The following 7 ways to make money online in this section are for those people who are entrepreneurial; those who don’t mind taking risks and who are prepared to build something great from scratch or buy an existing business if they have the money to do so. Of course, there are many other types of online business you can pursue, but these are some of the most popular online.
Starting an online business can be tremendously rewarding. Not only can you achieve a great sense of pride when you build something from scratch that is a success and creates employment, but you can also build a valuable asset that you could sell on in the future.
Starting an online business can also be very risky. Although many people like to think they can do it, the reality is that most people can’t. Not only do most business start-ups fail due to running out of money (not making sales fast enough), they can also cause a lot of pressure and stress on the owner(s), sometimes even leading to personal bankruptcy.
The secret to success with starting an online business is proper market and competitor research, realistic budgeting projections and professional online marketing advice. Don’t make assumptions on sales, gross profit margins or operating overheads – research them all carefully and make informed projections and judgements.
Number 1: DROPSHIPPING ECOMMERCE BUSINESS
Low risk but good returns possible.
Dropshipping is a retail fulfilment method where the ecommerce website owner (the merchant) doesn’t hold any stock or products themselves and instead relies on a 3rd party dropshipping warehouse (the supplier) to fulfil the orders for them. The warehouse supplier holds the stock and ships the product directly to the website owners’ customers.
The supplier dropship warehouse remains completely invisible to the end customer in this entire process.
Anyone can start an online dropshipping business with minimal financial outlay. You first should find suppliers who can dropship the products you wish to sell. Then you build an ecommerce website on which you put the products (we recommend Shopify for this). Every time you get a sale and receive payment from the customer, you pass the order details to the supplier and pay them and they then pick, pack and deliver the order to your customer for you.
Less capital outlay and less risk are 2 advantages of running a dropshipping ecommerce business rather than a traditional stock-held ecommerce business. You will still experience complications such as supplier errors, inventory problems, shipping problems, and most likely question which products will actually sell.
Number 2: STOCK MANAGED ECOMMERCE BUSINESS
High risk but high returns possible.
A traditional ecommerce business is when the vendor (ecommerce website store owner) would hold the stock, process orders themselves and manage the deliveries. However, with stock ecommerce businesses, you can choose whether you manufacture your own products or buy from other manufacturers, wholesalers or importers.
H2O Spas (https://www.h2ohottubs.co.uk) is a great example of a traditional stock managed ecommerce business. Their hot tubs are manufactured in China, although they use the highest specification materials and control ystems from America. They import containers of 10 hot tubs at a time and they are stored within H2O’s main warehouse. Orders are placed through their ecommerce website, processed, and then delivered by H2O hot tubs themselves; using their own vehicles.
Of course, most ecommerce sites would pay couriers to do the deliveries for them, however hot tubs are so big and specialist to move and install, that this service is best done by H2O’s own team of installers.
Therefore, it is important to note that this type of business requires a significant amount of initial financial outlay to cover buying stock, building an ecommerce website, marketing and paying for storage to hold the stock. Consequently, there is a high upfront cost and risk as opposed to drop shipping where you needn’t buy or hold stock. However, unlike drop shipping where the profit margins are usually around 20-25%, stock held ecommerce usually profits around 40-60% since you are more involved, have more risk and more work to do.
Number 3: CREATING A SOFTWARE OR APP DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS
In today’s tech-heavy environment, there’s no shortage of demand for software development companies to create an app for a company or idea. Around 60% of all online traffic now comes from mobile, with 89% of mobile web being used through apps. So, it’s fair to say it’s a pretty big (and growing) industry.
Since the usage in apps have become an integral part of our day-to-day communication, information and entertainment, now more than ever people are looking to monetize their next new app idea. Of course, many of those who have an idea for an app, may not have the skills necessarily to code said piece of software or application. Hence, the demand for services that do it for them have shot up.
If you are experienced in this kind of work, people will pay you to create them an application or software which they can use as a source of income. It’s a winwin situation as you’re both getting paid! However, you don’t need to be an expert app designer or developer to start your own app development business. You simply need an entrepreneurial brain and an aptitude for managing others. This is because you can employ a team of web developers and designers or outsource the work to a reliable freelancer/online team. Your job is to build the business, to get the clients and market your company, whilst relying on others to produce the goods.
Number 4: CREATING A MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE
Building your own membership site is a great way to earn money online, simply because it has massive earning potential. Membership sites are often used for online courses and communities, where your audience pays a recurring fee each month to continue to gain access to new valuable content and/or a community of like-minded people.
The greatest benefit of running your own membership site is the recurring payments that you receive every month. Unlike selling a one-off product, you’re getting paid again and again. What’s more, when you sell a one-off product you never get the chance to build a relationship with your customer. However, a membership site enables you to constantly provide new information on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This builds loyalty and trust with your customer, making it far easier to promote new services or products in the future.
Unlike physical products, there’s no need for shipping fees, no stock to purchase and so on, as almost all membership sites provide information as their service. Whilst membership sites are time-consuming and take a lot planning and setup to do, the information is free and the costs for running your website is extremely low in comparison to conventional business setups.
Many membership sites choose to provide a free trial. In many ways, this provides a win/win situation for both you and your potential customer as many people may be interested in your service but are not yet willing to pay. By providing a free trial, you can easily increase your opt-in rate, build trust with doubtful customers and therefore have a higher number of those that convert into paying customers. As for the ones who quit? It’s at no extra cost to you. Whilst more members mean more money, it is far better to have fewer loyal customers than many customers who drop off after so many months. Just think about it, if you have 100 loyal members paying you $30 a month, that’s $3000 a month! Now that’s something to get excited about.
Like most services, you must think about your target audience for the site, how you’re going to draw them in and what it is that’s going to make them stay. Remember, the customer always comes first.
Number 5: CREATING A RESELLER WEB HOSTING BUSINESS
A reseller web hosting is a type of web hosting where the account owner hosts websites through their allocated disk space and bandwidth. Resellers are usually web developers or web entrepreneurs and or a web design company who offer this as part of their extra services. The reseller purchases the host’s services on a wholesale basis, and then sells them to customers for a profit. The reseller can even have their own product via customized control panels and name servers.
Reseller web hosting companies offer more services and features than a standard service package. The account management of the clients will be managed by one account only; which makes it easier, and in reseller plans, the customers will be charged monthly fees. The reseller can distribute and price accordingly, based on the space leased in terms of bandwidth or disk-space was utilized. You can sell more plans as a reseller, host and bill your customers under your own brand, create your own hosting plans that are tailored to your business and customers, and of course, be your own reseller web hosting company.
This is the least expensive way to begin your own web hosting business. By having one main admin panel to manage your clients and their personal accounts (i.e. their disk space requirements, number of email accounts and domains etc), you are keeping overhead costs to a bare minimum. Each client will have their own administration panel which they can use to manage their personal information like website, email accounts etc, as if they were being hosted by any other large website host (GoDaddy or Hostgator). Although this is a good way to make a very lucrative business, the shortfalls are if the host company you are reselling for ever has problems with their uptime and data servers, you will experience the same problems which will affect your very own clients.
Number 6: CREATING A WEB DESIGN BUSINESS
Starting a website design business is not suitable for everybody. Starting any kind of business requires a range of skills, experience and aptitude to work. You don’t have to be an expert web designer or developer, as you could always employ them or outsource the work to suitably qualified and experienced people, but you will need to have business acumen. Having a business acumen means being able to cope with a wide variety of tasks from sales and marketing to managing employees and teams to finance.
If you’re good at selling but don’t have website design skills, then you could perhaps create the business with one or two people who are good at designing and building websites, while you meet prospective clients and sell your companies’ services.
The benefits of building a website design business are numerous:
• Almost every business needs a website these days to market themselves and to sell online.
• The average website is updated regularly during a year, so repeat business is quite good.
• The average website is usually completely redesigned and rebuilt every 3-5 years.
• Clients will usually want help with website marketing, social media and web hosting too, so there are other complimentary services you could offer.
You don’t necessarily need to have an office to start a website design business these days. You could operate a remote team to keep costs down with everyone working from home and you managing everyone and every project online. Clients usually expect you to visit them rather than them having to visit you. It’s advisable to ‘boot-strap’ your business initially to keep costs down to reduce financial risk, but as you grow you can look at office premises if need be.
Number 6: CREATING AN I.T. SUPPORT BUSINESS
Putting your I.T. skills to use starting your own support business.
Starting a technical support company requires a professional or skilled person or at least a qualified person to do the tasks. Technical support is offering computer helpdesk support related to IT technical problems such as software issues, virus removal, installing software etc. over the internet without even needing to see the actual computer you need to fix.
This business requires a wide understanding and skillset in IT. Fixing and providing help and assistance isn’t for everyone, you might create more damage to the computer if you don’t know or have experience in IT support. It is also suggested to build a small team to help you with the work, especially if you’re having difficulty with the task. You might also want to build your own website where interested customers may contact you for you to help them. You don’t necessarily need to wait for a customer because you can send them a proposal about you and your company’s services.
Having an office where you can work out of is better than working from home for you to stay focused. There will be no distractions and interruptions which may result in a better outcome of your work. But if you want to work on your own, you will still need help from other IT professionals who may be more experienced in solving a problem you’re not seasoned with or when you come across a fault that you’ve never seen before.