There are a variety of online businesses that can be started from home. It really all depends on what type of business you want to run.
Do you want to sell physical goods? Your own product or someone else’s? Dropship or Network Marketing?
There are plenty of options. However, I am going to focus on what’s the best online business to start—in my opinion of course!
If you are on a budget, you will be even happier about this particular online business. It is very low-cost to start.
The Problems with Selling Physical Goods Online (Including Dropshipping)
When you want to sell physical items online, you will need your own online store. An online store will store and display all of your items as well as accept payments.
If I were to open an online store, I would likely use Shopify. Their shopping cart software is easy to use and the pricing is reasonable.
Once you have added all of your items to your store, you can then promote your store using PPC (pay-per-click) advertising such as Facebook ads.
The more traffic you get to your store, the higher the chance your items will sell. While this sounds simple in theory, running an online store comes with some issues.
1. Overhead Costs
All businesses have some amount of overhead costs. However, running an online store can become expensive to operate in the long run.
For one thing, you’ll have to buy inventory for your store. This means finding wholesale products to resell for a profit.
They carry a ton of products which are manufactured and shipped from China. The key is finding a good supplier. The more of each item you buy, the better deal you get.
Depending on what you plan to sell, this process can get expensive. Plus, there is no guarantee that the items you buy will sell well, if at all.
In order to reduce your risk, it is wise to do some market research beforehand to find out what is currently selling well.
Other costs include shopping cart software and payment processing fees.
2. Customer Service, Shipping, Returns, and Refunds
Be prepared to deal with customer service issues when running your own online store.
There are bound to be customer complaints, shipping issues, returns, and eventual refunds.
These issues are the cost of doing business as an online retailer. I used to sell items on eBay and customer service was the biggest hassle.
People would leave negative feedback before allowing you to resolve their issues. Handling returns and processing refunds took up a lot of time.
When you are working on a shoestring budget, these things can eat into your profit.
3. Advertising Costs
Your online store is of no use if no one is able to find it. Web traffic is crucial for any online business.
Online stores are difficult to generate free traffic to because the pages in your store don’t typically have a lot of content on them.
This is why many online store owners turn to online advertising to promote their stores. The problem with this form of advertising is that it can be very expensive.
If you do not have the budget for advertising, it may be even more difficult to get your online store off the ground.
THE PROBLEM WITH NETWORK MARKETING (DIRECT SELLING)
I’ve written about network marketing in the past.
It is not my favorite form of an online business for many reasons. For one thing, it involves direct selling.
This means that you make sales by recommending the company’s products to people you already know and to people that you meet.
You can find success selling network marketing products using an online store. However, it will still come with the same issues as mentioned above.
Another reason network marketing is challenging is because the real money comes from recruiting other people into your downline.
The more people you have in your downline, the more money you will make from their selling of products and recruiting of new distributors.
Attempting to recruit new distributors is difficult and often the main reason why people who try their hand at network marketing end up quitting.
What’s the Best Online Business to Start? – Give Affiliate Marketing a Try
I have looked into starting an online store and selling physical goods. Yet, what has held me back is the fact that getting traffic requires PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.
If you are on a budget then these advertising costs may be an obstacle for you as well. This is why I like affiliate marketing.
I consider affiliate marketing to be the best online business to start from home. There are many reasons why:
- It is very low-cost to start
- It has unlimited earning potential
- PPC advertising is optional
- No buying or storing of inventory
- No shipping, returns, or refunds
- No customer service
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Have you ever recommended a good book or a great restaurant to a friend or family member?
That is basically what affiliate marketing is except you earn a commission when something you recommend is purchased.
Another way of putting it is:
Affiliate marketing is simply promoting a company’s products or services in exchange for a percentage of the sale (commission) when someone makes a purchase using your affiliate link.
Here is a visual representation of how it works:
What You Need to Get Started
Getting started with affiliate marketing is easy and low-cost.
What you will need is a website, a niche you are interested in, and the ability to write great content.
You then monetize your website through an affiliate program. There are TONS of affiliate programs online.
Amazon.com has one of the largest which is called Amazon Associates.
The affiliate company will provide you with special links that you will place on your website.
When your visitors click on these links and make a purchase, you will receive a commission!
I have been making money online for years. However, I treated it more like a hobby rather than a business.
After being laid off from my previous job, I decided to learn the proper way to create an online business and I joined Wealthy Affiliate as a free starter member.
I followed their training courses step-by-step and continue to learn with the ongoing training they provide.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to get started with creating an online business that you can run from home.
The types of niche websites that you can create are endless. I recommend starting off with one website, learning the skills to develop it into an online business, and repeating the process.
I hope that I have helped in your quest to finding what’s the best online business to start from home.
Best of luck on your journey!