A successful online business means there’s more to life than working a 9-5 day for the company and retiring when you’re 65 to spend time on hobbies and travel.
Nothing is better than waking up each day with the opportunity to do what you love. For me, it means helping aspiring entrepreneurs start their own online business.
We focus on business models that offer location independence and unlimited income potential because these two characteristics provide the ideal lifestyle for anyone willing to work for it.
So, let’s cover our top five best online businesses for those interested in the laptop lifestyle without sacrificing a comfortable income.
What Are The Best Online Businesses To Start?
Start a Profitable Blog Business
Our #1 recommended business model for aspiring online business owners is to start a blog.
A blog is our top recommendation because it is a business you can build in the background of your life until it reaches the point where the income your blog produces justifies you leaving your current job.
Once you’ve built up this recurring revenue stream, a blog allows you to build on top of your business with other online business models we cover throughout this article, such as starting a YouTube channel, podcast, and more!
Blogging is static and infinitely updatable – making it a robust business model. A blog consists of text on a page, so you can always edit, tweak, and expound upon your content to improve and reach a wider audience.
How Do Blogs Make Money
Blog businesses make money using several monetization techniques, with the most common sources of income being affiliate revenue, advertising revenue, and the sale of digital products.
Affiliate marketing income is earned when bloggers promote products or services and earn a commission for each sale made through their referral links.
Ad revenue is earned when blog partners with ad networks display targeted advertisements on their websites. Revenue is determined based on the number of clicks or impressions each advertisement receives through your site.
Additionally, many bloggers create and sell digital products such as e-books, online courses, or software, leveraging their expertise to provide valuable content and generate revenue.
Other monetization avenues include sponsored posts, paid memberships, donations, and events or workshops.
As you can tell, there are endless ways to make money with a blog, and almost all offer a recurring income source. In other words, these income streams continue to pay you every month, and as you develop your business, the dollar amount will continue to grow over time.
Why Blogging Is Our #1 Recommended Business Model for Online Entrepreneurs
Blogging is our top recommendation for aspiring business owners because you build it at your own pace without revealing your identity up front. It also provides an evergreen source of income and is infinitely scalable.
Blogging requires only a laptop and an internet connection, so you can operate this business from anywhere in the world, set your own schedule, and live life on your own terms.
If you need help launching a site, Bluehost is a terrific resource to use. They provide hosting services as well as technical support if you’re a novice to blogging.
Start a YouTube Channel
Next on the list is to start a YouTube channel. Like blogging, a YouTube business requires little upfront investment, and you can start with just your phone, a laptop, and an internet connection.
From there, choose your niche and start recording content based on keyword research to determine what videos perform well in your space.
YouTube is another business model that provides an evergreen source of income primarily from ad revenue and affiliate marketing, so the more videos you publish, the more money you can expect to make.
YouTube is great because it provides an opportunity to be discovered by such a large audience, and you’re bound to find like-minded people who resonate with your message and want to learn more about you.
Yes, it’s going to be a tough start on YouTube. You should commit to making 100 videos on your topic of choice. If you can do that, you will wake up the morning after publishing your 101st video with a viable business, earning real income and a high-value skill that will be in demand for years.
So if you have a lot to say and the willpower and determination to get your message out there, start recording videos today, and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. The reality is no one will see your first few videos.
But, by the time you make it to 200 and eventually 500 videos in your catalog, you’ll have an extremely profitable online business that runs on autopilot and pays you each and every day – whether you’re working or not.
I promise you’ll have no idea what you’re doing when you first start, but you’ll be an expert before you know it!
Start an E-commerce Business
Starting an Ecommerce business is another exciting and lucrative opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs. After all, most of the world’s wealthiest people are retailers in some form or another (think Sam Walton of Walmart & Jeff Bezos of Amazon).
With the continuous growth of online shopping and its convenience to consumers, venturing into the world of E-commerce opens up a world of possibilities.
The barriers to entry have been significantly lowered, allowing individuals to turn their passions or innovative ideas into thriving online stores with minimal upfront investment.
I’ve owned and operated three successful E-commerce brands that each grew into six-figure-per-year businesses, and I can tell you the margins are thin, but the opportunity to sell products online is massive.
Also, there are more ways to market and operate your lifestyle business than ever.
For instance, the rise of Facebook, Instagram, and now TikTok ads allows you to reach millions of people daily.
From an operations standpoint, you can pay freelancers to design a stunning website and sales page overnight, then hire a third-party logistics (3PL) company to hold and ship all your products as orders come in.
So all you have to do to get started is find a useful product, create a great sales funnel, and pay advertisers to promote your product to your target audience.
Once you have one winning product, add more items to your catalog under your brand and utilize email marketing to upsell and promote more products entirely for free!
In any event, E-commerce becomes more accessible with experience, but a great starting point is to find a product that solves a problem. Offer the solution to people who need it, and the next thing you know, you will have a profitable business for many years.
Start a Podcast
Next, starting a podcast is another business model we recommend because it is an income source that continues to grow on itself.
Podcasters build an audience that gains momentum and grows, generating more revenue from advertisers paying to be featured in the episodes.
Again, the startup costs for this business are minimal. You’ll need a quality microphone and podcast-hosting software to edit and upload your episodes.
From there, you’ll want to record great episodes about a topic you are interested in. Bringing guests on your show adds to the conversation and offers a different point of view will strengthen your product.
Again, podcasting takes practice, but as you go along, you will continue to improve and improve your craft, which will help grow your audience and your business.
If you have an interest and opinions on a topic and feel comfortable articulating it to a like-minded audience, podcasting is probably for you!
Sell an Online Course
Finally, if you have an in-demand skill, there is a massive opportunity to package up your knowledge and sell it to people interested in acquiring your expertise.
There are course creators making millions of dollars per month selling courses online, but those making it big have invested a ton of time and money into creating and selling their products.
First, you’ll need to grow your audience and ask them what they want to learn and, more importantly, what information they are willing to pay for.
From there, you’ll create an outline of your course and revise it based on feedback. Finally, you’ll record the course and host it through a provider.
The more you grow your audience with free content and helpful resources, the better off you will be in the long run selling your course. So remember to always focus on the needs of your audience and overdeliver when it comes to value.
The rest will take care of itself! So if you have a high-value skill to share with the world, starting a lucrative online course could be right for you.
The Best Advice We Can Ever Give Related To Starting Online Businesses
The top advice we give to aspiring entrepreneurs is just to start.
It might seem like the most obvious part of starting any business, but it is often the hardest. Taking the first step and committing to a business that can change your life can be very intimidating.
We aren’t used to starting from nothing, and when you’re starting from zero, it can be easy to look around at other business owners and compare yourself to those people.
But keep in mind the people that are now successful also started from nothing. They persevered and pushed through those hard times of feeling small and unimportant, but look at them now.
So take a few minutes to yourself right now and think about what it will be like to start a business.
It will be hard, lonely, test you every day, leave you feeling like no one cares about you, and much more.
But then think about how you will feel if you never take action and pursue your dream. I can promise you the consequences of never taking action and going for something you truly believe in far outweigh the hardships of being a business owner.
The best part? Starting your own business and taking control of your life is the ultimate dream, and those of you with this entrepreneurial fire and spirit like me, realize you won’t rest until you make it.
So again, our best advice is to start, and we wish you nothing but success!
What’s a business idea you would like to start?
About the author: Michael Morris is a commercial real estate agent & investor with over $200 million in transaction volume. He founded Pursuit of Passive Income to help aspiring entrepreneurs start their own online business, achieve financial freedom, and create a life they love.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.