Many people dream of starting an online business, imagining the joys of being able to work at home in their pajamas. While running an online business demands as much hard work and professionalism as an offline business, there are certainly some advantages to being able to run a business online. There are online business opportunities for just about every temperament and skill set.
Let’s assume that you aren’t the next Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, and that for now, at least, selling things online will mean a one-person operation in which you are either selling things you create yourself or things you get from someplace else. There are a few ways to start up a business like this. Etsy is an online marketplace for homemade items, so whether it’s knitted gloves, wooden bird feeders or custom furniture that you create, you can start there. eBay can provide a lucrative income for sellers dedicated enough to make searching thrift stores and yard sales a part-time or full-time job.
If you want to go beyond these sites, you’ll need to think about two main things: promotions and building a good commerce website. For the latter, be sure to engage a professional web designer. Online shoppers are savvy and expect an easy experience. Promoting yourself in a crowded marketplace could be more challenging. If you’re an Etsy seller, you can include a link to your site, and you can also promote it regularly on social media.
This is a category even broader than selling online, but that’s because there are so many possibilities in freelancing. Writing, programming, tutoring and design work are just a few of the many fields in which online business opportunities are available. Basically, anything that doesn’t require you to be physically present can be a terrific freelance opportunity. There are even virtual assistants these days, people who do administrative and secretarial work for one or multiple clients around the world. As with selling things, promotion will be a big hurdle, but once you have a few satisfied clients, word of mouth can build your base. There are many freelance job boards online that are great places to start as well as forums where seasoned veterans in your field can advise you.
Blogging and Affiliate Marketing
While blogging is arguably a form of freelance writing, this is an approach that sets it apart from traditional freelancing. Technically you don’t need a blog to do affiliate marketing, just a website, but a blog is one of the best ways to ensure fresh content. You’ll need a niche, and it can be anything from travel to cars to sports and more. The important thing is that it’s something you can be consistent about maintaining. You can make money with affiliate marketing by linking to merchants and getting a cut of the sales that come from your site, and one of the best ways to do this is to actually talk about the product on your blog. There are other ways to monetize a blog as well including more traditional advertising such as banner ads or with sponsored content in which others are allowed to blog on your site. Making money from a blog takes patience and hard work. It can take a year or more to build an audience. However, it can also be very lucrative.
These are just three broad categories of the many online business opportunities for 2013. Even in a tough economy, the resourceful, savvy and hard-working entrepreneur has a great chance of success online.
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Business owner William Grey has written several helpful articles for business minded individuals and contributed to the best business school online for others who want to educate themselves to be part of the business world.