Making Money Online: 3 Different Stages of a building Successful Online Business


Making money online is easy. Right?

Google ‘Making Money Online' and you will find millions of search results that make this claim. They include  ‘30 Ways to Make Money Online in 2022’, ‘40 easy ways to make money quickly’ and ‘17 Ways You Can Make Money Online Right Now’.

These results are great for ideas about the type of online business you can start.

Most of them focus on starting a side hustle online or becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur. Side hustles and lifestyle businesses are two stages of building a successful online business, and they’re both great options.

There is also the third stage. This stage is rarely mentioned because it doesn’t fall into the ‘quick and easy’ category of making money online.

The third stage is what I believe to be the pinnacle of making money online. That’s creating a Global Small Business.

Why is it important to understand the 3 stages of an online business?

It’s useful to know how serious you want to be about making money online:

  • If you just want to make some extra cash, Stage 1 is for you.
  • If you want a more flexible lifestyle where cash isn’t the main driver, aim for Stage 2.
  • If you want to build a team, create a micro-niche,  make some serious cash, and have lifestyle flexibility, Stage 3 is where you need to be.

This post is an overview of the 3 stages of building a successful online business. I’ve written it based on my own experience and the concept of a Global Small Business coined by Daniel Priestley.

Let’s dive in.

Making Money Online: 3 Different Stages of building a Successful Online Business

  • Making Money Online
  • Stage 1 - Starting a Side Hustle
  • Stage 2 - Creating a Lifestyle Business
  • Stage 3 - Launching a Global Small Business
  • Closing Thoughts

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Making Money Online

Over 5 billion people around the world use the internet today. It’s transformed the way the world does business.

Thanks to the world wide web, there are no longer limitations to what you can achieve based on age, location, or lack of financial resources.

All you need is an internet connection and a bit of cash to start a side hustle online or build an online business that makes money every month.

There are lots of different ways you can make money online. From taking online surveys and selling your old clothes to flipping your iPhones and buying low-cost products to resell them for a higher price on Amazon.

It’s not always easy and you have to put in some hard work, but the possibilities to make money online are endless.

If you want to make money online without buying an in-depth training course, this is the best blog post I’ve found.

“(It's) the best free tutorial on the Internet when it comes to making money online.”

Building an online business to make money online can be broken down into 3 different stages:

  • Stage 1 - Starting a side hustle;
  • Stage 2 - Creating a lifestyle business; and
  • Stage 3 - Launching a Global Small Business

Understanding these steps will help you decide how serious you want to be about your online business.

Stage 1 - Starting a Side Hustle

Starting a side hustle is often the first step people take to make money online.

Your reason for starting a side hustle may be to supplement your income, pay off debt, boost your emergency fund or use the money to invest.

Alternatively, you might start a side hustle to build an online business that turns you into a full-time entrepreneur and allows you to quit your day job.

There are lots of different options for online side hustles. Some of the most common are:

  • Freelancing: This is one of the fastest ways to start making money online. You don’t need a. website or to come up with a killer business idea. All you need is to determine what your current skills are and find ONE client you can solve a problem for.

    Freelancing pays immediately so if your goal is to replace your day job income, there’s no faster way.

    For a list of some of the most in-demand freelance skills, check out this post.
  • E-Commerce: Selling physical products online can be a lucrative side hustle with good potential to scale into an online business.

    There are different e-Commerce side hustles depending on your start-up costs. You can start  Dropshipping and selling other people’s products. This requires zero upfront inventory costs. Alternatively, you can import products for sale on Amazon FBA. This may need minimum order quantities of hundreds or thousands of pounds.

    You also have to factor in time to fulfill orders. With eBay, you have to pack and send products at the end of each auction. On the other end of the spectrum, with Amazon FBA your fulfillment is taken care of, at a cost.

    I started an eBay side hustle over 10 years ago flipping designer shoes and handbags. I still flip shoes and clothes now, in addition to hair and beauty products.

    Fulfilling orders and posting listings are the most time-consuming elements. I spend about 5 hours a week doing this in return for a few hundred pounds of additional income, so the exchange is worth it.
  • Content Creation: To become a content creator, you need to choose your content medium (video, audio, or writing), identify your target audience, and create digital products to sell.

    You can launch a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, or publish a newsletter to start building your audience.

    As your audience grows, you'll find common challenges they face and create digital products to solve them. Things like online courses, ebooks, virtual coaching, and mastermind groups.

    This blog, my YouTube channel, and my weekly newsletter have all been started with this in mind.

After starting a side hustle online, you might decide that the additional money in exchange for a few extra hours of work a week is enough.

You can also enjoy your side hustle so much that you move on to the next stage of making money online. Creating a lifestyle business and becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur.

2. Creating a Lifestyle Business

A lot of online side hustles turn into lifestyle businesses. It’s the natural next step for making money online.

Your part-time side hustle can turn into a full-time lifestyle business when you generate enough money to cover your living expenses. At this stage, you may decide to quit your day job and become a lifestyle entrepreneur.

In a lifestyle business, you’re the only employee. You have the freedom to do what you want when you want.

A lifestyle business sustains your lifestyle, whether that's having more time to play with your kids or being able to travel the world.

I became a lifestyle entrepreneur when I started business coaching. I wanted flexible work to spend more time with my daughter and use my experience & interests to create my ideal lifestyle.

Becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur is enticing because:

  • It enables you to focus on your talents and interests. A Lifestyle business gives you the freedom to work on the projects you want to work on. All of your passions and interests can be utilized and monetized as part of a lifestyle business.
  • You have time and location flexibility. You have the freedom to choose the hours you work on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. You also have the choice to work from any location that has a wifi connection. That might be at home, at a co-working space, or on the road while traveling.
  • You profit personally. The aim of your lifestyle business is to make a living for yourself. Although hard work is required to establish a client base and develop your products or services, with limited overheads you can start making money quite quickly once you’ve found your niche.
  • Stress is minimized. As a lifestyle entrepreneur, the only person you have to answer to is yourself. This reduces the stress that comes with common business problems like making payroll and revenue projections. Once you’ve worked out your Target Monthly Income, you can reduce stress even further by running your business from a location where it’s cheaper to live.
  • You can outsource and automate. You want to minimize your involvement in the day-to-day operations of your lifestyle business. Low operational costs allow you to outsource admin functions and utilize automation, so you can spend more time working on your business rather than in your business.

Before starting a lifestyle business, be aware that without your personal involvement, the business may flounder because it operates around you. As a result, lifestyle businesses also have limited scalability and potential for growth.

However, you might decide to scale your lifestyle business into the final stage of making money online and launch a Global Small Business.

3. Launching a Global Small Business

Daniel Priestley coined the term ‘Global Small Business’ (GSB) in his book, Entrepreneur Revolution.

A traditional small business prevents you from traveling and is limited to making money in your local economy.

With a GSB you can live in different locations, generate millions in revenue with a small team and earn a seven-figure salary with comparative ease.

Starting a GSB is an attractive alternative to employment. It has the advantage of lifestyle & flexibility and combines the best of a global business, a small business, and an online business.

Some of the key characteristics of a GSB include:

  • Providing a service and offering intangible products like software or information or selling high-value physical products via drop shipping to clients all over the world.
  • Building the business around a “micro-niche” for your 1000 true fans and going deep with those clients. The size of your micro-niche and the creativity of your team will be the only limit to your GSB.
  • Marketing your GSB online through social & digital media and Interacting with your micro niche via videos, articles, podcasts, blogs, and online communities.
  • Managing operations in the cloud and using enterprise software tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, Asana, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
  • Having a team of fewer than 20 members that revolves around the talents of a handful of key people.
  • The team is a mixture of full-time staff, freelancers & contractors, where most of the full-time staff will be based in low labour-cost countries like the Philippines, India, or Thailand. Every function of the GSB that is not creating value is outsourced.
  • The team works form home office or co-working spaces across multiple time zones. Meetings are over Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype and daily communication is via Slack, WhatsApp, and Messenger.

Once you have created a GSB, I believe you’ve reached the pinnacle of making money online.

Where you go from here is up to you.

You might decide to continue scaling your GSB or sell it or genuinely create passive income by removing yourself from the business completely.

Closing Thought

Now that you are aware of the 3 stages of building an online business, where will you start making money online?

There’s nothing to stop you from setting up a Global Small Business as your first online business. You may already have the right products and services to offer that you can build the business around.

On the other hand, you might prefer to try different online businesses first, in which case starting a side hustle is the better option.

Whatever you decide, you can start making money online today.