How to Come Up with Online Business Ideas
One of the hardest parts of becoming a location-independent boss is deciding what type of digital business to start. Internet business ideas are all over the place.. but when you’re just getting started, how can you decide which online business idea to actually pursue? How will you set it up? Will it be profitable? Will you enjoy the business down the line? These are all important questions to ask.
I have a bit of a mental framework when coming up with business ideas, or recommending ideas to others, which I’ll try to share here. I’ll go through that and then I’ll discuss some business ideas for myself that could spark some ideas within you, based on a few different scenarios.
First, a bit about me…
I’m a twenty-something year old full-time (mostly) traveler, who lives in an RV. I make 100% of my money online through a digital marketing agency, a little bit of freelance consulting, and passive income websites that I’ve set up over the years.
The first two questions you need to ask yourself to decide on an online business idea are..
- WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT OR INTERESTED IN?
- How fast do you need to start making money online?
- How much of an investment in time and finances can you dedicate to making this work?
1. WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT OR INTERESTED IN?
This is important because you need to have at least a little bit of interest or skill in the area you’re going into. Both is ideal, but one or the other will do.
Why? Well, if you have the interest, you can find the people with the skills to hire and perform the actual grunt work.
If you have the skills, you can get started with a digital business that makes you an income, and then transition down the line into another business or pivot into something you’re more interested in. Sometimes, although this isn’t the funnest avenue, this can be the most effective so long as you find a way to be passionate about being in business itself.. because there are times where having an interest in what you’re working on can hold you back due to perfection paralyzation.. but that’s a conversation for another day.
The jackpot is when you have both the interest and the skills surrounding a topic, meaning you can not only pull of the work or consulting required, but it actually gets you off, too. I was lucky to find a niche that fulfills both purposes for me.
2. How fast do you need to start making money online?
This is an important one because the answer will completely drive which type of online business would suit you most.
The fastest way to make in income online is (drumroll) selling a service or product that you can provide with your brain + time.
I’ll be honest – trading your time for money long term is not the most freedom-centric way of running an online business. But it is the #1 fastest way to start earning an income digitally. You just have to decide what product or service you’re offering, to who (product + market fit), get it in front of them, take their money, and provide the service.
This is exactly what I do with most of my business!
On the other hand, if you want to make an income more passively without giving your time directly to clients or customers, there are more flexible options as long as you have some time to spare before you start making that moolah’. There are endless options…
-Start an ecommerce store
-Start a blog that can earn affiliate income, product creation income, membership subscription income, etc
-Start a niche site that earns affiliate income through Pinterest traffic, SEO etc.
No matter which you do, the process is the same. Get what you’re offering in front of the audience you’re offering it to and close the deal.
3. How much of an investment in time and finances can you dedicate to making this work?
The last super important consideration (in my opinion) to deciding on an online business idea is to determine exactly how much money and time you’re willing to put into this.
Not willing to commit a lot of time? Then offering consulting services or manual work is probably not your best bet.
Not willing to commit a lot of money? Then you better choose an digital business model where bootstrapping is a possibility. This just means you need to eliminate anything with an upfront investment.
Most people have more of one than the other – time or money – so take that into consideration when choosing what exactly you can commit.
Make no doubt about it.. the most common conception about being a vagabond boss is that working online is easy, making money online is easy, anyone can do it, etc. That if you’re making an income online, you must have it easy. That’s not true.
If anything… making money online is HARDER than getting and holding a regular job. You have to be organized, you have to hold yourself accountable, you are 100% responsible for your income, there will be hurdles and learning curves and roadblocks (even mental ones) that you will have to constantly overcome to get to the next level. But if you’re willing to be a lifelong student, keep at it with determination, and possess some interest in business, you can make it work.
Questions? Confusion? Ask away in the comments. These really are the 3 essential questions to deciding on an online business that you can run from anywhere.. once you have them figured out, it’ll be a lot easier to niche down and focus on exactly what you want to do online.