How to make money online as an entrepreneur with nothing or little investment?
What are the best-recommended profitable ways on how to make money online?
What business models should you choose to monetize your blog or website for a good profit?
What are the most common entrepreneurial profitable ways on how to make money online?
How to build an online business with little knowledge?
I am sure you can’t wait to hear the answer.
Stay with me …
I will shortly, reveal to you my top 7 recommended business models on how to make money online, and build a successful business from scratch with no prior business experience or knowledge.
#1: Affiliate Marketing
The king of the internet and is by far the quickest method on how to make money online for many bloggers and internet marketers.
If done right can be very lucrative and profitable.
It involves promoting other companies’ products or services by placing affiliate links on your website where you will have to drive traffic to the affiliate companies’ offers to attract buyers.
It requires fewer startup costs as most of the work will be done by the affiliate companies you have signed up with such as products’ creation, delivery, customer service, and web hosting.
It is highly recommended creating your own website to promote your offers, as you will have full control of what affiliate links you want to promote as well as being able to brand yourself as an authority in your chosen niche.
Having said that, if you happen not to have a blog or a website, you will still be able to promote your offers using other means.
All you need is an audience and it doesn’t have to be a huge one.
Such as promoting your affiliate links on social media platforms like:
Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, Facebook groups, Podcasts, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Paid Advertising or via Email Marketing.
So long as you have an effective sales funnel and a good amount of traffic, you should be able to do well with this model.
Ensure whatever products or services you signed up for is related to your niche.
This is so when you make recommendations to your audience to make a purchase of something you are promoting, it does not look weird and spammy.
For example, if your business is in weight loss, you should recommend products relating to weight loss and not something that is unrelated to your niches like accounting or investments.
In addition to that, you must be aware of the FTC guidelines you need to follow when you place affiliate links on your site, via email marketing or other digital platforms.
To learn more about these guidelines, refer to Entrepreneur Friend’s Affiliate Disclaimer.
Affiliate marketing can be done full or part-time, it all depends on how much time and effort you want to dedicate to it.
You may also want to explore:
- FREE Training: How To Get 10K Subscribers To Your List In 90 Days
- Video Marketing: Grow Your Business With Videos – Try NOW for FREE
Make money recommending Wealthy Affiliate products.
Genuine, authentic, affordable and offer the best training program and support community for online entrepreneurs I have ever come across. You really get value for your investment.
They teach you everything, step by step and you will never feel like you are left out on your own to struggle.
If you are prepared to do the work, you will reap the rewards and can become very knowledgeable in ways you have never imagined.
You will need to sign-up for Amazon’s affiliate program based on your geographical location, for example, the US, Canada, UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, India, Japan or Australia.
#2: Digital Products
Selling digital information products in the form of an e-book, video, amazon kindle, membership sites, e-courses, webinars, social media post templates, graphic designs, cheat sheets, stock photos, printables, and audiobooks.
This is also one of the most effective and best passive ways to make money online.
You can easily turn your hobby or passion into a profitable business.
If you have knowledge, expertise, experience in a particular area or an interesting story to share…
You can capitalize on it by productizing it into a digital product to satisfy the needs or solve the problems of your audience.
The downside, it could take a bit of time perhaps (weeks) to create a product and bring it to market depending on your time and available resources at your disposal.
Some digital products are more likely to take longer than others.
e-courses could take up to 3 months to create and deliver, whilst things like e-books, audiobooks, amazon kindle and printables are more likely to take less time.
Outsourcing can also be an option for you if you have spare funds, to help speed up the production process.
You basically do the hard work once and get paid forever.
Update your product as when required, then pump up your marketing efforts to bring in new sales to your business.
There are many niches where this business model can perform very well, you just need to go and find them.
If you don’t fancy creating your own downloadable products to sell: you can always promote other people’s products as an affiliate and get commissions.
#3: Software Development
Most popular with the younger crowd of tech entrepreneurs.
If you have coding skills why not put them to good use and develop your app or software?
You will never know where your software could take you in the future.
Increasingly we spend so much of our time with our smartphones and other forms of digital devices.
The demand for good quality apps is on the increase.
Hence the need to innovate and develop amazing bugs free, high-quality applications and software that:
- Enhances and improves the lives and quality of people/societies in a positive way and/or
- Solve the problems and satisfy the needs of the general public and businesses
If you don’t have the skills to do it your self but have some capital to spare, you can hire a developer or a group of developers to do it for you.
Just check out a list of freelancers from freelancing sites or google out reputable software companies.
If bootstrapping is not an option for you or don’t have any capital to spare, you could also consider:
- Getting a line of credit as a bank/family/friend loan
- Joint venture or
- Go via the VC (venture capital) or Angel Investor route
To help you raise the funds needed to develop your product or service.
This is often the traditional route for most tech companies and you may have to give a percentage of your company’s equity to the investors in exchange for the financial assistance and expertise you will be receiving from them.
You will then just have to focus on the marketing and promotion for your software, as well as providing excellent customer service to your end-users.
There is a lot more involved in developing software as products and/or SAAS (Software as a service).
Examples: (Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Slack, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Canva) etc.
Since this is just a general overview of online business models, I hope the brief info I have covered here, will suffice to inform you of what is possible out there…
To help you make the right decision and further your research when choosing your preferred business model(s).
May require some capital to start with as you have to buy or get your products manufactured from somewhere.
There is also a question of who will be doing the logistics side of things such as maintaining inventory, distribution, packaging, delivery, customer service, and refunds.
You will not have to touch the inventory nor deal with the customers directly.
Another route you could consider is to opt-in for FBA – Fulfilment by Amazon’s option. They will take care of the logistics for you, for a fee.
In recent times, I have seen a trend where smart internet marketers/developers developing third party software or WordPress plugins that allow:
Small business owners to import products from a number of well known traditional marketplaces such as:
Amazon, AliExpress, Spocket, Teespring, eBay or Clickbank, etc via
- an API (Application Programming Interface)
- a Spreadsheet upload or by or
- a print-on-demand service or
- manually uploading the product links
Directly to their own beautifully designed niche-specific e-commerce stores.
The business owners can then sell these imported products as an affiliate or by adopting the Drop Shipping method.
With Drop Shipping, you, have the option to charge any price you want and make more profit out of it, however, you will need to place the order to the market-place’ site on behalf of the customer.
Whereas if you import the products to be sold as an affiliate, you will only get paid commissions by the market-place you have signed up with.
They control the prices but at least, you will not have the headache of having to place the order on behalf of the customer.
Your e-commerce store will just be like a gateway for the customer to purchase the products directly.
Instead of seeing Add to cart button and going through the checkout process, the customer will see buy now.. or something of that sort.
Whether you go for an Affiliate or Drop Shipping method, the market-place will take care of the inventory and the delivery of the products to the customer.
You don’t have to pay to source and list the products on your site nor pay for the delivery out of your own pocket as such, that is provided you receive the payments to your bank account before you place the order.
Depending on the payment processors you use on your online store, your funds may be held for a few days/weeks.
This is why, as part of being a good business owner, it’s a good practise to make sure you have sufficient cash flow to cover for any eventualities.
In the case of Drop Shipping, the customer will pay you, and you will then pay the market place.
If the market-place site is selling the product for $10, you may decide to charge the customer $25 and make a $15 profit.
In the case of an affiliate, you don’t have this option. You will get whatever commission has been decided and agreed by the affiliate companies.
To succeed in e-commerce, you will need to follow the following formula:
- Have a good product
- Have a platform to source and sell the product
- Have a method to deliver that product to your customers
- Have the means to drive traffic to your store (paid or organic)
If you can fulfil these 4 things, you could easily create for yourself a long-lasting profitable business.
You simply need to know what you are doing, know your numbers and follow a plan.
Cautious and due diligence is required.
Do your homework before embarking on this journey.
Are you an expert in any particular field?
If you are…
Why not utilize your skills, knowledge, expertise and experience to provide essential service to other entrepreneurs and businesses?
It can be rewarding for you, and it will allow you to validate your skills, and at the same time provide you with an avenue to create an impact by shaping the minds of your students and see the outcome of their learning.
As well as mentoring other people, you can also consider offering …
A consulting or freelancing service of some sort that will help other business owners to free their valuable time and allow them to focus on other aspects of their businesses.
If you have a skill why not put it into good use and get paid for it?
It is about time you join the gig economy.
Typical examples of the kind of freelancing or consulting agency services you could offer include:
- Writer – blog posts, copywriting, sales pages, email sequences, e-books, books, press releases, e-commerce product descriptions, business plans, presentations, essays, reports, dissertations
- Social Media Manager – Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram, Tweeter, LinkedIn and Facebook page/groups
- Marketing Strategist /Consultant
- Business Strategist /Consultant
- Blogging Strategist
- Sales Strategist /Consultant
- Events Planner & Organiser
- Email Marketing Specialist
- WordPress Manager/WebMaster
- Editorial Manager
- Project Manager
- Proof Reader & Reviewer
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Specialist – blogs, e-commerce websites, videos, Pinterest
- UX/UI Designer – blog themes, social media templates, email templates, logos, brands, website designs and graphics
- Self Publishing & Promotion Manager
- Branding Expert
- Webinar Presenter
- E-commerce Expert
- Data Entry Clerk
- Software -Web/Developer/Engineer – apps, games, plugins, themes, software, websites
- Video Specialist -shooting, creating, editing, animating, optimizing, ranking
- Virtual Assistant
- Online Tutor/Trainer – languages, fitness, cooking, gardening, crafts, knitting, arts, breastfeeding, music, IT (information technology), dog training, DIY (do it yourself), any speciality or skill
- Help Desk Support/Customer Service
- Ads Manager – for local and online businesses
- Accountant – tax returns, company statements, VAT returns
- Investments & Trading – financial adviser, deal finder, cryptocurrency expert,
These are all possible things you can do to make money, just beware that you need to be very smart with how you organize yourself and use your time wisely.
The last thing you want is to be overwhelmed with all the work coming your way and not being able to meet the needs of your clients.
You want to make sure you provide the best service for your clients as well as ensuring you have a business that is:
Profitable and manageable, which doesn’t leave you stressed, burned out or make you feel like you are selling your soul in the process.
You can make good money blogging, vlogging, podcasting or becoming an influencer/micro-celebrity for a living.
There are top Bloggers, Podcasters, YouTubers and Instagram/Facebook influencers who are crushing it big, in the online space.
They have figured out the secrets and know what it takes to create and maintain successful profitable blogs, vlogs, podcasts and online content that is engaging and offers high value for their audience.
If you have a voice and strong helpful message to share with the world why keep it for yourself?
Find a passion or niche that interest you and start producing awesome content on the topic.
Blogging, Vlogging, Podcasting or Influencer Marketing has become one of the most popular ways to communicate with the audience on any subject.
It offers a great opportunity to express yourself and share information with other people.
The more you write the better writer you become.
The more videos, audio and online content you produce, the better marketer, influencer and communicator you will develop into.
Your newly acquired writing skills can also be used to write a book of your choice.
The more proficient you become at Blogging, Podcasting, YouTubing or Influencer marketing, the more diverse opportunities are likely to be opened for you.
Always aim to be authentic, genuine and give tons of value to your wider audience, readers, listeners and online viewers.
Figure out what you are ‘good at’ and are ‘comfortable doing’.
This is where ‘self-awareness’ comes to be an important skill-set to have, where you take time to examine your inner-self.
Gauge your strengths and weaknesses and decide what is your potential best option for you.
If writing copy is your thing then focus on this as I do.
If you love recording videos or producing audio and can make a success of it, then go for it.
If you are more like an influencer marketer and can attract a large audience and being able to engage with them on any of the social media platforms then pursue this instead.
I hear TikTok is the current trend for videoing and ‘Podcasting’ is the thing to focus on, in online marketing.
The trends keep coming and going … go with the flow and what resonates with you.
Basically do what you love doing, have the potential to be really good at it and can connect with your audience.
If you do, your audience will keep coming back for more and more content.
The key is to be consistent in your content creation, by producing a lot of it to help you figure out what will work best for you and your ideal audience.
Just try to produce content that your audience will like and appreciate.
A side note: Remember the ultimate purpose of creating content and engaging with your audience on any of these platforms is to get attention and attract a following for your business by giving awesome free value.
Make sure to gain traction from these online platforms by extracting valuable data to help sell your products and services to your audience by building an email list or a social community that you can best serve and nurture.
You may also wish to read and explore:
- Quick Guide on How To Start a Blog For Beginners: Step By Step
- FREE Training: How to add up to 10K Subscribers to your list in 90 Days!
#7: Online Advertising
Another model you could consider is online advertising where you rent Ad space from your site, youtube channel or podcast to companies such as Google via Adsense, Media.net, Mediavine, Thrive Ads, Amazon Ads or other Ad Networks to earn Ad revenue.
Whenever a unique visitor views a page, video or clicks on the Ad, you will earn commission usually paid per click or per a number of impressions in a few cents.
You will need lots of clicks, page views and/or subscribers to make good money out of it.
This method can be very profitable for you, especially when you know what you are doing and your online content is receiving a good amount of traffic on a daily basis.
If you do decide to take this route, you must beware of the following issues:
- You will need to drive a lot of traffic to your site/videos/podcasts/online profiles
- Your site speed could be reduced
- Your site performance could be affected
- The user experience for your readers and the online audience could be hampered.
Note: Having tried this model, I would advise new bloggers, vloggers, site owners, marketers, influencers to wait a bit until when your traffic grows and your online platform(s) become mature.
You can easily get distracted by not focusing on the most important aspects of your business, chasing traffic and become obsessed with little results to show for.
Once you have sufficient content and traffic, this model could work well for you.
Proceed with caution and try it out for your self and see if this is profitable and is worth it, despite the few negative aspects.
Take Home Message
You can choose one, two, three or all of the recommended business models on how to make money online.
As a new entrepreneur, you are more than likely to start with something easy like affiliate marketing, which will get you up and running quickly whilst you are learning and setting up a foundation for your business.
In the long term, it is better to incorporate many of the recommended models as you can for maximum profit.
Start with one thing, build on it and make a success of it.
Later on, you can learn to transition to other business models and do more interesting stuff.
You want to make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket by diversifying your income streams.
If one income stream dries up you will have others to rely on.
This could not be truer and relevant than what we are all experiencing now with the current COVID-19 pandemic globally.
There is not a single person or business: big or small who has not been directly or indirectly affected by the sudden change in the way we now have to live our lives, do business and work.
Hopefully, the setback is just temporary … only time will tell us in due time.
Therefore ‘Adaptability’ is key, and adapt you must if you want to survive in these uncertain troubling times.
Fortunately for us, the online marketing model is still thriving despite the undesirable, current economic conditions.
If you are committed to growing your online business, you will be able to create a secure future for your self and loved ones.
If you wish…
Have other people promote them on your behalf and you will pay them commissions just like how other networks do.
You can also make good money with your own digital products by selling them directly on your site(s) or other digital/teaching platforms.
Creating a sustainable long-lasting online business can be very rewarding for you.
It can open many doors for you and could provide you with great opportunities.
However, you must note that not all online business models may yield success at the same rate as others.
You have to put in the work, and show up every day.
There is no magic button you can push and the money will flow out just like that.
Select the right business model(s) that resonate well with you and are the best fit for your business and lifestyle.
You may also wish to read and explore:
- 10 Top Benefits Of Starting An Online Business
- How To Come Up with An Amazing Business Idea In 4 Simple Steps
- Quick Guide On How To Start a Blog For Beginners Step By Step
- Training: How to add up to 10K Subscribers to your list in 90 Days
- Video Marketing: Grow Your Business With Videos – Try NOW for FREE
- Essential Startup Tools & Resources
What are your views on the essential beginner’s guide on how to make money online?
Do you have more business models to add to the list? – Leave us a comment below.
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