Shopify is a great example of the freemium model. By offering some applications for free, they get exposure for their whole business. Since the company was founded in 2004, they have acquired 30,000 customers, including Pixar and the Foo Fighters. Their revolutionary “build-a-business” competitions in the past have produced over $70,000,000 in revenue for over 14,000 entrants.
Companies like Graze, Blue Apron, FabFitFun, LeTote and many others are on the rise. In 2016, it was estimated by Shorr Packaging that there were 21.3 million box subscription websites, up from just 700,000 in 2013, a roughly 3,000 percent increase. What's most interesting here are the consumer demographics. The typical visitor to a box subscription websites makes roughly $78,436 a year and is in their early forties.
To get your e-commerce business up and running, all you need is a web hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or e-commerce software. To simplify the shipping process, you can work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf. This can reduce the amount of inventory you need to keep onsite. [Related: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
Freelancing via the Internet is a great way for experts in their individual trades to help a variety of clients overall. Several freelancing and project-based websites let businesses that need extra help to list their projects. Small businesses and freelancers offer proposals, ideas, or bids, whereby the buyers can easily choose what they want and need. Sites like Elance or Upwork cover just about everything including writing content, creating graphic design, programming, and data entry.
Drop shipping is fairly similar to running an affiliate store. You act as the mediator without ever touching the product. The difference between a drop shipper and affiliate is that the sale with drop shipping websites is not completely managed. You might have to set up systems to automatically make a purchase with your drop shipping company, in order for it to be sent directly to the end consumer.
How about setting up a business that focuses on outsourcing? Most successful service providers on the internet find that they need external help at some point. They might have a blogging client that requires logo design. They might have a guest posting service client that needs web design . Instead of actually providing the services personally, you could outsource and take a profit margin of your choice! Make sure you learn how to outsource first!
Larger enterprises can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their social media accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of a social media presence to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a social media consultant, you can help small businesses determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. After receiving a business communication degree from Arizona State University, she spent nearly three years living in four states and backpacking through 16 countries. During her travels, Skye began her blog, which you can find at www.skyeschooley.com. She finally settled down in the northeast, writing for Business.com and Business News Daily. She primarily contributes articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviews remote PC access software and collection agencies.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.