a leg up on the other online businesses out there.
How to Start Your First Online Business?
It’s easy to start your first online business. Get a domain and host, and check local laws to see if you need a business license. After that, a combination of content marketing, social media, and online ads can help you grow your business into a profit-making machine.