Last updated on January 8th, 2019 at 10:00 pm
If you’ve been seriously searching for genuine information on how to make money online in Nigeria legitimately in 2019, you just landed on the right page.
Now, get this clearly: This is not another “buy my e-book” page. And it’s not a compilation of the same crappy stuff that you’ll find all over the place.
Rather, this is a detailed eye-opening post written by someone who has really been making money online in Nigeria for years. No bullshit. No lies. No hype. And no crappy fluff. Just straight and plain facts based on my own knowledge and experience.
Enough said. Let’s get straight to business.
Starting and running an online business is one of the coolest ways to make money nowadays.
Only a few things could be more freeing than starting your workday whenever you like, running and promoting your business from any location, and making nice bucks as your own boss.
Although, it’s not as easy as it sounds, running an online business could be much easier than running a brick-and-mortar business. And if you’re like many people out there, you already understand this fact.
What exactly is an online business?
Just as the name implies, an online business refers to any profitable venture that is operated over the Internet and that you have significant control over.
So, this definition excludes stuff like online betting, get-paid-to schemes, Ponzi schemes and other ventures that you can’t control or that do not involve offering a real product or service.
There are various types and models of online business, and they can be classified or categorized in various ways.
Common examples of online business models include:
- Freelancing: Offering a service such as writing, web design, graphics design or proofreading to clients online and getting paid on a per-project basis.
- Affiliate marketing: Promoting products or services for companies and getting paid each time a customer makes a purchase through your efforts.
- Information marketing: Packaging some valuable information into an e-book, video, or e-course, and selling it online to people who are desperately in need of it.
- Ad space sales: Selling advert space on your blog to ad networks such as Google Adsense or directly to interested advertisers.
- Online retail: Offering physical products for sale to interested customers and delivering orders to their doorsteps or preferred delivery locations.
There are several other examples, many of which you’ll get to know later. For now, let’s continue discussing the basics.
Based on the specific income model, online businesses can be broadly classified into two types: active businesses and passive businesses.
These include any form of online business, in which the income generated depends on your activity. The more you work, the more you earn. A good example is freelance web design, in which you get paid each time you design a website for a client. And your total income at the end of each month depends on the number of projects you were able to complete within that month.
In an active business model, your income stops immediately when you decide to stop working. It’s a no-work-no-income thing.
These are also known as autopilot businesses. In simpler terms, they are businesses that can continue to generate income even if you don’t actively work on them for some time. You probably have heard some people claim that it’s possible to make money while in your sleep. That’s a good description of passive income.
A good example is a product review website modelled to generate income through affiliate marketing. If such a website is well structured and loaded with quality content, it will continue to fetch its owner decent income without much effort from the owner’s end — for as long as it continues to pull organic traffic from search engines.
But the truth is, passive income isn’t as easy as sounds. Before you can grow an online business to the point where it starts generating money passively, you must have invested a lot of time and effort and probably some money. After the site starts to gain traction and generate income, you can cut down on your activity and still have your cool cash coming in steadily. But, again, it’s not an overnight thing. Sometimes, you’ll have to work hard and wait for up to one year or even longer to start seeing results.
How do people make money online?
From the classifications and models of online business I’ve just given, you should have deduced one golden fact: To make money online, you have to sell something — be it a product or a service offered by you or someone else.
As a freelancer, you make money by selling your services to clients online. As an information marketer, you make money by selling your knowledge to others. As an affiliate marketer, you make money by selling products created by others and getting compensated with a commission on each sale. And as an online retailer, you make money by selling physical (or digital) products to consumers online. So, every online business involves offering value in the form of a product or a service. And that’s how everyone in online business makes money.
Online business vs. offline business: similarities and differences
Doing business online has some similarities with running an offline business, just as there are differences between the two.
Let’s start with the similarities.
Both options require the investment of time, energy, and money. However, the amount of money required to start an online business can be very much less than that required for an offline business. This is not the case all the time, though, as there are some online businesses that can be more capital-intensive than most small-scale businesses run offline.
It’s important to note that neither option is a get-rich-quick scheme. So, if you’re shying away from investing in an offline business because you think it might take some time to start raking huge profits, you won’t find solace in online business, either.
Another similarity between online business and offline business is that both can fail woefully due to different reasons. While offline businesses usually fail due to poor management, bad marketing practices, and other easy-to-discern factors, online business can fail due to reasons that are even more covert. In fact, there are times when not much explanation can be given as to why an online business has failed.
Now, let’s go to the differences.
The main difference lies in the flexibility of management. While you can run an online business from any location, your physical presence is needed for the day-to-day running of any offline business. This explains why all you need to run an online business are just your PC and a reliable Internet connection.
So, by now, you should have learned these two straight facts about online business:
- It’s not an easy shortcut to financial breakthrough
- It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme
Examples of successful Nigerian online businesses
If you would like to see online business in practice, then there are more-than-countable examples owned and run by Nigerians. And here are some very popular ones:
- Nairaland: An online forum for Nigerians that features interesting discussions on a wide range of topics related to Nigeria and beyond. Presently, the forum has close to 2 million registered members.
- Linda Ikeji’s Blog: Arguably the most popular blog in Nigeria. It’s popular for entertainment news and celebrity gossips. The blog earns its income from ads and sponsored posts.
- BellaNaija: A lifestyle, fashion, and entertainment blog owned by Uche Eze. It also generates revenue from ads and sponsored posts.
- Whogohost: A web hosting service provider offering various web hosting packages as well as domain registration and reseller hosting.
- Jobberman: Nigeria’s first and most popular online job website. It generates revenue from ads, sponsored job vacancy placements, joint ventures, and premium services such as CV writing.
- HotNigerianJobs.com: Another online job website that connects job seekers with available job positions all over the country. It generates income from ad placements.
- Tolet.com.ng: A property listing website featuring information about houses, land, and other property available for lease/rent all over the country.
- Wakanow.com: An online travel and flight booking website.
- Konga.com: An online retail marketplace where Nigerians can buy physical products online and have their orders delivered right at their doorsteps.
- Jumia.com.ng: Similar to Konga.
- Paystack: An online payment solution that allows Nigerians to receive payments from customers through their websites.
- IrokoTV.com: a web platform that allows Nigerians to download Nollywood films on-demand.
- Naijaloaded.com: An online all-round entertainment platform that is popular for offering Nigerian music audios for free download. It also features news, celebrity gossip, and other entertainment-related stuff.
- Remita.net: An online payment processing portal that allows Nigerians to make and receive payments online.
- Cheki.com.ng: A car listing website featuring both Nigerian- and foreign-used (“tokunbo”) cars available for sale. Brand new cars are sometimes listed, too.
Is it true that everyone and anyone can make money online?
Forget about whatever beautiful picture of online business some desperate skunks might have flaunted in your eyes. Truth is, online business is hard, and it’s not for everyone. That is, not everyone has what it takes to start it in the first place. And not everyone who has all the requirements to start would eventually succeed at it.
To start an online business, you’ll need the following:
- An efficient laptop (tablets and mobile phones are not advisable because they don’t work well for some tasks involved in running an online business)
- A reliable Internet connection
- Some money (not required in all cases, though)
- Now, that’s not all. You’ll also need the following intangible “tools”.
- Good writing skills (most online business models require this)
- Patience and determination (there will be times when you’ll feel like just quitting for good)
- Ability to learn new things fast (you’ll need to understand how to handle some simple to fairly complex tasks yourself)
- The zeal to keep learning (things change fast, and you need to constantly keep abreast of latest trends)
- A good source of income (start with online business as a side venture, not something you’re expecting to start fetching you decent income within days to few months)
So, going by these requirements, it’s absolutely correct to say that online business isn’t for anyone who lacks any of them. However, there might be a way to get around some of these requirements. For example, if you’re not a very good writer and your chosen online business model requires good writing skills, you can pay someone else to write content for you. But there’s no such alternative for most of the other requirements.
30+ Ways to Make Money Online in Nigeria
There are more-than-countable practical, realistic, and legitimate ways to make money online here in Nigeria. But choosing the right online business to start is the biggest challenge for most people. If you’re facing the same challenge, here are over 50 smart, sustainable, scalable, and profitable online business ideas you can launch right away and start making cool money from.
Freelancing entails rendering a specific service to other people on a pay-per-contract basis. That is, rather than receive a fixed monthly wage, you get paid per project. Working online as a freelancer means there’s no limit to how much you can earn each month. And you’re not formally or legally tied to one employer.
Your choice of services to render to clients online as a freelancer hinges on your skills. While there are many services that cannot be rendered remotely, there are several others that you can handle for clients over the Internet, regardless of the physical distance between you and them.
Some services are particularly in huge demand online, and you can make a killing rendering them as a freelancer. Here are some of them.
With more and more businesses and individuals getting to understand that quality content is one of the keys to success in online marketing, the demand for high quality writing services has continued to boom.
Freelance writers are needed to craft quality content for corporate websites, blogs, social media accounts, email newsletters, e-books and reports, and so on. So, if you have uniquely solid writing skills and zero tolerance for grammatical, spelling, style, and punctuation errors, you should consider launching your freelance writing business, and you’ll be on your way into a large and booming market.
While you have the option of being a “generalist” freelance writer, you can command more authority and make even more money by specializing on specific writing tasks, such as:
- Sales copies (copywriting)
- Social media updates
- CVs/ resumes (this is needed offline, I know)
- Blog posts and articles
- Guest posts
- E-books and reports
- Business plans
- Official letters (LOIs, LORs, etc.)
- Product reviews
- Fiction/non-fiction ghostwriting
- Technical writing
- Academic writing
- Website copies
- Email newsletters
Suggested reading: How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer in Nigeria
b. Graphics design
They say a single image is better than a thousand words. That’s true — even on the Internet. Most individuals and businesses looking to improve their online presence understand that catchy images will help to achieve that goal faster than even the most compelling epistles. This explains why there is increasing demand for graphics such as business or website logos, website header banners, infographics, ad banners, e-covers, landing page designs, and so on.
If you’re good at creating unique images that attract attention and send the desired signals to the beholder, then you can make some cool bucks by rendering graphics design services as a freelancer.
c. Virtual assistance
Hiring personal assistants and secretaries to help with certain personal assignments is a common practice among business owners and managers as well as political office holders. But what’s becoming even more common these days is the practice of hiring virtual assistants who handle specified tasks from a remote location rather than being physically present.
Many web-savvy individuals now prefer to hire virtual assistants because this obviates the need for extra office space and facilities. If you have the basic equipment and skills required to work as a virtual assistant/secretary, consider starting out as one. Basically, you’ll need a computer and reliable Internet connection as well as fast typing skills, ability to work with little or no supervision, and ability to pay attention to detail.
If the ability to type at the speed of lightning is all you can boast of, that’s fine. You can make a living off of that by handling typing assignments for clients online.
There are many people out there who are looking to type big-volume documents, web content, and so on. And most of the time, such assignments are urgent, thereby requiring someone who can type fast. If you know the right places to find such assignments online, you’ll get a lot of good-paying gigs.
If you understand more than one major language, then you’ve got a money-spinner in you. With more and more businesses trying to break into foreign markets, the demand for translators is booming. So, it won’t be a bad idea to launch a business that involves helping individuals and businesses to translate their promotional documents and web content from one major language to another.
Examples of the most widely-translated languages include English, French, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, and Russian.
f. Audio or video transcription
Audios and videos are effective tools for learning — and there’s no getting around that. But for many webmasters and businesses with an online presence, there’s always a reason to render the content of their audios and videos into readable text. This is where freelance video transcribers are required.
If you’re gifted with the ability to pick every detail from recorded audio or video clips, consider starting a freelance transcription service. To get started, you won’t need more than your PC, Internet connection, and a good quality headphone.
g. Website design or development
Chances are you already know that the Internet is a network of web pages. But it might interest you to know that about 600 new websites are created every minute. That’s 10 new websites per second! So, the booming demand for website design and development services is quite expectable.
If you can set up new websites that look cool and professional, and you don’t balk at the idea of getting your hands dirty with coding, then starting your own freelance website design or development business can place you on the pedestal of financial independence for life. If you’re not skilled in this area or you have just rudimentary skills, you can enroll for some relevant courses, and within a couple of months you’d be in business — that’s if you’re interested in it.
h. Search engine optimization
The most effective way for a business to generate traffic and attract new customers online is to appear as prominently as possible in search engine result pages whenever queries related to that business’s offers are submitted. Virtually all businesses with an online presence have this as one of their most important short or long term goals. And that’s why more and more businesses are setting aside a huge fraction of their marketing budget for this strategy alone. What this means is more business and big money for SEO experts.
If you never fret each time you have to learn new things quickly, master the use of analytical tools, conduct lots of experiments, and work your tail off just to get results for other people, freelance SEO might just be the perfect business idea for you. Don’t know jack about it? That’s nothing to worry about. By reading lots of valuable resources and enrolling for quality online courses on the subject, you’ll master it sooner than you ever imagined.
Suggested reading: A Beginners’ Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you eat, drink and live code, then you can convert your skills into cool cash by helping clients develop their own web-based apps, mobile apps, desktop apps, databases, plugins, and themes. With increasing demand for websites with specialized functions, mobile and web-based applications, software, and others, there are more than enough opportunities for anyone who is a wizard at coding.
j. Professional services
If you’re a professional in any field, you can make lots of extra cash by rendering your services on contract basis. For example, if you’re a seasoned accountant, you can handle accounting tasks for remote clients over the Internet.
Similarly, if you’re a seasoned attorney, you can offer legal advice or complete legal paperwork for clients over the Internet. The same applies to any other professional field. All you need to succeed with this option is a mix of professional expertise, good marketing skills, and stellar customer support service.
k. Editing and proofreading
Do you pride yourself on having mastered virtually all the rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and consistency? Do you have a keen eye and zero-tolerance for all forms of errors in any piece of writing? If you answered both questions in the affirmative, then you should consider starting out as a freelance editor and proofreader.
Content is one of the major drivers of the Internet, and it only sends the right signals when it’s professionally written and error-free. This explains why the demand for editors and proofreaders has been on the high.
2. Services arbitrage
This is a smart idea for those who can attract clients but have no skills to offer. For example, if you’re active on an online forum where members constantly require the services of freelance graphics designers and you don’t know jack about graphics design, you can simply take up the projects and then find a good designer who will handle provide quality outputs. In short, you’ll play the role of a middleman and make money by taking your cut off what clients pay for the job. So, if you know the designer would charge $40 to design a logo, charging the client $100 would fetch you $60 in profit — for just being a middleman.
Similarly, you can find an individual or company that sells cars or furniture offline, and tell them you’d be willing to bring them customers in return for an agreed-upon commission per sale. Then take pictures of the products they currently have for sale and promote those products online (through classified ad sites, forums, social media, etc.). Imagine earning a profit of N50,000 per car or furniture sold through your efforts. And imagine how much you’d be making if you can close three to four sales per month!
To succeed with this model of online business, you’d need to be a marketing workhorse. And you’d need to work with freelancers who really know their stuff and are deadline-oriented. Your aim here is to ensure maximum client satisfaction. By leveraging this model, you can start your own content marketing agency, SEO agency, digital marketing agency, or what have you.
Suggested reading: Fiverr Arbitrage: How to Make Money Reselling Fiverr Gigs
3. Retail arbitrage
This idea simply entails buying products at cheap prices (online or offline) and selling them online at higher prices. It goes without saying that your aim is to make a profit from the price difference.
For example, assume you order 100 pieces of iPhone 7 cases from AliExpress for just $100 ($1 per piece), and you pay $50 to ship to your country, you’d have invested a total of $150. If you go ahead to sell the cases at $5 each on your local Amazon platform or any other online retail outfit, you’d realize a total of $500 in sales and $350 in profit. That’s how it works. If you find that alluring enough, consider giving it a shot.
Suggested reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Mini Importation
4. Website flipping
If you’re familiar with real estate development, then you’d easily understand what website flipping entails: You buy a website or start it from scratch, increase its value with high quality content until it starts generating income, and sell at a price much higher than what you’ve invested in it.
Many people out there want to join the bandwagon of online business but don’t want to go through the hassles of starting from scratch or wait too long to start making money. Such people prefer to buy online businesses that are already generating income. So, for website flippers, there’s a large market to serve. And that’s why several websites and other online assets are sold daily on platforms like Flippa and Empire Flippers.
Suggested reading: How a WIP Reader Just Became a Millionaire Within One Week
5. Domain name flipping
This simply entails registering domain names that have some presumed value and reselling them at much higher prices. When compared with website flipping, domain name flipping is much simpler and straightforward. You won’t have to build a website or craft content repeatedly. And you won’t have to spend time, energy, and money on traffic generation.
Although it’s seemingly easy, domain name flipping has it’s many tricky aspects that you must take your time to learn about before taking a plunge. If you really know how to play your cards well, a single domain sale can fetch you six figures in dollars. But truth be told, with several thousands of new domains being snagged up every day, domain name flipping is becoming more difficult.
6. Forex trading
One of the oldest online businesses, Forex trading simply entails trading in currencies online and making profit from slight increments. This business is a like a two-edged sword. It can be very profitable, and it can fetch huge, disastrous losses. Even expert traders who have been in the business for decades do lose on occasions. So, you really need to take your time to train hard before getting into the live market.
7. E-currency exchange
This simply involves buying and selling funds in the form of e-currencies and cryptocurrencies. For example, if you buy one Bitcoin for $750, you can sell to someone else at $800. That’s $50 in profit. In a similar way, you can deal in PayPal funds, Payoneer funds, Payza funds, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and so on. Although, you’ll add tiny margins per unit currency most of the time, those can add up to huge profits with multiple transactions.
As more and more e-currencies and cryptocurrencies continue to grow in terms of recognition and acceptance, the e-currency exchange market is getting more lucrative.
8. Online consulting
If you have a huge wealth of experience in any aspect of life that people are yearning to learn more about, you can turn that experience into cool cash by offering consulting services online. For example, if you’re a small business consultant who has helped a lot of people set up successful small businesses in Nigeria, you stand the chance of making a fortune as an online small business consultant. That’s because the country’s harsh economic situation is prompting more and more people to look beyond salary jobs and start their own small businesses by the side. This explains why there are millions of search queries related to various small businesses in Nigeria.
Aside small business, other areas in which consulting would be lucrative include travelling abroad, job search, educational pursuits, agriculture, passive investment opportunities (stocks, binary options, etc.), and making money online. Note, however, that this online business option would require building credibility first. Without establishing yourself as a credible expert in the field you want to be a consultant in, nobody would patronize you — since people only patronize reputable and popular consultants.
9. Online tutoring
If you’re particularly good at imparting knowledge on others and have some “in-demand” knowledge you can share with others through any medium, then this is for you. You can make money online by organizing online training sessions and charging your students. These sessions can be rendered as webinars, live chats, phone calls, video calls, and other convenient methods.
So, if you know a lot about stuffs like digital marketing, website design, SEO, programming, social media marketing, and other subjects that can be conveniently taught remotely, consider starting your online tutoring platform right away. And interestingly, you can even run physical, one-on-one sessions for those who request that.
10. Blogging for ad revenue
This is no doubt one of the most popular and most sought-after online business options in Nigeria — thanks to the low barriers to entry. Anyone can start a blog and publish posts consistently on any topic without having to spend a fortune to start. Some even don’t spend a dime until they start making money from their blogs. But as rosy as this might look, it’s actually getting uglier and more difficult by the day. Nonetheless, there’s still enough room and huge chances of success for new entrants who are ready to play their cards right and stand out from the crowd.
Here’s what blogging for ad revenue entails: You start a blog that centers on a topic you’re interested in or knowledgeable about and that a lot of Nigerians are interested in, as well. Then you consistently publish valuable, helpful, or entertaining information (depending on your chosen topic or niche) that people would find interesting.
At the same time, keep working hard to promote your blog using social media and other online platforms until you’ve grown a large followership or your posts have started pulling huge traffic from search engines. That’s when you put up ads on your blog and earn income from them. These ads could be automatically displayed by ad networks (Google Adsense, etc.) or directly sponsored by businesses whose target customers form part of your blog audience.
Suggested reading: How to Make Blogging Work for You (Interview)
Suggested reading: The Secret Keys to Success in Blogging (Interview)
11. Affiliate marketing
Another popular way to make money online that is easy to venture into, affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products or services and getting paid a specified commission on each sale made through your efforts. You can adopt any promotional strategy that is permitted by the businesses you’re marketing for.
However, the method most people use is to set up an informational website or blog dedicated to promoting the offer. Such a blog will feature lots of valuable and helpful information about the product/service being promoted. This method is not only cheap, but it also converts like crazy because valuable information about any offer helps the potential buyer make well-informed decisions. Such a buyer will not hesitate to follow your recommendations and ultimately make purchases that will in turn fetch you generous commissions. Other methods for promoting products and services as an affiliate marketer include social media marketing, email marketing, forum marketing, and offline marketing. These other methods can be far more expensive, but they usually bring faster results when implemented correctly.
Suggested reading: How to Make Money as a Super Affiliate Marketer in Nigeria
12. Information marketing
You sure would have run into lots of web pages and online ads persuading you to buy an e-book or video pack, enroll for an online course, or subscribe to a paid membership site. That’s information marketing in practice. It simply involves packaging some in-demand information and selling it in the form of an e-book, video, or online course. So, if you have deep knowledge of one or more topics, related or not, that a lot of Nigerians are search the web for and don’t mind paying to acquire, consider starting your own information marketing business.
Note, however, that this business option isn’t as sweet as it sounds. Before you can get to the point where people will buy your information products without thinking twice, you must have invested a lot of time and energy into building an expert reputation and credibility. How? By offering loads of free information on the same topics you’ve created paid products on.
Once you’re able to convince people that you really know your stuff and you can be trusted and taken for an expert, they’ll readily buy whatever you pitch at them. If you try to put up sales pages right after creating your information product (in a bid to start making money right away), you’ll fail like never before! People are hard to convince these days, so before you can get them to part with their hard-earned money, you must have proven beyond doubt that they won’t regret doing that.
Suggested reading: Information Marketing in Nigeria: My Experience
13. Online directory
If you’ve ever visited sites like Vconnect and Nigeria Galleria, then you already know what an online directory looks like. If you’re good at research and collating information, this might be a good idea for you. You can set up a general online directory that features businesses across various industries and their contact details, but it’s better to go the niche way — at least for start. By “niche way”, I mean covering only a specific industry or geographical location.
So, it’s no doubt a smart idea to start an online directory that features only businesses and companies in Abuja or Port-Harcourt, or one that features only oil and gas businesses in Nigeria. You might be wondering how online directories make money. Well, they do by featuring sponsored listings and placing ads. Some directories also earn revenue through lead generation for featured businesses.
14. Classified ads site
Unless you just recently had access to the Internet for the first time in your life, you sure would have visited or heard of sites like OLX.com.ng and Jiji.ng. Those are the two most popular classified ad websites catering to Nigerians at the moment. In case you don’t know what those sites stand for, they are online marketplaces where buyers and sellers meet in order to do business together. But these platforms themselves don’t moderate such transactions, so buyers and sellers have to meet physically or over other channels.
If you have some money to spend on aggressive online promotion, you can make a lot of money by starting your own classified ads sites. To boost your chances of success, you can specialize only on certain products or services, or catering only to users in certain geographical locations. Note that this business is usually tough at the beginning, but when you start attracting lots of users daily, it becomes more like a passive income spinner that grows on its own and fetches you some decent monthly income.
15. Price comparison site
Chances are you sometimes use Google when trying to find out the latest prices of certain products and services in Nigeria. That’s enough proof that most other Nigerian Internet users do the same. And that explains why price comparison sites like Pricecheck.com.ng will continue to be relevant and will continue to pull massive traffic. If you think your writing skills aren’t good enough, here’s another online business option that doesn’t require being a good writer.
All you have to do is scour the various Nigerian online shopping sites to get the latest prices of different products and list them on your site in a comparison format, so that prospective buyers will know where to get the best prices. And the sweet thing is, there are automated programs that can do this for you without you having to lift a finger. That is, these programs will check the current prices of each product on each of the specified online shopping site and automatically list them on your own site. Just so you know, price comparison sites earn money through ads, sponsored placements, lead generation, and affiliate marketing.
16. Job board
When you hear names like Jobberman, Hotnigerianjobs, and NGcareers, job search comes to your mind, right? It’s expectable that these job search engines are popular in Nigeria, since the unemployment rate in the country is high. Now, I’m not being pessimistic, but from all indications unemployment in this country isn’t a problem that is likely to be solved anytime soon. So, I can correctly predict that sites like Jobberman and others will continue to remain relevant in this country for a very long time.
Despite the fact that there are already a good number of job search engines targeted at Nigerian job seekers, there’s still enough room for new entrants. If you’re smart enough to play your cards right, you can set up your own job search engine and grow it into a popular and successful one. A shortcut to success with this idea is to go the niche way by narrowing down to specific jobs only or to jobs in a geographical location. That is, it’s better to start a job search engine for oil and gas jobs only, or teaching jobs only, or jobs in Ibadan. You dig?
When promoted well, job search sites grow very quickly. So, when your traffic starts to hit the roof, you can start making money from ads or by rendering CV writing and review services, or by selling resources (e-books, etc.) that job seekers will find very helpful.
17. News site
Although we have a good number of Nigerian online newspapers, you can still set up a successful one for yourself if that’s your goal. Note, however, that competing with the online versions popular newspapers like The Punch and The Nation won’t be an easy task.
But if you’re able to consistently get unique news items that haven’t been published elsewhere, you stand a chance of quick success. This does not mean you should go about bearing fake news and putting up deceptive headlines just to attract traffic. If you do that, your website will soon be widely known for fake news, and nobody will ever take information from your site seriously again. And that’s the end!
For a start you will have to promote your new site aggressively through social media, forums, and other online channels. Your aim is to create widespread awareness of your site. News sites earn revenue through adverts and sponsored posts.
18. Viral news site
If you have a knack for curating weird and highly interesting news and information that people won’t hesitate to share with others, then here’s a good online business idea for you. One good thing about viral news sites is that they easily stand out and quickly attract a huge audience of loyal readers.
While the regular news sites like The Punch and The Nation are sharing the same everyday news about the government and other issues, viral news sites share rare yet interesting stuffs like “10 Things You Should Never Say to a Hausa Man” or “5 Most Ridiculous Statements Made By Nigerian Politicians in 2016”. If you come across such headlines, you’d be compelled by curiosity to read the post. And if you find it interesting, you’d immediately share it on Facebook or Twitter, so that your friends and followers can also enjoy it. That’s exact what other people would do as well. And it goes on and on. That’s the viral phenomenon.
To succeed with this idea, you’d need to find trusted sources of rare but interesting stuffs. And you must be a wizard at crafting compelling headlines that people won’t be able to resist. Major revenue sources for such a site would be adverts and sponsored posts. Examples of viral news sites include Buzzfeed (foreign) and Zikoko (Nigerian).
19. E-commerce (online store)
This is one of the hottest online business options in Nigeria right now because more and more Nigerians are becoming comfortable with buying things they need online. So, it’s no surprise that the likes of Jumia and Konga keep blossoming by the day. You too can tap from this multibillion naira industry by starting your own online store.
No, you don’t have to start something as big as Jumia or Konga. Just so you know, there are thousands of other Nigerian online stores that are less popular, but are also making a lot of money. Why most of them aren’t popular is that they sell only one or few types of products. You too can start an online store that sells only perfumes, for example, or wedding rings, or mobile phone accessories, or what have you. You don’t need much to start. Just have a hot-selling product or group of products and enough funds to set up your online store and promote your store online.
How you’ll source your products is totally up to you. If you’re already selling some goods before now, that’s cool. But if you’re not, you can source products from local markets at cheaper or wholesale prices and sell them online (retail arbitrage). Alternatively, you can source your products from cheap foreign sources such as AliExpress (mini importation). There’s also the option of creating or manufacturing the products yourself.
20. Coupon or promo site
Everyone loves to buy things at cheaper prices or even get them for free, if possible. And Nigerians are no exception. Just so you know, the reason why people compare prices of goods online, just as they do in markets and shopping malls, is to find the best (cheapest) price available. So, starting a site that features information about current promos, and discount offers is a smart idea.
Although you’ll need to spend some money and effort to promote and even maintain such a site, Nigerians won’t stop visiting the site daily to check the latest promo offers once they know what the site is all about. But you must keep impressing your visitors by posting fresh updates on latest discount offers and promos run by Nigerian companies.
Coupon and promo sites earn revenue through sponsored posts, adverts, and affiliate marketing. Lead generation is another monetization strategy that works well with such sites.
21. E-books and E-courses (Information marketing)
People — Nigerians inclusive — will continue to pay for information that they deem helpful and valuable. So, if you have in-depth knowledge of anything that many Nigerians are willing to learn more about, you can turn that knowledge into cool cash by packing all you know into an e-book or e-course.
Writing an e-book simply entails packaging your premium information into PDF or any other readable format. For e-courses, you can render them in text, audio, or video formats and deliver to your “students” in a piece-by-piece fashion.
You can promote and sell your e-books or e-courses in different ways. If you want to be in full control of your content and income, your best bet is to set up a dedicated site for it. All your marketing efforts would then be aimed at directing potential buyers to the site.
Another option is to sell on reputable platforms such as Amazon Kindle (for e-books) and Udemy (for video courses). These platforms attract millions of visits monthly, so you can make a good number of sales by piggy-backing on their reputation alone. And by selling your product through them, you’d be spared the hassles of handling payment processing and order deliveries, and you won’t have to work too hard to gain buyers’ trust.
But selling on these platforms has its downsides: Firstly, you don’t have full control over your content, as you’d have to publish it in the formats approved by the platform and play by their other rules. Secondly, you have to share your income with the platform, so you only get to pocket 60% to 80% of the sale price. And thirdly, you’d have to struggle with fierce competition, especially if there are other products on the same platform that are quite similar to yours.
Suggested reading: How to Make Money Writing and Selling E-books in Nigeria
22. App and game development
No, I’m not talking about developing apps and games for clients here. I’m talking about developing them for yourself with the aim of making money from them over time. You don’t necessarily have to be a programmer. All you need are innovative ideas and a smart mind. You can always pay a seasoned programmer to handle the development and testing for you.
So, if you’ve stumbled on one or more mobile or app ideas in the past, you can invest the money or time required to develop it, and sit back to enjoy your income afterwards. It’s common knowledge that smartphones are becoming more and more popular, which means the need apps and games can only continue to boom.
App and game developers make money from their products in different ways. They can charge an upfront fee that must be paid before access to download the app or game is granted. They can charge for upgrades to the premium version of the product after offering the “lite” version for free. They can charge for each additional enhancement and privilege (commonly obtains with games). And they can earn from ads displayed within the app.
23. Digital product creation
If you’re a programmer or web developer with special interest in website enhancement tools such as plugins and themes or any type of desktop or web-based software, you can turn make massive passive income by developing any of these for yourself. Even if you can’t code yourself, you can pay an expert to develop your idea into a fine product. All you need is a lucrative, brilliant idea to start with.
The demand for website enhancement tools and computer software will continue to be on the high for as long as computers and the Internet exist. So, call this a future-proof idea, and you’d be on point. You can decide to sell your product on a dedicated site or on online platforms such as Themeforest and Codecanyon.
A 5-second video is better than the hundreds of the most descriptive words. And no doubt, people understand things better when they watch videos than when they read pure text. This explains why Nigerians now tend to watch videos online more than they read articles, especially since data costs in the country are becoming more and more affordable. And the increase in number of video bloggers in Nigeria is just expectable, given the increase in consumption of video content.
So, if you have any unique video blogging ideas and have the tools required to get started, why not start your own video blogging platform? For most people, a YouTube Channel or an Instagram account is a perfect platform.
As with traditional blogging, your success as a video blogger hinges largely on your ability to consistently produce videos that are highly informative and problem-solving, or addictively entertaining. If you can master or actualize this ability, then you’d grow your followership over time and make good money.
Video bloggers earn through sponsored videos, YouTube ads, product creation, affiliate marketing, and rendering services.
25. Stock Photography
If you’re a badass when it comes to taking photo shots with any device, then this option is for you. You can make some cool cash selling your cute photos online. Have you ever wondered where many bloggers get the awesome pictures they insert in their blog posts or where website template developers get the alluring images they use as placeholders? Those pictures are bought from stock photo sites such as Shutterstock, Fotolia, and iStockPhoto.
Whether you have a thing for capturing nature in photos, or you particularly enjoy taking photos of amazing buildings and structures, you’ll always find ready buyers for your photos online. You have the option of selling exclusive rights to only one buyer (for a huge fee, of course), or making money continuously from a single image by selling to multiple users. You may even get hired permanently by companies or brands who value your skills. Who knows?
26. Social media prominence
Well, that’s the best term I could come up with for this idea. It’s the idea that entails gradually building an audience on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the ultimate aim of monetizing your followership. To make headway with this model, you’d need to offer something that will really attract people’s attention — not just once, but consistently.
Many Nigerian social media influencers are making fortunes with this model. From comedy skits to latest fashion styles, there’s no limit to the type of content you can offer with this model. Just be sure it’s something that people will always be tempted to follow.
After building a huge followership on whatever platform you opt for, you’ll start getting paid advert and sponsored content requests from small and big brands. And that’s where your income would come from. Running this option of online business requires only your content creation tools (cameras, etc). You won’t have to pay for hosting or other expenses that come with self-hosted blogs and other web-based assets.
27. Online forum
Nairaland is Nigeria’s biggest online forum, and it’s making a lot of money from ads displayed on its various pages and sections. More interestingly, it has grown to a point where its owner no longer bothers about creating content any longer. Millions of new words or content are generated daily by the users. And that’s just cool. If you like the idea of having your own online forum, then give it a push.
Note that starting a forum is not easy at all. From the start, you’ll have to create multiple accounts for posting new threads and replies (or you can pay people to do that for you). And you’ll have to spend a lot of time, energy, and money on promotion. But you can make things much easier for yourself by launching a niche forum, where the focus is on only one topic or very few topics. This narrowed down option can grow faster than a general topic forum.
If you’re a professional, consider starting a forum for your field. For example, if you’re a medical doctor, a smart idea is to start a forum where practising doctors can share their experiences and challenges with others, and where aspiring medical doctors (medical students) can get all the encouragement they need. This is applicable to virtually all other fields.
28. Media download site
Most Internet users prefer to have ebooks, videos and other media files to themselves, so they can access the files whenever they need them — without having to connect to the Internet. This explains why media download sites generate massive traffic, which can translate into huge income from banner ads and sponsored content.
Free e-books, free PDF textbooks, movies, music, tutorial videos, software, themes, plugins, and other digital products are cool ideas to create download sites around. Just set up your site and start uploading the files you want to share with your visitors. To boost your chances of quick growth, implement SEO tactics. By consistently giving your visitors what they want, your download site will grow gradually and will start generating income.
Note, however, that this option is somewhat controversial. Ideally, you’re required to request permission to distribute most media files, and making them available for download on your site without first seeking this permission is unethical. So, you may want to think twice before proceeding.
29. Web-based tool creation
By “web-based tool”, I mean a specialized website that helps users solve quick problems. A good example is Tinyurl.com, which helps you compress images into smaller sizes, yet maintaining clarity and detail. Another example is namemesh.com, a tool for quickly generating hundreds of domain name ideas when you’re stuck and aren’t sure of what to choose. Another example is Whatwpthemeisthat.com, which quickly tells you the name of the WordPress theme and plugins that a site is using.
There are also PDF converters, world clocks, currency converters, symptom checkers, and so on. The list of examples is endless.
The interesting thing about most web based tools is that they are integrated on websites with only one or few pages, yet they attract traffic like crazy. So, if you have a good idea, and you have no or only few sites to compete with, then develop a web based tool out of it, promote it, and sit back to make money
Another amazing upside of web based tools is that they require little or no maintenance and running costs. Just continue to check that the tool is working perfectly, and you’ll continue to attract more and more traffic because satisfied users will continue to recommend it to others.
Web based tools can be monetized with ads, freelance services, paid upgrades, and affiliate marketing.
30. Lead generation site
This is one of the hottest ways to make money online right now. It’s a very easy to implement and making headway with it doesn’t take a long time. A lead generation site is a niche site built solely for the aim of attracting visitors to businesses.
For example, if there are travel agencies around you, you can set up an informative blog that would feature loads of helpful information meant for people who want to travel out of the country. Due to the quality of this information , most visitors will deem you credible enough to recommend trusted visa agents, hotel booking agents, etc. to them.
Now here’s how you’ll make money from your lead gen site: You’ll find a reputable travel agent or agency around you and strike a deal with them. Tell them you have a site that through which you’ll find them customers, and they’ll pay you a specified fee for each customer you refer to them. Better yet, ask them to pay a fixed monthly sponsorship fee, which doesn’t depend on the number of leads (potential customers) you generate for them. And another option is to sell the site to them for a huge amount of money (and build another one immediately, of course). The option works well for businesses whose services or products are a bit on the high side. Good examples are travel agencies, sellers of expensive equipment and machines, etc.
31. Membership site
A membership site is a site loaded with exclusive content and training resources that can only be accessed by people (members) who have paid a specified fee. The site is usually passworded to prevent unwanted access by non-members. Members are required to pay a one-time fee or a recurrent monthly fee.
This option isn’t really common among Nigerians, considering that most Nigerian Internet users are freebie hunters. But if you have content ideas that people would be compelled to pay for, then you can make a lot of money off of this model. For example, if you’re a skilled fashion designer or stylist, you can create videos and other forms of content that can serve as training resources for newbies in the field. Then set up a membership site where people can register and pay to gain access to those training resources.
In addition to the registration fees charged to members, membership sites can also be monetized via ads, affiliate marketing, and even upgrades to access advanced resources.
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