Startup costs: Freelance writing is another of those service-based businesses with very low start-up costs. There are tons of places online where you can find clients for free. At worst you can sign up for an Upwork account for $10 per month, just don’t plan on staying there forever. The most lucrative writing projects are rarely found on platforms like Upwork.
First you need to secure a domain name for your website. Then find a hosting service. You will want to create content for your website that is easily read and used by potential customers. If you have set prices for your services, it is best to be transparent about them. If your fees are individually based, then state that. Explain your expertise and success in the business on your "About" page. Be sure to have a "Contact" page with your information so clients can get in touch. Once your website is ready, all you have to do is market it.
You can use your marketing skills to show business owners the benefits of using analytics data, strategic keywords and content structure to gain more organic web traffic. If you are unfamiliar with SEO or want to brush up on your digital marketing skills, you can reference Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO. Keep in mind that Google's algorithms are always changing, so SEO is something you will need to continue your education on to stay relevant and successful in this field.
Freelancing is the next best thing to being paid more for your full-time work, because professional work always pays more than unskilled. To find opportunities, let former colleagues or other personal connections that you’re available for freelance gigs. (Here are some ideas on how LinkedIn could be useful for that.) Or, post on marketplaces particular to your field. For instance, Mediabistro, a journalism site, allows freelancers to post profiles of their experience and services. Though these are more up to chance, designers can bid on jobs at 99Designs.com or submit a design at Threadless, to see if it will be crowdfunded. Elance-Odesk also lists many freelance opportunities, and you can also post your own services on Fiverr, although some freelancers say these services create a race to the bottom on fees and so are not very lucrative. If you're new to freelancing, here's how to set your rates, and here's how to negotiate raises with clients.
Define your product or service. Starting an online business gives you the benefit of having access to millions of customers, but you also have a lot more competition. No matter what you're trying to sell, you can bet that hundreds more online retailers have a similar idea. What differentiates your product from other similar products? To help your product stand apart from the rest, you'll need to find a niche.
There's an audience for everything, even if it's as specific as dollhouse furniture or organic dog food. With a niche e-commerce store, you can reach customers who seek your specific products. Building a business in a niche market can help you differentiate yourself from other brands and build your credibility and expertise. Look to social media or your own consumer needs to come up with a product to sell online.
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.
Starting an Etsy shop is completely free, and they provide tons of support and training for sellers. This includes an online marketing training course that even covers the basics of SEO. An Etsy store can be started as a part-time business, and then become your full-time gig when you’re earning enough from it. The top sellers on the platform often sell over 1,000 items from their store every day. Yup, that’s 1,000 items every single day.
Buy and sell domain names. If you’re good at finding popular yet undiscovered domain names, you can make some cash on the side by buying and reselling websites. Think of it as digital real estate speculation. Domains are available on GoDaddy.com for as little as $2.99 per year, but are sometimes resold at far higher prices: According to Business Insider, the site MM.com sold for $1.2 million dollars in 2014. Once you find the perfect domain name to resell, you can market it on Flippa.com for a flat fee.
Having a blog may seem like an outdated business strategy, since nearly everybody already has one, but the competition should not deter you from starting this online business journey. If you love writing or have important information to share, blogging may be a profitable business for you. Starting a blog as a business is very simple with website builders like Weebly and WordPress, but the key to success is consistency and quality. To gain a steady following, you must continually write and produce high-quality content that provides value to your readers. Content that educates, informs or entertains your readers gives them a reason to follow you.
Now, here’s an online business model that has unfortunately become the butt of far too many jokes. This is because a certain segment of society (that’s you, hipster!) went around loudly telling anyone willing to listen that they were full-time bloggers. The net result of all this misplaced enthusiasm is that if you tell any of your friends or family you’re going to start a blogging business, they’ll wrinkle their collective noses at you, while coughing politely.
Mow lawns or plow driveways. If you’re willing to mow yards or shovel or plow snow in the winter, you could easily start your own snow removal and lawn mowing business on the side. While you can usually find work by reaching out to your local community via word-of-mouth, flyers, or online message boards, the website Plowz & Mowz allows you to set up an online profile and reach more customers in your area.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.