July 13, 2020

Top 10 online business ideas for entrepreneurs in 2020

Priyanka Gurnani

You have decided to take the plunge and start your journey as an online entrepreneur? Superb, but there’s one thing that is missing, a great business idea!

With so many business ideas in 2020, it can be difficult to figure out which ideas are worth pursuing. Don’t worry, I created this list to help you select an online business that you can launch easily.

This list gives you information about tools to get you started and
tips about how you develop as an online entrepreneur and start making money.

1. Niche Social Networks

Niche social networks allow users of specific interest to come together and hang out. Such kinds of social networks are more critical despite the fact that common networks are impersonal and play with user data.

You must have come across articles upon articles on the use of our data by social networking companies such as Facebook and Twitter to profit.

People are looking for safer and more intimate networks where connections are authentic and real. This is what Niche Social Networks are good at or at least aim to be.

Alright, let’s see a few glowing examples of niche networks that are doing well:

  • Nextdoor — makes it easy to connect with your neighbors and find out who’s who in your locality.
  • BikerOrNot — just as the name suggests, this is a social network for bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts. A fun place for discussing the love of bikes.
  • Librarything — this is an interesting network for book lovers. Librarything is where around 2.3 million readers, authors, and publishers hang out and discuss all things
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Chat Features you will need to build a niche social network

Now you may be wondering, “These sites look like they will take a lot of time and effort and money to build”. You are partially right. In their current successful avatars, you may feel they are too complex to build and maintain. Though, all these networks began their lives as a modest website with a basic aim of being special and passionate. You just need a theme and the right set of features to get started with a Niche Social Network business.

Coming to the features of a social network — there are a few essential things that any social network chat needs.

  • Direct & Group Chats — Manage users and chat rooms for direct and group chats.
  • Messages History — Fetch past messages from history and show counts of unread messages.
  • Typing Indicators — Send typing on/off events to indicate when someone is typing a message.
  • Read & Delivery Receipts — Indicate if the message has been delivered or read by the recipient.
  • Push Notifications — Trigger APNs/FCM mobile push notifications when users are out of the app.
  • Emoji Reactions — Send emojis or a custom reaction in response to a message.

An active social network needs real-time communication and that is where CometChat Go comes to your rescue. CometChat Go will help your social network’s users to chat instantly with their friends and peers and share media files among other things.

How to grow and monetize your niche social network

You will find lots of advice online on how to grow your users. A general rule of thumb is if your theme is very specific and talks to a certain segment of users, it is easier to target them on existing social platforms. Appeal to influencers of that community.

If you are building a niche network on gardening, find voices that are the most followed and engage with them. Initially, I would steer clear from charging any premium or pay-walling content. So you are left with ads to monetize in this scenario.

Another route to choose is to have a premium tier and use that to monetize your user base. You can make certain features premium only, like video calling or file sharing and encourage users to pay for using them.

2. Online Coaching and Advising

You have expertise in a subject and you are the boss of that chosen field. People come to you for advice on that specific topic.

Maybe you are a financial wizard, helping people with their investments and advising them on how to invest and grow their wealth. Or you are a tarot card expert and your friends pick your brains to find out what is in store for them in the future.

The point is that you have knowledge that can help others and you are thinking of moving beyond consulting friends and family.

You won’t be alone in thinking of starting up your online consulting/advisory business. Many experts are beginning to see the benefit of making their hours.

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Some examples of coaching/advising websites:

  • Zulene — offers online beauty consultations via either phone chats or video chats
  • HelloAva — a personal skincare consultant, powered by AI, deep learning and expert real dermatologists.
  • QuickConsult — provides a range of compliance solutions from tax registration to tax return filing.
  • DianaLuke — provides Clinical Hypnotherapy combined with Psychotherapy, NLP and CBT that can unlock the power of your mind.

Chat Features you will need to build a personal coaching site

You will need a few basic features on your personal coaching website. You will want to manage your meetings and sessions. And you will definitely need a way to provide your consultations, this can be done by either a group text chat, video conference or 1–1 video call. It depends on the business model that you decide.

Some experts provide better value in a personal 1–1 kind of engagement whereas others will be more effective in a group setting where collaboration is essential. You may also want to be able to charge credits for calls and chat sessions. We have listed a few essential features.

  • One-to-one chat — Let users send direct messages to other users in your application
  • Group Chat — Create public and private groups with simple authentication mechanism
  • Rich Messaging — Supports multimedia messages, attachments, carousels and more
  • Push Notifications — Notify users of new messages when the app is running in the background
  • User Roles — Set and update access rights for users with specific permissions for different roles.
  • Video Streaming Chat — Bring your live audience together so that they can comment on your stream.

So keeping these features in mind, there are a couple of ways to build an effective personal coaching website. You can set up a basic WordPress or Joomla website and add the necessary features using plugins and extensions. Or you can use a special service like teachable to develop courses, pre-registered lessons and to teach in real-time.

For text chats, audio-video conferences and groups/chat rooms with user privileges, you can use CometChat Go. It offers you the ability to charge credits for your sessions with plugins like MyCred.

There are multiple options to manage meetings and scheduling of sessions. You can use SaaS tools like calendly or popular WordPress plugins like Ultimate appointments if you are using WordPress. If you are using any other CMS or platform they have their own plugins/extensions for achieving this. You will have to research a little bit in this case as there are many options.

How to grow and acquire users

Growing a coaching and course-based website or business is tricky and satisfying at the same time. Each successful session you undertake and every student that completes your course successfully will give you instant validation.

To build your first set of users, you will need to use common tactics such as free content on your website, free ebooks, and even free one-on-one sessions. Some basic tactics include reaching out to influencers and known figures that talk about your topic and collaborating with them.

3. Yes, yet another Dating Site

Dating is tricky, right? You know this well and you have the best approach to help lonely souls out there. But you are thinking, there are soooo many websites that claim to help people find their matches, how will you differentiate?By going hyper-niche, that’s how. People are getting more and more finicky about choosing a partner.

Need more data? Alright, let’s look at some quirky and successful dating sites.

  • GlutenFreeSingles — Let’s begin with a dating site that is really unique and based on a very popular trend. This is a dating site for people who want to match with others who dislike gluten.
  • FarmersOnly — This dating website helps farmers find each other. The tag line ‘City Folk Just Don’t Get It’ makes it clear that this is for people from the heartland and close to the earth.
  • VeggieDate — is yet another dating site based on food habits. It helps vegetarians find potential partners.
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Chat Features you will need to build a niche dating website

So, you will definitely need a theme around which to build your niche dating site. Once you are ready with the niche theme, you can start building. There are specific website building tools like WPDating and DatingScript. These tools will provide a basic feature set that is required on a dating website.

Basic features needed in a dating website:

  • Media attachments — Share photos, videos, files, and more
  • Presence indicators — See who’s online when
  • Stickers & emojis — Express yourself with vibrant stickers and emojis
  • Push notifications — Don’t let important messages get missed
  • Real-time translation — Smash the communication barrier with real-time translation
  • Collaborative whiteboard — Sometimes words can’t express what a drawing can

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your dating site

This is a highly competitive space and acquiring users is not very easy. But there is some good news, users are impatient and will try out a new platform that they fancy. So, your aim should be to get noticed by trendy blogs and be featured in lists.

It won’t hurt to get some paid eyeballs if you have a budget set for promotions. Once you have a user-base built, you can start monetizing your website. There are ways to add features that users will pay for.

You can restrict free users to basic profile viewing and allow them to chat/call only when they become premium members or purchase credits.

You can allow them to check who has liked them (your dating software should be able to do this) if they are on a premium plan or have credits. I agree that this is one of the more difficult ones in terms of user acquisition and will need more work than some of the others.

But if you are passionate about this space and your website and narrative appeal to the right user group, you may well be onto something rewarding.

4. Good Old Forums

The original social networks, Forums are here to stay. These platforms are holding their own against modern microblogging networks.

Forums allow for more focused conversations around a specific topic. And because they offer a more focused conversation fashion, long and detailed discussions often happen on forums. Which in turn creates trust among users and drives an almost cult-like following.

Here are some of the most popular forums on the internet.

  • WebHostingTalk— is a well-monetized forum. You can find everything related to web hosting on this board.
  • Nairaland Forum — is one of the biggest forum in the world and the biggest from the African continent. It is a general discussion board.
  • DigitalPoint — is another well-monetized forum that hosts discussions on computers and other related tech products.
  • WarriorForum— has over 20,000 registered members online and is the most popular forum on the internet when it comes to marketing.
    Chat Features you will need in a forum:
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Features of a forum website are pretty straightforward

Show when someone is typing
Offer read receipts (show when someone has read or received message)
Share files and high-resolution photos

You will find that regular members form friendships and want a more engaging conversation. In such cases, the inbuilt inbox and messaging methods of forum software may be limiting. You can use an add-on or plugin to enable one-one and group text chats that happen in real-time. CometChat Go is one such product that offers integrations with all the major forum providers.

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your forum

Owning a forum and growing it is a long term play. You will grow consistently only if you and your forum are found to be useful by the community. So, selecting a topic that will pique your users’ interest and yours is the most important thing. You will also need to be an active participant, at least in the initial days of growth.

Once your forum has found its voice and place, you can start inviting experts to participate. They will bring their subject expertise and authority to the conversations and your forum will gain credibility.

Using other forms of outreach like email and social media will also help you keep users coming back. You can run a weekly newsletter to let users know what’s happening in the forum.

Monetizing the forum can be done in a couple of ways. You can use ads (native or via ad providers) to generate revenue. This method will start giving noticeable returns only when you have hit a high volume of traffic.

Another way to monetize is to have certain sections only available to paid members. Or you can have sponsored posts if that works for your category. As long as people are returning to the board you will find that you are able to monetize it.

5. Online Fitness & Wellness Site

The two main areas of focus this year are wellness and fitness. From improving mental health and refining your overall well-being, to working on a rejuvenating self-care routine. Today’s wellness industry is bursting with different ways to make your mind and body a lot better.

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Chat Features you will need in an online fitness and wellness site

You need a website for promoting your company or building a personal brand in a fitness and wellness market. There is nothing new under the moon and the creation of a website for the wellness and fitness sector is like any other.

Let’s discuss the essential chat features your platform should have:

  • One-to-One chat
  • Media attachments — Sharing of reports, files, images, prescriptions
  • Group Chat
  • Notification on reminders

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your online fitness & wellness site

Fitness and well-being remain one of the premium markets with a high global market for advertisers. For affiliate marketers, this niche remains one of the top. From a monetization point of view, these niches are easy to monetize as they are associated with product recommendations and visitors who are more likely to purchase them.

6. Wedding Services Marketplace

Won’t it be a great help to prospective brides and grooms if they could research all of this in one place? Does this smell like an opportunity to collect various wedding-related services under one roof? Building a wedding services marketplace website will help many prospective couples.

Like several couples beginning their quest for wedding goods and services on the internet, it seems to be appropriate to create a website for all wedding services in one place.

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Chat Features you will need in a Wedding Services Marketplace:

  • One-on-one and group messaging chat.
  • Synchronization across all platforms.
  • File & custom-data transfers (Wedding cards, images, videos)
  • Push notifications.

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your wedding services marketplace

The fact that customers need preferences, decorations, supplies and so on for their event will lead to a purchase. You will send them to trusted suppliers with goods they will always purchase. With little to no additional effort, you will receive a commission. You can also sell advertising space, this will not only increase the revenue you would produce, but also the search engine rankings will be boosted by these additional Web pages related to your site.

7. Rental Marketplace

Renting business is a fast buck concept, where both vendors and market owners will make a profit. A vendor can rent highly demanding types of equipment and even those that they no longer want to use. On the opposite, marketplace admin will hold commission fees for service provision.

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Chat Features you will need to in a Rental Marketplace:

  • Push-notifications
  • Typing indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Moderate the conversation
  • Automated image and profanity filtering

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your rental marketplace

The listing of an item or service may or may not be free. You can charge the owner of the product a commission fee, which the platform shall deduct from the total rental charges, upon successful completion of the transaction. Besides the commission, there are other sources of generating revenue like a featured listing, on page advertisement and membership/subscription fee.

The idea of renting a marketplace is very unique and has enormous potential for growth. Since such markets can be active in different geographical regions without becoming direct competitors, they are suitable for entrepreneurs who can come up with advanced features.

8. Barter platform

Today’s barter operates a little differently from online sites like Swappiness and GoSwap, where you quote the price for the stuff that you want to knock off.

Combining our often-materialistic, hierarchical culture with the power of the Internet to put together buyers, sellers, and traders, online bartering has spawned a multitude of new sites and communities. People are now starting to search for new ways of obtaining the goods and services that they want and need in an affordable manner.

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Chat Features you will need to build a Barter Platform

The general goal should be addressing the main audience and their pain points. Here are a few chat features that will help you craft a platform that your customers will love.

  • Push notifications
  • Typing Indicators
  • Send and Receive Structured Media
  • Delivery and read receipts
  • User to User Blocking

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your barter platform

You can introduce a freemium model, where access to premium features will only be charged. Such features may include improving listings, defined area searches, and subscribing to updates for a specific product or service. You can also introduce a currency to facilitate category-wide bartering. The currency would be in the form of coins and can be bought by users if they have no other goods or services to barter.

Every project and product at the first launch stage today requires a strong marketing campaign to become recognizable in the marketplace and to attract potential users. You need to place your product globally and initially aim at growing the audience and increasing the platform’s potential user base.

9. Remote Jobs Marketplace

Working remotely is not only a perk in this situation but a necessity. Running your own remote job platform can be a perfect business idea.

Fortunately, anybody can create a job marketplace. All you need is the right platform and the right tools. For example, you can find plugins that are simple and easy to set up.

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Chat features you will need in a Remote Job Marketplace

  • Multiple Chat Support
  • Smiley/Emoticon Support
  • Chat Notifications
  • User to user blocking
  • Announcement messages

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your marketplace

As the name suggests, a remote job marketplace is a place for people to post and respond to job offers. You may even have used one in the past to find employment. What you may not know is that running your own remote job website may be worthwhile.

You can earn revenue by charging business owners and/or job seekers for posting and answering listings, or keep both free and publish ads. You shouldn’t have a hard time attracting members if you set up a marketplace and curate its listings to ensure that it’s something seekers will be interested in.

10. Online Tutors Marketplace

On the basis of a simple business model, an online tutoring network provides students with their academic inquiries and immediate answers. Help requests are made by tutors who are experts in the field specified. Students can choose the tutors best suited to their inquiry.

While smaller questions are answered free of charge, others come with a fee from which the platform retains a share. This is the way to make most of your website’s money.

Although the majority of users on the website are university students, the number of secondary school students are increasing due to COVID-19 lockdown who are not able to attend school.

The business model has many big names:

  • StudyPool — provides help with homework questions from verified tutors 24/7 on demand.
  • Tutor.com — they help get a tutor 24/7 in 40+ subjects including Math, Science and English.
  • Wyzant — quick online scheduling for in-person and online tutoring help.
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Chat Features you will need to build an Online Tutors Marketplace

Below are our key chat features, which will certainly shift your website perspective.

  • Virtual Classroom Broadcasts
  • One-to-One & Group Video Chat
  • Collaborative Whiteboard
  • Live Training
  • File Sharing
  • Push Notifications

Are you planning to start a similar website? If you want something like it, look for CometChat Go.

How to grow, acquire users and monetize your forum

As a business, your main aim should be to increase the number of tutor sign-ups. Another core intent should be many of those who subscribe to teach for a longer time. Your aim should be to increase the functionality of the platform with the introduction of additional features to track the progress of students and to help them achieve learning goals.

You can monetize your business by asking tutors to pay a subscription fee for featuring in the marketplace search results. Apart from that, you can charge a transaction fee which is generally a percentage of each transaction. You can also include a paid listing feature that tutors can use if they like to appear at the top of search results.

Bottomline

Think well about your marketing plan and business philosophy and turn it into your website. Look at competitors and frontrunners, to explore the simple and advanced features their sites provide. Develop bearing in mind the core customer’s pain points. Make sure your web design is quick and simple to use on the smartphone and put security at the top.

Did I miss anything? Tell me in the comments section below.