The Internet has been providing a platform for creative venting for many years now. Creativity, traditionally associated with arts, is nevertheless also widely present in business. People keep coming up with innovative products and services, as well as ways to promote them. Various startup communities are thriving all over the world. In this post I’d like to get a bit creative too and provide you with some online business ideas you may find useful right away or treat as inspiration you will build upon to launch a project of your own. Let’s dive in.
If you think about it, the Internet is a really cool place to launch an online business. The rent (yearly site hosting fee) is a lot lower than for a brick and mortar, in most cases you don’t have to get up at an ungodly hour and commute, and also, you’re working on something that you actually like and care about.
The key, though, is to have an original idea. To fill a niche in the market. To innovate in one way or another.
The online business examples I discuss in this post come from real life. I’ve come across them throughout the years spent online and decided to share some ideas with you.
Like I said earlier, the cases I present are meant to open your eyes a bit to certain types of online businesses you may not have known existed. I want you to become inspired and think of ways you can employ a similar approach to possibly launch your own online business based on something you’re an expert in.
The community aspect of online business
I think most would agree that the fundamental goal of any company is to make profit. Now, what’s the easier way to reach this goal – by obtaining as many one-time clients as possible, or by striving to win the loyalty of a possibly smaller group of people, who keep coming back to buy from you?
I reckon it’s the latter, and the good news is that if you run an online business, there’s quite an arsenal of tools at your disposal, that will help you get there.
Building an online community around your product(s) or brand is one of the ways to ensure people will stay interested in what you’re doing and will regularly visit your cyber premises to see what’s new and to catch up with other members.
You can easily boost your online business and facilitate interaction between community members and yourself by installing group live chat. It’s an affordable and self-sufficient add-on that can become this extra element making you stand out and drawing people looking to satisfy their need of belonging to your site.
With that being said, let’s now take a look at some concrete online business ideas that will get your creative juices flowing.
People are naturally attracted to and actively seek communities centered around a common interest, especially if it’s an unpopular one, without many members to find around.
Furries, who are people interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics often turn to the Internet in search of other individuals who share their passion.
In this case, an online business could be based on growing the community interacting via live chat, arranging meetups and selling products that could be used to manufacture the sophisticated costumes worn by furries.
I suppose there’s no shortage of anime-related sites online, however, the legions of otakus are only growing stronger in numbers. There’s still space for new hubs connecting Japanese manga and animation fans.
Obviously, they’ll be coming to your site to discuss the latest episodes of their favorite series with others, and what better way to do it than using social live chat? They can even post fan art, a very important part of this subculture, directly in the public chat window for others to see and comment upon.
The commercial aspect of this kind of online business is a no-brainer. Pretty much anything with the image of popular characters will sell. From mouse pads to DVDs and manga books.
Language practice site
Staying on the cultural tip for a moment, I once saw a site where people could come and practice their foreign language skills in the chat room.
Oftentimes, people wish to learn another language, however, they fail to excel because they lack the opportunities to practice it on a regular basis.
Running an online business like this, you could provide fee-based conversations, language consultancy, or even minor translation services to registered site members.
Another interesting application of live chat I saw was on a site that’s been providing homework help.
Parents may not always be there to help their kids (but they can set up an account with you and provide all the necessary payment details first), so here’s where your online business comes in.
You can specialize only in certain subjects or grant admin rights to some of your partners to expand the range of fields you operate in.
Sports fans love to talk shop. There’s just no end to discussion on all-time greats, up and coming players, history, making predictions, etc.
Again, there’s plenty of sports-related sites out there, but fans are always looking for something fresh and outstanding. The strength of your new online business can lie in its community interacting via group live chat.
Also, how about starting a site for some not very popular discipline? Or one that only starts to gain traction?
In purely commercial terms, you could sell sports gadgets or set up a commission-based paraphernalia stock exchange. A wide range of items, from collector cards to rare sneakers, reach very high prices.
Ever heard of Bronies? Well, me neither, until I accidentally (I swear!) came across them online. This is just an example I’d like to use to demonstrate how big of an untapped potential that you may not be aware of lies in online communities.
These guys constitute a surprisingly large group with substantial buying power. Your online business could utilize this fact and start selling various franchised items.
Last but not least, I’d like to discuss a site which encouraged its users to post their original poetry in the chat room.
A very unique idea that seemed to be working, as the chat was full of verses people have posted.
In terms of making this an online business, how about switching things up and transferring these online poetry slams to the real world? You could ask site members to chip in and organize an event where they’d get to know each other. Basically, a poetry-themed night out.
So there you have it, seven creative ideas for online business employing live chat. I hope the variety and scope of examples will allow anyone reading this to become inspired.
The takeaway of this post is that you’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to launching an online business. Coming up with a fresh idea isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. What I’d like you to keep in mind when working on your master plan is that you should aim to grow a community of returning customers.
Installing a simple group chat widget will allow the people visiting your site to interact with each other, and if need should arise with you as well, in real time. The social aspect and the sense of belonging will prove to be beneficial to your online business in the long term.