One of the hurdles most startup entrepreneurs face is deciding what type of internet business to pursue.
There are multiple types of income streams you can create online. There’s affiliate marketing, self-publishing, running an eCommerce store, and more.
We’ve compiled 11 of the most popular and profitable internet businesses you can start today. However, we’ve divided these business ideas into 3 parts. Here’s a quick overview of what they are:
Part 1: The Most Popular Business Models
- Affiliate Marketing
- Amazon Fulfillment
Part 2: The Most Popular Service-Based Businesses
- Virtual Assistant
- Freelance Writer
- App Development
Part 3: The Most Profitable, LongTerm Businesses
- Amazon Book Self-Publisher
- Online Courses
- Digital Information Publishing
In this PART 1 article, we’re going to talk about the most popular and most used business models. These are the businesses most entrepreneurs are in due to some amazing success stories and great passive income.
1. Start a Blogging Business
Blogging is one of the oldest online business models online.
If writing is something that you are passionate about, this is a very profitable way to create income.
There are hundreds of people who have succeeded and made up to 6 figures as bloggers in various niches. Here are some real-life case studies.
The process of starting your blog is not hard either.
Or you can invest $20 in your domain name, a web hosting service, and then build your own hosted website. So getting started from a technical perspective isn’t difficult.
Your site does not have to be life-impacting or fancy. If you want to make money blogging – focus on solving problems people in your niche are dealing with.
You can even help them find products or services that will fit their needs or solve their issues. Write honest reviews on products that will add value to their lives.
Blogging is still a valid online business idea you can pursue with a lot of potentials. If you choose to go with this business model, I recommend you choose a niche
- that you are familiar with
- that people would be interested to read about
- and that has the potential to generate income.
So before you begin building your website, spend some time researching niches you can go into. This is the most important step in any business you begin.
If it’s a niche you’re passionate about, that’s great.
If it’s a hobby, lifestyle, or problem that you know and you can help others in, that’s good too.
But how do you make money blogging?
There are 3 ways you can monetize your blog.
- Affiliate For Other Products
You can write reviews for products that are in your niche and that are relevant to your audience. Become an affiliate for other people’s products. It could be any type of product too – information, digital, or physical. It just depends on your niche.
If you want to know where to get your affiliate products, you can check out Clickbank, JVZoo, or Amazon Affiliates.
2. Promote Ads
Another way is to link your website with Google Adsense and run display ads. This is an extra way to earn income on your site.
- Sell Your Products / Services
Another effective revenue model is to offer your products or services.
This could be in the form of books, online courses, consulting services, coaching programs, etc.
Remember – before you can make money, you need to fill your blog with content and build your audience list. Once you’ve got that sorted – then start taking a look at monetizing your blog.
So if you want to learn how to start a blog that makes money, click here to read this easy guide.
Summary of Online Business: Blogging
Start-Up Costs: $0 – $20
You can use free platforms: WordPress.com / Medium.com / Blogger.com. Or you can buy your domain name, web hosting provider, and build your WordPress website for less than $20.
Income Potential: It depends on your niche, your audience, and whether or not it’s a profitable market. If you do this right, you can earn a monthly income of up to 6 figures.
Success Story: The guy behind SmartPassiveIncome.com, Pat Flynn, is one of many case studies, who has successfully made huge passive income in the blogging industry.
2. Become An Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate Marketing is when you promote someone else’s product. For every sale you make, you get paid by the product vendor.
The major benefit of being an affiliate marketer is that you don’t have to worry about the product. You don’t need to worry about the conversion funnel, the email sequences, or dealing with customer support issues. That’s all done by the product vendor. Your main focus is on marketing and promoting the affiliate product.
Here’s a quick brief on how you gain profits as an affiliate.
Your affiliate business starts with building a site for a specific niche. This is the base foundation. Once you’ve found your niche, you then use keyword research tools. The goal is to find competitively low keywords that you can use to rank on the first results page of Google.
When people visit your site, they’ll click on your affiliate link. If they buy through your affiliate referral link, then you get paid a cut of the profits.
Affiliate marketing is an online business model with huge revenue potential.
If you set this up the right way, the income you gain out of it will almost be 100% passive. That means you can retire from your current job and be your boss.
If you want to learn how to be your own boss and generate passive income through affiliate marketing – join the Authority Site System.
There are two types of sites you can start for your affiliate business – a niche site vs an authority website.
Niche sites have several articles on their websites and they’re mainly focused on a specific kind of service or product.
Authority websites have a large number of posts, completely targeting various keywords or phrases for a general topic.
The aim is to rank for competitively low keywords with a high search volume. The benefit of this is you generate free traffic with SEO.
You can either outsource the content creation of your blog posts or do it yourself.
Doing it yourself and coming up with good-quality content isn’t that hard either.
It does take some bit of research to find the right keywords to rank for and some time to practice writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect English writing either.
The boys behind the Authority Site System are Mark Webster & Gael Breton. They have pre-set writing templates you can use as a guideline for your own. They also have a whole module on how to write articles for your blog without having any knowledge in your niche. So half the work is already done for you. You’ve just got to put in the time and effort into spinning the information in your own words.
If you’re someone just starting and you want to build an authority site, then I would recommend you start with a niche website. It will be easier for you to find long-tail keywords to rank for and a higher chance of getting affiliate income. The perfect program to learn from is The Authority Site System.
Here are a few of the top affiliate marketing platforms to find products to promote:
- Amazon Associates
Summary of Online Business: Affiliate Marketing
Start-Up Costs: Less than $20. Webhosting is $10 and a domain name is $15.
Income Potential: Unlimited. There are plenty of case studies of how people are crushing it in affiliate marketing – making up to $100,000 a month.
Success story: TheWireCutter.com.
3. RUN YOUR OWN E-COMMERCE BUSINESS
Due to the dotcom bubble crash that happened in 2001, some people have been afraid of running an e-commerce shop.
Modern companies are way ahead of those days now. Much like how Google is far ahead of Yahoo.
Back in the early days of 2000, starting an eCommerce business came with a lot of worries and expenses. If you wanted an eCommerce site built out, you’d have to pay large amounts of money to web developers. If you wanted to get your site somewhere on the page of Google, you’d have to invest in an SEO (search engine optimization) agency service. If not that, paid traffic sources and paid advertisements would be your next go-to plan. Then the rest of your worries would be in dealing with staff, inventory, deliveries and attending to customer support problems.
In this modern digital world, those troubling worries are gone. There are platforms designed for eCommerce, one of the most well-known is Shopify. And these platforms make it a lot simpler and give you more value to establish an online eCommerce store.
There are two ways you can run your ecom business.
- Market your own retail products to your customers. This will entail having you to have your own stock products, cover shipping costs and handle packaging.
- Start a dropshipping ecom store. So when you get an order on your site, you purchase the item from a third party and they will ship it directly to the customer. As a result, you will never see or handle the product. It’s done for you.
There is a mild difference between a standard retail ecom business and dropshipping. One has to manage the stock products, while the other doesn’t require you to do so.
Dropshipping involves the merchant (you) to purchase the ordered items from a third party to fulfill orders. This is usually a wholesaler or manufacturer. The only downfall with dropshipping is that it may take up to 30 days for the order to reach your customers.
A couple of brothers are making over $30,000 a month from their own e-commerce shop.
You can listen to their success story right here. Or you could see the training they have on how to start, run, and profit from an eCommerce store here.
Here’s a sneak peek tip:
One of the hot-selling eCommerce niches you can start in is monthly subscription boxes. The Dollar Shave Club is among many success stories that have gone into this area of ecom. These guys got started by selling affordable men’s grooming boxes every month. Then sometime in 2015, UniLever bought Dollar Shave Club for USD 1Billion.
In regards to the platform to create your eCommerce store, Shopify is the most popular eCommerce system in the industry. It provides you with everything you need for your eCommerce business.
Summary of Online Business: Ecommerce Store
Start-Up Costs: Shopify’s fundamental plan costs $29 per month. This is suitable for those who are just starting out. You can register for their free 14-day trial to get a feel for how to use their platform. Once your trial ends, you will then be put onto their basic $29 monthly plan. After that, you can build your ecom store. Therefore, you will need to make up your mind whether you’re going to sell your own retail products or follow the dropshipping model.
Income Potential: Running an ecom store business and selling goods, you can make up to 5-6 figures a month. It just depends on the market you choose to go into and what you choose to sell.
Success Story: The Dollar Shave Club.
4. AMAZON FULFILLMENT BUSINESS (FBA)
Amazon FBA is Fulfillment By Amazon. This type of business model is a little different from your ordinary Shopify eCommerce store. The difference is that you piggyback the fulfillment of the largest online retailer in the world known as Amazon.
If you have a selection of products to sell online, Amazon will do all of the difficult work for you. This includes:
- picking, packaging, shipping
- coping with customer support issues
- dealing with product returns and refunds
So Amazon does all the fulfillment for you.
And how you do it with Amazon is simple:
- You’ve got a product idea that you think will sell online
- Do extensive and thorough research on the market and the product. Along with that, focus on merchandise recognition, sales price, and profit margins.
- Look for a manufacturer or a company that can make your product(s) for you. Don’t worry about this part. This is easy to do.
- When your merchandise purchase is completed, then you arrange for these to be sent to an Amazon fulfillment center.
- You list your product onto your Amazon shop.
- Your product listings go live.
- Customers purchase your product, you make sales.
- Then within 2 weeks, you will receive your piece of the profits from Amazon. This can be done through cheque or electronic funds transfer to your own bank account.
The steps outlined in the list above is a basic overview version of the Amazon FBA business model. They are the core fundamental steps and it is that simple.
If you want to learn more about this business model and how to get started, click here to read an easy guide NichePursuits have written on How To Go From Zero To Hero with Amazon FBA.
Summary of Online Business: Amazon FBA Business
Start-Up Costs: The initial total startup costs will be around USD 2,500. You will need an Amazon Professional Sellers accounts for this. It usually costs $40 a month. That amount does not include professional or advertising photography.
You certainly can do a little investigating to find low hanging fruit, to get a lower entry cost. You can try Helium10 which is a recommended product to locate opportunities with low startup costs and high rewards.
Income Potential: Anywhere from $1000 a month to several million dollars per year.
Success Story: Chris Guthrie is one of many shining lights who have proven success in the FBA industry space.
So those are the most popular types of income streams that are generating money for a lot of people right now.
The big commonality between all these income sources is that you don’t have to deal with product stock. If you’re someone who wants to follow what’s already working and make money without creating products, these ideas would be ideal for you.
But that’s not all.