Best Online Business Ideas You Can Start Today

Best Online Business Ideas You Can Start Today

According to a study done by We Are Social and Hootsuite, 71 percent (76 million) of the country are active Internet users. What’s more, 70 percent of the active internet users have purchased a product or service online in the past month.

In addition, the majority of Filipinos who shop online are between the ages of 18 to 31 – the Gen Z and Millennials. These are tech and social media savvy internet users who usually have prolific Facebook profiles. 

On the other hand, a report by PayPal predicts that the Philippines’ eCommerce market will grow up to $3.5 billion by 2020, fueled by mobile shopping and growing awareness in online shopping.

These figures present a good opportunity for online businesses, and if you’re looking to get a slice of this pie, here are some online businesses that you might want to consider..

1. E-commerce store

Probably the businesses that thrived the most during the pandemic are e-commerce stores like Lazada and Shopee. The good news is that these platforms are open to all business entities, provided that you have all the legalities covered in black and white. 

Setting up an e-commerce store isn’t just limited to Lazada and Shopee, there are other channels for any business to establish itself online nowadays such as the following:

  • Facebook marketplace
  • Setting up your own Website using Shopify, Woocommerce, etc

What products and services sell best?

Any product can work with this business model, as long as you have the inventory and can work out the shipping and logistics with a courier. You can pretty much sell whatever you want to sell with an e-commerce store, whether it’s your homemade pastries, a hobby or craft, clothing, or even some random stuff that you just feel like selling. 

The only challenge is marketing your store and products. Setting up your e-commerce store is only the beginning, getting your store out there and finding customers who’ll buy it will be a matter of “diskarte” and technical expertise. 

The fastest way to reach out is by running a Facebook Ads on your Facebook Page. If you don’t have a budget for that, you always have the cheaper option which is organic marketing. It will just take time to build up your audience, it’s easier to do that too if you’re only targeting a small locality like let’s say, your city.

How to start an e-commerce business?

  • Find a niche or a product that you want to sell
  • Set up a store in Shopify or Woocommerce (and pay for the subscription which roughly costs around ₱500 to ₱600 per month)
  • Sign up with an e-commerce logistics provider like JT Express, LBC, and DHL. But this can be optional unless you’re selling outside your area or city, which would really call for some professional logistics intervention 
  • Set up a Facebook page
  • Learn Facebook ads (also optional)
The estimated cost to start an e-commerce store
The initial cost for the e-commerce store
(Setting up a Shopify or Woocommerce store)
₱1,000 to ₱5,000
Disclaimer!

Starting an eCommerce store will require a lot of research, effort, and probably more money than what we’ve estimated. Please learn more about it by doing your own homework and by joining different Facebook groups that discuss this subject. 

2. Print/design on demand

This is an e-commerce model where you work with a supplier to customize white-label products such as shirts, mugs, caps, and etc with your own designs and sell them on your store on a per-order basis under your own brand. 

You don’t need to have an inventory of your products, as the supplier directly fulfills your customer’s orders and designs. 

What products and services sell best?

As mentioned above, this business model is purely made for white label products such as the following:

  • Clothes (shirts and hoodies)
  • Caps
  • Mugs 
  • Any products you can personalize with a logo or design

How to start a print on demand business

  • Come up with a set of designs
  • Find a print on demand provider
  • Choose a product and a market
  • Set up your website (Shopify, Wix, or Woocommerce)
  • Set up a Facebook page
  • Learn Facebook ads (also optional)

Alternatively, you can start an international print on demand business with only using your own design via websites like Etsy and Red bubble. You just have to showcase your designs in those marketplaces and they will do the printing for you. 

It’s an easier route but it will give you less freedom on your personal branding (if ever you want to explore that). 

The estimated cost to start a Print on demand store store
The initial cost for the e-commerce store
(Setting up a Shopify or woocommerce store)
₱1,000 to ₱5,000

Disclaimer!

Starting a Print on Demand store will require a lot of research, effort, and probably more money than what we’ve estimated. Please learn more about it by doing your own homework and by joining different Facebook groups that discuss this subject.

3. Dropshipping

This business model is a form of an e-commerce store, the only difference is you are reselling products from suppliers who sell in bulk or who are doing business for Dropshipper. Just think of this as a profit model business. You sell a product for more than how much you paid for it. And the best thing about it is that you don’t need to keep inventory!

What products and services sell best?

The thing with dropshipping is that you need to find a product that sells or also known as a “winning product”. This part of the business is probably half of the burden that you have to conquer, and it might take some back and forth to test products out in the market. 

There isn’t really a definitive answer as to what product will work because it can change over time. While you can still stick with general products like pet supplies and accessories, home and living products, health and beauty, and etc, chances are, most of these products may also be available in more prominent e-commerce stores like Lazada and Shopee. 

The answer to this question can be quite tricky because you’ll only know once you’ve done in-depth product research and after various testing. Safe to say, this business model will require a deep pocket.

How to set up a dropshipping store

  1. Decide whether you want to ship locally or internationally. Local stores will be easier and cheaper to advertise via Facebook Ads (more on this below)
  2. Find a niche and a product you want to sell (the most common place to find a source is Aliexpress)
  3. Set up a Shopify store and install Oberlo (to import products from Aliexpress to your store)
    The Aliexpress supplier will cover the shipping fees to anywhere in the world. But for a smoother logistics process, find suppliers who can ship to ePacket countries.
  4. Set up a Facebook page and a Facebook ad manager account 
  5. Test different products by running ads until you find a product that will give you a good conversion rate and profit.
Disclaimer!

Facebook Ads are a necessary skill that you must learn if you’re planning to do dropshipping. There are many free resources available on the internet today and you can learn it by yourself.

The estimated cost to start a Dropshipping store
The initial cost for the e-commerce store
(Setting up a Shopify or woocommerce store)
₱1,000 to ₱5,000 - for the shopify store

Minimum of ₱10,000 - for the the ads

4. Freelancing services

This type of online business isn’t similar to those mentioned above. Unlike businesses where you sell goods for profit, you will sell your expertise to clients who need help instead.  It doesn’t really matter what skill you possess, as long as it’s relevant to the digital landscape today, you will find a market for it.

What products and services sell best?

In case you don’t really have a clue on what skills you should possess, you can start with the following:

  • Writing
  • Social Media management
  • SEO
  • Facebook and Google Ads
  • Graphics and web design
  • Video editing
  • Software development
  • VA Skills
  • Any skills that have the potential to be delivered via the internet

How to set up a freelancing business online?

There is really no standard way to showcase your freelancing services online because there are various means to get clients. You can set up an account and profile on freelancing platforms like Upwork, Onlinejobs.ph, Fiverr, and etc, but you can also showcase your expertise and services through Facebook and Linkedin, where you can reach out or connect with potential clients. 

Finding a potential client doesn’t necessarily mean going out of your way to connect with clients you barely even know. You can start with people in your circle or in your city, advertise your services in your profile for starters. Chances are, you’ll find someone who might need your expertise for their endeavors, like a friend who needs a logo designed for his business, a local business who needs help with their social media page, or a local entrepreneur who is looking to improve his online business. 

Once you’ve scouted for potential businesses in your local area or within your circle, you can go online and perhaps continue your search there for clients who can use your services. 

There are opportunities everywhere, nowadays, it’s only a matter of being creative in how to find people who need your help. 

Freelancing business vs remote employment

There is a thin line between a freelancing business and remote employment.

The freelancing business puts you into a partnership position with clients where they don’t have full control over your time and you deliver only your specific services on an agreed date; you’re not locked-in to a single client as you can work with as many clients as you’re capable of handling.

Remote employment, on the other hand, puts you in an employee position where you will render your time and services daily for an agreed number of hours with your employer; this doesn’t usually give you the freedom to work with more clients either because your contract doesn’t allow you to or you just can’t because of time constraints.

How much do I need to get started with a freelancing business?

Safe to say, you only need to invest in a computer or a laptop to get started. For freelancers who wish to offer computer process heavy services like graphics and video editing, you might need a more powerful rig, which might cost a bit more money. But if you already have this part covered, you technically don’t have to spend on anything. On the other hand, if you don’t have any skills which you think you can leverage from, you can always turn to the internet to learn one, and for the most part, you can do it for free. You can also choose to go down the mentorship route, but that one will cost you some money. 

Minimum budget needed
₱20,000 for a laptop or computer

Launching an online business nowadays is a fair game for everyone nowadays, with the internet being a free for all platform for us to do so. It’s only a matter of learning the process, creativity, and willpower to start on such ventures.  While just like any other business, they still come with risk, at least it isn’t that burdensome as with a regular brick and mortar business.

But despite that, still temper your expectations with realistic insights by understanding the whole process first, the stakes that come with it, and everything in between, just like how you do it in a regular business. Starting any business, online or not, needs a plan so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

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