Through this experience, one thing I learned is that development, and the selling of the product you develop, takes time and money. This is a lesson I took to heart when I built another software company, SPI Labs, with my partner Matt Gartland. SPI Labs is behind the Smart Podcast Player, which was a significant undertaking that started out as a custom solution for AskPat and eventually became a successful WordPress plugin used by thousands of fellow podcasters.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You can redeem that as straight cash, a statement credit, or as gift cards to many different merchants. Thanks to a 0% introductory APR, lack of annual fee, and sign-up bonus, Insider Picks reporter David Slotnick calls it a no-brainer and "the perfect card for just about everyone."
Make the most of your spare space by listing it for short term rentals with Airbnb. If you know how to be an Airbnb host that wows their guests, you have an amazing opportunity to make money fast. By creating a wonderful experience for your guests, you’re setting yourself up for great reviews and lots of repeat guests. Check out our complete guide on getting started as an Airbnb host.
The number of websites and blogs operating online demand a constant stream of high-quality, beautiful photographs that can help businesses attract and convert more customers. Setting up a stock photo library is a great business idea as it targets virtually every industry regardless of a company’s size. Check out sites like SmugMug, Photoshelter and iStockPhoto for more information.
Freelancing via the Internet is a great way for experts in their individual trades to help a variety of clients overall. Several freelancing and project-based websites let businesses that need extra help to list their projects. Small businesses and freelancers offer proposals, ideas, or bids, whereby the buyers can easily choose what they want and need. Sites like Elance or Upwork cover just about everything including writing content, creating graphic design, programming, and data entry.

Everyone knows that the quickest way to learn a new language is to mingle with native speakers. If you were lucky enough to be born in an English, French, Spanish (insert any of the world’s main languages) speaking country, then missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the skills you take for granted is exactly that – missing out! Use online communication tools, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, to connect with learners and leverage your privileges. Time is money, so package your hours into teaching sessions and you’re good to go. 
What It Is: Students in countries including Japan, Korea, France and Germany are looking for English speakers to practice with. Sessions focus on things like making professional small talk or running a meeting (trainers are provided with specifics on how to teach each topic, and are also trained themselves for two days before starting the job). Lessons take place either over the phone or on a live Internet video service like Skype—sometimes at night, because you're working with students in different time zones. You need to commit to a minimum of 20 hours a week at consistent times, and can work as many as 35 hours.
There you have it – a  comprehensive guide to the best online businesses to start this year. We deliberately didn't cover ideas like app development or IT support because they require specialized skills. That's why we only provided you with businesses you can start with very little money. In fact, you can even start some of them with very little knowledge.
At around the time I started selling my ebook and making a living online, I had yet to even consider getting involved in outsourcing some of the work. I look back now and think that I could have potentially done that earlier to help with things like finding a webhost and creating my website. Back then I did everything myself. That’s one of the positives to first starting out. You don’t really have any overhead. It’s all about the effort you want to put in on your own time and your own terms. So, when I first started, I found my WordPress theme myself, I set it up on Bluehost with a very easy one-click install. I was able to get everything set up, and start building my audience, trust, and authority online with those who I was going to deliver my product (ebook) to down the road. I did not spend money on hiring a team until 2013, which came after having a full-time Virtual Assistant for two years, which cost me about $800 per month.
Starting a new business online requires much less risk than investing your dollars into a brick-and-mortar storefront or downtown office. Because your business is based online, you can reach more potential customers, work from virtually anywhere and make money online without large overheads. With some basic website and communication skills along with a little maintenance know-how, almost anyone can launch a business online and get it up and running in only days. Think you’re ready to become the next big entrepreneur online?
Do you love taking pictures and have a general passion for photography? If so, you could make a very nice living for yourself online selling your photos. There are countless people who are willing to pay you good money for your collection of unique images you have to offer. Today more than ever it’s super easy to submit your pics to the masses, which can provide you with a very convenient approach to creating a solid source of additional income. Several stock photo sites like Shutterstock and Fotolia offer enticing incentives for individuals to earn money passively from the photos they randomly shoot in their spare time.
Website tester jobs are easy to get and pay between 8 and 15 dollars per test. Each test generally lasts about 15 to 25 minutes. Simply sign up, take a test and then wait for assignments. Each company is very similar. The downside to doing this is that you will only average about 1 to 5 assignments per week from any given company, sometimes less or more. If you need more cash than that then sign up with multiple companies.

This type of consultancy is about pitching new ideas for advertising campaigns to potential or existing clients. It also involves assisting with creating effective advertising campaigns. Other tasks in this area may include providing recommendations for companies on how to deal with various audiences. For example, the best approach to get the attention of innovative and curious buyers may be significantly different than the approach you would use to get the attention of an average user.


The German Economist Schumpeter once said that there are “no original ideas”, only new combinations of old ones. Curation of curiosity-fueling content is an intriguing and little-known business model. One of the best success stories out there is Brainpickings – a platform that describes itself as “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more”. The subscription-based model and successful utilisation of affiliate links have turned the blog into a self-sustaining business.
It’s a great way to achieve freedom in your life. Not only does copywriting allow you to work remotely, but it also allows you to control your schedule. Plus, learning the skill itself will help you in many areas of online business (i.e. building a blog, affiliate marketing, etc. – when you can write in a compelling way, all of these become much easier!)

I receive at least 2 emails a day asking me for my expert opinion on a given company or website. Is so and so a legitimate company? Should I pay $49.95 to work with DataEntryBlahBlah.com? Honestly I'm not that much of an expert. I just know how to do a little research. If you're currently thinking about joining a work at home company and a fee is one of the requirements, put your wallet or purse down. Before you make a decision that you might regret, watch the video we created. By the end of watching this video, you'll never question whether or a not a company is a scam. You'll know with certainty if it is!

I know that in the ecommerce and physical product world, there are a lot of costs up front, which vary depending on the product. Sometimes you’re going to have to spend a significant amount of money up front to pay for a mold, like Bret Miller did with his product Brik Book, which is a physical product with a specific shape that needs to be reproduced on a large scale. The mold itself could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. In this case, a crowdfunding campaign could be an excellent option to cover those costs. Listen to Bret talk about the story of Brik Book on SPI 217.

However, if you do understand the mechanics of paid advertising, then you could easily launch an ad management business. Considering that ads are fueling the growth of tech giants like Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube, today, with loads of others coming into the mix, understanding and navigating the murky waters of paid advertising could poise you to reap massive riches. . 
No matter which way you do it, it’s passive income—money you earn while you sleep because you put these products up for sale on your website and a customer can buy and download them any time of day or night, automatically. All you have to do is check the sales periodically to see what topics or types of products are selling best so that you can make more of those.
But, as I said, development costs money. For the Smart Podcast Player, it’s a plugin so it requires constant validation, testing, upgrades, and a solid customer support system in place, all of which costs money. If you have a plan to do something similar for your online business, you’ll need to think about this before you even get started so your processes are covered. Read about the lessons we learned in building the player and how we validated it before launch.
Something else I recommend is taking the free 7-lesson mini-course on general transcription offered by Janet Shaughnessy of Transcribe Anywhere. This will help you to understand if you're a good fit for a transcription career, what you can potentially earn, and also where to get started. Janet also has free legal transcription mini-course if you're more interested in going that route.
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