The internet has opened a lot of new digital markets for online business. Many entrepreneurs have become rich just from the comfort of their own armchair.
Setting up a business at home has become increasingly popular, especially to escape the hardships of a 9 – 5 (examples include commuting, spending the majority of your time from home and family etc.)
Let’s look at the 5 most popular online business startup ideas, which have worked….
An online business startup has many great benefits, which operates on a whole different level to an offline business.
The pros to starting up online:
- There are low start-up costs (especially with affiliate marketing or selling virtual products like e-books)
- Your content can be reached by everyone across the corners of the globe (no limit to your profits)
- Generating an online audience is much faster than from the influence of offline premises (think how quick it takes for a viral to spread).
There is a huge array of options available, for you to build and grow a successful online business idea, however, it does involve a lot of time, routine maintenance, the ability to think outside the box and lots of patience.
Depending on your talents and what you want to do for your internet home business; there is always a unique way to bring your ideas to life.
Everyone has skills, so if unsure, then a good place to start looking is hobbies you loved as a child e.g. If your passion was writing then it makes sense to be an online writer, or if drawing then an online artist.
Seeing as the best online business can reach customers across the world in seconds; the list is endless in what you can offer online from whether it’s a local cleaning business (Google local) or a global trader – it is a 24/7 shop window available to all your customers, for whenever they want your service or products.
Let’s see the top 5 most popular methods to start an internet business.
E-commerce Store 5#
Setting up an E-commerce store has low start-up costs which can average around $500 (depending on which services you use), but can bring back very high returns.
No wonder it has become a popular online business to setup. Here’s a brief guide to how you would begin your new venture:
Choosing a domain and web host
The internet contains huge numbers of domain and web-hosting services. Spend time researching all the options available (or at least a comparison of 3 – 4 services).
Check out customer reviews in forums, and be sure you know how to use the website builder etc (the majority of services will offer a simple drag and drop template to build your web page, as opposed to learning HTML.)
A business plan will be helpful, and may even help you acquire a business loan.
Recommended hosting services:
A highly efficient service that is not only low in cost, but also offers a selection of easy to use site builders, including Word Press.
A website host and builder platform, which offers hundreds of templates, and has many specialized tools for eCommerce companies.
You need to choose your own domain name, as it helps to present a professional image to your customers.
Sales platforms are a simpler form of putting your shop front online, without the hassle of creating a website and trying to market with SEO.
It is a networking site between sellers and buyers – think eBay and Amazon.
However, check out these sites which are very popular…
A highly popular sales platform, which allows freedom of design with easy to use tools, and access to a large network base.
Another site which offers a shop front builder, and the necessary tools to get your business started.
E-commerce is a highly competitive industry, so it might be wise to not directly compete with large retailers, due to them having a much larger purchasing power.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, instead, try and find a niche area, something which the large companies miss. It may say sound daunting or impossible, but put in the research, and you’ll just never know what you can come across.
Affiliate Marketing #4
Affiliate Marketing is still in the realms of selling, but it removes the need to buy products – as you will be selling on behalf of other business’ and sellers instead.
The main trick is to link potential customers with the products they would want to buy, through creating a banner link to the product. This is set up from your own platform (e.g. a website); you will then earn a commission from each sale.
It’s a rewarding business financially, and if done correctly, it can be a very quick method to grow a business. So it’s no wonder that Affiliate Marketing is a very popular method for an Online Business Start-up.
Affiliate Marketing has much potential especially for the future, as its rapidly getting more advanced by the second.
How to get started with affiliate marketing:
You will need a Blog to write about the products you are selling. This tool will also connect with client’s readily available inside your network; enabling you to communicate with them, and keeping contacts connected and engaged with your company.
Word Press is highly recommended for blogging because:
- It brings your company into other like-minded networks, which creates more recognition – plus you also get to buy a website name (free hosting isn’t recommended, instead purchase your own domain, just so you can have a professional website appearance and a better search rank from search engine crawlers).
- The variety of plugins available gives your blog so much flexibility in appearance, social media interaction, structuring posts and other ad-hoc tasks.
- it is easy to follow (once you get used to it).
Choosing your niche
Choosing a niche can seem like an impossible task, but the best way to get your answer is to ask questions. The more questions you ask, then the more leads to answers you get – which will develop your ideas a lot quicker.
Questions to get you started:
What content are people searching for?
Can you find an answer that may help them?
What’s coming up in google when you search for your topic?
Read through forums, find out what people are asking and what they want, and if money can be made!
Select your favorite subject, in which you’ll enjoy learning more about. You will be writing about it daily, and will likely get sick of it after a while, so sticking to something you are passionate about will help with your self-discipline, whilst keeping your interest alive.
How to find the right affiliate program
This will mainly depend on what you ar trying to sell and your chosen niche topic. However…
Popular Affiliate platforms
Direct Merchant Sites
Merchants handle their own products and sales.
The best way to find direct merchants is to look at the affiliates your bigger competitors use – then sign up to their program.
If you do love writing, selling, and learning, then Affiliate marketing can be very rewarding.
Similar to setting up an E-commerce, the success from this will be down to how much research and legwork you put in at the beginning.
Self-publishing on Amazon 3#
Amazon has become a very popular platform, with worldwide influence for E-books! It is very exciting if you are a writer; as this online shop allows you to instantly publish for both Kindle and Paperback (removing the need for getting approved by a publisher). It also has the added benefit of holding a network of prospective customers too.
If you love drawing then you will have a blast at designing your own front cover, but do be warned that if the quality of pictures is at an amateur level then your product may not be taken seriously.
If that’s the case, then it would be a better idea to hire a cover designer – Amazon offers a built-in service for a small fee.
Self-publishing – what to expect:
You will need a very competitive marketing campaign – customers can be wary if you’re not an established author because anyone can log on and publish a book for free.
There’s always the chance of buying a bad quality book. But that shouldn’t put you off from trying if it’s a passion you desire.
it’s just the case of targeting your readers and building their trust.
Plus, if you do begin winning customers then you should score satisfactory reviews over time, which will grow your reputation.
For an Amazon account; you will need to register with account details.
Amazon Publishing Platforms:
You need an open state of mind, the ability to work through rejection or bad feedback (it happens to the best of us), and adapting to your market if you’ve misjudged what they want.
This in itself is a daunting task for a self-publisher, especially when the internet is already flooded with authors. But once your idea is ready, there are many effective methods of marketing available.
A very recommendable starting ground, especially with the benefits of being able to network with other writers and readers. For fiction writers, you can even blog short stories, which can be designed to capture your audience’s imagination.
Using social media platforms
Social media has spiked drastically for business, especially for how quick it takes for shared content to pass between users (virals). Companies pay big money to have a strong social media presence, in order to win page hits and higher sales.
It’s still quite an uncertain world. It is recommended that you already have a supported income in place before proceeding with this venture – or, at least, mix it up with affiliate marketing or blogging – selling books can take some time before the profits begin to emerge.
Selling homemade product/crafts #2
Good at drawing? Or sewing your own clothing? Then nothing beats being able to craft your own artistic pictures or clothing line.
The added advantages are low costs on manufacturing (depending on what it is, how much materials cost, and the time it takes to produce).
Be less reliant on suppliers, and items will be unique to the market place.
Build a website
To get your brand/ image noticed by your market, it is necessary to have your own well-designed website to act as a representation of your business. As previously mentioned earlier, there are many services available to provide this, even for an online novice.
Recommended website host:
With very low start-up costs, it’s worth considering making a profile despite the charges you can incur from sales. It’s still a very popular site to use amongst shoppers, and it will help you to quickly notice if your product will work with the intended market.
Be quick and efficient when handling orders; make sure goods are posted in good time, and always be on hand to communicate with your buyers – feedback is displayed publically, which exposes your reputation to everyone, so make sure the majority of your own feedback is excellent.
Similar to Ebay, Amazon is another well-known selling platform.
It’s a popular tool for building an online shopfront, and it also provides other helpful tools. Take note that a commission does go towards the host site for every sale, however, it could still be effective if it’s not costly to craft sellable items.
A good tip to remember…
Always link your website to a sales profile. This is an effective way to gain new visitors from your market, as it will lure them back to your own domain – plus the extra links will help with your SEO too.
Other benefits include:
- Encourage repeat business.
- Get your brand recognized.
- Induce good word of mouth by loyal customers.
This helps to create a longer term relationship with your customers, which can be built on trust and loyalty, resulting in repeat business and good word of mouth.
Blogging is typically a website offering chronologically ordered content, organized by the date when posts were published, which are usually then filled with articles, sales pitches, and useful information.
To earn money from your followers you can incorporate affiliate marketing, or sell advertising space.
Blogs are still a booming industry and the streams of income you can earn is always expanding, so it is very wise to follow like-minded blogs to keep up.
What you need:
A domain and host (similar to setting up a website) are necessary; from providers such as Bluehost, which works alongside Word Press.
Requirements for blogging:
- Some experience of SEO, Google and the internet.
- An eagerness for learning.
- Being open-minded and willing to put in lots of reading and research.
We hope these 5 ideas will inspire an online business venture of your own, good luck!