5 Profitable Digital Business Ideas for Creatives (and Tips To Succeed)

Digital technologies are everywhere. Just look at the tools you’re leveraging on a daily basis. From social media and email to messaging platforms and navigation apps, we’re building key parts of our lives in a world we can’t touch. There’s no time like the present for creatives to launch a digital business and thrive.

Online careers can give you the flexibility to work from just about anywhere—and there are endless options, too. Moving away from traditional business models and becoming a digital-first brand opens up a ton of opportunities to be your own boss.

Not sure what type of digital business is right for you? We’ll give you five ideas that you can launch right from where you’re sitting.

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5 Digital Business Ideas for Creatives

When you think of the digital transformation that’s happening around us, you may think of buzzwords like “artificial intelligence,” “machine learning,” or “automation.” But you don’t have to be a computer science buff (or even a techie at all) to become a digital business leader. No need to develop a brand new app either!

Here are five digital business ideas fit for creatives like you, along with some tips to help you get a head start in the right direction.

1. Launch a Dropshipping Business

Ecommerce sales are rising every single year. With more people shopping online than ever, launching a online store can give you a major competitive advantage over location-dependent retailers—and you don’t even need to manage your own inventory or shipping process.

Dropshipping is a digital business strategy in which you partner with suppliers who fulfill orders for you. When you receive an order, you’ll just forward it over to the supplier, take your profit margins, and your job is done. You can focus on promoting your brand and providing excellent customer service. It’s a fairly hands-free startup model with huge growth potential.

3 Steps To Get Started

​Here are three steps you can take to launch your dropshipping business:

  1. Set up your ecommerce site. Many online marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, etc.) don’t allow dropshipping, so you’ll need to create your own site. Use a website builder like Shopify or Square to get set up fast, with no coding experience.
  2. Promote your launch on social. Build up the hype for the launch of your store by promoting it on social media. Start engaging with potential customers to create the foundations for a long-term relationship.
  3. Maintain consistent branding. Your website and social media presence should feel like one cohesive customer experience. Build brand recognition and customer loyalty with consistent brand elements, including colors, fonts, and your logo.

Get the full run-down on how to start an ecommerce business.

2. Sell Handmade Goods Online

digital business: Woman watching on her laptop with yarn and needle

Makers can turn their craft into a digital business, too. Whether you love knitting blankets, making candles, or something else, you can take advantage of new technologies to reach thousands more customers than before. You no longer need a store or pop-up booths in the physical world to succeed.

You don’t have to create a brand new ecommerce site to make this happen. There are plenty of online marketplaces dedicated to artisans these days—including Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and Zibbet—where people are seeking unique handcrafted goods like yours.

3 Steps To Get Started

Once you’ve selected the online marketplaces you want to sell your handmade items on, here are three steps you can take:

  1. Show off your brand. When your store is hosted by another site, you need a great brand to stand out. Start by creating an eye-catching store banner with a content creation tool, keeping your brand guidelines in mind.
  2. Share on social. Build your online presence to spread the word about your shop! Instagram and Facebook are two great platforms for selling handmade products to consumers.
  3. Focus on photography. Great visuals can help your product pages earn clicks. Photograph your products with a clean background in good natural lighting. For social media, take some photos that give users a behind-the-scenes look at your creative work.

3. Earn Money Through Affiliate Marketing

If you’ve built a popular blog or have a substantial social media following, you can create a pretty profitable digital business through affiliate marketing.

As an affiliate marketer, you’ll be tasked with promoting another company’s products or services. Anytime someone purchases a product through your unique link, you’ll get a percentage of the sale. Amazon, Fiverr, and eBay are just three of thousands of companies with great affiliate programs.

This form of marketing can be an excellent passive income opportunity, so as long as you’re focused on creating a loyal following, you could literally earn money in your sleep.

3 Steps To Get Started

A well-engaged audience is key to success in this new world of affiliate marketing. Here are three steps you can take to create that audience:

  1. Choose a niche. Don’t sell everything to anyone. Narrow down your target audience and select products to promote based on their unique interests.
  2. Focus on voice and visual branding. Great affiliate marketers are influencers, and consumers are most influenced by people they connect with. Show off the real you by writing with your voice and sharing graphics and photos that fully reflect who you are.
  3. Engage, engage, engage. Your audience will engage more if they know you always engage right back. Reply to comments and messages, and proactively engage on their posts too! Pro tip: Follow hashtags on Instagram to bring relevant posts to engage with right onto your feed.

4. Manage Social Media Pages

Woman standing by the windows while using her tablet

Brands around the world are investing big in digital marketing nowadays, and social media marketing is a major part of that. There’s a lucrative market for those who love strategizing about all things social media.

The job involves a bit more than just creating and publishing posts. It’ll involve planning out strategies that help your clients meet their business goals, as well as keeping up with metrics to see if you’re actually getting results. You’ll also play a role in building better customer experiences by engaging with users through comments and DMs.

3 Steps To Get Started

Here’s how you can start getting social media clients today:

  1. Select a social media management tool. Pro social media managers always use a tool like Buffer, Sprout Social, or Planoly to streamline their business processes. These tools bring all the pages you manage onto one platform.
  2. Build your resume. If you don’t have any experience already, build up your portfolio by seeking out gigs on freelancer platforms like Fiverr or Upwork, or by reaching out to small businesses in your area that might be interested in social media support.
  3. Show off your expertise. Use your own social media pages to demonstrate your ability to build an audience. Share your knowledge through your LinkedIn profile to connect with business owners, too.

5. Offer Graphic Design Services

If you know how to design like a pro, you’ve got the skills to create a high-demand digital business. We live in an ultra-visual world, and your knack for graphic design can get you clients from practically any industry, from healthcare to real estate.

Start offering your design services by pitching potential clients or by jumping on freelancer sites like Upwork, and you could make your first profit with practically no cash investment this week.

3 Steps To Get Started

Here are three steps that can help you build a professional graphic design business:

  1. Create a stellar portfolio. Your graphic design portfolio can prove your skills, your experience, and that you’re the right person for clients to work with. Create an e-portfolio with ease using a premade template.
  2. Show up on Instagram. Instagram profiles have become a second portfolio for many designers. Through your Instagram page, you can use hashtags to expand the reach of your designs and catch the eyes of potential clients. Pro tip: Use a tool like Preview to make sure your entire Instagram grid is on-brand and aesthetically pleasing.
  3. Connect on LinkedIn. Since you’ll mainly be contracted by other professionals, you want to be where business owners are at. Build your LinkedIn presence and post your designs, as well as any design tips, consistently to stand out.

Join the digital transformation

Digital businesses are easy to get up and running from anywhere in the world, and there’s no better time to create one. People are increasingly jumping online to buy anything and everything, whether that’s handmade goods, professional services, or other products.

Want a few more business concepts that won’t necessarily keep you stuck behind a screen? Here are nine business ideas that are free to start.