What’s the Best Online Business Model?

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There are a lot of business models to choose from.

And starting an online business opens up even more business models for you.

You can choose from basic models like offering a product or a service. And then there are less obvious business models like affiliate marketing and collecting advertising revenues.

Both of these models work really well online due to the sophisticated tracking methods the internet allows.

But the thing is, there are a lot of people who think affiliate marketing and generating advertising revenues are NOT good business models. They believe that offering a product or service is much better.

One nice thing with offering your own product or service is that you can have affiliates yourself. So you can find people who’d like to promote your solutions and give them a commission. This is a great way to get hands-off traffic for sure.

So that’s a benefit of having your own product or service.

But you can still generate a lot of money as an affiliate or by collecting advertising revenues.

I’ve personally built sites that earned well over 6-figures per year from these methods.

I had no products or services and just by offering affiliate and advertising on my sites I was doing really well.

There are many other businesses doing that well and then some so I have a hard time believing it’s a less profitable model.

But having your own product or service is a cool thing especially if you can get affiliates on board to help you promote them.

And there are a variety of products you can get into. Just to list a few:

  • Software
  • Information products like training materials
  • Membership sites with recurring revenues

And there are many more. So what should you pick?

And which markets are the best to get into?

Smaller markets or larger markets?

Money, love, beauty, health?

Should you segment a market?

Should you follow your passion?

With all the choices, which is the best?

I’ve thought a lot about what the best business model there is.

And after spending a lot of time thinking about it, I don’t think it really matters.

What kind of an answer is that?

Here’s what I mean.

I think the best business model is one where you’re focused on building relationships with a group of people. The group has a similar interest.  You become the go-to business or individual for that interest area.

So if it’s fishing, you become an authority on fishing.

How do you make money?

By offering your group any and all of the revenue opportunities we just discussed.

Maybe you have a membership area, or a training program, or sell fishing equipment, whatever. If you have even just one product or service then that’s great because it will open up the potential for you to gain affiliates. And again, it’s fabulous having people promote your stuff. So that’s great.

In addition to that since you’re the go-to source for that topic, you can also let your group of people know about other cool products or services. If you can earn a commission from them that’s great.

This way you continue to build a relationship with all the people on your newsletter. You let them know about your product or service. Then you let them know about other cool stuff.

You can collect advertising revenues from these companies or affiliate commissions.

But you should definitely let your group of people know about other solutions they may be interested in. I know I like knowing about solutions to my problems and finding out about things I’m interested in. I appreciate it when someone let’s me know about these kinds of things.

For example, with a group of people interested in fishing, where should they go fishing?  You can research the best fishing spots and even set them up with some travel deals.

What’s the best equipment in different price ranges? Show them this. You can probably partner with an ecommerce store (even Amazon.com) to earn extra commissions.

Just do it all.

Whether you offer the solution or not, find it for them and make sure they know about it.

Also be sure to talk about things they’re interested in and not just stuff you can earn a commission from. This is the best way to make sure you are the ‘go to’ person or site for that topic. Educate them about different topics, don’t ONLY try to sell them things to make money.

You should really WANT to help them.

And if you do it’ll shine through.

Even if you don’t want to create a product or service you can get started promoting other companies solutions.  Then later on create your own (if you ever want to at all, I don’t think it’s necessary).

The main point is that your newsletter, your list, or your group of people is probably the biggest asset you have.  You can help these people, help them have fun learning about the topic they’re interested in, and earn money that way.

So picking a market where there are many options is best.

There are a lot of people who would disagree with me and say you should only promote your own products, but I disagree.

Many people will argue that you’ve got big companies who don’t seem to do this. But when you take a closer look, I think many of them do.

For instance, any computer I’ve ever bought always has all kinds of junk installed on it.  There’s antivirus software, back-up software, photo-editing software, all kinds of other stuff.

I never have any idea what most of it is.

And if you look at it, a lot of it is just a free trial for a limited amount of time or with limited functionality.

So I’m sure these big computer companies are partnering with software applications. Their computers are pre-loaded with the stuff. So money is being passed around there.  You just can’t see it as easily because it happend ‘behind-the-scenes’.

Another tech example is with Apple.  They’re the creator of the ipad, iphone, and so on. They do the same thing.  And I just saw an article where they’re partnering with carmakers for their talking voice recognition system, Siri.

So in this example they’re even branching out beyond just software applications and partnering within the automotive industry.

Money will be exchanged here whether you or I ever realize it.

There are many other examples like this.

So it’s everywhere.

My advice to you if you’re thinking about starting a business and haven’t figured out yet what to get into is to pick a market and become the go-to person for that market (or at least grab as much market share in it as you can).

And then offer people the information and solutions that they need and want. You don’t have to create a product or service, but you can add that into your sales cycle. I think this is a great way to earn a stable income and can’t imagine it’ll go out of style anytime soon (if ever).

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

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