You’ve heard me talking about how creating an online business in your spare time is one of the best ways to increase your income, but now it’s time to dig a little deeper. I’m gonna show you 8 online business models that have been time-tested, and simply work.
You know the old saying; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Before we begin, it’s important to decide on the platform you’re going to use. A platform is…well, the platform on which you’ll offer your products or services. The easiest way to make money quickly is to leverage someone else’s platform, which will already have a big amount of traffic.
Imagine you were trying to establish your own new leather boots business (why not? leather boots are cool). You may have a hard time getting customers at first, as nobody will know you or your brand.
To get around this you could initially sell your products to bigger, well-known stores. Yes, you’d take a much smaller cut of the pie, but you’d actually get sales because people would trust the well-known brand – platform – through which you’re selling your products. You could eventually open up your own store, and then a chain, after you’ve built up your brand through another platform.
So, to begin it’s often easier and quicker to use another platform – the best option being Amazon. However, in time, you’ll want to develop your own platform – a website that gives you an online presence and brand.
All clear? Cool. Let’s begin with ways to make quick money by working with an established platform.
List your strongest skills and then head over to Upwork.com to see how well you could be paid to offer your skill as a service. Graphic design, transcription, translation, ghost-writing, drawing… it’s easy to find a market on Upwork.
Once you start getting few jobs done, you’ll build up a portfolio of reviews from your clients, which will make your services more desirable – and you’ll also be able to charge more for your services.
Fulfillment by Amazon consists of selling physical products on the Amazon marketplace. All you need to do is identify products that you know would out-sell the competition, find manufacturers to produce them, package them and deliver them to the Amazon stores. Then just let Amazon to the rest of the work – they will deliver the products for you and deal with returns and all the less appealing side of selling products.
Spencer Hawes from Niche Pursuits has been selling products using Amazon FBA for several months now, and he’s achieving some pretty sexy results. I’m also seriously considering making this my next business venture.
This is one of the ways I’m making money online, and it’s pretty straight-forward. You either pay a writer to write you a book on a specific subject (often non-fiction) or you write it yourself. You then publish the book on Amazon’s Kindle store and watch it sell.
While it’s obviously not as simple as that, it’s a quick way to make money and once a book is published and promoted it will continue to make money for as long as it sells. The return on investment is also pretty crazy – I routinely cover the cost of a book in 1-2 months – everything after that is pure profit.
Stefan Pylarinos is probably the most well-known expert on the subject, and he has a great course that I used to learn the process myself.
Now let’s look at ways to make money on your own platform – your website. This takes much more work and time. You need to become a well-known resource in your field and build a brand that people trust. Once you have that – and that’s no easy feat! – your earning potential can be huge.
If you can set up a website or a blog (check out the guide I put together showing you how to start your own blog) and get traffic to it, placing a few adverts using Google AdSense can be as easy as a few clicks. It’s easy to make a few bucks in this way, but the amount will often correlate directly with the number of visits to your site, and how many people click on your adverts.
A better way to apply advertising is through direct ads – you can reach out to advertisers to sell very targetted advertising space on your site. You may even get a few sponsors who will pay you for articles on your site, or for you to recommend their products in your podcasts or videos.
The sky is the limit here, some of the biggest sites in the world make the bulk of their money through advertising, so it’s a viable model.
This is a great business model with big earning potential, which is a win-win for all parties involved. Say you have a website about fishing, and you want to recommend a super-duper extra-light fishing rod to your audience because it’s the one that you personally use. You could see if the fishing rod manufacturer had an affiliate program, which would mean that you would earn a commission from every sale that was directed through your website. The rod manufacturer is happy because they got a new customer, you’re happy because you got a part of the sale money, and your reader is happy because he knows he’s bought a great product.
One of the greatest success stories in affiliate marketing is Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income. He makes most of his money by recommending products related to starting passive income – producing businesses. With affiliate marketing, he gets a small fraction of each sale…this might not sound like much, but it all adds up to 6 figures a month.
Another great example is Michelle from Making Sense of Cents. She routinely makes over $50k a month from affiliate marketing – while living in an RV and travelling across America! She’s got a great course on how to earn an income using affiliate marketing that I really recommend if you’re interested in earning more money from your website.
If your website is about teaching a skill, such as how to become a better copywriter, you may thrive with a membership site. This is a sort of members-only area – often with exclusive forums or facebook groups – which customers are given access to by paying a set amount each month. The key here is to make sure you are providing a lot of value to your members, such as private advice, weekly material for members only. A great example is Fizzle.co. It’s a great online business course which also has a thriving community of like-minded entrepreneurs. I’m a member myself, and I’m loving the quality of their material.
The greatest advantage about membership sites is that they can provide you with constant, monthly cash flow, which is easier to predict than other forms of income.
This is the business model that I think has the biggest money-making potential. If you can create a course or other digital product, you can sell it to your audience for years to come. You’d create a kick-ass course that would provide immense value to your customers in a few weeks or months – but it would sell for years (hopefully!). Most of what I’ve learned in blogging, investing and online business has been from online courses.
Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You To Be Rich has set his course-producing business at the top of the market, and that comes with premium prices. His courses range from $1k to $12k… How about that!
A portion of your audience will always want more from you, and may not find that your free material and courses are enough. That’s where private consulting comes in. You can charge pretty high prices for your time but, if you have a large audience, it’s likely that some of them will be happy to pay it.
I’ve been looking for a blogging coach myself, and the prices that I’ve been seeing range anywhere from $200 to $1,000 per hour. Since I know that the money will be an investment in myself and that what I’ll learn will pay for the consulting many times over, I’m more than happy to pay for private consulting.
So there you have it folks, 8 online business models for you to get started on accelerating your way to financial independence! I’d start by picking one and sticking with it before going with something else. It’s always good to stick to one thing and do it well. Or so I’m told…
Thanks for reading, and make sure to subscribe below for exclusive content. If you’re ready to start making money online, you can start your own blog using the step-by-step guide I’ve put together.
What business model do you think has the biggest potential? Have you got any experience with other business models that I’ve not mentioned? Let me know in the comments below!