Let’s get things straight from the outset. Working remotely or managing an online business from home is by no means an easy ride. While the idea of not having to travel to the office, of having more control over your daily schedule and being able to take your holidays whenever you choose may seem like a dream, the reality of taking on the responsibility of your own business and of using the internet to reach potential clients and customers can take its toll.
It’s a good idea to run a survey in order to investigate the potential of niche market online businesses before you launch into something new. It’s also important to have a solid business plan in place as, statistically, 50% of start-ups in the UK fail within the first 5 years. What’s more, not all business ideas lend themselves naturally to an online format. While a home-visiting hair stylist might be able to market a business online, physical contact with the client remains ultimately unavoidable.
With that in mind, the following is a breakdown of five ideas for creative online businesses that truly offer great potential.
1. Specialised Retailer
There are countless retail opportunities out there, most of which cover niche markets that are yet to be explored. Fresh fruit and vegetable deliveries, organic honey, beauty products, specialist cake orders for memorable occasions, made-to-order clothing for children, loveable toys for pets, printed souvenirs and more. The possibilities really are endless, giving each online entrepreneur the chance to cater for truly specialist requirements, demographics and locations. It’s an online business with plenty of growth potential, offering retailers to chance to expand their production line as well as delivering to new areas.
2. Social Media Manager
While it’s possible to learn how to manage social media pages when following a course, formal education is not always necessary. In fact, social media is so innovative and moves so quickly that even Marketing graduates need to stay on top of developments just as much as those who don’t have specialist qualifications under their belts. What’s more, most businesses now recognise the importance of investing in a constant, creative and effective social media content calendar.
As well as being in high demand, social media managers have the chance to specialise in niche industries. If you love wine, you could aim to focus on social media services for wine brands. If you know a lot about health and beauty, you could focus on working with businesses that offer health and beauty products or services. If your interests lie in education or social reform, you might want to work with colleges or non-profit organisations. Indeed, your credentials will shine better from the crowd if you’re seen to work with a variety of companies within the same industry.
Just as most businesses need a social media presence, most want to produce regular blog content. Anyone who’s ever tried to maintain a blog will know that it’s no easy task. Most small-to-medium businesses don’t have the time to write original content, but they certainly benefit from creating it and using it to drive potential customers and clients to their sites. If you love to write, your writing skills are accurate and you have the discipline to sit at a laptop for a number of hours every day, blogging is a job you can do anywhere, at any time and for any industry. It’s also an online business opportunity with little-to-no outgoing expenses to worry about.
4. Freelance Designer
Many small-to-medium businesses need websites, graphics, gifs, videos, logos and product packaging. If you’re artistically-tuned and you have a solid grasp of some of the most important design programs (including Photoshop and Illustrator), you may be able to secure a solid online business in remote design services. Competition in this area is fierce and so any designer serious about making a success of the freelance lifestyle must work hard to create a winning portfolio. You can share a portfolio of your work online, via email or even on third-party employment sites. The important thing is to have a portfolio of your best work, that you update regularly, to share.
5. Virtual Assistant
Organised, fast and with an innate ability to multi-task. If these qualities best describe your professional character, then working as a virtual assistant could be a very viable option. Life is busy. So busy, in fact, that many people are willing to pay someone to take care of their bills, travel arrangements, meeting schedules, weekly shopping, Christmas arrangements and more. The only real difficulty about this line of work is needing to be available to the boss at any time, day or night. If you don’t like the idea of having to respond to a phone call or email, wherever you are and whatever the hour, this option might not be the best fit for you.
While the above list is by no means exhaustive, it offers a good place from which to begin. Don’t forget that there’s also plenty of help, advice and free resources out there to support you in your new venture. There’s no need to feel like you’re entirely on your own.
This useful and great piece was written by Jess Walter.