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What Are the Different Types of Internet Business Opportunities?

Jeremy Laukkonen
Jeremy Laukkonen

The different types of Internet business opportunities can be divided into two basic categories. One type of Internet business is essentially an online extension of an offline business. This includes multi-level marketing (MLM) that complements real world efforts and storefronts that sell items stocked in brick-and-mortar stores. Other types of Internet business opportunities take place entirely online, such as offering web design services, reselling hosting plans and affiliate marketing. The Internet also makes other business activities easier to access, such as stock day trading or making use of the foreign exchange (forex) market.

For people who already have some type of business operation offline, the Internet often represents an untapped market. Multi-level marketers can often take advantage of various online marketing tools such as webpages, forums and mailing lists to obtain more clients. Many brick-and-mortar business owners can also find new niche markets online, which represents one of the most lucrative Internet business opportunities. Competing directly with the large online retailers can be difficult or impossible, but many specialty shops have been very successful at selling their niche products to entirely new online audiences.

An ADSL modem, one of the ways to connect to the Internet.
An ADSL modem, one of the ways to connect to the Internet.

There are also many different Internet business opportunities that can allow virtually anyone to work from home and make money online. Many of these opportunities require some type of special skill, such as web design. Accomplished programmers can also find success in selling their software online, or even contracting out their services to create custom programs. Other opportunities require marketing savvy to resell web hosting services and other ancillary products. A number of different freelancing opportunities exist on the Internet as well, allowing people to sell various professional services such as copywriting and graphic design.

Affiliate marketing and informational products are some Internet business opportunities for people who have writing and marketing skills. These opportunities typically involve earning a commission for selling the products and services of other people. Many Internet retailers and service providers offer affiliate marketing plans, and it is also possible to create and market informational products as well.

Stock trading and forex are two Internet business opportunities that typically require an initial monetary investment. Day trading involves the purchase and sale of stocks with the intention of making short-term gains, and there are many different resources available on the Internet that can facilitate this opportunity. Forex involves the trading of various currency pairs, which can also be carried out through various Internet sites.

Discussion Comments


@sunnySkys - I shop online a lot myself. I know a lot of people whine and cry about the Internet killing off "local" businesses, but I think you brought up a really good point. The knitting store you were talking about is a local business, somewhere. They just have an online store too!

As the article said, the Internet can give local businesses an opportunity to grow they might not have had. Also, it allows people to open businesses who might not be able to get the funds together to open a traditional store.

For example, I have a friend who has a small business selling handmade jewelry online. She can't afford to open a physical store yet, but she might do so one day using the revenue for her online sales. I think it's just amazing!


I think it's so neat that there are jobs that exist only because of the Internet. For instance, if there was no Internet, we wouldn't need web designers, app designers or web content writers. I actually can't think of any other inventions in the recent past that has generated so many jobs!

I also feel like as a consumer, I benefit from Internet businesses. I like to knit, and there is one knitting website I really like to patronize. They have a lot of good sales and great customer service. But their brick and mortar location is hundreds of miles away from me!

Luckily I can shop using their online website. I'm happy, the business makes money, and everybody wins!


@robbie21 - I'm glad your sister got out in time! A lot of otherwise smart people fall for those because it's so tempting to work at home. A good friend of mine has a direct marketing jewelry business that she augments with an online presence, but it's not easy. She really hustles.

When I was in library school, I used to have a part-time work at home job doing search engine evaluation (Google rater). That's another legit option for people who don't really want to run a business. I was paid by the hour and could work whenever I wanted, so it really suited a graduate student schedule. It wasn't exactly a gold mine, but it worked for me.

It would be a good opportunity for a mom with young kids because it doesn't take as much energy as running an Internet business and there's no phone work, so it's easy to interrupt (if, say, baby wakes up early from her nap).


I want to remind everyone that you should *never* pay money for information about a business opportunity. If someone charges $40 for the getting started kit, guess how they make their money? Selling kits. Not doing anything else. And some of them are a lot more than $40.

My sister is a stay-at-home mom who really wanted to make some money from home as an alternative to getting a full-time job. She got sucked into these several times and blew threw over a thousand dollars before her husband realized what was going on!

Fortunately, we were able to talk some sense into her. Instead of pursuing fake business ventures (like pay $29.99 to learn how to stuff envelopes from home and make big bucks), she now has a legitimate work-at-home job. She used to do customer service before she had kids, and now during school hours she takes customer service calls. The only expense to her was some fairly inexpensive special equipment she needed, and a dedicated phone line.


I think that there are a lot of MLM businesses that are enhanced by the Internet. I think that many MLM companies are setting up websites for their individual sales representatives so that potential customers can place orders online. This really has expanded the territory of many of these representatives because instead of selling to people in their own backyard, they can create a following in which people can place orders that reside all over the place.

I do think that while the Internet is a great tool for this type of business, you really need to develop a clientele through some personal contact. You really need to make an effort to contact those that are interested in your products and follow up with them for subsequent orders. The Internet tends to depersonalize things which is something that an MLM business has to be careful with in my opinion.

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      By: Petr Malyshev
      An ADSL modem, one of the ways to connect to the Internet.