8 seemingly “dead” online business ideas you can still make a killing from


There are literally 100s of viable and profitable online business ideas out there. But most of them come with various tags.

“Method A” is dead. “Platform B” is saturated. “Business C” is not ideal for newbies. We read these declarations everywhere; on forums, blog posts, sales pages of products that promote a new method or platform (obviously), etc.

But the question is, should you listen to them. Are these declarations doing any good for your business aspirations?

The short answer? No.

Declarations like these are made by:

  1. People who’ve failed once in a method and instead of trying again have decided that their failure is due to the method’s fault and none of their doing.
  2. Manipulators who want to change your behavior, goals, habits etc. They could be selling a training that teaches something else, so they might want to make that method sexy enough. Or, they could be selling a tool or software in a new market. One of the easiest ways to bring something new into a market is to remove what’s already there.

There is nothing wrong with trying out new businesses, but it’s wrong when you do so before you have a strong foothold in your current business.

People also love proclaiming that a business is saturated. This usually happens when the business type is flourishing with too many success stories that proclaiming its dead wouldn’t take hold.  If you look deeper, you’ll find that it’s hardly the case.

Smart business people don’t believe in the “dead” claims

Savvy business people continue to make waves in a “saturated” business, even if they’ve just started. What makes you different from them? Why can’t you do the same?

No business or platform is dead or saturated if you’re doing the right things. Employ proper business practices and keep your customer’s needs in mind and you’ll succeed, one way or another, now or in the future.

Businesses are usually declared saturated when people can no longer find loopholes to game the system. They say things aren’t as easy as it once was because they never ran the business as it was meant to be run.

Businesses don’t achieve overnight successes. If things were that easy, everyone would be an Internet millionaire.  There is work involved in every business, but there are those who always try to find loopholes. They’ll make some money with their ways, yes, but not for long.

Loopholes don’t last long in any business

Sooner or later, the market finds a way to shut down business practices that provide no value to its users or customers. That’s when the “cheaters” start shouting that the sky is falling.

What do you want to do? Provide true value and run your business successfully for years to come. Or, continuously look to game new businesses and platforms, make money here and there before the loophole is closed and you’re forced to jump to the next new un-protected fad, and the next, and the next?

The second option sounds exhausting and not very rewarding, if you ask me. If you chose the first option, this article is for you. Read further.

Let me cite some examples of businesses that were declared “dead” or “saturated” but were not, and why. Maybe you could glean some well-needed motivation to continue with your current business. Or, you could probably start your business journey with one of the businesses mentioned below.

 

1.    Kindle books:

Kindle was the go-to business for newbies in 2012, even until 2014. But lately, the kindle marketplace has gotten the “saturated” tag as well.

4 years back, the competition was less, I agree, but it isn’t that bad today either, and it won’t be so bad as to refuse access to newbies anytime soon.

Thin, badly written books filled the marketplace

When Amazon introduced Kindle, some people found an easy way to make money. They exploited the platform. We saw a slew of 5000 word books that barely taught anything, books with barely legible English, books written with content plagiarized or obviously rewritten from offline publications and blog posts, etc.

There were people who took public domain books and republished them on Kindle, without changing a single word. How that’s providing value to their customers is beyond me.

But, authors of these obviously sub-par pieces were also making money in the early days of Kindle, usually in the thousands, and sometimes even 10s of thousands per month.

But, when you don’t deliver value to your customers, you can’t survive in a business for long, and that’s exactly what happened. Kindle started banning these rewritten and plagiarized books. They couldn’t do much about the small books that weren’t providing value, but the customers took matters into their own hands.

If a book isn’t good, it’ll get horrible reviews. People look at reviews before they buy, and they’ll naturally not buy a 30-page book that has a slew of 1-star reviews and unflattering comments.

How to see success publishing kindle books?

So, can you succeed on Kindle? Of course, in fact, better than before. Write quality books that provide real value to the marketplace and your customers. Over time, people will recognize that you’re genuine among all the trash, and your sales will soar.

Pick a niche or a couple of related niches, and frequently publish books in those niches. In a few months or years, depending on your publishing speed, you’ll build a massive following that’ll buy anything you put out (granted you maintain your quality).

If you can’t write the books, outsource. But make sure that the books your writers produce are top-notch. You might have to pay to match their quality though, so I’d suggest this as an option once you establish yourself, and have a couple hundred dollars to burn for a decent sized book.

 

2.    YouTube videos

YouTube videos have a similar story. People quickly realized that they can make massive amounts of money on YouTube. It had a huge reach, and YouTube paid a pretty penny for running ads on videos. Also, YouTube videos were great sources of traffic and sales for pretty much any niche. Naturally, YouTube channels started cropping up everywhere.

30-minute teaser videos irritated YouTube users to no end

But again, YouTube didn’t anticipate the antics of the serial cheaters. Soon enough, people starting posting 30 second videos with barely any value in order to make affiliate sales and get views.

And it did work, for a while that is. But those videos provided no value to the viewers, and they didn’t deliver on their titles. YouTube quickly caught on.

Nowadays, if your channel has plagiarized videos or videos which aren’t even a minute long, and that’s all your channel has, YouTube will quickly close it. They also give a lot of weightage to viewer complaints. If your channel gets a lot of complaints, YouTube will shut it down after their review.

But plenty of YouTubers, old and new, continue to make hundreds of thousands, and even millions on YouTube. They deliver on their promises, and treat their subscribers very well. They continue to maintain a loyal follower, and continue to make sales and ad revenue.

Consistency is the key to YouTube success

It might take some time to get a foothold on YouTube, especially if you don’t know how to ethically rank your videos on Google or YouTube. But, YouTube is by no means a dead or saturated platform. Newbies can still “kill” it there.

Create tutorials or informative videos that provide value. If you want to make affiliate sales or get clicks to your site, YouTube is still a great option.  But make sure that you do offer some advice, if not all, before you redirect them to your site. Create “Lite” versions of your courses before you redirect them to buy your premium courses, for example.

This will help your conversions too.  When your free stuff is of premium quality, they won’t hesitate to buy your premium stuff because they know they’ll get value for their money. People have displayed this behaviour in their purchase decisions time and again, so you aren’t wasting your time by providing quality free content. You’re just building your brand, one that’ll bring you passive income and sales for years to come.

 

3.    EBooks/courses – Clickbank, WSOs

A few years back, there was an influx of make money, internet marketing and every other kind of courses on sites like Clickbank and Warrior forum (WSOs). The market was filled with millions of hungry buyers who were desperate to make money online, and the product creators took full advantage of that fact.

They made a lot of money too. A single WSO could easily make the product creator four or even 5 figures a month, if it gets popular enough. Clickbank was a completely different beast that made plenty of product creators and affiliates millionaires.

Plagiarism and false income claims became the norm

But over time, either greed took over or more of our “resident” cheaters found out about these platforms, and vendors started rehashing others’ products/courses and selling them as their own products.

Sometimes they sold obviously false or made-up information that would probably do more harm than good to their customers’ business. They didn’t care though, they were just in it for the money. Quality of the courses reduced. The methods they were teaching didn’t work.

To make sure their sub-par products sold, they reduced the prices. A true sign of desperation.

Amongst all this noise, people failed to see how quality product creators continued to sell their premium courses and memberships at premium prices. And people were still buying from them.

Leave the discount pricing mindset behind

So, none of these platforms are dead. It isn’t difficult for newbies to get started out with selling products either. Stand out from the crowd. Provide value and charge well for it. Those who truly want to succeed will respect you and buy from you. Time wasters will leave your products alone.

You’ll build a quality list of buyers for future product launches, while making more in terms of revenues and profits from your average “discount” sellers. Best of both worlds, if you ask me.

Focus on quality over quantity

Also, don’t try to launch too many products.  You’ll just burn yourself out, your customers and the market.  They’ll lose trust in you. When you start focusing on quality, you won’t have to do that anyway. 1 top-notch, evergreen product will make you more sales and profits for life than 10 mediocre products anyway.

You can release a quality product every few months and still make more than the people who release a 10-page E-book every week. Why? Because you’ll be building a brand and a loyal following which will create an avalanche effect over your sales every month/year, and you can also afford to charge much more than those who spend all their time trying to game the system.

 

4.    Network marketing

Network marketing has gotten a very bad reputation nowadays, so much so that people are hesitant to openly call themselves network marketers. Again, I blame those who tried to take an easy way out, both the marketers and program owners.

There are plenty of genuine network marketing programs out there, but they don’t pay as much as the obviously scammy ones. They don’t get the same hype, so no one hears about them.

Why I left?

I am no longer in the network marketing business, though I did dabble in it for a short while. But I couldn’t continue. Becase I found it very difficult to distinguish between genuine programs and scams. I didn’t want to put my reputation on the line anymore and I was already running business that gave me a better ROI (Return on investment of time/money) than network marketing did.

I’ve lost money in programs and promoted some that turned out to be duds. I just didn’t want to put myself and the people I get into these programs through the headache anymore. Many program owners lack professionalism and organisation, and the whole industry is getting a bad rep because of their incompetence.

Why you don’t have to

If you want to dabble in it, remember that you need to be very vigilant. Build a brand around yourself, a brand that makes people believe that you get behind genuine programs only. You might make some mistakes when you start out. You might promote programs that you genuinely believed were good, but turned out to be run by liars (that’s what happened with me), but own up to your mistake.

Humans make mistakes. Everyone knows that. Over time, you’ll learn which ones are good, and which ones aren’t. You’ll gain enough reputation that you can demand to check if they are really selling what they are advertising.

Build a loyal following and enjoy the avalanche effect

And, most of the genuine programs don’t pay crazy percentages, and don’t sell miracle products either. So, selling them to people might not be as easy as selling the hyped-up scams will be, but stick to it. You might not make crazy money from the get go, but that’s the case with genuine businesses.

People might not recognize you to be the helpful industry leader material you are at first, but over time, they will. Within a few months (let’s say 6-7), you’d have built a loyal following who’ll join whatever you promote, because they trust in you. Word of mouth is a great thing in network marketing. Your current followers will build your following for you, with no extra work from your end.

Create helpful content (articles, video reviews, tutorials etc.) and share them on Facebook. People will start sharing your content. By the end, you’d be making a LOT more money from your “low-earning” programs than the promoters who promote one after another scammy, short-lived program will ever make.

 

5.    List building

“Money is in the list”. Truer words haven’t been said, even though it’s become a cliché saying nowadays. Doesn’t make it any less true. But, email marketing isn’t safe from lazy marketers either.

Your E-mail list your best source of traffic

With a list, you have a traffic source you own and have complete control over. You don’t have control over search engine traffic, or paid traffic, or any other traditional forms of traffic. Every one of them can be taken from you in and instance, and you’ll be left with a business that gets no traffic/sales. But an E-mail list can never be taken away from you.

If you’ve been in internet marketing for any amount of time, you’ll know that traffic is the lifeblood of a business. In fact, this is true for any business, online or offline. You need eyeballs on your sales page or ads to sell your offers. With a list, you get those eyeballs for a very small amount of money (just your autoresponder fees).

Even if you spend money on building your list, you just spend money once to get a lead. You can sell to that lead for months or even years to come, if you treat them right. No other traffic source can give you that leverage.

Marketers are reporting a drop in E-mail opens

A list comes in different forms: social media followers, E-mail list, blog subscribers, YouTube subscribers, etc. Each have their pros and cons.

Nowadays though, marketers are reporting that they aren’t getting as many opens (number of people who read your E-mail) or sales as before from their E-mail list. This has led to the conclusion that, yes, you guessed it, “E-mail marketing is dead! List building is dead!”. They’ve already started looking at alternatives, so they can say “Money is in ________”.

But that’s far from the truth. We might need to update ourselves based on technological advances, but list building is very much still alive. In fact, it’s thriving.

Your subscribers aren’t cash cows

People continue to make millions, and in some cases billions, if we take the big companies into consideration, with E-mail marketing.

People treat their subscribers like cash cows that should buy products from them every day, and when they exhaust their list, they blame the whole method. What’s dead is people’s patience. They no longer respond to daily mails that are nothing but a few lines of a salesy message with an affiliate link.

People were naïve enough to buy into marketers’ obvious laziness before, but no more. They’ve seen the difference between someone who treats their subscribers right and someone who doesn’t, and they’ve chosen their side.

Nurture your list to gain their trust

If you want to get conversions, if you want sales, you need to nurture your list. That’s what the big companies do, and look at how much they continue to make year after year. Have you received a personalized birthday or holiday greetings from your bank or phone company? I have, and these E-mails always make me smile. Would I switch providers after being they’ve made me feel special? Hardly.

That’s what subscribers expect, and once you start implementing personalization and providing the value they need, you’ll have rabid followers who’ll buy anything you put out. Send out a lot of freebie E-mails, with advice, tips and help they need.

Before you give them your affiliate link, give a genuine review of the product. Tell them what it is, how they can use it, and how you’ll help them if they buy through your link. Then sit back and watch your conversions soar.

Little things like this will make a huge difference. List building or E-mail marketing is hardly dead. Put your subscribers first, and you’ll make more money than you did before.

How you build your list will make all the difference in your earnings

Also, be very choosey on which traffic sources you use to build your list. Are you using traffic sources where the people are already fed up with being marketed to every day? You’ll find it difficult to convince them that you’re different from the others. They’ve become too skeptical. Solo ads and buyer lists you get from your joint venture partners after a product launch are good examples of bad quality lists.

These people are being promoted to every single day, by multiple people. They barely read any of those E-mails anymore.

Focus on building your list from the ground up. Write quality products and include a link to your lead magnet at the end. Utilize the power of social media (Facebook posts, YouTube video ads, etc.) Provide a ton of value, and then offer a great lead bait to get them into your list.

The process might be long, but a single subscriber who already looks at you as an expert in your field, is much better than 5 subscribers who’ve already lumped you with the spammy marketers.

Paid marketing is also a great option to get leads, but remember that the leads you get from ads (Facebook ads, Bing ads, Google ads, Banner ads, etc.) are not qualified leads. They don’t know who you are yet, so they don’t trust you yet. Nurture those leads. Send a ton of posts with pure value to gain their trust before selling to them.

 

6.    Niche websites and Adsense

Ah…Adsense. 2011was Adsense’s golden age. People were putting up one page sites, ranking them on Google, and making thousands of dollars a month from Adsense. When searched for simple things like “How to get rid of my stretch marks naturally”, you’ll get a ton of results with domains like howtogetridofmystretchmarksnaturally.com and getridofmystretchmarksnaturally.net.

One page sites were the rage then

These sites had barely 4-5 articles of around 500 words, and that’s it. Those articles were stuffed to the brim with your search term. You can barely read the content. That’s how bad the grammar would be. Suffice to say that the articles provided absolutely no value to the readers.

Marketers were creating 100s of mini sites like these, and ranking them with 100s of spammy backlinks that pointed directly to the home page. And they were making money. Until Google caught on, that is.

You see, Google was noticing how bad their users’ experiences were on their search portal. They prided themselves on providing value to their users, and they were no longer offering that. All their users got in their search results were low quality 1 page site that was clearly designed to game the system, not provide them the solutions they were looking for.

So, Google rolled out their SEO updates. I still remember reading the panicked forum posts from the “lazy” marketers. Their 1 page sites were being de-indexed (completely taken out of the search engine results). They weren’t getting any traffic, ergo, they weren’t making any money.

Google’s various updates basically stressed on a few things, over and over:

  1. Your site should be filled with well-written articles. This basically means that you should avoid publishing badly written articles that are barely readable, stop keyword stuffing your articles, and stop writing small 300-500 word articles that don’t even scratch the surface of the solution your reader is looking for.
  2. They started ranking authority sites. Are you searching for something regarding dog training? You’ll no longer get results that listed sites with the exact search term in their domain. You’ll instead get results from authority sites in the dog training niche with 100s of articles on various dog training subjects, one of which just happens to be the subject you’re searching about now.
  3. They started ranking 2000+ word articles that basically exhausted the topic it was ranking for. Once the user read one of these articles, they usually didn’t have to go back and search on the same topic anymore. That’s how good and detailed they were.
  4. They basically put quality about everything else, and ultimately improved the user experience.

Authority sites are the way to go

Many people lost their livelihood when Google rolled out their updates, but some still survived. No, they thrived, now more than ever. These were the smart and ethical business people who had the forethought to think about their readers before Google ranking, keyword, or any of those technicalities. They focused on what their readers would want to read about, and they were in turn rewarded in the form of Google ranks, social media shares, a ton of traffic and sales.

You can still make money with niche sites, Adsense and affiliate marketing. In fact, I’d say niche sites are a better business model now than before, now that the lazy 1 page sites have been weeded out. Focus on providing value, and you’ll be recognized soon. Exhaust every topic in your niche, so people will never have to look elsewhere to learn something related to your niche. You’ll get traffic for years to come from your articles.

 

7.    Ecommerce

This is the current fad. Look at the Warrior forum and JVZoo marketplaces, and you’ll see 1 in 5 products written about E-commerce and how to make 6 figures with and E-commerce store. Services like Shopify have gone viral.

But, with the intense popularity, the market is attracting the usual bad apples. Quality of the E-commerce stores have dropped from before. The store owners barely provide any customer service.

Most of the time, there is no support option at all. How can they offer support? They know nothing about the products they are selling, and they don’t want to.

Drop shipping products from un-vetted wholesalers isn’t how it’s done

There is nothing wrong with sourcing products from wholesalers, but if you truly want to provide value, you need to be able to answer your customer’s questions regarding the product. But they are just being middle men and women.

There are good stores of course, but the number of “lazy” stores has increased rapidly in the past few months, and it’ll continue to increase until a saturation point is reached.

They look for products from Aliexpress, copy and paste the product descriptions and images, drive traffic to the pages, make some sales, and call it a day. These store owners don’t care about delivery delays. They don’t care about the quality of the products they are selling or about answering customers’ pre-sales questions.

Where can we find successful stores with such atrocious service in the real world? Would that store last if this is how they did business? Dropshipping is a great business model that business people have been employing successfully for years. But, they do quality control. They know who the suppliers are, have done enough research before striking a deal with them. Sourcing products from suppliers you’ve never talked to and know nothing about is a recipe for failure, but unfortunately, that’s what’s happening in the E-commerce space.

Over time, buyers will stop buying from these obviously fake stores, and people will start calling E-commerce dead too.

Make customer satisfaction your store’s motto

But, quality stores would continue to quietly make money, without worrying about these claims. They know otherwise.

Smart store owners know that having control over the quality of the product they deliver is the key to a successful E-commerce business. They know that repeat customers would make them more money down the line. They know that good customer service and customer satisfaction is the lifeblood of their business.

So, E-commerce is a great business option, one that’s still in the beginning stages. There are obvious giants like Amazon and Alibaba, but there is plenty of room for small mom and pop stores to shine online.

If you utilize the obvious lack in market quality, and stand out with your quality products and exceptional pre- and post-sales support, your success is guaranteed.

 

8.    Internet marketing & money making niche

I want to specifically talk about this niche. There are many niches that have the “saturated” tag associated with them now, including dating and weight loss, but the Internet marketing niche is being called practically impenetrable.

Money and business trainings are nothing new

I’ve seen that this isn’t the truth, far from it. Yes, you might find it a bit more difficult to find your footing in this niche, rather than an obscure niche like parasailing. But, internet marketing and make money online are the niches with the biggest number of followers and buyers.

Marketing and business training has been provided for 100s of years. Despite the millions of books and video trainings (more recently) available in the market for consumption, but people are still hungry for more information.

These niches get more newcomers than any other niche, and with good reason. Everyone wants to make money. Everyone wants to become rich. Except for the top 1%, the rest a money deficit, one way or another. And they are willing to spend the money they have to learn the secrets of making more.

$7 E-books that do more harm than good are all customers get

But unfortunately, the very nature of these niches attracts too many crooks and cheats. That’s why the market is filled with a ton of useless $7 E-books that teach buyers absolutely nothing.

In some cases, the bogus trainings do more harm to someone’s life/business than good. Vendors sell software and plugins that don’t work after a few months. Since they charge dirt cheap, they can’t afford to keep the software up to date. Students are being taught business ideas that won’t last long (unethical ideas that take advantage of loopholes).

There is a severe lack of good quality courses. Students of these niches know that, and the ones who really want to make it are willing to pay premium prices for good training.

Stand out by offering quality training to your target market

If you want to get into this niche and provide value, do so, without hesitation. Forget the noise. It doesn’t concern you. Create a bubble around yourself and the loyal followers you’re sure to attract once word gets out that you are a reliable and quality source of information.

Do you want to start an internet marketing blog? Or a business blog? Go ahead and start one. Write long articles that provide detailed information on the subjects you’re covering. Create quality products that deliver on their promises. Make sure you price them right, don’t undervalue your work, or you’ll lose the respect of your followers.

Slowly make a mark in the communities where marketers and newbies gather: forums, social media, Q/A sites like Quora, YouTube, etc. Your work will be recognized soon enough. Once you break the glass ceiling, you’ll see a torrent of new visitors and sales following right after.

You’ll need patience and you need to put in a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it in the end, when you earn your first 6 figure income.

 

Final thoughts

No business is dead, too competitive, or impenetrable. If the top business men of today thought like that, they’d never be where they are today.

Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and every company there is competed with a ton of competition at their inception. They competed with mammoths, and they still came out the winner, because they thought about their customers first, when the established companies didn’t.

Do just that. Always focus on providing value. Think about your end user first. Don’t think about how much you’ll make. You’ll soon start making more money than you know what to do with.

 

 

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