Discover the online business that’s right for you
We were trapped.
It's no joke when people call a hectic life, The Rat Race. Most days, we were busy from sun up until well after dinner-time. As small business owners, my husband and I were making a living but not building a happy life. We needed a way out, and creating a profitable online business was the best way.
We reached a moment of clarity (or maybe desperation) around 9 p.m. on a Monday. We found ourselves still at the office with more work to do.
Our decision: sell everything and buy a boat.
Yes. I am completely serious. Two otherwise logical and responsible adults decided to run away to sea!
Let's fast-forward to today.
We sold our home, business assets, and vehicles. We left the city behind and moved aboard our new-to-us sailboat, intent on seeing the world.
You have to admit; we are people of action--risk-takers, if you will. We left our city life behind in search of the extraordinary. However, we had a problem. Neither of us married into money! We had to find a way to support our new travel lifestyle and find it quick.
As small business owners, we were familiar with online marketing. Even local brick-and-mortar businesses need websites, social media pages, and advertising. Yet moving to an online business model was new for us.
I began researching our options watching YouTube videos of couples sailing the globe. It seemed fun to make videos and share travel adventures with an online fan club. However, I got discouraged by the amount of time social media influencers spent working each day. I wanted to spend less time working--not more. Honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted to live my life on full display, either.
We wanted a portable business, one we could work from anywhere in the world. Our new venture needed to be low-maintenance. It needed to survive if we had times of limited internet access.
Who wants to sail into a picturesque new port unable to enjoy it? I could see it happening if our thoughts were fixated on locating the closest business with high-speed internet.
Our Online Business Checklist
- A work-from-anywhere, portable business
- Work less, not more
- Maintain a level of anonymity
- Manage with limited internet access
- Make above-average income
Finding an online opportunity that checked all the boxes for us proved difficult. Every option had its good points and bad points. We found our way, but only through much trial and error.
I want to help you find clarity by sharing some of the pros and cons of online business models. Start by writing down your checklist of what you want from your new venture. I gave you mine, but we each have different desires.
BUSINESS OWNER MINDSET
First, I want to encourage you to start a real business that produces long-term assets. Avoid options that only generate income.
There are ways to make money online using popular platforms like YouTube and Instagram or Etsy and Amazon. However, these models do not provide you with saleable business assets. Yes, establishing social proof for your business is important, but concentrate on what truly belongs to you.
Freelance work found on sites like Upwork and Guru falls into the same category. Yes, freelancing allows one to leverage existing skills and find good gigs, but it requires you always be materially involved. If you aren't working, you aren't making money. Freelancing still trades hours for dollars, just like a 9-to-5 job. It’s a great place to start for immediate income, but keep working for something more.
A thriving blog site, e-commerce store, or subscriber list provides you with digital assets that will produce income for years. When the time comes to pursue a new dream, an exit strategy exists. Make it your long-term goal to be a business owner, not just earn money.
BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Start with any Google search about "how to make money online," and you will soon find ten people saying you can begin making an insane amount of money as soon as tomorrow. There is money in online marketing, but choose to do it with integrity.
Consider what feels right to you and allows your authentic self to shine. Let go of the "get rich quick" idea. Explore options that will make you happy long-term. Any business you start will require your continued interest and dedication.
For example, if I were to start an e-commerce store selling board games, it would a terrible fit for me. I hate playing games. Even if my online research indicated this would be an up-and-coming niche, I would be unhappy promoting board games.
You, on the other hand, may love board games. If you find it's a hot niche (which would surprise me), then you may have found your way!
As you begin your online business, start an email list. It doesn't matter what type of business you start.
If you start an e-commerce store, build a list.
If you begin writing a blog, build a list.
If you want to sell affiliate offers, build a list.
If you create online courses, build a list.
Do you understand what I am saying here? Build a list!
When people subscribe to your list, they are saying they are interested in you and what you have to say or sell. These people will be your biggest fans--and best customers.
You may already have an email marketing tool that you love. I have tried several, and I like AWeber. It is easy to use, and delivery is fast.
You might also enjoy our review of Groove CRM, a way to manage your online business through one platform.