If you dream of starting an online business, but have no idea what to do, how to get started or whether you have the funds to make it happen, there are plenty of ways to start a low-cost business with high margins from the comfort of your own home.
According to research published by the Yorkshire Post, online businesses that are based from home add a whopping £300 billion to the economy, with more and more people dipping their toe into first-time entrepreneurship. It’s easy to see why. Starting an online business requires much less risk than opening an office or brick and mortar store and you won’t have to pay any business rates . It also allows you to reach a worldwide audience while working from anywhere you want, which is great if you need to fit your work around family life or studies, or if you just want to make some extra cash on the side of your job.
What’s more, setting up an online business doesn’t always take long. With some basic website knowledge and some savvy social media skills, you’ll be ready to go in no time! All you need then is the right venture, which is where we can help, with 8 profitable online business ideas to inspire your new career!
If you’re a keen writer with something valuable to say, then blogging might be for you. A great way to get started is by guest posting on someone else’s blog. This would not only allow you to test out your skills, but it would give you access to an already established audience, helping you to build a good reputation. Once you feel ready, it’s really easy to set up a blog of your own. Platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, Wix and Squarespace offer both free and paid services and give you step-by-step guides on how to build a blog to your desired specification. Once you have your site built, you’re all set to start blogging! There are lots of ways to make money from blogging, from advertising and sponsorships to becoming an affiliate marketer where you’re awarded commission on any sales you generate for the businesses you partner with (for how to get started check out sites such as Skimlinks). It may take time and work to build a following, but with great content, regular updates and as much exposure as you can get (social media can help with this!), blogging can become a very lucrative, very rewarding business.
2) Freelance Copywriter
While we’re on the subject of writing, offering up your copywriting skills on a freelance basis is a brilliant way to make a living, particularly as there are so many routes you can take. From email marketing, ghost-writing, CV’s, proofreading and copyediting, you only have to glance at sites such as freelancer.com and elance.com to see that plenty of companies are looking for part-time contract workers to fill their skill gaps. Depending on your writing style and how adaptable you are, you will have the freedom to choose your projects and could work for a number of companies in a variety of fields to ensure that no working day is ever the same.
3) Handmade Craft Seller
If you have a penchant for crafting and have often thought about selling your creations, online platforms such as Etsy, Amazon Homemade and ArtFire make it super easy to start your own craft business. Whether you specialise in jewellery, clothing, posters, mugs or homeware, selling online is relatively low cost, especially if you buy your materials in bulk and can turn round orders quickly using a reliable delivery service. If you’re going to sell on sites such as those mentioned above, you should take into consideration the fees that are charged to sell via these platforms. The best thing to do is to build the cost of those fees into your pricing so that they’re covered. This is especially beneficial if you’re planning to offer free delivery. Fees aside, what’s great about having an online shop is the potential to reach a worldwide customer base, which is something you might struggle to achieve if you chose to open a traditional brick and mortar store instead. The best bit about an online shop is that you can work from home, as long as you have access to the equipment and materials you need, a reliable computer and good strong coffee.
4) Virtual Assistant
Are you known for being organised and efficient? Perhaps you have a background working as a PA or administrator? These skills can easily be translated to the role of Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant is just like a PA except that you can work from home (skipping the rush-hour commute!) for a number of different clients. The role itself involves helping clients to run their business, tackling jobs such as responding to emails, online marketing, blogger outreach, research and report writing. Like most online businesses, you can decide on your rates. You could charge by the hour or by the project, depending on what works best for you and your client. What’s more, getting set up is fairly straightforward. Sites such as peopleperhour.com allow you to search and bid for projects across a wide range of industries. Of course, this can be quite competitive, so alternatively you could take a more strategic approach and set up your own website and target companies individually. Once you have a few clients under your wing, being a VA can be a flexible way to make a living.
5) Freelance Designer
If your speciality lies in either web design or graphic design, there are plenty of people out there who are looking for freelance designers. As a web designer, you could lend your skills to a client in need of a credible, easy-to-use website. A great way to attract those clients is by creating your own website to act as a shining example of what you can do. If you’re a graphic designer, your work could range from logo design and templates to print advertisement and branding. To get started, sites such as elance.com can help you make connections and score jobs. Once you have a steady stream of clients (and perhaps a website of your own to divert potential clients to), you can encourage word-of-mouth recommendations as well as promoting your services on social media to help grow your business.
6) Social Media Manager
Fancy yourself a bonafide social media whizz? Thanks to a lack of time, knowledge or resources, many companies are looking for help to manage their social media platforms and transform their online presence. If you can show that you’re social media savvy (perhaps you yourself have a large social following?), that you can engage clients, attract new followers, create marketing strategies and deliver results, then you could carve a rewarding career out of social media management. To get started, define what sets you apart from others. Perhaps you have a unique tone of voice, come from an interesting background or have a flair for creating stand-out imagery? The demand to be innovative is key in social media, so let your individuality shine! The next step is to start networking and to target businesses who would benefit from what you can bring to the table. Once you’ve made connections, built a portfolio and reached a certain level of experience, you may even be asked to host workshops and speak at conferences or events. If you’d rather focus on making money from your own social media profiles, there are ways you can do this too by posting valuable content, growing your followers and having brands sponsor you. With social media users expected to reach 2.95 billion by 2020 (according to statista.com), it’s an industry with huge money-making potential, so if social media management sounds like something you could do, it’s an opportunity not to be missed!
7) Uber Taxi Driver
Not exactly a work-from-home online business, but premium taxi service Uber is an internet based company and by becoming an Uber driver, you’ll be able to set your own schedule, drive your own car, be your own boss and get paid instantly for every pickup. In case you haven’t used Uber before, it works using an app on which customers can request a ride. Drivers in the area are then notified and can accept the job. When they accept, the app provides information about the driver to the customer which helps both driver and customer connect at the pickup point. The fare is then automatically calculated once the drop off is complete and the customer is charged to the payment method linked to the app. How it works for drivers is simply the more you drive, the more you earn! You’ll be paid weekly and fares are calculated based on how far and how long the trip takes to complete, plus fees that are charged to riders. Applying to be a driver is easy. Simply visit their website and fill out an application form. You’ll then be given a criminal background check and vehicle inspection. Once these have been completed, you’re all set to start making money, choosing your own hours and committing to as much or as little as you’d like!
8) Business Coach
Do you have ample experience and knowledge in the business sector? You could offer your know-how as a business coach to help new business owners get off the ground. Platforms like LinkedIn are a great place to start making connections. You could launch a business blog and share your posts, write articles for various publications and showcase your skills across various social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. The more people you can reach with useful content and tips, the more people will see you as an authoritative, knowledgeable source. The key then is to network and target the types of businesses who would benefit from your mentoring. Building your coaching business may take time, hard graft and dedication, but with 78% of organisations looking to carry out leadership development activities and 87% saying they’ve been regularly running coaching courses (according to trainingjournal.com), business coaching is in demand, with plenty of opportunities to turn it into a fully-fledged career.
Do you run an online business? If so let us know what your business does on Twitter using @instantprint.