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.
When you work in an office, you can ask your boss about the details of your upcoming presentation when you see her in the company kitchen. But if you telecommute, she’s just another email in your inbox. From letting her know if you’re going to miss a deadline or getting clarification on an email, you’ll have to be proactive about communicating all aspects of your job and any questions you might have with her.
17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
We need to get this out of the way first, and besides, maybe you haven’t thought of this because you’re in complete panic mode. Check the sofa cushions, your pants pockets, old coats in the closet, and your car, where spare change may have fallen between the seats. If you haven’t ransacked your home lately and cleaned yourself out, there’s got to be some money lying around.
Some of the companies on this list are those you’ll recognize. Dell, still one of the largest PC vendors in the world, regularly hires project managers, business analysts and systems engineers for remote work. Salesforce, which came in at #3 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most innovative companies this year, hires telecommuting account executives, product designers and even upper management positions like regional vice presidents. Xerox, Adobe, SAP and American Express also make the list with their own distinct sets of work from home and remote work agreements.
Sell things to pedestrians. Entrepreneurial sorts sell things like cold drinks on hot days or hot nuts in winter. This method can be especially lucrative if you set up a spot near a sporting event, park, etc. You’ll need to have a small amount of money to invest in the product, but then you can sell it at a much higher return and make some quick cash.
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.
Owning a “real” business means you need to think about bank loans or financing, leases, maintaining inventory, business insurance, finding staff, training staff, etc. You then need to factor in finding a prime location for your business. If you don't have enough footfall then you can expect to be shutting up shop in as little as a few months. In fact, 50% of small brick-and-mortar businesses fail within their first 3 years.
If you have a knack for creating unique images, there’s no need to fuss over your own inventory. If your creations can be easily printed onto a product, then you can make money. Upload your designs on a variety of websites like CafePress. If someone likes them, the company prints them up and ships the product. You could create unique designs for calendars, books, T-shirts, bags, hats, greeting cards, or posters and get a commission for each one sold. Some of these sites include Zazzle, Teespring and Lulu.
Seek a payday loan or title loan as a last resort. Companies that offer payday and title loan services are commonly available, and can be a way of making quick cash. However, these typically offer extremely high interest rates (sometimes with percentages in the hundreds). If you cannot pay the loan and any interest back within the stated timeline, you risk even higher interest costs or, in the case of a title loan, the loss of your car. Avoid these types of loans in all but the most dire circumstances, unless you are certain you will be able to pay the loan back.
Another flexible non-phone option in the educational field is test scoring. There are a few reputable companies that do hire home-based workers to score everything from standardized tests to essays. Before you apply, you should know that ETS and Pearson (listed below) do require that you have certain qualifications and/or past teaching experience before they'll let you become a scorer. WriteScore on the other hand requires just a two-year college degree.
Crypto currency trading is the next big thing in finance. The value of crypto has shot up in recent months with Bitcoin reaching over $18k for just one Bitcoin! You too can get a piece of the action by purchasing crypto currency from one of the bitcoin / crypto exchanges and waiting for the value to increase. I would recommend you do your research before you dive in, and don’t forget to only invest what you can afford to lose.
If there’s a plasma donation center in your area, you might be able to make anywhere from $25 to $50, and odds are, you’ll get paid today. Call ahead and ask, of course, but these days, many donation centers are giving money cards (similar to a debit card). Generally, it takes about 30 minutes to donate your plasma, but a first visit may take longer — up to two hours — since you’ll be filling out paperwork and taking a physical. And while it’s not a ton of money, many donors are able to sell plasma twice a week.
Many types of clients need translation services. You can be asked to translate marketing materials for businesses, the novel of an author who is looking to sell their work in another country or the personal documents of an individual such as applications for jobs abroad. Translation, therefore, requires some research and close attention to detail. It’s also important that you know how to set the tone correctly in the language that you are translating the text into. Translators also utilise software tools, eg., Babylon or Ginger.
FlexJobs, the Boulder-based remote-friendly career postings site, is cutting through the complexity of this question. Each year, they compile a list of the top 100 companies hiring remote workers. This year, though, they’ve created a special list of all the companies who have made their top 100 lists for each of the past five years. While many companies require you to clock in and out each day, the employers on this list don’t care whether you do your work from Santorini or Shanghai.