Perhaps you want to start a online business, but do not have any ideas.
Well, good news! You do not need to invent the next Facebook in order to start something sustainable online.
Why try to reinvent the wheel, when many before you have started successful online businesses?
I was just like you a couple of years ago – I was looking for online business ideas because I wanted to see what works and what doesn’t. This would be the post that I wish I had.
Here are the top 10 online business ideas you can utilize to start your very own online business.
10 Online Business Ideas:
1. Information Product Business
Online businesses that sell information are currently thriving. In fact, selling information products is my favorite way to monetize.
Thinking of starting an online business? Do consider packaging what you know and sell it as an information product.
Examples of information products include: Online courses, ebooks, membership sites and more.
When it comes to information products, the sky is the limit. You can write an ebook about drinking smoothies and sell it. I’ve even heard of membership sites for daily Christian devotions.
- Negligible costs
- Doesn’t require additional knowledge as you’re selling information that you know
- Easy to scale – No physical inventory needed
- You can sell many copies at the same time
- Don’t need a huge sales or product development team
- You need to be an expert at something
- Requires a certain level of technical expertise to create a course
- You need to maintain your course and constantly update it.
- Usually less than a thousand dollars – you’ll need to sell many ebooks/ online courses to build a sustainable business
2. Coaching Business
Starting a coaching business is a great way to kickstart your journey online.
Because you only need a couple of clients per month to sustain your business, it is a good starting point for people that do not have an audience yet.
An example would be my own business. You can check out my blog and business coaching programme here.
- As coaching services normally cost a lot (i.e, it is a high ticket sale) – you only need to close a few sales
- All you really need is Skype, easy to administer
- No need for fancy product launches
- Does not require you to have a huge audience online
- Very time-consuming
- Not passive income
- You will be doing a lot of sales calls to convince people to sign up
- You need to establish your credibility really well for people to be willing to pay you large amounts of money
- Requires you to constantly have to actively pursuing potential clients to fill up your roster
3. Affiliate products
You can recommend products on your website and get a commission in return – that’s called affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a great hands-off way to get income! However, you need huge amounts of traffic to earn a sustainable income from affiliate marketing – after giving a huge part of the sale proceeds to the product owner, your commission per sale is probably not much, unless you are recommending large ticket items.
If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, check this post out: What is Affiliate Marketing & How Does it Work?
For instance, if you start a healthy eating blog, you could recommend a smoothie blender that you love, and when someone purchases via your link, you get a commission.
- Hands-off, passive income
- Don’t need to maintain product/ service
- You can ride on the credibility/ proven quality of other people’s products
- No need for complex product launches
- Lack of control – you don’t own the product you are recommending
- Susceptible to changes to the product owner’s business (or when terms in the affiliate marketing program change)
- You lose your best customers to other businesses
- You could potentially earn so much more by selling the product yourself!
4. Open an E-commerce Store
The good old-fashioned e-commerce store! From baby toys, to jewellery, to crafts – start your own e-commerce store and make money.
- Sounds like a more “legit” business to your family and friends (try telling your grandmother you sell online courses… vs selling baby clothes online – there’s a difference!)
- Harder for people to enter and become a competitor as they may not have the necessary supply chains needed
- You probably need to carry physical inventory
- Higher start-up costs
5. Build an app
If you have the technical expertise, a great idea, and a sound marketing plan to launch an app – why not? Needless to say, the app development costs will probably add up to a significant amount.
- Harder for people to build an app (as it’s expensive!)
- Great if you have a solid idea
- High development costs
6. SAAS company
Do consider selling software if you have the necessary technical expertise, or know someone that does!
- Higher barriers to entry
- Very scaleable – you can sell multiply copies globally
- No physical inventory needed
- Technical expertise needed
- You need to constantly maintain and iron out bugs in your software.
Some examples of freelancers: Graphic designers, web designers, writers, social media managers or simply doing small tasks – anyone can become a freelancer if they put their heart to it.
- Anyone can become a freelancer
- You get ready customers from platforms like Upwork
- If you establish yourself as an expert in certain fields (e.g as a great writer), you get returning customers and a stable income.
- Technically, this isn’t strictly a “business”, you’re just working jobs for someone else virtually
- You have to start from working for peanuts normally
8. Virtual Assistant
This is similar to being a freelancer – but I think this deserves a special mention. A virtual assistant is an employee that online business owners hire to help them out online.
Essentially you’re an employee for an online business owner, but you get to work virtually.
It is likely that you will need to master the various online/ blogging tools 🙂
The pros and cons of being a virtual assistant are similar to being a freelancer, mostly.
9. Become an “Influencer”
You may consider being an influencer / entertainer. Usually, this is someone who amasses a huge following online because he/she is pretty and entertaining on various social media platforms.
These influencers normally monetize by sponsored posts, or by selling their own T-shirts/ mugs etc.
- Huge following means you get a lot of praise and love
- Influence, especially on the younger generation
- There are different ways to monetize your popularity!
- You serve a very intangible need (for people to be entertained/ for people to have someone to aspire towards) and hence it is very easy to become irrelevant especially if you do not adapt fast
- Often influencers are overtly reliant on social media platforms. (eg someone that is famous on Vine will probably be a nobody now)
10. Or a combination of the above
You could have a business that encompasses multiple ideas that I mentioned above! It all depends on your online business model.
For instance, my business is monetized by information products, coaching and affiliate products. That’s 3 of the above ideas.
You can do the same too, and diversify your income.
Now that I’ve given you some great options… you may be more lost and confused than before.
With so many options, how will you know what’s the best online business to start?
Fret not! We’ll get to that in the next part of this series. Stay tuned!