The internet has redefined a lot of the processes that entrepreneurs have traditionally been accustomed to.
It has eliminated the barrier to entry for most businesses. Now all it takes is a computer (or even smartphone), some connectivity, and that’s it. There’s no limit to what you can accomplish.
More than half of the world’s population has internet access. Regardless of the products or services you wish to sell, there is likely to be a market somewhere. This article will go over 12 online businesses you can start with little or no capital.
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12 online businesses to start with little or no capital
1. Sell stock photos
Stock photos are images that other people can license to use in their work. If you have a decent smartphone camera, you can start taking high quality photos of different things you encounter every day, and then upload them on platforms such as Shutterstock.
You can also take photos of yourself posing in different scenarios e.g., as a doctor, a teacher, a fireman, etc. Such photos have a lot of demand, particularly with advertising agencies. Every time somebody licenses your photos, you get paid a commission.
2. Online consultation and coaching
The idea of virtual meetings is quickly becoming the norm. If you are skilled and experienced in a particular area, you can start offering consultation services around it. Almost any marketable skill can be converted into a consultation service.
For example, you can become a marketing consultant, business consultant, image consultant, career consultant, fitness coach, dating coach, or even a life coach. The possibilities are endless.
3. Become a Canva Graphic Designer
Graphic design will always be an in-demand service globally. The great thing is that you don’t need to be an experienced designer who understands the ins and outs of Photoshop to be able to provide such a service.
Tools such as Canva have been designed to help beginners create professional designs using innovative drag and drop features. You can create custom logos, brochures, flyers, business cards, and many other types of designs on the platform.
Some great places to find clients for your graphic design services include Fiverr and 99designs.
4. Social media management
A lot of small businesses such as hair salons, gyms and spas have a very hard time keeping up with their social media pages.
You can offer social media management services to help take that burden off their shoulders. Some tasks of a social media manager include posting new content daily, engaging with followers, answering questions, finding business leads, keeping track of any new trends, etc.
5. Write an e-book
E-books are one of the best ways of creating passive income on the internet. You can write an e-book on a topic that you’re well versed with, and then publish it on platforms such as the Amazon Kindle Store, where you’ll keep earning from its sales forever.
If you’re not confident in writing the e-book yourself, you can outsource the work to freelance writers and ghostwriters, and simply provide guidance on what to write about. So many book authors do that.
6. Create a course
Creating an online course is similar to writing an e-book in the sense that you will be sharing your knowledge with other people.
You can create a course on almost anything you’re good at, including cooking, dancing, sewing, etc, and then sell it on platforms such as Udemy. A lot of people are open to the idea of online learning because it enables them learn new things at their convenience.
7. Editing and proofreading
If you have an eye for catching typos and grammatical errors in other people’s writings, then you can become an editor or proofreader.
It can be a very lucrative side hustle once you build a name and reputation for yourself. A lot of writers and bloggers often run their work by editors before publishing them. You can find clients on freelancing sites such as Upwork and Fiverr.
8. Become an influencer
If you happen to have a large following on social media, then you can become an influencer and start earning money by promoting other people’s products.
There are lots of ways to find brands to work with as an influencer, including enrolling on platforms such as GRIN and Mavrck.
9. Sell niche products
Niche products are products that generally appeal to smaller groups of people who have very specific interests. Some examples include scented candles, fitness gear, bodybuilding supplements, VR headsets, skateboards, etc.
They usually don’t have as much competition as mainstream products like smartphones and TVs, and are relatively easy to sell on classified websites and social media. If you want to take things a step further then you can even build your own e-commerce store using Shopify. You can find plenty of marketable and inexpensive niche products on Alibaba.
10. Sell outsourced services
This is one of the most underrated ways of making money online. All need to do is find people who are looking for professional services, get them to hire you, and then subcontract the work to another person who’s willing to do it cheaper.
For example, you can market yourself as a graphic designer on social media. Whenever a client pays you for some work, you simply outsource it to a cheaper freelancer on sites like Fiverr and keep the profit margin.
11. Become a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants are people who provide remote administrative services to other people over the internet. The demand for virtual assistants has been through the roof since a lot of people are now forced to work from home and can no longer rely on employees.
You can easily find clients for your virtual assistant business on freelancing platforms like Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer.
12. Rent out a room in your home on Airbnb
Airbnb is an online marketplace for travelers who are looking for local places to stay but don’t want to go to hotels. If you happen to have a spare room in your home, you can lease it out on the platform.
Airbnb provides insurance cover of up to a million dollars for any damage caused by its guests, in case you’re worried about having people over.
By Emmanuel Soroba, founder and lead editor of Growth Strategies 101, a digital marketing consultancy and business blog for startups and small businesses.
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