Are online businesses profitable?

Are online businesses profitable?

Most online businesses can provide a full-time income and have potential upside for substantial income. However, starting an online business is rarely an overnight success. most online business owners require time to figure out the money making process and then scale their business.

Imagine, building your online business to a full-time income in less than 5 years. You are able to travel the world and make more money than you did in your cubicle.

Online businesses are one way you can retire early and make more money. 

Luckily for you, I’m going to show you how profitable an online business can be. I will also show you how much some online business owners make and which businesses are the most profitable. With enough effort on a consistent basis, you can be one of the many that quits their job for self-employment.

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Are online businesses profitable?

Online businesses can be very profitable. Most online business owners can work their way up to a full-time income or more. However, it usually takes online business owners time to figure out their process. Once a business owner knows how to make money, they can easily scale up their business.

You should not expect to make any money with your online business for the first year. Typically, the first year of online business is a huge learning curve.

Personally, I didn’t see any money from my online business ventures in the first two years. I started making some money in my third year and really started to scale in my fourth.

Honestly, I struggled to learn the basics of my online business in the first two years. However, I kept struggling through it and continued to learn. Eventually, I started making money. You just need to be patient and know the reward comes after the struggle. 

I will say, some businesses are able to turn a profit faster than others. For example, blogging might take you two years to start making an income. However, selling on Amazon or eBay might be able to generate you profit sooner rather than later.

Remember, starting an online business is something new. You are learning a new skill that you need to master in order to make money.

Therefore, you really shouldn’t expect to make any substantial income your first couple years in business. However, eventually you’re going to hit the groove and figure out what you need to do to make money. Then, it’s just a matter of repeating those steps and scaling up to make even more money.

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How much do online business owners make?

Income for online business owners ranges from a full-time income to making well over $100,000 per month. How much each business owner makes depends on their business model and how much effort and consistency is exerted. 

However, it is important to note that most people start an online business and fail. The majority of people don’t stick with their business long enough to see results. You have to understand that starting your own online business can be very frustrating, especially when you don’t see results.

I can honestly relate to wanting to quit an online business. As previously mentioned, I wasn’t seeing any results for the first two years. It is extremely difficult to stick with something when you don’t see your efforts paying off.

I will say, your first $100 is the hardest money you will ever earn online. From there, all you have to do is scale your business and results easier and easier to obtain.

So that leaves us with a gap between people making no money and others making a full-time income or more. Because once you start making money, it is only a matter of time before you reach that full-time income status.

Examples of online income

Daniella from ‘I like to dabble’ makes $4,000 per month from side hustles.The majority of that income comes from blogging or selling products on blogs.

Alex and Lauren from Create and Go consistently make over $100k per month. The bulk of their income comes from selling courses which teach others how to blog.

What kind of online business is most profitable?

The most profitable type of businesses are ones that sell products and separate time from money. When you can separate your time from money, you allow past work to continue making income for you.

Essentially, look for businesses that produce compounding returns. You want to continue to make money years after you produce the initial work. Doing so allows you to produce a snowball effect of income, which builds and builds.

For example, you create a digital product and manage to set up an income stream. This one digital product is going to continue to make you $1,000 per month. Now, you are free to create more digital products and build more recurring income.


Blogging is a good business model because it has the potential to pay you year after year. All you have to do is write an article once and it can continue to pay you. Over time, you have an army of articles providing you an income.

Look at it this way, most bloggers are able to earn $15 for every 1,000 page views. Some blogs make more and some earn less. One article has the potential to rank on Google and bring in 1,000 page views per month.

Therefore, that one article is making you $15 per month and it only took you one hour to write. Imagine, what would it be like to have one hundred articles burning you $15 per month?


Dropshipping is all about flipping products for profit. You find a product at one marketplace which is selling for cheaper at another marketplace. You list the product for sale at the more expensive marketplace, wait for it to sell, and then buy from the cheaper marketplace.

For example, you might be able to find a garden trowel at Walmart for $5. On Amazon, it might be selling for $10. Therefore, you tell Amazon that you have a garden trowel you would like to sell for $10.

At some point, a customer comes and buys a garden trowel from Amazon for $10. You are now responsible for buying that garden trowel from Walmart and shipping it to your customer. 

The best part is that you never had to see the item. You shipped it directly to your customer, made $5, and didn’t have to leave your home.


Additionally, you can start an Ecommerce business and sell products online. You don’t even have to own your own store to get started. Most people start an Ecommerce business by selling on Amazon or Ebay.

Going back to the Garden trowel example. you could have bought that Garden trowel and then shipped it into Amazon to sell for you. Whenever the items sold, Amazon ships it out to your customer.

Flipping products online

Some people are really good about flipping products online. For example, you could buy an item on eBay that you know sells on eBay for a much higher price. Therefore, all you are doing is buying the product and then relisting it as your own.


Consulting is a good business model if you have specific knowledge around a topic people are interested in. For example, you might be really good about helping people lose weight. Therefore, you can be a weight loss coach and get paid for helping people lose weight.

The best part about Consulting is that you can always get paid for your knowledge. However, you really need to be good at what you do in order to continue to get paid. 

You can’t just one day decide to be a financial advisor. Instead, you need to have the specific knowledge to answer customers’ questions. You may even need specific certifications.

Freelance writing

Freelance writing is a good option if you have strong writing skills and don’t mind continually performing work. You won’t get paid for work you did years ago, but freelance writing is a good way to get ongoing work.

For example, you might find five clients who want you to produce one blog article per week. Each article should be around 1,500 words and you charge $0.10 per word.Therefore, you are making around $750 per week with writing. 

Virtual assistant

Virtual assistants are in demand and always have a job to do. Thousands of companies everyday need assistance to run their online business. You can work as an independent contractor for these companies and support their needs.

For example, you might create images or manage social media accounts. You might even send emails and perform Outreach on behalf of the company.

Online services

You can also get paid for any online service. What are you good at that people are willing to pay you?

For example, you might be really good at creating images for Pinterest. You love graphic design and it shows in your work. There are thousands of bloggers who use Pinterest and don’t want to create images for themselves.

You might also be really good at search engine optimization. Online businesses need to know the basics of search engine optimization. You can work with these companies to up their SEO game.

All you have to do is figure out your strengths. Next, outreach to certain businesses and see if they need your services.

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Summary: Are online businesses profitable?

As you can see, online businesses are profitable. Most online businesses are able to reach a full-time income and have large potential income upside.However, you need to understand that it takes time to build an online business.

The majority of people who start an online business fail. Most successful businesses started out by someone who was just struggling to make it work. Eventually, most people struggle enough to start figuring out what they need to do to make money.

Remember, your first $100 is the hardest money to make.

When you go to start an online business look for compounding returns.You want to make money from the work you did years ago. Your efforts will continue to build and you’ll continue to make more and more money.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.