Have you been dreaming about the lifestyle that online businesses bring you for some time?
More freedom, greater flexibility of schedules, a proposal for the future and, why not, good money too.
I have been on this route of digital entrepreneurship for 10 years.
I recognize that when you enter this world of online business, at first, it is very difficult to understand the nuances or differences in substance that may exist in the many Internet business options that exist.
So I have decided to create this post to bring you clarity. And incidentally, save thousands of wasted euros and probably months or years of effort in vain.
Most online business ideas lead you straight to a bad deal
If you stop for a few minutes to do a Google search on “Online Business”, I guarantee that you will find a lot of posts that guarantee hyper profitable online businesses, easy to start, without investment.
And that everyone is going to present you with a very large list of successful online businesses.
It is only enough to read the first paragraph of these posts to understand what kind of information they are serving you: the typical content written by an SEO or a publicist who has never undertaken any online business in his life.
In fact, I am going to list here all these digital businesses that sell you as the last business opportunity on the Internet… and that are currently bad businesses, either with a large initial investment and/or with a tiny gross margin.
Let the show begin…
THE GREAT LIST OF INTERNET BUSINESSES THAT WILL TAKE YOU NOWHERE
Basically, in all the proposals that you are going to see below, the value contribution is little, if not null. Which takes you directly to low prices and a Low Cost model.
I know that there is a lot of literature on the Internet that sells you the benefits of a Low Cost model. Worse yet, completely free.
For some multinationals with unlimited financial and human resources, engaging in a price war to kill the competition and then recapture all available market may be a viable strategy. Very risky, but doable.
But the Low Cost model for a micro business does not make sense:
- Or you find yourself with a lot of orders, which you can’t deliver because your time is limited and you can’t contract because your prices are too low.
- Or you find yourself with digital models that are based on a high rotation (a high sales volume) because the commissions are very low, but you never get to have digital platforms that generate enough visits and thus allow you to earn some money with advertising. , since you cannot assemble a powerful team of writers.
In both cases you lose, after years of suffering at the head of a business that demands a lot from you and gives you very little joy.
Here are 20 examples of bad internet businesses, digital businesses with very low margin and/or a large initial investment.
And, furthermore, all these proposals are focused on generating money online and, as such, they are not going to give you the purpose or satisfaction that you have when you help your clients solve important problems that they have in their life or in their business.
- Miracle investments: Forex, futures, cryptocurrencies, etc. It takes a lifetime to build good savings, a single bad investment to lose it all in a matter of weeks. If you don’t understand what you’re buying, don’t do it.
- Online betting : only fools think they are capable of mastering lotteries and betting statistics. Find something smarter to do. The end.
- Fill out surveys : if you think that by filling out surveys you can earn a decent living, you have a big problem again. If you don’t value your time, think of it as a sideline, but again it’s not a sustainable way to make a decent living. You deserve a more satisfying activity.
- Network marketing : The idea of selling useless things to my best friends, my family and my neighbors disturbs me greatly. Not to you? So go ahead with the camel…
- Sell domains / websites : if you had entered this market in 1995, perhaps today you could live on these digital assets purchased when nobody was betting a penny on the Internet. Today the sale of domains is not a viable business model. There is not even a dynamic market for the sale of web pages, in Spain or in Spanish speaking.
- Resell Hosting – Today is a super competitive market with slim margins if you don’t buy your own machines. It is not impossible to achieve this, but you must aim for a very large volume of customers. Which is going to cost you an army of support technicians. It’s not impossible, but believe me, it’s not a business for beginners…
- Selling apps at €0.99 : the illusion of low prices or the Freemium model (everything free, paid for by advertising and few paid subscriptions). If you develop the App that hits it every year worldwide, maybe the numbers will come out. If not, it is better to invoice your Apps developer services for companies willing to pay you much more for your skills. And if you do well, you will quickly realize how complicated it is to manage a business with a large customer base and thousands of transactions per month. Again, not a business model for a novice.
- Sell ebooks at €0.99 : a single ebook will get you nowhere. If you write a series of 10 to 15 ebooks, you may have more wiggle room. If you can sell these ebooks at €15 instead of €0.99 per unit, as is the case with non-fiction books, you may be able to make a living from what you write. In general, books are products of attraction, and you will have to design a complementary process of continuity to live better, selling, for example, training and/or counseling/coaching services. This is called in English “Back-End Offer”. An offer in the back room…
- Sell photos or wallpapers : if you are a photographer, this idea may seem attractive. The difficult thing is not to have a photo that is downloaded, but not enough downloadable photos, and more importantly, downloaded each month, to earn a living wage. The commission per download is a few cents of euros. Row, slave!
- Online translation : of course you can do it, and if you specialize, you might even do well. But there is a lot of pricing pressure on translators, and one day artificial intelligence will take the job away from them. When the robots will understand the contextualization of words, bad business. The reality today: many hours for a very low salary. Your lifeline: hyper-specialization in an atypical language combination.
- Make small and cheap assignments (transcription-translation per minute and/or micro projects for less than €5, like Fiverr.com or Amazon Mechanical Turk) : the idea of recurring microservices is seductive, but in practice, they are many hours of I work in front of a computer screen for a very low prize. Working 12 hours a day, alone, in front of the computer, with worse social rights than an employee, and half of his salary doesn’t convince me.
- Provide online support by phone : this is another possible activity if your ability to add value is low. Very similar to the above, the profitability / hour is terrible. Questionable job satisfaction, especially if your employer’s products and services are not good.
- Import products from China and sell them on Amazon (FBA): it is one of the fashionable e-commerce modalities. Buy cheap in China, import to the US, and let Amazon do the work of selling and delivering to customers’ homes. If you are able to find a product category with strong demand and weak competition, you can do well. If you haven’t been operating in the retail sector for years, ideally specialized, finding these niches is like waiting to win the lottery.
- General e-commerce – Selling physical products online : nowadays, trying to compete with Amazon in terms of catalog breadth, prices and delivery times seems very complicated. In addition, an e-commerce requires a large initial investment and that you know how to operate a business with tiny margins. I do not see it.
- Specialized e-commerce – Selling physical products online : this strategy looks better than the previous one, due to the hyper-specialization in a product category. That said, without a contribution of real value with content (free training type), I find it difficult to sustain. Perhaps in a B2B environment, for products that generate more than 4-figure transactions on average. For example, engines for pleasure boats…
- Dropshipping – Selling products online that you do not manage : it is an evolution of e-commerce models. There are wholesalers/distributors who know about logistics and distribution, but nothing about online marketing. On the other hand, there are natural born digital profiles that dominate online marketing, and have no interest in logistics/distribution of physical products. Dropshipping is the bridge between these 2 universes. If already, the margins in traditional e-commerce are low, in Dropshipping they are tiny. There’s a lot of competition in the easier to serve categories, so bad business, unless you’re a great e-marketer.
- Advertising – Monetize a blog : you can pull Google Adsense and activate the ads in 24 hours. It is a fact. But I bet you will not exceed € 10 of income per month. Except if you go into stupid tactics of going viral with fake stories and hiding your ad blocks in your content like a digital chameleon. If you are really a content creator, this model cannot satisfy you. Neither for the generation of income, nor for the satisfaction of your readers.
- Affiliation – Make a niche blog : an alternative to the previous model. Again, membership in a general blog leads nowhere. You stay with niche blogs, to write stupid posts focused on transactional search and earn a living with affiliate commissions. In general, it will be difficult for you to exceed €1,000/month in commissions. And if you make it, you will have to operate 5-10 niche blogs to earn a good salary. And if you succeed, where is the purpose in talking about artificial grass or alopecia… to collect a few euros per sale made. For tastes, the colors…
- Sponsorships – Become an “influencer” : another option to live from an audience is to negotiate actions directly with brands or agencies that manage these communication actions with the audience. If you work with a broker, the commission per share plummets. If you go directly to the brands, managing these actions is almost a full-time job. And when you achieve it and you are a real influencer, the brands bet on a strategy of many micro-influencers willing to work for free, in exchange for a free product. Again, producing great content and energizing an audience seems like a very nice job. But selling your reputation to brands that do not share your values… this idea ends up generating serious internal conflicts.
- Sell digital products or cheap online courses on third-party platforms or Marketplace : Udemy, Tutellus, and a thousand other possible options offer you the opportunity to host your “online school”. Do the training and we sell it. Well, in practice, you will have to sell your training, doing your own sales actions to people that you are going to attract to this platform. So leaving a 30% commission in exchange for hosting your videos seems like a lousy deal to me. And when these platforms run campaigns with a 90% discount without notifying you, your personal brand is left very little. Applying supermarket sales tactics in the world of online education does not seem like the best possible idea.
To summarize, the online businesses that I don’t like have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Require a large initial investment
- They push you to work in Low Cost, which will require many hours of work
- They offer a very small operating margin
- They force you to work with an intermediary who keeps the best part of the cake
- They just make money with commissions. Not helping people genuinely
That said, make no mistake.
There are many very attractive online business models.
Here are my favourites.
The best profitable online businesses that you should copy
Ok, now that we have separated the chaff from the grain, I am going to focus on the latter. What are the seeds most likely to generate good business online?
I have accompanied thousands of students in creating their online business in the last decade. And behind all successful online businesses there are systems.
What you are going to read now:
- It is based on creating a reliable and recurring system to attract customers online and deliver what you sell online as well.
- It will help you find the perfect online business for you , based on your talents, experiences and passions.
- It allows you to test your online business idea, and see if there are people willing to pay for you to solve their problem, before you have to make a significant investment of money – as is usually done when you set up a traditional business from all over the world. life -.
This method is designed to take you straight to the best online business ideas , the ones that you can set up quickly, without much investment and that allow you to start capturing your first clients in a matter of weeks, not months or years.
Let’s look at the best digital businesses first, if you’re looking to genuinely help people attract more purpose into your life.
Money is always a secondary consequence, a side benefit of your ability to help many people in your niche. It’s called, adding value to the market.
If you add a lot of value, you will generate a lot of money.
The 4 best online businesses to start today
These are the 4 best options you have to create a successful online business.
1. FREELANCING / DIGITAL SERVICES
The idea is to provide a service for your clients, virtually.
You can think of technical services that are sold by the hour or project: writing, translation, transcription, virtual assistance, personal trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, therapists. programming, web design, copywriting, media buyers, sales closing, etc.
2. COACHING / CONSULTING
It is a business model very similar to the previous case, but in this case, instead of performing the service for the client, it is about accompanying this client in solving the problem.
All advisory services, consulting / coaching are as follows: strategic consulting, audits, legal services, tax and / or labor advice, executive coaching, life coaching, health coaching,
3. ONLINE TRAINING
It is about training people to acquire some desired skills with the idea that they can carry out these activities themselves, in their life or in their business.
The difference with the above is in the level of accompaniment. These products are more self-consumption without much support.
It is a completely different business model that normally arises naturally after having accompanied a target for many years, in one of the 3 previous models.
It is about detecting a common pattern of needs in the majority of customers in a market and building an IT solution to better solve this problem.
The Software is hosted in the cloud, and customers can access this service for a very reasonable monthly fee.
Again, it is an evolution of the previous model, in the sense that these Software sold as services allow more people to be able to solve these recurring problems correctly.
In other words, you no longer need to hire an advisor, because you have learned to understand these issues, and the software helps you do 90% of what this advisor did for you.
9 Characteristics That All Successful Online Businesses Share
KEY Nº1: THE IDEA OF YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS IS WORTH NOTHING
Many look for the most profitable online business, thinking that what defines the success of a business is the type of activity, the business model, the sector or a growing consumption habit.
It does not work like that.
What is a great deal for someone may be a lousy business for someone else.
Indeed, the idea that you have of your online business is worth rather little.
What really matters is the execution that you are going to make of this idea.
The key question is:
Are you going to be able to transform this idea into a thriving online business?
And this leads us directly to choosing a theme for your future online business that has 3 important attributes:
- What they – your customers – need (more on this topic in the next point)
- What you dominate , to create value and help
- What you love , to spread your enthusiasm to your customers and never get tired
Once you have clarified the theme of your future online business, you also have to think about other attributes of your online business such as:
- What are you looking for: short-term money or purpose?
- Do you want public exposure or not?
- What is your favorite content format: text, audio or video?
For example, if you are just looking for extra money, you do not want anyone to associate you with your business and the written format is good for you, you should better target businesses based on affiliate marketing .
All the online businesses that I have presented to you as the best are based on the idea that you want to face your clients and that you want to build and expand your personal brand in the market.
KEY #2: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT’S ABOUT THEM
This key is universal, and valid for all types of businesses.
You must find a real problem, an acute problem, that people want to solve in the short term.
And many online entrepreneurs do not understand it.
- They create a book, their book.
- They create a course, their course.
Months are locked up alone without talking to anyone until they create this product.
Only to realize later that no one loves him.
Eye to the data, 42% of start-ups close because they have created a solution that the market does not need. It is the number one cause of death for online businesses.
It’s not about you, what you know, or how handsome you are.
It’s about them, your customers.
Your needs, your wants.
And as you, you can accelerate them to achieve their own goals.
So kill your ego now, because it only gets in the way, when you want to launch a successful online business.
And don’t forget an important detail about your ideal client:
- Trying to solve a problem is fine
- being able to do it is better
Yes, I am referring to the purchasing power of your ideal client.
Choose him – this ideal client – wisely…
KEY Nº3: BLIND PASSION
You are passionate about traveling, drinking a mojito by the pool, or enjoying the best sunsets with your friends on the beach.
But, you really believe that someone is going to pay you to live off these passions.
The advice to do what you love most strikes me as completely misleading populist advice.
In the DNA of all successful online businesses is the value that you are capable of creating in your market.
In other words, your ability to help your customers solve their problems.
This must be the initial impulse of your business.
Then, if you have several options of possible online businesses, you can order them according to your tastes and the enthusiasm you feel with each idea.
It’s a good indicator too, but it’s not the most important.
Look, in life things change.
Nothing ensures that your passion today is your passion tomorrow. Look at your love history…
If your business works because you are able to help your ideal client, your project will evolve, and so will you. Trust me, you will find passion in further growing a well-functioning business.
And you will find a lot of desperation in an online business that you have launched around your passion… that is not capable of generating clients.
KEY Nº4: FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS, NOT ON TECHNOLOGY
Fundamental…and quite disturbing.
When you consider creating an online business, you think, with some reason, that technology is going to be omnipresent in your Internet business.
Yes and no.
Yes, in that online businesses use technology more intensively than many traditional businesses.
No, in that, your role, as the leader of your digital business, is to attract new customers every month of the year. Don’t transform yourself into a crazy computer scientist.
Because without customers, you can’t do your magic.
And, if the situation does not change, in a few months, you will be in the unemployment lines, surely with a good debt to pay.
The mistake that so many new online entrepreneurs make is wanting to automate their business too quickly.
Or of wanting to create digital products to be able to generate passive income too quickly.
Or of wanting to implement massive online sales actions, selling to hundreds of people at the same time, for example, through a webinar. Too fast, again…
These things are interesting. I’m not telling you no.
But not at the beginning, when you start.
These are overly complex tactics for your current level of proficiency.
At first, you have to create an offer and adjust your sales messages.
This is your only priority.
And this presupposes only one thing:
That you are talking to your market every day of the year.
And I’m not just talking about writing content and sharing it online.
It is necessary, but not sufficient.
I am referring to having 1-on-1 conversations with your potential clients, to listen to their needs and adapt your solution to their wishes.
It is what matters to you at the beginning, in the first 6 months of life of your online business.
In fact, in this initial phase of validating your idea , technology is an enemy.
It slows you down and throws you off center.
The only technology you need to launch your online business is a video call tool and the basic management of some social networks, strategically chosen based on the type of activity you want to develop.
So don’t lose focus.
You don’t want to become a computer guy who fiddles with technology all day.
You want to help your ideal client solve their problems.
Spend more time talking 1-on-1 with him than making technological “chupuzillas”.
Ideally, hire someone for the technical part.
You will do better, and you will enjoy your online entrepreneurship more.
KEY #5: TIME TO MARKET SHORT, NO, NEXT
This aspect is also essential.
How long can you last without invoicing anything in your online business?
Imagine that you have been working 20 hours a week in your online business for 6 months and that you have not acquired any clients.
And also 6 months spending €250/month on online tools .
Perhaps also about €1,000 invested in Facebook, without getting results.
Have you already given up?
And now, imagine that in just 60 days you have captured your first client. And that, in the following quarter, you capture another 5 clients.
What impact are these sales going to have on your confidence levels, your motivation and also your bank account?
No one can survive months or years without getting clients.
So customer acquisition should be your #1 goal.
And how can you get clients fast?
Reducing the time to market your solutions.
What can you sell in a matter of days?
- A Freelancing type service.
- A consulting or mentoring service
- A coaching accompaniment
- A face-to-face workshop
And a little more.
Everything else presupposes spending time creating a product:
- write an ebook
- Create an online course
- Build a membership
- Create a software
- Schedule a SaaS
What do you need to sell a virtual service?
Write a sales page.
If you limit yourself to explaining the service (brief), then it is done in one afternoon, and you can now roll up your sleeves to go find your first clients.
KEY Nº6: IT IS NOT ABOUT MONETIZING AN AUDIENCE
Many will tell you out there: create an audience first…and then – after 2 years! – you can monetize it.
It is a seductive idea.
But deadlier than Ebola.
Just as before you did not want to become a computer scientist, you also do not want to become a writer who produces content every day, 365 days a year.
If you want to live from advertising, then yes, you need to write a lot and continuously over time.
But if what you want is to be an entrepreneur who helps your customers solve their problems, you don’t have to become a content creator.
You will need to write, but you will not live from content creation.
It’s a huge nuance.
Most of those who start from the desire to share content get lost along the way.
Because they are not sure who to write for.
Not even what to write.
You can write for years…and have gathered an audience of people who will never buy anything from you.
Because you attract bored readers who are looking for nothing more than to waste their time reading content that does not produce results.
The idea of monetizing an audience rarely works.
Because when you think about monetizing your audience, you will find that 95% of what you have written during these 2 years is useless.
Why your content lacks the intention that allows it to attract readers determined to act to go for their dreams or solve their problems.
So I recommend you act strategically.
Define your offer first:
- your ideal client
- your solution
And then, consider writing to attract people who are really interested in your services.
And since writing is a passive attitude, take the first step and get in touch, 1 by 1, on the Internet, with these people who you know are the ones who need your services.
Life is full of opportunities , especially for all those who act proactively .
KEY Nº7: SELL THE MOST EXPENSIVE FIRST
I know that what I am telling you is going to generate a sea of doubts.
Because everyone tells you that you should start first by working for free or selling cheap stuff.
Do the opposite.
Launch your most expensive solutions first.
Because when you don’t have an audience, your ability to generate a lot of sales is nil.
Instead, you should be able to sell something, if 100 or 1000 people visit your website, in a period of one month.
As long as your offer responds to a real and acute need of the market in which you operate.
A sale a month is within your reach.
If you sell a product at €7 you will earn…€7.
But if you face your worst fears and offer a consultancy or coaching at €1,000.
A single sale is enough to have the month done.
Yes or yes, you have to learn to sell your services.
That is what it is about when one undertakes in digital, or in traditional, of a lifetime.
But Franck, what happens if no one buys this premium service from me?
Well, you will always be in time to create a new, cheaper offer.
And your followers are delighted to be able to start a collaboration with you, without assuming such a large initial investment.
But give yourself 3-6 months to sell the ideal solution first.
Because it is better to have a few clients who pay you 4 figures per project, than thousands of clients who pay you a few measly euros for an average transaction.
More clients = More problems = Less Lifestyle
KEY Nº8: VALIDATE YOUR OFFER BEFORE INVESTING IN ADVERTISING
I also see a lot of “gurus” advising to invest money in online advertising, and launching.
This is like asking a 3-month-old baby to run a 100 meter sprint with Usain Bolt.
If you already have a clear mission and how to sell your services on the Internet, of course online advertising is a good idea to explore.
But if you are launching an online business, investing €500 or €1,000 a month in Facebook Ads is burning the little money you had saved for nothing.
Advertising is used to scale sales.
Not to find your market niche or validate your offer.
Do you think that doing an online advertising campaign is easy, when you have never done it before in your life?
When your sales messages and your offer are not validated, work better with organic methods (content on social networks and digital prospecting), easier to execute and close your first projects.
When you have validated:
- your target audience
- your solution
- your prices
- The attraction messages
You can start investing money in online advertising .
KEY Nº9: 1 PRODUCT, 1 CHANNEL, 1 SYSTEM
Loss of focus fogs your mind.
And since there is no way to manage it, it is better not to expose yourself to this danger.
So choose the power of one better:
- Sell a single solution
- To a single target
- Through a single social network
- With a single sales method
The best, for me, is a sales system that incorporates a call or a video call, 1 on 1, with your potential customers.
Just implement a proven system and make it work.
Believe me, this is already a very handsome challenge.
Deciding is more important than experimenting wildly, without head or tail.
- Elige tu mentor
- Copy to system
- Stop looking at other systems. Turn off the sources of information, it’s just noise, now that you’ve made your decision.