Many people want more autonomy and look for ways to start their own independent business. Nowadays, it is much easier to make this dream come true even if you have a small budget. Just choose one of these low-investment online business ideas and start your journey towards independence.
#1 Sell Handmade Goods
Unlike other ideas on this list, this one will require you to take care of shipping by yourself which might be a bit tiresome for some people. On the other hand, selling handmade goods has many other advantages. For instance, you are more likely to be passionate about your business from the very beginning because you will be turning your hobby into a business.
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There are many things you can create: soap, pottery, candles, sauces, artwork, home decor, and so on. Many creators start out by selling on Etsy and then open their store on a separate platform such as Shopify. In addition to that, you already have a strong foundation for your business because you know where to get the things you need to make your products.
#2 Write Books & E-Books
It is actually much easier to self-publish a book than you may think, especially if you are self-publishing an e-book. If you have ever dreamed of becoming a writer or you are one already, this is a great route to take because there is demand for virtually any topic that you could be writing about. From cookbooks to poetry books – there are so many options here.
Of course, self-publishing e-books is easier and won’t cost you much (or might even turn out to be a zero-dollar investment). You can publish directly to Amazon or use such platforms as Smashwords or Draft2Digital that will distribute your e-book to major online sellers including Amazon Kindle, Apple iBook Store, Barnes & Noble, and many others.
#3 Offer Services
Instead of selling products, you can offer services. In most cases, you will need to have certain skills that will enable you to offer these services (e.g. video editing, web design), but there are some tasks that can be performed by anyone (e.g. virtual assistance, house cleaning). In addition to that, you can either offer online or offline services.
Depending on your location, priorities, and expertise, you will be able to do certain offline and online tasks. Think of how many hours you are willing to dedicate to this business, register on relevant platforms or create your own website, and start promoting your services. You will need to grow your client base to make your business work out in the long run.
#4 Start Dropshipping
Dropshipping is becoming more and more popular with online business owners thanks to its relatively simple system. You buy stock, store it, get orders, pack them, and ship them out. However, while the system itself is simple, not everyone finds it easy to maintain a dropshipping business, so you need to weigh all the cons and pros before making a decision.
The best thing you can do is get products in a specific niche and sell them in your online store. For example, these could be baby products or men’s fashion. Whatever you choose, having a smaller niche will help you reach a specific audience that will be more dedicated to your “brand” and the products you sell.
#5 Design & Sell T-Shirts
You could say that print-on-demand t-shirts are a kind of a dropshipping model. However, you will be playing a different role here: instead of finding and selling the products, you will focus on customizing them. By the way, you don’t have to be a designer or an illustrator to start this business because you can simply buy or commission designs from other artists.
There are plenty of platforms that allow you to sell not only t-shirts but also prints, cups, apparel, and more. You simply upload your design and the platform takes on the responsibility of making the products and shipping them out once they get the orders. Some examples of such platforms include Society6, Redbubble, and Teepublic.
#6 Launch Digital Courses
You could say that courses are a kind of service, but they are still quite different because you will be selling your knowledge rather than skills. If you have the right qualifications, you could be teaching almost anything because the Internet is the perfect market for selling knowledge. People want to learn, and they are willing to pay for such an education.
You could also consider becoming a virtual tutor on a platform like Chegg Tutors or iTutor. If you know a lot about a subject that is not taught at school (e.g. sewing, social media marketing), you could try a platform like Skillshare. In any case, if you know how to teach something, you will be able to launch your online courses easily.
#7 Create an Online Fashion Store
Another version of the dropshipping model, creating your online fashion store will allow you to express your love for fashion by creating your own designs or curating others’. You could try choosing a niche such as general men’s wear (by gender) or pastel kawaii clothes (by style).
Consider going more specific with what you are selling. You could even try swimwear, shoes, or accessories. Don’t forget to promote yourself through social media, especially on Instagram and Pinterest. If you can find an audience there, it will be much easier to kickstart your business.
#8 Design Print-on-Demand Posters
This idea is exactly the same as the one with t-shirts, but both of them have their roots in the overall print-on-demand business idea. Posters, as well as prints, stickers, wall art, and greeting cards, are more oriented on paper creations rather than apparel.
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You could also print everything yourself with this model as it will be more affordable and will require a smaller budget compared to printing your designs on t-shirts by yourself. Ultimately, it all depends on your priorities, goals, and skills.
#9 Operate a Charitable Business
This may come as a surprise but starting and operating a charitable business is actually a good way to earn money online. In addition to that, you will be able to fund a better world and work for a good cause. However, you need to understand that this is an idea that you have to use with another online business you start.
So, for example, you decided to dropship women’s clothes. You could start setting aside a part of your earnings to help fund a specific charity. Then, you can partner with this charity and promote it while it will be promoting you.
#10 Build & Monetize Your Audience
Lastly, you could build your own audience centered around almost any topic and then monetize it. You could do this either with a blog or with your social media account. Just look at all the influencers on Instagram!
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Once you have a big enough audience, you could start doing sponsored posts or become an affiliate. You could also register on Patreon and create premium content for people who buy the membership there. Alternatively, you could start selling your merch. Of course, the biggest advantage of this is that it works for any topic and any niche.
All in all, each of these ideas is a good start if you want to have your own online business. Go through the options you have and decide what you are willing to dedicate your time to. Remember that you will need to be passionate about what you choose and don’t give up.
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