The internet may be the great equalizer of the entrepreneurial world. Depending on your industry, the barrier to entry can be minimal, and overhead is often low. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy; in a saturated platform, your product and business need to stand out.
To help get your creative juices flowing, WebRealEstate highlighted five online arenas with money-making potential.
Online resources like SCORE workshops and seminars and WebRealEstate’s guide to starting a small business can help new entrepreneurs find their footing.
Online business services can range from financial services such as bookkeeping and accounting to consulting. Some may require person-to-person interactions, but with today’s abundance of conferencing tools and online communication, it’s likely you can connect remotely.
Online is a great way to generate business, says Ryan BeMiller, founder of digital marketing website Shopping Signals. “You can establish yourself as an industry expert,” he says, and then sell that expertise to a business in need.
When thinking of online business ideas focus on your core area of expertise, your risk tolerance, what competitors are in the market and how long it would take you to enter that market, and how much money you have to get started.ANTARA DUTTA, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER AND SCORE VOLUNTEER
Often, when people think of online businesses, they think of e-commerce, or the ability to buy and sell products online. The industry has seen rapid growth over the years; according to Forrester Research, online retail sales grew four times faster than overall retail sales from 2015 to 2016.
When determining what to sell, however, take a niche approach. “You need to be appealing to a focused audience, especially when you start out,” BeMiller says.
Forrester’s study also found that toys and pet products were some of the fastest growing retail markets in 2016, so if you have a creative idea for Fido or a new toddler must-have, now’s your chance.
An added tip? Have a backstory. “The one good thing about online is that you have the ability to differentiate yourself visually and with language,” Dutta says. In a saturated market, telling a story gives you a chance to hook potential customers.
Affiliate marketing has become a way for anyone with an online presence to monetize content. From food blogs to comparison shopping sites, promoting someone else’s product can earn you a percentage of the sale.
Affiliate marketing’s little sister, internet influencing, has also started to become popular in the age of social media. If you’ve established a large following on sites such as Instagram or YouTube, you may get paid a set fee for promoting a company’s product. Though internet influencers don’t normally receive a share of the profits, one-time payments can add up.
Consumer electronics aren’t going anywhere, and advances in technology are inevitable. Tech-savvy entrepreneurs can benefit from the rise of the machines by establishing an online business to help people with online functions such as website design, app development or SEO optimization.
If you’re looking for more of a ready-made business package, consider buying an online franchise. More than just McDonald’s and Foot Locker, franchises can include companies that perform website design or business services, such as Background Screeners of America.