Online Business Opportunities: From Big Data To Bilingualism

online business opportunitiesThe world of online business is too sweet to resist, and frankly, there’s no reason to resist it.  Even if you just want to supplement your income with a bit of freelance work, the online business community would love to support one more ambitious person.  If this is your dream to make it big, well, there are ways to do that, too. The degree of your success ultimately lies in your hands.  The important thing is to get a strong start, which is exactly what I can help you do.  Peruse the options below, which are neither online get-rich-quick scams nor hopeless dead-ends.  You don’t even have to reinvent yourself or your interests.  These are viable routes for people who are serious about using the web to move their careers into the future.  It’s important to be part of a community, too, so I highly recommend learning more about Google Hangouts to support your online business.

The Keyboard Is Mightier Than The Sword

If you’re a good writer, there are so many ways to make money online it’s ridiculous.  And if you’re a good writer and an expert, the options open up like a flower in the sun.  Pretty much everyone has heard of writing for blogs.  Blogs provide a good lesson for how many internet businesses function: either by pay-per-click advertising or pay-per-view.  With this model, the more people who visit your blog and click on advertisements, the more money you make.  That said, if you don’t want to invest significant time building a blog, accumulating followers and maintaining content, then you should consider writing for Yahoo’s Associated Content.  Once approved, you can write and publish posts at will, and you have two options to collect money: either by getting paid upfront (and thereby forfeiting the rights to your work), or by keeping the rights to your posts and getting paid by pay-per-view.  If it were me, I would opt for pay-per-view; yes, it takes longer to accumulate a reasonable income, but you will literally get paid forever.  Anytime someone visits your articles, whether it’s now or ten years from now, money finds its way back to you.

If Yahoo’s Associated Content isn’t for you, you can also check out other blog networks or you can look into companies that are hiring bloggers. The Problogger job board is a great place to find opportunities.

Devoted Researcher

If you find that you are always on the internet, whether or not you have anything to do on the internet, then you might as well get paid for the time you spend browsing.  In the old days, business researches used to search print material—newspapers, magazines, etc.—for information their company might find relevant or useful.  As an internet researcher, you will scour the internet for information pertaining to the topics you are assigned (that is, if you are working as a contractor); but you can also perform research on your own and then sell the information to interested businesses.  If you decide to go it alone, keep in mind that it helps to already have the kind of network that a successful blog produces.  However, this is by no means necessary.  A good friend of mine scored a job researching for Coca-Cola, all on the basis that we was an excellent Comp-Lit major.

Web Design

A good web designer is always in demand, and the money is excellent.  A huge benefit afforded to web designers is the ability not only to work anywhere, but to receive work from anywhere.  The U.S. should have more than enough business to keep you busy, but the entire world is in need of designers, and there are a number of foreign markets just waiting to be exploited.  Of course, this is an acquired skill and is not something every person is taught from a young age (such as writing).  Still, it’s easier to learn to write code than you think.  HTML is extremely popular and you can earn professional certification from this HTML prep course; for the truly ambitious, I recommend taking an in-depth overview of all the major coding languages with this programming coding course for entrepreneurs.  The more languages you know, the more widely you can market yourself.  It helps to be proficient in other web design basics, too, such as copywriting and graphic design.  All you need are a few samples to get your portfolio started. After that, the amount of business you generate is entirely up to you.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has taken off recently, which I attribute to the ever-growing number of successful, independently owned websites, social media profiles and blogs.  Affiliate marketing boils down to this: you promote other people’s and other companies’ products on your website and receive a commission.  This is a great way to take your income to the next level if you already have a strong internet presence.  You can do affiliate marketing through your blog, your website, your eight thousand social media platforms (get a leg-up on the competition with this introduction to social media marketing).  Every time a sale is made through your marketing efforts, you get a cut of the sale.  There are two wonderful benefits of affiliate marketing: first, it costs you absolutely nothing, even if you never make a sale; second, you are not responsible for customer service or support.  Shipping and returns?  Not your problem.  Your job is to market products, period.

Online Teaching

There are websites that sponsor online learning, such as the one that hosts the blog you are reading right now.  If you have a skill or are an expert in a field, you can design your own course and charge a set rate for anyone who wants to learn from you.  Attracting customers will depend on your accolades (nobody wants to learn from an amateur), as well as the quality of your online instruction.  And the best part is, your teaching topic can literally be anything and does not have to be academic in the slightest.  If you’re an expert wine maker, there’s a whole world of wine lovers who would love to hear your advice.  If you can sell glasses to a blind man, there are literally millions of people who will pay good money to learn sales techniques from the best.  Even if you want to get into formal education, there is more than one way to learn how to find an online teaching job.

Domain Names

I admit: it isn’t 1998 anymore and domain names aren’t the gold mine they used to be.  On the other hand, it is a far more legitimate and regulated business.  There is no longer a race to hoard all the best and most common internet addresses.  Instead, there is a booming business of domain name trading.  It’s kind of like domain names are individual stocks whose values only appreciate.  Multi-million dollar deals still happen every day.  The goal is to become an accomplished domain name broker, which means you can forget about trying to secure the rights to domain names; your objective is to represent companies and organizations who are trying to sell their domains.  Again, an online presence will work wonders for getting your business off the ground.

Fitness

This runs parallel to online teaching, but it’s such a massive field, like web design, that it deserves its own place.  Health consciousness has been on the rise for quite some time now, and it’s skyrocketing at the moment.  If you have knowledge concerning diet and fitness, you can either go the small route and create an online course, or you can go huge and create your own website, sell products online, start a fitness blog, offer a variety of classes and tutorials, or pretty much anything you can imagine.

E-Commerce

Essentially, online retail. Into fashion? Jewelry? The outdoors? Consider starting your own online boutique.  In an ideal world, you would run your own website and be completely independent (and keep all the profits yourself).  In an almost-ideal world, you would start selling on Amazon and eBay and work your way towards your goal of independence, handing over a portion of profits to these e-commerce giants.  Yes, it seems unfair that Amazon enforces this “tax” as it were, but look at the bright side: you don’t have to design (or pay someone to design) your own website, you don’t have to maintain it, you don’t have to set up online billing and you don’t have to build a client base from scratch.  You can have your cake and eat about 70% of it, too.  So get help creating and managing an E-Commerce store using Prestashop.

IT Security Consulting

Put your knowledge of computer software and security to work.  You can charge exorbitant hourly wages; honestly, if you’re as good as you think you are, you’re not only selling yourself short by charging less than $100/hr, you’re doing yourself no favors credibility wise.  Most companies won’t even blink at $100-$150/hr.  Revenue is still skyrocketing, too, growing at around 10% a year.  The need for computers and software, and thus IT consultants, is only going to grow, with no end in sight.  To put things into perspective, this is going to be an estimated six-billion-dollar market in 2014; that’s roughly half of the global publishing market.

Bilingual, Anyone?

Translation services are growing exponentially.  This is due in large part to globalization and, of course, the internet.  Businesses need translators to help create multiple versions of their websites and products in every language imaginable.  Needless to say, someone fluent in Spanish or Chinese is going to find business easier than someone who is fluent in Swahili.  Still, the need and market exists, and you can even find work helping to improve translating software.  Don’t know a foreign language?  Don’t let that stop you.  Teach yourself how to practically and efficiently learn a foreign language without wasting time, money and energy.

Data Rooms

Data is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, and some sectors of big data are estimated to grow at mind-bending rates of 30% for the next five years.  An individual isn’t likely to get involved in big data, but you can definitely stake your claim to a portion of the virtual data room (VDR) business.  If you’ve never heard of VDRs before, allow me to explain.  A data room is a space, physical or virtual, where people (often companies and organizations) can safely disclose information or documents in a highly controlled setting.  Big-time examples of uses for data rooms include company acquisitions, mergers and other investments.  Data rooms even act as a kind of cousin to auctions, in which an entity can prove or demonstrate their means or worth to interested buyers or partners simultaneously.

A virtual data room, of course, is the online version of a physical room, where data is shared in an ultra-secure online setting.  Like everything else the internet does, virtual data rooms are much easier to manage.  To begin with, they do not require all interested parties to be physically present.  Plus, they eliminate hard copies, are generally considered safer than physical data rooms, and offer the advantage to the VDR manager to control the flow of communication; which parties can communicate, which parties get biding priority, etc.  VDRs are growing more modestly than big data, but it is still a billion-dollar-a-year business that is expected to grow at nearly 20% for at least the next few years.  But if it’s go big or go home for you, learn the relevance of Big Data and how it impacts today’s society.