If you’ve ever Googled ‘online business ideas’ then you know how many options come up, and how hard it is to tell which ones have the lowest risks, aren’t packed with a ton of hidden startup costs, and would TRULY give you the freedom you desire. I felt the same way before starting my business!
Watch the video—Copywriting vs Top Online Business Ideas: Which Is Best for You?—for the top online business ideas, from vacation rentals to network marketing, coaching, virtual assistance, copywriting, and more!
Hear pros and cons for each and how to tell which is right for YOU based on your career goals, financial targets, and lifestyle. I also share more about my personal (most underrated) favorite and why… the caveat being that whatever path is right for YOU, I totally honor and celebrate!
Popular Online Business Ideas: Pros & Cons to Each
Network marketing is when you sell products on behalf of a company and get other people to sell those products on your team. You generally get a percentage for every product that you sell and that your team sells.
While network marketing can be profitable, according to the Federal Trade Commission, only 1% of network marketers actually MAKE money. You often have to purchase products ahead of time and then sell them before you can recoup your costs.
I knew that, to make decent money, I would have to build a large online following and sell a ton of products. But beyond my friends and family, I wasn’t sure I could sell thousands of products, and I just didn’t personally feel that I was the gal who could confidently sell products in DMs. I loved taking breaks from social media and didn’t want my business to DEPEND on social media to make money.
Compared to Content Writing: With copywriting and content writing, I loved that I could pitch brands directly, without having to build a social media following to get clients. I also loved that brands already KNEW they needed content (like blog posts, social media, and email newsletters) so it I could scale quickly earning $100/hour.
Another popular option is purchasing a home and putting it on a site like Airbnb or VRBO.
But for me personally, I felt more comfortable pursuing a side hustle that didn’t require massive monthly payments or for me to be on-call as a landlord.
Everyone I knew was getting into Airbnbs, so for me it felt like at some point, there could be more supply than demand, and I didn’t want to be left with a massive mortgage if Airbnbs become oversaturated, a recession hit, or the housing market changed and there was no longer a way to offload my property.
Compared to Content Writing: I decided that content writing felt like the leanest, safest way to scale up or down any time. With content, there are little to no startup costs; you don’t even need a website—only your laptop. Basically everything you make is profit from day one. There is very little to lose, so it’s all upside.
Virtual assistants help business owners with tasks like posting on social media, engaging on social media, making small edits to graphics, and uploading files.
For me personally, I felt like I had enough tasks in the corporate world that I didn’t LOVE doing, that I was nervous about locking myself into another profession where I was following someone else’s schedule, priorities, or tasks. If I was going to start my own business, I wanted to be able to CHOOSE the projects that lit me up as my own boss.
Compared to Content Writing: I also loved the creativity of writing. The mix of left-brain strategy and right-brain creativity. I loved that I could get paid to write about things that I would spend time learning about anyway.
Financially, I also loved that it enabled me to scale to higher rates quickly—charging $50 to $100/hour, whereas the market rate for virtual assistants is usually slightly lower, starting around $20/hour. I knew that if I was going to spend an hour working, I wanted to earn the maximum rate for my time, so $50 to $100/hour felt like the clearer option to start with and scale up from, because even starting at $50/hour is a 6-figure year.
My first leap into entrepreneurship was actually as a wellness coach, because I was so passionate about wellness, and coaching seemed like a logical way to pursue it. And while I loved helping others, it took me YEARS to finally gain traction, build an online following, and learn how to translate followers into clients. Those years were expensive, leading to business debt I never thought I would take on and completely drying up my savings.
Ironically, as my business finally became more successful, I found myself in more calls than before I left corporate America. Those back-to-back calls made it so I could rarely travel, unless I took calls at all hours of the night across timezones. I wanted to find a way to make a difference AND create more freedom in my life.
Compared to Content Writing: Writing for businesses provided this rare balance, which is why I believe it’s such an underrated income stream. The best part is, one I transitioned to content writing, I was able to still write about the industries that I was most passionate about. And instead of only being able to reach one person at a time, as with my coaching calls, I could reach thousands of people who read my writing. I felt fulfilled AND free with content writing.
So that’s why I landed on content writing (and why I think it’s still one of the most underrated online businesses out there, where you can get started with zero startup costs and risk, so everything you make from day one is profit).
To learn more, check out this free training on how to build a 6-figure content-writing business (even if you’re new to writing).
Ready for Your Biggest, Brightest Life?
Get my book here! It’s called Your Bright Life: Get Clear on What You Want, Overcome Self-Doubt, and Bring Your Dreams to Life.
Sign up for a free training: 5 steps to build a 6-figure copywriting business (even if you’ve never written professionally before)! I’ll break down what I learned in 15 years in the industry, a journalism degree, and being inside global brands mentoring writers AND on the outside as a writer getting clients and building a business… so YOU can create more freedom and fulfillment as your own boss, too!
P.S. More on this topic: Work From Home Series: How Becoming a Copywriter Changed My Life and Online Businesses with Low Startup Costs and Risk.