Looking for online business ideas you can try for yourself?
Starting a business is not the complicated endeavour it used to be. The Internet provides a lot more options for would-be entrepreneurs – if you know where to look.
Being an online entrepreneur brings a lot of benefits; some of the most notable ones are:
- Flexibility of work time
- Ability to grow at your own pace
- Ability to do what you love full-time
- Opportunity to keep growing your business
But what kind of online businesses can you try? What types of businesses work in this day and age and what are the best options?
In this blog post, I’m going to share 6 proven online business ideas you can try now.
1. Monetizing your knowledge through online courses
Do you have deep knowledge about cooking or photography or any other interest you think no one would pay for? Well, there are plenty of people online willing to part with their money for that knowledge.
You can monetize your knowledge by creating online courses that include videos and written content. It is a lot of work creating the content and promoting it, but creating a high-quality online course can be a money-maker for years to come.
All you’ll have to do is update your course to add the latest pieces of information and keep promoting it to the right audience. And, of course, you can keep growing your business by continuing to create online courses. Or, you can diversify: create membership sites, write and sell an e-book and create premium content.
To set up an online course business, you can use a tool such as Kajabi which is an all-in-one platform created to monetize your knowledge. You can market your course through your website, send emails, and host your course on a single platform.
To give you an example of what you can achieve with an online course business, Paul Jarvis made about $300,000 in his first year through his freelancing course, Creative Class.
2. Become an affiliate marketer
If you have a blog, whatever niche you blog about, your audience has needs that some products can meet. If you’re not making this product yourself, you can still market relevant products from other sources to your audience.
And for this, you get a percentage commission. Generally, there are 2 common ways to go about affiliate marketing:
- Promote independent products
- Become an Amazon affiliate
To promote independent products, you may have to negotiate with the owner on your commission or find their terms. However, as an Amazon affiliate, you can review and promote products related to your niche. With this, you get paid when viewers buy through your website.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of making sense of cents makes a large portion of her income through affiliate marketing. For instance, she made $50,000 in June 2019 through affiliate marketing. It’s vital to note it took years to get to this level.
3. Become a coach/consultant
Are you an expert about a niche? In that case, another great online business idea is to become a coach for other people who wish to know more about those topics.
Some examples of niches where being a coach or consultant is common are:
- Business: help others grow their business by offering them practical advice and support
- Personal development: help people achieve their goals
- Marketing: help businesses develop their marketing strategies and plans, find marketing opportunities and even implement these strategies
Whatever niche you operate, you can become a coach or consultant once people are ready to learn from you personally.
4. Set up an ecommerce store
Nowadays, it’s very easy to set up an ecommerce store to sell physical products to your buyers. You can easily use services such as Shopify or WooCommerce to build your entire store, from creating the website to setting up payment options and even to promoting your online store to your target audience.
These services provide the necessary tools you need to set up and promote your store to your ideal buyers. Here’s an example of an ecommerce website with their products on display:
However, if you’re scared this is too big of a step, you can always start by selling your products via established platforms like Amazon.
5. Start a freelancing business
Whether you can write, design a website, or audit business accounts, there are a lot of people out there who genuinely need these services and are ready to pay for them.
And as a freelancer, you can work for as many clients as you want rather than a single employer.
You can determine personal rates for your work and also increase them when you need to. As a freelancer, it’s advisable to have a blog where you can promote your freelance work and show your samples and portfolio.
However, as a beginner, you might have to use job boards such as Upwork or Fiverr to get jobs. Apart from these popular ones, there are job boards for different professions and you should find one related to your industry.
For example, Problogger job board is a board for writers while TopTal is popular for designers. Daniel DiPiazza made almost $24,000 on Elance (now Upwork) in 4 weeks as a freelance website designer.
As for what type of freelancing you can do? There are a lot of options out there; some popular freelancing gigs include:
- Search engine optimization services
- Planning, strategizing and managing social media marketing
- Web design and development for businesses, bloggers and so on
- App development
- Software development
- Content creation for website copy, content marketing strategies, business blogs and so on
6. Become an influencer and build a business out of it
Over the last few years, a plethora of people have gained influence and notoriety online – and managed to build a business for this social influence.
Once you get to a certain stage, brands in your niche will want to work with you – and pay you for it. For example, you can get paid to:
- Promote a brand on your social channels
- Review products and services
- Collaborate on joint marketing campaigns
- Advertise a brands’ products on your website/blog
However, becoming an influencer does take time and work; you’ll need to:
- Pick the right niche: a niche you know you’re very knowledgeable about
- Be very active online: influencers need to constantly put out new content on their channels in order to grow and stay relevant
- Constantly engage: engage with people online constantly to grow your following and build relationships
- Create a blog and keep posting quality content all the time – or, better yet, start a vlog and/or become a YouTuber
- Constantly share quality content with your audience
- Contribute on big-name websites and blogs in your chosen niche
As I mentioned earlier, it does take considerable time to build up your social influence; but, if you love social media, it’s worth the effort as you can also turn it into an actual business – but don’t quit your day job yet!
There are a lot of ways to make money online and build a successful business. There’s no perfect solution for everyone – you need to think what you know and what you love to do and try to build a business out of it.
Finding the best online business idea depends on the service you can render to people and how you want to deliver that service. The business ideas presented in this article are some of the most popular forms of online businesses – choose the one that works for you and start working on your dream business.
Creating and promoting a business is a big endeavour. You have to create a winning product, employ the right employees, and market your products and services successfully.
And while doing this, you also have that thought at the back of your mind that most businesses fail within 5 years.
However, we’re here to talk about your business success. And in order to have a successful business, you need effective marketing strategies to help achieve your business targets.
One of the best platforms to promote your business is social media. How big is it? 3.356 billion users big.
With social media, you can find your ideal customers if you target the right social media channels. You can deliver your message to your audience, interact with users to build trust, and, with the right approach, even convert followers into paying customers.
Now, how do you promote your business through social media? In this blog post, discover 7 best practices on how to use social media to promote a new business:
1. Create a buyer persona
To send the right messages to your audience, you need to create a buyer persona to help you understand your ideal buyer.
In this document, you’ll have as many details as possible about this ideal customer. Some of these include:
- Solutions they need from your product
- Favourite social media channels
With a full picture of who your ideal buyer is, it becomes easier to send messages they’re likely to resonate with. Likewise, you’re able to build trust and make the right offers.
A tool that can help you to gather more details about your buyers is a social listening tool like Brandwatch; this allows you to research your audience based on relevant keywords so that you can gather important information, such as where they are from, what platforms and channels they regularly use, what influencers they follow, what other brands they interact with and, without enough research, even their needs and interests:
2. Set social media goals
Without social media goals, there’s no way to measure the failure or success of your social media activities. In most cases, businesses have the following goals when they use social media:
- Brand awareness
- Audience engagement
- Leads acquisition
- Improve sales
While setting your social media goals, you have to set objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). This is vital because your goals will affect your social media strategy and other activities: when you know exactly what you want to achieve, you can focus on creating content that will help you achieve those goals.
For example, if you’re just starting out and getting a business of the ground, you’ll probably want to generate more brand awareness. In that case, you’d need to create highly engaging content for social media, such as images and videos showcasing your brand and your logo, funny and engaging images that are highly shareable and you’ll likely want to increase the amount of updates you post so that you can reach a wide an audience as possible.
3. Create a winning social media strategy
Social media is so big that it’s easy to get lost amidst the noise. And setting goals alone is insufficient to achieve them. You have to create a strategy that can help you achieve your goals.
Some important elements to have in your strategy are:
- Your content types
- Frequency of updates
- Social media calendar
- Social media tools you need
- How to collaborate with team members
- How to track your goals
A social media strategy will guide you through the right actions to take on your accounts and when to take them – don’t overlook the importance of creating a strategy as it will ultimately help you save time and boost your results.
4. Use social media tools for better productivity
There are many aspects of your social media campaigns that require tools. And these tools help you save time and engage better with your audience. Some aspects you should consider, are:
- Social media management
- Content creation
- Content curation
- Social media monitoring
- Social media analytics
One of the most important tools you need to get is a social media management tool; this is because it will allow you to manage all of your social channels from one place, thus helping you save considerable time managing your profiles. What’s more social media management tools also have some extra features that can make a huge difference to your results: tools for collaborating with your team, access to social media analytics, monitoring features for keeping track of your brand name online and other handy features.
An effective tool you can use for social media management is SocialPilot. It’s an all-inclusive social media management tool that works with all major social networks and allows for team collaboration as well:
It provides an easy-to-use calendar that helps your team members plan and schedule updates ahead of time, as well as collaborate with others. What’s more, you can also engage with social media users, across channels, directly in your dashboard and access your social media analytics, among other features.
To satisfy your audience, you’ll find that the amount of content you produce might be insufficient. With content curation, you can get relevant content from other sources to share with your audience.
A tool you can use for this is Quuu. Before a piece of content is recommended for your account, it will be vetted by humans.
Monitoring provides business and industry mentions that helps you find opportunities to respond to complaints, find potential leads, and customers. With analytics, you can see the numbers that indicate your social media performance.
Many social media management tools offer monitoring and analytics, so you might need no extra tool; you can check this very detailed social media tool buyer’s guide to see exactly what to look for and how to choose the right tool for your needs.
5. Focus on a few social media channels
It might be enticing to run as many social media accounts as possible. But this could actually harm your results if you don’t really have the time to manage them all properly.
It’s better to maintain a strong presence on a few social media channels that are likely to bring results for your business. Based on your buyer persona and your social listening research, you already know the social media channels popular with your audience.
For instance, if you’re marketing a B2B product, then LinkedIn and Facebook are channels you should focus on. However, if you’re marketing food or fashion items, you’d achieve better results by focusing on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
If you find it difficult to know the social media channels your ideal buyers hang out, you can check on your competitors. Which social media channels do they focus on?
By focusing on a few social media platforms, you can invest your efforts where they’re most likely to yield results.
6. Add visuals to your social media updates
On social media, there’s so much content and you’re in a tough competition to attract your audience’s attention. Sharing only text updates can only go so far.
To get your message across more effectively and improve engagement, you need to implement visuals in your social media updates. For starters, the brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
To create visuals for your social media campaigns, the expensive route is to employ designers. But by using the right tools, you can make professional visuals at a lower cost and at scale.
When you consider that you’ll need visuals regularly, using tools is the best option as a new business. A tool like Canva can help you create images you can use on various social media channels.
And you need little to no design skills to use them. You’ll find templates of various sizes made to fit specific social media channels. In a few minutes, you can get an image to use in your update.
Another visual content format that is very popular right now is video. Over the years, video marketing has become more popular and you’ll find that most social media channels now support videos.
And that’s because customers now expect it. In a HubSpot study, 54% of consumers say they want to see videos from businesses.
To create video at scale, you can use tools to help. Many of them provide ready-made templates, easy drag and drop editing and are generally very easy to use, even as beginners. One great solution is wave.video which features numerous templates and a huge library of video clips that you can use in your videos (although you can also upload your own clips):
Plus, you can add your watermark to videos, add calls to action and easily include captions in your video scenes.
7. Engage with your audience and build a community
Social media goes beyond sharing your updates and hoping for the best. Communication on social media, as with other online channels, is a two-way street.
You need to reply to comments and reshare interesting posts from your followers.
Added to this, social media is a popular platform for customer support. Many of your prospects and customers will make inquiries and send complaints through social media.
Your ability to respond in a short time will build trust with your audience. According to The Social Habit study by Edison Research, 42% of consumers expect a response from a company on social media within 1 hour.
Through proper engagement, you can build a community with your audience over time, turn them into loyal customers, and even your very own brand ambassadors.
Social media can be overwhelming for your new business at first. But with the right strategy, tools, and execution, you can achieve your targets on social media.
Save this list and use it as a guide while building your social media campaigns – these are the most important aspects to developing a strong social media plan for a small business.