Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
It's important to keep in mind that participants don't "qualify" for all surveys. Market researchers often want opinions from users who match specific demographics or who are in-market for particular products and services. If you attempt a survey that you ultimately don't qualify for, Swagbucks will give you at least one point in its rewards program. You know what they say: "A penny for your thoughts".
Now that you know where you want to work, you need to apply. Be aware that the competition for remote positions is high. For every one job opening, there may be hundreds or thousands of applicants. But, don’t let that deter you! You can’t get a job if you don’t submit an application. Plain and simple. No one is going to magically show up on your doorstep offering you a great gig. You have to go get it.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
If you put all of your eggs in one basket, you are asking for trouble. Even if you have the best ideas, best products or best anything else, it doesn’t mean that it will make you a ton of loot. If you have your online widget store, you should also be sure to have a widget blog (with ads and affiliate marketing programs) and maybe even an eBay store to unload widget overstock. This way you are hedging your bets and making sure you have money coming in from other channels in the event of difficulties with one of your streams.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
Monetize a hobby. While some hobbies actually cost money, others can be transformed into a profitable business venture. Ultimately, it depends on what your hobby is and how talented you are. You could turn your love of photography, for example, into a part-time gig taking family portraits and wedding photos or selling prints on Etsy or at arts fairs.
Every year, hundreds of millions of documents are notarized in the United States: wills, mortgages, citizenship forms, handgun applications. While for decades, this has all been done in person, there is a budding crop of sites that allow notaries to take their services online. If you’re already a notary, you can sell your services online. Or, if you want to get started, check out the National Notary’s checklist for becoming a certified notary.
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.