If you're ready to be in charge of your own destiny, but don’t have the capital to buy a franchise or open up a storefront, consider starting an online business. When your store is online, you can reach millions of customers instead of whoever happens to wander in - plus, you don't have to pay for retail space. However, like with any business, you'll need an excellent product and a solid marketing plan. See Step 1 to learn what it takes to start your business online.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.

Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.
You’ve probably heard the overused term “pivot to video” at some point, which is both a joke about and an acceptance of the fact that many publishers are pushing their resources into video. Video advertisements are more expensive to buy than banner ads because they lead to higher click-through rates, which means a business can potentially make a lot more money through video than through other forms of content. So, if you can create great videos that make people want to watch and that drive ad revenue or subscriptions back to a website, you can become a very valuable asset.

Work in grocery delivery. Instacart is a company that will pay you to pick up grocery store orders in your spare time. The entire purchase and order takes place through the Instacart app, making it easy for you to pick up the groceries your customers wants and get paid. Like other food delivery jobs on this list, Instacart lets you earn a per-trip rate plus tips. Shipt is another service that will pay you to shop for groceries and deliver them to consumers in your area, so make sure to see if they’re available where you live.


Food. The second word in “Bed and Breakfast” is just as important as the first. Some B&Bs have tried to serve their guests muffins, juice, and coffee in the mornings, but the most successful hosts understand that the breakfast they serve will make a lasting impression on their guests. You can get creative and serve the type of breakfast traditional for the area that you’re in. For instance, if your home is located in the South, then eggs, grits, and biscuits may go over well, while Southwest guests may appreciate a traditional Tex-Mex meal. Whatever you decide, make it memorable and make sure that your guests feel welcome and appreciated. Make it memorable, and they’ll spread the word for you.
Etsy: While Etsy's popularity has declined recently, it's still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products on here such as poster designs. 
This next category is one of my favorites. And, it applies to almost everyone looking for a good side hustle. Why? Because it is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether they are looking for a little something to earn a few pennies during commercial breaks that requires minimal effort or they are looking to create a full-time income from home.
Choosing a name for your business isn’t always straightforward — the name you want may be taken by a previously registered company in your state. It’s also a common (and smart) practice to name your business and choose your future website’s domain name at the same time to ensure they match, but unfortunately, your desired domain name may be taken as well. To avoid either of these situations sending you back to square one, come up with a list of possible business names rather than becoming too focused on a particular name immediately.
We’ve all shopped on Amazon, and we all know that the company’s reach is far and wide. So why not get in on the action yourself? By signing up to be an Amazon Affiliate, you can earn a commission every time someone coming from your niche website purchases products on Amazon. Amazon niche websites are different than a standard affiliate website, in that the site focuses on one single type of product, like hair dryers, treadmills or microphones. Niche websites have a better chance of being found by search engines like Google and Bing, and by ecommerce storepers who know exactly what they are looking for. Although an Amazon niche website still requires some heavy lifting on the front end (buying a domain, setting up hosting, designing the site, link building and so on). Once it is up and running, you can easily duplicate the website and start earning passive income by selling a variety of products.

You may decide to create free videos as extra content for your blog, and not sell them at all. If this is the case then you can still make money from these videos by selling advertising space on them (in the same way as discussed for monetizing podcasts). Once you have high volumes of traffic visiting your blog, and watching your videos, you can charge businesses to advertise at the beginning of your videos. Use website’s like Izea to help you connect with companies willing to pay to advertise on your blog.
For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is an exciting journey, but it’s also new terrain that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. Maybe you’ve tried starting your own business before, or maybe you're planning your very first one. Regardless, every new business will present its own unique opportunities and challenges.
Marketing. When operating as a consultant, you won’t necessarily be marketing your company; you’ll be marketing yourself. You’ll have to “package” yourself in a way that makes people trust you. For instance, if you’re marketing yourself as a financial consultant, ask yourself why someone would trust you with their life savings, and then figure out a way to convey that to potential clients. It might be in the form of a brochure, a portfolio, a sales letter, or all three.

It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.
I may as well start with something I know well. When I started out as a freelance writer 20 years ago, things were very different. I wrote mostly for magazines, and I had to rely on snail mail to send out drafts and queries. I’d wait weeks for a response from my editors. Not many people had the patience for it, and few stuck around long enough to ever start earning a real income from it.
Service. Another key aspect of successful B&Bs is the level of service that the hosts provide. You’re not just offering room and board, but an experience. If they need help planning a day seeing the sites, offer to sit down with them and help them plan their itinerary. If a businessperson needs copies for a presentation, offer to go and make them. Remember, your job as host will be to make your guests’ stays as comfortable and pleasurable as possible. If you succeed, they’ll remember you the next time they travel through your town.
Proz.com is a site where you can get paid to translate all kinds of documents, including files and even conversations. The site provides you with an opportunity to list your services as a translator. They offer opportunities in Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and other languages, and specialize in legal, medical, technical and other fields.
Buy and sell domain names. If you’re good at finding popular yet undiscovered domain names, you can make some cash on the side by buying and reselling websites. Think of it as digital real estate speculation. Domains are available on GoDaddy.com for as little as $2.99 per year, but are sometimes resold at far higher prices: According to Business Insider, the site MM.com sold for $1.2 million dollars in 2014. Once you find the perfect domain name to resell, you can market it on Flippa.com for a flat fee.
Getaround is the sharing economy's answer to rental agencies. The company allows you to rent out your car on an hourly or daily basis, starting at $5 an hour. Depending on your vehicle's market value, you set the price per hour, and Getaround takes a 40% cut to cover 24/7 roadside assistance and driver insurance. According to the Getaround, earning potential for renting your car when you're not using it is up to $1,000 a year.
User-friendly App: Decluttr is a mobile-ready platform made for selling on the go. The mobile app is a great help when you’re hunched over miscellaneous boxes in your dank basement or sweltering attic. You can use the app to scan in your items directly and utilize Decluttr’s “valuation engine” to quickly and easily see exactly how much you can earn. Many popular online selling platforms, including eBay and Amazon, are designed first and foremost with desktop and laptop users in mind.
I have 3 VAs. I couldn’t function without them. It doesn’t matter how big or how small a business is, they all need help running their day-to-day administrative tasks. Virtual assistants perform a variety of tasks that a traditional assistant or secretary would normally do, including making travel arrangements, paying bills, or managing expense reimbursements. I use them to upload content, optimize images, brief writers etc.
While some might think that starting a blog is an arduous effort, when you understand the precise steps you need to take, it becomes far easier. It all starts in the decision of choosing a profitable niche and picking the right domain name. From there, you need to build your offers. You can easily sell things like mini-email courses, full-blown trainings, ebooks, and so on.

When I started my first online business back in 2008 (GreenExamAcademy.com, formerly IntheLEED.com), the idea was to help aspiring architects pass the LEED certification exam. I hardly spent any money at all. All I did was start a blog, which at the time cost $6.95 per month for webhosting, and I used Bluehost. (As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Bluehost. And, because I have an affiliate relationship with them, you can get your business website going for much less than where I began, starting at only $2.75 per month!) [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]


Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons.[27] eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service, refunds and so on. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. Sound like a lot of work? Sure, it is. Especially if you do it all on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not. 
Modern technology has enabled entrepreneurs to do their work from almost anywhere. In fact, many companies operate in a wholly digital environment, lowering overhead costs and offering freedom to entrepreneurs who want to conduct business on the move. Creating an online business is simply a matter of focusing on your strengths and expanding your network. Here are 12 great online business ideas to get you started.

Manage social media for businesses. If you have a knack for social media, you could potentially get paid to manage various platforms for others. Many businesses are too busy running day-to-day operations to stay on top of their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts – and will pay someone with the knowledge and time to do it for them. To find these jobs, ask local businesses and check sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
Most people think that you need to have a lot money stocked away before getting started with investing in real estate, but that isn’t true. In fact, you can start with with as little as $500 by using a platform like Fundrise. Fundrise allows investors of all types (beginners and experts alike) to invest directly in a real estate portfolio that’s managed by a team of professionals.

Job Boards. When you’re first starting out, you’ll have to go looking for work, and the best place to do that is on one of the online job boards. Places like Guru, Elance, Freelancer, and oDesk are today’s writers’ best friends. They allow individuals and businesses to post projects, and freelancers to bid on them. Take a look around the sites, sign up for the free access in the beginning, and then begin to place bids on the projects that interest you. It will take some trial and error to find your groove, but once you do, the jobs will start to roll in.


You might be desperate for work, but don’t necessarily jump at an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. In my article about common Craigslist scams, I wrote about fake employers who “hire” new employees, then “accidentally” send them too much pay. They’ll ask their victims to wire back the difference, but a few weeks later, when the bank discovers that the initial check is a fraud, the “employee” is on the hook for hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Even if you don't have your own products or services to sell, affiliate marketing gives you a chance to earn strong commissions through a series of one-time sales (or ongoing monthly sales). Online merchants provide you with an affiliate website (or a simple affiliate tracking link) and marketing support – all you have to do is promote the company with your link via social media, search engines or perhaps ideally your own website or blog (see above).
Creating your own food blog, will not only be fun but done well it should also be profitable. Link your site to affiliate cooking products, sell your food photos, create and sell your own physical cookbook, or launch a cooking app. Equally, you could turn your cooking blog into a membership site. You would then share all your content, including recipes, how to videos, food photographs, and much more, with only your paid up members.

When I started my first online business back in 2008 (GreenExamAcademy.com, formerly IntheLEED.com), the idea was to help aspiring architects pass the LEED certification exam. I hardly spent any money at all. All I did was start a blog, which at the time cost $6.95 per month for webhosting, and I used Bluehost. (As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Bluehost. And, because I have an affiliate relationship with them, you can get your business website going for much less than where I began, starting at only $2.75 per month!) [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
Test websites. Remote usability testing means getting paid to navigate a website for the first time and giving feedback to the website owner. Most tests take approximately 15 minutes, and you can get paid up to $10 for each test. A test involves performing a scenario on the client’s website and recording yourself doing it. For example, you might be asked to go through the process of selecting and purchasing an item on a retailer’s website.[1]
One of the cool things about Google AdSense is that it's so easy to get set up. If you have a blog or website, you can sign up for a free Google AdSense Account. From there, Google will give you a unique code that you will paste onto your website. Google takes it from there, tracking your page views, traffic, and earnings on your behalf. There is no upkeep or maintenance to get this thing going, which makes it a no-brainer if you have a website already.
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