When I first began my online business, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d just finished my certification program to be a personal coach, and I was looking for an inexpensive way to promote my new business online.
I discovered Google’s very simple Blogger platform and created an embarrassingly basic site as my promotional website. Of course, a blog isn’t a static site, so I had to figure out what to write, how to get traffic, and how to generate client leads. This led to finding a course on blogging, which unlocked an entirely new business model for me I never knew existed.
Creating my blog, Live Bold and Bloom, became the foundation for an online business that has far surpassed my goal of simply promoting my coaching services. As my blog traffic grew, I was able to create and sell online courses and ebooks, promote affiliate products, sell advertising, offer blog consulting services, create videos, and self-publish books on Amazon — in addition to offering personal coaching services.
This didn’t happen overnight, and it took a lot of research and trial and error to figure out what I was doing. Our goal here at Work From Home is to make it much simpler for you to know how to begin and how to build your online business.
You don’t have to be a techie to build a successful home-based online business (I certainly wasn’t). You just need a passion or interest in something that can translate into a service or product people want to buy. Of course, you’ll need a blog or website as the platform for that business and a plan for driving traffic to your site. More on that in another post.
But for now, if you’re just starting out or starting over, and you aren’t sure how you want to make money online, we have some ideas for you.
Here are 18 work from home ideas to build a successful online business or income stream:
1. Affiliate Marketing
With affiliate marketing, you’re promoting other people’s goods and services. This might be another blogger’s products or courses, or it could be products offered on an online marketplace like Amazon, Clickbank, RevResponse or Commission Junction. You can be an affiliate marketer for just about any product or service you can imagine. Just be sure you trust the product or service and know it’s something useful for your clients and followers. You’ll need solid, targeted traffic to your site to make money selling affiliate products.
2. Amazon Fulfillment Program
With Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), you can sell your stuff and create a good income. The program is designed for those with big inventories of products who want sales, shipping, and customer support handled by Amazon. But you don’t need a huge inventory to take advantage of the FBA program. In fact, you can gather items from your house, put them in a box, and ship them to Amazon (with some paperwork of course), and they’ll handle it from there. This isn’t a great program for cheap items (under $5.00) if you want to make any money. You may decide you want to purchase discounted or wholesale items and ship them to Amazon for the fulfillment process. There are savvy online entrepreneurs making thousands a month selling this way.
3. Auction Selling
Auction sites like eBay, QuiBids and eBid allow you to sell your stuff to the highest bidder. You can resell items you purchase at a discount or sell used items like antique furniture or old books. Just be sure you do your research on how to photograph, market, and ship your items and how to be a reliable, professional seller.
If you love to write and have a passion for a particular topic, a blog is a fantastic platform for an online business. When you start a blog we recommend you use a self-hosted WordPress website for your blog. With a blog, you’re writing with the goal of creating a tribe of devoted followers who subscribe to your blog and relate to you as a person. You gain their loyalty by consistently providing highly useful content on a regular (2-3 times a week) basis. As you build your list of email subscribers, you’ll have a fan base who will want to purchase your products and services because they know you offer quality stuff. From your blog, you can sell courses, products, advertising, coaching and consulting services. It takes time to build a blog with a loyal following, and you want to be sure you select a niche that enough people are interested in to build a following.
5. Book writing
Amazon has changed the way books are published and made available to the public. Aspiring writers no longer have to search for a publisher and find an editor willing to read their draft. You can now write, publish, and promote your own digital or print book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other book sellers. Amazon’s on-demand publishing service allows you to upload your content and cover design, and they handle printing and distribution. I’ve written and published many books this way, and it provides a nice monthly income of several thousand dollars. The more books I write, the more I make.
Coaching is one of the fastest growing industries as more and more individuals and businesses recognize the value of support and accountability to achieve success. Although certification isn’t required to be a coach, most respected coaches complete a certification program with an accredited training program. You can be almost any kind of coach — from an executive coach for business to a health coach for individuals. Fortunately, you can offer coaching services right from the comfort of home, as most coaches use telephone or Skype coaching in order to serve clients anywhere in the world. I’d recommend you do what I did, and set up a blog related to your coaching niche to attract people who might be interested in your coaching services.
Do you have years of experience in a particular profession, or do you have an interest or hobby you’ve become proficient at? You can help others reach their goals or become experts in your field of interest by offering consulting services. Again, you’ll need a blog to help create following of people interested in your services. Share your expertise in articles, videos, or podcasts, and then offer more in-depth training through your consulting services.
8. Create Videos
You don’t have to share your amazing experience and content only in written form. If you’re good on camera and enjoy talking about your knowledge, you can self-produce videos to share on your blog, on your YouTube channel, through email campaigns, or on social media. Be sure you add a call to action (to visit your blog, purchase your course, hire you for consulting, etc.) at the end of the videos. You can also make money with videos by getting sponsors, partnering with an affiliate, or creating videos for other businesses for hire.
Do you have a great idea for a product to sell online? Can you identify a potential customer pain point and think of a product that offers a solution? Are you good at spotting opportunity gaps? Maybe you know a local manufacturer whose products interest you. Have you noticed a product trend that hasn’t peaked? You might want to consider setting up an eCommerce site to sell your own or someone else’s products. You can create your own online store as part of a bigger platform with sites like Shopify and Magento, or you can create an individual online store with a service like WixStores.
10. Course Creation/Information Products
I love creating courses and ebooks to help people find solutions to their problems or needs. I’ve built several course websites where customers access the materials on the site, and I’ve created packaged courses that can be downloaded in PDF format. If you have expertise or knowledge in a particular area, whether it’s building a birdhouse or creating an online business, then you can create a course or ebook around it to help others learn the skills. You can sell the course from your own blog or web site, or offer it through course or content curators like Udemy, Ruzuko, and CourseMerchant,
11. Design Services
If you have creative ability or the desire to learn graphic design, you can offer your services to bloggers, authors, web developers, and marketers. You can design logos, web site headers, book covers, ads, and other promotional material. You can promote your services with your own site, but also take advantage of creative marketplaces like GraphicRiver where you can upload design templates for purchase. You can also offer your services on freelance sites like Upwork (formerly Odesk), Freelancer and Elance.
12. Freelance Writing/Editing
If you are good at copywriting, ghostwriting, or editing, you can focus your energy on building an online business around your skills. Don’t know where to start? Look at sites like Blogging Pro, Problogger job board, All Indie Writers, and Elance. As you build a reputation as a strong and professional writer, you’ll have people coming to you.
13. Membership Site
A membership site is a private site that users pay to join in order access exclusive content. This allows you to earn a regular monthly income, as you provide ongoing, fresh information to your members. You might offer exclusive training or courses, offer online coaching or consulting, host monthly seminars, and give access to a likeminded community of people who can interact with one another. You can easily create a membership site using WordPress and a member software program like Wishlist Member or Member Mouse.
If you enjoy talking and sharing information with others, you can create your own “radio show” in the form of a podcast. Like self-publishing, this media form has become increasingly democratic, and anyone with something to say can build podcast following. You’ll need to select a niche you’re passionate about, that has enough interested followers to help you succeed. You can interview guests, talk on your own, or some combination of both. You’ll need a good microphone, headphones, and editing software like Audacity or Garageband. You’ll make money through sponsorships, affiliates, and product and service promotion.
15. Resume Writing
Do you like the idea of helping people communicate their skills and expertise? Maybe resume writing could be a great source of income for you. First, to gain some credibility, consider becoming a Certified Professional Resume Writer and a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches. This will give you some leverage when marketing your services. Get some practice by offering to write resumes for friends. Then you can submit your application to online resume writing services like ResumeEdge.com and ResumeWriters.com. Also you can promote your services on Craigslist, Elance, and other freelance writing sites. I’d recommend you create a blog to share career and resume tips and to promote your services.
16.Selling Arts, Crafts, Indie Products
If you’re artistic and enjoy creating things, then make a business of it. Sell your jewelry, art, home goods, and other crafts online through handmade marketplace sites like Etsy, Aftcra, and Artfire.
17. Social Media Manager
Social media has changed the way we market and promote ourselves and our businesses. If you love social media, you’re well-organized, you don’t mind doing research, and you’re great at building community, there are thousands of bloggers and businesses who need your help. You can find clients online by looking on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other professional networking sites. But don’t forget to look at businesses in your own back yard who don’t understand social media and desperately need some help.
18. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant provides administrative support online for individuals and businesses. In fact a virtual assistant can do just about anything a client might need that can be done online — such as writing, researching, bookkeeping, photo editing, and transcription. If you enjoy helping others and having a lot of variety in your work, this could be a great online job for you. You’ll need to create a blog or site to promote your services, and be sure you’re active in social media, especially with LinkedIn. You can also promote your services on sites like Zirtual.com and Elance.
These are just a few of hundreds of ideas for creating a home based business online. Remember, I’ve given an overview of each of these career options, but it takes time, commitment, and hard work to make any of these online careers pay off. You don’t have to be an expert in any of these areas right now to begin your online business, but you do need to put in the hours to know how to proceed.
Ron and I will cover many of these options separately in future posts, detailing exactly what’s involved in becoming successful and making a sustainable income. For now, ask yourself what seems most interesting or promising to you, do a little research, and start outlining any skills you might need to learn.
Feel free to ask us any questions in the comments below. We’ll be happy to help!