To fully understand how money works, we must first understand what money works for. (Or who it works for) Many people today have bought into the idea that they can’t start their own businesses. I’m here to help anyone become their own boss with 5 easy ways to start an online business.
Business is simple, people are complicated. Because everyone is different, unless we become aware of the multitude of opportunities available to us, we can easily lose hope that there is a business solution that suits our preferences.
A business about fishing is probably not going to interest someone who is head over heels for a puppy business. (I know that isn’t a very good analogy, but I think you get the picture)
Believe it or not, no matter the niche and no matter what you’re passionate about, there is an online business model for it! The catch is that some types of businesses make more money than others.
Let’s find out why shall we?.
What Do You Need To Start An Online Business?
You do not need a ton of cash or time or another full time job to create an online business.
The craziest thing you will ever hear is “it doesn’t take money to make money”. I remember trying to understand this phrase which I learned from one of my idols, Robert Kiyosaki. I simply couldn’t understand how you don’t actually need money to make money.
Now I realize what he meant. It’s because, as Robert would say, “Money is an idea!”
Here are the ideas that came flooding to me when I realized the meaning of this powerful saying:
- It doesn’t have to be your money. You can get loans, private investors or partners to help with financing.
- There are 100% Free ways to start an online business!
- You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to offer valuable information and help others.
- You can build a business part time on minimal hours. You don’t have to quit your job!
- There are tutors, mentors, trainors, courses and Youtube videos on practically everything. You will never be without help in your field of business.
You Don’t Have To Be A Writer!
For those who are familiar with any type of blogging or article writing (like the one you are reading now) please understand that you don’t have to have any skill in being a writer to create a successful online business.
Copywriting or article writing is a valuable skill to be sure, but it’s not the end of the world if you need to have someone else help you with that. There are freelancers you can hire per job, and there are entire businesses which have an entire team of writers to help you with projects.
That being said, you only need writers if you have a blog or need to write sales copy. I will be going into this in greater detail below, but just know that creating an online business isn’t about how well you can write, it’s about how well you can “scale”.
I Need To Become The “BOSS”
To go from self-employed to business owner requires systems and a team. The question I must ask is, “when I sleep, does the business still make me money? And how long can I be absent before the business doesn’t make any more money?”
When you first start an online business, the first priority is to setup something that offers value, and has good business management and tracking.
Some of the things to consider when building a business include:
- Finance tracking (debt, expenses, income, profit, budgets) (Office spreadsheets work just fine when starting out)
- Project Management (Wrike is a free one)
- Goals (Paper, whiteboard, or online document)
- Business payment setup (How will you receive profits? Paypal is an easy one)
- Do you have the skills necessary to set everything up? Or do you want/need to outsource specific tasks? (Website creation, sales copy, artist designs)
These may seem daunting at first, but they are actually really easy to sort out. I usually take it one step at a time and after a few hours I would have a clear understanding of how to get my new business started no problem.
Here’s My 5 Easy Ways To Start An Online Business:
Ok, so here are the 5 easy ways to start an online business. Each of these requires very little up front cash (if any) and are very simple to set up.
Note: Please be aware that you may need to start a corporation to protect yourself legally and to gain tax breaks. Especially if you are offering a service that is intended to generate a desired result. Depending on what kind of online business you choose to start, a legal advisor is recommended.
#1 Create An Online Course (Udemy, online learning site, personal website)
Depending on your profession or interests, the type of education you offer people will vary, but the underlying principle remains the same. You are going to create a course, video tutorials or written guides which detail exactly how to do something.
This is by far the easiest method to start making money in an online business, but the pay is limited based on your niche and the size of your audience. To compensate, you can easily develop courses and videos for Udemy or other well-established educational sites.
To develop your own business independent of an established education site, you will need to have your own website, host the training, and structure the lessons yourself. Results will vary, but there are usually plugins in WordPress that make course creation easy and nice looking.
Also, being able to teach on a subject related to your profession is usually best as it gives you credibility and establishes you as a pro off the bat.
#2 Design Retail Goods (Shirts, Mugs, Stickers, etc)
There are so many sites that allow you to upload designs, graphics and pictures today. I could create an entire post dedicated to listing all of them. (A topic for another post, wink wink)
You can create designs yourself, or have someone make them for you, and then you can sell them on sites like Redbubble or TeeSpring.
Some sites strictly sell clothing, but some sites can create a wide variety of cool items like mugs, cell phones cases and even clocks!
The industry of retail product creation is rapidly shifting towards per-order production, allowing anyone to start selling merchandise without the hefty costs of buying in bulk.
Don’t believe me? Just research how much merchandise Social Media influencers sell to their fan-bases on a regular basis. (Most don’t create any of it, just the graphic designs)
#3 Coaching Or Consulting (Specialist work, Mentorship)
While some people will prefer translating their professional experience into online courses, others are fully qualified and inclined to offer their services as a consultant or virtual coach.
Assuming your career doesn’t require your physical presence to coach others, using Skype or some other service to work with your clients is simple and usually free. (Depending on your setup) You may need better lighting and a better microphone.
The smartest people in the world understand that there is no way for them to learn and do everything. Those who see the value in what you offer will definitely pay you to help them in a specific field.
Again, my personal advice for you is to have a good website, and to have a business (LLC or other) setup to avoid legal liability if someone becomes upset with their results. (Especially if you are giving out singing lessons or something like that)
This should be a given with most any business model, though the next two ways to start an online business don’t really require a corporation until you start making a decent amount of money. (Mostly for tax return purposes)
#4 Start Affiliate Marketing (Email Marketing, Blogging)
The easiest online business model to start, second only to starting a Youtube Channel, Affiliate has become a go-to for startup blogs and information sites. Heck, it is so popular and easy to start making money with, today there are millions of affiliates around the world.
To be fair however, starting an affiliate marketing business that generates consistent revenue without your consistent presence is virtually impossible without a team. (Unless you know what kind of items to promote. See my “Pro Tip” below)
An email list requires either a campaign, or some time to develop a relevant free offer to your readers so they will subscribe to your list. (Ebooks, free educational courses, free lists, and reports are among the most common freebies)
A blog requires articles to be written on a regular basis. So either I write the articles, or I have someone else write them. Outsourcing this should be quite regular for you except for when you are writing really large amounts of content.
(Pillar content and long list-type posts come to mind)
Pro tip: Focus on products that give you very large commissions (If 1 time sales) and prioritize products that offer recurring commissions. No matter how good your blog articles are, your readers are eventually going to leave your page and having them subscribe to a recurring service is the best way to go full time as an affiliate marketer.
(Just remember to only offer your readers and subscribers high quality services/products. You don’t want to lose credibility)
#5 Youtube Videos (Social Media, Sponsorships, Influencer, etc)
Believe it or not, Youtubers and Social Media “influencers” are among the most successful people on the planet. Not counting merchandise and ad revenue, the tens of thousands of dollars that they make off of sponsorships is insane!
But actually, it makes perfect sense. What company doesn’t want to have their product promoted by someone who has thousands to millions of subscribers?
A common belief is that Youtubers make the majority of their income via views/ads and merchandise. In reality, most of the money Youtubers make is from brand deals.
Thus, really only need to get your first 10,000 Subscribers before you are able to start really monetizing. Usually you can start making a decent amount of money off of views per video, and as you increase your audience, companies with a niche related to your channel will contact you.
Negotiating how much they pay for sponsorship, and on how long your shoutout is, is based on your personal abilities. There are quite a few courses detailing how to negotiate this, I recommend looking into them if you are set on starting a channel.
PS: Starting a channel is as simple as signing up on Youtube and creating videos. Information based videos and comedy channels tend to be among the highest grossing, but you would be surprised by the variety of full-time channels in kinda-obscure niches.
How I Created My Online Business (And How You Can Do The Same)
I’ve actually started a Youtube business previously and I am currently working as an affiliate marketer/blogger. I’ve reached a moderate level of success, but I could have done it in half the time or less had I learned what I know now. My initial business education was outdated.
Internet marketing isn’t about the “1 golden ticket to millions”. There is no such thing as one method to internet marketing success. The use of every method available to you creates a brand for yourself and allows you to experiment.
While one person preaches about Youtube, another “guru” says retail products are the latest success express train. That being said, you should focus on one type of business model and master that first.
Pro Tip: Don’t go through “shiny object syndrome” like I have so many times. Research one business model and get professional education on the subject.
That doesn’t mean go out and watch Youtube videos on how to run a business. You need something with steps that start from “A-Z”.
You need teaching from people who have a structured course or series (or direct coaching) so that you can skip 80% of the hassle that comes with trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
(Be sure to see people’s honest reviews of the training your are considering, and contact each company to clarify any concerns you have)
While some of these business models might not be new for you, I believe this list will help you make a decision based on your creative passions. The world needs creative people equipped with the means to contribute the value only they can provide.
Here’s what success looks like for online marketers and influencers: Idea – Education – Business Creation/Tracking – Content Creation – Collaboration and Networking – Outsourcing – Quit your full time job.
Time frame to make this happen? That is entirely for me to decide. How much time can I work on a business during the week and on my days off? How much money am I willing to use to accelerate my business progression? How quickly can I monetize my ideas?
Online business isn’t hard, it just happens to be something 90% of the population is completely unwilling to commit to.
Let me know in the comments below what kind of online business you want to start (or have started) and be sure to share this article with people who need it. Sharing is caring!
Jacob Highley is a Financial Success Teacher and a part-time blogger. He lives in Bonners Ferry, ID and writes about how to create a simple online business at financialsuccessbook.com.