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Do a Google search, and it’s easy to find plenty of articles or videos about businesses that make money right away. Many content producers make it seem oh-so-easy to start a successful business and live the backpack life. But the reality is different.
Many business models aren’t super easy to launch and make a profit, even pre-pandemic. Nonetheless, it’s still possible to start a business that makes money right away – providing the right idea and implementation.
In this article, I’ll share some viable business models with the potential of reaching profitability within 1 to 3 months. But keep in mind that everybody’s situation is different. It will take much longer for some people to get the first customer.
Must-Haves For Branding and Credibility
Every company needs a logo, something memorable to consumers that can convey the brand’s overall message.
Choose colours wisely.
Colours set the mood, and the potential emotions prospects will feel when interacting with a brand. For example, green is considered the colour of balance and harmony.
A Well-designed Website
Often a company’s website is the first thing potential customers see. A great site will help market the business, allowing potential customers to discover services and products.
Well Written Content
Think of content as the fuel that powers the entire digital marketing strategy. Without content, we can’t communicate to our target audience concisely and persuasively.
And while generating great content is time-consuming, it’s worth the effort. For businesses with a budget, I’d recommend working with professional copywriters.
Brand culture = work culture.
It helps set the values that everyone in a given organization embodies. Additionally, it drives productivity and can help increase profit margins, attract the best employees, and improve customer advocacy.
Four Businesses That Can Make Money Right Away
Here are some business ideas that are easy to launch and have the potential to start making money right away.
1. Freelance Services
Consider doing freelance. A freelancer offers services to businesses without becoming an employee in the traditional sense.
In other words, freelancers are business owners or contractors that organizations hire to solve specific problems. Plus, there are no significant overheads to start a career in freelancing. All one would need is the skills and a high-speed Internet connection.
What to charge?
There are three main ways to charge customers as a freelancer. These are hourly, fixed-rate, and retainer.
Each approach comes with advantages and disadvantages.
When deciding how to charge, think about what is best for the overall situation and charge customers accordingly.
We can also combine billing methods. For example, a writer may charge $50 per hour for complex projects requiring a significant amount of research – but set a fixed rate for projects that require minimal research time.
This is one of the most common ways people bill clients. It’s great for service businesses, especially those in the creative space.
The only drawback to an hourly rate is as the professional becomes more efficient, the individual makes less per hour. So, for example, doing something that usually takes two hours in one-hour will result in a loss of revenue.
Professionals should increase the hourly rate as efficiency increases to deal with that problem.
This is great when the provider knows everything required.
It also makes it easier to collect payment (or a deposit) upfront, which every freelancer should do. The only potential drawback to fixed-rate pricing is estimating the wrong fee for a project.
This is good for securing continuity of income. A retainer refers to the fixed sum of money paid to reserve services, such as paying for on-call consulting.
The potential drawback with this model is pretty much the same as the fixed rate. The freelancer may estimate the wrong amount of work required monthly.
How to find your first clients
Finding freelance clients is a lot easier than one may think. There are YouTube channels and entire books dedicated to the topic, and I think it would be wise to explore some of those.
However, the formula for finding clients for freelance work is simple. All anyone needs to do is know more than the target customer (10 to 20% more) and have a way to reach prospects.
Some common ways freelancers reach potential customers include:
- Cold email outreach
- Freelance websites or communities such as Upwork
- Cold calling
- Asking for referrals
- Participating in social media groups
- Attending gatherings or business meetings
2. Host Live Online Events
Online events are similar to the ones people host in real life. The only difference is we host the event digitally, and all attendees attend remotely.
The organizers or speakers must have a value that others want to attract attendees with any event. That can be in the form of information, insights, or even something physical like a giveaway.
One example of live events as a business model in action is DTCX – a community for growing direct-to-consumer (DTC) eCommerce brands. The organization regularly hosts events around specific topics that help DTC stores grow.
Some ideas of live online events include:
- Panel discussions
- One-on-one coaching sessions
- Bootcamp series (e.g., 4-week SEO Bootcamp)
- Host a live podcast or exclusive interview
- Run a live online course
What to charge?
As for pricing, it depends on the overall business model.
For example, some prominent experts charge for every live event – while others keep events 100% free and make money from service or asset sales, such as eBooks or one-on-one training.
It may make sense to charge for every event if the company already commands an audience. On the other hand, if the organization doesn’t have an audience, it may be wise to keep events free and make money from complementary products.
How to find attendees
Market events to the right people. Use social media and other applicable channels to reach individuals that may want to attend.
While marketing can be free, consider paying for advertising on specific channels to attract as many people as possible. If using paid marketing, the quality of targeting will be crucial. Be sure to target the right audience.
For instance, the advertisement for an online event about ‘stop drinking alcohol’ should target those interested in quitting alcoholic beverages.
3. Online Courses
The pandemic has pretty much propelled the education revolution forward by leaps and bounds. A lot more people now embrace online learning and are more comfortable using the Internet to research and identify information without help.
However, selling online courses as a business model works best when the value far exceeds the cost, and the content is evergreen. All of that means success heavily depends on:
- Ensuring the course content is packed with so much value it’s near impossible for the audience to be unsatisfied.
- Building the online course in such a way that the information will remain valid for many years, and we can update it later. For example, all the courses we can buy on Udemy receive updates regularly from the instructors.
Further, there is very little overhead, if any, with this business model. All one would need is a computer with the right video editing software (e.g., OBS Studio) and access to the Internet.
What to charge?
The price for online courses varies based on perceived value.
However, the perceived value should always match the actual value of the course to ensure customer satisfaction. So don’t make exaggerated promises and embrace transparency (be honest about the value).
In general, courses online range from $1 to $1,000 or maybe more depending on the instructor and the product’s value.
Keep in mind that the higher the price, the fewer people will buy. So price courses low to sell more; price high for exclusivity but fewer sales.
How to find your first customers
The process is similar to the hosting online events business model.
Market courses to the right people using social media and other applicable channels. Focus on the places the target audience hangs out and consider paid ads.
4. Become an Affiliate Marketer
I almost didn’t include affiliate marketing on this list because it can generally take three months to one year to succeed. But with proper execution, affiliate marketing fits in among businesses that make money right away.
In the simplest sense, affiliate marketing is promoting the products of other companies for a commission. These companies pay third-party organizations or individuals (called affiliates) a set percentage of the product or service sale price.
And almost anyone, even without a website, can become an affiliate.
However, success in affiliate marketing depends on how well affiliates promote products, produce high-quality content, and drive traffic to assets
—as such, learning how to implement some search engine optimization (SEO) practices is crucial.
Additionally, think about how to run the affiliate business before starting.
Some affiliate marketers only use YouTube, while others focus on Facebook, Instagram, and other relevant social media channels. Some affiliates blog consistently and drive traffic to the content for sales.
Every affiliate marketer has one primary channel and several supporting channels. For example, I blog as a primary channel and use multiple social networks as support channels.
Here are some essential tips to keep in mind about affiliate marketing.
The best affiliate marketers are honest with the target audience.
Trust is a significant factor when it comes to promoting third-party products. Be sure always to share the truth and disclose affiliation to the audience whenever promoting a product. That also helps avoid trouble with government regulations since all affiliates must disclose.
Sell what you know
Only market products that you also use or have tested. Imagine pushing a product to an entire audience, only to find out later that the item has no value or is flawed in some way.
That’s sure to ruin audience trust. So form the habit of testing products before recommending any to others.
Tailor products to the audience
That means promoting things that the audience wants.
Go beyond picking general categories aligned with the business by diving into analytics data. For example, we can analyze the demographics and interests features in Google Analytics to reveal user interests, helping us identify suitable products.
Another way to learn about the audience is to analyze analytics on other channels.
For instance, Facebook Insights shows demographic data for people that interact with a business page.
Pro tip: Sending surveys asking the audience questions is a reliable way to identify suitable products and content.
Place links sensibly
Place affiliate links in top-performing assets or pages.
Again, looking at analytics data is required here. For example, Google Analytics ‘pages and screens’ feature will show the best-performing pages on a website.
Leverage A/B testing
A/B test affiliate links and banners whenever possible.
A/B testing means trying out different variations of a particular thing to see which one performs best.
For instance, we may find that placing links closer to the top of the page is better than having links in the middle. Similarly, moving banners around or trying out different banner types may result in the improvement of outcomes.
Geotag affiliate links.
Geotagging allows affiliate marketers to automatically direct users from various countries to appropriate web pages using their language. For example, Amazon OneLink allows associates or affiliates to redirect users based on the origin country.
What to charge?
With affiliate marketing, third-party vendors set the price for products, and affiliates receive a percentage of each sale.
That noted, one could earn more by increasing the value of products marketed. However, remember that selling a higher value product may increase earnings per item sold but decrease sales volume.
How to find your first products
Finding products to promote as an affiliate marketer is relatively easy.
The two primary ways people identify affiliate products are through research and affiliate directories or platforms like ShareASale. The latter is by far the easiest way to find products to promote.
Other ways to identify products include searching competitor or similar sites for affiliate links and looking up programs by specific brands (e.g., Googling ‘Amazon affiliate program’).
Start with Confidence
We’ve provided four businesses that make money right away to choose from – but keep in mind that results vary.
As noted earlier, some people will achieve desired results sooner than others.
Think about skills and sustainability. For example, a person shouldn’t start a bookkeeping business if they don’t know anything about accounting or are unwilling to reach the level of competence required.
Lastly, these business models aren’t the only possible options, as practically anyone can discover more through research. So be sure to consider every business model or idea carefully, including the ones mentioned here. Good luck.