8 Online Business Ideas That Generate Sustainable Revenue

With more people trying to make money online, thousands of articles give advice on how you can generate some cash in the digital world. No wonder there are so many online business ideas out there!

1. Self-publish Books  

No one cares whether your book is self-published or published by a traditional publisher. The quality of your book is what matters. One of the most successful books in recent years is Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. He received some offers from publishers but decided to publish the book by himself. That way he owns all the rights.

And today, everyone can do that too. You can do the whole process yourself, or you can hire people to do it for you like David Goggins. You can even hire a ghost-writer.

2. Create An App  

Until just a few years ago, it would’ve been unimaginable to sleep in other people’s homes on a regular basis for cheaper accommodation. Yet, as Airbnb has shown in the travel and hospitality market, this concept has now become the norm. All these transactions are done with the app. 

But that doesn’t mean you need to create the next big-time app like Airbnb or Uber. Even without knowing how to code, anyone can build an app. There’s a list of no-code app-makers you can use online to do this.

The most important part of an app is your business model. Too often, we see apps that are great but don’t have a business plan.

3. Sell Other People’s Products  

Don’t want to build your own products? Then sell existing products, also known as affiliate marketing. It sometimes gets a bad rep but it’s a solid business model.

The best platform for this strategy is a website (or multiple sites). 

Once you have a website, you can start creating content that attracts people who are interested in the products you’re offering.

4. Create An Online Course  

I’m a big fan of Peter Drucker’s advice of focusing on your strengths so you can provide more value. This is about leveraging your knowledge, experience, and expertise for the benefit of other people. Maybe you’ve been training for a long time and you’re ready to become a fitness coach. Or you’ve been teaching history, and now can teach people how to adapt well to changes based on historical lessons.

We always want to learn. The popularity of online courses shows that there is great demand. And it’s easier than ever to sell a course. With the right tools, you are able to save time, maximize your efforts, and create courses that students can easily consume.

5. Start A Paid Newsletter  

One of the leading examples of a paid newsletter is Ben Thompson’s “Stratechery.” He popularized this digital product and he’s now generating millions of dollars. 

But you and I don’t need to become the next Ben Thompson. If you can generate a small but loyal following that’s willing to pay, you can make a good living with a newsletter.

In terms of technology, there are many solutions you can use. I’ve seen people using Substack.

6. Build An Online Community  

Most digital entrepreneurs work from home, so they barely interact with new people (often, just clients) on a daily basis. It can be a lonely pursuit.

The Sounding Board—a facilitated community where like-minded people can join, share their goals, insights, and even test their business ideas before implementing them. It’s a safe space for anyone in need of motivation and honest insights. But you can create a community around any topic.

7. Start A Coaching Program  

With the recent global crisis, more people are switching their offline activities (like being coached by a trainer in a gym) into digital programs. Now, you can have your trainer right there with you at home through your smartphone or laptop. 

This isn’t limited to fitness coaches. You can do nearly every type of 1-on-1 coaching over Zoom or Skype. Again, it’s all about what you’re good at. People want to pay for expertise. With enough experience, you can gradually expand to group coaching and booking multiple sessions. 

8. Build A Freelance Practice  

Yes, it’s easy to get on those freelancing sites, but you’re not building anything for yourself. Plus, you’ll be pitching to prospects all the time. You might as well use that time to build your own site, with your own rules.

The problem with freelance sites is that they lock you into a cycle of looking for clients and pitching to them. Many of the jobs offered are also one-time projects that pay lesser. These tactics may get you a handful of small clients at first, but you won’t build a loyal customer-base doing that. 

Building your own site, publishing your own content, and attracting high quality, well-paying clients take much more time. But the pay-off is so much more rewarding and sustainable.