There has never been a better time to make a profit online. There are 4,208,571,287 individual Internet users, which means endless opportunities for some profitable online business ideas and to find buyers who need you, no matter where they are in the world.

Running an online business also means less overhead. There’s often no need to rent out a retail space or hire sales representatives or spend precious time and gas rushing across town to make a sales pitch you could just as easily make via FaceTime. And with the vast digital marketing tools available, you are able to connect with new buyers and offer them the easiest possible path to conversion with one click of the “checkout” or “sign up” button.

However, while the digital realm offers better-than-ever options for starting a profitable business, making money online is never as simple as purchasing a domain and creating a website. Online business is still business, which means your success depends on your ability to establish a viable enterprise.

Before you launch into the first idea that comes to mind, consider these exceptionally reliable opportunities for turning a profit in the digital world.

Niche Market Ecommerce Business

Current trends suggest that there will be 2.14 billion digital buyers by 2021. While this number is by no means shocking—we’ve been seeing steady growth in ecommerce sales for years—it is worth thinking about for anyone hoping to begin thinking about an online business idea. Consumers turn to search engines more and more frequently in their search for everything from staplers to novelty Halloween costumes, and the convenience of having a purchase show up on one’s own doorstep cannot be denied.

Of course, opening an online store can mean dealing with steep competition if you sell in a saturated market such as clothing or home goods. A niche market, on the other hand, provides a solid chance at rising to the top of your industry. Think specialty teas, sustainable outdoor apparel, productivity journals like the increasingly popular Bullet Journal . . . that sort of thing. The benefit to investing in a niche market is that you not only have a better shot at standing out, but consumers who want that product are more inclined to look for it online than make half a dozen phone calls and drive around to find it in person. This approach to ecommerce also presents the opportunity to provide consumers with a brand-new solution they never knew they needed. In other words, with the right ecommerce marketing strategy, you can successfully create a new niche market.

Affiliate Marketing Business Ideas

Is your blog doing well? Do you have a healthy list of YouTube subscribers who hang on your every word? Are you becoming an online authority in your area of expertise?

Then it might be a good time to look into affiliate marketing. When you become an affiliate, you share your opinion or insights about a specific product with your audience. The company whose product you’re pushing creates an affiliate link that you share on your blog, website, or channel so they can track every purchase that begins with your recommendation. Then, you make a cut of the sales you generate.

It’s an incredibly simple way to capitalize on the following you have, and you don’t even have to be sneaky about it or come off as a corny spokesperson. It’s the authenticity that makes affiliate marketing so valuable for brands, so you can maintain your voice of honesty—especially if you get the ball rolling by approaching brands you already love and trust with an offer to talk them up to your following.

Box Subscriptions Based Online Businesses Ideas

You’re probably already familiar with Dollar Shave Club, the box subscription that started it all with a viral video that we consider one of the best digital marketing campaigns of all time. Now, the trend has been set. Clothing rental, wine subscriptions, meal kits, book boxes . . . regular deliveries of curated goods are becoming one of the hottest new trends in ecommerce, especially among Millennials.

If you’re interested in getting into the box subscription game, make sure you take the time to pinpoint the value your specific subscription offers. Services like Blue Apron are designed to simplify meal planning and healthy eating. Stitch Fix helps subscribers diversify their wardrobe without committing to a new purchase. And several book-of-the-month subscriptions not only introduce readers to new books, but they also include additional gifts connected to the book’s theme in order to make the story a more immersive experience.

So, be sure to design a box subscription concept that makes a package in the mail seem more convenient or enjoyable to buyers than simply tracking down the enclosed goods themselves.

Sales of Webinars and Courses

One of the greatest advantages to living in the digital age is easy, constant access to information. More and more people are turning to the Internet for self-directed education.

If you have a high-demand skill to share, you stand to make a lot of money by setting up a webinar or creating online courses. Maybe you’re an expert in a particularly complicated software. Or perhaps you have great business insight or financial guidance to offer. Whatever you’re peddling, webinars present a great way to connect with clients. As for online courses, they pay off long into the future. You may have a lot of work ahead of you as you design a quality lesson plan, video instruction, e-books, and a marketing strategy, but an effective course soon becomes a passive income stream.

Coaching Sessions

On that note, webinars and online courses are a great way to introduce new clients to your larger business as a business coach, life coach, or any other type of professional guide. Thanks to the myriad opportunities for face-to-face communication like Zoom and Google Hangouts, it’s easier than ever to connect with clients personally from miles away. This also means you can pack more coaching sessions into a day.

Of course, you may have noticed that many, many experts have picked up on this potentially lucrative opportunity. But don’t let the competition discourage you . . . not if you have something truly unique to share. Just make sure your marketing is stellar. Create website and social media content that instantly establishes your authority in your field. Release shorter, high-quality instructional videos for free. Give potential clients some no-cost advice that’s so good they have to find out what secrets are hidden behind your paywall. Establish credibility, then rake in the profits.

SEO Consulting

No business can survive in the digital world without optimizing their content for search engines, but this is such a complicated and constantly evolving area of expertise that most small and mid-sized businesses only give it half an effort. They have a marketing person who sort of gets the whole “SEO thing.” Or they have a blogger who tosses in a few keywords and hopes for the best.

If you’re an SEO expert—or you’re willing to learn—you have an extremely valuable skill to share. And not only do you possess priceless knowledge that your potential clients are never going to pursue on their own, but your specialization provides security for businesses who want to stay on top as technology evolves. Those search engine algorithms change constantly. If a small business owner wants to keep up, they need an expert like you who can optimize for today’s search engines.

Web Design & Development

Here’s a fairly surprising statistic: 45% of small business in the United States do not have a website.

Once again, that’s the percentage of small businesses who have no website at all, to say nothing of the companies whose sites are outdated and ineffective. If you’re a skilled web designer or developer, this should be music to your ears. Any business without an online presence is at a massive disadvantage as consumers are increasingly reliant on Internet research in purchasing decisions. The demand for expert web design is only going to increase as more and more business happens online. But remember, if you’re going to promote yourself as an expert in creating websites, you have to make sure your own online presence is streamlined, attractive, and user friendly. That includes not only your own website, but also your social media accounts, PPC ads, and content.

App Development Services

Do you know how to code? Then you can make bank as an app developer.

There is an app for everything nowadays. And apps are no longer stand-alone products. Every company is under pressure to make their goods and services more convenient with supplemental digital tools. If you’re fluent in programming language and have some expertise in software design, you are the hero these businesses are looking for. And because coding is a specialized and highly daunting skill, your new clients are likely to pay decent money for your expertise.

Social Media Consulting

Social media marketing is essential for any digital marketing strategy in the modern age. When brands participate in social platforms, they humanize their own voice and connect with buyers on a more personal level. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and similar networks present an incredible opportunity for brand-consumer connection, but there’s one significant downside: no one on a small business staff has the time to closely monitor hashtags, trending topics, evolving social media culture, or online conversations.

This is where you come in. If you have your finger on the pulse of the social media landscape, you have something a lot of small businesses are desperate for. But if you’ve mostly been a social media hobbyist until now, take the time to understand some essential marketing principles. Learn how social media marketing integrates with a business’s larger objectives, and get to know the tools that will help you monitor the performance of every campaign you create.

Can You Realistically Expect to Succeed at an Online Business?

Find something on this that feels right for you but still have your doubts?

It’s healthy to have a little skepticism when you start dreaming of an online business. Making a profit online isn’t all lounging in your pajamas with a computer on your lap. Just like any professional endeavor, it takes real commitment and long hours . . . especially in the beginning. But if you’re willing to put in the effort now, you have a decent shot at creating a sustainable career for yourself.

One of the best ways to give yourself a running start is to create a fully-researched, carefully calculated digital marketing strategy. You need to know who your buyers are, where they hang out online, how they are going to discover you, and why they would choose you. You need strategies for email marketing, social media outreach, content development, web design, and pay-per-click advertising that are all in alignment with your business objectives, available resources, and brand voice. This sounds like a lot, but you can find some guidance here, or you can drop us a line and let us help.

Building a new business is daunting, but it can also be life-changing. Don’t be afraid to be bold.