A successful online business first starts with choosing the right one. Here are 5 proven, tried and tested online business ideas you can start this 2019.
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The more choices we have, the harder it is to pick.
That’s true for when I go to the buffet – but couldn’t be more true when starting an online business.
Picking one can feel like the hardest decision.
Whether you’ve been on the fence about which online business you’d like to start, or need more information on how certain models work…
Or want to see more success stories before you hit the ground running…
This post will break down the mechanics behind 5 of the best online business models, and how you can get started today.
Online business #1: Selling wholesale products on Amazon
For some people, the idea of having an “online business” sounds weird. Funnily, though, most online businesses do exactly what traditional stores do – like this model.
The model is simple: Buy low, sell high. The only twist here is instead of traditional methods of selling ⸺ open a physical retail store, buy inventory and hope customers come and buy your product ⸺ you use Amazon’s platform to sell your products. Essentially, YOU are the retail store.
Let’s look at how it works in 3 steps.
Step 1: Find a product
Unlike dropshipping, you don’t need a niche. Instead, you look for items that are moderately popular on Amazon.
But what exactly is “moderate”? Well, first let me show you what is NOT: these BOSE headphones.
Although they have a huge demand on Amazon, the competition is just as big, so there won’t be much room to make a decent amount of money.
“Moderate” would be more like these Cadet retriever rolls.
They aren’t a large brand. But as you can see from Jungle Scout ⸺ a product database software that projects the # of sales of products being sold on Amazon ⸺ it’s making over $14,000/month in sales.
Step 2: Contact the manufacturer and negotiate a deal.
Now you’re onto a ‘winner’, the next step is contacting the brand manufacturer to ask if you can open an account.
Honestly, though, it’s not that easy (especially as a beginner). Manufacturers don’t just accept anybody to work with – and are only usually interested in serious partners.
That’s why, instead of hopelessly trying to sound “professional,” you negotiate a deal like this:
“Hey, I’ll come in, edit your listing and MASSIVELY increase your sales. In exchange, we’ll make a contract, we’ll make a deal. My business, my company, gets the right to buy these products direct from your manufacturer, at wholesale, discounted rates. I will then send these items into Amazon for you, and I will “manage” your listing and grow your sales.”
Two reasons why this works:
- YOU win. You get direct access to them instead of going through distributors, which means you get huge discounts on their inventory when you buy in bulk.
- THEY win. Considering this is a long-term deal, you’re going to make them a lot more money since you’ll be regularly buying their items in bulk.
Step 3: Sell on Amazon
My favourite part! Now you’ve nailed the deal, the last step is sending inventory to Amazon’s warehouse and optimizing your listing to increase sales and conversions.
In fact, “optimizing” sounds a little too technical for what you’re really doing: which is improving the title, description, and (if needed) the images.
But this is all really the cream on top.
Remember how in step 1 I mentioned those products on Amazon were already making sales? Well, even if you decided not to improve the listing and leave it how it was, you’d still make money. This is because Amazon already has pre-existing traffic: loyal customers who already know beforehand what they want.
Once your listings up, when a customer orders, Amazon picks, packs and ships your item to the customer from their warehouse. This is something called Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon).
While we’re not “living proof” of this model, here are two good friends, Dan and Eric, who do use this model – and make over 7 figures a year doing it:
Online business #2: Promote products with affiliate marketing
This is a lot different to the previous idea, but the concept is simple: making money promoting other people’s products.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: You find a $200 product offering a 50% commission to affiliates who promote it.
Step 2: After joining their program, you head on over to YouTube and create an honest video review about the product.
During this step, you’ll also add an ‘affiliate link’ to your description.
This is a unique URL the vendor created for you while signing up – and tracks whether a customer has been referred from you. (Basically, it’s how you get paid)
Step 3: When someone sees, and most importantly, gains real value from your video – they reward you as a ‘thank you’ for the value provided, by purchasing the product you promoted through your affiliate link. Yay!
Unlike other models, affiliate marketing lets you build a business without even a product or service to offer making it super beginner friendly. Which, in turn, removes all the usual ‘hassle’ involved with running an online biz:
- Customer service
- Writing long sales pages
- Regular content updates for your course
This means you can focus your energy towards what’s really going to decide how much money you make: the amount of value you add.
And you can do this through many ways. YouTube is a great platform to reach your audience, but certainly not the only one – you could also run paid ads or build a website that’s optimized for search engines like Google.
But the platform you choose isn’t even nearly as important as the value you provide.
For example, in 2018, we promoted a product we use called Shopify: an eCommerce website builder we recommend our subscribers use when building their dropshipping stores.
While we could’ve created a video like everybody else on how sexy a product Shopify is and how everyone should buy it immediately – this isn’t real value. And actually comes off desperate and needy.
Here’s what we did instead:
We created a jam-packed, step-by-step tutorial on how to build a store from scratch using Shopify.
We included everything possible: how to add products to your store, how to semi-automate the fulfilment process, how to add product descriptions – all while answering our audiences pressing questions.
THIS is real value.
Instead of urging someone to buy through our video, we’re guiding them, which doesn’t come across as “salesy” or as if we’re just trying to make quick money (which 99% of the time, never works).
We’re triggering the Law of Reciprocation. The law that explains that, as humans, we tend to return favours to people who add value to our life in some way, shape or form.
A simple example of this would be simply smiling back at someone. Unless they absolutely make you go livid, come on – it’s hard not to return the smile. You feel all cringey and evil inside.
We knew that if we taught people how to build a store using Shopify – a problem we know many beginners have difficulty with – then not only are we solving people’s biggest objection…
…but we’ll also get rewarded with commissions like this.
That’s a $10,272.33 pay out from Shopify in the month of April.
And no, that wasn’t just a one-off: we make $10,000+ worth of passive income every month promoting Shopify. This means our whole team could take a month’s trip to the Bahamas – and still generate this kind of income.
That’s the power of real, valuable content: whether 2, 5, 10 years later – it still continues to serve you and your audience. Up to this day, we still receive tens of thousands of dollars in commissions from videos posted years ago!
I guess that’s the “secret” to making money with affiliate marketing: adding REAL value to your audience.
Plus, asides the money, there’s no better feeling than receiving messages like this:
Because at the end of the day, this is what it’s all about: to teach and inspire our subscribers to take that leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship.
We’ve achieved huge success with this model, and one you can leverage with or without owning a product. A bonus if you’re not ready to build a product yet.
Online business #3: Starting a dropshipping store
If you’re regular here at Wholesale Ted, you’ll know dropshipping is the main online business we teach our subscribers.
Again, this model is pretty simple too.
First, you open an online store around a niche – like, say cats. Unlike traditional stores, you don’t need huge capital to build a physical store. In fact, you only need $29 to build an online store with Shopify.
Next, find products to sell in your store. That’s where Aliexpress comes in – a platform that allows Chinese manufacturers to list their products for sale.
In this example, we’d look for cat toys we can sell in our store.
Because you’re buying items directly from the manufacturer, you’re getting them super cheap. Look at these cat coffee spoons for example. Right now on Aliexpress, they cost $1.20.
What we do now, is list the same item in our store – at a mark-up price. You can sell these exact coffee spoons for $9.95 in your store. (And we can do this, considering marketing costs involved)
Which brings up to the next step: driving traffic to your store. You can do this with little $5 a day ads promoting potential ‘winners’ in your store, targeting a super narrow audience.
(Our audience would be guys who love cats, so we’d target people on Facebook who have an interest in cats)
Targeting your ads is crucial for one reason: you don’t want to waste time or money promoting products to people who don’t care. (Makes sense right?)
But once you do find and attract the right people, with the right ad, here is where the magic happens: the sale.
And it goes like this: the person clicks the ad, lands on your page – and buys.
At this point, you’re probably thinking: “Okay, that’s cool. But wait: How do you ship the item to the customer?”
Well, you don’t have to do what most stores do: package the item and ship it to the customer.
Instead, you use the money you received from your customer to buy the item from your supplier – who ships it to your customer.
Then, you just rinse and repeat.
It’s a really neat business model we’ve kind of built our YouTube channel, free book, and premium step-by-step dropshipping course content around)
Online business #4: Start an online agency
This is what I love to call the ‘bridge’, and that’s because it works exactly like one: helping local businesses grow their media presence.
For example, there are literally thousands of businesses who need help growing their social media presence – and are willing to pay you $1,000.
If you approach a local business, prove you can solve their problem, then it’s technically a win-win.
- You cheque in a $1,000/month deal. That’s $12,000 per year (and very easy to multiply once you have the ball rolling).
- They make more money. Note I emphasised ‘more’, as in more than you. If you can make them $2,000 back in sales, it’s an obvious win for them as they are making a greater ROI.
I used to do this a while back – but not in the most ‘ethical’ way you see. Here’s a nice little animation of me explaining the whole story:
Helpful link: 3 steps to $100k in profit (passively)
Online business #5: Start a Print on Demand store
Print on Demand, also known as “POD”, is exactly how it sounds:
Step 1: A customer buys a t-shirt with a cool design from your online store, like this.
Step 2: The design gets printed on demand as soon the customer pays. (This is possible with fulfilment apps like Printful, that easily connect to your store and manage your orders)
Step 3: Once the t-shirt’s ready, Printful will ship the order to your customer.
Print on Demand is great as a standalone business or category in an existing dropship store. Either way, they share the similar ‘perks’ to dropship stores.
- It’s easy to start. As long as you have a computer, internet connection and willing to learn, starting a POD biz is easy.
- You don’t need a warehouse. Before you ever even print a design on an item, you already KNOW that a customer is willing to pay for it.
- A large range of products. It’s not just t-shirts you can sell in your store – you can sell so much more! From pillows and other type of bedding, to stuff like shoes, sock, flip flops (oh, and even car seat covers).
Helpful link: How to make $10,000/month with Print on Demand
A while back, I heard a great quote: “the grass isn’t greener on the other side.” The same applies for when you’re starting out: No business is better than the other. They all have their pros and cons, and depending on this, will decide which type of business suits you. As cheesy as it may sounds, the right business is in the eye of the beholder.
Nevertheless, each business still requires the same recipe of hard work, commitment and dedication to be successful. Are you willing to pay the price?
Whichever business you choose, stick to it with laser focus this 2019.
Want to learn the blueprint wildly successful dropship stores follow to make six-figures?
Six steps to building a six-figure Dropship store
In it, I’ve included:
- How just one “winning item” can earn $10k/month. Yep. A lot of people don’t realize this… but most stores make the majority of their money from just a handful of items!
- The right way to choose AliExpress suppliers. Picking the right AliExpress dropshipper is crucial to drastically reduce things like refunds. Learn how to pick the right suppliers.
- Why long shipping times DON’T matter. A lot of people are scared to start Dropshipping because of “long” shipping times. You’ll learn why this doesn’t matter inside.
- Why six-figure stores take ONLY 2 hours a day to manage. You’ll learn how they utilize apps like Oberlo to make their stores semi-automated… making managing orders super simple!