Profitable online business models article

8 Most Profitable Online Business Models: How to make internet money, with useful examples!

It’s no secret that the internet has created opportunities for people to make money in ways never before possible. But with so many options, it can be difficult to determine which online business model is the most profitable. In this blog post, we’ll explore eight of the most lucrative online businesses and offer tips on how you can get started. So whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, read on to learn how to make internet money!

Most Profitable Online Business Models

1. E-commerce Business Model

2. Dropshipping Business Model 

3. Creating a SaaS product

4. Affiliate Marketing Business Model 

5. Online Consulting Business Model 

6. The Freemium Business Model

7. The Subscription Business Model

8. Content Creation for Profit

1. E-commerce Business Model 

An online e-commerce business model is one in which goods or services are purchased and sold online. If you’ve ever made a purchase on Amazon or Take-a-lot, you’ve participated in e-commerce. E-commerce businesses can be operated as brick-and-mortar businesses with an online presence, or they can be purely online businesses with no physical storefront. 

One of my favorite E-commerce businesses in South Africa is Passionfruit!

Passionfruit online store banner

About Passionfruit’s e-commerce journey:

“The idea for Passionfruit was born back in 2004 when we realized that there was only one online adult shop in South Africa which was not very trustworthy, difficult to navigate, badly merchandised, and had poor client service. We saw an opportunity to create a professional & safe e-commerce shop with a bigger product range along with better customer service. In June 2005 our online sex shop was launched. Today, just over a decade young, Passionfruit has long established its reputation as one of South Africa’s most reputable online sex toy retailers”.

Passionfruit assessed its market brilliantly! Their online shopping experience is amazing. Their product categories reveal great examples of well-targeted niche topics in their industry. 

Sex toys have come a far way 

It seems our ancestors were ahead of the game! Sex toys have been around for a long, long time. In fact, there’s evidence of dildos as far back as 30 000 years ago! 

Fast forward to 2022, and it’s estimated that there are at least 53.1 million sex tech devices in use worldwide, and are anticipated to boom over the next couple of years, reaching 118 million devices by 2025. That’s a lot of satisfaction!

With so much happening in the sex toy industry, one thing is certainly clear: there’s a move towards using tech to make your favorite toys stimulate both your body and your mind”. – What’s Hot in Sex Tech, 2022.

E-commerce businesses are becoming increasingly popular, but is e-commerce a good business idea for you? There are pros and cons to starting an e-commerce business, and it’s important to weigh these carefully before making a decision.

On the plus side, e-commerce businesses can reach a global market quickly and easily. With an online store, you can sell to customers anywhere in the world. You’ll also have low overhead costs compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. And customers can purchase items from your e-commerce store at any time of day or night.

There are some potential downsides to e-commerce businesses as well.

For instance, you’ll need to invest heavily in digital marketing to make sure people are aware of your store. Additionally, customers can’t physically inspect items before purchase, which could lead to returns and negative reviews. Finally, e-commerce businesses are vulnerable to cybercrime, so you’ll need to invest in security measures to protect your customers’ data.

Overall, e-commerce can be a great way to start a business, but it’s important to understand both the pros and cons before making a decision. Weighing your options carefully will help you decide if e-commerce is right for you.

The importance of online reviews for E-Commerce image

Few companies have disrupted the retail landscape like Founded in 1994, the online shopping giant quickly grew to become one of the most popular retailers in the world. A big part of Amazon’s success is due to its customer-centric approach, which includes a heavy reliance on online reviews.

Most businesses today understand the importance of online reviews.

According to a BrightLocal study, 85% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. What’s more, nearly 60% of consumers say they won’t consider a business with a rating of fewer than 4 stars. Amazon has taken this to heart and uses online reviews to help shoppers make informed purchase decisions.

As anyone who has shopped on Amazon knows, each product listing includes hundreds or even thousands of reviews from previous customers. These reviews provide valuable insights into the quality of the product and can help shoppers make better-informed purchase decisions.

In addition, Amazon uses an algorithm that takes into account factors like customer satisfaction and review quality when determining which products to feature on its website. This means that companies that can generate positive online reviews for their products have a distinct advantage on Amazon.

In our digital world, online reviews are more important than ever before. For businesses, they can mean the difference between success and failure. Amazon understood this from the beginning and used online reviews to become one of the most successful retailers in history.

If you’re diving into E-commerce make sure you leverage online reviews to build trust with your target audience. 

2. Dropshipping Business Model 

Drop shipping is a method of e-commerce where you sell products without actually having them in stock. When a customer orders from your store, you simply contact the supplier who will then ship the product directly to the customer on your behalf. 

Dropshipping in South Africa

You’re probably familiar with this online business model and if you’re ready to get started is where you can find your first few suppliers! website landing page image

Drop shipping is a great way to get started in e-commerce without having to invest in inventory, and it’s getting popular. There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re looking to drop ship in South Africa, though. 

Getting started, you’ll need to find suppliers who are willing to work with you. Drop shipping generally requires a bit more communication and coordination than other e-commerce models, so it’s important to find suppliers who are responsive and easy to work with, like

Second, you’ll need to keep your pricing competitive. Drop shipping margins can be slim, so you’ll need to make sure that you’re offering competitive prices in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Finally, you’ll need to pay attention to shipping times and costs. Drop shipping from China can be very cheap, but shipping times can be long, so it’s important to factor that into your pricing. 

AliExpress is a popular platform for Drop shippers because it offers a wide variety of products at relatively low prices. Drop shipping with AliExpress is another great way to get started in e-commerce. However, it is important to be aware of other potential risks involved in Dropshipping, such as quality control issues.

Drop shipping is a great way to get started in e-commerce, and with a little bit of research and planning, it can be a great way to do business in South Africa.

3. Creating a SaaS product

Laptop and apps stock image

SaaS, or software as a service, is a type of online business model in which software is offered on a subscription basis.

Customers can access the software from any internet-connected device and pay a recurring fee to use it. SaaS businesses typically have high upfront costs because they need to develop the software before they can start selling it.

However, once the software is developed, it can be sold to an unlimited number of customers for a relatively low price.

Mailchimp, Canva, Hubspot Suite, and G Suite are all examples of SaaS products. Most of the apps on your smartphone can probably be classified as SaaS products. Have you ever thought of creating and selling a small useful app or WordPress plugin? 

If you’re a WordPress user, you know that plugins are essential for adding new features and functionality to your site. People love finding and buying super useful plugins to improve their sites. If you’d like to try to create your own plugin you need to figure out how your plugin fits into the market. 

First, you’ll need to come up with a great idea for a WordPress plugin. Think about what kind of functionality or features you could add that would be valuable to WordPress users.

Once you have an idea, the next step is to start coding. If you’re not a programmer, you can hire someone to do this for you. When your plugin is finished, you’ll need to create a sales page and promotional materials. Then, it’s time to start selling! You can sell your WordPress plugin directly from your website or through an online marketplace like CodeCanyon.

Creating and selling a WordPress plugin is a great way to make money from your WordPress skills. 

But is it really that easy to create a profitable SaaS product? There are definitely some important things to consider if you want to make your SaaS product successful. 

To start, you need to make sure that your product solves a real problem for your target market. If your target market doesn’t see a need for your product, they’re not going to use it.

Secondly, you need to have a pricing strategy that makes sense for your target market. You can’t charge too much or too little – you need to find the sweet spot that will encourage people to buy your product.

Finally, you need to make sure that your marketing and sales efforts are on point. If you can’t get people to actually use your product, it’s not going to be profitable.

So, while it’s possible to create a profitable Saas product, there are definitely some challenges that you’ll need to overcome. 

Are you looking to create an app or website? Try Codehesion

Codehesion contact us page screenshot

4. Affiliate Marketing Business Model 

Affiliate marketing is a type of online business model in which businesses pay affiliates commissions for referrals that result in sales or leads. An eCommerce business may find working with affiliates to be very profitable. 

Affiliate marketing is typically performance-based, which means that affiliates are only paid when they deliver results.

For example, if you’re an affiliate for a clothing company and you refer a customer who makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission on that sale. Affiliate marketing programs can be offered by companies of all sizes, from small businesses to global corporations. 

Affiliate marketing rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing is growing in popularity in South Africa because it allows businesses to reach a large audience at a relatively low cost.

Affiliate marketing programs are also easy to set up and manage, which makes them attractive to businesses. In addition, affiliate marketing can be used to promote products and services that are not available in South Africa, which gives businesses a way to reach new markets.

Affiliate marketing is an effective way to grow a business, and it is likely to continue to grow in popularity in South Africa.

One of the best affiliate management platforms in South Africa is landing page screenshot

An affiliate management platform is software that helps brands run their affiliate programs. It centralizes all the affiliate program data, including affiliate links and payments, in one place. This makes it easy for affiliate managers to track performance and manage commissions.

The platform also provides tools for recruiting new affiliates and for measuring affiliate marketing campaign results. Some affiliate management platforms even offer features such as fraud detection and payment processing.

In short, an affiliate management platform is a valuable tool for any brand that wants to run a successful affiliate marketing program.

As an affiliate allows you to earn commission on sales of products and services. The program is easy to use and provides a wide range of tools to help you promote your products and services. offers a wide range of commissions, so you can earn a good return on your investment. In addition, provides a variety of resources to help you succeed with your affiliate program. is an excellent choice for affiliate marketers looking to find their first brand partners. 

If you have a website already focusing on a specific niche is a great place to find brands that align with your business.

Think of all the apps and products you buy and pay for, wouldn’t it be great to earn money by telling the world how much you love them? You can with affiliate marketing!

5. Online Consulting Business Model 

A consulting business provides expert advice to businesses or individuals.

If you want to start a consulting business, you will need to choose a niche and build up your experience and expertise in that area. Once you have established yourself as an expert, you can start offering consulting services and charging clients for your time and advice. 

Have you ever thought about becoming a consultant? It’s a great way to use your skills and knowledge to help people achieve their goals, and it can be very rewarding both personally and professionally. Plus, with the advent of the internet, it’s easier than ever to get started.

If you’re curious about how to create an online consulting business, here are a few things you need to do for this online business model:

First, decide what services you’re going to offer. This will depend on your area of expertise, but some popular options include marketing, web design, and business coaching. Once you’ve decided on your niche, it’s time to start marketing your services. Create a website and social media accounts where you can showcase your work and attract clients from around the world. And don’t forget to spread the word in your personal and professional networks!

Next, figure out how you’re going to deliver your services. Will you meet with clients online or in person? How will you communicate with them? What format will your consultations take? Figuring out these logistics in advance will make it much easier to get started.

Finally, set up a pricing structure for your services. Many online consultants charge by the hour, but you could also charge a flat fee for specific projects. You’ll need to strike a balance between what you think your services are worth and what potential clients are willing to pay. Once you have all of this sorted out, you’re ready to start consulting!

How can a business consultant help your business?

Many business owners find themselves feeling stuck at some point or another.

They may be experiencing growing pains, or they may be struggling to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of their industry. In either case, a business consultant can be a valuable asset. A business consultant can provide objective insights and perspectives on business challenges. They can help business owners to develop strategies for growth and efficiency. And they can also provide guidance on how to navigate through difficult transitions.

In short, a business consultant can help business owners to achieve their goals and overcome challenges. So if you’re feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to a business consultant for help.

Content for Creators can help you improve your online small business marketing strategy

At Content for Creators, we help small businesses improve their online marketing strategy and content.

We know that great content is key to a successful online presence, and our team of experts can help you create engaging, informative articles and videos that will reach your target audience. We also offer expert advice on SEO, social media marketing, and website design, so you can get the most out of your online presence.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your business!

We’ll help you create:

  • A robust online marketing strategy
  • Stunning Blogs 
  • Community Newsletters
  • Research Surveys 
  • Entertaining Quizzes 
  • Scripts 
  • And more on demand!

6. The Freemium Business Model

Freemium stock image

The freemium model is another popular online business model.

It involves offering a basic version of a product or service for free with the option to upgrade to a premium version for a fee. This model can be beneficial because it allows you to build a customer base quickly and generate revenue from upgrades.

However, it can be challenging to convince people to pay for the premium version when they’re already getting the basic version for free. 

Do you doubt how effective this model can be? Well just ask one of the most successful players in the freemium model game, Canva!

Canva logo image

Canva’s freemium model is one that has been adopted by many businesses and for good reason. It has been extremely successful, with the company now valued at $6 billion. Canva offers a free version of its product with limited features, and users can upgrade to a paid subscription for access to more features. 

This online business model has a number of advantages.

First, it allows users to get started with Canva without having to make a substantial upfront investment. Second, it provides an incentive for users to upgrade to the paid version since they can see the value in the additional features. Finally, it allows Canva to generate revenue from both free and paid users. 

Overall, the Canva freemium model is a win-win for businesses and users alike.

7. The Subscription Business Model

The subscription model is yet another popular online business model.

It involves charging customers on a recurring basis for access to a service or content. This model can be beneficial because it provides a predictable stream of revenue. However, it can be challenging to keep people subscribed long-term if they’re not seeing value in what they’re paying for. 

If you’re considering adopting a subscription model for your business, there are a few key points to keep in mind. 

First, you’ll need to decide what type of subscription model makes the most sense for your products or services. 

There are several common subscription models, such as

  • pay-as-you-go, 
  • flat-rate, 
  • and tiered pricing. 

Once you’ve decided on the right subscription model for your business, you’ll need to determine the price point that will best fit your target market. It’s important to strike a balance between making your subscription affordable enough to attract customers while also generating enough revenue to sustain your business.

Finally, you’ll need to implement a system for managing subscriptions and billing customers on a recurring basis. There are a number of software platforms that can help with this, so be sure to do some research and find the one that best meets your needs. 

One of the best subscription plugins available for WordPress is Paid Memberships Pro. With this plugin, you can offer members access to your most exclusive and valuable content. 

If you need a good example of a well-organized and helpful service take a look at LawForAll’s legal subscriptions. 

LawForAll landing page screenshot

Some of their subscriptions include tax advice and submissions, drafting wills, and even estate planning. This is a great combination of benefits at a very affordable price. These benefits directly assist with some of your most important and recurring personal affairs. 

OnlyFans subscription business model for your business!

OnlyFans landing page screenshot

OnlyFans is a social media platform that allows creators to share content with paid subscribers.

OnlyFans is most commonly used by influencers, adult entertainers, and content creators. 

Businesses can use OnlyFans to provide exclusive content to their customers, as well as access to VIP events and behind-the-scenes content. This platform is especially attractive for fitness professionals, fashion brands, photographers, and other highly visual fields. 

OnlyFans is a great way to monetize your content and build a loyal following. If you’re thinking of using OnlyFans for your business, here are a few things to keep in mind:

To start, OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform, so you’ll need to offer subscribers something worth paying for. This could be exclusive content, access to VIP events, or anything else that your target audience would find valuable.

Further, OnlyFans is a social media platform, so you’ll need to be active in promoting your account and engaging with your fans.

Lastly, OnlyFans is a paid platform, so you’ll need to set up a payment system that allows subscribers to pay for your content. 

OnlyFans stats 2022 infographic
OnlyFans Stats 2022

OnlyFans can be a powerful tool for businesses, but only if it’s used correctly. If you’re thinking of using OnlyFans for your business, make sure you understand how the platform works and what your audience is looking for.

By following these steps, you can successfully launch a subscription-based business.

8. Content Creation for Profit 

The Influencer Business Model 

There’s no doubt that influencer marketing is on the rise.

Brands are quickly catching on to the power of influencers to reach new audiences and build buzz around their products. But what does it take to be an influencer? And how can you get deals with brands and leverage this online business model?

It’s important to have a large enough engaged following on social media. This is what will catch the attention of brands and make you an attractive influencer candidate. But it’s not just about numbers. Brands are also looking for influencers who are a good fit for their products and who have a genuine interest in their brand.

Once you’ve established yourself as an influencer, you can start reaching out to brands and pitching yourself for potential partnerships. It helps to have a Media Kit that outlines your stats and highlights your strengths as an influencer. And when you’re pitching to brands, be sure to focus on how you can help them meet their marketing goals. By demonstrating your value, you’ll be more likely to score big deals with brands.

Social media has become one of the most powerful tools in marketing and advertising. But how do you create content that not only catches people’s attention but also drives conversions and sales?

To create great content, it’s critical that you understand your audience and what type of content they’re looking for. What are their interests? What problems do they need help solving? Once you know this, you can create content that is not only relevant to them but also interesting and engaging.

You’ll also need to invest in high-quality visuals. People are drawn to visually appealing content, so make sure your photos and videos are clear and professional. This doesn’t mean you need to break the bank – there are plenty of affordable stock photo and video sites out there. But investing in quality visuals will help your content stand out from the crowd.

Additionally, you must promote your content across multiple channels. On top of promoting your content on your own website or blog, be sure to share it on social media, in forums, on other people’s blogs, and anywhere else your target audience might be hanging out online. The more places your content is seen, the more likely people are to buy from you.

One of our favorite South African influencers is Aneeka Sulaiman. Her approach to making content is stunning and well-executed. She also displays great authenticity in her approach to content creation which is how we believe she’s stolen all of our hearts! 

She’s secured many paid promotions with popular brands like UberEats, Wildcat, Daniel Wellington, TRESemmé South Africa, and more. 

Aneeka Sulaiman Instagram screenshot
Aneeka Sulaiman Instagram screenshot

Follow her on IG at:

Lastly, don’t forget to focus on SEO. When people search for information online, they typically use key phrases or keywords. By including these keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and throughout your content, you can help ensure that your content shows up in search results when people are looking for it.

It’s not just OnlyFans creators that can make a profit by creating content. By following these tips, you can create content that not only attracts attention but also drives conversions and sales. So what are you waiting for? Start creating profitable content today!

Content as a product. The selling digital products business model.

WordPress is a popular content management system that enables users to create and manage their website or blog without having to learn HTML or other coding languages.

While WordPress is typically used for blogging, it can also be used to sell digital downloads.

In order to sell digital downloads on WordPress, you will need to install a plugin that allows you to create an online store. Once the plugin is installed, you can add products to your store and begin accepting payments. There are several plugins available that offer different features, so be sure to choose one that meets your needs.

Selling digital downloads on WordPress is a great way to make money from your website or blog. With a little effort, you can turn your digital products into a steady stream of income.

If the thought of making and selling digital products excites you then check out our blog What is copywriting? 1 powerful money-making skill to learn about copywriting and how you can use it to power your business.

If you’re looking for a way to sell digital products on your WooCommerce site, Cartflows might be a good option to consider for this online business model. 

Cartflows logo

Cartflows is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create and manage your digital product sales funnel. With Cartflows, you can sell digital products such as e-books, courses, and software. You can also use it to sell physical products.

The plugin integrates with WooCommerce, so you can use it to sell products on your existing WooCommerce site. You can also use it to create a standalone sales page for your digital product.

Cartflows is a fairly new plugin, but it’s already gained a lot of popularity among WooCommerce users. If you’re looking for an easy way to sell digital products on your WooCommerce site, Cartflows is definitely worth considering.

Now that you know more about online business models, it’s time to start planning your own business!

By understanding the different types of online business models, you can narrow down your options and choose the best model for your particular business idea. With a little hard work and dedication, you can soon turn your dream of starting an online business into a reality!

It’s worth noting that as your business grows you’ll likely find yourself using and integrating a range of these models into your current business. It’s a great sign of growth.

If you enjoyed this post you’ll love our article on What is blogging, how to start? The best blogging guide on the internet.

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