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A second income always helps. You can start an online business even while you are working full time in day job. The only obstacles are what to do and how to start your business online successfully. Here are some online business ideas and practical tips to get you started and earn money online as additional income. ~ Ed.
I started an e-commerce website on selling cricket accessories online….it failed.
Then I launched another website on planning a party or an event with the idea to provide information to readers on how to host an amazing function for dinners, birthdays, get-togethers, etc….it failed miserably too.
Then I started a job portal website for industrial engineers. I set up the website, domain, hosting, technicalities, everything. However, on the 5th day as I opened my website on a quiet afternoon and put my fingers on the laptop keyboard, I wondered “What to do now? How am I supposed to get traffic? How will this website make me money after say, six months?”
I told myself in deep anger — “This is not working. I’m simply starting something for the sake of doing it, just because everyone is doing it. It doesn’t excite me. I don’t like it.”
So, after almost 1.5 years, I’d three failed ventures on my resume. (btw — I was doing all this while working at a full-time job.)
Plus, every time I researched “starting an online side business,” Google would throw me up with results till 50 pages.
But each of these 50 page had ten results, and each article was telling me to do different things –
- “Start with Google Adsense!”
- “Ohh, affiliate marketing is the best business mode;!”
- “You just need to set up a blog, with X hosting, and Y”
Really, I was heading in no direction. I could see where I want my final destination to be — an online side business bringing me a reliable source of second income.
But I just didn’t know how to get there, how do I start again, how do I avoid the failures again, etc.
So, after almost five years spending my time in this industry, investing more than $5000 on courses, books, mastermind groups, and of course earning decent money, I’ve done the process easier for you to show you the two profitable types of online side businesses you can start.
- This has worked for me, and I’ve also seen it work for hundreds of entrepreneurs. However, is this the definite “right” answer for you? Maybe not. As they say, what works for you might not work for someone else.
- Below are two types of businesses. I’ve shown the roadmap of how much realistic time it takes to build and start earning from it (No, I won’t be promising that you’ll make a million bucks in 3 months, let’s be brutally honest.) However, to make it more simpler, I’ve broken it down into short-term income and long-term income.
- There is no fluff or B.S. or fake promises here, I’ve personally tested both of these businesses, and they’ve collectively made me thousands of bucks (and continues to generate revenue).
Online Business Model #1: Freelancing (Short-term results, aka immediate earning)
I made about $1800USD (Rs.1,20,000INR) for the three months period of a part-time freelancing role, offering a basic service. These were short-term projects with quick side income when working with four clients and I had the freedom to diversify revenue.
Here’s the basic roadmap to take when going the freelancing route –
Step 1: Generate Business Ideas
Step 2: Deep Research and Niching Down
Step 3: Test and Validate your Idea
Step 4: Get your First Paying Customer
Step 5: Scale and Automate Revenue
Ideas to get you started
I don’t want to keep you hanging by only just telling you – let me also SHOW you some ideas you can start with by offering a service.
Copywriting, lead generation, writing articles, event planning, graphic designing, hair styling, interior decorating, web/app development, photography, music instrument (teaching a guitar), PPT design, SEO, Coding/programming, accounting, video editing, etc.
Again, these are just examples. You can begin with just about anything.
Here are some questions to get your idea muscles working-
- What are some of your natural skills? (do you speak confidently, or dress better, or create excellent reports?)
- What are some of your experiences gained? (are you experienced in finance, or have traveled a lot, or make amazing recipes?)
- What do others inside your network of family, friends and colleagues struggle with which you find relatively easy? (Is it organizing dinner parties, or arranging travel itineraries, or making some craft or artistic designs?)
Remember initially your goal is to –
- Research your idea
- Test it
- Find your first 1-3 paying customers.
Online Business Model #2: Productizing (Long-term results, aka long-term earning)
This involves you selling an online product (I recommend selling digital products, like ebooks or a short online course due to its high profitability and less creation time.)
I have an online course teaching industrial engineers how to get job interview calls. Till this date, the product sells consistently and gives me an average of $800USD (Rs.55,000INR) in revenue every time I open enrollment in the course.
Not surprisingly, such information products have a huge advantage of scaling to 1,10,100, or even 10000 customers.
Here are the basic five elements you need in series when going the productizing route –
- Series of some emails
- Product to sell
Let’s look at each with some detail –
1) Website: A basic “good enough” one (No fancy plugins, themes, color coding, etc.) Simple enough to get you started.
2) Traffic: At a minimum, I recommend 50-100 visitors a day.
3) Conversion: Meaning, you need to convert that traffic. This typically means an opt-in form which takes information of the visitor (usually a name and an email id) and makes them your subscriber.
4) Emails: Now that you have converted traffic (your subscribers), you can send them few good emails occasionally about your topic/niche.
5) Product: A minimum viable product (an ebook or a video course) to sell to your subscribers. If they like and trust you from your website and emails, then they WILL buy from you. And now you have customers for life!
People Have Done it – You Can Too!
Both of the businesses I showed above have worked for me, but let me tell you that many other people have done it themselves too.
These are full-time employees, busy moms, people who quit their jobs, bloggers, and all other demographics of people you can imagine.
People have got on to freelance writing, some have started dog training services or courses on learning guitar. There are people who started yoga classes or even helping corporate professionals becoming awesome in Excel – because that’s their strength and what they are passionate about.
How Do You Get Started
As you saw, there are almost innumerable ways you can start a second income business.
But, what have we done so far? You have a list of 25+ ideas right here in this article itself, but I’m willing to bet it’s not enough to get you started.
A big part of getting started is getting the mindset and psychology right; we can handle the tactical part later.
So to do that, we need to –
Debunk the Common Myths and Fallacies
Have you noticed the last time you tried something new, the immediate response from your brain is a complete no-no?
I call these what-if scripts. The brain goes something like this — “But Zubin, what if –
- I’m already doing a full-time job, how do I find the time?”
- “I don’t know where to start”
- “There are so many people already doing this. How do I stand out?”
- “I’m not an expert at this. Why would anyone pay me?”
- “I’ve too many ideas. Which one do I pick first?”
- And so many more
Put aside the common what-if questions you might have at this point. You have examples, stories, ideas, guides (for examples, this one by Foundr), tools and the roadmap all in front of you. However, yet there is huge resistance to starting something. Dissuading all those what-of scripts is really the first step, rest all are tactics and steps to follow.
Wrapping Up and One Takeaway
My topmost recommendation for you is to pick one idea, any idea, test it for profitability, and get your first paying customer. Don’t wait, just put aside your legitimate concerns and begin this process.
Freelancing is an amazing option for people who are already working at a full-time job since it gives you a lot of options:
- You can start earning money quickly, without the need of a website or a Facebook page or any other fancy tool. I landed a paying client in marketing in 3 weeks for a $1100USD (Rs.75,000INR) project.
- It’s your reliable second income. What this does is allows you to have two income streams, and maybe eventually you reach a stage where you quit your existing job and focus on your business full-time.
- You get to work with clients, 1-1. Kind of like consulting where you’re actually helping people, adding value and they’re your paying customers.
- You set your own rates and timings. In short, let me bring that cliche, “you’re your own.”
Over to You
Now, I’d love to hear from you – when it comes to earning money online, what is your biggest challenge? What’s stopping you from starting your own business? Share in the comments.