7 ways your online business can make money and be profitable

In this post, you’ll learn about five ideas you can turn into online businesses with little capital. On top of that, you will also learn  different ways to make money from them.

Let’s start with:..

1. Apps

One way to start an internet business is to come up with a great idea for an app, build it and sell it in various marketplaces for different devices like Nokia, Apple’s iPhone and iPad, smart phones and tablets running Google’s Android, devices powered by Microsoft’s Windows operating system, Tizen etc.

 Note: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on something I recommend and purchase it, I will receive a commission for the sale – at no extra cost to you. 

You can create the app by yourself if you know how to do this, or are willing to learn how to code it.

Alternatively, you can hire a developer to help you from various job boards and freelance marketplace websites.

If there are a set of features you have been looking for in apps sold in different marketplaces for your device or any (other device you’d like to create an app for), and all you keep running into are applications with just half of the (or zero) features you are looking for, it is time to build the app for yourself.

You can then take a step further and sell copies of it to other people who might be interested in it.

For more ideas, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What else would I want my device to do?
  • What else would I want to do with my device?
  • What is my device already doing that I can improve?
  • What app, targeted at many niches at the moment, can be built for a specific niche from the ground up?
  • What app – or company behind certain apps – can I buy and improve?

2. Clone scripts

There are many great premium scripts that you can buy for cheap, customize, and use to power your website.

See also  How your business can get more loyal & repeat customers

Clone scripts can help you start a business on the internet easily.

These scripts normally get you the features available to users and administrators of already popular sites.

They can save you a lot of money in developer fees, especially when you have very little capital.

There are clones you can buy to start any of the following types of websites.

  • Social networking sites
  • Classified ad websites
  • Video site
  • Auction site
  • Dating site
  • Directories
  • eShop (online shops and marketplaces)
  • Deals site
  • Email marketing site
  • Affiliate network site for merchants and publishers
  • Freelance marketplace
  • Forums
  • Reviews site

Clone scripts become useful when you have an idea for the business you want to start and all you need is custom code you can purchase and start using immediately.

Also, remember that there are various content management systems, like WordPress, which you can extend with the various plugins and themes already developed (or get someone to code a plugin that does what you want) and use that to power your site.

3. Online store

You can sell physical and digital goods on the internet in a store like the one we have here.

With this idea, you have to choose what you want to sell, to whom and why, then find a web host and start a website, blog where people can come to make their purchases.

Your store could be targeted to users in a particular region, country sell only digital goods, physical goods, or both.

The store can also be a general one, selling all kinds of things, or specific (for example: selling books, second hand textbooks, books for law students, jewelry, beauty products, groceries, electronics, or different kinds of fast moving consumer goods).

In each of these broad niches, you can still dig deep and target even a more specific segment of a market.

Digital stores can sell downloads – and when I say downloads, I mean anything you can get instantly off the internet.

Think about the things you have downloaded recently for ideas: ebooks, images, music, videos, software, mini-guides, extensions, plugins…

You can also be a reseller and offer services like web hosting and domain registration at your own prices – to other businesses in need of such services.

4. News site

If you are interested in what’s going on in the world, your country and your town, you can start your own little news company and grow it, hiring reporters, skilled journalists and managers to help you expand, reach more people and provide better information in different formats.

Start by creating a site, on WordPress for example, writing about what’s happening in your town or neighbourhood and publishing all this in your site.

Also interview people and publish their thoughts, write commentaries and continue growing your online business.

5. Bring people with a similar skill together and offer their skills as a service under one company

This works well if you want to offer your services to individuals, businesses and organizations.

See also  Starting your first online business working from a cyber café

This can be done in many areas. For example: outsourced content writing, editing and proofreading, cleaning, running errands, design, and online tutoring.

Start by offering the service yourself, then hire employees or sub-contact to skilled freelancers.

Finding people with skills that compliment each other can also work to your advantage.

Many people have built digital marketing companies / agencies this way.

It all comes down to this

Like every other business, it matters a lot that you know the needs of those you want to serve, come up with something to fulfill that need and find a way to make money doing this online.

If you think that all this doesn’t suit you, you can create something – a tool perhaps – which has never been created before but which can be useful to some people, introduce it online and build a business around it.

Making money and being profitable with your online business

Running an online business may not require lots of capital to start. But that’s no reason to take the revenue and profit aspect of the business lightly.

Costs soon add up.

Without money coming in, your venture is likely to struggle, grow slowly or wither away – if you don’t find someone to buy it from you and improve it further.

For this reason alone, I highly recommend you download and read my free ebook 10 Things to Look at If You Are Thinking Of Starting a Business.


Your expenses will fall in the following areas: creating the product or service, packaging, product improvements, server space / web hosting, consultations, licensing, salaries or payments to freelancers you contract and various professionals – accountants, lawyers, rent – if you have an office, and other costs incurred in running your business such as payments to other companies whose services you use often: email marketing software, social media management, video tutorial creation, analytics and other tools.

To be profitable, your business should make more than it spends.

The rule is this simple but takes a lot of discipline not to be broken.

Subscribe via email here free, if you are interested in learning more about how to ensure the money your business gets stays with you, and if spent, ends up making your business better, benefiting you, your prospects and your customers.

So, how can you make money and be profitable?

1. Create something useful

Let the product or service you offer speak for itself.

Start with this (tip) and some of the people who buy from you will get you more customers even without you asking.

See also  Best business to start: Is there anything like that really or is it just an idea people have?

The customers themselves will, more likely, become repeat customers, helping you grow every time they buy again.

2. One off sales, up-sells and cross-sells

This happens for example when one buys a product from you and you charge for the value of what they purchase.

While shopping you can also up-sell (suggest one or more superior products that costs more than the one they already have in their cart – and want to purchase) and cross-sell (by suggesting they buy one or more products related to the one in their cart).

Some people see the suggestions, often prompted by words like –  ‘People who bought this (what they have in their shopping cart) also bought the following’ followed by the list of suggested products with a Add to Cart button next to each – end up buying one, two or all of these.

3. Buying wholesale and selling at retail

You can make bulk purchases at wholesale prices then sell what you buy to others online at retail, leaving you with a margin you can reinvest back in your business to grow it further.

Contact manufacturers or any other entities selling particular products you are interested in selling in your store directly for best prices.

You can also, in the same or different store, sell:

  • products you create yourself
  • reseller services
  • sourced products from sites like Alibaba

4. Offer subscriptions for your service

Treat your users like members of a community and charge them a recurring fee to continue enjoying your services.

This fee can be charged once every month or once every year.

Or every 2 – 3 months.

You decide what works for you and your customers.

5. Take a cut off each sale or transaction

Charge little to no money upfront for allowing others to benefit from your business, only taking a percentage off each sale or successful transactions they make.

The cut doesn’t have to be excessive.

Just enough to put a smile on the faces of both you and your customers.

You can do this by starting an online marketplace where people can join as sellers / vendors to sell their wares – giving you a commission off each sale they make.

6. Advertisements and sponsorships

Instead of charging the people who use your products or services directly to get the funds necessary to keep your business running, you can have others pay you to place ads (or be mentioned and recommended to your users) on your website, downloads, podcasts, social media accounts, blog, software or apps.

You can also join various affiliate programs and promote them to your users, taking a commission off each referral that results in a sale.

And yes, ads work best, when there are people interested enough (in what’s advertised) to click and buy – and of course lots of website traffic in most cases.

7. Offer a free trial of a product  you are selling…

Or offer a free core version (with limited features) while, at the same time, selling a premium version with more features to users interested in those extra features.

These are just some of the ways you can explore, to see what works best for you.

Different things work for different types of businesses.

Try some, see what works for you

And if you have any questions or would simply like to make a suggestion or share your experience, post your comment below.

Check more Niabusiness.com blog posts on business and entrepreneurship.

Leave a Comment