Ultimately, starting an online business is similar to starting a business with a physical storefront. You’ll still need to do business planning and you’ll benefit from making sure you understand your tax obligations from the start. Just don’t underestimate the importance of putting together a functional website and getting it in front of your target market.


We are all really good at something, and have knowledge we can pass onto other people. Becoming a consultant is all about tapping into the one thing that you’re great at, and using it to help, or teach, others. Many businesses seek experts in certain topics or fields because their staff consists of many “Jack of all trades” types. They have knowledge in many different areas, but aren’t experts at any one thing. Popular online consulting gigs are often related to promoting a business, such as social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising (such as with Google Adwords or Bing Ads pay per click). If you have design skills, or know about website usability, you can reach out to businesses and provide critiques for their website or online store. People tend to be humble about the things they are really good at, but all that humbleness could be holding you back from a great side business in consulting. If it’s been a while since you’ve practiced your skill, download an e-book, or take a brief online class to brush up on it. Dig up some confidence and put yourself (and your talents) out there.
In 2010, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entrepreneurial journey. I had paid a developer a large sum of money to develop a couple of WordPress plugins I had ideas for. I had seen others successfully create and sell WordPress plugins, and I wanted in on it. But the problem was that I rushed into it. I made the mistake of chasing the money, and didn’t actually validate the idea, or consider who the plugin was for. The result? Nobody wanted them. I didn’t even sell one. I spent $15,000 to get the plugins developed, and they didn’t go anywhere.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).
You can also use an all-inclusive ecommerce web service. Sites such as Shopify and Volusion offer competitive packages, with free templates, custom packages, credit card processing, and more. Ecommerce web services makes it easy to sell your products on the web, without a lot of overhead. There are no custom interfaces or templates to work with; you simply create an online store within the framework of the service.
Ask for a raise. If you’re unhappy with your compensation at your 9-5 job, asking for a raise is one way to beef up your bank account. Most employers offer an annual review of your work – which could be the perfect time to negotiate a higher salary or ask for better perks. If your employer doesn’t offer such an opportunity, it might be time to initiate a review yourself.
Pretty self-explanatory. You can start making money playing with dogs today using Rover. Rover lets you set your prices so you can charge fair rates for your services. In addition to walking, you can also offer doggy daycare, house sitting, and boarding through Rover. If you’d rather start your own thing, check out The Balance’s How to Start a Dog Walking Business.
Our first overlooked opportunity is selling your knowledge. In this instance, we are talking about creating a course or eBook that you can make available for purchasing online. Because of the automation available today, you may be able to put in the work once when creating your packaged information and then enjoy those checks coming in for months or years to come.
Keep in mind though, you don’t need a website to do sponsored content since you can also get paid if you have a lot of social media followers. My wife has a pretty big Instagram following, and she gets all kinds of sponsorships. Not only does she get paid in cash, but we get a lot of free stuff, too. We’ve received free rugs, free lights, and free carpet cleaners. She only promotes things she loves though, so this strategy works really well for her.

If you’re a website or blog owner, you can sell a portion of your page space to advertisers and earn money passively each time the ads are clicked on by your target audience or visitors to your website. While the actual placing of the ads is completely free, the earning capacity of cost-per-click (CPC) advertising is based on the level of traffic to your site and the cost per click and click-through rate, or CTR. The most popular way to earn money today through advertising clicks is through Google AdSense or similar advertisers. Other ways of effective online advertising include RSS feeds and direct banners.
Like Airbnb, becoming a ridesharing driver for companies like Uber, Lyft or Sidecar is a way to join the shared economy. And though it is not technically earning money from home,  it allows the same kind of flexibility and it is a way to use an asset you already own (i.e. your car) to make money. There are things to keep in mind, though, about driving other people such as whether your car insurance will cover you and how you pay taxes on your earnings. 
For those with a large Twitter following, you can make money from your Tweets alone with Sponsored Tweets. You could be paid for sharing a business’s information, recommending restaurants or hotels, or tweeting pictures of you using or wearing products. As with all sponsored posts on social media, businesses will only be prepared to pay you to Tweet if you have a large following that you can influence. So work hard on building up a loyal fan base.
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.
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