There has (arguably) never been a better time in history to start an online business. Nowadays, there are tools available for building websites without the need for any technical knowledge. There are also cost effective methods of advertising that can give you a great return on investment without a huge upfront cost.
Best of all, even if you don’t have your own product, you can still build an online business that frees you from your job. In this article, I’ll explain 5 of the top online business models for 2014 that anyone can start, and profit from quite quickly with some effort.
Starting a blog is now easier than ever. By leveraging the power of free blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger.com you can begin publishing posts on a topic that you enjoy and gather an audience relatively quickly. The key to successful blogging consists of two things: quality content and consistency.
Before you start a blog, you should pick a topic that you actually enjoy writing about – if not, you will quickly tire of producing regular content.
Once your blog has a decent amount of content, you can think about how to monetize it. Once you blog becomes well known, you’ll probably find that advertisers come to you, but in the meantime you can place Google Ads (or similar) or ads for suitable affiliate companies. Even better, think of products and services you can sell directly – perhaps consultancy services related to your niche, or specialist eBooks.
Check out our beginners guide to starting a blog
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves promoting products from other companies on the Web for a fixed percentage of the sale price. For example, popular products like diet pills often turn to affiliate marketers to get their product promoted. They pay affiliates around $25-$35 per sale. They can afford to do this because they make the money back by continuously selling more products to the customer.
Affiliate marketing can be combined with blogging, as we touched on earlier in this article.
Affiliate marketing is a great business because it requires zero start up cost. You can literally pick a product to start promoting tomorrow and make your first affiliate commission within a few days. However, making big money isn’t necessarily easy. People aren’t going to buy products via your site unless they get to your site in the first place, and the marketplace for some niches is highly competitive. However, if you are prepared to put the work in, you could soon generate a healthy passive income.
Check out our detailed guide to setting up an affiliate website here.
3. Google Adsense
Google AdSense is a program that allows website owners to make money from their site by placing ads in their content. The great thing about Google AdSense is that they handle all of the ads and payments. Your only job as an AdSense publisher is to create quality content that gets traffic. As with affiliate marketing, it’s easy to combine this kind of monetization with blogging.
The more quality traffic you get to your site, the more money you will make. In fact, some AdSense publishers make up to $500 per day. Best of all, once you reach a certain daily income level, as long as your website keeps getting traffic you keep getting paid.
However, as with affiliate marketing, don’t expect Google AdSense to provide a quick route to wealthy early retirement. You need a LOT of visitors to your website to make earn a significant income, and for that you need a constant stream of good content.
Freelancing is a fantastic way for people with skills in service based industries to make money anywhere around the world. The most common freelance jobs are for content writers, programmers, and graphic designers, and many people in these professions now enjoy being digital “nomads” who can work from anywhere.
If you have are skilled in one of these areas, you can start your own freelancing business by providing these services to other businesses online.
The easiest way to get started is by using freelance websites like eLance and oDesk. Once you build up a reputation, you can charge higher rates, and may even find that clients approach you, instead of having to pitch in response to assignment posts.
One thing you should be aware of with these and similar job boards is that the job market is truly global. Therefore, you will always be competing with contractors from other countries where the cost of living is lower. As such, they can charge lower rates and still earn a good income. This means there are plenty of clients who are only willing to pay very low rates. If you live in the western world where the cost of living is high, it will take time to find suitable clients willing to pay your rates, but they are out there. You will just need a good portfolio of work before things really take off.
5. Information Marketing
Information marketing is a real trend for those currently trying to make money online. There is a big demand for quality information on a variety of different topics, and you can use sites like Amazon CreateSpace and Kindle instantly publish & profit from your e-books and audio courses online.
With these tools, anyone can become a publisher of high quality information products. To get started with this business model, you need to pick a niche market, figure out what they want, and give it to them at the right price.
How To Get Started
Starting an online business does not have to be complicated. As long as you follow one of these 5 business models you can have your own online business that gives you the income you deserve and the freedom to live anywhere you want. The only thing required to get started is action, and a significant amount of patience while you begin to build a reputation and a stream of income.