Modern technology has enabled entrepreneurs to do their work from almost anywhere. In fact, many companies operate in a wholly digital environment, lowering overhead costs and offering freedom to entrepreneurs who want to conduct business on the move. Creating an online business is simply a matter of focusing on your strengths and expanding your network. Here are 12 great online business ideas to get you started.
Believe it or not, a really easy, frequently undervalued strategy for getting traffic is giving away free content to other websites. Even just two or three well-written articles can generate truckloads of traffic, as long as they don’t contain a sales pitch. You want to include rare, hard-to-get information that’ll lend your articles automatic value–the kind of information that establishes you as an expert in your field.
Packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that delivers value to those seeking to learn a skill, advance in their careers, or start their own businesses, makes for a strong value proposition if you target the right audience. Check out Leslie Samuel's great guide to selling eBooks online and start building your strategy around this side  business idea. This class with Tara Gentile on CreativeLive will also show you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Put in some serious work with your eBook, build an audience and you'll have a platform to pitch traditional publishers on landing a book deal—then you can write one of the best business books and really build your personal brand.

In most states in the U.S., a notary public is a state officer who is authorized to witness and attest to the legalities of certain documents by signature and stamping a seal. Most states require that you pass an exam and a background check. It costs very little to become a notary and your income from notary work is negligible. A justice of the peace typically performs wedding ceremonies. States have varying rules and procedures for becoming a JP and performing services. Becoming a JP and/or notary public does not cost much money. And it is not a big moneymaking venture! Many states set the fees you can charge for JP services. JPs can add additional fees, and often do, including travel and hourly rates for additional meetings such as rehearsals, other prep time and any special requests.
In the U.S., ecommerce spending totalled $97.3 billion in the second quarter of 2016 alone, an increase of 4.5 percent from the first quarter of 2016 (U.S. Census Bureau News). Online sales in the United States are expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years, up 56% from $335 billion in 2015, Forrester Research Inc. says. Canadian companies sold more than $136 billion in goods and services online in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier, according to Statistics Canada. Obviously more people than ever are shopping online.
Do you have a way with words? Freelance copywriting is a good way to make money working from home. Companies large and small will pay someone handsomely to take basic information and add a bit of flair. If a smooth turn of phrase has been known to come forth from your pen, freelance copywriting might just be for you. It takes networking, but once you have a portfolio to show your worth, you'll be able to prove to clients that you're exactly the writer they need. And, as a bonus, if you're naturally inquisitive and love storytelling, you might be able to spin your copywriting gig into a career as a freelance journalist.
4. Work where you’re most productive, even if it’s outside of your home. “Sometimes home is not the right place and work is not the right place—even when they are the same place,” says Stephanie Staples, a personal coach and motivational speaker. “I need a third location. For example, a donut shop, library—somewhere that even though other things are going on, I don’t have to pay attention or care about it. It is the power of the third location; I think differently, work differently, act differently there, and it really helps me.”
I spent an evening playing with the host's online demonstration. After 10 minutes, I worked out how to change the website template, pictures and text. In my haste, however, 10 minutes later I had to discover how to recover a broken website by opening and reading the manual for the first time. My wife will testify that this isn't something I do often. I was amazed how easy the program was to use. It is just like using MS Publisher or Google Docs and requires no knowledge of HTML coding.
On top of just the skill and experience components to being a successful online coach, this side business idea is all about building a community around the help you're offering and fostering trust with members. Plus, your community members will learn from each other along the way. Creating the space for that community can be as simple as setting up a private Facebook group or choosing a community-building platform like Ning.com that has even more capabilities like using your own custom URL, having internal forums, customized designs, and more.

But it’s also easier for consumers to compare similar products, which makes your ability to differentiate yourself more important. For instance, if you decide to use Etsy to sell handcrafted cutting boards, when a potential customer searches for cutting boards on the site, they’ll wade through potentially hundreds or thousands of relatively similar listings.


Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
Choosing the path of entrepreneurship, and working on your side business idea, is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job. It requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money with your business idea than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it. So, let’s talk business ideas.

Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off (Insure.com went for $16 Million in 2009) there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as your side business idea. But beware: some experts doubt the long-term viability of this business idea, so you shouldn’t quit your day job just to put all your effort into this one without some successes already in the bag. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names. Imagine owning desirable domain names for the next decade's most innovative companies.
If you know how to make jewelry, there’s really no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long held appeal for collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge to setting up a jewelry business might be running the business itself—just making beautiful things won’t be enough to sustain the operation. Study up on what it takes to run a jewelry business and then make it happen. A great place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay
There are many advantages to starting a home-based business, including lower overhead and the ability to ramp up slowly. And it’s important to point out that starting off at home doesn’t limit your growth potential. In fact, the long list of large corporations that started as home businesses includes: Amazon, Disney, Google, Hewlett Packard, Ford Motor Company, and Mary Kay Cosmetics.
The other thing that got me hamstrung in the beginning was the perfection trap that someone above mentioned as well. Good lord, the time I wasted tweaking and fretting and editing something “just one more time” before getting it out the door! I mean you wanna do the best work you can, but sheesh, you also gotta ship. So at the beginning of the year when I chose my 3 “words” or themes for the year, number one was “implementation.”
You can also use an all-inclusive ecommerce web service. Sites such as Shopify and Volusion offer competitive packages, with free templates, custom packages, credit card processing, and more. Ecommerce web services makes it easy to sell your products on the web, without a lot of overhead. There are no custom interfaces or templates to work with; you simply create an online store within the framework of the service.
5) Personal fulfillment – Running your own business online can be a very rewarding and gratifying experience. No matter how big or how small your idea is, by doing something you’re passionate about, your journey to success can be much easier and fulfilling. Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest says, “If Google teaches you anything, it’s that small ideas can be big.”
Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Yuletide, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, 4th of July, Mother’s Day. There are a ton of traditional holidays that count as solid reasons to explore the side business idea of crafting and selling seasonal decorations. After all, people and businesses pay good money for them. In fact, total sales of Christmas trees in the U.S. alone amounted to a whopping $1.04 billion in 2014. And you still have holiday lights, nativity scenes, crafted hangings, baskets, wreaths, and other decorations to cover, making this a potentially year-round seasonal side business idea.
To improve your chances of success in business, it’s essential that you do your homework and research your business idea. Identify your target market and analyze the competition. To find a profitable niche for your home-based internet business, you have to find the crossroads between what people want and what you’re passionate about. John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing said it best: “Bring the best of your authentic self to every opportunity.”
There are a lot of items that can be purchased very inexpensively at garage sales or thrift stores and sold for higher prices elsewhere. A few years ago I discovered that I could purchase good hardcover books at my local thrift shop for $1 or less. I realized that some of them could be sold on Amazon.com for $15-$20, which turns out to be a pretty decent profit.
This is a perfect business idea for trained accountants who would like to work from home, although it is not necessary to be a Certified Public Accountant in order to become a freelance bookkeeper—it’s just necessary to have the background knowledge that bookkeeping courses at any community college can offer. This kind of freelance work is especially helpful for small businesses that do not need or cannot afford a fulltime bookkeeper, making it possible for you to have full time work through several smaller clients. Median salary: $34,000.
You are not going to be able to start a manufacturing business in a residential neighbourhood, for example, and any business that involves a lot of clients coming and going is sure to upset the neighbours. See What You Need to Know Before You Start a Home Based Business for more about the factors you need to consider before starting a business in your home.
If you are new to entrepreneurship, you can enroll in business start-up classes offered at area schools, colleges, or government SBDCs, Women’s Business Centers, and local SCORE offices. Consult with a professional organizer, a time management specialist, and/or a computer consultant to set up an efficient workspace, schedule, and an operational system with the best technology and communications for your type of business.
The whole “building an audience” is challenging for me. I’m not much of a blog subscriber myself, and so I’m really not quite sure what makes a blog tasty enough for someone to subscribe to. I solve more of a technical business problem… one of those things that if you need it, you REALLY need it now. And if you don’t need it, then you’re not really interested in getting weekly updates talking about it (I would imagine).
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76. Create a sustainable routine that signals the beginning and the end of the work day. “One of my earliest clients was a software coder, and he would go to the local diner early in the morning to look at the paper, eat breakfast, and [hang out] with locals. Then he would code for seven hours, and when his wife came home from her job they would take a walk, and that was the end of the workday—no more coding until the next morning,” says McGraw.
Also, keep in mind that there isn’t really one platform that works for every type of business. Take the time to research the best one for you. If you’re selling art or crafts, look for a platform that is used by other artists. If you’re selling used comic books, look for a platform that attracts lots of shoppers looking to buy used comic books. And read the fine print. Almost every platform has its own list of prohibited items.
But be wary. Food service—even a delivery service, which is the most likely scenario for home bakers, as opposed to setting up a storefront—comes with built-in risks. Prepare yourself, and read up on your local insurance requirements. And don’t be afraid to start out by making just one or two really great treats. Consistency is more important than variety in the baking business.
Your goal in conducting preliminary market research is to choose a product or service that will be in demand by potential customers; and to size-up your competitors so you will know how to make your business standout from theirs. Look especially for those people whose needs are not being met by larger companies. Business experts label these “niche markets,” and fulfilling their wants are making many solo entrepreneurs rich.
Remember: It can take up to seven points of contact to make a single sale, so you’ll want to begin collecting visitors’ contact information from day one using an opt-in form on your home page. Then send them e-mail messages to follow up and keep them thinking about your site. Need some ideas for e-mails you could send to follow up with your opt-in subscribers? Try these ideas:
As a start-up, you shouldn’t be spending more than is necessary. Your website should look good and be easy to use and find information. It should not be overly expensive to create. In fact, as a small online business it might be better to direct your funds elsewhere, especially if you have concerns about cash flow in the company. Save your money for marketing your business online.
Websites aren't too dissimilar to stocks. Many are junk, but some can generate value for you, making it a strong potential business idea if you have an eye for spotting the diamond in the rough That’s why, like stocks, they are bought and sold all the time. You can buy and sell websites as a side business  idea in the hope of generating future earnings based on their user traffic, current revenue intake, domain name, or some other factors that might be a hidden cash cow everyone else has overlooked. Interested? Check out marketplaces like Flippa and Flipping Enterprises to learn more.
Focus on what makes you stand out. If you’re using an ecommerce marketplace, pay particular attention to the quality of the images you use on your page. Good product photography can set your listing apart. But remember, hosting your own ecommerce site isn’t a free pass for using mediocre images either. Either way, customers will rely on images to form an opinion about your product or service’s value.
When I used to work at CreativeLive, I regularly paid $250-$500 (or even much more depending upon audience size) per episode for 90 seconds worth of advertisements on relevant podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast right now from the 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss. The podcast has even helped Tim launch his latest New York Times bestseller, Tools of Titans to a wider readership.
10. Avoid going into business before you know you have a winning idea. “A good way to vet this is also a method of bootstrapping: Apply for grants. If your idea is good enough to become a successful startup, it’s good enough for someone else to help with development,” advises Amy Baxter, founder of MMJ Labs, which makes reusable, inexpensive products for personal pain control. “Programs such as local university incubators, Huggies MomInspired, Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, and even Small Business Innovation Research grants can bankroll part of your R&D.”
If you are new to entrepreneurship, you can enroll in business start-up classes offered at area schools, colleges, or government SBDCs, Women’s Business Centers, and local SCORE offices. Consult with a professional organizer, a time management specialist, and/or a computer consultant to set up an efficient workspace, schedule, and an operational system with the best technology and communications for your type of business.
If you want to speed up the process of launching your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like Bluehost, choosing a simple WordPress theme and working on your first post, in order to set the precedent of prioritizing your time on creating content, connecting with (and building) your audience. Then once you've been able to build a community around your blog, you'll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
Keep your clients well informed: When clients spend their money on you, they want to be kept apprised of your progress, not only to stay in touch with the project, but also to keep a watchful eye out for problems before they get out of hand. Do your clients a favor, and keep them informed about your project’s progress. Whether the news is good or bad, your clients and customers will appreciate your forthrightness and candor.
Just about every company has a website that has the potential to collect data from its customers. Furthermore, many businesses store their customers' data, personal information – even credit card numbers – in their company computers. But, how many smaller firms can honestly say they know the data is safe from identity thieves and hackers? Most small companies can't afford to hire a full-time data security specialist. That's where your home-based security consulting business comes in. If you've got a background in IT, you could be working as a consultant helping small businesses shore up their data security.
There are loads of job listings for freelancers on major job boards, and you can always advertise your services (and look for work) on craigslist or LinkedIn. Once the jobs start rolling in, don’t be afraid to go to previous clients and ask for more work. Steady work is the best work for freelancers. If all else fails at first, just write. Start a blog. Build clips. Get writing!
Thanks for sharing these top 10 mistakes. Sometimes I think these “top failures/mistakes” posts are even more helpful than the usual “top 10 best advices” type of posts, since they give people concrete ideas about what they should avoid. For me, the biggest setback was and still is number 7, wasting too much time thinking and not enough doing. One of my favorite quotes regarding this is by Napoleon: “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.”
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