In recent times, Corona Virus has opened our eyes to seeing hidden opportunities online. Lots of digital businesses have witnessed explosive growth in demand as global lock-down pushed Internet users worldwide to seek for new income sources online.
While existing career opportunities are experiencing increasing attention from the public, new profitable digital business ideas have not stopped jumping in the scene. In this post, I want to discuss some lucrative ideas to start and run a sustainable digital business.
What makes working online as a freelancer interesting is the fact that many of these freelancing ideas do not require heavy capital to begin with. With $500 or less, you can start right away and watch as your income increases within a short period of time.
11 hot ideas to start a successful digital business
1 – Graphic design or UX design business
This is one of the digital businesses that are exploding online these days. Graphic design is all about creating visual content to communicate messages. It includes logo design, banner creatives, website templates, book covers, business cards, product labels, T-shirt design, Email marketing templates, infographic design, signs, mobile apps, software interfaces, etc.
When it comes to graphics and design as a business, the list is long. This is because of the diversity in visual needs of users of digital devices and most of these require specific skills and tools to deliver excellence.
The UI/UX design segment is becoming more attractive due to the growing demand in websites, web applications, mobile apps, desktop software and video games. If you have some design and marketing skills, switching to establishing a freelancing business as a UX designer could be very lucrative. UX design is all about making sure that an app or website is designed in a way that gives the user the best experience possible. That means making sure that it is pleasant, easy to navigate, and easy to use. Here Coren shares with us his experience moving from full-time worker to freelancing in UX design. According to him, getting work is hard (especially for starters), but not impossible. (More tips on this are below.)
As WordPress and other Content Management Systems (CMS) gradually take over the web, the web design business is moving towards creating templates for these CMSs. Besides coding knowledge required by the technology powering these website applications, you will need skills in creating visual elements to make the templates appealing and attractive.
Logo design, book covers, business cards, flyers, and web banner designs have been so facilitated in recent times. Apps and design tools make it possible to pick from a huge library of design templates, customize and export to finished products. With little knowledge of using complex design tools like Photoshop, you can start and run a successful design business with the help of online template-based graphics design platforms like Canvas, visme, designhill, etc. If you want to become a UX designer, you will use programs such as Adobe XD, Figma, Axure, etc. All you need to keep using these tools is to pay the monthly fee which for the most part is within reach.
2 – Consultancy business
This is a lucrative online business idea. If you are an expert in some field, you can simply switch to consultancy and make money advising people who need assistance in your field.
For some industries, you may not even need a licence to be successful. For digital careers, all you need is to set up an online presence and be found by clients. Helping people in areas like SEO, blogging, social media marketing and many IT related businesses does not necessarily require a licence especially if you function purely online without a brick and mortar office site.
Some quick consultancy ideas are:
- Financial Consultancy
- Legal Consultancy
- Marketing Consultancy
- UX & UI Designing Consultancy
- Fitness Consultancy
- Career Consultancy
- WordPress Consultancy
- YouTube Consultancy
- Environment Consultancy
- College Counseling
- Dating Consultancy
- Wedding Consultancy
- Music Consultancy
As a matter of fact, the list is endless. People need help in all industries. You just have to be smart and bring your expertise to offer them help and be paid.
Online consultancy tools ain’t a problem at all. You basically need a calendar and a communication tool. The calendar tool will allow your clients to book or take appointments and make payments. It shows your marketplace when you are available and when you are not. The communication tools will allow you to communicate with clients and share files, screenshots and other materials. All of these are available online. You just need to google and come up with a long list to pick from.
3 – SEO Services
Search Engine Optimization has become a complex field. Because this isn’t something anyone can do and because the demand keeps building up, there is a need for people to focus on it and acquire the skills needed. While becoming an SEO consultant is a digital business on its own, you may want to span out or focus on specific SEO activities like Link building, Auditing, Software, etc.
If you are good at optimizing sites for good ranking, with SEO applications like SEMrush, aHref, etc in the market, it may be easy to establish an auditing business. These apps help you identify issues with site content and configuration and make some proposals for optimizations.
4 – Social media Marketing/manager
Social media has grown beyond social to covering business and politics. Creating and running social media campaigns is so demanding and daunting. Brands now are looking for social media specialists to help them as they seek to acquire new customers and expand their businesses.
As a Social Media Manager or Community Manager, you help companies develop and implement content strategies on different Social Media platforms in order to increase their online presence and improve their marketing and sales efforts. It’s no rocket-science to become a social media manager. However, as a successful community manager, you will need all or most of these skills.
5 – Blogging business
Blogging is fast becoming one of the biggest channels of content creation and distribution. As a blogger, you create and market content to build a marketplace. Once your marketplace is growing, you will be able to generate income in several ways.
Like in many of these freelancing businesses, you don’t need any specific skills to become a successful blogger. However, blogging about what you already do could be a quick step to early success in the activity. A successful blogging strategy begins with content topics to identify marketing channels and monetizing your effort. Don’t jump into blogging without proper thought on where to start and how to continue.
6 – Article writing business
Article writing is a profitable business idea for people who are good with words. You will be doing jobs like writing for newspapers, magazines, journals, etc. and your writings will be to deliver news, research results, academic analysis, debate, etc.
This business requires a lot of research and writing skills and to be a successful writer, you will have to cover a wide variety of topics.
6 – Proofreading business
This is a high-paying and profitable skill that you can learn at home. On most career platforms, you will find a lot of proofreading jobs.
Proofreaders are highly needed in today’s world of content marketing. They are important because when you are writing you can accidentally make small mistakes that you don’t notice even if you read it back. A proofreader will be able to spot mistakes in sentences and words and edit quickly.
As a successful proofreader, you have to be superlative and demonstrate good article editing skills. You will need to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
7 – Voiceover Acting business
Do you have a great voice? Well, you may be able to turn that into an income source.
As a voice over actor, you use your voice to market a product, entertain, narrate a story, mimic a character, etc. This article can help you develop your natural given voice into a hot business.
8 – Article Translation business
Are you bilingual or multilingual? If you are fluent in more than one business language, this may just be an opportunity for you to start a freelance translation business.
As businesses grow beyond borders, as the Internet makes it possible for businesses to connect worldwide, the need for translation is eminent. You may not have to go get some other skills to start translating content online. All you have to do is sign up to job platforms and state your language skills. Once you are noticed, jobs will start coming your way.
9 – Data entry Business
This includes typing of information into electronic formats. Data entry goes with lots of typing and you have to type information from hard-copies, voice recordings or videos to a Word document, excel or any software for further processing.
10 – Copywriting Business
Copywriters are different from article writers. They are experts who assist the sales team of a company in creating content for marketing. They research, plan and write copies aimed at promoting and marketing goods and services on behalf of their clients.
As a copywriter, you will need to develop your skills to write sales letters, blog posts, advertisements, technical documents for products, etc.
11 – Photography Business
A good photographer isn’t just someone who carries the camera around but someone who has a very keen eye for detail. He must be able to manipulate his equipment and capture moments from an angle that makes his photos stand out.
There are three ways to make money online as a photographer:
- Get hired to shoot photos during events. You can apply for photo shooting opportunities near you from online job platforms.
- Sign Up to premium photo platforms and submit your images. This way, you share profit with the platform each time your image is ordered. Some widely used platforms to sell your photos are Shutterstock, iStockphoto, offset, Depositphotos.
- Get paid to edit photos and apply special effects. To do this, you must also be able to use photo editing software.
Getting freelance jobs and growing your online business
It’s one thing to get the skills and another thing to be found and hired. The quickest way forward is to subscribe to freelancing platforms and start tapping from the already existing marketplace.
There are however two main points you have to deal with in this case:
- As a new member, you may find it hard to get hired because of competition and the presence of more experienced workers with very attractive profiles. But that shouldn’t be a problem at all. With some patience and smartness, you will soon climb up to the top.
- Freelance platforms will list your platform and help clients find you for free. However, they will take a cut of your income for using their platform.
To enlarge your market and stand a chance of getting more jobs, join more job platforms, use professional profile pictures and make sure there are no blank spaces on your profile page.
These job platforms have the prerogative to suspend or disable your account without prior notification. If this happens, you may suffer serious consequences if you didn’t spread out.
This can always happen because you don’t have control over their platforms. One of the things I recommend you do is create your own blog where you showcase your skills and sell your services.
In today’s information world, anyone can get busy and be paid. Freelancing jobs abound and for many opportunities, there is no need for physical contact anymore. Getting started doesn’t have to be expensive. I hope these days have set your brain to work.