Now that I know I want to pursue some kind of online business, I need to figure out what my online business will be.
There are many different ways to make money online. But be warned, it’s not as easy as the “work at home” advertisements make it out to be. It will take research, time, startup capital and commitment. There are some strategies that you can employ to increase the chance of success through different fishing strategies. Before we go too deep into what that means, let’s look at some of the top income producing online ventures.
Top Five Online Business Ideas
1. Write an EBook
This is a very lucrative field if you can find the write combinations (pun intended). Like most ventures that surround content writing, doing the appropriate research (keyword or topic) is the key to success. Most EBooks are about 10k-25k words long and could be considered glorified blogs. A great example of making a living off of writing EBooks is Steve Scott. Steve found his writing niche within the world of “habits”. As you can see from his published income reports, he is easily pulling in a five digit income per month.
2. Build Authority and Niche Sites
Spencer Haws and Pat Flynn are both great examples of Internet Marketers that have made fortunes building websites using AdSense and Affiliate marketing. Today they have expanded their empires beyond simple niche sites, but still, they have set the gold bar to attain to within this realm.
Most of these kind websites usually involve being built around a long tail keyword that ranks well and has a low competition.
Niche sites are much smaller in nature and can range from 1-30 pages or more. Authority sites take it a step further and try to be all encompassing for a particular area.
While I believe it is possible to create “set and forget” types of websites to produce a passive income, it’s getting harder and harder to do so. Google is always getting smarter and I believe the days of quick and easy online $ through these target focused sites are slowing going away. With that said, lots of people are still profiting off of niche sites. These sites can be monetized is several different ways:
- Pay Per Click. This is where you place ads throughout your site and earn money when someone clicks on an ad. The idea is if you have 200 niche sites that are all pulling in $50 each, that’s equates to $10,000 a month. In my experience this is the most difficult way to produce an ROI from your efforts.
- Intangible Services. This is where you provide an online service with either a one time or reoccurring fee. That service could be an intangible product or some unique tool your site offers online. A good example is Sensor Tower. They specialize in online marketing tools for Android and IOS apps.
- Affiliate Marketing. This is where you link to different shopping products outside of your site. When people purchase said product, you earn a small cut from the overall payment. A good example of this is the Amazon Affiliate Program. These types of sites produce a higher ROI for your time and effort.
3. Build a Software Product.
There is a lot of money to be made in software products that save people time, especially when it comes to online marketing. Anything that makes some one’s life easier in a specific market has a chance of making quite a bit of money.
The simplest way to come up with the next killer software tool is to look at what’s popular now and innovate on it. This strategy works well for many people. Steve Jobs is a great example of being one of the best innovators of our time.
To help come up with some software ideas, take a look at what’s selling well now. This can be done through various online software marketing venues:
- Clickbank.com: Just skip straight to the marketing section
- Paydotcom.com: Not the best looking site, but very helpful coming up with software ideas
“Necessity is the mother of all invention” – Old English Proverb
If you don’t want to innovate on an existing product, then come out with something totally new and ground breaking. A lot of successful ideas simply come from living life, running head long into a problem and figuring out a solution to that problem. In most cases there are ten other people behind you that ran into the same problem without a proper solution.
4. Build or Flip an IOS & Android App.
Both Android and IOS markets are different beasts all together. In my experience Android users are not willing to pay for apps as much as IOS users are. ITunes connect has a crazy app approval system, while Google is a little more laid back. This results in poorer quality Android apps compared to IOS apps.
Games can bring in a quick $, but die off quickly. Creating tools and services have a longer ramp up time but tend to last longer and have a good ROI.
Monetizing apps can be difficult. You can charge an upfront fee for your app, but more and more people are not willing to spend up front money on apps anymore. Many publishers are moving toward more in app purchases, commonly known as “Freemium”. On the other hand you could offer the app for free and support it with in app ads.
A good app can be expected to bring in about $500 a month. Expect more misses than hits though.
Don’t be discouraged by the amount of apps out there. A strategy that a lot of people use is to find the most popular app and make it better or simpler. This can be very lucrative if done right.
If you need some ideas or just want to do some general app marketing research:
- AppCodes.com: A great batch of tools for App Store SEO (search engine optimization)
- SensorTower.com: I have used this service in the past. It’s a little expensive, but they do have some great store optimization tools.
- TopAppCharts.com: A great site to gleam different app ideas from. You can see what’s currently trending and what’s not.
A great way to make an existing app better is to read the user reviews of all the other similar apps. Find out what people are complaining about the most or requesting and incorporate those into your version of that app. I have had a lot of success innovating based off of that.
5. Sell Your Services
Are you decent at writing SEO driven content? Excellent graphic designer? Good at marketing and SEO? Proficient at writing code or building web pages? Perfect! There are lots of online sites that are setup to allow you to sell your skills. Two of the more popular freelance sites are Fiverr and Elance.
Freelancing your services can be a quick way to earn a little cash and provide an access point to get into the world of online entrepreneurship that may lead to your own unique ideas and business opportunities.
If you do decide to sell your services and you are presented with a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to sign, ensure that you read it fully and understand it. NDA’s can be crippling for your own endeavors. NDA’s for the most part are pretty standard and you will get used to understanding their formats. If anything looks suspicious, have the NDA looked at professionally. I made this mistake at my last job. The NDA I signed basically crippled any entrepreneurship I may ever have in a specific field. How I wish I could change that.
So How Do I …?
This is a hang up for a lot of people wanting to get started online. They have an idea but are not sure how to pursue it. Some people want to go into the lucrative world of affiliate marketing, but don’t know how to write engaging articles or even create a website. Some have a great idea for the next great app or piece of software, but they don’t know how to code. The good news is that there are a lot of sites that exist for this very purpose. If you have the money, it can be delegated.
General Purpose Hiring
- Fiverr.com : Great site for just about everything you can think of when it comes to an online business.
- Elance.com : A little more professional and expensive than Fiverr.com
I have used Fiverr quite often from graphic design to some limited marketing. Usually $5 per job. Be warned, there are lots of goose eggs on Fiverr, but every now and then you find a golden egg. You get what you pay for.
Need Some Content Written?
- TextBroker.com: For about $7 you can have a decent 500-700 work article written on the topic of your choice.
Need Something Custom Coded or an App Built?
- ChupaMobile.com: A great app template site. Here you can purchase a great starting app to finish building out to your own specs.
- SellMyApp.com: Lots of apps that are already completed. It’s easy to buy an app, tweak and resell it.
Trying to create an affordable website?
- Bluehost.com: They make deploying a new website as simple as a few clicks. I am currently using their WordPress setup for some of my affiliate sites.
Of course knowing how to develop or write content on your own is a plus and will save you money in the long run. I myself am a developer and already know how to program in multiple languages, build IOS and Android apps and can build a variety of websites from scratch. Unfortunately it’s not beneficial for me to always build my own projects. I have to ride that fine line between saving a few dollars by building it in house or saving time by hiring someone to build it for me.
Should I Diversify My Projects?
If there is one thing I have gleamed from reading other online entrepreneur experiences is that you should never put all your eggs in one basket. Four years ago, building niche sites was one of the simplest ways to make money online. Lots of people were making five figures a month, until the Google penguin and panda updates. There have been many folks who have literally lost thousands of dollars over night (and sometimes whole businesses) because of a Google algorithm change or having their AdSense account banned without much of a reason given.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None.
In my last job I was the lead engineer for a website that sold intangible products online. As the web and software engineer I was a jack of all trades, master of none. I could work on anything from databases, IT, back end server code, all the way to front end technologies, SEO and windows software products. While it’s great having a skill set like that, I never truly felt like an expert in any one field. The same could be said about diversification within internet entrepreneurship. While it is important to diversify your business, it shouldn’t be done at the expense of quality control. There is a healthy balance that you need to keep.
The art of this game is being able to diversify yourself enough to prevent a total loss from having all your eggs in one basket, but at the same time to not spread your business focuses out so far that your products start to loose quality.
The Fishing Strategy
When you fish, you tend to move around trying to find the “hot spot” or fishing hole. Once the fish start biting, you focus on that area until you get your fish. I look at online ventures the same way. With so many online opportunities to choose from it can be difficult to choose what too focus on. My personal fishing strategy involves building a few projects from each arenas that compliment my existing skill sets. Once a project starts getting nibbles, Ill focus on it and help it grow. Right now I’m focusing on:
- Niche Affiliate Sites
- Android and IOS Apps
- Custom Software Tools
I am spreading my projects and effort’s out so that if anyone of them fails, the others will still be actively helping pay the bills. There is a tradeoff which I alluded to earlier and that’s the lack of shine. There is something to be said when you can focus all your creative energies into one online field, but then you run the risk of losing it all over a simple Google update. The more I can diversify the better, but not at the expense of quality.
Do you employ any kind of fishing strategies for your own online endeavors?