IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is not a comprehensive list. Your new business idea might fit comfortably into one of these buckets. It might not.
This is all for the exercise of making some decisions about starting your business online, getting some new clarity and finding who out there you can learn from (even if they’re in a totally different industry).
Questions To Ask Yourself
- If you had a magic wand and could immediately have a successful online business, which business model above would you choose? Removing all the obstacles, which one feels like the best fit for you?
- Who in the same business model or niche market could you observe to watch and learn from? How would they plan your next business moves? Who are the people in business you admire?
- Let’s say in 10 years you’ve successfully combined 3 of these online business models. Which ones do you want them to be?
I’ve added specific examples broken down for each so you can revisit the bits and pieces.
But do give the whole list a go if you’re looking to launch a product or business in 2017… there’s a lot to pickup from the 10,000 foot view.
A teacher researches specific topics, tactics, and strategies to help her customers solve specific problems. Rather than delivering them through freelancing or traditional books, the teacher uses digital products like eBooks, online courses, and membership websites.
Examples of teachers include…
2. Thought Leaders
A thought leader focuses on spreading ideas and sharing new research through public speaking and books. You can find her on the public speaking circuit or in a local bookstore for a book tour.
Examples of thought leaders include…
The entreproducer can take many forms, including podcaster, newsletter curator or food blogger. What ties them all together is their source of revenue from affiliate marketing, advertising, donations and sponsorships. In other words, they make money from their content.
Examples of entreproducers include…
The audience is the product for this online business model…
A freelancer uses her skills to help others build their businesses. Common freelancing skills include web design, web development, social media, photography, copywriting, and business consulting. Sometimes freelancers will team up with other freelancers to form an agency or firm.
Examples of freelancers include…
5. Business Coaches
A business coach unlocks the potential of individuals. She uses the tools of listening, questioning and guiding to help her clients reach their goals. This differs from the freelancer in that she exclusively works with individual clients.
Examples of business coaches include
The artist sells his paintings, photography, comics, apparel or sculptures directly to his customers. These “products” don’t systematically teach things, but, rather, represent creativity, beauty and/or emotional power.
Examples of artists include…
A maker is a craftswoman/man. She makes jewelry in her workshop. He makes furniture in his wood shop. She creates monogrammed linens in her spare bedroom. They use ecommerce platforms to sell their wares directly to customers. The maker differs from the artist in that he makes functional products rather than art.
Examples of makers include:
A curator is much like the maker. However, rather than making and selling her own goods, the curator buys and sells goods from other makers through storytelling and eCommerce.
Examples of curators include…
The engineer uses her technical skills to build tools for others. She focuses on solving problems using modern technology.
A retailer is an entrepreneur who has been around the block and sees an opportunity to lead his industry into the digital age. He is a real estate agent, coffee shop owner, or insurance broker who sees the power of the web to grow his business.
Any other benchmarks you see as unique, but successful online business models? We’re curious to hear what you think.