Earning a passive income, being your own boss, ditching the 9 to 5 forever and sitting back while your empire grows – it’s hardly surprising so many people are drawn to the idea of starting their own online business. So many people, in fact, that the biggest mistake would-be online entrepreneurs make is underestimating the competition.
Many of the problems that physical businesses face – like struggling with cash flow or simply offering the wrong product to the wrong group of people at the wrong time – also apply to online businesses. And while one of the most attractive aspects of an online business is reduced overheads and the need for less startup capital to get going, you’re also going to face a host of challenges that physical companies don’t, like setting up secure online payments, providing a great user experience with your website, and most of all, getting your offering to show up in search results dominated by giants like eBay and Amazon.
Starting an online business takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of research. And while some people get lucky and just happen to stumble across the ‘next big thing’ many, many more fizzles out and die. If you’re genuinely willing to put in the time and effort, however – that dream of a growing empire is attainable!
Examples of online businesses (virtually) anyone can start:
Start a podcast – if you’ve always fancied yourself a good candidate for a radio host, starting your own podcast might be right for you. While you’ll need to grow your audience first by providing informative and entertaining content, once you have a decent base you can start offering paid sponsorships as well as selling your own products and services.
Become a YouTube star – if the dream was TV rather than radio, YouTube can be a lucrative option, but you’ll need to have a little X factor to pull it off. Coming up with engaging content that keeps viewers coming back for more and subscribing to your channel is critical.
Write and self-publish an eBook – Many people dream of writing their own book one day, and thanks to self-publishing platforms like Amazon, it’s easier than ever to get your work out there. Standing out from the crowd will take a little marketing, and your job is far from done once the book is complete. The good news is that if you manage to amass enough sales, Amazon will actually take over the marketing for you!
Monetize your blog – starting a profitable blog is about more than just sharing your thoughts on the world. You need to create content consistently and have something worth selling too. If you have a knack for writing and can engage a growing audience, a popular blog can bring in a decent profit – and older posts will still keep working and earning for you.
Master SEO – Because there’s so much competition for the top spots on Google, thousands of companies are looking for SEO experts to help them get there. While it’s a rapidly changing field and you’ll need to keep up with the latest news and insights, a proven track record in helping companies boost their rankings can be a rewarding and profitable undertaking – and virtually any business that has a website is a potential customer.
Graphic design – while there’s certainly a highly creative aspect to graphic design, helping people come up with beautiful websites also requires some technical know-how. If you enjoy tinkering with logos, sales pages and websites, then investing some time in creating a portfolio is a great way to gauge interest and brush up on your skills.
Affiliate marketing and ecommerce – basically, affiliate marketing is helping someone who already has a great product to offer sell it and earn a commission as a result. The Amazon Partner Network is a good place to start, although smaller online stores may offer a higher commission. If you find you have a knack for it, creating your own ecommerce store might be the next step for you.
Create an online course – the world of online learning is growing extremely rapidly, and if you have skills that are in demand, teaching others through an online course can be very lucrative.
Whatever route you choose to try, it’s important to keep on top of new marketing opportunities, more profitable platforms and industry trends. If you choose to focus on ecommerce, you may need to become familiar with online security, user privacy and data recovery, for example. Few successful online entrepreneurs get it right straight out of the gate – but remember that the best way to learn is by trying, even if you make mistakes along the way!
Take the Right Steps to Grow Your Business Online
There are a lot of great ways that you can grow a business online. You need to do your due diligence and make sure that you have the right model in place. Once you put in the work, you will see amazing results!