In today’s world, there are only a few ways to make money. One is to works a day, the other is to start a business. There’re also passive income streams like earning interest in your savings account and other investments. However, they take decades to grow into giving us a living wage if that goal is ever reached. This means that day jobs and business are the best 2 choices to make money. However, with the advancement of technologies, jobs are being eliminated quickly and good ones are harder and harder to get. Hoping for a job that lasts forever is a dream. Also, we may also want more time for ourselves or we don’t like our bosses or colleagues. It’s also nice to have another income even if we like our jobs.
Most people don’t have much money saved, but this doesn’t mean we can’t start a business. Technology gives us more opportunities to start a business online, which is impossible just 20-something years ago. However, there’s isn’t much out there to help do that. Even self-help books like Lean Startup are lacking in actionable items that we can do to at least makes a few dollars. Like most books, it goes straight into the success story and skipped how business is started and people struggled.
After trying some things, I have come up with something that works. One is selling software as a service, another is selling things on demand, and lastly, blogging.
Selling Software as a Service
This one is the hardest one. It requires a lot of testing to make what people will buy and come up with solution for their problems. First you have to collect feedback from potential customers through in-person and online interaction. Then you have to take the feedback and build a prototype of the software that you can sell. After that, potential customers have to try and collect more feedback.
How do you get potential customers? You have to ask people online and in person. To interact with people online, you have to build our social media presence. This means that you have to follow people and some follow back. Then interact with your followers and see what they think. Of course, follow potential customers that you’re targeting so you don’t waste time following people that don’t want our stuff.
If you have money, you can also sell ads online, but it’s pretty much the last resort since lots of ads don’t work that well. Also, it takes lots of experimentation to get results from them.
Next, we’ve to build stuff according to feedback. This isn’t easy, but it’s easier than the previous part. We actually have to build the solution and host it app online. Then we have to maintain and support customers that use it. This is hard since we probably won’t make enough to live on from your app, so you’ve to do both at the same time.
Then once your app has a big enough customer base to make enough money for you to live on, then you’re golden. This may take a long time and lots of brainpower. However, the risk is low since you only have to pay for hosting and do everything else yourself, so you don’t have to pay more money.
Selling Things on Demand
Another business idea is to sell things on demand. This means that you only buy inventory when customers order them, then you ship it. This is different from dropshipping in that you’re doing the buying and delivering instead of someone else.
As long as the thing you’re selling is easy to buy and ship, it shouldn’t be too difficult. As usual, you need a social media presence to promote your stuff, but this is the same for any other online business.
The risk is low because you only buy when someone orders the stuff you listed, so this means you don’t have to stock inventory. This means that you only pay for the hosting of your store and not much else until someone buys. This also means you’ve to price your product with a high enough margin so you can live off the profit.
It’s easy to get feedback and validate the market since you find out what people orders. Then you can adjust what you list and pricing accordingly.
Once someone orders, you must act quickly to deliver the product to them to keep them happy.
At least for the short term, blogging on Medium can at least make you a few dollars and cents as long as you put your articles behind the paywall. This means that you’ve to enroll in the Medium Partner Program. Once you did, by default, your article should be behind the paywall.
Payout is calculated by reading time so that you can make money off of your articles. Even with a few readers, you get a few dollars and cents for it so it’s pretty likely that you’ll make some money. You don’t have to pay anything to be a writer on Medium, so business cost is zero. This means that the payout is straight profit. Pretty hard to find this anywhere else.
In the long term, you may also consider host your own blog to host your content in a platform that you own. You can use your Medium to direct traffic to your own blog if you wish. Then you can monetize it by displaying ads, selling merchandise, letting people pay to post on your blog, etc.
Of course, once again, you can use social media to promote your blog by gaining followers by the follow for follow method outlined above.
Out of the 3 business ideas, selling software as a service is the hardest since it requires lots of feedback to validate the market. Then you’ve to think of solutions to the problem and implement it, which wouldn’t be easy since all the simple problems have free apps for them. Selling on demand is less hard and also a low-risk business since you order inventory as people order them. Lastly, blogging is low risk and needs very little capital since you just write and post them online. You can use Medium to get paid faster with your posts or you can host them in your own blog and monetize it with ads, paid guest posts, etc. The most important thing to know is that all 3 businesses take a long time to grow. Don’t try to reproduce instant success. It probably won’t work.