CHAPTER

01

Online Business Models You Can Start Now


There are a lot of Online Business models you can use. 

There are only a few I would recommend (Especially if you want to Start and Grow a Blog-Business).

There are a lot of gimmicks out there and even those which might make you a few hundred dollars for minimal work won't last and don't qualify as "Online Businesses".

Quick money making schemes aren't sustainable and any loopholes found in social media or other marketplaces are soon filled and profits vanish as fast as they begin.

This is why with any business you start online you must look at its long term viability and not just what can it do for you today.

When you build your business the right way, you can guarantee long term profits.

I personally like to know that I'm going to get paid every month

It makes it much easier to pay the bills and do things with my family without worrying what's going to happen next month.

That's why I like to put all my systems on autopilot, but more on that later.

Let's check out the online business models I do recommend starting online.

Online Business Model #1: Content Marketing

Content Marketing might just sound like Blogging.  I can tell you, its not.  

Content Marketing requires the development of a dedicated audience who comes to love your content and/ or rely on your expertise in a very specific niche.

You then need to provide that content on a consistent basis, constantly evolving and providing for the needs of your audience.

There are multiple ways you can go with this business model, but the important question is this:

How do you make money consistently, and more importantly, reliably?

With Content Marketing your two primary sources of profits are usually Advertising or Affiliate Marketing.  

Both require a lot of traffic to generate the kind of passive income you would call reliable.

This isn't as simple as just recommending products or placing Google Adsense banners on your site.

There needs to be a dedicated plan of action for it to work.  

Content Marketing is great for people who like to write and provide expertise in a specific niche without the need to create products or provide Customer Support.

Plus, with this business model you can run your business from anywhere in the world!

Here at the Starter Academy, one of the 2 main tracks we teach is the Content Blogger track.

Want to learn how to be a Content Blogger?

Keep reading.

Here are a few Examples of Great Content Marketing Sites:

  • Smart Passive Income - Pat Flynn's Blog (he's starting to develop his own products now too)
  • Buzzfeed - Pure Advertising based Content Marketing site
  • Grilled - One of my Content Marketing test sites

Pros:

No products needed.  Just promote other people's products and produce high quality content on a regular basis.  Create simple affiliate funnels and watch the cash roll in.

Cons:

Income can fluctuate a lot based on promotions and the effectiveness of your content.  SEO and Social Media Advertising are required to get the amount of traffic required for high end profits.

Online Business Model #2: Ecommerce

Selling physical products online is a tried and true business model.  

Look at Amazon, they have definitely perfected it.

If you are just starting out, this can be quite a handful.

First you need to find the right niche market to jump into.

Trying to sell everything at once like Amazon is very tough and cost prohibitive.

First, you need to source your product inventory and this could cost thousands of dollars to setup unless you start with a Dropshipping model first.

You then need to setup an online storefront.

If you do, then I highly recommend using Shopify.

They have everything you need to get started.

I used to recommend using WooCommerce, but Shopify simply has everything and you don't need to be a technical expert to use it.

Of course, with selling physical products you also have to consider the impact of providing Customer Service; dealing with refunds, returns, and chargebacks.

Of all the online business models, this one is probably the most expensive to start and depending on what you sell, can take a lot of sales to make money.

Remember, you have to buy inventory and then you only make a percentage of each sale.

With all that goes into the Ecom business model (and we haven't even talked about marketing), it is not my first recommendation if you do not have any online business experience.

Here are a few Examples of Great Ecommerce Sites:

  • MTO Battery - Small, but profitable Shopify store selling high end batteries and battery rebuilds
  • Ugmonk - A Simple T-Shirt and clothing Shopify store.
  • KKW Beauty - Kim Kardashian West's hugely popular beauty store is powered by Shopify.

Pros:

Can be run from your garage if needed.  Ecom stores can be scaled and grown easily from a small inventory to large based on customer growth.  Can be managed easily through SAAS tools like Shopify.

Cons:

Can be tough to start depending on the market and inventory costs can make it hard to scale until you begin generating substantial revenue.  Ecom requires more technical and business knowledge to start than other models.

Are You Ready to start and grow your own online business?  Check out the 4 Online Business Models you should start with here now! #onlinebusinessmodels #blogging

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Online Business Model #3: Software

Selling software online can be extremely profitable.

It can come at a price though.

Selling software requires either personal programming and development expertise on your part or through someone you hire to provide this technical expertise for you.

Normally though, this requires a team unless your software projects are small.

Software, plugins, themes, etc., all require a lot of time to develop, but they also require a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

Upgrades, patches, and other fixes are always required for software projects and the Customer Service burden can be massive.

Whether it is a Software as a Service (SAAS) or something like WordPress Plugins and Themes; you will need to understand that the time required for the continual development of your products will likely never end.

I have a great deal of experience with this.

With my business partner Daniel Waser and our development team, we developed a business called WPSocial.com (which we sold a few years ago).

In this business, we created over 40 WordPress plugins and themes.

This business was extremely profitable, but there is a reason I haven't gone back to development since.  

I worked 16-18 hour days and the Customer Support was never ending.

One of our biggest mistakes was having so many different products.

If I ever get back into software, it will focus solely on 1 product and will most likely be a SAAS offering.

Here are a few Examples of Great Software Sites:

  • WPSocial - My WordPress Plugin and Theme software business (We sold this in 2015)
  • SENukeTNG - An SEO Software business running online since 2010.
  • OptinMonster - One of the most popular Lead Generation SAAS products available online.

Pros:

Can be extremely profitable.  Especially if run as a monthly membership.  Allows for singular focus if directed at a specific target market. Provides for long term stability as customers will look for continued updates and new releases.

Cons:

Can take a lot of time to develop and takes a large degree of technical expertise (or a team).  Software requires a large amount of Customer Service, updates, fixes, and upgrades.  The Pros of this can also be negatives if things go wrong.

Online Business Model #4: Information Products

Selling information (digital) products online might be the last online business model I recommend on this list, but it is the best of the bunch.

Information Products can be created easily.  

In fact, you can create an eBook with Microsoft Word in less than an hour and sell it online.

There's no inventory and the only development cost is the time you put into creating the product.

It can be Video, Audio, ebooks, Whitepapers, checklists,....

You name it.  

Information products can be sold for as little as $1 or for thousands of dollars.

The value depends on the information being provided and the demand for that information.

That is why I focus on Information Products for my business.

Once you create a product, you can sell it for years if the information is still relevant.

The value of the return you get can be incredible.

The biggest hassle you might have is delivering your information.

I like to use Membership sites where I can deliver multiple products, but there are tons of other options for delivery (see below).

As I said above, I sold my Auto Blog Blueprint information product for almost 7 years.  

Yes, I upgraded and updated the product, but that took minimal work on my part.

If you want to start an online business, creating and selling your own Information Product is the best and simplest option.  

Here are a few Examples of Great Information Product Sites:

  • GuitarLessons.com - Incredible Guitar Lesson site.  They make thousands each week!
  • BeachBodyonDemand - These guys have parlayed fitness instruction into a multi-million dollar business
  • Adobe InDesign Course - This great free course is used to get people to buy Adobe InDesign Templates.

Pros:

Can be extremely profitable.  Especially if run with a monthly membership.  Allows you to build a community of buyers who will buy from you over and over as you develop new products. Great for selling additional affiliate products for added revenue streams.

Cons:

Can take a certain amount of expertise when creating the products.  Presentation and organizational skills are needed.  Understanding of product purchase and delivery systems needed to sell the products. Can require a lot of Customer Service time.

Business Models For Beginners

With all of this said above, there are only Two (2) Business Models I recommend for people who are just starting out in Internet/ Online Business. 

Content Marketing and Information Products.

Here at the Starter Academy I like to call the people who choose these models as Content Bloggers and Product Bloggers.

Why?

In order to build a business with either of these, you have to follow a very similar path and a lot of what you do is largely the same.

This allows you to build a Blog with just Content and Affiliate Marketing (selling other people's products for a Commission) and then if you decide to start selling your own products you can do so without changing anything except the focal point for your Content and Marketing.

Plus, with both of these models, you can be a Beginner with no previous business knowledge and build a very profitable business online in just a few months.

Sound good?

Now it's time to show you how to put all this together into a business.

Are you ready?

Keep reading.

Next Up:  

Chapter 2: The 5 Essential Elements of Online Business


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