When you are trying to decide the best online business to start, there are many things to take into consideration. Your business should be something you will enjoy doing, that you are good at doing, and that is in demand.

If you don’t have those three things, you may give up before you start making money because starting an online business isn’t guaranteed overnight money. It takes time, just like any other business startup. On average, it will take you about three years of consistency to earn a living with any business you start.

Here are some questions to think about. Your answers will help you decide.

What do you enjoy doing?

This probably seems like a weird question. Most people have been taught from an early age that work is not fun, and that work is a four-letter word to be hated. But this is something that totally is a disservice to most of society. You can find something you like doing, and earn money by doing it.

What are you good at doing?

If you’re not sure what you like doing, you can start with what you’re good at doing. Most of us are good at doing things we enjoy doing. For example, if you have a passion for cooking, can you find something within that niche to turn into an online business? If you love traveling, what about that idea? Plenty of people make a lot of money in both niches, so why not you?

What education and experience do you have?

Another way to look at ideas is to consider what education and/or experience you have right now. For example, you may hate your accounting job right now, but would you enjoy teaching others about accounting, bookkeeping, or other related issues instead? You can create non-certified courses for small business owners and others and earn great money doing it.

Do you want to provide services or have more passive income?

One thing to think about is whether you are comfortable providing services for others, or if you’d rather have a more passive type of income such as via affiliate marketing. Remember that no income is truly passive, though – you do have to do work. But with services, you’re trading hours for dollars and with passive income, you generally do the work once and earn money again and again. You can do both too, starting with services to earn money faster, while also building your passive income.

How much do you need to earn to replace your job or live your dreams?

One thing to always know is your numbers. If you know how much you need to make to reach your goals and live your dream life, that will help you evaluate potential business ideas. You’ll need to know whether the business you choose has the potential. For example, with a service-based business, you may be limited unless you can bring on others and outsource some of the work, because time is limited.

What is profitable and in-demand right now from the above?

When you look at the ideas you’ve now generated, which ones have the most promise to live up to your needs and wants? Is there enough demand that you can build the business to the level you want to build it? If you’re selling some form of widget on FBA for example, can you buy enough to make the profit you need? If you’re doing a service, how many clients will you need to reach your goal?

Which ideas help you live the lifestyle you desire outside of income potential?

There are things to consider outside of income too. For example, how many hours can you really work? If you have a service business, you probably can’t really work 40 billable hours a week. You may only be able to fit in 20 billable hours a week. If you can work 20 hours a week, how long will it probably take you to build up enough content and marketing to live the lifestyle you want in terms of time off and location?

How much money do you have for startup?

Knowing your numbers for startup is important too. No matter which business you choose to begin, you’ll need money for startup. You’ll need a website, technology for email marketing, hosting, software, and other things for your business. You may even need a business license, tax id, and a few legal things that you need to know about. Contact your local SCORE.org office to get help with this.

How much time can you devote to your new business?

We mentioned this earlier, but this is important. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can work 80 hours a week. Most people aren’t going to want to do that for too long. Be realistic about the time you have. Some business ideas can be started with only an hour a day. While it will take longer to make a profit, one hour a day for an entire year will add up and eventually you will experience success if that hour is productive and accomplished with a plan.

Are you willing to be consistent without being paid?

This is key to starting any business, whether it’s online or not. You will work for free for some time until you finally get to a point of profitability. You should, of course, know that number and be realistic about how long it will take. Your research into the ideas should help. Find someone who is profitable, follow them, find out when they began and know that if they did it, and you are consistent, you can do it too.

Starting an online business is a great way to create a lifestyle that you enjoy living. But, you must be realistic as you develop your business. Create a plan, and figure out what you enjoy doing, are good at doing, and is in-demand, so that it has profit potential before you start. Then stick to it. You can do it.

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I've been designing and marketing websites and businesses for over 24 years and prior to this I worked in sales, marketing and big business for almost 18 years... which makes me not only old, but also highly experienced at this marketing and Internet stuff.  I've won lots of awards and helped thousands of people, and this website is a testament to the information I share freely to help others succeed online.

When I'm not designing websites, doing this online marketing stuff or writing. I love nothing more than getting out on a weekend and scuba diving. I'm a qualified rescue diver and love getting wet in the waters around Perth and Rottenest Island. I also cycle, which must be a sight as I'm not the thinnest of people (lol)... and a paddle on a kayak or a swim helps makes most weeks, perfect. At home I have a marine reef tank, which I just love and on top of that I've an awesome dog, called Ziggy.

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