This article will focus on online business ideas for beginners. As you know the online world has an ocean of opportunity for you to exploit from a business point of view. There are some business models that are complicated, and there are some that aren’t. However, they all require hard work. When sifting through this list, think about what makes sense for you and your ambitions. Some of these online business ideas require more investment, whilst others do not.
These online business ideas range from selling someone else’s products, creating your own, and providing your own service to a niche audience. A lot of them can be used in tandem with each other. However, it would be great for you to master one first, and then move onto another.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the selling of someone else’s product or service in exchange for a commission. For example, if someone is selling a course on how to create your own dresses, they may create an affiliate program for it. This would give digital marketers in the design niche a chance to sell it on their behalf. This is a great place to start because you don’t have t create a product. All you need to do is sell something that already a proven sales track record. Your sole aim is to market it effectively in order to gain a commission. Commissions will typically range anywhere between 5 – 50%. You can find affiliate programs at ClickBank, OfferVault, Commission Junction, Amazon Associates and on many product websites. This is typically good for anyone who is a content creator, makes recommendations or is building an online community.
2-4. Information Products
Information products are the packaging and organising of useful information. This is usually how-to information that helps people achieve a specific outcome. It is usually inexpensive to start up, provided you have the skills, but can be time-consuming. Before you start any information product, it makes sense to have a framework. This framework will be developed from your experiences and marketing research you conduct. Below is a list of different information products.
Courses are a collection of videos, audio, or text that logically explain how to achieve specific goals related to a niche. They are useful because they leverage a course creator’s time by crystallizing their knowledge. Usually, people can access their courses anywhere, provided they have internet and a mobile device. The best courses focus on answering the audience’s key issues and has a good structure to them. An example of a good structure is a course that has 6 – 12 modules, with 3 – 10 topics, videos or audios to a module. Each video, for example, will have:
- An introduction
- The context behind the topic
- What you will be teaching
- How to material
- Next steps
- A Summary
Courses can be created on multiple different platforms including, but not limited to:
- Email Autoresponders
- Amazon S3
- Private Facebook Group
- WordPress – (Memberpress Plugin)
There is no excuse, a course can be made quite easily, you just need a market and demand so you can employ the right marketing strategy. Here is an example of a course I have that teaches personal brands to position themselves as an expert and build a business online.
A membership site can be very similar to a course, however, it uses a subscription-based model. Customers pay you a monthly fee for updated information on a regular basis. This arrangement could be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly. There are many instances where course creators have a secure membership area via a private Facebook Group, Forum or secure webpage. Then, information is shared in these private forums via live video and other formats giving customers the opportunity to learn and ask questions. This can be a more affordable option for customers but a long term commitment. For the course creator this could be a better sustainable model, but requires more time, effort and maintenance.
Next up we have book publishing. Although there are authors out there who make great money from book publishing, I see it more as a way to brand yourself as an authority. It is the ultimate business card and a great way for people to learn more about your ideas. A book can easily be created using Amazon’s platform Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This allows you to create both physical and Kindle books formats. If you’re also looking to an audiobook, you can use ACX to do so. The best way to promote your book is via events, networking functions and PPC advertising on Amazon and Facebook. Again, the same principle of having a framework based on experience and research is fundamental here. Check out what other authors are doing in your niche, and be clear as to how you are solving your audience’s key problems.
5-6. Teleconference Coaching
Coaching & mentoring are one the quickest ways to make money. However, it requires credibility, positioning yourself as an authority and testimonials to back your skills. As a Coach or Mentor you could also all these other methods to help you generate an income. But coaching & mentoring as a service should be your core service paid for as a package at a higher price. To get clients you need to be able to create a funnel that facilitates a conversation between you and a prospect. The best way to do this is via the following:
- Publishing SEO friendly high-quality content on your website frequently. If people like your content they will be more encouraged to sign up for your lead magnet which could be a free 30-minute phone call initially, or a training video first
- Speaking & Hosting events is also a great way to encourage consultations. It is an opportunity for you to prove your worth first-hand
- YouTube and Podcasts is another way to do this. The key here is to remember to produce valuable content that always promotes a call-to-action. Without a call-to-action, sales will be slow
- And finally Webinars and Live videos. Whether you do weekly or monthly training videos, these are great methods to position you as an authority and get more people wanting your services
7-8. Facebook Group Coaching & Masterminds
Another great coaching method is group coaching and masterminds. There are so many benefits to group coaching. You can serve more people at one time, and you can make an income faster from it. I wouldn’t recommend this if you haven’t already got comfortable coaching or mentoring people one-to-one. This requires a commitment and can go hand-in-hand with membership sites. Group coaching is essentially teaching topics and offering Q&A sessions to a group of people on a regular basis. If you have already built a cmmunity, and offered this coaching initially for free or at a low price, you can use their results to market your group coaching program.
9. eCommerce and Private Labelling
Since the birth of the internet, electronic commerce has exponentially risen over the years. The convenience of search, click and buy satisfies the hearts of many consumers. For many business owners, eCommerce has completely changed their lives. The main aim of the game is to determine what products you want to sell by seeing what’s already in the market. Based on competition levels and market demand, you’d choose a product you want to sell. Then you need to find a supplier that you trust, by going through a selection process. Once found you would work with your supplier to create the product you want. This would involve product design, as well as graphic designers, photographers and videographers to help create the vision. This would also be used for your future marketing material. Finally, when you have the all this in place you, including any potential certificates and licenses, you can host your products onto platforms such as Etsy, Shopify or Simvoly. Advertising is usually done via Product launch and market engagement events, and Facebook Advertising.
10. Amazon FBA
As of March 2019, Google stated that Amazon is worth 1.6 trillion USD. This huge market cap is a representation of the of how much money can be made from Amazon, and the influence that Amazon has on the world. The model is 95% the same as the eCommerce and Private labeling industry however it is under the Amazon banner. Amazon calls this model it “Fulfillment By Amazon” (FBA). When researching a product to sell, many people have used Jungle Scout and Merchant Words to help them with it. The markets are getting more saturated however, that does not mean the opportunity is not there. The European and UK markets still continue to grow quite rapidly.
11-12. Amazon and eCommerce Arbitrage
You can also sell used items in bulk for a higher price. I’ve seen this in practice recently and it is amazing how quickly people things sell. This could be clothes that you do not wear anymore, to collectible items imported from China. There are many sites for this including such Vinted, Shopck and quite recently Facebook Marketplace. If you were going for the wholesale model you can quite easily do this via a Shopify or an Amazon account.
13-14. Freelancing & Consulting
People need services fulfilled hence the platforms Fiverr, Upwork and Clarity. If you have a technical skill or experience in a field, you could offer your services on one of these websites. There are many people who have made thousands of pounds from helping other small business owners with their projects. Making sure that you have a strong profile, and evidence of good work is key with this type of service. People like good customer service, so integrity with your work and communication is foundational.
15-16. Build an App or Software
For the technical or ambitious you can also build an app. If you’re finding a developer, it could be anywhere from £5,000+ and that may just be for Android and not iOS. However if you know how to build apps from scratch or someone is doing you a favour, then you may be in for a treat. The aim of apps is to prove market demand first before you monetise. This is the case with most products and services. Build a community on a freemium model, have a beta group that helps you iterate on the go, and maintain an email list for communications. When it makes sense, then you can introduce a payment model. This could be a subscription model or affiliate model from the back or front end.
17. Service Arbitrage
If done correctly this could also be quick and life-changing money. This is very similar to the freelancing and coaching model, but you are acting more as a middle man or woman. Let’s say you have a potential client who wants an eCommerce website built, you can commission other people to do this on your behalf. The caveat is that these people usually charge below market value for their services, yet produce amazing results. These people can be found on places like Upwork. You need to make sure you pick the right people by creating selection criteria. Once chosen, your next aim is to create as many jobs for them as possible to give them in your team.
18. Social media marketing agency
Everyone and their goldfish seem to be a social media marketing agency these days. With the rise in software that mimics “Good” social proof and automation, people have been taking advantage of this. However, that is not a way to build a social media platform. And usually, when people talk about social media agencies they really mean Instagram. Maybe you can expand on other platforms like Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn? You must show and have a proven method for organically growing a persons social media platform. This usually revolves around producing highly engaging content frequently, that has the right sort of description and tags. It is easy to set up, you just need to evidence you know what you are doing. Focus on building your social media or someone else’s, before you attempt to create a service out of it.
19. Marketing Agency
And finally, we have a marketing agency. There are many businesses out there who want to scale or have no reliable way of producing leads and sales. This is usually done by having an event, content or PPC marketing strategy working for you. If you can analyse their current model, determine the gap analysis, and fill that service need on a monthly retainer, you could make a huge difference to the business owner’s life. This could work on a commission basis where you make 10 – 30% of their monthly sales or you could charge a minimum of £500 – £10,000+ p/m depending on the size of the company and what you are offering.
Read through this list and decide what could make sense for you. There are plenty of options to choose from, you just need to be bold enough to choose something. At the heart of it all, it’s about helping people solve problems, and finding an effective way to market your product or service to them.