In today's wireless world, it's easier than ever to launch an Internet-based business. You can reach a wide national – sometimes international – client base and work from anywhere, armed with only a basic knowledge of website maintenance and a knack for communication. If you're ready to take the plunge into becoming an online entrepreneur, we've got 10 ideas to help you get off the ground.
1. Web design - Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout? If you know some HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients.
2. Resume/cover letter writing - It's a tough truth to swallow, but a standout resume and cover letter can make all the difference when you're applying to a job. While listing your career accomplishments might seem like an easy task, the fine art of “humble bragging” eludes some of us. Get hired to help others get hired by writing stellar CVs. Capitalize on the increasingly important social media branding bandwagon and offer to fix LinkedIn profiles as well.
3. Affiliate marketing - If you're a person that loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of them are willing to share a portion of their profit with persuasive individuals that will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.
4. Health/nutrition coach - When it comes to nutrition, Americans seem to have a mental block: According to the Centers for Disease Control nearly 70 percent of the adult population is overweight or obese, and many people that want to lose weight and eat better simply don't know where to start. You don't necessarily need to be a registered dietitian (RD) to offer meal plans and diet counseling to your client base, either. With the right combination of personal support and nutrition and exercise knowledge, you could be helping people get healthier through your online service.
5. eBook author - Have a ton of knowledge on a particular subject that you want to share with the public? With e-readers becoming more and more commonplace, self-publication is becoming a reality for many writers who might never get picked up by publishing companies. With the right marketing tools, you could successfully publish your own book on anything from cooking and weight loss to real estate. Inbound Pro’s advice from successful e-Book authors offers tips for writing content that sells.
6. Remote technical support - Many small businesses don't have room in their budget for a full-time IT employee, so when their systems go on the fritz, they'll usually call a computer whiz friend or family member. Eliminate their need to call in a favor and offer immediate remote technical assistance.
7. Virtual consignment store - Bargain hunters and thrift store enthusiasts can turn a nice profit reselling their vintage clothing finds. Brand yourself by setting up an independent website as your virtual storefront, but use a managed service like Google Checkout to handle transactions. High-resolution images and catchy copy for your products will make you stand out in the sea of Internet users trying to sell their used items. ICLabs put this startup idea on their list of tech industry trends for 2013.
8. Etsy shop – While you could run a clothing shop on Etsy, this platform is especially suited to crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items like crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. Startup costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn orders around quickly, you’ll be making a profit in no time at all. It’s even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.
9. Teaching online courses – You don’t need a degree in education to teach people how to do something you know inside and out. According to Fox, online course enrollment on the rise, you can help others enrich their lives by offering classes in an area you’re passionate about, like yoga or baking. Create instructional packets and videos for download from a website, or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients.
10. App development – Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation. [Road Map to an App: Creating an App for Your Business]