The internet is the great equalizer. In business specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: virtually no technical experience is needed. Today there are plenty of tools you can use to build an online business that makes the technical work a lot easier than it was in the past.
Be social. Whatever your business, whatever your venue, keeping your name in the air is key to internet success. Have a business account on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If your business is graphically oriented, have accounts on Flickr and Tumblr as well. Whenever there is news of any kind—a new contract, a new page, a new entry, a new photo—cross-post it to all your social media sites. Also make sure those sites link back to your main website, and that your website has links to all of them.
If you want to buy an existing profitable venture, keep in mind that the multiples may be higher than traditional small business valuations since there are so many great benefits to them. You should also know that the financials of most pure Internet businesses are generally simpler to investigate because there are generally no cash sales, and almost all of the transactions are via credit card.
Do you need to build from scratch? Also keep in mind that depending on your particular business, it may or may not be necessary to build (or pay someone to build) a site from scratch. Especially when you’re in the early stages, options like Squarespace and Shopify simplify the process of setting up an ecommerce site by providing templates that don’t require much if any knowledge of HTML or coding.
Online marketplaces feature list of online businesses for sale, usually organized by market niche with statistics like revenue and profit, web traffic, email subscribers included. You can quickly scan dozens if not hundreds of sites for sale. If you see one or several you like, first check it out online, then just send a message to the owner through the marketplace’s messaging system.
“Monetizing” a site, blog, forum, or doing the same on Facebook or other so-called “social media” is actually a crappy thing to do. It generates tons of money for those platforms – and only a little for you, and only IF you’re very persistent and successful at it. But the worse thing about it is you’re having to “push” crap on people and virtually EVERYBODY is doing it, which means you also have a lot of competition. You wind up being yet another corporate-controlled slave shoving crap people’s way, hoping you can make a few pennies off the sale, or the advertisements. Mass marketing like this actually sucks and says a great deal about our culture.
The vacation rental business is booming. While the mere mention of it might make you think about billion-dollar titans like AirBnB or HomeAway, there are niche businesses like Michael Joseph's InvitedHome and Joe Poulin's Luxury Retreats and many others being carved out across a variety of markets. When it comes to vacation rental homes and vacation rental management, companies are earning anywhere between 10 percent and 40 percent on the gross rental rate depending on the location and the management level.
In today's hotly-competitive marketplace, if you don't understand how to drive paid traffic and optimize your conversions, you need to turn to a company that does. The truth is that paid ads can get incredibly complex. Things like re-targeting and custom audience definitions, along with understanding the ebb and flow of everything with a sales funnel, is complex and confusing to most.
Besides owning valuable digital property, there are other reasons why buying an online business for sale can be a good investment: Online businesses can generate passive income, meaning that for a low hourly input they can generate a high monetary output. They can also be run in addition to working a typical 9-5 job, meaning that the owner and operator of the business can earn additional income on top of their normal salary. Buying an online business for sale can be relatively easy (especially if you shop around on some of the marketplaces we list below) and exiting the online business at a later date can be just as routine as well.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this, but the main advantage is that when you buy an online business for sale on the Shopify Exchange, you know you’re getting a Shopify store. Since Shopify is one of the top and most highly recommended ecommerce platforms in the industry, (we discuss why in our Shopify Review: The Pros & Cons of Selling on Shopify article) this is a good thing! It’s also great because Shopify sellers integrate their stores directly with the Shopify Exchange, so they can’t edit or change any of the data that gets pulled into their store’s sales listing like their traffic and revenue numbers. This means that you’re less likely to have any of that important information withheld from you by the seller.
Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).
Also, make sure your niche is not too broad. If you don’t have an enormous startup budget, you will need to focus on solving one particular problem but doing it better than others. For example, if you choose to go into drop shipping, don’t try to become the next Amazon and sell everything from socks to TV sets. You won’t be able to compete with such giants.
A thing that needs to be ironed out for your online business is your billing service. While there are businesses that may bill their clients directly after a contract has been agreed upon and signed and these bills are paid for through checks that are deposited into the service provider's bank account, there are some clients who require a certain online billing system for them to pay for the services they have contracted. You may need to register with a billing system like PayPal for your online business to make billing and payment easier and less of a hassle to you and your clients.
A solid product, combined with the right advertising platforms and targeting, can quickly make a no-name brand wildly profitable in a short period of time. Now, not every entrepreneur wants to start building an online business from ground zero like I did with my company’s brand, which sells teeth whitening pens and kits. Instead, some prefer to buy an established website.
So, as a drop shipper, you will be selling and marketing products under your brand name and handle all customer relations. A supplier will produce and ship goods on your behalf to customers. Suppliers handlу the risks of not selling what they have produced. You, as a dropshipper, will risk your reputation and handle complaints if the goods are of low quality.
To own and operate your own online business doesn’t mean you have to necessarily build a business from scratch. Many entrepreneurs do because they have the time, skills and energy to, but another option exists. If you’re interested in operating your own online business but want to fast forward through the formative years of generating traffic, profit and customers then consider purchasing an online business for sale.
The rise of the chatbot has been extraordinary to witness. Thanks to the ubiquity afforded to us by chat on platforms like Facebook, we've grown quite used to chatting with friends and family across all our social media networks. That's why AI-powered chatbots present a new digital frontier for businesses looking to automate and relinquish much of the man-power it takes to have a chat with its customers.
Don't use jargon. If you are offering technical expertise, include descriptions that appeal to your client base, not your peers. For example, if you are showing that you can code with PHP and AJAX, don't say "in this case, if the input field is empty (str.length==0), the function clears the content of the txtHint placeholder and exits the function." The person who needs you to work on their site will just scratch their head and say "huh?" Say, instead, "Start entering text into this field, and it will auto-complete."
The online business should have a track record of sales and profits you can see before you buy the business — always check out the financials. Don’t rely solely on what the seller tells you. One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t buy an online business for sale solely because it is a big moneymaker. That’s important, of course. You should have an interest in the niche too.
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Buyers and sellers personally list their businesses for sale on marketplaces and the marketplaces exist to connect online business buyers and sellers. Some marketplaces just connect buyers and sellers and let them work out the payment terms on their own, while other marketplaces will help to facilitate the payment process and administrative switch over.
The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory (or any inventory whatsoever) of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.