Online businesses are a great low-investment and cost-effective way of building a business and becoming an entrepreneur. In this article, we will share the top online business ideas that you can start with low or no investment all all, completely online.
The alternate term for business is “enterprise”. When a person is resourceful, has out-of-the-box ideas and uses these ideas to get results, we call such a person enterprising. All around us, we read stories about how a person built a business empire from scratch, and how someone overcame obstacles to become a successful businessperson despite all odds. Inspiring, isn’t it?
Up until recent years, the biggest problem any budding businessperson faced was the shortage of starting capital – money! Money is required to get required business permits/licenses, buy or rent space, and furnish the space. You then have to buy machinery and raw materials, hire and pay the employees, and spend money on marketing, logistics, packaging and whatnot. People with some sources of funding found it easier to launch new ventures than people who did not have any privilege.
All that changed with the explosive growth and easy availability of the internet. This most important innovation removed all constraints and democratized business. Anyone sitting in a small corner anywhere in the world can market their products anywhere in the world, via the internet. With the advent of the internet, everyone has an opportunity to start their business.
Today, we shall see how one can start a new business using the internet with very little or NO MONEY! Sounds fascinating, isn’t it?
Online business idea 1: BECOME A MICRO-INFLUENCER/CONTENT CREATOR
Let us begin with our first business idea – become a micro-influencer/content creator. We all are familiar with the mega influencers, the Kardashians, Selena Gomez, Pewdiepie, Cristiano Ronaldo and so on. They come from diverse fields such as fashion, beauty, sports, gaming, and politics. Each of them has millions of followers and commands a hefty fee for sponsored posts.
While all that is impressive, it takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to reach the pinnacle of social media and then it is a constant battle to stay at the top. Well, do not despair. We can start small and aim to build a community around an idea that solves a specific problem for a group of people. You can address this problem by sharing your ideas and tips via different channels such as YouTube videos, podcasts, TikTok and Instagram.
The advantage of this approach is the community will see an immediate value in following your content, as it solves a specific issue for them. This approach provides better engagement and a higher conversion rate as the audience feels connected to your message.
For you to become a successful micro-influencer, your content needs to be appealing and catchy. This will need some effort but with practice, you will get better. To generate money via this business, you can build some affiliate relationships. Another option is to add product placements and ad placements to your content.
Online business idea 2: SELL DIGITAL PRODUCTS
The next business idea we would like to propose is to sell digital products. The key word here is “digital” as such products do not need any logistics to produce, store or ship them. You can produce books, e-courses and even templates for designs etc.
Now we all did some or the other online courses during the pandemic times. It allowed us to keep learning while we were locked down in our homes. Everyone now knows the benefits of e-learning, even during “normal” times. One can learn at their own pace at their own time, from the comfort of their home, without the hassle of traffic and tight schedules. Online courses are here to stay!
Once you have your digital product ready, you can choose to host them on your own platform via sites such as Podia & Teachable or sell them via marketplaces such as Udemy & SkillShare. Hosting on your own platform allows you to build a community around your offering.
The beauty of this business idea lies in the fact that a well-designed course or design template will keep giving you revenue for a long time – so it is a case of one-time effort and long-term income! As the products are digital there is no shipping cost either.
Online business idea 3: SET UP AN E-COMMERCE STORE
The third business idea that can be started with no money is e-commerce. What does e-commerce mean? Simply put, the act of buying and selling products and services via the internet is e-commerce. You can either sell your own products or market someone else’s products via your site.
As e-commerce has been around for quite some time, there is a lot of guidance available on the internet on how to set up your own e-com venture. The crucial aspect of e-commerce business is figuring out how to drive traffic to your site – how many people visit your page – AND how many of these visits translate into an actual sale – known as the conversion rate.
The viability of your e-commerce venture will depend on these factors as well as the margins you are able to command on the products you sell for yourself and others via your site.
Online business idea 4: START A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY
Starting a marketing agency is the fourth business idea on our minds today. To emphasise, we are referring to digital marketing here.
To maximise the profit margins of a digital marketing agency, one should aim to find clients from countries with a stronger currency and get the work done via outsourcing to countries with weaker currencies. So you are billing clients in higher currencies and paying your costs including staffing costs in lower currencies, with obvious benefits.
To build a successful digital marketing agency, one needs to attract clients by pitching your service. For this, you need to prepare effective presentation decks and hone your marketing skills. Once the clients are secured, you must deliver the services on time. One key aspect is to maintain a pool of freelancers and content creators to ensure a quick turnaround of quality services.
The revenue for such an agency comes from the fees clients pay for your services. The higher the quality, the higher fee you can command, thus improving your profit margins.
You can use this idea, not just for a marketing agency, you can consider starting a design agency or a content agency – basically any product or service that can be delivered digitally.
Online business idea 5: BECOME A FREELANCER
The final online business idea for today is to become a freelancer. This is a beautiful concept considering you could be providing a service to your own customers directly and providing the same service to other businesses at the same time. There is no requirement to build a team or an agency of any sort.
For soliciting work, a freelancer should establish a profile on LinkedIn. Additional avenues would be to use platforms like Upwork where you can apply for jobs and bid for projects. There is a shortage of skilled people in many fields such as coding, web development, content writing, web design, ad management and so on. One can easily find work in these fields via Upwork.
It is vital to building a reputation for quick turnaround and quality work to be successful as a freelancer. The various platforms allow clients to rate and provide reviews on services provided. Highly rated freelancers can get better rates and repeat business from clients. A freelancer may charge hourly fees or a set fee for a given project with mutual agreement with the client.
If any business idea from this list interests you, you must check out this video!
From the discussion so far, the key points to make any of these business ideas successful are to develop client acquisition skills, and presentation skills and to ensure quality services.