Wanting to start your own business is a smart move for a lot of reasons. But the biggest mental hurdle most of you face right now is figuring out what the best online businesses to start are. You've heard about affiliate marketing, but somebody mentioned Shopify during lunch. Plus…you've always wanted to write a book, and you’ve read stories about indie authors earning millions.
Nathan Barry on bootstrapping ConvertKit: I’m a huge proponent of ConvertKit (and now an affiliate and compensated advisor). It’s user friendly, powerful, and an all-around great product. But one cherry on top is its origin story, in which Nathan Barry took it upon himself to create ConvertKit without any venture funding or any upfront capital. It’s fascinating and awesome!
If you have an idea worth pursuing, crowdfunding can be a helpful way to find the money you need to get your idea off and running. For example, you can run a Kickstarter campaign. On SPI 223, I covered this with John Lee Dumas who launched a super successful campaign. Besides John, I know a lot of companies who have started on Kickstarter. I’ve been a backer of dozens of different projects, and a lot of those projects were just ideas when the campaign started. There are ways to get paid for your ideas up front. Using Kickstarter, you can validate those ideas and start to build community at the same time, which is a great way to get a boost at the beginning stages of your online business, especially if what you’re creating takes some money to get started.
Affiliate marketing. You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate, and every time somebody buys the product, you get a commission. With a blog you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review — which is useful content — and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.
You have to post content on a regular basis. People thirst for the new, so make sure you put up articles, videos, or whatever consistently. It could one post per day or three times per week. Whatever it is, maintain the same schedule. A scattershot posting history means losing readers. At a minimum try to aim for one new post, video, or other form of content a week.
Press releases are used to inform the public about products, services or activities of an organisation in an appealing way. They need to be newsworthy and give enough information to get people curious at the same time. The structure of the content in a press release is usually based on the inverted pyramid metaphor – used widely in media and journalism. At the very least, a press release should answer 5Ws and 1H: Who? Did What? Where? When? Why? How?
This type of research involves finding out information about someone’s family history. A project in this area can focus on researching an entire family tree or focusing on a particular individual. To do this type of research you may want to try a freelancer website like Genealogy Freelancers as an alternative to setting up your own online platform.
A career in writing is interesting, varied… and a tricky one. Important things to do before starting a freelance writing career include building a portfolio, learning how to write appealing proposals and promoting your business effectively. If you are a newbie in this field, you may want to try websites for freelancers, where you can simply create a profile and start submitting your proposals to potential clients. Some of the best-known sites for freelancers are Upwork, Freelancer or Clickworker. Listed below are various types of writing work that you can do as a freelancer.
Try pet sitting. Find friends who are going out of town and offer to take care of their pets while they’re gone. Professional boarding places tend to be very expensive (not to mention impersonal and intimidating for a pet), so your cozy little house or apartment may seem like a very nice alternative. Around the holidays, pet-boarders fill up quickly, meaning you can probably charge more.
While this is not technically “at home,” you can still earn great money without ever getting on the phone using your personal car, bike, or scooter to deliver food, give people rides, and even picking up groceries. The great thing about these companies is that it's also very flexible work. No one is telling you when to start and stop. You just do as much work as you can, when you can.