There are two types of online entrepreneur stereotypes in Singapore. The first is the start-up owner who’s a whiz at coding, or has hired someone who is, and is on his way to getting millions of bucks worth of funding. The other is the humble blogshop owner, who runs his or her little web store selling products sourced from Thailand, China, Korea or, shudder, City Plaza.
For those who don’t want to become a hotshot startup CEO and are clueless about the latest in teen girl blogshop fashion, online entrepreneurship might seem like it’s out of the question.
But there are actually more and more services people turn to the internet for, simply because it’s cheaper and more convenient. Here are six types of businesses people are now running online.
Any private tutor with multiple students will tell you that one of the most taxing parts of the job is travelling to students’ homes. So it was only a matter of time before private tutors started offering online classes.
It makes so much sense, since students can easily send Word documents or scans of their homework to teachers, and with Skype you feel like you’re sitting in the student’s living room. The only drawback is that it’s so much easier for students to spend class time commenting on their friends’ Instagram photos when you’re not hovering over them.
So maybe O Level chemistry isn’t really your thing, yet you like the idea of online teaching. If you’re proficient enough in a language to teach it to others, there are tons of websites that help you to find language students online. In fact, I know many people who currently take language lessons online by Skyping with a teacher in a foreign land.
If you have native fluency in English, Chinese, Malay, Hindi or some other language that’s fairly in-demand, try signing up on a website like Verbling, and see if you have what it takes.
There is a character in virtually every American TV series who spends most of his time on the couch in his therapist’s office. E-therapy or e-counselling is becoming increasingly popular, and besides volunteer-staffed options, there are almost no Singaporean therapists doing it.
There are more and more internet-savvy young Singaporeans seeking help for depression due to work-related stress, so maybe we’ve just spotted a gap in the market? Just make sure you have the right qualifications before you call yourself a psychologist, therapist or counsellor.
Social media manager
Even ministers have social media managers these days, so it’s now a totally legit job, okay? Make all that time you spend stalking people on Facebook and Instagram pay off by learning how people really make money out of social media, and how they grow their audience.
If you have a successful personal social media account yourself and perhaps have even made a bit of cash out of it, you’re already on the way towards getting social media management jobs.
Online personal assistant
Maybe your biggest professional skill is the fact that you’re great at following instructions. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and certainly doesn’t mean your only career option is to work quietly in a cubicle all your life.
In line with the trend of outsourcing work online, more and more companies both local and overseas are looking for online personal assistants. While this kind of work can be found on Upwork, more and more people are making larger scale businesses out of their services as virtual assistants. You will need to add more value than laymen willing to work for less in India or the Philippines, such as by demonstrating language skills or relevant professional experience.
If your only bragging rights involve being streamed into EM1 in primary school, now is your chance to finally put that A* in higher mother tongue to good use. Many translators work online these days, and it’s completely possible to do this without having certifications, so long as you are good and can work fast.
Get to the point where you have a steady stream of clients and you might be able to expand your business by partnering with other translators who specialise in different language pairs.
Do you know anyone who has a successful online business? Tell us about it in the comments!