types of online businesses

Have you ever had a tough day at work and thought, “I wish I could be my own boss?” I think all of us have, at one point or another. It’s the American Dream: creating a viable business and being the self-made captain of your own ship. However, it wasn’t an easy dream to have. The start-up costs of opening and running a successful business can be crippling if the business isn’t successful within the first few years. You have rent or a mortgage on the property your business will be housed in, the cost of utilities, insurances, product, employees...all before you’ve even make any profit or even officially open your business. It was a huge risk. But then, the internet became easier to use and more accessible. We have access on almost any device we own and accessing a business or shopping online for whatever you can think of is as easy as a swipe of your index finger on a screen. With this ease of access, it’s not as large a risk to make the decision to open up an online business. If you’ve been considering starting an online business of your own, check out a few of these different types of businesses you can open!

An Online Store
This is probably the most straightforward online business you can start and one where a lot of the tools you need to be successful are already established. The only thing you need to figure out is what you want to sell and what site you want to use to sell it. Depending on what you decide to sell, some websites will be better for you than others. For example, many artists and crafters these days are making money on the side with shops on sites like Etsy.com. If you make clever knitted stuffed animals, someplace like Etsy is probably going be better for your business than, say, eBay. If you’re looking to have a second hand or antique shop, or resell unwanted items, then eBay is going to work much better for your product. You can also go the route of starting a small online retail store through different sites like Yahoo! However, that can require more investment as far as time and money goes.

A Freelance Business
If you have a marketable skill, starting an online freelance business can be beneficial. You can choose to make your living completely on freelance work, or just have your business set up as a part-time gig to make some extra money each month. If you’re a skilled writer, web designer, graphic designer, or editor you can create a website where people can hire you for projects that they don’t want to hire full-time employees for. For example, if you’re an artist or graphic artist, an author who’s planning to self-publish may need someone to design their book cover. They can hire you for one project at your suggested rate. As a freelancer in any field, you’ll be able to accept or decline projects however you choose so you’ll have control over what you work on. Freelance skills aren’t limited to artistic or technical work, either. You can start your own business as a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is someone who, remotely, takes care of a client’s calendars, appointments, and correspondence.

A Brand
You may have heard this term in career-related articles that discuss building a resume being equivalent to building your brand. These days, building your brand is basically building up your online presence to speak to a specific type of people or open yourself up to opportunities in certain industries. So how can building a brand be your online business? An example I like to use is a friend of mine, Ed. Ed was an amateur-turned-pro boxer for awhile who started his own blog and then decided to write a book. He self-published his book on Amazon and, because of the “brand” he had diligently built for himself over the last few years, he was able to make it to a top 20 best-sellers list on Amazon and actually makes money from his work. Now, we can’t all be like Ed, but you can look at building an online brand as starting an online business. Building your brand is not going to work for every industry but a good example of who it can work for is beauty bloggers, or just bloggers in general. If you build a brand that has people interested, they’ll come to your site and, from there, you can earn revenue through ads posted on your site, endorsing products like Instagram influencers, and even self-publish a book like Ed did.

Whether you want to make a business your full time career or just maintain it as a part-time side hustle, the internet makes it easier than ever to reach for and attain the American Dream. If you’ve thought about starting your own business for years, but you weren’t sure where to start, look into online training that can give you the foundation to create an excellent business plan and get started living your dreams!