Entrepreneurship could be considered the wave of the future. In fact, more than 15 million Americans are self-employed full-time, and the number is estimated to continue to grow by millions more. Of course, there’s no rule that says you have to be self-employed full-time in order to reap the benefits of your own business. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses on the side. Some end up leaving their traditional jobs as their business grows, and others never do. Either way, earning extra money from an online venture isn’t as hard as you might think.
There are hundreds of ways to make money online. Some require a lot more time than others, so the real questions you should be asking yourself pertain to how much time you can spare and how much effort you’re willing to put forth. Once you’ve answered those questions, you can follow these steps for starting your own successful online business.
Choose your business
This step in the process could take some time, but the best way to find out what types of businesses are available is to visit online forums and read blog posts about other online entrepreneurs. Most online businesses fit into one of two categories: Selling products or selling services.
Selling products is sometimes the easiest model to follow if you aren’t sure what else you can offer. This can be done by selling used or new merchandise, but you’ll need to choose your platform. One example of this type of business is to buy an Amazon return box for a fairly low price and then mark the items up to sell yourself. You can sell your items on Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, or a number of other platforms. Or, you can sell them on Facebook’s marketplace, Craigslist, or even garage sales.
Service-based businesses might require a little more effort to start, but they are usually the least expensive to get off the ground. Some examples of services you can offer are writing, consulting, bookkeeping, transcribing, graphic design, and marketing. But these are only limited by your imagination. Figure out what you’re good at, what people need, and what you can feasibly offer to find your own niche.
Build your website
Almost every online business needs its own website. This is your space where people can find you and learn more about what you offer. The type of website you have will depend entirely on your business. For example, if you’re going to sell products, you might need a website with an e-commerce plugin, such as Shopify or WooCommerce.
The exception to this is for online selling businesses that will strictly use Ebay, Amazon, or some other ready-made platform for their products. In these cases, you can choose to build your own website for advertising purposes, but not many people do.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your hardware is also in optimal condition. If your computer lags, freezes, or is broken, be sure to fix it before you embark on your online business venture. This computer repair shouldn’t cost you much, and it is a crucial aspect in ensuring that you won’t face technical issues moving forward.
Market your business
In the case of online selling on platforms like Ebay and Amazon, your marketing is pretty much done for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn techniques to boost your listings. It just means you probably won’t need a full-blown campaign to unload your merchandise. For most every other type of business, though, you’ll need a marketing strategy.
The best place to begin is social media. In fact, many businesses base their entire campaigns strictly on one or two platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. This is because almost everyone in the world has at least one social media profile, and it’s a free and easy tool to use.
You can then branch out into content marketing, which would include blogging on your own website and others. This type of outreach can be done on other sites in your niche. For example, if your website is about computer repair, you would want to reach out to other technology websites to see about guest-posting or swapping social media mentions.