Are you looking for online business ideas to make extra income on the side? The internet offers a lot of opportunities to start a business or find fulfilling careers. In this article, we will show some of the proven and easy to start online business ideas that actually make money.
Why Start an Online Business?
Technology is often blamed for killing traditional businesses and jobs. However, at the same time, these new technologies are creating tons of new jobs and business opportunities ready to be taken by anyone.
Starting an online business is easier than ever. You can do it from the comfort of your home with just a computer and an internet connection. There is no need to invest huge amounts of money to get started.
Caution: If someone tells you that you can invest A LOT of money and take a shortcut / get rick quick, then it’s likely a scam. Stay away from it.
The ideas we’re sharing in this article are about building legitimate online businesses, and you’ll still have to work hard to succeed.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the proven and easy to start online business ideas that actually make money.
1. Start a Blog and Make Money From It
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.
While you can start a blog in less than 30 minutes, you will need to work on it to make it a success. You will have to offer useful, entertaining, and engaging content to your audience on a regular basis (see our step by step guide on how to start a blog).
Luckily, there are tons of blog post ideas that you can use to consistently create content. As your blog grows, you will be able to monetize it using other strategies as well.
You will also be able to and use it as a platform to launch other online businesses.
2. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketers make sale commissions by recommending other people’s products or services.
Most affiliate marketers recommend these products and services by running their own blogs, websites, and email lists. They need to learn different online marketing strategies like SEO and content marketing to build an audience.
To get started, follow our ultimate affiliate marketing guide with step by step instructions for beginners.
3. Create and Sell Online Courses
If you are particularly good at something, then why not teach others and make a career out of it? Selling online courses is another popular way to start an online business.
A lot of users prefer to quickly acquire skills and knowledge by joining online courses. Creating an online course has become a lot easier with the help of LMS software. These platforms allow you to create interactive courses with easy to manage tools for classes, students, course material, and more.
The best part is that you don’t have to write a single line of code to build a course website.
To get started, see our guide on how to create an online course with WordPress.
4. Build an Ecommerce Store
Selling things online had never been easier. Anyone can easily create an online store in minutes and start selling products.
These products can be physical goods (things that need shipping) or digital downloads like eBooks, music, software, and more.
Before getting started, you need to do your research. Here are some tips to help you brainstorm ideas:
- Find a niche with high demand and low competition
- Think of ways you will make your eCommerce store standout by doing things that other eCommerce stores are not doing.
- Think of the costs involved in getting products from the manufacturer to customers. Choose a pricing model, so that your products can compete and offer great value to your customers. Last, but not the least, your profit margins must be reasonable enough to ensure that your business can sustain and grow in the long run.
You also need to choose a platform for your eCommerce store. The easiest way to get started is by using Shopify or WooCommerce. They are both great platforms. We have created a comparison with their pros and cons (see Shopify vs WooCommerce to learn more).
To get started, see our step by step guide on how to create an online store in less than 30 minutes.
5. Build a Membership Website
Membership websites make money by selling subscriptions with access to premium content and community features. Instead of relying on advertising revenue, you can allow your users to directly support your website with paid memberships.
There are many types of membership websites. For example, some membership websites give users access to exclusive members-only content. Others give users access to community features like a forum, Facebook group, or Slack group.
You will need to find a suitable niche for your membership website. It needs to be valuable enough for users to pay for it.
There are plenty of membership software that can help you easily build any kind of online community. You can choose different subscription models, manage users, receive online payments, and more.
To learn more, see our ultimate guide to build a membership website with step by step instructions for beginners.
6. Make a Drop Shipping Website
Drop shipping combines affiliate marketing and eCommerce. Basically, you create an online store to sell other people’s product for a commission. You will be running an online store without managing the inventory or shipping.
The biggest advantage of running a drop shipping business is the low barrier to entry, minimum investment, and little to no hassle. However, one disadvantage is that you will be working hard to sell other people’s products at a smaller profit margin.
Most drop shipping businesses eventually start selling their own products to diversify their business and increase their profits.
7. Make an Online Job Board
Another way to make money online is by building a job hunt website. A job board website helps connect job seekers with employers for a small fee.
There are plenty of online job search engines, which means you will need to find a particular niche to make your job board stand out. For example, you can create a job board specifically for web developers or pet sitters.
You can charge a small fee for each job listing posted by employers, offer companies packages to post multiple listings or charge job seekers to upload their resumes.
There are plenty of job board plugins for WordPress allowing you to easily run your own job board business.
8. Create a Micro-Job Website
A micro-job website allows you to make money by connecting employers to freelancers and contractors. This allows you to make money based on the overall price of the job listed. Popular micro-job posting websites like Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, UpWork, and others generate millions of dollars in revenue each year.
Basically, you will be acting as a middle-man between the employers and freelancers. You will be paid by employers for each job, and after taking your commission, you will pay the rest to the freelancers upon completion of the job.
To get started, see our beginner’s guide on how to start a micro-job website like Fiverr with WordPress.
9. Become an SEO Speciliast
SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps website owners get more visitors from search engines. It is a skill that requires continuous learning and keeping up with the latest trends. SEO specialists can run their own agencies, work as freelancers, or join a company as a full-time employee.
You can become an SEO specialist by running your own successful websites or by getting certifications online. You can find clients on freelancing websites like UpWork and Freelancer.com.
SEO is a very competitive industry, and you will need to make the most out of the best SEO tools available on the market. You would also need to learn the basic WordPress SEO techniques, keyword research tools, and content-marketing tools.
10. Make a Food or Recipe Blog
Food and recipe blogs are a lucrative blogging niche and a great online business opportunity. Food and recipe blogs use a variety of techniques to generate revenue like using Google AdSense, affiliate marketing, selling recipe books, or run an online store.
You will need to be passionate about food and cooking. It is a competitive niche, so you will need to think of the ways to make your food blog unique and interesting.
To get started, see our step by step guide on creating a food blog and making money from your recipes.