The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
Styling companies are springing up across the country and need fashion stylists to work with their clients. It’s like playing dress-up, but with a paycheck. Fashion stylists usually get their start working retail or costume design, but a love of fashion is the main requirement. With personal shopping sites like Stitchfix or Nordstrom’s Trunk Club, it’s possible to be a stylist right in your living room.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)
Rent out a room on Airbnb. Living near a tourist area has its perks, including the prospect of renting out a room for a profit. With home sharing sites like Airbnb, you can rent out a room in your home – or even the entire place – for a day, a week, or longer. If you have extra space and might enjoy the company of travelers, renting out a room is great way to earn some extra money with little effort on your part. See our post, “How to Make Money as an AirBNB Host.”
Do you know the ins and outs of search engines and have skills in platforms like Google Analytics? The owners of a lot of smaller companies don't realize how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. Educate those business owners on the power of SEO to help transform their websites into a more SEO-friendly property. Use your skills to show business owners how to read and use their analytics data the right way, and how to properly use keywords and structure content to get more traffic.
But, as I said, development costs money. For the Smart Podcast Player, it’s a plugin so it requires constant validation, testing, upgrades, and a solid customer support system in place, all of which costs money. If you have a plan to do something similar for your online business, you’ll need to think about this before you even get started so your processes are covered. Read about the lessons we learned in building the player and how we validated it before launch.
It’s an excellent opportunity to offer technical training courses that teach people how to learn a much-needed skill, or accomplish an important task. It could also prove to be an important testing ground for your educational courses. If you are able to market your course on the site, against direct competition, you may be able to direct marketing to the general public, using a website, videos, or even an affiliate marketing program.
Your Price. When establishing a price for your classes, start by calling around and finding out what other choices your clients have. If you plan to offer cooking classes, call some commercial establishments and other in-home teachers. Compare your own talent and experience to what they’re offering, and set a price accordingly. You should always come in a little lower than classes offered by commercial establishments as that will be one of your selling points: expert information for less money.
If you have experience as a personal assistant, secretary, admin assistant, or something in a similar field, then becoming an online PA may be a great role for you. Many professionals want someone to help organize their business and personal affairs. Jobs could include sending emails, managing financial affairs, booking flights and arranging day-to-day activities. If you are interested in this line of work there are many PA agencies that are crying out for reliable assistants.
You can find affiliate marketing offers on sites like ClickBank, CJ.com and Rakuten LinkShare, amongst many others. Search for the right offer and ensure that you present it to the right audience and don't spam people about it. Do your marketing ethically. If you're looking for more information on effective affiliate marketing, check out Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income website.
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.
Blogs are one of the most successful ways to start an online business. Bloggers like Darren Rowse, John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn are making six-figure incomes, and they are not alone. Our founder, Syed Balkhi, has built an eight-figure online business that started with a blog. There are also thousands of bloggers running very successful blogs as their full-time online business.
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.
Writing copy for websites is another great freelancing option for those who have a way with words. Copywriting can involve writing the text for websites, press releases, promotional offline materials including leaflets and brochures, and any other professional text for businesses. While writing blog posts is well paid it won’t make you as much money as writing copy for sales pages. However, clients can be more fussy, as they want the highest quality writing for the forefront of their website or advertising campaigns. Many freelance writers offer both copywriting and blog writing amongst their services. This can be a good way to juggle regular but lower paid clients (blogging) with the higher paid but ad-hoc project based copy work.