How To Start An Online Business

13 Ways of Making Money Online


  • How To Start An Online Business

Only a few decades ago, the mere idea of starting a new business seemed like an impossible task that required extensive investment and planning. It was difficult for someone with limited resources and a 9-to-5 job to even consider initiating and leading their own entrepreneurial venture.

But then came the internet, the great equalizer. Suddenly, everyone had access to the same prospects and buyers, and advertising became more affordable and effective. Now, anyone can build their own website, market it online, and run several online businesses at a time. It’s not even necessary to apply for licenses and permits or to invest all of your savings in a new venture.

In fact, one of the most significant advantages to starting an online business is that it requires little to no startup costs. As long as you have a comprehensive knowledge of the digital space and the online tools that you need for your business, you can slowly build an empire of your own.

Another significant advantage to starting an online business is that you can sell to anyone, anywhere in the world, and conduct trade without any concern about limiting geographical boundaries. This way, you can continue to make money continuously because there are no set business hours to slow you down.

Today, anyone can start an online business to earn passive income or to create financial freedom.

However, before starting your online venture, you need to determine how your business will generate revenue. In plain words, you need to create a business model that lays out how you plan on offering value to your customers. A successful online business venture requires planning, practical decision-making skills, and timely execution. If you possess these skills and apply them consistently, you will succeed in emerging markets, doing what you love to do.

This guide is a handy resource for anyone who wants to start their own online business and succeed at it. Here I detail all of the finer points about becoming an internet entrepreneur and making money on your own terms. Make sure to follow the guide step by step, and I assure you that by the end, you’ll have a working model of your future online business.

Let’s get down to it.

Start by evaluating your market demand

Now, you might have several money-making ideas for your business, but not every idea can turn into a revenue-generating business. How can you determine whether your idea has the potential to turn into a profitable venture?

This is where market demand comes in. Knowing what your consumers want and the price that they are willing to pay for it establishes the direction of your business.

What is market demand?
Market demand is the estimation of what your customers are inclined to spend on your products or services.

If the market demand for your product or service is relatively high, then you can safely increase its price as well. Of course, you’ll need to do some market research to know if your prospects are willing to buy what you want to sell and how much they can pay for it.

Conduct thorough market research

Market demand research evaluates if there are customers out there who would be interested in your products or services.

This involves extracting data, statistics, and other information about a particular industry to assess what’s trending or what people are looking to buy. Multiple strategies can be employed to conduct well-planned market research. For starters, run a social media survey and learn about the needs of your target market. All of the popular social media platforms are a hub of valuable data that can offer insights into trending topics.

While you are at it, you can also carry out testing to interact with potential customers and assess their purchasing behavior towards your product or services.

Find a need and fill it

A customer’s requirements can only be fulfilled if you are aware of what they need. Take the time to understand how you can attract your target customers through strategic marketing campaigns. Once you know the spending capacity of your prospects, it’s time to give them a reason to give that money to you.

Also, assess your product or service and determine how it can help your target customers so that you can fulfill their needs.

Find a scalable, in-demand business model

A scalable business model promises higher revenue streams in combination with efficient processes and lower costs. However, to accomplish this requires thorough research and immaculate planning.

To find a scalable business model, you can use the product demand matrix to check the viability of your online business idea. The product demand matrix is really a quadrant as follows:

  • High supply and low demand – If you have a high supply volume, but the market has little demand for your products or services, your business idea has a lower chance of succeeding.
  • High supply and high demand – This quadrant means that a large supply of your product is available on the market. Also, the product is in high demand, which means that you have a medium chance of success with lower risks.
  • Low supply and high demand – This quadrant is for those products and services that have a high demand on the market, but their supply level is low. Hence, this quadrant poses excellent chances of success for your business idea.

Choose your business model

By now, you have researched the market and understood the consumer needs that could be fulfilled by your potential products. It’s time to carefully select a business model and bring your business idea to market.

It is highly advised to work in a niche that you are knowledgeable about so that there are fewer chances of failure due to a lack of market knowledge. Also, strike a balance between the profits you expect to derive from your business and the value that you have decided to offer your potential customers.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the types of business models that can easily be implemented online:

Niche website

No online business can run successfully without a web presence. Customers who prefer to buy from online companies always go to their websites either to find information on the brand or to place an order.

Creating an elegant yet simple website that offers all of the information about your brand in one place provides a competitive edge to you. The good news here is that you can easily select from a variety of high-quality website software available to launch your own website.

However, before you do that, you should determine the purpose of your website and how it will serve your business. You should also establish the goals that you expect to achieve through the website.

How to find your niche

If you are struggling with finding your own niche, I can help you.

First, determine what you are passionate about or what interests you. Once you have analyzed your inclinations, narrow down your choices by assessing the problems of your target audience and how you can solve them. Conduct a competitor analysis to recognize any opportunity that gives you an edge over your competitors in this niche.

Once you have a detailed review of your niche, learn about its profitability, and if it has the potential to generate the income that you require. Browse through the price points of your competitor’s products to get better insights.

Now that you have all of the essential information that you require about the niche of your choice, it is time to put your idea to the test.

Read more: How to Find and Validate Your Niche (Step-by-Step Guide)

Choose the right website platform

Selecting the right website building platform can seem like a daunting task, especially since so many options are available. That’s why I’m sharing information with you about some of the most popular website builders available.

Select one of the following platforms and you can’t go wrong:

  • WordPress.org

    WordPress is the most popular website building platform and content management system. Known for its ease of use, affordability, and powerful features, it is perfect for amateurs and professionals alike. Also, it offers the most extensive collection of themes and plugins that you can integrate into your website to create a stellar brand image. WordPress is undoubtedly our number one contender.

    Pricing
    WordPress.org is a free open-source platform. To start using it, you need to install it on web hosting of your choice. For example, if integrated with BlueHost hosting, prices start from $2.75/month for the basic plan.

  • Wix

    Wix has gained massive popularity over the years due to its easy to use website builder. You need no technical knowledge or skills to create your business website on Wix. Also, it includes website hosting and customization options in all of its pricing packages, making it a one-stop-shop for all of your site-building needs.

    Pricing
    Wix offers its Pro plan for $22/month, and Unlimited plan for $17/month, and the Combo plan for $13/month.

  • Squarespace

    This is another widely-used website building platform for online businesses that offers elegant and minimalistic themes. Squarespace specifically caters to photographers, artists, bloggers, and other freelancers, and there’s no way to personalize their themes. Squarespace’s pricing plans are quite reasonable, and they include web hosting as well as a free domain.

    Pricing
    Squarespace offers the Personal plan for $12/month, Business plan for $18/month, Basic commerce plan for $26/month, and Advanced Commerce plan for $40/month.

Advantages and disadvantages of launching your niche site

With the many website building tools and software available online, creating a website is now easier than ever before. But even so, it still has its pros and cons.

Advantages

  • Having a niche website allows for higher earning potential and less competition. It creates an online presence for your brand and also plays an essential role in securing global recognition for your company.
  • If your company lasts online, you can establish excellent credibility and rank well in the SERPs.
  • You have a better chance of building a loyal audience.

Disadvantages

  • It can take some time until you build your audience and start selling.
  • You need to maintain your website and update it regularly with fresh content.
  • Depending on your niche, there might not be that many products that you can successfully sell.

How to start earning money with niche website

Niche websites offer a great passive income potential but in order to tap into it, you need to invest a lot of hard work and efforts to maintain the revenue stream.

Income stream

A niche site can be a consistent source of passive income. Additionally, it can be monetized with items such as affiliate links, ads, and information products.

Turnaround time

Realistically, it could take anywhere from 6 months to 24 months to start generating revenue from a niche site, depending on what you’re selling, of course.

Here are some ways you can easily monetize your niche website.

Affiliate marketing

This involves attracting and directing traffic to a website that caters to your niche. You can market their products or services through your posts by inserting a link to their website.

So, whenever a visitor on your website clicks on that link, they are directed to their business page. And if the visitor purchases from the affiliate company’s site, you get to earn a certain amount of commission on each purchase.

Programs like Amazon Associates allow you to easily link to affiliate vendors working in your niche industry. All you need to do is sign up to their platform and start integrating affiliate links to your niche website.

Incorporate ads

When it comes to placing ads on your niche website there are several notable options that you can use. The most common form of earning money through advertisements include pay per click (PPC) ads that generate revenue on each click. Or you can go for Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) that offers commission whenever an ad reaches a thousand impressions.

But you must ensure that all the ads placed on your website must be highly targeted for your audience base to get more clicks and in turn generate a constant income.

Sponsor posts

A sponsored post involves recommending other business’s products or services on your niche website. You can achieve this by building relationships with companies working in your niche industry who pay you a predetermined amount of money for each post.

Now, the paid amount depends on certain factors such as your page views, rate of engagement, your social media followers as well as the length of text on each post.

Read more: How to Make a Website – The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Website in 2020

Blogging

Blogging is the most common example of a niche website that consists of building a loyal audience base through targeted content.

This model can be found in various niches, including finance, business, entertainment, and travel.

What is blogging?

Blogging refers to the practice of sharing written or media content, including images and videos, that are self-published on an online blogging platform.

Over the years, businesses have integrated blogs into their websites to engage their target customers with interactive content. This is why blogging holds high marketing potential in the business community.

How much does it cost to start a blog

The cost of starting your blog depends on your chosen blogging platform. Here are my three top picks for the best blogging sites and their monthly charges:

  • WordPress.org* hosted by Bluehost has pricing plans starting from $2.75/month on its basic plan, $5.45/month for its Plus and Choice Plus plan.
  • WordPress.com charges $5.00/month on an annual basis.
  • Wix.com charges $8.50/month on an annual basis.

* For WordPress.org CMS hosting services I will show Bluehost company’s pricing plans.

Read more: How to Start a Blog – Step by Step Guide

Advantages and disadvantages of blogging on your own

Before you get your blog up and running, here are some pros and cons of blogging that you should know:

Advantages

  • Blogging requires less investment than other business models since you do not need paid resources to run your blog successfully (at least at first).
  • By writing authoritative blog posts, you can position yourself as an expert in the industry.
  • Blogging offers the ultimate flexibility to work on your terms and in your own time.

Disadvantages

  • Writing a high-quality blog takes a considerable amount of time.
  • If you struggle to write in a reader-friendly tone, you will have trouble communicating your message to your readers.
  • Some technical issues, such as plugin problems, malware, and coding issues may delay your blog posts.

How to start earning money by blogging

To make money from blogging, you need to set up your blog, decide on a niche topic, and start publishing meaningful content for your audience. Also, don’t forget to engage your readers by reaching out to them and responding to their comments.

Income Stream

After getting started on your blog through the blogging platform of your choice, you can expect to earn $1000 to $10,000 in your first year of blogging. After the initial phase, your blog will start to generate an increased revenue stream but only if you are consistent with your blogging efforts.

Turnaround time

It takes time to rank your blog on the search engines and achieve your desired results. However, with consistent effort, you can expect to see a considerable increase in online traffic within a year.

Other ways to earn money through blogging include displaying ads on your blog site through Google AdSense, soliciting sponsorships, writing paid reviews, or generating income through affiliate marketing.

Read more: How to Make Money Blogging – The Beginner’s Guide

Podcasting

Podcasting is like audio blogging. In other words, it refers to recording audio content (typically in MP3 format) and sharing it online. This way, people can access and download your audio file on their smart devices and listen to the recordings.

Over the last decade, podcasting has been gaining more and more momentum. Today, there are more than 1 million podcasts out there. Podcasting presents a good opportunity for business owners who are looking for a medium to connect with potential customers. It offers a more human touch to your customer relationships as you establish yourself as an expert in your business niche.

Also, it is the perfect way to create a positive brand image and drive traffic to your website. The most significant benefit of podcasting is that anyone can do it without any prior technical skills or knowledge.

Advantages and disadvantages of podcasting

Following are some pros and cons of podcasting that will help you decide of podcasts are the right online business strategy for you:

Advantages

  • Podcasts help you to reach your audience and business prospects anywhere, anytime.
  • It is relatively easy to make a podcast. You just need a computer or a smartphone, recording software, and an internet connection to post it online.
  • Podcasts allow you freedom when it comes to the way that you want to present your content to the audience.

Disadvantages

  • To offer the best podcasts, you need to ensure that the quality of your podcasting equipment is top-notch.
  • For better results from podcasting, you need to be consistent in publishing episodes.
  • Making a podcast can cost you money, and securing a return on investment can take more time than other business mediums.

Set up your podcast

Launching your podcast could be the best decision that you will ever make.

That’s because people can no longer carve out time for reading, watching long videos, or interacting with new businesses. However, they can and often do listen to podcasts while commuting to stay on top of industry news, expert opinions, and even for some light infotainment.

Upfront costs

The total cost of a podcast depends on the equipment and the software that you choose to buy before getting started. Then you have to account for the extras and additional charges like cover art design, logo design, or getting your own personalized music for intros and outros.

The estimated upfront cost of establishing a podcast, including necessities and additional fees, can be as low as $290 or as high as $3,700, depending on your choice of equipment. If you add up all of the necessary equipment, extras, and the additional costs, the total price range is $705 to $5,185.

When podcasts are done right, you get exposure to a new audience, beat the competition, and establish mutually beneficial relationships with your listeners. If you are convinced about the benefits of starting your own podcast, here’s a quick guide to doing it right:

Get a good microphone and additional podcast equipment

The success of your podcast depends on the quality of the equipment that you use. Also, you need to buy a microphone that offers good audio quality as the audience will not engage with a podcast that sounds distorted.

Install audio recording and editing software

After deciding on the equipment, you also need to select and install the best podcast recording and editing software. Some of the most popular ones include Audacity and Alitu.

Make a podcast recording and save the audio file

Install the podcast equipment, write a script, so you know what you are going to talk about in the episode, and record the podcast. Save the recorded audio file to move on to the next step.

Find a podcast hosting site and upload your files

To get your podcast online, you need to look for the best podcast hosting service. Some popular options include Buzzsprout, Podbean, Transistor, and Captivate.

Read more: How to Start a Podcast – The Definitive Guide for Beginners 2020

How to start earning money through podcasting

Not only can they drive traffic to your website and enhance your brand’s online presence, but podcasts can also massively benefit you if you decide to monetize them.

Income stream

The average annual income of a podcast host is estimated to be $87,274 in the United States of America.

Turnaround Time

It can take some time to build an audience. Some podcasts start earning revenue after only 2 months, while others may take longer.

Get sponsorship deals, coaching, or affiliate marketing

If you are still building up your podcast listenership, try affiliate marketing and securing sponsorship deals by getting in touch with a business whose products you could potentially advertise on your podcast. Or you can also make money by setting up a subscription fee that listeners will need to pay before they can download your podcast episodes.

There are several ways to monetize a podcast, among which sponsorships, premium content, affiliate marketing, and coaching are some of the best ones.

You can ask for sponsors or display their ads on your podcast site, set a subscription fee to your podcast channel, or go for an affiliate program.

YouTube channel

YouTube is a renowned social media platform that’s famous for its video-based content. Why not use it to start your own channel, post exciting videos, get views, and build a loyal audience base?

What is a YouTube channel?

It is like having your private channel where you can post videos for your audience. These videos are available to everyone who signs in to YouTube, and you can easily customize the background theme or add logos, images, and music to make them more appealing.

The more viewers your videos have, and the more subscribers you gain, the better off you’ll be.

Advantages and disadvantages of having your own YouTube channel

Although a YouTube channel presents several lucrative money-making opportunities but it also poses certain disadvantages that you must know about. Let’s explore these in detail:

Advantages

  • Uploading high-quality, informative and engaging videos can help you gather a large and loyal audience base.
  • Additional source of revenue.
  • A large following can make your channel attractive for businesses that will pay you to display their advertisements.
  • You don’t need technical knowledge or skills to upload videos to YouTube.

Disadvantages

  • You have no control over who gets to see your content as YouTube offers viewers the videos that they want to see.
  • YouTube does not guarantee a constant revenue stream.
  • There’s no assurance that your content will be seen or attract attention.

How to start your own YouTube channel

YouTube has made it easier than ever before to start a channel of your own.

Once you’ve signed up for a YouTube account, enter the channel’s name and description to let your viewers know what they can expect from your videos.

Now that you have set up your channel, it’s time to record your first video and upload it onto your channel. You can even optimize your videos for SEO by adding keywords and tags in the description so that your videos have better chances of ranking well on YouTube for a given keyword.

How to start earning money with YouTube

People who have gained popularity on YouTube are now some of the world’s biggest independent celebrities. Popular YouTubers are real celebrities, known for producing entertaining and engaging content that appeals to a vast viewer base.

Some examples are Brazilian-Portuguese YouTuber Felipe Neto, Spanish YouTuber Samuel de Luque, known as Vegetta777, or American YouTube personality and vlogger Jenna Marbles.

These celebrities mainly focus on creating trail-blazing video content that serves as an example for their followers, inspiring and entertaining them at the same time.

For example, Jenna Marbles, makes entertainment videos and solely earns through the YouTube Partner Program or Marques Brownlee, an electronics reviewer, earns money by posting affiliate links.

Income Stream

A YouTube channel is a perfect source of passive income that can help you to earn $18 or more when the ad views reach 1000.

Turnaround time

You can only start earning money from YouTube if you have 4,000 hours of viewership or more on your YouTube channel in the last year.

Here are some steps that pave the way for starting a successful YouTube channel.

Determine your niche

The hardest part of ensuring your channel’s success is deciding on the right niche. Some of the most profitable niches include health and beauty, gaming, cooking, reviews and unboxing, and many more.

But since everyone has their own set of talents and passions, you don’t need to select a niche if you can offer no expertise in it.

Start adding videos

After choosing the right niche, you need to start making high-quality videos and post them consistently to keep your viewers coming for more.

Start attracting your ideal audience

To earn money, you need to build a loyal audience base. You can achieve this by uploading videos regularly, sharing them on other digital platforms, or interacting with your followers through comments.

Enable your channel for monetization

To enable monetization on your YouTube channel, go to My Channel and click YouTube Studio. Once you have accessed YouTube studio, select the Channel menu, click on Other Features > Monetization.

Once the Monetization window is open, select Start.

This means that you have accepted the terms of the YouTube Partner Program. Now you can add AdSense or any other account to your channel and earn money. You can change the monetization settings later if you wish.

Linking your YouTube channel to an Adsense account

This ensures that only related ads are run on your videos and chosen according to the types of interactions people have with your channel.

All you need to do is sign in to YouTube, select the channel, and click Creator Studio. Select Channel displayed on the left and click Advanced. Right under “Google Ads account linking,” click “Link a Google Ads account.”

Follow through with the instructions, select Finish, and you are good to go.

Join the Youtube Partner Program

The YouTube Partner Program requires that you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch time hours over a year to qualify for monetization.

Also, your channel and its content should strictly adhere to the terms of service, policies, and guidelines made by the YouTube Partner Program.

If you are successful in qualifying for the YouTube Partner Program, you can have access to more resources and features offered by YouTube.

T-series ranks among the top YouTube channels by ensuring high volume and consistency in its videos. It uses the YouTube Partner Program and allows other YouTube users to place their ads on its videos to earn money.

You can also monetize your YouTube channel by getting ad revenue, making videos that review merchandise from other brands, or choosing to show your videos for a YouTube premium subscription fee.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing means promoting the products or services of other people on your website or channel. The more products and services you manage to sell for them, the more commission you earn.

As an affiliate marketer, you are the salesperson for your client, and for making each sale they reward you for your efforts.

The most beautiful thing about affiliate marketing is that you are not bound to sell products from one client only. You can also promote products or services from multiple companies and get the opportunity to increase the number of commissions you earn, collectively.

Advantages and disadvantages of affiliate marketing

If you want a smooth start to your affiliate marketing venture, make sure you understand the advantages and disadvantages it presents.

Advantages

  • You’re only concerned with promoting a product, no need to worry about complex operations such as manufacturing, quality testing, etc.
  • You don’t require an upfront investment to make money as an affiliate marketer.
  • Affiliate marketing allows you to work as your own boss and in your own time.

Disadvantages

  • Some businesses trick marketers with promises of a high commission fee, but it’s lowered once you are on board.
  • You have no control over your competition, as anyone can join an affiliate program.
  • You cannot establish a loyal customer base because a repeating customer doesn’t need to engage with you to buy again.

How affiliate marketing works

Yes, you can make good money with affiliate marketing. But first, it is essential to put in the work and create a stellar reputation for yourself.

Here are some ways you can leverage affiliate marketing successfully.

Sign up for affiliate programs directly

You will find several affiliate programs offered by businesses working in your niche. Simply get in touch with the company of your choice or that is in high demand by your target audience.

Make a list of all the merchants that you would want to get in touch with. Then visit their websites or contact them personally to ask for their affiliate programs.

Amazon affiliate program

Also known as Amazon Associates, it allows bloggers and affiliate marketers to recommend products from Amazon.com to their online profiles through clickable links. Whenever someone clicks the link and makes a purchase from Amazon.com, you earn a referral fee.

But to become successful on this platform, you have to comply with all the rules and requirements set by Amazon.

Go for affiliate networks

Affiliate networks are an excellent way of signing up for the affiliate programs perfectly aligned with your requirements. With an affiliate network, you don’t have to worry about reaching your minimum payout. Also, there are fewer chances of getting conned with sales.

Some of the most popular affiliate networks are ClickBank, ShareASale, Impact, and a lot more.

How to start earning money with affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is getting competitive with time due to the high passive income potential it offers. So, to be successful with this, you need to leverage all the right strategies.

Income stream

Affiliate commissions vary in different niches. The average passive income stream for affiliate marketers in the United States is anywhere from $20k to $2m per year. However, if you are a total beginner you will have to be patient until you reach those numbers.

Turnaround time

The turnaround time to make revenue as an Affiliate marketer ranges from 6 months to a year. However, this entirely depends on the quality of your promotional content and sales pitch.

Select an affiliate marketing platform

Before signing up for relevant affiliate programs, you need to decide on a platform. This could be either a social media channel, a blog, or even a YouTube channel.

Determine your niche

To increase your chances of success, you need to focus on a specific niche to build a highly targeted audience that also improves your search engine rankings.

Choose your affiliate programs

Whenever you select an affiliate program, you need to assess your expertise level in that particular niche and the type of customers you want to target.

Create engaging content

To get more clicks on your affiliate links, you need to create unique content that appeals to your target audience.

Get more traffic to your online profile

Now, once you have great content to offer, you need to attract more eyeballs towards it. To achieve that, you can either go for paid traffic generated through PPC ads. Other than this, you can optimize your page with high ranking keywords or create an email marketing campaign to engage with your audience.

Compel people to click the affiliate links

Great content and increased traffic are just not enough to ensure that more people will click on your links. This is why you need to take care of giving your links some context. Also, you can insert callouts to get your visitor’s attention.

Once you get your audience to click on your affiliate links, the chances of a potential purchase will increase.

eCommerce store

eCommerce has gained traction since people now prefer to buy online from the comfort of their home instead of visiting physical stores.

Before starting to sell your products, you need to determine the profitability of the niche you have decided to cover. After that, you need to develop an eCommerce website, which might seem like a hassle, but in reality, it is a practical way of offering your products or services online.

What is eCommerce?

eCommerce is short for electronic commerce, and it refers to buying and selling products online. It also includes all of the other aspects associated with online shopping, such as internet banking, online ticket bookings, and auctions.

eCommerce works for all four market segments, including business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer, and consumer to business.

Upfront costs

To start your own eCommerce store, all you need is an internet connection, a computer to manage your website, and a payment software to process your online payments.

For a simple dropshipping store, you can expect to invest approximately $40. But if you go for all of the features mentioned above and hire professionals to design your e-commerce website, expect to spend up to $3000 or more.

Advantages and disadvantages of running your own eCommerce business

The practice of selling products online poses the following advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

  • No need for physical stores which allows you to quickly expand your business when possible.
  • You can save a significant amount of money on rent, maintenance, and other costs associated with physical stores.
  • You have access to customers from all over the world who can purchase from you at any time.
  • You have access to a large pool of customer data insight which you can use to better market your products.
  • Digital products can be sold online with very little upfront costs.

Disadvantages

  • In case of a site crash, you lose potential sales.
  • You need to provide shipping services for products.
  • Hard to deliver the experience of physical shopping, which is why many customers resist buying online.
  • Potential customers can easily research the price difference between you and your competitor to go with the lowest one.

How to make money from eCommerce sites

Making money from an eCommerce store involves more than just selling products online and earning the right profit on them.

Income stream

An eCommerce store helps you to earn both actively and passively. It all depends on the products that you are selling and how you decide to market them. You can either sell other people’s products through affiliate marketing (passive), practice dropshipping, or you can sell your own products (active).

Turnaround time

Depending on your chosen niche, skills, and any competition that your store might have, it can take anywhere from 3 months to a full year to start making a profit.

If you are looking for ways to grow your eCommerce store so that it can start generating a higher revenue stream, here are your options:

Find the right products and/or services to sell online

The biggest challenge that many online business entrepreneurs face is searching for products and/or services that are profitable and in high demand. Remain in the loop with the latest trends so that you can brainstorm ideas to come up with a product that has a unique selling feature.

No matter what industry you choose to cater to, there are two types of products that you can sell. These are:

Niche products

These products are made to cater to a specific demand. These are usually unique or handmade products, which is why they are often more expensive than other products as they are fulfilling a specific request in the market.

Commoditized products

Commoditized products are those products that cannot be distinguished from their competitor’s products. You can only tell them apart by their pricing range as they hold no differences in their quality or uses.

Identify or create products that solve a problem

The most effective way of finding a profitable product is to understand the requirements and problems of prospective customers and provide your product as a solution to it.

Choose your payment gateway

A payment gateway is a service that serves as a link between your online store and the payment method of your choice.

What is a payment processor?

A payment processor links businesses with financial institutions to ensure smooth and secure payments.

It is tasked with collecting payments from the customer and distributing it to the bank or financial institution chosen by the eCommerce business. If you have an eCommerce application service, you can easily integrate your payment processor with the app so that your customers can experience a smooth purchasing process from you online.

PayPal, Stripe, and Due are some of the most popular payment processors.

How to choose the right payment gateway provider

Selecting the right payment gateway provider is a challenge for new eCommerce businesses.

When choosing your payment gateway provider, make sure that it offers unbreakable security, charges a nominal fee, and provides multiple features that are consistent with the needs of your online business.

Also, ensure that the payment gateway of your choice operates in your country and also accepts payments from countries where your potential buyers are located.

Find a good eCommerce fulfillment service

The right eCommerce fulfillment service is a necessary element for your eCommerce store as it can attract customers and help you to retain them by making deliveries a breeze.

What is a fulfillment service?

An eCommerce fulfillment service encompasses all of the processes involved in dispatching your product to a customer after they have placed their order online.

It includes managing inventory, processing online orders, picking the products, packing them, and then delivering the products to the customer’s shipping address.

How to find a good fulfillment service

Working with a reliable fulfillment service is co-related to the growth of your eCommerce business.

A streamlined delivery process with a smooth and accurate dispatch builds trust between you and your customers and constructs a positive reputation for your business.

If you want to secure a good and reliable eCommerce fulfillment service, you must keep some points in mind. For example, you should consider finding a service company that has previously worked with other eCommerce businesses in the same industry as you.

Automation and integrations play a considerable role in the delivery process, so it’s no wonder that several fulfillment services now also offer technological solutions to streamline the entire process.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is slowly gaining momentum due to its low entry barriers and lower startup costs. With a simple computer, you can easily set up your dropshipping venture.

What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is an online business model that allows you to purchase products from a merchant or supplier and ship it to your customer directly. You don’t have to manufacture products, pay overhead costs, or keep an inventory to run a dropshipping business.

Upfront costs

The upfront costs of a dropshipping venture depend on the online platform you choose to build your store, its paid traffic costs, and the domain name that you register. Shopify charges $29/month for its basic plan along with a 14-day free trial.

For paid traffic, start with Google Ads as they offer $100 free credit. The domain name costs depend on the service you choose.

Advantages and disadvantages of running your own dropshipping business

Dropshipping is not an ideal online business choice for everyone. So, to help you make the right decision, here are some pros and cons of an online dropshipping business.

Advantages

  • Smaller upfront investment reduces the roadblock in starting your own business.
  • It saves you from keeping or maintaining an inventory.
  • A dropshipping venture is easy to scale since the real hassle falls to the merchants and suppliers.

Disadvantages

  • Low startup costs have increased the competition in the dropshipping business sector, impacting your profit margins.
  • You trust other businesses and suppliers to run your business smoothly, increasing the risks associated with dropshipping.
  • You have no control over the many processes involved with dropshipping, especially keeping in sync with the inventory data of your suppliers.

How to make money dropshipping

To start making money from a dropshipping business, you need to select the right niche market so that you can tap into a profitable venture. Also, you get the chance to move onto other niches with time.

Income stream

A drop shipper can earn an average of $1000-$50,000 per month in revenue, while monthly profits can range widely from $100-$20,000.

Turnaround time

It takes 6-12 months to start earning profits from your dropshipping business.

This is how you can earn money through an online dropshipping business.

Find a dropship wholesaler or distributor

It’s essential to partner with a credible wholesaler or supplier as the wrong one can damage your business reputation. Conduct thorough research before selecting your suppliers.

Some of the most popular drop shippers are AliExpress, Wholesale2B, Spocket, and Doba.

Price your products

The dropshipping business model is based on customer acquisition regardless of the price of the product. Selecting higher-priced products will help you to earn a high-profit margin.

Start Selling

After setting up your dropshipping website, securing a supplier, and pricing your products, you are all set to start dropshipping. Attract customers by offering quality products and streamlined services so that you can generate revenue right from the start.

Freelancing

Freelancing and online consulting offer a reprieve from a traditional 9- to-5 job as you are able to carve your own career path and find financial freedom faster.

What is freelancing?

Freelancing means working independently for multiple clients at a time instead of getting tied down to one employer. It is a contract based model. Freelancers leverage their skills and expertise to offer their services to potential clients.

This includes work from home jobs where you can work at your own time from whatever location you prefer.

Advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer

Freelancing is a highly rewarding career choice but it comes with its own challenges. Let’s explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a freelancer.

Advantages

  • With freelancing, you get the freedom to work on your schedule so that you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • You hold unlimited earning potential because you set the price for your talents.
  • Freelancing allows you to select the projects and the clients you want to work with.

Disadvantages

  • You don’t get health insurance or other benefits with freelance work.
  • Inconsistent projects or irregular work process means low job security.
  • In the initial stages, you might face difficulties in finding clients as it takes time to build your reputation as a credible freelancer.

How to earn money freelancing

Freelancers don’t start generating money overnight; you need to put in a lot of hard work, time, and develop strategic thinking.

Income stream

The projected income of your freelancing gigs depends on the type and duration of the projects you secure. On average, a freelancer earns $19/hour.

Turnaround time

The turnaround time of your freelancing gig depends on the project at hand. If you are a web developer or a writer, you can expect to get paid after submitting the project. However, if you are working in a different industry, you get paid according to the terms set by your client.

Here’s how you can start earning money by building a freelance career.

Determine your skills

Start by figuring out your skills and strengths and how you can convert them into services to offer your clients.

Sign up to a freelancing platform

Once you have determined the area you want to offer your services, you need to sign up for an online freelancing platform to get in touch with your ideal clients.

Offer a pitch to your potential clients

To get the projects you want, you need to craft the perfect pitch to present your potential clients and attract them into working with you.

Set a price for your services

When you are setting a price in your services, it is essential to start with a low price to attract more customers. Once you have a loyal client base, you can gradually increase your prices.

Types of freelance jobs you can do

Before starting your freelance career, select the niche that you want to work in.

Writers, virtual assistants, graphic designers, web developers, and photographers fare well on freelancing. Select a niche that allows you to showcase your experience and skills accurately.

Read more: Best Freelance Jobs Websites to Find Work and Make Money in 2020

Online consulting

Online consulting is about sharing your expertise on a particular subject with a target audience through digital channels.

What is online consulting?

A consultant is someone who offers advice based on their personal experiences. Clients approach them via their websites or other online channels.

Advantages and disadvantages of being an online consultant or coach

Although starting an online consulting business is a great idea, but make sure you consider the following advantages and drawbacks.

Advantages

  • Low startup costs as there are minimal overhead charges since you are working from home.
  • You can work for clients from various industries to keep things interesting instead of getting bored with monotonous workflow.
  • You have complete control over the people you want to work with and how you want your typical workday to look.

Disadvantages

  • Online consulting does not promise a steady income because the project flow is quite irregular, at least at the start.
  • You will have to face considerable competition depending on the sector you decide to offer your consulting services.
  • You do not have any control over the results of your consulting services.

How can you earn money with online consulting

Online consulting presents a massive opportunity as a flexible business model and with high-income potential. It all depends on how fast you are at increasing your clientele and expanding your network.

Income stream

With online consulting, you get paid for each session with your client. However, if you want to earn passive income, you can also offer an eBook, or set up a seminar.

Turnaround time

With online consulting, you get paid after each session.

You need to have a specific skill

Online consulting is not for amateurs as you require experience to establish yourself as an expert on a topic. Focus on a particular niche, such as marketing, leadership, or writing. It is also advised to focus on an idea within the niche of your choice, such as consulting on social media in the marketing niche.

One famous example of an online consultant is Noah Fleming who is a business strategy consultant. He helps his clients to promote their brand through effective brand-building strategies.

You need to have results to showcase

Establish your credibility and expertise, and for that, you need proof. For example, if you are a marketing specialist who works with marketing professionals, you need to have the necessary data to show how you helped your previous clients to improve their marketing processes.

Launch your own website

To make your online consulting business more visible to your potential clients, create a website using accessible web designing platforms such as WordPress. Even if you are new to web designing, this platform will make the entire process easy for you.

Promote your business

To expand your client base, you need to become more active on social media and start posting regularly. Also, you can grow your network by mingling with different types of people or offering them free consultations.

You can even place advertisements for your consulting business on social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn so that people from any niche can easily find you.

Courses and info products

People continuously turn to the internet to find solutions to their problems. They are looking for authentic answers from experts in the industry, and you can take advantage of this opportunity by selling information products and courses to answer their questions. This is a promising online business model utilized by thousands of digital entrepreneurs with success.

Upfront costs

The cost of selling your own online course depends on how much money you invest in course creation, any hidden costs including website domain names or support services and marketing costs.

The more features you incorporate into your online course, the most costs will be incurred.

Advantages and disadvantages of selling online courses and information products

Consider the following advantages and disadvantages of selling online courses and information products before you dive in to this niche:

Advantages

  • To sell online courses and informational products, you don’t have to manage an inventory or pay for overhead costs.
  • You are not confined to selling to a local market only. With online courses and info products, you can reach a wider audience from all over the world.
  • With lower investment costs, this business model poses the lowest risk.

Disadvantages

  • You need to put in a lot of effort and diligent work to create high-value courses and info products.
  • Info products, especially eBooks, have a low selling price, which means smaller profit margins for you.
  • Before selling online courses, you need to build an audience that wants to benefit from your expertise.

How to earn money selling courses and info products

A large number of freelancers and home-based businesses sell digital information products on their websites or other online platforms. You can either make your own course or sell information products created by other people.

Turnaround time

The turnaround time of your online course depends on how quickly and effectively you can build a loyal audience base. The more people that are attracted to your online course, the faster your course will start making money.

Income stream

An online course can help you to earn anywhere from $0 to $50,000 or more per month. It all depends on your selected niche and overall sales.

Pick a topic you are experienced in

To create a value-packed course or informational product, you should have in-depth knowledge of a certain subject area. Leverage this knowledge to establish yourself as an authority on the course topic that you select.

Come up with the content

Once you have chosen your course topic, you can start creating the course. An online course is a series of videos that incorporate images, music, PDF’s, and more to make it more engaging for the students. You can sequentially explain the topic and even add quizzes to make the course more interesting.

Create your course or info product

Once you have the outline of your course established, start recording it. You can either make a video using a camera, or you can screencast the entire session where you share your screen with the students. Also, you need to invest in the right tools for ultimate video quality and clear sound.

Price and host your content

You have the option of either hosting the course on your own or choosing an online hosting platform. If you decide to host on your own, you need to set up a website, but with the online hosting platforms, you are just required to upload the course video and other content. Some of the best online course platforms include Udemy, Thinkific, and Coursera.

Promote your content

There are several ways to market your course online. You can boost organic traffic by optimizing the course pages with keywords to rank higher on search engines. Also, you can generate traffic to your course through blogging, publishing course videos on YouTube, Podcasting, or posting ads on popular social media platforms such as Facebook.

Tutoring and teaching

Tutoring is an excellent way to earn extra money if you enjoy teaching. All you need is an in-depth knowledge of the subject you choose to teach, and ways to share that knowledge to your students.

Upfront costs

The upfront costs of tutoring include the costs of certification and the commission fee charged by the tutoring agency that you work with.

Advantages and disadvantages of teaching online

To help you make a firm decision about online tutoring, here are some advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider.

Advantages

  • You get to enjoy ultimate flexibility with your time and schedule.
  • Online tutoring is highly convenient as you don’t have to waste your time commuting to reach your students.
  • You can even offer recorded sessions to students so that they can go through the lesson again if they missed anything the first time.

Disadvantages

  • Success won’t happen if you aren’t willing to create a website, advertise extensively and build a stellar reputation.
  • It can be hard to assess a student’s progress when teaching online.
  • It is difficult to get to know a student through online tutoring.

How to make money tutoring online

Online tutoring has enabled people to earn money quickly from the confines of their homes. If you are switching to a career in teaching or just want to earn extra cash, online tutoring is your best bet.

Turnaround time

If you decide to register with a tutoring agency, you can start earning money as soon as the agency pairs you up with a student. But if you are working as a self-employed tutor, you can earn money as soon as a student gets in touch with you.

Income stream

According to a survey, the average tutor earns $20-$25/hour. However, it all depends on the subject you are teaching.

Find what you are good at

To decide on the subject you should teach online, create a list of things that you are good at or you are passionate about. It could be the language you speak fluently, work-related skills, or even your hobby.

Find a virtual teaching platform

After deciding on the subject that you want to teach, select an online platform that allows you to easily teach your students online. Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangout are some of the most popular virtual platforms that are built to facilitate online communication.

Advertise

Now that you have chosen the platform that you will use to teach the subject of your choice, you need to market your tutoring services.

Start targeting potential students with online advertisements that emphasize your unique selling points and the value that you promise.

Now, you can advertise by creating your online presence through a website or a tutoring profile on popular platforms. Leverage social media platforms to get in touch with a vast audience more quickly than any other platform. Or you can print promotional content to share with your community or distribute at places frequently visited by parents and students.

Get your name out there

Build the reputation of your online tutoring services by creating your online presence or sharing your testimonials. This is not only a short term tactic but a long term strategy that can do wonders for your reputation.

Offer incentives

To attract students, you may need to offer some of your tutoring services for free. You can either give them a free trial session where they can gauge your teaching style and determine how comfortable they are with you.

Or you can offer free seminars or training sessions to your potential students through an online medium.

Ask for testimonials

To attract new students, you need to show how you teach your students and help them overcome their weaknesses in a particular subject.

Testimonials from past students help you to establish your authority as someone who promises the best results.

Setup your website and social media pages

To get your name out there, you need to create a website for your tutoring service where you can list your services. Also, create social media accounts on all of the major platforms to get in touch with a vast audience.

Handmade products

The crafts industry has recently boomed since the inception of online craft websites that allow you to sell your home crafts quickly.

Upfront Costs

If you plan to sell handmade items, you’ll need money to purchase materials, supplies, tools, a website and also to invest in marketing activities.

Advantages and disadvantages of selling handmade and artisan stuff on marketplaces

Although selling handmade and artisan items online presents several opportunities for making easy money, it also has some obstacles that you need to know.

Advantages

  • You are your own boss. You have complete authority to work on your terms and your schedule.
  • You have complete freedom to change your product line whenever you want to.
  • There are several online marketplaces where you can sell your handmade crafts quickly.

Disadvantages

  • To sell your handmade craft successfully, you must make sure that the product is of top-notch quality.
  • The entire process of collecting materials, creating handmade crafts, and order fulfillment can be time-consuming.
  • You may find it challenging to find a specific successful niche in the handmade crafts marketplace.

How to earn money selling handmade and artisan stuff on marketplaces

If you are into knitting, sewing, making jewelry, or creating art, you can sell them online. Even if you want to sell vintage and artisanal materials, head online to dedicated groups and websites instead of going to your local flea markets in person.
You can command top dollar from those who genuinely appreciate the value of these masterpieces.

Turnaround time

The turnaround time of your handmade art business depends on how much exposure it gets, the marketplace where you sell them, and the marketing tactics you deployed to attract traffic to your business. The effectiveness of all of these elements determines the time it’ll take for your handmade art business to take off.

Income stream

Selling handmade items and artisan products can help you to generate active as well as passive income. You can earn money by creating your own online shop and selling your handmade products, or you can offer your expertise to teach others through video tutorials or social media engagement.

Find the products you want to sell

If you are thinking about what kind of product you should sell, choose the kinds of things that you enjoy making or get a lot of praise and requests for. If you are into vintage items, you can buy them from flea markets, auctions, or yard sales and resell them online.

Find the marketplace to sell your goods

To start selling your homemade and artisan items online, you need to select the best online marketplace.

Etsy is the best online marketplace for artisans to sell their hand-made products online as it allows you to reach a vast audience. You can quickly sell hundreds of products on Etsy without paying a high listing fee.

Other notable online marketplaces include ArtFire, Cratejoy, and Absolute Arts.

Printing on demand

Printing on demand (POD) is a form of the dropshipping business model. You don’t have to worry about holding and maintaining stock, the setup costs are low and there are little to no risks involved.

What is print on demand?

Print on demand means selling your products by printing custom designs on them. These products include mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, and several other items.

Your supplier designs the products based on the number of orders you receive. So, you don’t have to pay for the items until they are sold, and this saves you from maintaining an inventory.

Upfront costs

The upfront cost for setting up a print-on-demand is associated with the material, supplies and software that you decide to invest in.

Advantages and disadvantages of running your print on demand business

Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of a print on demand business to determine if it’s right for you.

Advantages

  • No need to stock products or keep an inventory.
  • The entire inventory is online so that no product is printed without being ordered.
  • Fewer startup costs.

Disadvantages

  • You have little to no control over the quality of the product, as well as the shipping process.
  • As all of the products are based on printing on demand, it can take a long time to complete online orders.
  • Your entire business depends on your suppliers. If they run out of resources, so do you.

How to start your print on demand business

Print on demand allows you to custom design products using design software. The entire business process is relatively simple, but there can be unseen issues, especially if the printing machine goes out of order.

Pick your niche

To set up your printing on-demand business, select between a product-based or a subject-based niche. If you go for the product niche, you will have to work on the same product throughout your business duration.

But if you go for a subject-based niche, you need to come up with a trending subject and several designs that embody this niche. You need a niche that allows you to attract a wider audience. Comics, movies, eco-tourism, baseball, TV-shows, and healthy living are some examples of niches you could choose.

Launch your website

Once you have decided on the subject niche, set up your business’s website. You can either start a website and register a domain name, or you can select an e-commerce platform to create your print on demand venture.

Choose your print on demand provider

Your print on demand provider will complete all of your business orders. Since the reputation of your entire venture depends on your print provider, you need to choose the most credible option.

Some of the most popular print on demand providers include Printful, Printify, and Zazzle.

Add products to your online store

Once you have selected your print on demand provider, it is time to get your online store up and running. All you need to do is connect the store with your print on demand provider and start adding your products.

Promote your business

To get your name out there, you need to promote your business by offering valuable content that attracts your customers. You can also engage your customers by targeting them with news about your brand through email marketing.

Another promotion option is to create videos about your products and post them on your YouTube channel.

How to make money through printing on demand

To start earning from printing on-demand business, you need to execute the following steps:

Select a niche

The initial step of starting your printing on-demand business includes selecting a profitable niche that can attract a vast audience. You can use Google Trends to learn about niches that are highly popular with people.

Create your online presence

Once you have decided on a specific niche, it’s time to create a website for your print on demand business. To host your website, you can go for e-commerce platforms that offer appealing themes to create a unique website.

Start adding products to your online store

Get in touch with a credible print on demand supplier who can create high-quality products. Once you have designed your products, start adding them to your website to generate sales.

Promote your business

You have set your website, start promoting it on your social media sites through hashtags or get it ranked on search engines. You can also post customer testimonials and reviews or write blogs to build credibility and increase sales.

Income stream

Printing on demand is an excellent way to earn passive income. The more products you sell, the more money you will earn.

Turnaround time

The turnaround time depends on how soon you start to sell your products or how quickly your business gets exposure and finds buyers.

Conclusion

Ready for a change? Want to become your own boss and work on something you are passionate about and truly enjoy? It’s time to start your own online business.

Sure, starting an online business can be challenging, but it’s also exciting and empowering. If you are ready to begin, this guide will help you decide how to get started and what steps to take.

Ensure that you stay up-to-date with what your competition is up to and how they are using the latest trends in the digital world to make your industry more competitive. You have to remain at the top of your game to remain viable as a businessperson and ensure the success of your online business. The good news is that running your own online business has many benefits, such as being able to work at your pace and focus on a niche that you are passionate about. If you do it right, the chances are that you’ll be able to make more than you did working a 9-to-5 job.

If you have any queries or concerns about launching your online business, feel free to get in touch with us! We would love to help you out.

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