Platforms are changing…
User behavior is changing…
Trends and competition are changing….Therefore, the top 10 list is changing!
It’s important to keep in mind before we get started that a successful business and ultimately you making money online is a result of you giving value to your audience.
You need to scale your audience, which means you can give little bits of value to millions
and millions of people or you can give large chunks of value to smaller and smaller amounts
of people, but just starting a business is not enough.
Make sure you keep in mind that it’s all about your audience giving value to them growing your audience.That’s really what you need to focus on within this. Also, one note, one more note before we get into it. Over the course of growing a successful business online, I’m talking to the three year, five year, 10 year plan of you growing this. You’re probably actually going to be earning income from several of these.
I enjoy multiple streams of income and you’ll get there as well. What I’m trying to give you is a starting point if you haven’t started, so don’t feel like you have to choose one and you’re limited to one because again, back to that audience idea.
Why don’t you have an audience of people who know you, they like you, they trust you, they’re on your email list? You can leverage different one of these with the same audience effectively stabilizing your income stream.
So without further ado, let’s jump into the top 10.
So number one is information products. Now I still love selling information products. Downloadable MP3s, downloadable PDs, streamable video courses. The reason I really like these is the very high margins, but one of the challenges is there’s kind of a high barrier to entry. You have to be able to help people get results in their life already before you can start creating online courses.
If you can’t help women in their 50’s lose 10 pounds in 30 days, you shouldn’t be making a course about how to help these women lose weight. I also think that the world of self education is growing and will continue to grow. I think more and more people are looking at the internet, looking at individuals like myself and like you, to help them learn that professional skills and the personal skills they need to earn more income or to live a more fulfilled life.
So I think it’s a growing area and the really high margins make it very, very worth your time. But again, you kind of need to be an expert, which leads us to number two.
What if you’re not an expert? What if you’re committed to becoming an expert in something, but you’re not quite there yet?
Affiliate marketing is a fantastic business model. It’s my number two on this list because it’s so beginner friendly.
And as an affiliate marketer, what you do is you actually go create the audience, you create helpful content, you build the relationship with the audience, and you help that audience
get what they already want. You help that audience get the things they’re going to purchase anyways through your affiliate links.
But that all happens after you grow the audience and after you build trust with them. So it’s a way to start very low upfront costs and a lot of energy.
Ultimately you can build an affiliate marketing site with that idea of helping women over 50 lose weight idea, right? Let’s say you build a content heavy site and an email list and you promote affiliate products like organic buying, daily burn, etc. Then eventually you create your own product to sell to them. You build the audience, you’re able to monetize that process as an affiliate, but then you create your own course.
Once you get a lot of skill helping people or maybe you start selling one on one coaching and that’s where you learn the process that you turn into your course ultimately, and that’s a little taste of how these all work together.
Coaching and Consulting
Number three is coaching and consulting. So to me, bridging the gap between I teach this this stuff online or I’m using content to help my audience. Bridging the gap between that and creating courses is really going deep with individuals. If you haven’t helped one person lose 10 pounds in 30 days, that’s really what you need to do.
Once you start growing your audience, you need to find somebody who is committed and you need to help them and you need to build a process and then you need to help somebody
else and then you need to help somebody else. Now, the cool thing about coaching is it can be done one on one, but you can also do group coaching, which is a way for you to leverage your time to get a little bit of leverage so the income goes up, but the amount of effort and energy from you stays the same and that’s usually the path to creating online courses.
You start learning about the world, you gain a result for yourself, then you start helping individuals get that results.
So you’re creating a repeatable process.
Then you help a small group of people get that result together.
And once you’ve proven that your system works over and over for dozens, if not hundreds of people, you’re ready to build it into a course.
One of the other cool things about consulting and coaching, um, people are willing to invest very relatively high volumes of money to get specific results and they love being held
by the hand.
They love having a individual guide cause there’s part accountability in it. There’s a lot of reasons why when your position as the expert for them to be able to do Skype calls with you one on one, three times a week, Skype workouts with you one on one three times a week, they stay accountable to you.
They text you every single day with they’re eating their calorie counts, etc, etc.
Sometimes that real personal touch of coaching is what’s gonna get them the result. And a lot of us like me, we know we need that level of accountability as well. So that’s how it can work really well and I think there’s a beautiful business to be had there.
Number four is membership sites.
Recurring billing (thus recurring income) is the Holy grail of income. Great membership programs can allow you to do one body of work each and every month and sell that hundreds if not thousands of times over.
What do you include in your membership program?
Obviously this needs to come from what you’ve been doing, the results you can help people with.
I use a forum for my membership program to where people can kind of get my training, my advanced training, but then they can ask me questions about the training and that’s
a big part of it. So my membership program has a little bit of a group coaching type.
The reason why membership site is so high up is ultimately you sell it once and you can earn income from that one sale for months, years, potentially decades in the future as long as you’re still delivering lots of great value.
Digital Marketing Agency
Number five is digital marketing agency. Here not only would I sell that as a service, I would build a team of people who would actually do the work, and I would stay focused on speaking on stages and I would stay focused on running local meetup groups and essentially bringing in clients.
I’d be the position and I would then let my team of experts do the actual day to day work for the clients. I think digital marketing agencies are incredibly powerful today because there’s more and more businesses all competing for those top three spots on the Google map. There’s more and more businesses today competing for those top 10 spots on the first page of Google, but here’s the caveat.
You have to have skills. You have to actually be able to drive traffic. You have to actually be able to create the result for you to be able to sell it.
I’m currently running an agency very successfully; I was able to show local business owners the value my agency brings to them in terms of leads and potential customers.
Would your business be transformed if you had 2000 people a day looking at what you do and your offers and they thought to themselves? Of course it would.
So this is where you could start as an affiliate marketer, build your site, grow your traffic, learn the ins and outs of WordPress, learn how to rank a posts on the first page of Google, and then that could actually be your case.
Number six is freelancing and doing virtual assistant type work. This is an easier way to get started than digital agency.
Obviously there’s SEO freelancers out there, but I make this as a, it’s this distinguished to me because I think it includes things like transcription, video editing, making show
notes from podcasts or even editing the audio for podcasts for people, translating documents, translating books.
Now this is looking into what you’re good at.
Are you good at Photoshop?
Are you good at video editing?
What do you love?
What are you good at?
That other businesses, they would love to pass that side of their business off. Because most digital business are actually most everybody businesses, right? Brick and mortar business.
Most businesses realize they need to be active on their blog. They need to have a YouTube channel, they need to have a social media presence. And they probably don’t want to do that because they’re so busy with the day to day operations of their business.
You could step in and fill that one role for them as a freelancer. And this is drastically different than running an agency because you do the work in this scenario and it floats you.
So you’ve got a number of clients who look to you to do specific work and it’s a great way to bridge the gap from kind of being in a corporate setting to the side hustle that can give you some time and location freedom, which is great. And from there you can kind of build your own internet business.
Selling Handmade Goods
I think this one’s overlooked way too often. Sell handmade goods. So crocheting, making jewelry, there’s so many handmade goods.
Let me give you an example
Let’s say you have a baby who has very, very sensitive skin. You can’t use normal sunscreen on your baby’s skin. They, they break out into a rash. They’re, they’re extremely sensitive. And you came up with this sunscreen that works.
It’s totally natural.
It’s totally nontoxic.
There’s no harsh chemicals in it at all.
It’s safe for even your baby’s skin.
That’s a brilliant thing, right? And then you could start selling that. So there’s, they’re selling it online. And I know this is the top 10 online businesses, but I think most people overlook their local farmer’s markets. And I think the local farmer’s markets are an amazing way for entrepreneurs who are creators to really get some real world feedback on what it is they’re creating.
You get to talk right there in the moment with people. You get to ask them questions. Have you ever put on sunscreen that like you can ask those kinds of questions right there with people who are just kind of strolling the park for the afternoon because it’s the farmer’s market after noon and that’s what they’re there for.
They’re there for that community interaction and these interaction moments, the, the things you can learn from actually trying to sell a physical thing over the table to a real person, it can speed up the process.
So I think you could do all of the things ultimately if you’re one of these creators. But really I think it’s incredibly valuable to spend time. If you’re looking for a business model and you like creating things, soap is relatively easy to create.
Go down your local farmer’s market. Is there a soap maker? Is there a lotion maker? Is there a jewelry maker? Is there a candle maker?
Is there someone’s selling mushrooms because mushrooms are really easy to grow micro greens. You can grow in a warehouse, these delicate micro greens that are a very hot item right
now. So it’s good to go to these and pay attention what other creators are making and selling and then see if there’s a little opening, uh, versus something you know how to do or you’re interested in doing.
You can learn how to make good soaps in an afternoon or a weekend and in fact you can buy entire loaves of soap on Etsy. You could cut them down, you can put them in special packaging, special branding and put your little twist on it and then you could go resell them.
That is actually a business model that you could do in person.
Build testimonials, learn a lot about your customer avatar and build your audience.
I debated whether I was going to put influencer marketing on, but I don’t have a better word for it.
So it’s the word I’m going to use now.
To me, influencer marketing is a podcaster. That was what I thought.
I was literally thinking about putting podcasting on here because I think more and more people are listening to podcasts. The growth year over year of podcasts is continuing to accelerate and the kind of realness of podcasters, it’s becoming an actual thing. It’s becoming a respected world.
So right now we’re going through the election cycle here in North America and the, there’s a number of democratic candidates going on right now and I like to listen to what they have to say and I don’t like the debate stage that they’re on.
It’s a joke.
It’s, it’s an attempt to get them to, to bicker with each other for a rubbish soundbite. But then Joe Rogan has had at least three different presidential candidates on and I’ve listened to every one of those podcast episodes and they range from one hour to over two hours. The depth of understanding of that individual, their history, their story, their ideas, what their plans are invaluable to me as an individual. So that little story I just told you is why I think podcasts are going to continue to grow.
YouTubers are also influencers. Obviously people who take like Instagrammers can be influencers as well, but I will put them at the very bottom of the totem pole. I think that’s the most difficult nut to crack because it’s 99% of the time.
Somebody who’s streaming games, they’re like a professional E sports person who supports themselves 100% by a streaming themselves playing the game on, on YouTube and Twitch.
I would consider them to be an influencer and they can be mega influencers in this day and age.
They absolutely can be mega influencers.
E-Commerce / Dropshipping
And then number 10 is drop shipping and e-commerce. This is almost related to that idea of, you know, buying the, the log of soap and cutting it up and selling it and reselling it.
One of the most common ways to build a business and to earn money for eons has been buying and selling things. You buy something over here and you sell it over there. Now drop shipping means you sell it without ever buying it.
Somebody else’s warehousing it, someone else has the fulfillment centers. You build an audience of people and then you sell it, you manage the transaction, you manage the customer support, but they actually ship it from their warehouse. So it eliminates or it lowers drastically the cost of doing business and for high ticket products like I’m electric wheelchairs for elderly people who need mobility help.
There’s a lot of different $3,000 products that can potentially have a fairly good margin. Your margins shrink significantly compared to digital products and information products, but people are more willing to buy things.
We all buy things in our world. You’ve probably bought soap, toothbrushes, toothpastes. You may have bought a bicycle and higher ticket things as well. So buying and selling things is absolutely still a very real business today.
You can sell on Amazon as FBA. You can sell again Etsy, eBay, as we said, you could build your own website, drop ship through like a Shopify store, which are very easy to run.
You can do woo commerce, which is essentially the WordPress open source, alternate to Shopify. The truth is people buy stuff and they buy stuff all the time, which is why Amazon is a behemoth in its space.
It’s a crowded market.
It requires more investment, generally speaking.
And the margins are also lower, which is why it’s at the bottom of my list. But maybe you have a logistical team, maybe you have fulfillment centers that you’ve used, maybe you’ve sourced products from another country before and you have really interesting access to some beautiful jewelry from Bali and you could go get loads and loads of this jewelry from Bali and you want to start selling that way.
Very, very doable in this day.
So that’s it. Those are the top, top 10 businesses for 2020.
Think about your audience. Who are they? What do they need? Why are they searching for this? Why do they need to buy this right now?
Are they aware of the problem or are they aware of the solution? Meet them where they are through content and help them get what they want. Learn how to build an email list. And at that point you open yourself up to start to dabble in all of the different aspects of the business.