It is crystal clear how the world’s unstoppable shift to digitalization has changed the way people communicate, transact, learn, and even carry their business out. Particularly, it has brought new and ingenious opportunities for many aspiring entrepreneurs today.
The thriving industry of ecommerce, for instance, is one of the most profitable online business ideas digital transformation has given power to. In fact, selling products and services—among other money-making gigs on the internet—has significantly contributed to how folks perceive online business opportunities today.
According to Statista, global e-commerce sales in 2019 has amounted to 3.53 trillion US dollars. And by the year 2021, it is predicted to skyrocket to 4.8 trillion US dollars.
Take a look at how Amazon’s revenue grew, for example.
Clearly, starting an ecommerce business is a lucrative venture.
But the nice part here is that product selling is not the only profitable online biz you can try. There are numerous online side hustles you can take on and earn passive income too.
That being said, this ultimate guide to most profitable online business ideas will help you figure out what kind of business to start in 2020 that is profitable.
I will also share different opportunities online that you can monetize, how to start one, as well as how to leverage your efforts.
What are the most profitable online business ideas today?
The age of the internet has created a wide array of online business ideas that can help you earn money using your laptop or desktop only. From selling merchandise and services to online coaching and consultation, you will find various modern gigs you can venture to.
However - although you are free to select any opportunities to try - not all are as successful as many say. And it is not wise to start one without further study and research on which are the most lucrative businesses today and the coming years.
Having that said, I will share in this section the top five most profitable online business ideas to venture to in 2020.
Blogging - or the idea of sharing informational and meaningful content via a website - is one of the oldest yet cost-effective ways to generate money online.
The concept originally began only as a hobby, mostly by writers and folks who are passionate about a particular subject and want to share their insights about it.
But eventually, it became a moneymaking sideline as Google, business owners, and product sellers offered webmasters a way to monetize their page (which I will elaborate later).
But, is blogging for everyone?
The answer is, of course, yes. Blogging is not strict when it comes to who should do it. Anyone can write and share their thoughts, and that includes you.
The only stumbling block you and other aspiring bloggers might encounter is the scope of knowledge you know of your selected topic.
As such, it is wise to opt for a niche that you are knowledgeable and are passionate about.
How to start blogging
Step 1: Set up a website
You will have to start the project by creating a blog site first. Select a reputable web hosting service that will cater your chosen niche’s requirements.
If you don’t know any, the following platforms are great options for personal, professional, and business websites.
Wix and Weebly are complete website builders. The others are just simple hosting providers where you also need to install WordPress.
Before you set up your site, make sure that your preferred domain name will reflect your blog’s theme.
Put also in mind that your page’s design and structure will significantly affect how your readers perceive you and your brand. As such, make sure you build your website with your target audience in mind.
Step 2: Share useful and engaging content
Blogging, by definition, is useless without content. It is, in fact, the key aspect to monetize your site.
And if you want to see results, you have to share meaningful, handy, and engaging materials continually.
Typically, webmasters provide written content for their audiences. You can share in-depth guides, news articles, how-to articles, listicles, blog posts, product reviews, tips & tricks, or a simple commentary about a particular area related to your niche.
You should also add pictures to make the article more engaging. Or any visual aids to help your readers understand the message you are trying to convey.
Pro tip: To make content creation easier, I use the best article rewriter and spinner. Check out these tools. Some of them are really good. I personally prefer ChimRewriter.
To help you with generating content ideas that sell, try using web software such as BuzzSumo. It can give you insights on what type of content your target market prefers to consume.
Furthermore, web owners these days begin to incorporate videos into their blog content too. But most importantly, always remember to share unique and non-plagiarised material that will help you optimize your rank in Google’s search results.
Before publishing, always check your material with Grammarly - for grammar and plagiarism issues.
How to monetize your blog
There are a variety of ways to generate money through blogging. If you are a newbie, consider these three methods:
Affiliate marketing or advertising products through your webpage is perhaps one of the most profitable online business today. It is a performance-based gig wherein you will earn commission every time someone buys an item you promoted through an affiliate link.
To do it, however, you need to find an affiliate partner to help with product promotion. You then have to create an article that is related to your niche but is also associated with the merchandise you will promote.
Say, your niche is organic supplements and the product is a mattress. An article that talks about alternative ways to cure insomnia without taking sleeping pills is an excellent content to promote the product. You can then explain how the mattress can help them sleep quick and sound.
If you want to know more about affiliate marketing, continue reading as I will elaborate more about it later on. Besides, I have a complete guide about how to start an affiliate marketing business.
If you noticed, most websites today are filled with ads. These ads are powered by Google and are called pay-per-click advertisements.
And you will earn a few cents or more every time someone clicks on them. The percentage per click, however, may vary depending on the type of ad.
To put ads on your page, you have to create an account on Google’s AdSense. Once Google approved your website, AdSense will give you a code. You then have to copy and paste that code on your site.
Then that’s it.
Google will start displaying ads that are related to your webpage’s niche.
Premium ad networks
Compared to AdSense, ad networks pays higher and not only per click but also per impression. The only downside about these premium ad networks is that it is traffic on what site to display their ads.
Typically, they require a minimum amount of traffic per month. The platform Monumetric, for example, requires at least 10, 000 views every month. And that’s the lowest amount an ad network needs.
The pay per click and impression differ depending on the site and your niche, as well.
How to leverage your efforts
If you want blogging to become your first successful online business, you have to start by driving high web traffic to your site. Here are a few lead generation techniques you can use.
Use the power of content
As mentioned, blogging without content is useless. The only way for you to capture your target market’s attention is by providing them materials they would want to read, watch, and listen to.
You can do that through content marketing.
Here’s how you can maximize your content:
1.Post regularly. Build your audience by posting frequently. Folks love free stuff, so keep them hooked all the time. You will earn new readers by posting regularly, as well.
Particularly, if your content’s topics are always on-trend.
2. Provide informational and valuable content. There are thousands of websites on the internet today. And whether you like it or not, you will compete with most of them. As such, to stand out, you have to outrank them.
How, you ask?
Simple. Provide your readers with meaningful, informational, and engaging materials. Always put your audience in mind when creating content. Talk about things they are interested in an engaging and lively approach.
Most importantly, be genuine, and don’t be afraid to use and put your voice into the blog.
Generate more web traffic through social media
Social media marketing is an excellent way to leverage your leads and sales. What you have to do is choose and create an account on one or more social media networks that you think can help your target market. From that, start building your audience.
If you think this task is not something you could execute, I suggest you get a mentor to teach you or a social media manager to help you do the job. Either, or both can help you generate web traffic.
Pros and cons
Videos - whether it is on YouTube or Facebook - can now be monetized. And with over 100 billion YouTube users, why not take advantage of it?
Video content comes in different forms. You can create a video in the form of a vlog (video blog), product unboxing, comedy and entertaining videos, tutorials, challenges, or product reviews.
Whatever topic you want to tackle on, you can use all types of content available today to showcase your niche and make money from it.
But, is video creation for everyone?
The answer is yes. Definitely.
Everyone is welcome to join YouTube or Facebook and share their passion. Video streaming platforms are not strict on who can make videos.
However, if your chosen niche requires you to produce professional-looking content, the lack of equipment can be a hurdle. Still, many shot their videos using cellphones and make money from it.
Additionally, I recommend you using TubeBuddy for Youtube. I'm also using it. It's a great research and video SEO tool.
You can read my TubeBuddy review here.
How to start your YouTube channel
Starting a YouTube channel is not an easy feat. Here are four easy steps to guide you:
Step 1: Pick a niche
Just like blogging, you have to pick a niche or topic you want to talk to and share with your audiences. But since the other side of the objective is to earn a profit, you also have to choose one that is on-demand. In short, a profitable niche.
Remember that you have to strike a balance between what you are passionate about and what is marketable when selecting a niche. It is also wise to opt for a subject that you are knowledgeable about.
To help you determine which niche you should pick, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Step 2: Create your first video content
After selecting a niche, you can now begin creating video content. Taking the first step is commonly an intimidating move. But remember that you don’t need to start everything perfectly.
When making videos, you need to take a look at a few critical factors to make sure that the video is good enough. Check if the lightning is not too low or too bright.
The same goes for the audio. You can process the editing using basic software like iMovie. Add necessary elements such as title, music tracks, and subtitles.
Step 3: Regularly upload content while simultaneously building your audience
Again, content without consumers cannot be monetized. To succeed in this online venture, you need to have an audience.
There are different methods you can use to reach your target market and build your crowd of viewers. But the best and number one technique is this:
share valuable, entertaining, and engaging videos regularly.
Say, if your niche is makeup tutorials, I suggest you provide your viewers with a close-up look of each step. That way, they can see and understand clearly what you are trying to convey.
Aside from that, make the video straightforward and straight to the point as much as possible.
Here are other ways to reach your target audience:
How to earn money from it
1. Product promotion
Just like blogging, sharing video content enables you to earn a few bucks or more through product promotion. For instance, if your niche is all about beauty products, you can reach out to a company or a startup that sell beauty and skincare products and negotiate to advertise their goods.
The payment, however, may vary depending on the contract between you and the seller. Some agreements follow a commission-based pay, while other companies give a one-time fixed fee for merely showing the product.
2. Get paid through ads
You can also earn money by placing ads in your videos. These advertisements are powered by Google and are called CPC or cost-per-click ads.
For every click, YouTube will pay you a few cents or more. The percentage per click, however, may vary depending on the type of ad.
3. Locked content using YouTube Premium (Youtube Red)
You may not have heard about this before, but YouTube offers an ad-free platform called YouTube Premium. What sets this one apart from the original is that it has a feature where you can upload a locked content. And when visitors are watching your videos, you'll get a profit from that.
The platform also lets you charged your audience every time you do a video live stream via lock content feature. This feature, however, is only limited to people aged 18 years old and above.
Pros and cons
Freelancing - as the gig economy continues to rise - is among the most profitable online business ideas today. For individuals who want to work at the comfort of their home without a supervisor micro-managing every action they make, selling services online is a lucrative business venture.
Freelancing is another term for self-employment. Technically, a freelancer is someone who offers services in exchange for money as payment.
Freelancers have the privilege to work with various clients as well. As such, it is considered as an online business today as freelancers and aspiring ones don’t follow the regular employee-employer set-up.
However, depending on the two parties, terms may change and become long-term employment.
Click the image to view it in full size
But, is freelancing for everyone?
Definitely, the answer is yes. Anyone, meaning all walks of life, can dip their toes into freelancing. Preferably, it is for people who worked as a corporate employee before but now want to monetize their experience and knowledge without a boss.
The only hurdles aspiring freelancers like you might encounter are lack of skills and knowledge, experience, and connections. And that three aspects mentioned are crucial if you want to succeed in this line of work.
Moreover, selling your skills like selling products has downsides as well. The career looks promising and all. But before you jump into conclusion, consider the following first:
What types of jobs you can offer
Any type of skill, preferably related to marketing and adverting, is marketable. You can offer any services you like as long you are confident that you can deliver results.
On the other hand, here are some of the most profitable online business to start in 2020:
How to get started
Marketing your services is no easy feat. And as mentioned above, one of the critical elements in freelancing is finding connections. It is particularly true if you are only starting.
Having that said, here are four small steps to help you in your journey as a freelancer.
Create a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is an online platform built for professionals who wish to showcase their skills and talent as well as to connect with their peers. It serves as an online resume. And since everything shifts to digital, as a freelancer, it is wise to have your profile set up on LinkedIn.
It is a great resource when searching for potential clients. It is also the best way to present your skills, experience, educational background.
Build a website
If you want to gain good credibility, the first thing you must do is boost your online presence. Just like a LinkedIn profile, having your own page will help you get found.
Again, we are already in the digital age. So, it is wise to put everything about your professional life online - your services, portfolio, previous works, and testimonials if there are.
Having a professional website will also help you build and showcase your brand. It can help you elaborate who you are as a freelancer and an entrepreneur.
If you want an affordable and advanced website builder, you should check out Simvoly. Building up websites, landing pages, membership sites and selling products is also possible with that.
The traditional way of networking is not as obsolete as you think. Giving out business cards to your potential clients is still a great option to connect and sell your services.
Menu of your services
Last but not least, you have to make a menu for your services. As an amateur freelancer and online entrepreneur, negotiation is always part of the journey, and a fixed rate is not always applicable.
However, it is still essential that you have a list of prices that you can show to your prospect clients.
Affiliate marketing is an advertising model wherein companies pay third-party publishers (like bloggers and affiliate marketers) to help them with product promotion and lead generation.
Essentially, affiliates earn a commission for every purchase made through their site. And as of today, it is considered as one of the most successful online business ideas.
Is affiliate marketing for everyone?
Affiliate marketing is available for anyone who wishes to dip their toes in it just like other online businesses. It is not that difficult to learn too, so newbies need not to worry.
But usually, stay-at-home moms take this opportunity to earn passive income.
Just to let you know, it's important to be aware of affiliate marketing scams.
How does it work?
To help you understand the process clearly, here’s a simple explanation on how it works:
Step 1: Search for a product (that is marketable) to promote.
Step 2: Sign up for an affiliate program.
Step 3: Create content where you can advertise the product.
Step 4: Add the affiliate link provided by the merchant to track the number of people who clicked on it.
Step 5: If the customer purchases a product, you get your commission.
How to be an effective affiliate marketer
Marketing is a demanding task. To help you get started and become an effective affiliate marketer, consider the following steps:
Pick a niche for your site
Again, just like blogging, you have to select a niche for your website. A topic that you are passionate about or interested in is a great choice.
However, you also have to examine whether your chosen subject is marketable. The size of your target audience also matters. If you pick one that has a large number of consumers, your chance to make sales is high, as well.
To help you figure out which niche you should pick, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Prioritise your audience when creating content
"Customer first" is perhaps every marketer's motto. And whether you like it or not, your page is not about you but your target demographic. As such, put your audience first, particularly when creating content.
When coming up with ideas for your articles, think about what your readers want to read. Ask yourself, what types of blog posts do they like to consume?
Take note of how you construct and convey your message. Is it too salesy? Would it be better if you recommend the product instead of pushing them to buy it?
Of course, you might want to build sales funnels for that. Therefore, check out my best sales funnel builders guide.
Another thing to take note of is how you present your content. Provide them not just articles, but engaging, easy-to-read, and insightful articles.
That said, here are a few points to consider:
Pick the right merchant and product
It is understandable that "making sales" is the main objective of affiliate marketing. And in order to achieve that, you need to have products to sell.
And if possible, everything under the sun. That is a reckless move that affiliate marketers need to be wary of, unfortunately.
As an online entrepreneur and marketer, you have to consider your reputation as well. Not all merchants offer excellent customer service.
Example of Getresponse affiliate program:
If a potential customer is treated poorly, the merchant’s credibility will be reflected on you too. So, examine the merchant and how he handles his business first before recommending their products.
The same goes for products you will advertise. Opt for merchandise that is related to your niche. Don’t just pick anything! Another thing is you have to see if the product is salable and in-demand. Otherwise, your chance to sell it is low.
And don't forget to study my guide: Best affiliate programs with recurring commissions
Selling your own product
The idea of selling your own physical and digital products often appears to be intimidating to many.
That is a rational take, I must say. But with how digitalization altered almost everything and make things more convenient, creating and selling your goods is now simpler. It is particularly true for digital products.
Product creation and selling is another lucrative online opportunity to monetize today. Many successful individuals, especially those who are experts in their field, have earned a decent amount from selling off their own merchandise. And today, as long as you have marketable ideas to share, you can build and make money out of your own goods - expert or not.
You might be asking, “Is this venture for everyone?”
Definitely, it is. Ideas are not limited to a few categories of people. Entrepreneurs, artists, ordinary individuals, experts, or not are all welcome to make money off their ideas.
It is, on the one hand, preferable for industry-leader entrepreneurs and personalities as they have a credible reputation in what they do already.
And if you are wondering whether you will need a considerable amount of money to start, don’t fret because the startup cost is low.
That is, however, typically applicable for digital products only. A few bucks to set up your website, buy essential tools to optimize your efforts, and ecommerce platform to showcase your goods are all you need to begin.
The case is different for physical products, unfortunately. Depending on the idea, the capital you need may vary. You need to have a separate budget for your marketing campaigns, as well.
What products can you sell?
As mentioned, you can both sell digital and physical products online. And there is a wide array of options available for both forms too. But take note that not all products sell no matter how ingenious the byproduct is.
Having that mentioned, are you confused as to what kind of goods you should offer?
If you are not yet decided what product should you create, consider the following “common” ideas:
eBooks. Selling eBooks is perhaps the most popular digital merchandise entrepreneurs sell these days. eBooks are inexpensive and has the simplest and undemanding creation process.
You can share anything using it also. It is, in fact, an excellent product for bloggers and even affiliate marketers as it is not strict what niche to distribute.
One more good thing about it is that it requires little to no customer service. Most importantly, you don’t need to provide a huge amount of money to start.
Software. Software such as plugins and marketing tools is another profitable product to sell today too. If you are a programmer, this one suits perfectly to your line of career.
However, if you are not, there is still a way to monetize it: hire a professional developer.
The only downside on that part - yet the most critical thing you need to prepare for - is that you have to allot a separate budget to pay a computer engineer.
Apart from that, you also have to set aside a separate account to pay for customer service. Hence, such an idea is lucrative yet you need to invest a large amount of money for this venture as well.
Themes & templates. For web developers, creating web themes and templates are excellent digital goods to earn passive income. Many businesses, small to mid-size and even startups, are enhancing their online presence. And to do that, they will need to create a page and dress it with a professional-looking design.
If you are not a web developer, it is still feasible to make profit off web templates and themes. Again, you only need to hire professionals who can do that for you.
Online course. With the growing number of people who want to learn new skills, online courses are in-demand. According to a report published in Statista, the market for e-learning is projected to exceed $243 billion by 2022.
Creating online courses is a profitable idea, mainly if you are an expert in your field. These sources can be in the form of video or text-based. You can offer it as a one-time or recurring payment too.
Clothing apparel. It is, perhaps, the most popular physical product people sell these days. It is usually sold by influencers and famous personalities on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Planners. This may not be as popular as clothing apparel, but there is also a market for these products.
Say, your niche is sharing motivational quotes and stories, you can integrate your brand into them. You can sell a planner that has inspiring anecdotes and experiences written by you on every page.
Beauty and skincare products. YouTube and Instagram stars often sell these kinds of goods. If you are into the beauty industry, products like lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, and many more are excellent to make a profit off.
How to create a product that sells
To take the first step is always the most troublesome and intimidating part of setting up a business. The pressure is much more debilitating if you have no idea where to begin. That is why, in this section, I break down the process of building a product.
The product development phase is where you will form your idea into reality. It is the stage where you can layout and scrutinizes every detail of your product. And it includes the following:
Each factor bears a vital role in the overall marketability of the product. If you fail to execute this part, you will likely get little to no sales once it is in the marketplace. It is especially true if your chosen niche has high competition.
That being said, is there a chance to avoid such a situation?
Definitely, yes. All you have to do is understand how the mentioned steps work. So, to help you, let’s start with ideation.
Ideation. Ideation, or the forming of a concept into reality, is the foundation of every merchandise. In this stage, you need to produce a clear idea of your product, who is your target audience, and how much capital you need to execute and make money from it.
Dive deep into these explanations to understand each of them clearly.
How to market your product
Now that you know where to start, below are a few basic techniques to market your products.
Set up a website
Setting up a website is one of the many cost-effective ways to leverage your marketing efforts. It is cheap, easy-to-use, and has endless reach. Put, you get to reach a wider audience than use the traditional way of advertising.
Your website will also serve as the face of your product and the business itself. Simply put, it is an avenue to showcase your brand.
Based on a study published in Forbes, small businesses’ revenue boost by 23% due to consistent brand presentation across various digital platforms. It is also an excellent way to gain a credible reputation and improve your online presence.
Choose the right ecommerce platform to showcase your product
Another crucial thing in leveraging your marketing campaign is the ecommerce platform. The platform will serve as a space to display your product as well as to make all transactions.
That said, here are a few things to consider when picking the right platform.
Therefore, I'd like to show you two all-in-one marketing platforms that I recommend to sell your products and build your business: Kartra and Builderall. The first one is more expensive and more professional but the second one is also great, especially for first-time entrepreneurs.
Putting it all together
Starting an online business is not an easy venture to take.
With the many opportunities available today, it is tough and confusing which idea will flourish not only this 2020 but also the coming years.
But here’s the catch: even if you pick the most profitable online business ideas today, it won’t flourish as you would like it to be if your chosen niche is not profitable.
Remember that lucrative means in-demand as well. As such - whether you choose to sell or advertise a product - you still have to study different markets today and what they consume.
Most importantly, the results you deliver reflect on how you execute your marketing efforts.