The world is a changing place and when times get tough economically, you could find that you either need a second stream of income, or just a new way to make ends meet.
If you’ve ever considered starting a business of your own, you’ve probably wondered what you can do with a minimal amount of start-up cash.
The least-expensive and easiest option will almost always be an online business.
This post covers some of the most popular and proven online business models, most of which can be started up quickly and with little or no cost.
In today’s tough economy, it can be hard to find a job that pays the bills and in many cases, you may need more than one source of income to make ends meet.
Because these types of situations are on the rise, an increasing number of unemployed and underemployed individuals are now seeking various alternatives to supplement (or even replace) their regular incomes.
Due to the explosive growth of the Internet, home-based online businesses have become much less expensive to start than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, with online business start up costs often running at less than $100 (USD).
Although there are several online business models, a small handful have continually proven themselves over the years, consistently generating a decent income for the fair amount of time and effort invested.
An online blog is one of the easiest home-based businesses you can set up, with very little out-of-pocket expense. The word ‘blog’ itself, is actually short for Web log and a bloggers job is to regularly post articles and other useful information that can range from general to very specific, in terms of subject matter.
Although it does take a certain degree of commitment and dedication, there is money to be made in blogging, primarily through renting out ad space or inserting affiliate links to various online stores.
Many successful bloggers run multiple blogs, updating their posts anywhere from 2 or 3 times a week to several times a day, in some cases. The primary factor that determines how much money you can make is how much traffic you’re able to drive to your blog.
2.) Freelance Writing
This is something that should require virtually no money up front, with your only real expense being your monthly Internet service.
Freelance writers can write for anyone in any capacity they desire (magazines, advertising, e-books), although writing articles for the Web tends to be the easiest way to get your foot in the door.
There are several content sites that connect content buyers to sellers/writers, including some that pay varying rates, depending on work quality. These are best for beginners, as you have a chance to improve at your craft and earn some money from day one.
The key to freelancing is not to put all your eggs in one basket, meaning you should regularly scour the Web for additional and/or better-paying opportunities. You might also consider creating your own website, from which you can do business with private clients and charge whatever you think your work is worth.
3.) Affiliate Marketing & CPA
With affiliate marketing, the products or services you are promoting are not actually your own. The objective is to use your own website or blog to drive traffic to a merchant’s website, where the sale actually takes place. This is accomplished through affiliate ads and with an agreement that you’ll receive a certain percentage of any sale that occurs as the result of clicking on your ads.
This type of online business model can provide a steady, growing income that requires very little work to maintain.
4.) E-Commerce & Online Auctions
E-commerce involves selling actual products online, through an online store or auction site, like eBay or Amazon.com. This is probably the one type of online business that requires the most work both to get off the ground, as well as to keep running.
Anytime you’re selling real products, you’ll need a place to store them and between storage, shipping and handling returns, you may find that you’ll need to hire a staff to help you keep up. However, for someone who’s willing to do the work involved, there is potentially a lot of money to be made in this type of business and if you can connect the right product to the right people, it can pay off very handsomely.
As far as start-up costs go, it really depends on your product. If you’re printing t-shirts, it will be far less expensive to get started than selling electronics.
5.) Domain Flipping
A domain name is the actual name of a website, or more specifically, what comes after the “www.” Because these names cannot have duplicates (or their website addresses would be the same), people have been known to pay rather large sums of money for the rights to use a specific domain name that is already taken.
Obviously the best .com names have already been registered, but domain sellers and resellers use basically the same methods to either create new ones that they believe have selling potential, or purchase existing ones that can be resold later, for a profit.