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What are the Types of Online Businesses and How to Choose the Right for You?

Many people are thinking about launching and running their own online business. There are plenty of ways to do so – some require an initial investment of money, others just require time. Some models allow you to earn money right from the get-go, after you complete your first assignments and orders. Find out what types of online businesses there are and decide which one is best for you.

The internet business world

The business world is increasingly moving to the internet. There are many companies offering online services and selling products without ever interacting with customers in the real world. The variety of services and products you can offer can be surprising. The online businesses aim their offerings both to companies and individuals.

Running an online business gives you a lot of freedom to organize your daily work. Some of our suggestions enable you to run your sales entirely online and don't even require an office or warehouse. An online business can be a solution for people who want to work independently from home or on the go, as well as those who enjoy teamwork in an actual office.

Your online business idea could be a smash hit – just take a look at Facebook or Amazon. However, you need to keep in mind that achieving success in online business requires more than just a website and a couple of ads. Below, we present some interesting online business ideas.

1. Social media management

Are you comfortable with social media and think you're creative? The responsibilities of social media specialists usually include:

  • content creation,
  • graphic design,
  • planning posts,
  • managing ads,
  • responding to customer comments or inquiries.

All you need to do this kind of work is a mobile device (some portals can only be managed with a tablet or phone, like Instagram) and a computer. Tools that can help editors handle websites and social media are often available in free and paid versions, in the form of an application that can be opened in a browser or installed on a device.

Even if you're just starting out in the world of social media, it might be worth your while creating a portfolio in the form of a website to showcase your sample graphic works and link the accounts you run.

2. Content creation, translation and editing

Copywriting is a really big industry. The ranks of writers working remotely, in offices, in content agencies or as freelancers include creators of advertising slogans and product descriptions, authors of blog posts and articles, writers of specialised content for SEO purposes and many others. Some copywriters treat their work as the main source of income, others earn extra money this way. Among copywriters, you can also find people who started out writing for single clients and now run large agencies, hiring authors and managing their work instead of writing their own texts.

This kind of business can be fully remote. Some authors start their own businesses and invest in websites, where clients can place orders. Others decide to use platforms that act as intermediaries between authors and clients. Both the ordering process and submitting the text can be done entirely online (via email or a special platform, such as Useme). If you have your own website, you can follow the example of experienced companies and include examples of projects or testimonials from your clients.

The Useme platform is a perfect place for people running different types of online businesses and looking for translations or graphics

The Useme platform is an intermediary between clients and authors.

3. Running an e-learning platform

People learn new things throughout their lives which makes creating an engaging online learning platform a worthwhile business idea. Every day someone decides to take up language courses, learn something new in their field or start a postgraduate studies. Online courses are generally less expensive than in-person ones, taught at training centres and schools because there are no costs associated with renting and maintaining classrooms.

Conducting online learning classes means reducing costs not only for the entrepreneur but also for the customer. They don’t have to commute or even pay for lunch in the cafeteria between classes. For many students, taking classes online is also much more convenient, letting them learn anywhere and at any time. The advantages listed above and the wide availability of online training have made it a popular alternative to traditional courses.

You can make money from e-learning in many ways. In addition to teaching live classes using a webcam and popular video conferencing applications, you can sell digital products (e-books, audiobooks, videos) with your courses through your website. Another interesting way to do it is building an interactive e-learning platform that will give you the opportunity to create engaging classes, tests and educational games and make them available in free and paid versions.

4. Opening an online store

You can sell almost anything online – both products and services. When you run a traditional ecommerce store, you are directly involved in the distribution of the products on offer, which means that you will most likely need to have space to store your products. There is also no getting around the space requirements and the materials needed to prepare the product for shipping. Unless you go with dropshipping and turn into an agent connecting customers and vendors without having to store physical products in your own warehouse.

You can also focus on running a store with physical products of your own brand or goods made by other manufacturers. However, you should keep in mind that as a retailer, you will be responsible for the image of your ecommerce business, as well as its advertising. There are many solutions that enable you to build websites, and Drupal is one of them. This open source system allows you to build numerous essential and additional functionalities for your ecommerce website to help you sell electronic products, physical goods and services.

Drooplengines is an example of an online store created in Droopler

A Droopler-based store using Drupal Commerce.

5. Setting up a marketplace

Marketplace is a solution for people who want to benefit from sales, but don't want to directly engage in the process. The owner of such a platform profits from providing an online space to manufacturers and other entrepreneurs. Companies sell products on their own through such a website, and the owner of the marketplace receives a commission on the sale or charges a fee for using their system.

Setting up a marketplace requires a considerable investment. You need to build a functional sales platform and get sellers interested in it before you can start making money. If you decide that this is the way to go, it might be a good idea to start with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) – a version of your website offering the smallest set of features that are necessary for its use in business. Drupal makes for a very good system for building MVPs, since it allows you to quickly launch the first version of your platform online and test your business assumptions. Over time, you can modify the website and create more advanced features.

6. Creating your own mobile app

Original applications can make their creators a lot of money, as many people are willing to pay a lot to be able to better organize their lives using smartphones and the right tools. You probably already use a calendar, an organizer and instant messaging apps. Entertainment apps, which not only offer fun, but also make for a very efficient advertising space, also have great potential. The app owner can make money by allowing different brands to advertise in the free version of the app or by launching a paid version with additional features.

Do you have an interesting idea and know how to code? If so, you can build the entire application yourself. You can also look for support from developers or software houses – they will help you create an amazing app. The most important thing is for it to have interesting features and help users achieve their goals.

7. Running an online marketing agency

Given the current competition in the market, it’s difficult to achieve success without effective advertising, even if you have an interesting product or service. There are many communication channels. Choosing the right marketing tools for a brand can be a difficult thing to do, not to mention keeping up with regular marketing activities. You can start your own agency and support companies in their marketing efforts. Online advertising has many dimensions. You can:

  • run advertising in social media,
  • create campaigns on YouTube,
  • do content marketing,
  • do SEO for websites,
  • design graphics for companies.

If you want to plan and create advertising campaigns yourself, it might be a good idea to start small, and then move on to larger brands as you gain more experience. Some advertising agencies are heavily specialized – they may, for example, deal solely with social media communication, while others create comprehensive marketing strategies. The choice is yours. You can also hire a team of experts and leave the marketing side of things to them, while you deal with things you are better at, such as business management or finance.

8. Creating online magazines, news portals, and blogs

There are plenty of websites with news, gossip, or information from specific industries. Editors of various portals and online magazines may receive revenues from ads displayed in specific sections and from the publication of sponsored articles (written to promote a particular brand).

The first investment that you will have to make, if you dream of running your own magazine, will concern building a website and sourcing content for publication. Initially, the website may be simple and feature nothing but a couple of sections. You can create articles yourself, hire online journalists, industry experts, or simply invite amateur writers who want to hone their writing skills. Your website will grow over time.

What you have to keep in mind is effective advertising – this is what will drive traffic and clicks to your website. A large number of content views will quickly convert into interest in the advertising space you offer.

9. Running a research agency

If you don't want to create or sell someone else's product, and creating an app or news website seems like too big a venture, you can look into data mining and collection techniques and tools. Many companies commission market research and create reports to publish them in order to build a professional image. Specific studies can also convince potential customers that they need the services of a particular company. For example, a web security report posted on an IT company's website reporting the number of cybercrimes may convince an organization that it needs additional security measures.

You can support businesses by conducting surveys online using pre-made questionnaires or by talking directly to respondents. You should also look into offering analyses, as well as visualization of results – this will allow you to create aesthetically pleasing reports for your clients that will be ready for them to publish.

10. Offering virtual assistant services

The virtual assistant occupation has been all the rage in recent years among entrepreneurs, freelancers, artists, and senior executives. A virtual assistant doesn’t need an office. All they need is tools and software that make it easier to handle everyday tasks, such as organizers, voice recorders and instant messaging applications.

The responsibilities of a virtual assistant can be really broad. They can:

  • remind their clients about appointments and tasks,
  • help with meetings and travel arrangements,
  • make transcripts and notes from the meetings,
  • organize and proofread documents.

If you think that you are cut out for this type of online business, you could become an assistant yourself. Another solution is to hire and train employees, then advertise their services and find clients who will pay for the support of a skilled assistant. All of this can be done completely remotely.

Types of online businesses – summary

These are just some of the many interesting business ideas, as there are many ways to make money online. You can open a nutrition clinic or a similar facility, offer personal training in any field via video conferencing, conduct audits (of websites, marketing activities, etc.), and more. The possibilities are almost endless. Regardless of the type of business you choose, we’ll be happy to help you create a professional Drupal website for your company, as well as other interesting solutions, such as a progressive web application.