According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), it's been estimated that retail business will stay on par with a 3.7 percent to 4.2 percent growth rate. However, the NRF expects non-store sales to be anywhere from three to four times that rate of growth. However, even though brick-and-mortar sales still comprise the majority of consumer's spending, it's only expected to grow at roughly 2.8%. Clearly, what's driving much of our present ecommerce growth is the smartphone market.
Blogging can potentially be a profitable home-based business, but you need to pick a niche that’s not already saturated with competitors. After you’ve figured out how to generate enough Web traffic to your blog — either through SEO, content marketing, or other means — the next hurdle is to find just the right products, services, and/or ads that your readership will respond to. In my experience, it’s often a matter of trial and error before you find the winning combination of strategies.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.
As merchants switch their sales to e-commerce, online marketplaces for handmade goods, like Etsy and ArtFire, make it extremely easy for artisans who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade products, such as crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. If you have a unique craft, this is a good way to earn income while you're at home, doing what you love.
OnDeck has rates comparable to Fundbox and Kabbage on its small business loans. However, unlike a line of credit, you lose some flexibility in borrowing funds on demand. There is no benefit to prepayment, like with Kabbage, because OnDeck fees and interest are added to the principal at origination, and typically aren’t waived or lowered if you repay the loan early.
But if you do go the fashion route, be prepared to do quite a bit of networking before you get your business off the ground. Don’t be afraid to do free consultations for contests and giveaways. The more word gets around about your fabulous fashion sense, the larger a clientele you’ll build. If you’re really good, you can start this business with little to no training.
More than half a billion products are sold on Amazon every month, making it an incredible opportunity to make money online. But, like everything else that involves making money online, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. One option on Amazon is to find products that are already made and buy and sell them at a discount. For example, you could research generic products such as clocks, keychains and mugs to attach to your brand.
These pay-per-click ads appear on your blog. Every time somebody clicks on an ad (which is supposed to be about a subject related to your niche), you make a few cents or more. Small amounts each time, but it adds up. This is extremely hands-off. You just need to get a code from Google, place it on your website - and the ads will automatically appear on your blog. Google will only show ads that are relevant to your blog so it's a good experience for your visitors and maximizes the number of clicks you get, meaning more income.
The rise of the chatbot has been extraordinary to witness. Thanks to the ubiquity afforded to us by chat on platforms like Facebook, we've grown quite used to chatting with friends and family across all our social media networks. That's why AI-powered chatbots present a new digital frontier for businesses looking to automate and relinquish much of the man-power it takes to have a chat with its customers.
Include strategies for funding or investments. If you are using your business plan to secure funding of some sort, this section will be especially important. You need to know exactly how much money you want and how it will be spent. For example, you might write: "Ultimate Kid Granola Bars is asking for $25,000 in investment funds to support the expansion of our current kitchen location. $10,000 will go towards renting additional space in our current location, $5,000 in additional equipment (two ovens, assorted supplies), and $10,000 in salaries to hire an extra employee to meet the needs of our Sacramento public school contract."
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.
Just like a website developer, a theme designer is working with websites but in a different way. Choosing theme designer as your online business idea means building new website themes for business to use for their website. This could mean researching popular themes, identifying their pain points, and creating a theme that solves these pain points while remaining true to the popularity of the previous theme. If you are an expert in a certain industry, creating themes for this industry could see you reap much success.
If you’re a website or blog owner, you can sell a portion of your page space to advertisers and earn money passively each time the ads are clicked on by your target audience or visitors to your website. While the actual placing of the ads is completely free, the earning capacity of cost-per-click (CPC) advertising is based on the level of traffic to your site and the cost per click and click-through rate, or CTR. The most popular way to earn money today through advertising clicks is through Google AdSense or similar advertisers.
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.
Do you have impeccable organizational skills and task management abilities? Maybe it's time to put those skills to good use by becoming a virtual assistant. VA services typically consist of basic administrative tasks like entering data, making travel arrangements and answering phone calls. Previous experience in this field is ideal but not required.
Present your market research and outline your marketing plan. This section describes the industry or market that you are entering and how you plan to bring your product or service to your customers. What size is your market, in terms of population and in terms of potential sales? You should have a solid argument about how your product or service will be a welcome addition to the market, meeting a currently unmet need. Talk about your target customers, describing their demographics and their potential to buy your product or service. Include information about your competitors, both direct and indirect. Then describe how you plan to price your product or service, reach your customers, expand your services, and promote your business.
The first follows the startup path we outlined above: You have a disruptive idea for an app or piece of software, you validate the idea with real customers, and then raise money to hire developers or a development studio to build, launch, and scale your software. If you’ve done everything right, your software will be accepted to the Apple and Google Stores and you’ll make money every time someone downloads it or pays for a premium feature.
If you are a creative, digital professional who thrives on forming the layout, visual theme, font set and color palette of a website, freelance web design may be a good path for you. If you have little to no experience in this field, you can learn the basics of web design and master the tools you'll need for success, like Adobe XD, Chrome DevTools and text editor software.
Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
So many people dream of writing a book, but never go through with it. Yet no matter what, I’m sure you have experience and value you could give through writing a book. By packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that helps people learn a skill, advance their careers, or start a businesses, you can change someone’s life and even make good money online.
Create a killer course experience: With your course validated and in the works, you need to figure out how people will take it. Most course creators choose to host their courses from their own websites. This way, they get all the value of bringing customers back to their site on a regular basis. I host my own courses from a subdomain on my own site so I can easily add more. The course experience is incredibly important as well. And after trying most of the solutions, I highly recommend Teachable—an online platform designed specifically for courses.
With many online lenders these days, applying for a small business loan has become much easier. Easy business loans have short applications, simple repayment procedures, easy-to-manage accounts, and fast application processes. Easy business loans can get funded in 24 hours and help small business owners save time so they can focus on their business.
When one of your customers makes a purchase, you purchase the product from a third-party company (the drop shipper, usually a manufacturer or wholesaler) for a lower price. This process is as simple as forwarding the order from your customer, a process that can actually be completely automated. (Remember you don't have any risk here of buying inventory because the sale has already been made).
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
Many small businesses don't have room in their budgets to hire a full-time IT employee, so when their systems go on the fritz, they'll usually call a computer-savvy friend or family member. If you are tech savvy and have experience working on computers and networks, you can eliminate their need to call in a favor by offering immediate remote technical assistance.
Facebook and Twitter are still the top business networks, but businesses often tend to struggle with more visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat. All of these platforms have huge consumer audiences, but many businesses don't realize how big they really are, how effective they can be and how to make them work for their brand. If you have a background in social media marketing and a passion for photography, focusing your consulting business on one specific platform, like Instagram, can be a great way to make money while helping other businesses improve their content and achieve their business goals.
Fundbox bases its accounts receivable financing on the value of your outstanding business-to-business (B2B), business-to-government (B2G), or business-to-consumer (B2C) invoices due in less than 90 days. This allows it to skip the minimum credit score requirement and not require you to sign over your customer relationships, like an invoice factoring lender does.
eBay's popularity continues to explode. Very few people haven't bought or sold something on eBay. But did you know that eBay is also a solid business idea? If you have a product that there's a demand for and that is suitable for being sold online and shipped to the purchaser, eBay selling may be the way to go. It can be a more inexpensive option than setting up your own online store and eBay makes this such an easy business to start, offering all kinds of information to help you sell successfully - including eBay seminars.
If you have a great product, but no money to invest in a physical storefront, staff, and bills, why not set yourself up online? Aside from the lack of huge monetary investment and time commitment, the marketing opportunities online are endless. Also, although a storefront is great for branding purposes, it does limit the size and scope of your audience. By setting yourself up with an e-commerce store, you can:
Before turning to an online lender, it’s important to consider working with your existing bank or credit union to get financing. If you already have a loan or line of credit in good standing, you can request a credit increase or an additional loan quickly. If the requirements are too high or the application process is too slow, then an easy or fast online business loan is the best choice.
It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.
Remember: The executive summary (or Lean Plan, or a one-page business plan) is usually your introductory communication with investors, so it will be your first impression. Investors will use this document to get an understanding of your communication skills as well as your ability to think critically about your business. You should spend more time on this part of your plan than on any other section.
Editorial Disclosure: Inc. writes about products and services in this and other articles. These articles are editorially independent - that means editors and reporters research and write on these products free of any influence of any marketing or sales departments. In other words, no one is telling our reporters or editors what to write or to include any particular positive or negative information about these products or services in the article. The article's content is entirely at the discretion of the reporter and editor. You will notice, however, that sometimes we include links to these products and services in the articles. When readers click on these links, and buy these products or services, Inc may be compensated. This e-commerce based advertising model - like every other ad on our article pages - has no impact on our editorial coverage. Reporters and editors don't add those links, nor will they manage them. This advertising model, like others you see on Inc, supports the independent journalism you find on this site.
Make sure you are buying items that are highly sellable, meaning that you there is a large market so you won’t have to wait years to find a buyer. And be disciplined enough only to buy items that allow you plenty of markup for resale. Specialization, or at least having most of your products fit your specialization, is highly likely to increase your chances of success.
You can use your marketing skills to show business owners the benefits of using analytics data, strategic keywords and content structure to gain more organic web traffic. If you are unfamiliar with SEO or want to brush up on your digital marketing skills, you can reference Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO. Keep in mind that Google's algorithms are always changing, so SEO is something you will need to continue your education on to stay relevant and successful in this field.
Start by utilizing these strategies, which include investing in your customer service and getting personal, but realize your work will never be done. You'll constantly be competing for these customers in the marketplace, and you can never simply rest on your laurels. Keep researching the market, hiring good people and making a superior product and you'll be on your way to building the empire you always dreamed about.
One way to get started might be to focus on children’s parities, which can be a bit simpler and less stressful to plan than adult get-togethers. Go further into specialization by following kid trends and offering superhero or Frozen parties. Remember that you’ll be competing not just with other party planners but with local restaurants and facilities, so excellent networking skills and a personal touch to your services will be important.
Write pitches. If you have located a client for whom you want to write, send pitches, which are topic ideas for articles. Write pitches that not only show your expertise, but also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the topic. First, read the publication to which you are sending pitches to familiarize yourself with what they publish. If applicable, identify a specific section and send our pitch to the appropriate editor. Also, include a brief summary of who you are.