No business—particularly a small one—can be all things to all people. The more narrowly you can define your target market, the better. This process is known as creating a niche and is key to success for even the biggest companies. Walmart and Tiffany are both retailers, but they have very different niches: Walmart caters to bargain-minded shoppers, while Tiffany appeals to upscale jewelry consumers.
Last but not least, you can also earn money online by building an online community, although the monetization strategies you can pursue will vary a lot depending on your goals. You can build a community with a blog, for example. You can also build an online forum and charge people for membership. You could even build up a Facebook group and use your influence there to sell and promote products.
The music industry might not be as strong as it was in the 80s, but there are still plenty of ways to make money online as a musician. Sites like SoundBetter let you sell your services as a songwriter, producer, or session musician to thousands of customers a month. While Musicbed, Music Vine, Marmoset, and SongFreedom are perfect for licensing your music to TV shows, movies, and web series.
Some businesses may be interested in adding other types of paid content to your website. This could include videos, podcasts, or any other material that would work with your site and help a business market itself. Always make sure that paid content isn’t too promotional. It needs to add value to your audience first and foremost, and not just present as an advert.
Authenticity and relevance. Consumer trust for brands and major corporations is near an all-time low. People don’t trust advertising messages or PR from brands because they know there’s an ulterior motive in play; brands want to make money. But targeting a specific niche and speaking directly to them allows you to create content that comes across as more relevant, and therefore more sincere and authentic.
Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent. 
Corrisa, thank you for adding your thoughts on Annie’s list. I wholeheartedly agree with your points to consider and would encourage anyone looking to join a network marketing-based business to do their due diligence before signing up. As I have found in my past ventures into home based businesses, the KEY to success is to treat your business as exactly that and not a hobby or trending fad.
Have you ever thought of turning your passion into a business? Many businesses offer a wide range of products or services but struggle to become the market leader for each of their offerings. Instead of targeting a broad population, your idea could focus on a small portion of potential customers. Narrowing your scope provides the opportunity to be the best at what you do.
Drop shipping is another great ‘hands-off’ way to sell products. Firstly you will need to find businesses that sell products in your niche that offer a drop shipping service. Then you will need to create a website promoting and selling the products. When you make a sale, you take the payment on your site and then the manufacturer ships the goods to the buyer. The profit comes from charging a higher rate than the manufacturer, and if you are selling a high number of products this can quickly add up to a healthy revenue.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t really an at-home business, as most of the work takes place outside the home. But for dog lovers who don’t want other people’s pets staying overnight, dog walking is a viable business idea with a low barrier to entry. Still, there are considerations including researching the state of your local dog-walking market and addressing licensing and insurance concerns.
One of the biggest questions you’ll need to answer as you formulate plans to start your business is where you will locate it. Will you work from home or set up an office, storefront or other commercial space? In some cases, you’ll have no choice, as the needs of your business or zoning laws may decide for you. But very often, the decision will be yours. If you’re trying to decide whether to start a home-based business vs. brick and mortar business, each option has pluses and minuses, so here are some things to consider.
If you have a good idea for an app, and the skills to create it, then producing your own premium app can be profitable. However, with so many free apps available, it may be hard to convince people to pay. If you want to go down the premium app route, consider having a basic free version to encourage people to download the app in the first place. You can then provide the option of upgrading to a premium plan once users realize how useful the app is.
Knowing that you need to make every marketing dollar count, niche marketing can help you to abide by the Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule. This theory purports that roughly 80% of your results will come from just 20% of your efforts. When applied to marketing in general, that means 80% of your efforts are not directly tied to your results. In other words, less is more, and this is where niche marketing comes in.
With whom do you want to do business? Be as specific as you can. Identify the geographic range and the types of businesses or customers you want your business to target. If you don’t know whom you want to do business with, you can’t make contact. “You must recognize that you can’t do business with everybody,” Falkenstein cautions. Otherwise, you risk exhausting yourself and confusing your customers.