Are you tired of your job and wish to become your own boss? Well, gone are the days when you needed a lot of capital to start a business. Today, you don’t need a place, people, goods or even money to start something on your own. There are plenty of online business models out there that you can start at low or even zero investment.
Are you wondering how this can possibly work? Well, see it this way – when you shop products online, let’s say through Instagram, do you think those sellers out there have a store for real? No! Most of them are young girls, probably even teenagers who are selling stuff from home.
I’ll give you another example – which includes no logistics, no physical product. Have you purchased stock images from Shutterstock? Imagine how much money they might be making by selling something virtual. The only cost they do incur is of the website they’ve made.
The list can get more and more refined when it comes to reducing the initial investment. Let’s check this out in detail.
What are the Current Online Business Opportunities Out There Right Now?
The internet has made it possible for you to convert your hobbies, passion and even leisure activities into a business if you want. Selling products is one obvious thing you can always do. However, apart from that, there are plenty of virtual products and services that you can provide. The best part is that you don’t even have to cater to people within your city or country.
Both logistics and the world wide web give you the opportunity to go international. You don’t even need an office – a laptop with internet connection and perhaps an online business app can help you hire people virtually from any corner of the world. Apps like Slack, Microsoft 365 and Google Drive are virtual workspaces that have made remote work extremely convenient.
The most popular form of online business is ecommerce. In fact, it is the concept of online shopping that has made ecommerce a great opportunity for all of us. Today, you don’t even need a website for doing ecommerce business. You simply need social media accounts – particularly on Facebook and Instagram. 54% of social media users actually look for products on their favourite platform.
Providing Services Online
Providing services is even simpler than products, especially if it is virtual in nature. From cloud kitchens to providing online courses, there are several services that you can provide keeping your mode of communication online.
Services like food deliveries, salon-at-home or calling a cab may not be fully online as they do require people to come to you in-person. However, services like graphic designing, web development, content writing, accounting or even consultation can take place completely on remote-basis.
Many people see blogging as a passion. However, if you are starting a blog with the intention of making money, it is a business. After all, you can earn as much as what a full-time job can pay you, or probably even more through Google Adsense and affiliate marketing too. In fact, the best bloggers out there have the capacity to make $200 in just one day.
Can You Start an Online Business Without Investment?
I’ll answer you this question on the basis of my personal experience – yes. However, there are limited models for doing so. Mostly, you have only B2B models like providing freelance services to companies where you don’t need a single penny. Your existing laptop and Wifi connection suffice here.
I wouldn’t include anything that involves a website or an app, because getting a domain and hosting will cost you some money. However, when you use another platform, where you can register as a seller, you can eliminate investing before starting.
This is possible if you choose to provide online courses through Udemy or sell e-books through Amazon. Even though they charge a commission, you don’t owe them any money if you don’t make a sale.
How to Go About Starting an Online Business?
A lot of online and ecommerce businesses have physical offices. Companies like Amazon may not have a physical store but have offices for their employees. Similarly, Facebook is a platform where everything happens virtually. However, they do have physical offices for their employees.
However, if you wish to start right now, you actually don’t need one. The ongoing pandemic has proven that even these big companies can function with remote work.
You can literally go for anything that you love doing and need to see where your forte lies. You need to create a model that states the following information:
- Products or services you will provide
- How you will acquire materials (if any)
- At what stage will you invest for employees under you
- The platforms you will use for communication
- Logistics partner (in case of ecommerce)
- How you will be handling your accounts
- Your marketing and promotion strategies
Say you are a creative artist and you wish to provide graphic designing services. Your planning here won’t take very long because you can start by simply creating an account on a freelancing platform.
However, here too you need to know about things like how many clients will you take up at the most, how will you charge for your services and at what stage will you start hiring employees to handle your business.
On the other hand, if you want to sell products online, you might have to plan more – which products to start with, the medium through which you will sell, where you will acquire the materials from, product pricing and logistics.
Top 10 Online Businesses that You Can Go For
Mostly, you might have figured out what you can go for if you want to start your online business. Still, I’ll be summing up 10 ideas that will work out to be the best for you. I’ve shortlisted them on the basis of ease of implementation and demand in the market:
1. Becoming a Freelancer
Some of the most popular freelance services that are being provided online include web designing & development, app development, content writing, digital marketing and graphic designing. If you have skills in any of these field and have a nag for it, just go for it. You don’t need to have a website. There are plenty of platforms for freelancers like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer that help you go international.
If you’re good at content writing, you might as well could become a blogger. You can always start a blog with a free domain from WordPress or Blogger.com. Once you start receiving some traffic, you can convert your domain into a paid one so that you can apply for Adsense.
3. Becoming a YouTuber or Influencer
Believe me, if you have the apparatus to set up your own YouTube or Instagram channel, you don’t need anything else. Upon receiving plenty of views and subscribers, you could get up to a million for a single post. On YouTube, you could be doing anything in the video – singing, dancing, working out, cooking or even travelling. On the other hand, Instagram influencers mostly make money by promoting beauty and fashion brands.
4. Teaching Online
If you are passionate about sharing your knowledge with others, then teaching online is a great option. Platforms like Udemy have made it extremely simple to teach any subject you want to, with any kind of experience that you may have. Again, there is no initial investment whatsoever in this model. You just need a good camera and microphone to record your online classes.
5. Creating Your Own Virtual Assistant Platform
While one of the above ideas state that you can join a freelancing platform and provide services that you’re good at, this one talks about making one such platform yourself. Allow virtual assistants of all kinds as well as employers to meet and communicate through your website and take commission on every sale taking place here.
6. Creating your Own Entertainment Channel
Again, this might need a lot of technical expertise too. Moreover, you need access to the technology that lets you stream videos. While Amazon Prime and Netflix have made their place in the world, you still have chances to focus on other areas like sports, news and reality shows. In fact, after a point, you can have your ow shows too.
7. Selling Digital Products Online
Consider the business models of websites like Shutterstock or the Amazon Kindle store. What are they charging you for? It’s images, videos and eBooks – products that you’re receiving virtually. No logistics and no purchases needed. You have two options here – selling through a platform or creating your own.
8. Providing Consultation Services Online
You could be a financial consultant, a counsellor, an astrologist, a Vastu adviser or any such consultant who can literally earn money for helping people over the phone – even by using WhatsApp. The digital age has made people crazy as they can do anything online. This might just work for you too!
9. Selling Fashion Products on Instagram
If you’re into fashion, then I’ll give you an interesting insight – 1 out of every 3 instagrammers buy clothes or other fashion products from the platform. Building an ecommerce site would cost you more. However, if you can click good pictures, you can do wonders by selling through Instagram. As your business flourishes, you can grow further to create your own online store.
10. Selling Your Own Handmade Products Online
Handmade products mostly include hand-crafted gift items, home-made beauty & personal care items (like soaps and face packs) and even bakery products like chocolates, cookies and cupcakes. If your creativity lies in these fields and you have a nag to make stuff all day long, you can go for it.
What Would You Like to Go For?
There was a time when people defined what kind of a business model can help you make more money and what might not be a very good idea. However, today, the only advise you will get for your career is “do what you love doing”. There have been many successful online businesses who have started from nowhere and are doing a great job today.
An online business is where you get your clients through the internet. You may or may not have an interaction with them in person later – that totally depends on what you’re doing. Service providers like Uber and Zomato have to interact with the client in person – through the cab drivers and delivery boys. On the other hand, you have no personal interaction when you’re subscribing for Amazon Prime or buying a stock image from Shutterstock.
The best part is, that no matter where your interest lies, you will always have multiple options on doing business in that field.