How to Choose the Right Online Business Model for You

How to Choose the Right Online Business Model for You

You have passion and creative energy. You know that you want to channel your energy into a successful online business. But how can you know what online business model is right for you?

The internet has opened up a world of opportunities that didn’t exist fifteen years ago. There are ways to seize these opportunities and turn your dreams into reality. When you find the right online business model that works for you, you’ll be able to something that you enjoy and earn money doing it.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Advertising or Product Sponsorship

This business model depends a lot on personality and your ability to capture people and drive them to your content. Ultimately, you want enough followers or a large enough audience that you are paid to advertise or sponsor products for other companies.

You could start with a blog or podcast and try to gain followers. If you have a hobby or niche interest, this might be a good fit for you. Your revenue can include advertising that is part of your website or from a sponsorship that you do as part of your content. 

Instagram influencers and TikTok can also be huge drivers for paid content. Companies like the idea of less “obvious” paid content and use these social media outlets to pay influencers to do the marketing for them.

Digital Products and Courses

If you have knowledge to share, you can make money doing so. You can write an e-book or create an online course. People are willing to pay money to access information, particularly when the person is an expert in the field.

To share an e-book, you can start with a simple web page that includes a download. For online courses, you can use existing platforms like courses on Udemy or teaching on Outschool. The best thing about using other platforms is that feedback from your students will drive more sales.

Software or App

You may have an idea for a product or service that no one has yet thought of. Software and apps can be a way to bring your idea to life. Whether you have some skills as a software developer or would partner with someone, the main goal of software or an app is to create something that people will use.

With this business model, there are different ways that you can make money. 

  • You can start with a free version that requires an upgrade to a paid (better) version
  • You can offer a free trial to let users try it out and then charge them after the trial is over
  • You offer a free app or software and then make your money from advertising revenue

While this business model has a potential upfront cost for the development of your software or app, it can be sustainable for a long period of time. It is also something that you could sell in the future to another company.

Web Development

If you have skills in website development, there are always people looking for help. Other entrepreneurs may have the same drive but no skills to create or manage a website.

Your web development services could range from one-time setup to ongoing maintenance and support. As you get clients, you can let your portfolio speak for itself. You would also have an edge in getting started because you would be able to set up your own website easily.

Affiliate Marketing

With affiliate marketing, you sell products for another company and earn a commission for the effort. Your commission is typically 5-10% of the cost of the product. This benefits the seller because you’re doing the work for them.

Amazon Associates is one of the most popular programs. If you are able to generate a solid following, particularly in a niche industry, you can earn passive income when people buy products from your affiliate link.

Consulting or Coaching

If you have expertise on a particular topic, you can sell your experience to others. Consulting or coaching have low startup costs. You need to rely on personal relationships and referrals so that you can become known as the go-to person for your audience.

To build a consulting or coaching business, in addition to your website, you’ll want to consistently produce content that establishes you as an authority. This could be a combination of blog articles, guest posts, podcasts, email subscriptions, and more. Share just enough knowledge to entice people to contact you for services.

Next Steps for Your Online Business

Once you have decided which online business model works for you, it is time to get set up! The next steps will involve some planning so that you are ready to launch.

1. Choose the Target Audience

Whatever you offer, you likely won’t appeal to the entire universe. Decide who your customers are and how you will find them. This will drive your website and also your presence on social media platforms and amid other online channels.

2. Create Your Website

Your audience needs to be able to find you. 88% of consumers do research online before making a purchase. No matter what your revenue stream will be, the odds are that your potential customers will take a look at you before making a decision.

3. Engage Your Audience

In almost every instance, you’ll need to have regular engagement with your audience. This can range from email newsletters to social media posts to blog content. You’ll want to watch your engagement from different channels, so you know where to focus your efforts.

4. Bring Business to You

By optimizing your website through SEO and PPC, you can let search engines do the work of bringing traffic to you. Pay-per-click has an associated cost, whereas organic traffic through search engine optimization is free. Both will boost your overall audience.

Making the Most of Your Online Business Model

If you are ready to take the next step, start planning today! Once you have selected an online business model that makes sense for you, you can get to work on building your dream.