With an ever-increasing amount of business taking place online, it’s worth remembering that the internet is still evolving. In this landscape, more and more people are looking for online business ideas to earn money over the Internet. Working online brings a variety of pros and cons but the benefits can include a more flexible lifestyle, higher income, and the fulfillment of owning and operating your own business.

If you own or work for a company, it’s also worth thinking of some creative ideas for how your business can benefit from earning more money from online business.

Below, you can read about the various tips and tricks we’ve collected, all of which will help you get into a journey of doing business.

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Create an eCommerce Store

Since 2015, eCommerce sales have doubled as a percentage of all retail sales. But if you’re worried that the best online business ideas for eCommerce are already taken, remember this: even today, only a small percentage (14%) of all shopping transactions take place over the Internet. Within the next three years by 2023, eMarketer predicts that this number will reach 22%. What’s more, an increasing number of niche market eCommerce retailers are attracting customers with products that have never existed before. eCommerce is still growing and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

If you’re planning to start your own eCommerce business, there are a few things to keep in mind. These include:

  • Your online store (how you will showcase your product and receive orders from customers);
  • Marketing (how you reach your customers);
  • Logistics (how you will get the product to your customers);
  • Inventory (how you will source and maintain sufficient stock for your product);
  • Taxes and regulation (understanding and complying with local requirements).

For setting up your online store, a good option, if you’re a beginner, is to use an off-the-shelf solution like Shopify, BigCommerce or Woocommerce. These platforms have many customizable design features and can handle all the checkout and payment processing needs of an eCommerce website. Many more advanced eCommerce companies choose to work with an agency that can help them to further customize their online shop.

If you’re already experienced in marketing or skilled at using social media, you might think that promoting your product and reaching new customers will be the easy part. However, this is also a significant amount of work with testing and choosing the right strategy for your business. A good idea to think about when marketing your product is: what customer problem am I trying to solve?

Consider different marketing content you could create that would be helpful or interesting to your customers – and how this content can draw attention back to the core features of your product. Then think about how you want to build your “funnel” for acquiring customers. How much will you be using social media to market to your customers? Will you be driving traffic to a blog or landing page which you can use to collect emails? To what extent will you invest in paid marketing such as Facebook and Google Ads?

Brands like Away and Glossier are good examples of companies that use content marketing strategies to attract customers within their specific niche.

Glossier Blog

Build a Niche Site

By now you hopefully have an initial concept of what it takes to set up and market your eCommerce idea. But what should that idea be – particularly if you are new to the world of online business? Profitable eCommerce sites can be difficult to achieve for most products, especially with competition from Amazon and other independent sellers. That’s why it’s important to find a successful niche.

Here is a list of ideas for niche products currently trending in eCommerce, backed up by Google Trends data. These include:

  • Pet beds;
  • Sofa and couch covers;
  • Minimalist jewelry;
  • Beard straighteners;
  • Infant and baby carrier;
  • Smartwatches.

However, for each product, you need to know how to market in a specific niche.

Start a Blog and Promote Yourself on Social Media

Although eCommerce might get more attention, starting a blog is also a creative online business idea with good prospects.

It’s true that blogs require a lot of time to create and maintain content while growing the audience. However, it’s an online business idea that requires almost no upfront investment. To set up a blog, all that’s needed is a good internet connection, hosting service, and a platform to publish content. Most blogging websites offer hosting services and content publishing together.

As a blogger, there are many different ways to monetize your blog. One of the most popular methods is selling ad space – although this requires a large amount of traffic. Another method is affiliate marketing, where bloggers promote products in exchange for a commission if the customer buys the product through a dedicated link. Blogs can also be used as part of an eCommerce website in order to help attract new customers and promote the products on the website. Some bloggers also publish sponsored posts from brands and other bloggers, who pay for access to the blogger’s audience.

The key feature of all of these approaches is traffic. Those hoping that their blog can be a legitimate online business idea to earn money must therefore also have a strategy for growing their audience. Creating in-demand content using keyword research and other SEO strategies is helpful for landing high in Google’s algorithm and other search engine rankings. At the same time, bloggers should also be able to promote themselves and their content on social media and other popular websites.

Many people get stuck on the question: “What kind of blog should I start?” The truth is that there is no specific answer. The right blog topic will depend on you and, more importantly, on the audience you are hoping to reach.

Popular Blog Topics

Think about your areas of knowledge, passion, or expertise. In order to have a successful blog, it is important to be seen as an expert or credible source on your chosen topic. So Step 1 is to make sure you are writing about something in which you have a good deal of familiarity, which matters to you.

But before you think about the content that you would like to create, consider what information is in-demand, and how you can respond to the needs of customers. Luckily, there are more tools than ever to help come up with content ideas and get to know the specific terms that internet users are searching for.

Resources like AnswerThePublic can take keywords and help you to generate additional keywords based on target actual Google search data. Experts like Neil Patel, meanwhile, suggest a “system” for coming up with content, consisting of 4 strategies:

  • Strategy 1: Figure out what your readers want (by using tools like AnswerThePublic and KeywordTool.io to do keyword research);
  • Strategy 2: Use Amazon Look Inside tool to get an overview of relevant books and see the topics which are already popular;
  • Strategy 3: Ask your readers what they want to learn (by surveying them directly using tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms);
  • Strategy 4: Use tools like RiteTool to analyze Twitter hashtags and identify the most popular content.

When it comes to online business ideas for beginners, blogs offer some of the highest potential. Those willing to put in the work can reap significant rewards.

Set Up Your Dropshipping Business

A dropshipping business is another example of an online business idea with low startup costs. It is similar to setting up an eCommerce store but requires less involvement in supply, inventory, and logistics. It can therefore be established with almost no upfront investment.

In a dropshipping business, entrepreneurs work with established suppliers to seek out relevant and/or popular products based on research into customer demand. The dropshipper then markets the product to the end consumer but is not responsible for shipping or restocking products. In addition to third-party logistics (3PL) providers who handle all warehousing and order fulfillment, there are also end-to-end dropshipping services which take care of the full process of sourcing and restocking products from suppliers, storing products, shipping them out to the customer, tracking inventory, and handling returns.

When thinking about online business ideas for dropshipping, marketing and demand are everything. Most important is finding a niche. New dropshippers need to look for potential niches based on products matching your personal interests that are in high demand. Just like with starting a blog, dropshippers can use keyword research to identify products that customers are searching for or areas where a product may already exist but where customers are looking for a better solution.

A good way to find trending products is also to use the Google Trends tool. This allows users to search, compare and analyze trends by country and worldwide, which is useful for defining the right product for starting a dropshipping business. Dropshippers should then follow this up with research into other companies selling similar products in order to identify current gaps in the service and where they can do a better job. Marketing should then be created based on the target demographics for the product.

As with eCommerce, dropshippers should think about how to attract audiences with interesting content to build awareness for their brand. Creating an appealing website is also highly important.

In the end, dropshipping is very similar to starting your own eCommerce store but with some key differences. Compared with starting your own eCommerce store, dropshipping (despite zero or very low upfront investment) has high marginal costs associated with paying a third-party for all supply, inventory, orders, and shipping. As a result, the ROI can be higher when managing your own eCommerce store. Still, dropshipping is a good way for eCommerce beginners to start an online business, especially those with limited amounts of startup money to invest.

Launch an Online Course

Though all of the ideas so far have plenty of potential to earn money, they are not without their downsides. eCommerce and dropshipping typically have very low margins unless the product is significantly more expensive – therefore, even a company with high revenue can turn a much smaller profit for its owner. eCommerce and dropshipping companies must therefore sell a lot of products to be profitable, requiring a big investment in marketing. This could be an investment of time instead of money, but it still takes lots of work to get established.

At the same time, as mentioned earlier blogs need to have a significant number of loyal fans and readers in order to be successful. While this is possible, it also takes a lot of work, often making zero or very little money in the beginning, in order to get to this point.

One alternative to both of these options is to create an online course. This has two major advantages over starting a blog:

  1. It is more scalable – you create the product once and it reaches a growing amount of people around the world;
  2. It is more profitable – each time somebody buys your course, you earn a higher margin since the running costs are low.

But how to launch an online course, or come up with ideas? Many people incorrectly believe that they do not have anything to teach that people would pay for.

Author and online course teacher Ramit Sethi suggests starting with 4 questions:

  1. What do I already pay for? This will open your eyes to all of the things that others might consider paying you to teach them.
  2. What skills do I have? This is a great way to identify which skills you might be able to teach to other people.
  3. What do my friends say I’m great at? By asking what other people think are your best skills, you can see the value you are capable of bringing.
  4. What do I do on a Saturday morning? This is a simple trick for uncovering your passions and recognizing what it is that you really care about.

The first step is to discover that everyone has the potential within them to be a teacher.

Create Your Brand and Sell It

The final idea for starting an online business is to create your own brand online. What does this mean in practice? First, it’s different from creating a personal brand (such as with a blog or online course). Instead, it has more to do with creating potential brands that other people will turn around and sell on their products. Because you created the original brand yourself, you will earn a percentage of money on the sale.

This is an online business idea for creative people who have a high level of artistic skill and like to make visual designs for other people. Designs are then printed onto products like calendars, bags, greeting cards, posters, and clothing items. For aspiring designers, this can also be a gateway toward a more lucrative career as a freelancer if your work starts to get noticed.

The best way to get started is to start making designs and upload them to websites like CafePress, Teespring, Zazzle, and Lulu. When companies are interested in the brands you have created and make products with your designs on them, you earn a commission on each sale.

Become a YouTuber

YouTubing is one of the most popular businesses online at the moment. Anyone from celebrities to those looking to review products can become a Youtuber and can create a career out of this field.

In order to become a YouTuber, you’ll need to follow many of the same steps as you would for building a website or a blog. You’ll want to find your niche market and develop your brand before anything. This will include developing a logo and having an overall idea of the content you want to develop in the future. You can look at the most trending videos, types of channels, and YouTube celebrities’ examples.

Grow Your Audience

Growing your audience within YouTube can be difficult. One of the best ways to do this is to invest in marketing. Ads, for example, will provide you with the opportunity to have your content targeted toward audiences who will be interested in it.

Not only this, but you’ll want to keep developing content that your potential viewers care about. When you do this over the long-term, you’ll always have people returning.

You can also follow the social media page’s growth approach when you are building the content, involving the audience, and building the community. These people will be your support and also a driver to your channel and popularity growth. You can use the full potential of comments, YouTube Stories, live video or streams, and discussions in comments. This will keep your channel active, and your brand alive.

Summary

More and more people are looking for a more independent working lifestyle and the freedom to own and operate their own online business. Different online business ideas have their own strengths and weaknesses but with enough persistence, each has the potential to create a more fulfilling work experience and work life balance for anyone willing to try them.
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