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15 Best Online Businesses to Crush Your Day Job


Who loves working in cubicles? That’s what I thought. These top online businesses will help you escape a cubicle and build a business that is based on your values. Not someone else’s.

Building an online business is the single best way to make money online. It’s simply the most sustainable, scalable and practical way to have consistent cash flow coming in on your own terms.

An online business is by no means a get rich quick or “get rich overnight” scheme. There is no 1-step secret that will instantly bring in gobs of money.

It’s a ton of work to build an online business.

Just like any other business. You’ll likely need to start from scratch and put in long hours in the meantime.

You’ll need to find the successes and cut the failures.

So why build an online business?

Well, an online business offers a whole host of opportunities not commonly seen in typical brick and mortar businesses.

Here’s why:

  • Autonomy – An online business is YOUR business. Not someone else’s.
  • Economies of Scale – A majority of online businesses can be run by 1 person.
  • Freedom – A cubicle, terrible coffee and fluorescent lights are definitely not something that you said you were going to do as a kid.
  • Optionality – Your online business doesn’t necessarily need to be your full-time job. It can be a means to simply increase your income.

An online business can be done from anywhere and you can likely work when you want.

It’s the crux of why I’m so passionate making money online. I mention it in my side hustle email course where I help you find the right online business to start making more money, which then leads to flexibility and autonomy in your lifestyle.

I’ve also seen a ton of online businesses transform from a blog to a software company. Or even a software company to a blog.

Think about how archaic the traditional office environment is:

  • You have to train or get trained by others.
  • Your boss says you need to be in the office from 8 am until 7 pm because that’s when he is there.
  • The TPS Reports are due every Tuesday to ensure some unqualified middle manager can review them for 5 days before telling you that you did everything wrong.
  • Work is constantly pushed down to you with limited room for open dialogue, brainstorming or empowerment.

Traditional office environments are not always like the above. There’s a ton of cool companies out there that are forward thinking.

But sadly, a majority of businesses are still an absolute snooze-fest. That’s time for a change.

As much as I want to be the Managers Hate Him guy that can give you 1 hidden secret to destroy the 9-5 grind, I can’t.

It simply doesn’t work like that.

I still get a kick out of those clickbait memes. I had to create one for you.

Middle Managers Hate Him
That is not me in this photo. That’s some middle manager envious of your freedom.

The thing is that it is changing. And it has changed.

Online platforms are the new way to make money

The way people make money, build a business and work is changing rapidly… So rapidly that you likely don’t even notice it yet.

It’s already been 13 years since Facebook Ads were formally launched. When you scroll through Facebook Ads, think about how many entrepreneurs show up that you’ve likely never heard of or seen before.

A ton of these people captured what was a huge market opportunity to build an online business.

Now, Facebook Ads are a lot different than they used to be.

Recently, Instagram and TikTok have exploded onto the scene.

With influencers capturing massive market share in various niche markets.

Even 8-year olds are making 7-figures from their YouTube channels.

The way that “business”, whether that be entertainment, hard goods, services, lead generation, you name it, is conducted has forever changed.

I know it’s tough for a lot of people to wrap their heads around it, but people with an open mind to how powerful: social channels, email, search engines, streaming, software, etc. can be…

The more that you win out in building a lifestyle that suits you.

That lifestyle won’t come easier at first. Here’s what it’s like to eventually get there.

Life of an Online Entrepreneur
Life of an Online Entrepreneur can be tough… But it’s worth it.

How to start an online business

An online business is pretty straightforward to start. That’s the beauty of it, right?

There are a few key things that you should know in order to position yourself for the best possible success to make money online. 

Here are some things you might need to start an online business:

  1. A virtual assistant: You need help with routine tasks. You can’t expect yourself to do it all.
  2. Software and analytics tools: Things like measuring conversions, track revenue and growing leads are very important. These are worth paying for. You should think about top tier software that helps you run your business better and will give you a leg up on the competition. 
  3. A computer: You need to operate your business, duh…
  4. Multiple monitors / good desk setup: This is by no means required. I know a ton of people that can run six-figure and seven-figure businesses with just a laptop and a cell phone. If you want to stay productive and efficient, it’s worth it to invest in multiple monitors and tools. 
  5. Business registration: One of my favorite ways to show yourself that you are serious about your business is to instantly file an LLC and establish business bank accounts. This is a vote in confidence in yourself that you ready and willing to do things the right way. 

Other than that, there isn’t much else needed to start an online business. You don’t need an office. You don’t need an army of employees.

You should outsource and use resources to your advantage. That’s the most efficient way to scale with success.

But do it the smart way. 

List of 15 Proven Online Business Ideas

These online business ideas will also show you how much money you can make.

Let’s get into the good stuff about the best online businesses you can start right now.

1. Start a simple, but impactful blog

  • Earning potential: $100k to $1m+ per year
  • Startup costs: Very low
  • Time involved: Initially high, but can be scaled and outsourced over time

A simple blog that focuses solely on their conversion event can be extremely powerful. Even more powerful than a market-specific news website.

With a hosting plan like Bluehost, you can start in a matter of minutes. It costs as low as $70 to have a full hosting plan and you’ll even get a FREE domain name along the way.

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Bluehost
Price:

Only $2.95/month


Bluehost is the ultimate hosting platform that will allow you to start a blog or website in a matter of minutes. You’ll get a FREE domain name when you sign up with my link It’s never been easier to build a brand.
START A BLOG

 

There is a reason why blogging is one of my favorite hustles and online businesses out there.

First, you can start a blog that can migrate into any one of the below online businesses over time. The options are completely endless.

The revenue opportunity can be stacked in a variety of ways, including digital products, advertising, affiliate marketing, online courses, coaching and so much more.

Second, a blog can be automated once you achieve a certain level of scale. This can make it into somewhat passive income or a “lifestyle” business.

I developed a free course that will help you determine blog post profitability and build your audience base from the get-go.

Join below.

2. Start a digital publishing business

  • Earning potential: $200k to $1m+ per year
  • Startup costs: Very low
  • Time involved: Initially high, but can be scaled and outsourced over time

There’s still a ton of opportunity in the online and digital publishing space. This is different than owning a single blog as you own and operate a basket of online media assets such as blogs, news-oriented sites, affiliate sites, etc. 

The sites you own and operate are in a variety of niches. This portfolio can be isolated from anyone given traffic channels like Google or Pinterest.

Being that you’re diversified, your online publishing business should produce great cash flow and the ability to weather “storms.”  

I’m excited to highlight a success story for online publishing to show you what it takes to get there and what it’s like operating in this online business. 

Note: You’ll see a handful of different success stories to help guide you through the inner workings of specific online businesses.

Success Story: Jon Dykstra of FatStacksBlog.com

FatStacks Blog Logo

In this section, I interviewed one of my personal favorite digital publishers to follow, Jon Dykstra.

If you don’t know Jon, you should. You’ll see why in this interview below. Jon knows his stuff and is an absolute professional when it comes to publishing and digital marketing.

He knows his stuff. 

Provide a brief background on your display advertising and digital publishing success.

I started using display ads on sites in 2014.  Until then I strictly did affiliate marketing.  Display ads opened up a whole new approach to online publishing for me by freeing me up to write about any topics I wanted to and still monetize that content. 

 

The revenue initially was better than I ever thought possible. I haven’t looked back.

I’ve slowly grown my display ad revenue over the years focusing on targeting low competition keywords and publishing quite a bit of content.

I don’t do any link building (but do attract links). I focus on decent content and monetizing that content with display ads.

Jon Dykstra Advertising Revenue - FatStacks Blog

Why are niche websites a viable online business?

Niche websites are a great business because there is no barrier to entry. You don’t need money, degrees or anything. You just need the ability to publish content. However, no barriers to entry means there’s a lot of competition. If you hang in there and get some momentum, it becomes a growing business with no ceiling. It’s also somewhat passive in that you earn 24/7.

Most importantly, it’s a fun business. I enjoy writing non-fiction and publishing non-fiction.  It helps to enjoy the work.
What’s your day to day or weekly routine to keep your websites growing/running?

My focus every week and day is publishing good content on a variety of niche sites.  This involves keyword research, assigning topics to writers, vetting content and reviewing content recently published.  I also write quite a bit for my own niche sites.

What do people need to know to succeed with operating sites that focus on display advertising revenue?

You need to be patient.  This is not a get-rich-quick business.  You need to grow your SEO traffic which takes years.  If you can, grow a loyal audience as well (easier said than done). 

 

Focus on the main driver which is publishing good content.  Avoid distractions like website design and trying to succeed on all social media platforms (focus on the one or two that’s a good fit).  

 

These days, for most niche sites, your main traffic source will be Google search so be mindful about optimizing your content for Google.

 

How much time does your business take on a weekly basis (on average)?

I put in 40 to 50 hours per week running my online publishing business.

3. Build a “solution” website… Solve a problem

  • Earning potential: Unlimited 
  • Startup costs: Moderate to medium
  • Time involved: Initially high, but can be scaled and outsourced over time

An online business can be a straightforward website that addresses a problem at its core. 

A great example is Flippa.com. A platform where you can efficiently buy and sell websites online. Before Flippa, there was really no platform for people to do so efficiently (except those “sleepy” small business broker websites).

They took a pretty complex process and streamlined it. 

Success Story: Blake Hutchinson of Flippa.com

In this section, I want to highlight the successes of Blake Hutchinson, the CEO and Founder of Flippa.com.

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Flippa
Offer:

Free


Flippa is the ultimate marketplace to buy and sell digital property. Their marketplace features a robust listing database of mobile apps, domain name, starter sites and established websites. Try now for free.
SELL OR INVEST

 

I’ve personally bought websites on Flippa for my website investing strategies and I’ve also sold several websites on their platform. 

I’m excited to highlight Blake’s perspectives on what it takes to run an online business. 

Especially, one that solved such a massive problem for the world of online entrepreneurs. 

Provide a brief background on Flippa’s success, what it took to get there, what was your original vision?

We know that small business makes the world go around so we aim to help digital and online business owners thrive through a sale or acquisition.

Flippa was first setup to help developers and entrepreneurs to trade digital assets but the platform has expanded dramatically. Over 3 million users have joined Flippa and we’re setting up to empower a micro-economy of digital first business owners.

Whether a customer intends to buy or sell an online business, the Flippa platform is set up to assist the journey.

What’s a typical day/week look like for you to run Flippa successfully?

We want to build the default platform to facilitate trade between buyers and sellers and as such, we spend most of our time on the product. We review customer feedback and work through the features in build and those upcoming.

Additionally, we spend time talking to sellers and buyers.

The Account Management team and I are there to help buyers and sellers understand the platform and maximize their opportunities.

This can include things like pricing guidance or helping buyers prepare for due diligence.

What do people need to know to succeed in becoming an online entrepreneur? 

Focus on listening to your customers, then pick and deliver the most impactful product or content or service or support to your end customer.

In a Flippa context, it’s a little different because as a marketplace we are mostly focused on ‘connection’.

Specifically, we want to connect buyers and sellers whereas for something like an affiliate biz you are more inclined to push customers to choose a product that they can buy elsewhere.

The single customer mindset vs. marketplace mindset makes the thinking quite different.

The one common characteristic of all business relates to the need to deliver a consistent and an ‘as expected’ experience every time, all the time.

How can prospective entrepreneurs use Flippa to finally build and grow an online business?

Choose Flippa if you are looking to get into online business for the first time or you are an established business owner and you are looking to get a fast start.

Buying is better than starting. Most of the kinks have been worked out and there’s traction from which you can grow.

How do you view the future value of digital assets (websites, apps, domains) as compared to typical brick and mortar business opportunities?

Traditional small business is going through an identity crisis. The local small business operator is much loved and forever needed but things have changed.

There will be far more demand for digital assets as the world quickly migrates this way (it already has) BUT I firmly believe in the hybrid model.

You can own and thrive with a typical brick and mortar business if you surround yourself with a well-optimized digital presence…

That’s not just an online representation of your brick and mortar presence, it’s a compliment to it, an extension of it, a revenue contributor.

BROWSE BUSINESSES

See Related: Flippa Review

4. Build and scale an online “micro-media” business

  • Earning potential: $250k+ per year
  • Startup costs: High
  • Time involved: Initially high, but can be scaled and outsourced over time

Digital media assets are like digital real estate. If something has a strong foothold in a particular segment, you’ll likely be able to earn money off it for a long time.

If you have “dry powder” or capital that can be put to work, you can actually make some very good money by acquiring digital assets simply for the passive income opportunity.

Success Story: Joseph Hogue from Let’s Talk Money!

I own three blogs and a YouTube channel, Let’s Talk Money. I started the blogs in 2014 and did well but wanted that face-to-face, community feel you get with video.

Since 2017, I’ve been able to grow the channel to over 231,000 subscribers and reach just over a million people a month.

Here’s an example of a live stream:

On six income sources; self-publishing, affiliates, sponsorships, YouTube ads, courses and other digital products I average $22,200 in sales each month on just under $1,500 in expenses.

Joseph Hogue Online Income Graph
Joseph Hogue Online Income Graph

Even with the explosive growth on YouTube, it doesn’t feel like an overnight success though. It was five months before I made any money from the online business and a year before I could pay the bills with it.

I treated it like a business though, working 50+ hours a week and always being aware of monetization opportunities.

I like the multiple assets approach to the business because it allows you to focus on building authority in each blog or channel in one specific topic. Google search is driven by authority right now so it’s important to niche as far down into a topic as possible.

Because we’re all varied in our interests though, you can use each blog to promote the others.

So being specific helps you attract people while providing information and entertainment in multiple topics helps you satisfy more of their needs. That combination of niche authority and broadness gives you the opportunity to get top dollar from sponsors and affiliates while also being relevant to more of them.

There’s a downside to this multi-asset approach though. You still need to create the same amount of content for each site as well as promote each on social media.

What’s your schedule like?

I keep a strict schedule, usually at least 8-10 hours a day of work…not just being in front of the computer. I start first thing every morning with three hours of writing, before checking email or social or anything.

I’ll then respond to comments on social media and emails for an hour.

After lunch, I try to get in two more hours of writing.

I’ll then work on projects, usually creating a product or some other monetization, for another couple of hours. After the kids go to bed, I’ll usually spend another hour or  two working on process improvement and business strategy.

Once a week, I’ll batch record videos which means another two or three hours at night.

I’ll spend another six hours on the weekend catching up on projects and writing.

In all, I’d say I regularly spend 40-50 hours a week and will occasionally do a ‘work retreat’ where I cloister myself in the office for 36 hours to focus on nothing else.

How to succeed in running a media business

If you’re going to own several websites and a YouTube channel, that is your side hustle. Starting off, I’d recommend just one website and a channel then maybe expanding to another blog or two after the first year.

I love the multi-asset approach but it’s better to build one big site than to struggle with three or four and not do any of them correctly.

You need to treat it like a business, which means being organized and focused on this one thing. Develop multiple streams of income so you’re not dependent on any one in particular and always be thinking how you can monetize a post or video.

Learn the different roles that go into the business like writing, SEO, site management, social media and product development. Figure out which you’re good at and enjoy and how to outsource others to get the most from your time.

I’d say that the income chart (shown above) looks very similar to our story of the life of an online entrepreneur.

It’s a great practical example of staying the course. 

5. Sell software or create a Software as a Service (SaaS) business

  • Earning potential: Unlimited
  • Startup costs: High 
  • Time involved: High

If you are looking for a low-cost online business to start, a SaaS business is not that. Yes, you can bootstrap your way through it.

But it’s going to be a grind. A SaaS business has a ton of risk but also a ton of upside. The reason why starting a SaaS business is risky is because the software you create will cost a ton of money (or time if you know how to code). 

Alternatively, you can go the less intensive route of creating software like WordPress plugins, calculators, single page websites, etc. These can be more of a “develop once” and sell model. With SaaS, you are constantly selling and constantly improving your product. That can be a ton of work. 

People that have the most success in SaaS are likely already online entrepreneurs or have experience in scaling and building businesses. A great example is Spencer Haws, who really inspired me to start blogging and building niche sites.

I followed his long-tail strategy and have successfully sold a handful of websites. Now, I’ve learned enough to dabble into other online businesses. 

Spencer has done the same but with actual results. He recently developed an automated internal linking plugin for Shopify and WordPress called Link Whisper.

Personally, I don’t use it (yet). But for some of my other niche sites, I may deploy it to save time. Spencer’s product is a great example of finding the root of a problem after being involved in that industry for years and then solving it immediately through software. 

6. Sell high-value digital products

  • Earning potential: $100k to $500k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Moderate
  • Time involved: Very high, but with a great evergreen product you can create it once and sell it forever

Digital products are all the rage right now and rightfully so. What’s better than content that solves a problem for people?

It’s similar to what Blake from Flippa outlined, but instead, you are helping people learn or providing something of value to them for a fee. Selling digital products can be done as a blog owner or simply as a sole product for certain people providing services. 

You don’t need a massive website to get started. With services like Teachable, Udemy and Gumroad at your disposal, your options are endless.  

In order to succeed, find the problem in your industry, develop something of value that people can use to learn and grow and create the product. Then, everything you do around that product should drive people towards your offer either through a funnel or your on-page marketing efforts. 

I’m excited to interview Amira from ASelfGuru about her legal templates. Amira has had a ton of success selling her legal bundle for website owners.

As a lawyer, she saw her own father be a party to a lawsuit so she developed a product that would protect others regarding their content and intellectual property.

Let’s dive into Amira’s success wit selling digital products as an online business.

Success Story: Amira From ASelfGuru’s Legal Templates

A Self Guru Legal Templates

In September 2020, I made $60,000 from my blog, and there are different ways I monetize my online business.

One of my absolute favorite ways to make money online is through selling my legal templates that all bloggers and entrepreneurs need.

In the last 10 years, I’ve had the honor of helping over 10,000 entrepreneurs comply with the laws and protect their businesses (online and offline) legally through my affordable legal templates and services here.

Why are selling digital products a viable online business?

In my opinion, selling digital products is the fastest way to grow your online business. It worked for me!

That’s how I was able to make $20,000 months in my first year of blogging. The beautiful thing about creating your own product is that you do the work upfront once and get to reap the rewards for years to come.

It’s also much easier and faster to create and sell a digital product than a physical product that you’d have to pay someone to create and ship for you, which costs a lot more.

Another big benefit of having a digital product is that you are in control of your revenue and profits instead of relying on other income sources like affiliate marketing or ads, which tend to fluctuate often and are beyond your control.

This happened recently during COVID where tons of affiliate programs cut back their commissions and their affiliates lost the income they were used to making.

At least with your own products, you mitigate those kinds of risks and losses.

What’s your day to day or weekly routine to keep your digital product sales going?

Organic and paid advertising. I started with organic traffic and sharing my digital products on my blog and social media.

Then as my business started to grow and generate six-figures, I invested some of that money into paid advertising to bring in more customers.

What do people need to know to succeed with digital products? 

Great question! Not everyone is going to love creating products because it’s hard work and takes time.

It’s a lot easier to promote other people’s products as affiliates because you don’t have to do any work creating, marketing or selling that product.

Everything is done for you and all you are doing is promoting it as an affiliate (basically sharing your experience about that product with your audience).

If you don’t like creating something of your own or find it too difficult then start with affiliate marketing first. There are a lot of affiliate marketers that are very successful in promoting other people’s products on YouTube for example.

Not everyone has to create their own product right away.

In my case, I personally love creating products and that comes easy to me. I enjoy the whole process of coming up with the idea for the product, planning, marketing and then selling it.

So out of all the ways of monetizing my blog, this is my favorite way of making money online. It also provides a stronger connection with my audience and insight into what they need from me.

Keep in mind, when you create your own product, you have to put yourself out there often and have to get used to the concept of “marketing and selling” and some people are not comfortable with all that.

You might be an introvert, for example, who doesn’t like networking and connecting with others so much. So you have to decide what would work best for you.

As I mentioned previously, creating your own digital product requires a lot more work. You are tweaking, fine-tuning, and refining things as you go.

It’s not a “set it and forget it” process – instead, you are constantly analyzing what’s working and what new strategies you can implement to further increase your sales.

How much time does your business take on a weekly basis (on average)?

Honestly, I don’t even count anymore! A lot of hours! I work full-time as a lawyer, so whatever time I can spare, I dedicate all that to my business.

I’d say a minimum of 40 hours, if not more.

Thomas Jefferson Quote About Luck
@financialwolves

6. Become a Vlogger or YouTuber

  • Earning potential: $50k to $100k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Very low
  • Time involved: Initially moderately high

YouTubing as an online business? You bet.

I think the general public believes that being a YouTuber is just a fantasy or most YouTubers got where they are because they got lucky.

Not true. A lot of YouTubers have put in hours and hours of work perfecting their craft.

Success Story: Nate O’Brien on YouTube

I started my YouTube channel in January 2017 during my freshman year of college at Penn State University.

Here is a breakdown of my channel growth:

  • 1 month – 64 subscribers
  • 3 months – 210 subscribers
  • 6 months – 800 subscribers
  • 1 year – 5,300 subscribers
  • 2 years – 55,000 subscribers
  • 3 years – 330,000 subscribers
  • 3.5 years – 750,000 subscribers

It was far more difficult to reach 100 subscribers than it was to reach 1,000 or even 10,000 subscribers. It takes quite a while to get the ball rolling with a YouTube channel.

Having said that, once the growth starts, it increases exponentially.

I stopped sharing my income earlier this year, however, I can tell you that my channel earns five figures on a monthly basis. During my first year on YouTube, I spent roughly 60 hours per week working on my channel.

Over this period of time, I believe I earned a grand total of $900 during the year of 2017.

Why is YouTube or vlogging a viable online business?

YouTube is here to stay.

Ad rates will continue to increase in the coming years as more brands shift their ad spend towards influencers.

Marketing in recent years has seen some drastic decentralization of advertising.

Brands are finding it to be far more valuable to advertise via influencers rather than traditional media outlets such as television, billboards and magazines.

I also think that it is important to realize that every personal brand has a lifespan.

Eventually, maybe 3-5 years from now, I will not be popular on YouTube.

This is why it is essential to diversify outside of the platform.

One of the worst mistakes that a YouTuber can make is to assume that their income will last forever. I save roughly 90% of my YouTube earnings for this reason.

It is NEVER too late to start a YouTube channel. I have many friends who started their channels this year in 2020 and have already reached 100,000 subscribers in a matter of months!

If you are hoping to start a channel, reach out to other YouTubers and create a solid network of influencers that you can chat and consult with on a regular basis.

What’s your day to day or weekly routine to keep your YouTube channel growing?

My routine can become quite complicated, especially because every week poses a new set of challenges. For example, this week I have been working closely with a sponsor for an upcoming video.

I do my best to release 2-3 videos per month, though sometimes I release fewer.

I am a believer in quality over quantity, meaning that I would rather release 2 high-quality videos instead of 10 low-quality videos within the same time-span.

During the summer, I have been waking up at 7 am and working from roughly 8 am through 10 pm. Of course, I will add breaks within that time span as well.

When you don’t have a boss, you can sometimes feel the urge to not work. In recent years I have stuck to a 8-5 work day schedule to make sure that I hold myself accountable.

5 pm to 10 pm is my flex time which means that if I need to do more work, I will.

If I don’t need to do more work then I will spend this time with friends or relaxing.

What do people need to know to succeed with YouTube? What personalities are best for YouTube?

Persistence.

I truly believe that the only habit that is needed to succeed on YouTube is persistence.

I am not particularly smart. You don’t need to be smart.

Having the ability to create 30 videos on YouTube without any results is what is needed in order to win on YouTube.

I’ll also note that I do not have an entertaining personality. I don’t crack jokes on my channel. I’m not exciting and I don’t have the cliche bubbly, extroverted personality that most YouTubers may have.

I like to think that the reason why my channel has done so well is because of the information and lessons provided in the content.

Although my personality is rather bland, the viewer leaves my videos having learned something new (and hopefully feeling inspired in some capacity).

The three most important factors to creating a viral YouTube video:

  • Watch time (keeping the viewer on the video for as long as possible)
  • Engagement (likes, comments, etc)
  • Thumbnail (simple is better)
How much time does it take to record? How much time does it take edit?

I usually spend many weeks plotting a video in my head before I actually sit down to film.

I do not have scripts. Typically I will simply turn on the camera and start talking.

I am able to do this for a couple of reasons:

  • Passion. Whether I am filming a video or talking to a friend off-camera, I thoroughly enjoy discussing finance, productivity, and minimalism. My biggest tip for future YouTubers is to focus on the topics that truly excite you! I don’t need scripts because I spend most of my days thinking about the ideas that I present on YouTube.
  • Repetition. Over the past three years, I have made roughly 150 videos. In my teenage years, I struggled quite a bit with stuttering issues. Believe it or not, one of the reasons why I started my channel was so that I could develop my speaking skills. If you check out my earlier videos, you’ll notice how my speaking abilities have improved over the years.

My editing process is very simple. I rarely make more than a few cuts in my videos and I think that my viewers really appreciate the simplicity.

7. Start an eCommerce business

  • Earning potential: Varies based on products
  • Startup costs: Medium
  • Time involved: Moderate to high

With websites like Amazon, Shopify and Etsy anyone can start an eCommerce business.

Ecommerce businesses are websites that sell or resell products in a particular niche. The good news is that you don’t need to be Amazon to be profitable, many small eCommerce stores do very well for themselves.

Once you do get an eCommerce site set up it is relatively easy to maintain and shouldn’t require much time.

The costs of e-commerce are also predictable – fixed costs like hosting and the platforms you use stay the same.

But revenue can fluctuate a lot.

The hardest part of starting an eCommerce business is getting your customers to convert. You should expect about a 2% conversion rate at best.

It is important to use content strategies and other platforms to generate leads that have buying intent, although it can take you some time to figure out who your buyers are over time.

There are two ways to start an eCommerce business: make your own products or dropship them. Dropshipping has a lower startup and maintenance cost because you don’t actually hold any product.

You basically create a website and sell other people’s products. There are also dropshipping programs where you can customize products to your brand, but that costs a little bit more.

The other option is to make your own products. Like you see on Etsy where talented artists and crafts people make amazing sweaters, paintings, and custom wedding signs, you can make a shop based on your hobbies.

The plus side is that you get to make an income off of products that you put your heart into. The downside is that you have to hold the inventory until (and if) it sells.

This can end up being costly and takes up space in your home — or requires an office to hold inventory.

Whether you dropship or hold your own inventory, eCommerce businesses are a great way to profit off your passions.

See Related: Best Blogging Resources to Grow Your Business

8. Start a social media agency

  • Earning potential: $100k to $150k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Low to high (depending on if you want resources immediately or not)
  • Time involved: Moderately high

Do you think social media is going away anytime soon? No way! First, there are a ton of platforms out there. Second, have you seen how hooked people are to checking their profiles?

Yeah, being “in” on social media is still a great idea.

Your biggest challenge… Keeping up with the latest and greatest platform and the corresponding algorithm associated with it.

See Related: How to Blog on Instagram

9. Create an online membership site

  • Earning potential: $100k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Medium
  • Time involved: Initially high and can be scaled, but over time you’ll always need to provide value

An online membership site is a great way to turn content into recurring revenue like a SaaS business would. 

You can go the route of starting a blog and then eventually moving to an online membership site. Or, you can create your membership site first and build everything around it. 

For example, you’d start building your bottom of the funnel events and then build content around it. I think this is my preferred method if I knew that I was going for the membership online business from the get-go. 

Take a look at my example of the ways that bloggers make money below. A number of them are outlined within above as standalone online businesses, which is why I love building blogs for profit

How Do Bloggers Make Money Illustration

10. Start a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or digital marketing agency

  • Earning potential: $100k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Low
  • Time involved: Very high

Search engines (uhm, Google) run the world. This has led to a ton of service businesses oriented solely around optimizing for top placement in search engines.

A service-based business can be lucrative. But you’ll likely end up trading your time for money. It’s a great online job that can be done anywhere in the world. 

The need for people to figure out search engine algorithms makes this a sound online business that likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

The downside? Be prepared to dissect and evolve while search engines evolve to provide your services. 

See Related: Are Blogs Still Relevant?

11. Start a local newsletter or local niche site

  • Earning potential: $50k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Low
  • Time involved: Moderate

Did you know that you can simply focus on becoming an authority in your local area? Yeah, there’s a ton of ways to do so but one proven way is building a robust email newsletter that provides value directly to your audience. 

Albert Einstein Quote
@financialwolves

You can build marketing momentum by using Facebook ads to build hype in your local area. Pair that with excellent content and share-worthy stories, you’ll be growing faster than you ever expected. 

If you start moving to other locations, the sky is the limit for you to grow. 

12. Start a freelancing business

  • Earning potential: Varies, depending on experience and skillset
  • Startup costs: Extremely low
  • Time involved: Moderate to high

Freelancing is a great option because any skill can be sold as a service. Whether you are designing logos or websites for a freelancing job, or you want to help with data entry in your free time, there is a job out there for you.

Freelancing covers a wide variety of skills so no matter what your experience is, there is likely someone out there looking for your help.

It is important to know that freelancing isn’t just for arts-style work like copywriting and design. There is a whole niche for people with a background in finance to help companies with pitch decks, financial modeling, and more.

You can even freelance as a consultant and provide business advice to companies early on.

The downside of starting a freelance business is that you are trading your time for money. It is difficult to scale a freelancing business up because you have to do the work.

You can subcontract your work, but then you are dependent on someone else for your own work product.

Some high demand freelance businesses are:

  • data entry,
  • graphic design,
  • digital assistant,
  • copywriting,
  • formatting,
  • marketing, and
  • consulting.

There really are no limits when it comes to freelancing. Check out these top freelance business ideas.

13.  Challenge yourself to become an influencer

  • Earning potential: $30k +
  • Startup costs: Low
  • Time involved: Moderate

Before we dive in, it is important to know that becoming an influencer is not as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of time and effort to grow an audience base, and even more effort to turn your audience into customers.

For example, posting how-to videos on YouTube will not instantly make you thousands of dollars. But if you put in the time and effort it can pay off big time.

The upside is that brands and affiliates will pay a lot for successful influencers. It is a great way to get in front of a large audience of a specific demographic. And being an influencer is well, fun.

You get to do what you love and get paid for promoting materials and suggesting products that you enjoy or find useful. You can really have an impact on improving people’s lives.

Some influencers are paid over $2,000 per post, so it can pay off substantially.

The downside is that it is difficult to cultivate an active and engaged audience, and even more difficult to keep them. Influencing is more than posting pictures at fancy restaurants–it is about becoming a trusted advisor in your niche.

It requires active engagement by you – responding to followers and actively reaching out to potential affiliates – as well as predictable posting. This takes time and isn’t glamorous at all at the beginning when you make $10-$20 per post.

It can take years to establish a trusted persona so it is important to be patient and weigh your options before committing to this full time.

In other words, wait to quit your day job.

14. Start streaming your hobbies

  • Earning potential: $50k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Low
  • Time involved: Low

Streaming is the most well-known for gaming. Twitch streamers out there are making some pretty good money completely online.

After most of the lockdown, streaming has moved to music, interviews, live workshops and so much more.

I believe this is only going to continue to grow. People are realizing that we live in a very interactive world nowadays. This is a great hobby that can make money, but you’ll need to wait to quit your job.

Try it out to make some extra money and see where it can take you. 

15. Create a forum or directory

  • Earning potential: $30k+ per year
  • Startup costs: Low
  • Time involved: Medium; then low thereafter

Creating a website that other people create content for it is an amazing strategy for passive income. It’s a bit tougher to have this become a full-fledged online business. But it’s possible. 

You can leverage the content that people create or ask questions about into online courses, memberships, premium content, etc. 

Forums are great for very niche-specific matters. You can get extremely technical and chances are there’s limited content for the technical type questions within the sub-niche.  

Final Take on Online Businesses

Are you ready to start an online business or become an online entrepreneur? It’s a grind like no other but can be totally worth it in the end.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach with online businesses. Both from the perspectives of starting one and managing one. 

The one common ground that we all know is that online entrepreneurship is not going to always be sexy.

Nor will it be easy. It takes a ton of work. 

As you can see from the examples above, each entrepreneur features persistence. The will to continue to work hard. Take risks and learn what works along the way. 

Whatever does work… Scale that and cut the fat on the things that aren’t working. 

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