Read: Online Business Degree
Is it really possible to make a living working online? The answer is yes. The Internet has not only made it easier to do some types of business but has created new business options, as well. Here is a list of common, popular, and potentially profitable Internet business ideas.
Please note, that while these options are viable ways to earn a living, they’re not automatic. Like all home business ideas, success online requires making a choice that you can stick with, researching, planning, and executing your plan.
01 Web Design Internet Business
Every business, whether primarily online or not, needs a website. That includes your local java joint and dry cleaner, as well as entrepreneurs looking to cash in online. As a result, the need for web designers is huge.
There is a lot that goes into building websites, from knowing coding or specific platforms, such as WordPress, how to translate the vision in a client’s head onto the screen, and more. Working as a web designer requires artistic talents, as well as technical knowledge and good business sense.
While there is a great deal of work, competition is strong. Knowing a variety of platforms and codes, as well as being able to deliver in a timely manner will help set you apart from your competition.
Starting out, you might want to consider freelancing sites to find work. As you build your web design portfolio, you can increase your rates and look forward to getting additional clients through word of mouth.
Web designers who want to start an Internet business have an edge – they can showcase what they can do right on their own website.
02 Affiliate Marketing Internet Business
There’s a lot of myths and misconceptions about making a living with affiliate marketing. While it is a viable home business option, many “gurus” trying to sell you their systems, make it sound like you can set it and forget it. But affiliate marketing is like any home business; it requires a plan and consistent management.
Affiliate marketing is essentially a referral program. Businesses pay affiliate marketers commissions based on sales, clicks, or leads sent to them by affiliates.
Amazon’s Associate’s program was the first to really use affiliate marketing to help sell books. The genius of this type of selling system is that it doesn’t cost the business anything upfront. They only pay when affiliates give results.
For affiliates, it’s ideal because they can sell products or services without having to create or deliver them. Some Internet affiliate programs offer two-tiers to their programs, which means you can make money online selling products or services, as well as through others who you refer to the affiliate program.
Just about any home business with a website can profit by placing affiliate ads on their sites, but there are also many who pursue affiliate marketing as a full-time Internet business in and of itself. The most successful affiliate marketers either use a funnel system or a blog (or both) to promote their affiliate products. Further, they also have an email list.
Even before Amazon made publishing and selling books easier and more affordable, many online entrepreneurs were creating and selling ebooks and other information products online.
People are devouring information online, and if you can package and sell it online or through any number of distributors, you can do well.
There are two basic ways to sell your books and information. One is to create an ebook (or even print) and sell it through an online book retailer such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and others. This is affordable and fairly easy to set up.
The other option is to create an ebook or other informative product (courses, videos etc) and sell it through your own website. You can even create an affiliate program to build a sales team to promote it on their websites.
Books and information products can be the base of a business in and of themselves, but they can also enhance a business or create an additional stream of income to an existing business. The key to success in publishing, similar to all forms of making money, is having a great product, and marketing it to a target audience.
04 Social Media Management Business
Internet marketing services are in great demand. However, with marketing moving from a one-directional advertising message to social interaction, the need for social media management experts is huge.
More than just driving traffic to a website as internet marketing experts do, social media managers help businesses create a community around their product or service, manage the brand image, provide customer service, and more.
Being a social media manager requires an understanding of social media (i.e. what types of posts do best at each network), knowledge on how to share the company’s brand with the market, and ability to engage with the market without offending the market or hurting the company’s brand.
05 Virtual Assistant Internet Business Idea
The Virtual Assistant (VA) industry continues to grow as more an more entrepreneurs and small business turn to outsourcing to save money while still getting things done.
While virtual assistants are usually seen as home-based secretaries, they can, in fact, do many things, including bookkeeping, marketing, and more. Virtual assistants can focus on a specific duty, such as bookkeeping or website management. Others do a variety of tasks in a target industry, such as a real estate assistant.
The challenge of starting a virtual assistants business, as is in business, is getting clients. Freelance sites or microwork sites don’t pay great but can help you get experience and your foot in the door.
06 Freelancing Service Business Idea
Just about any skill that another business needs can be done on a freelance basis. Web design, social media management, and virtual assistance can be viewed as a freelance business. So can content and copywriter, bookkeeping, graphic design, desktop publishing and more.
The benefit to freelancing is that you can take a skill you already have and turn it into a business. You know how to provide the service, so all you need to learn is how to market it. If you’re known for your skill, finding clients can be easy. You can turn your former boss into a client, access your network for referrals and more. But if you have trouble, the freelance sites can be a good source to jump-start your business.
07 Coaching/Consulting Business
Much in the same way freelancers sell their skills, coaches and consultants can sell their expertise and knowledge. More and more people are hiring coaches and consultants to help them achieve their goals easier and faster.
Business to business coaching offers greater pay and opportunities, but many individuals hire people to help them learn life skills, parenting techniques and improve their relationships.
You don’t necessarily need training or a certification, but it can be helpful in generating credibility. Further, while you may be knowledgeable about what you’re coaching or training, you may not have the skills and technique to teach them. Coaching requires the ability to listen, assess, and motivate people into action.
Through the use of video conferencing and VoIP calling, you can work with clients all over the world, all from the comfort of home. If you have a background in a helping profession or success in achieving something (i.e. marketing), then teaching and helping others should be easy. You can use your network to help you get clients.
08 eCommerce Business
People spend billions of dollars buying stuff online. They order contacts, flowers, books, gifts, doo-dads and more. At one time, starting an online business was a challenge.
You needed a steady stream of products and a technically difficult and expensive to produce an online shopping cart system. Today, selling goods and services online is less difficult.
Don’t have a product? That’s okay, you can work with a wholesaler or drop shipper. You can get products and sell them through your own website or others sites like eBay and Amazon. You can even ship your products to Amazon and it will sell and ship them to customers for you in its Fulfillment by Amazon program.
Do you have access to a steady supply of quality used name-brand baby clothes? Then maybe eBay is a better option. Do you make jewellery or some other handicraft? Try out Etsy.
If you don’t want to be limited to these options, create your own storefront, which is much easier now that web hosting services offer plug-and-play programs for shopping carts and order taking.