Successful Business Ideas

Small online business ideas.

Firstly let me say this is a subject covered all over the internet especially Youtube where endless courses are plugged for large amounts of money.
Personally I have never purchased any of these courses as if it was that good of a business idea you would keep it to yourself!

When I left my 25 years computer freelance career I wanted to start an online business I could run from home. I began this journey in summer 2016 and it was a arduous one so be warned!

One of the biggest problems was finding free online help on how to setup a small online business, so my first port of call was researching books and reading one book every 2 weeks and taking notes. I have put a couple of links to my favoutite books on the right hand side of this post. A couple of the key points I learned from these books were,

1. Road to entry – how easy is it to setup a online business in this area.
2. Do you have control of your business.
3. Need or demand for your product or service.
4. Timing.


You have to resist jumping into a business idea without checking the facts first. Also you cannot be too over carefull as well, you need to find the right balance.

Let’s move onto our first online business idea.

1. Digital Products

This is my favourite for a number of reasons which I will  explain now.

Once you have written/produced a digital product you basically have no supplier costs and you are in charge and control. I wrote a eBook on how to make a million pounds being a freelance computer consultant. I spent approximately a month writing it and getting the eBook designed with a nice cover and that was that. Once I started selling it on website or portal like eBay it was just a matter of the customer downloading the eBook or sending it in the post on a CD. 

I then took this business idea and wrote another eBook and repeated the same process this gave me a passive income with very little overheads. You are basically putting all the work in upfront and then getting the financial return later.  But let’s get honest here there is more to this than meets the eye. I will give you a honest view on this as so many present this as just simply write/produce a digital product and sell it! 

You have to factor in marketing costs if you are using your own website or Facebook etc. If you want sell your ebook via your own website you have website hosting costs like GoDaddy or Siteground.

Your quickest route to market is to sell on a online portal like eBay as you have a ready made audience with no marketing costs. You will be charged a fee on each sale so it is swings and roundabouts.

Writing your ebook

You should try to write a ebook on a subject matter you are passionate about and your are an expert in. If your ebook solves a problem and that particular problem has a high target population then even better. If you cannot write a ebook get a ghost writer or sell other people’s ebooks ( with their permission of course ). I personally like to write my own ebooks as you have copyright plus if you are an epert in that subject area nd there is a demand for solving a problem then you are on to a winner!

Another advantage of writing your own ebook is that you have control of the asset being sold and noone can copy it legally. This is one o the key aspects in business control. You also need demand for your product and then pricing which I will mention now. When I first wrote my ebook i struggled with the pricing should I sell it for £79 or £29 etc. Was I too cheap or expensive what does someone really want to pay for this ebook?

So I made a big mistake I went to cheap!  I sold 3 ebooks at £9.99  and then realised how much money I could possibly be losing i.e.  money left on the table. I then raised the price to £29 and I still got sales and then increased the price untill the sales stopped and then decreased the price untill the sales started again. So it is importatnt to get the price point right as by selling N x products at the wrong price point is a great deal of money not in your pocket.

We have see the business principals Demand + Control + Price + Entry To Market we aslo need to look how we get our product i.e. ebook know to the world. In business there is the following rule Marketing 80% Logistics 10% Admin 10% this is how time should be allocated. Without marketing you have no sales if you have the best ebook in the world to solve weight loss you cannot sell it if no one knows about it.

So how do we market our ebook?

If you are selling on a portal like ebay the customers are already there however a crappy listing of your ebook will do you no favours here. So ensure you get a professinal ebay listing completed. You can always outsource this on fiverr or upwork and someone else to help you with your enay listing.


If you are selling your ebook on your own website then you have to get traffic to this website. Even more important when you get vistors to your website you have to ensure you get their email for future ebook releases and product upsells.

My personal favourite for driving traffic to my websites is via Google Adwords i.e. PPC – Pay Per Click. This has worked very well for me and I have managed to master this over the last 3 years however I did make mistakes and that did cost me money! You can outsource your Adwords setup but personally I think it’s a massive expense with no guaranteed results.


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