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Maybe you're a young kid who wants to start a business. Maybe you're a college grad who wants to create a job (rather than finding one). Or maybe you're a corporate mouse who's fed up with the rat race.
In any case, the internet has opened up a world of opportunities for the entrepreneur-at-heart. Here are 21 businesses that you can start today and run entirely from a laptop and an internet connection.
According to SBA.gov, there were 29.6 million small businesses in the US and Ad-ology found that 46% of small businesses don't have a website.
In 2010, the International Telecommunication Union reported that there are over 5 billion cell phones in the world and 1 billion of them have mobile broadband subscriptions.
As tracked by BlogPulse, there were 126 million blogs on the internet in 2010 and most of them suck. Most bloggers think they just have to write, post, and auto-tweet. So if you know how to properly post a WordPress blog post, you can offer this as a service to serious bloggers.
Since there are 29.6 million small businesses in the US alone, that's 29.6 million potential logo customers. But most of them already have logos… Yeah, but very few of them have good logos.
According to Pingdom, there are 234 million websites on the net. Like small business logos, most of these websites look terrible. And even the good ones, as you'll soon see on Retire@21, know the value of continually improving the design.
Right now, there are over 32 million books on Amazon and every one of them has a book cover. According to UNESCO, over 1 million books are published per year. This doesn't include eBooks.
Much like mobile app developers, there's plenty of need for mobile app designers. Companies usually contract out to both developers and designers separately to create the app.
CAD drawings are typically 3D mockups and virtual prototypes that companies create prior to manufacturing a product. Pretty much every product design starts as a CAD drawing.
According to WordPress.com, there are over 53 million WordPress sites and about half of them are self-hosted. This means, WordPress alone has about 26 million sites that need themes.
In 2009, Zappos reported a 6% to 30% increase in sales for products with video. Website owners realize that video converts higher than any other form of content, so they're starting to contract out for that work.
According to Authors Guild, a successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies and a successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies. Also, Jenkins Group (a premier publishing firm) reports that 70% of books published don't make a profit. Don't let these stats discourage you, but it's hard to make a living as an author.
Part of the reason books usually don't earn back their investment is because they have to pay for an editor. You'll likely earn more as an editor than an author.
With 126 million blogs, there are 126 million websites that need content. If you're a good writer and knowledgeable about a niche topic, reach out to the top bloggers in that niche and ask if they'll pay you to write for them.
According to Worldwide Freelance, some industry estimates suggest that up to 50% of all non-fiction books are ghostwritten. Often, these books start as audio recordings and the ghostwriter transcribes and spruces up the content. This is just one way to make money as a transcriber.
English is the universal language of business, but there are roughly 6,500 other languages in the world. Books, websites, manuals, etc. all need to be translated to other languages.
Much like authors, few bloggers make a living strictly from blogging. To attract advertisers, you typically need a couple thousand unique visitors per day. Think of a blog as a platform to attract other business opportunities.
234 million websites compete to rise to the top of search engines. If you know how to optimize websites, you can help website owners save a lot of money on internet advertising.
The other side of search engines is paid search. It's not unusual for internet marketers to have $500,000 per month budgets for PPC (pay-per-click) and CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions) advertising.
Don't let companies outsource their social media campaigns. But a service that helps people set up their Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus profiles is completely legitimate.
Michael always tells you that the money is in the list, but it takes a lot or work to maintain that list. If you offer to create and automate the email newsletters, it'll take a lot of pressure off their backs.
To date, ClickBank has paid out almost $1.9 billion to affiliate marketers. Affiliate marketing is another way to make a living as a blogger and it's the primary way that Michael makes money.
I know I gave you lots of big stats and that can be overwhelming.
To put it into perspective, Michael has partaken in or hired out at least 14 of these 21 services; this includes over $30,000 on web design updates to IncomeDiary.
There's a lot of money to be made on the internet. If you have a laptop, an internet connection, and a working brain, the only thing holding you back is you.
Post written by Retireat21 writer, Nick Tart.
I'm a 23-year-old, full-time entrepreneur living in Colorado. My companies include 14 Clicks, JuniorBiz, and Monument Marketing. I'm the co-author of What it Takes to Make More Money than Your Parents. I graduated from Colorado State in 2010 and I'm dedicated to teaching and helping young entrepreneurs.
Good companies start by selling what people want. Great companies adapt to what people want and start selling what they're going to want.
As you'll find in this post, sometimes that means completely changing your product or service. Here are 10 great companies that started as something completely different than what they're known for today.
Formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3 M's, get it?), 3M started in 1902 as a mining company that sold a popular mineral to grinding wheel manufacturers.
From a mineral, they began selling sandpaper, then masking tape, then "Scotch Tape", and today they sell over 55,000 different products including everything from car care products to touch screens.
Founded in 1892 by David Abercrombie and Ezra H. Fitch, Abercrombie & Fitch started as a sporting goods shop and outfitter.
They didn't become a clothing store until The Limited acquired them in 1988. Now they have over 300 stores in the U.S. and they're expanding internationally.
David H. McConnell started Avon in 1886 as door-to-door book salesman. Sales were tough at first but he realized that he could gain women's attention by offering perfume samples.
Soon those perfume samples became more popular than the books, so he founded the California Perfume Company in New York, NY and it eventually became Avon.
Colgate was originally founded in 1806 by a soap and candle maker named William Colgate. They started by selling soap, candles, and starch.
Colgate didn't start selling toothpaste until 1873 and they sold it by the jar.
In 2004, Flickr started as a chat room with real-time photo sharing for the web-based multiplayer game, Game Neverending. Soon thereafter, they shelved Game Neverending, expanded the uploading and filing of photos, and buried the chat room.
In March 2005, Yahoo! acquired Flickr for $35 million.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen started what eventually became Microsoft in 1968 when a local computer company gave the 13-year-olds access to a computer. They were quickly banned after they learned how to hack the system and crash the files. But the company ultimately re-hired them to find bugs and fix weaknesses in their systems.
Over the next five years they received sporadic programming gigs until Gates enrolled at Harvard. One year in, Allen showed Gates the latest issue of Popular Electronics featuring the Altair 8800 and Allen convinced Gates to drop out so they could develop software for personal computers.
Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo in 1889 as a playing card company. The game, Hanafuda, became very popular in Japan but they knew the market wasn't that big. So they began to experiment in other industries. Between 1963 and 1968, Nintendo set up a taxi company, a hotel chain, a TV network, and a food company.
Finally, in 1974, Nintendo entered the video-gaming industry and today they're third most valuable listed company in Japan.
Nokia got its start in 1865 as a paper mill – the original communications technology. In 1868, Frederick Idestam opened his second pulp mill near the town of Nokia, Finland.
After a century of mergers and acquisitions, Nokia entered the mobile communication in the 1980s with the Mobira Talkman.
Twitter originated from a "daylong brainstorming session" between Jack Dorsey and his podcasting company, Odeo, with the goal of creating an online SMS service to communicate within a small group. It was codenamed, Twttr, after being inspired by Flickr.
At first, it was used internally by Odeo employees and they launched Twitter to the public on July 15, 2006.
Like Colgate, the William Wrigley Jr. Company started by selling soap and baking powder in 1891. Like Avon, William Wrigley began by selling his products door-to-door and he enticed his customers by packaging each can of baking powder with chewing gum.
The chewing gum steadily became more popular than the baking powder. Today several brands of chewing gum are owned by Wrigley, including Juicy Fruit, Extra, Orbit, Hubba Bubba, and 5.
Mark my words, years from now our generation will be saying, "Remember when Google was just a search engine?" And we'll be like, "Yeah, dude, I remember the first time I used it back in middle school."
One of the biggest excuses young people give for not starting a business is, "I don't have an idea yet."
They're just sitting back and waiting for that big idea. You know, that one-in-a-million idea. They think it'll fall out of the sky and into their lap when they least expect it. And that's when they'll get started.
If you want to be successful, just start selling something, anything. Figure out what people are buying and sell it to them. Michael started his journey by selling Pokémon cards to his schoolmates as an 8-year-old.
What you're selling will likely change over time, but the principles will stay the same.
Do you know of other companies that started out selling something completely different?
I'm a 23-year-old, full-time entrepreneur living in Colorado. My companies include 14 Clicks, JuniorBiz, and Monument Marketing. I'm the co-author of What it Takes to Make More Money than Your Parents. I graduated from Colorado State in 2010 and I'm dedicated to teaching and helping young entrepreneurs