The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.

If I have a blog that is getting 100,000 page views a month that means that I’m probably getting at least 50,000 people to the site (most blogs will do between 1.2 to 1.4 pages per session). That means I have to try and get some small percentage of those people to buy something from me if I really want to do well. If I can’t get them to buy something then (in some cases) I have ads running on the site that will make me money anyways.
If you're serious about making money online, start a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest and most sustainable income sources. As long as the blog is setup the right way, in the right niche, with the right content targeted at the right audience, and the offer is complementary to the content, you could make a tremendous amount of passive income from a blog.

Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.


Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of. May big name companies and brands, like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. run their affiliate programs through these third-party affiliate sites.
When you sign up for Trim, they immediately begin analyzing your spending and look for ways to reduce it. They’ll call your internet service provider and negotiate you a better deal on the same service. Same for your cable package (or any other recurring service you have). They’ll also look for hidden or otherwise forgotten about subscriptions and cancel those if needed. Think of them as your bill guard dog. No one gets by without their permission.
Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of top affiliate programs for bloggers and even large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service and refunds. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. It is hard work, especially on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be an easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not. 
There's a proverbial gold rush happening today, of people trying to launch chatbots for their businesses to help automate some of their sales and marketing efforts that are needed to properly grow and scale in today's market. However, similar to California's Gold Rush, those that will likely get rich are the ones that sell the picks and shovels. For that reason, why not launch your own chatbot business? Sure, there's some effort involved here, but this is definitely worth the steep learning curve.
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, learn how to master PPC advertising and you can use the content to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
Not only will this multiply the money you’re bringing in in a serious way, but it protects you against any sudden changes in the market or in your business. Remember that old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? A few hours a week committed to just one or two of the following opportunities will put you in a much stronger position to be financially safe and independent.
Hi Nick! I was researching online successful businesses and came across your article. For the last couple months I have been thinking about starting my own online business that is geared towards online health/fitness coaching. Then I think maybe freelance writing or perhaps starting my own blog. Do you any suggestions on how to start these businesses? Where I could even begin? I have been a nurse since 2010, love fitness. However, starting a blog would be interesting as well.
Like talking to people and helping walk them through problems? You can bring in extra income as a contract customer support superstar for companies all over the world. Due to the 24/7 nature of online businesses, companies are looking for people in different time zones to help deal with issues that their users are having. Better yet, if you have experience in service or retail you’ll be perfectly suited. Check out indeed or the other remote job boards I listed earlier to find opportunities.
MyPoints is one of my favorites. You can earn up to 40% back on all your purchases at 2,000 top retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Amazon. They also offer promo codes at tons of online stores. One of my favorite things about MyPoints is that you can redeem your points whenever you want. All you have to do is can cash out and get gift cards, or you can transfer the cash to your PayPal account. It’s actually very easy.
Instead of relying on ads (which requires a ton of page views and search engine mastery), try more natural selling with the newest affiliate programs to monetize your site. Some affiliate programs pay per lead. If your site has relevant traffic in the finance or home improvement niches, many of these companies will pay for leads you send them. For example, roofing companies and other contractors are always looking for new local customers.
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.

This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few quick bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I’ve made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.

Italiano: Avviare un Business Online, Español: crear un negocio en Internet, Français: débuter un business en ligne, Nederlands: Een online bedrijf beginnen, Deutsch: Ein Online Business starten, 中文: 在网上创业, Русский: начать бизнес в интернете, Bahasa Indonesia: Memulai Bisnis Online, Čeština: Jak založit internetový obchod, العربية: بدء مشروع تجاري عبر الإنترنت, Tiếng Việt: Bắt đầu kinh doanh trực tuyến, ไทย: เริ่มต้นทำธุรกิจออนไลน์
They’re bummed out that they couldn’t get the tickets they wanted due to this unforeseen problem. But if you bought the tickets beforehand, now you have the opportunity to sell the tickets. You can bump up the price since the tickets are sold out. And the person who buys the tickets will be grateful. They weren’t able to buy them before but with their paycheck in the bank, they can now.
Mobile applications are more popular than ever, with people willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great new idea for an app and know how to code, you can run with it and create your app yourself. You can also become an app developer for businesses that need to create specific apps. Both options will require you to know the basic elements of software design and at least two common programming languages, such as SQL, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails or iOS.  
If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.

My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and grow my blog to over 400,000 monthly readers and $50,000/mo in side income.

Let’s say I’m an Amazon affiliate for camping gear, and I want to write an exhaustive, in-depth blog post and review of the “50 Best Hiking Backpacks for Adventuring Outdoors.” By running a quick Keyword Planner check on the organic search volume I can see that there’s around 5,500 monthly searches for the keyword ‘hiking backpacks’ alone. I’ll then start with putting together a blog post outline to highlight my unique angle and make sure I’m doing the best possible job of answering reader questions.


The box subscription business has exploded. While it's nothing new, and it's been around for ages now, the overwhelming rise of the internet has breathed newfound life into this online business idea. What is a box subscription exactly? If you think back for a moment to one of the most viral box subscriptions businesses, you'll clearly recall the Dollar Shave Club.
Worth noting is that Postmates doesn’t even require that you deliver by vehicle — a bike will do. Better yet, there are no startup fees or time commitments with Postmates and all you’ll have to do is pass a basic background check to get started. Once Postmates verifies your identity, they’ll send you a delivery bag and a prepaid card (in the mail) that you’ll use to purchase delivery items.
If you hate the idea of writing you can always outsource that work to somebody else. But writing great content for an affiliate site really isn’t that difficult. It just takes a bit of practice, and once you see those first commission checks you’ll be up writing articles for your site before work, during your lunch break, and when you should be sound asleep in bed.
Etsy: While Etsy's popularity has declined recently, it's still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products such as poster designs. 
If you're ready to be in charge of your own destiny, but don’t have the capital to buy a franchise or open up a storefront, consider starting an online business. When your store is online, you can reach millions of customers instead of whoever happens to wander in - plus, you don't have to pay for retail space. However, like with any business, you'll need an excellent product and a solid marketing plan. See Step 1 to learn what it takes to start your business online.
If I have a blog that is getting 100,000 page views a month that means that I’m probably getting at least 50,000 people to the site (most blogs will do between 1.2 to 1.4 pages per session). That means I have to try and get some small percentage of those people to buy something from me if I really want to do well. If I can’t get them to buy something then (in some cases) I have ads running on the site that will make me money anyways.
But cutting costs only goes so far. Unless you already make a lot of money and spend like a bon vivant, most people can’t eke out that much more from their budget by decreasing expenses. Plus, the more you retrench, the more your quality of life suffers. (It’s all relative, though — certainly some overspenders could actually improve their lives by tempering their expenditures. Here are 101 ideas for saving money.)

Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
Mechanical Turk is Amazon's take on micro-jobs. These are small miniscule-jobs that you can do for other people, which they call HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. These are super simple tasks that anyone can do. Some examples are listing off some URLs with certain kinds of images for one cent, or recording a few phrases with a microphone for 6 cents.
Set up the site. Choose a website building platform, such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Next, choose a domain name and web hosting for your site. The domain name is your web address. Web hosting is a service that connects your site to the internet. Once you have your domain name and web hosting, go to the control panel of your hosting account and install your website platform. Design your website by choosing and installing a theme.[7]
Get-rich-quick schemes and fad weight-loss diets are naturally popular because they satisfy the id while also attending to the super-ego. The ego's job is complete when it sees something like this. The appeal of "fast'' stems from the innate desire for instant gratification, so beware of what seems too good to be true (they often are) when you're looking to make money quickly. Be wary. Listen to the conversation deep within the confines of your mind and do your best to tame the proverbial beasts.
×