Have you been dreaming about the lifestyle that online business brings you? More freedom, more flexible schedules, a proposal for the future and, why not, good money too.
OK I got it.
And I can help you because I have been on this path of digital entrepreneurship for 10 years.
I recognize that when you enter this world of online business, at first, it is very difficult to fully understand the nuances or substantive differences that may exist in the many Internet business options that exist.
So I have decided to create this post to bring you clarity. And by the way, save thousands of wasted euros and surely months or years of efforts in vain.
I’m going to start with a good dose of reality.
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Most online business ideas lead you to a bad deal
If you stop for a few minutes to do a Google search on “Online business”, I guarantee that you will find a lot of posts that guarantee you hyper profitable online businesses, easy to start, without investment.
And that everyone is going to present you a very large list of successful online businesses,
It is enough to read the first paragraph of these posts to understand what type of information they are serving you: the typical content written by an SEO or a publicist who has never started an online business in his life.
In fact, I am going to list here all these online businesses that sell you as the last business opportunity on the Internet … and that are currently bad businesses, either with a large initial investment and / or with a tiny gross margin.
Let the show begin …
THE BIG LIST OF INTERNET BUSINESSES THAT WILL NOT GET YOU ANYWHERE
Basically, in all the proposals that you are going to see below, the contribution of value is little, if not zero. Which, leads you directly to low prices and a Low Cost model.
I know that there is a lot of literature on the Internet that sells you the benefits of a Low Cost model. Worse yet, completely free.
It may be that, for some multinationals with unlimited financial and human resources, engaging in a price war to kill the competition and then reclaim all available market is a viable strategy. Very risky, but doable.
But the Low Cost model for a micro-business does not make sense:
Or you find yourself with many orders, which you cannot deliver because your time is limited and you cannot contract because your prices are too low.
Or you find digital models that are based on a high turnover (a high sales volume) because the commissions are very low, but you never have digital platforms that generate enough visits and thus allow you to earn some money from advertising. since you can’t build a powerful writing team.
In both cases you lose, after years of suffering at the head of a business that demands a lot from you and gives you very little joys.
Here are 20 examples of bad Internet businesses, digital businesses with a very low margin and / or a large initial investment.
And, in addition, all these proposals are focused on generating money online and, as such, they will not give you the purpose or satisfaction that you have when you help your clients solve important problems that they have in their life or in their business.
Miraculous investments: Forex, futures, cryptocurrencies, etc. It takes a lifetime to build good savings, a single bad investment to lose everything in a matter of weeks. If you don’t understand what you buy, you better not do it.
Online gambling: only fools believe they can tame the statistics of lotteries and gambling. Find something smarter to do. End.
Fill out surveys: if you think that by filling out surveys you can earn a decent living, you have a big problem again. If you do not value your time, consider it as a complement, but again it is not a sustainable way to earn a decent living. You deserve a more satisfying activity.
Network marketing: the idea of selling useless things to my best friends, my relatives and neighbors, disturbs me greatly. Not to you? Well, go ahead with the camel …
Sell domains / websites: if you had entered this market in 1995, perhaps today you could live off these digital assets bought when no one was betting a penny on the Internet. Today the sale of domains is not a viable business model. There is not even a dynamic market for the sale of web pages, in Spain or in Spanish.
Resell hosting: today is a super competitive market with low margins if you don’t buy your own machines. It is not impossible to achieve this, but you must target a very large volume of clients. Which is going to cost you an army of support technicians. Impossible it is not, but believe me, it is not business for newbies …
Selling apps at € 0.99: the illusion of low prices or the Freemium model (all free, paid for by advertising and low subscriptions).payment terms). If you develop the App that hits it every year worldwide, maybe the numbers will come out. If not, it is better to invoice your app developer services for companies willing to pay you much more for your skills. And if you do well, you will quickly realize how complicated it is to run a business with a large customer base and thousands of transactions per month. Again, it is not a business model for a newbie.
Sell ebooks at € 0.99: a single ebook will get you nowhere. If you write a series of 10-15 ebooks, you may have more leeway. If you can sell these ebooks for € 15 instead of € 0.99 per unit, as is the case with non-fiction books, perhaps you can live off what you write. In general, books are products of attraction, and you will have to design a complementary process of continuity to live better, selling for example training and / or advisory / coaching services. This is called in English “Back-End Offer”. An offer in the back room …
Sell photos or wallpapers: if you are a photographer, this idea may seem attractive. The difficult thing is not to have a photo that is downloaded, if not enough downloadable photos, and more importantly, downloaded every month, to earn a decent salary. The commission per download is a few cents of euros. Row, slave!
Online translation: of course you can do it, and if you specialize, it might even work for you. But there is a lot of price pressure on translators, and one day artificial intelligence will take the job away from them. When robots will understand the contextualization of words, bad business. The reality today: long hours for a very low salary. Your buoy of salvation: hyper specialization in an atypical language combination.
Make small and cheap orders (transcription-translation by the minute and / or micro projects for less than € 5 like Fiverr.com or Amazon Mechanical Turk): the idea of recurring microservices is seductive, but in practice, they are many hours of I work in front of the computer screen for a very low prize. Working 12 hours a day, alone, in front of the computer, with worse social rights than an employee, and half of her salary does not convince me.
Doing online support by phone: it is another possible activity if your ability to add value is low. Very similar to the above, profitability / hour is lousy. Satisfaction with your dubious job, especially if your employer’s products and services are not good.
Import products from China and sell them on Amazon (FBA): it is one of the modalities of fashion e-commerce. Buy cheap from China, import into the US, and let Amazon do the sales and delivery work at customers’ homes. If you are able to find a product category with strong demand and weak competition, you can do well. If you haven’t been operating in the ideally specialized retail sector for years, finding these niches is like waiting to win the lottery.
General E-commerce – Sell physical products online: nowadays, trying to compete with Amazon in terms of catalog breadth, prices and delivery times seems very complicated. In addition, an e-commerce requires a large initial investment and that you know how to operate a business with tiny margins. I do not see it.
Specialized e-commerce – Sell physical products online: this strategy looks better than the previous one, due to the hyper specialization in a category of products. That said, without a contribution of real value with content (free training type), I find it difficult to sustain. Perhaps in a B2B environment, for products that generate transactions of more than 4 figures on average. For example, motors for pleasure boats …
Dropshipping – Selling products online that you do not manage: it is an evolution of e-commerce models. There are wholesalers / distributors who know logistics and distribution, but nothing about online marketing. On the other hand, there are profiles of born digitals who dominate online marketing, and have no interest in logistics / distribution of physical products. Dropshipping is the bridge between these 2 universes. If already, the margins in traditional e-commerce are low, in Dropshipping with tiny. There’s a lot of competition in the easier-to-serve categories, so bad business, unless you’re a great e-marketer.
Advertising – Monetize a blog: you can pull Google Adsense and activate the ads in 24 hours. It is a fact. But I bet you won’t exceed € 10 in income per month. Except if you get into stupid tactics of creating viral with false stories and hiding your advertising blocks in your content like a digital chameleon. If you really are a content creator, this model cannot satisfy you. Neither for the generation of income, nor for the satisfaction of your readers.
Affiliation – Make a niche blog: an alternative to the previous model. Again, the affiliation
on a general blog does not lead anywhere. You stay with niche blogs, to write stupid posts focused on a transactional search and earn a living with affiliate commissions. In general, it will be difficult for you to exceed € 1000 / month of commissions. And if you do, you will have to run 5-10 niche blogs to earn a good salary. And if you succeed, where is the purpose in talking about artificial grass or alopecia … to charge a few euros per sale made. For tastes, colors …
Sponsorships – Become an “influencer”: another option to live off an audience is to negotiate actions directly with brands or agencies that manage these communication actions with the audience. If you work with an intermediary, the commission per share plummets. If you go straight to brands, managing these actions is almost a full-time job. And when you do it and you are a real influencer, brands bet on a strategy of many micro influencers willing to work for free, in exchange for a given product. Again producing great content and energizing an audience seems like a very nice job. But selling your reputation to brands that don’t share your values… this idea ends up generating serious internal conflicts.
Selling digital products or cheap online courses on third-party platforms or Marketplace: Udemy, Tutellus, and a thousand other possible options offer you the opportunity to host your “online school”. Do the training and we will sell it. Well in practice, your training will have to be sold by you, doing your own sales actions to people that you are going to attract to this platform. So leaving a 30% commission in exchange for hosting your videos, it seems to me, a terrible business. And when these platforms run campaigns with a 90% discount without notifying you, your personal brand falls short. Applying supermarket sales tactics in the world of online education doesn’t seem like the best possible idea to me.
In summary, online businesses that I don’t like have one or more of the following characteristics:
They require a large initial investment
They push you to work at Low Cost, which will require many hours of work
They offer a very small operating margin
They force you to work with an intermediary who gets the best part of the pie
They are limited to making money with commissions. Not to genuinely help people
That being said, make no mistake.
There are many very attractive online business models.
Here are my favorites.
The best profitable online businesses you should copy
Okay, now that we’ve separated the chaff from the grain, I’m going to focus on the latter. What are the seeds most likely to generate good Internet business?
I have accompanied thousands of students in creating their online business in the last decade. And behind all successful online businesses there are systems.
What you are going to read now:
It is based on creating a reliable and recurring system to attract customers online and deliver what you sell also online
It will help you find the perfect online business for you, based on your talents, experiences and passions
It allows you to test your business idea online, and see if there are people willing to pay to solve the problem they have, before you have to make a significant investment in money – as is usually done when you set up a traditional business of all the lifetime -.
This method is designed to lead you directly to the best online business ideas, which you can put together quickly, without much investment and allow you to start attracting your first clients in a matter of weeks, not months or years.
Let’s look at the best online businesses first, if you are looking to genuinely help people to attract greater purpose in your life.
Money is always a second consequence, a collateral benefit of your ability to help many people in your niche. It’s called adding value to the market.
If you add a lot of value, you will generate a lot of money.
The 4 best online businesses to start today
These are the 4 best options you have to create a successful online business.
1. FREELANCING / DIGITAL SERVICES
The idea is to provide a service for your clients, virtually.
You can think of technical services that are sold by the hour or projects: writing, translation, transcription, virtual assistance, personal trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, therapists. programming, web design, copywriting, media buyers, closing of sale, etc.
2. COACHING / CONSULTING
It is a business model very similar to the previous case, but in this case, instead of performing the service for the client, it is about accompanying this client in solving the problem.
All advisory, consulting / coaching services are as follows: strategic consulting, audits, legal services, tax and / or labor advice, executive coaching, vi coaching
gives, health coaching,
3. ONLINE TRAINING
It is about training people to acquire some desired competencies with the idea that they can carry out these activities themselves, in their life or in their business.
The difference with the above is in the level of accompaniment. These products are more for self-consumption without much support.
It is a completely different business model that normally arises naturally after having accompanied a target for many years, in one of the 3 previous models.
It is about detecting a common pattern of needs in the majority of customers in a market and building a computer solution to better solve this problem.
The Software is carried in the cloud, and customers can access this service for a very reasonable monthly fee.
Again it is an evolution of the previous model, in the sense that these Software sold as services, allow more people to be able to solve these recurring problems correctly.
In other words, you no longer need to hire an advisor, because you have learned to understand these issues, and the software helps you do 90% of what this advisor did for you.
Coaching vs Online Courses: What is the best business model?
I love the Coaching business model.
It is one of the best ways to live by sharing your knowledge with the market, and actually helping people to progress towards their personal and / or professional goals.
I’m an MBA alumnus, but honestly, I think I’ve learned more about business in recent years through personal development and coaching. It turns out that it is also much cheaper.
You can trade fast in the market. It is a service. You don’t need a title, you need to be able to solve a specific problem. Tony Robbins, one of the world’s leading coaches, is not even certified. But he does know how to solve many very real problems.
You can charge a premium rate. Even more so if you do executive coaching. But also if you do life or health coaching. What is the price of a service that allows you to be happier or healthier? Priceless…
You get purpose. You offer time and full attention to your clients. You help them solve complex problems. They thank you. And this gives you positive feedback.
Obviously, this business model is not very scalable, unless you decide to set up your own team of coaches who will run your model as your client base grows.
So we come to the business model of online courses.
It is the natural way to scale from the Coaching model.
With online courses you can:
Multiply the impact you generate in the market. Your ideas will spread more because the online course allows a democratization of your coaching service, which is more expensive. You impact more people.
Scale your sales to infinity. You can perfectly serve 10,000 students, during the life cycle of an online course. It is a matter of organization, but it is feasible. And that your students continue to get the promises you make to sell your online course,
Create once and keep for years. If you choose a theme that never expires (Love, Health, Money) it is like that.
As you can see, these 2 business models do not compete, but rather complement each other.
9 characteristics shared by all successful online businesses
KEY Nº1: THE IDEA OF YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS IS NOT WORTH ANYTHING
Many look for the most profitable online business, thinking that what defines the success of a business is the type of activity, the business model, the sector or a growing consumer habit.
It does not work like that.
What is a great deal for someone may be a lousy deal for someone else.
In effect, the idea that you get of your online business is worth little.
What really matters is the execution that you are going to make of this idea.
The key question is:
Are you going to be able to transform this idea into a thriving online business?
And this leads us directly to choosing a theme for your future online business that has 3 important attributes:
What they – your customers – need (more on this in the next point)
What you master, to create value and help
What you love, to spread your enthusiasm to your customers and never get tired
Once you have clarified the subject of your future online business, you also have to think about other attributes of your online business such as:
What are you looking for: short term money or purpose?
Do you want public exposure or not?
What is your favorite content format: text, audio or video?
For example, if you are only looking for extra money, you do not want anyone to associate you with your business and the written format is good for you, you should better orient yourself to a business based on affiliate marketing.
All the online businesses that I have presented to you as the best are based on the idea that you want to face your clients and that you want to build and expand.