It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who've done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
I like these ideas! Besides being good ideas in themselves, they stimulate MORE ideas! Some of them reminded me of something I was reading about called Craigslist arbitrage – buying low and selling high on craigslist, kind of like the first part of the old Oregon Trail game, but with washers and dryers and bicycles instead of cases of crackers and horses. Sounds like fun! Anyway, that one about the pooper-scooper business, that works, I know because I was quite successful in the pooper-scooper service I started back in 1988! I’ve been in the industry for 25 years now, though I don’t go out and scoop any more.
There are no office politics. And no dress code! It’s true, you really can work in your pajamas if you want to (although you might feel more productive if you get dressed). Depending on whether you have any employees working with you at home, no one knows what you’re wearing and no one cares. Similarly, there’s no office pecking order and no gamesmanship from other workers.
Hold a yard sale. If you have a yard or garage and plenty of items to sell, you can have a yard sale as early as tomorrow. By advertising your sale on local Facebook pages and Craigslist, you can also skip the paid newspaper ad and keep all of the profits for yourself. If you don’t have time to price everything, try asking patrons to “make an offer” or grouping similar items on tables with an advertised price (e.g. everything on this table is $5).
Small businesses know they have to get online, but finding the time to figure out how is proving a real challenge for small business owners of every stripe. If you're Internet-savvy and know how local businesses can harness the power of local search, coupon pages and social media, you could be working from home helping small business owners promote their companies online.
If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re promoting your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
Equally, you can charge businesses to ‘claim’ their listing, a method used by many large directory sites like Google Business and Yelp. This involves companies paying to upgrade their listing and adding information such as their web address, social media links, images, and more. Other revenue streams include charging for ad space, adding affiliate links and even charging for services and products on your directory site.
Market research analysts research, analyze, and report on key components of the targeted niche market with close attention to identifying trends and competitive insights to help inform the marketing strategy. Effective market research analysts have a strong familiarity with the different types of research options, expertise in gathering and analyzing data, and excellent communications and presentation skills.
There are loads of job listings for freelancers on major job boards, and you can always advertise your services (and look for work) on craigslist or LinkedIn. Once the jobs start rolling in, don’t be afraid to go to previous clients and ask for more work. Steady work is the best work for freelancers. If all else fails at first, just write. Start a blog. Build clips. Get writing!
Many big businesses are looking for social media influencers to become long-term ambassadors for their brand. This would involve you working closely with one particular band, and promoting their clothes, products, and services. You may also be restricted from promoting other brands, so check out the small print before agreeing to any long-term agreements.
You can set up a website, gradually build up the content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.), then eventually monetize the site through advertising, affiliate marketing, or even the direct sale of specific products or services. Even better, you can generally find whatever services and technical assistance you need online and free of charge. Later on, when your site develops a reliable cash flow, you can begin working with paid providers who can take your blog to the next level.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
Boundaries can be overstepped. Similarly, your family will need to respect your boundaries, and the lines can sometimes blur. It may look like you’re not working even when you are. It may be easier for family and friends to take you less seriously when you work from home, so you need to be vigilant about maintaining a proper separation and level of professionalism, and teach everyone to respect your time and space.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
There are quite literally hundreds of clever ways to make money online. From taking online surveys, to renting or selling your old clothes, flipping your iPhone to someone in a different country, and even buying low-cost products locally, just to resell them for a higher price on Amazon. There’s truly no shortage of unique ways to make money online.
Marketing to a niche is much easier than appealing to a broad market, since a niche has much more in common in terms of needs, wants, or preferences. Selling handbags is a huge market, for example, and there are many niches with many different uses for a handbag within it. You might have new moms who want a handbag that can be used as a diaper bag, you might have college students who need a bag to hold their books, single women in need of an evening bag to hold their phone, keys, and credit cards, vacationing moms who want a large beach bag to hold their family’s gear, and many more.