One of the great things about the internet is that it’s such a great way to get into business for yourself. No matter where you live, as long as you have an internet connection, you can make money online. That money can free you from the daily grind of a 9 to 5 job, allow you to travel, indulge in hobbies, and spend time with family.
Perhaps the second best part about making money online is that there are so many ways to do it!
That means that more than likely there is a profitable niche market or online business opportunity that appeals to you.
Okay… last one. The next best thing about internet business is that it’s so easy to get started. Most of the opportunities to make money online take little or no upfront investment.
Sure it takes time and effort to figure what opportunity is right for you, learn the market, and set up the business. And there will be plenty of trial and error as you figure things out. But at least you won’t have sunk a bunch of money into it.
Those three factors are certainly true of the online ventures listed below… the top 7 for 2018.
You’ll find a mix of tried and true online ventures, as well as new businesses and niches that are poised to take off in a big way in the coming year.
1. Affiliate Marketing
You probably already know affiliate marketing as it’s one of the most “veteran” online moneymakers out there.
In a nutshell, here’s how it works:
You set up a website or blog or social media presence or email newsletter or whatever. Basically, you can use one of these or a combination… however, you want to get your marketing message out there.
You pick a hot affiliate niche market — one with many potential customers. Look at trends and what’s hot on sites like Amazon, for example.
You provide useful content as well as marketing messages aimed at your prospects.
When you promote products, you don’t sell your own. Instead, you become an affiliate and market the products of others. When customers on your site click on a link to buy, they are taken to your affiliate partner’s site to complete the transaction. You get a commission for every completed sale. You don’t have to worry about shipping or customer service!
Be sure to check out and join top affiliate sites like Amazon.com and CJ Affiliate to find out all the different products you could sell as an affiliate.
2. Selling on Amazon, eBay and Etsy
One of the quickest ways to get started selling online is to leverage the power of “third party” sites. E-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy are powerful sales and marketing platforms with a built-in prospect base. Millions of people already visit these sites to shop. And they are ready to buy — that’s why they visited the site, after all.
On these sites, they make it easy to set up your own “shop” where customers can browse your products on offer — no need for you to set up your own website or anything. And you’ll find a built-in search feature so that interested prospects will find your particular online storefront.
Plus, you use their shopping cart. In short, you avoid much of the expense and hassle of setting up an “independent” e-commerce website.
And, with Amazon, you can even have them fulfil your orders. No fuss, no muss. Amazon says there are more than two million sellers on their site, representing 40 percent of all sales. So you’ll be in good company.
With eBay, the procedure is very similar. You simply first become an eBay seller. Stay in good standing and make sure you’re PayPal verified. Then you can sign up for your store. Again, here you take advantage of eBay’s reputation, reach, and sales and marketing infrastructure to sell your own products.
Etsy is focused on handcrafted and unique items. It has 1.5 million sellers around the world. Like Amazon and eBay, you can set up your own online shop on the site.
All of these sites, as well as other third-party sites out there, really are a very easy way to get started selling online, although you do have to pay fees to the provider.
A few pro tips: use clear, high-quality photos of your products; keep your product descriptions detailed and specific: and look at what your competitors charge to help determine pricing.
Yes, good old blogging is still chugging along in 2018. By providing valuable content on a regular basis you attract like-minded prospects who are interested in information and products related to your niche. They want to keep reading to find out more and buy.
These are folks primed to buy the products you offer up either through ads, affiliate links in blog posts, or whatever. Why? Because you’ve been providing useful free content. They come to know, like, and trust you. And that’s just exactly who you want to be reading your blog and seeing your marketing messages too.
But, importantly, you also make your website, your online storefront, very attractive in the eyes of Google when you frequently and consistently add useful information in the forms articles, video, and more. That means you appear higher in the search engine rankings (most people don’t go beyond the first page). And that means more people — prospective buyers — make it to your site.
One thing to keep in mind with a blog: make sure you focus on a specific niche and stick with it. That will make it easier for you to create content, for the search engines to find and rank your site, and for your prospects to stay loyal.
4. Niche E-commerce
As a startup internet entrepreneur, you work alone most likely. At least in the beginning. And that means you won’t be competing directly with the titans of e-commerce like Amazon or the online outlets of major retailers like Walmart.
You don’t have the start-up capital, warehouse space, or logistics system to set up an online store with thousands of different products anyway.
That’s why, as a solopreneur one of the best ways to succeed is to narrow your focus. In other words, you have to find your specific niche. This way you can focus your marketing, your web content… everything on that one subject. You become a go-to expert, you appear high in the search engine rankings for that topic… it’s win-win all around.
In the ideal world, this niche will match up with one of your personal interests so you can take advantage of your expertise and do work you truly enjoy.
But the most important factor is that there is a market for products in that niche. For example, you might be really into 16th century French poetry. But not most people.
So you need to figure out those hot trends and markets that are current right now.
Weight loss products are always big. So are natural health cures, supplements, herbs, etc. There are many markets out there. Be sure to pay attention to the news, your social media feeds, articles in newspapers and magazines, and the best-selling items on Amazon and eBay to figure out what markets you might try entering in.
5. Your Own YouTube Channel
The top “YouTubers” can make millions each year. Take PewDiePie who’s made more than $15 million in the last year filming himself playing video games among other things. But you don’t need millions of views to make money on YouTube.
Some ideas for valuable videos: how-tos, unboxing (where you open a product for your viewers), reviews, travel, music, comedy… the list goes on. There are so many niches that the millions of people who visit YouTube every day are into.
So how do you make money with YouTube?
Set up your YouTube channel. This is where your videos will live.
Upload videos consistently. Keep a schedule so you can build an audience. Be sure to describe the content specifically in your video description. Make sure your videos are of good quality and contain good content your audience will enjoy. That doesn’t mean you need a fancy camera — a smartphone will do at the beginning.
Put the word out on Twitter, Facebook, to your email marketing list, and beyond. You can even share the videos on social media or embed them in your blog or website. You want to build up those views.
Be sure to respond to comments from viewers. Stay engaged to create fans.
Monetize by allowing YouTube to include ads on your videos. When viewers click on an ad, you get paid (you split that with Google). The more views = more revenue for you.
6. Selling Ebooks
The internet has blown apart the traditional publishing world. Along with every other type of information, this medium has revolutionized the distribution and selling of books. These days ebooks, electronic books, are where it’s at.
They can be purchased online and then instantly downloaded to a computer, tablet, or ebook reader. Ebooks in just about every genre sell in the millions each year. And ebooks represent about 20% of all book sales in the United States.
The best part is you don’t have to be a big name publisher with deep pockets to get in on this action. As a solo internet entrepreneur, you can sell ebooks directly from your own website as well.
You can sell your own words or sell a public domain work. Ebooks can be novels, nonfiction works, how-to guides, collections of blog posts or essays… the sky’s the limit really.
Once it’s ready, you simply upload it to your website or seller account on Amazon and start promoting it. The search feature in Amazon will help. But you also want to hype the book on your social media, to your email list, on your blog and website… all with a link to buy the book on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing.
You have the potential to make quite a lot of money. Take Mark Dawson, who self-published his crime thriller series on Amazon, and is now making in the millions each year.
7. Develop Apps
Smartphones…everybody’s got one these days, whether it’s iPhone or Android. Tablets are popular, too. What do people use them for? It’s all about the apps. Social media, games, useful tools, fun stuff.
You can get in on the action. Of course, you’re not going to be competing with the likes of Pandora and Pinterest. But you can come up with a niche idea that addresses a need that people have and create an app that meets that need. It could be a tip calculator, better photo storage, a list — with illustrations — of yoga poses, podcast downloader and organizer… the list goes on.
You don’t need to be a programmer. You’re the idea person, and you hire people to create it. With the availability of programmers available for very cheap rates that you can hire on sites like Upwork, it’s not a problem. Of course, the exact amount you’ll pay your developers depends on the complexity of the app.
One thing. You should create your app so that it works on both Android smartphones and Apple iPhones. That way you maximize your customer base.