There are dozens of legit online business models you can use to create a full-time, job-destroying income.

One of my favorite ways to make money online is with digital product creation – it is also one of the most lucrative online business models if done correctly.


Creating and selling digital products has many moving parts, it is a complex business model with a steep learning curve so if you’re just getting started with your online journey, you may want to avoid it (for now).

Fortunately, there are some business models that lend themselves better to budding Internet Millionaires who are just getting started.

The 6 business models listed below are all legit online businesses, they are not spammy or scammy and can all be scaled to create a full-time income. They are also the least complicated methods to make money online.

Here are my current picks for 2020:

1. Amazon Affiliates Sites

Amazon affiliate site for beginners - amazon sites with logo

If you want to dip your toes in the online marketing pool without spend a fortune or giving up ALL your free time, this would be my first choice of where to start your online journey.

Here is what makes Amazon Affiliate Sites a great choice for beginners:

1. You don’t need massive amounts of traffic to make money from them.

Unlike Adsense sites, you don’t need thousands of visitors a day to make real money with an Amazon affiliate site. If you pick the right niche and products to promote, you can make Day Job Destroying money with several hundred visitors a day.

2. You can set the sites up quickly and start making money relatively fast.

The technical requirements of getting an Amazon Affiliate website up and running are not overwhelming. They are well within the ability of almost anyone with average intelligence.

With Amazon affiliate sites you can set up a simple website, install the right plugins and start earning as soon as Google begins sending you traffic.

3. There are very few moving parts to this business model.

Many of the business models on my list require complicated funnels, landing pages or email lists to optimize earnings.

There are only 3 main steps to create an Amazon affiliate site:

  • Keyword Research – Find low competition keywords with buyer intent
  • Content Creation – Create content that Google will rank (You can outsource this)
  • Add links to – There are lots of cool plugins to help simplify this step 

4. Getting approved for the Amazon Associates Program is relatively easy.

To get approved for the Amazon affiliate program you will need to have an active website with at least 10-15 articles published.

You will also need to explain to amazon why your site is a good fort for their program – so be sure that the niche you pick has plenty of products listed on Amazon.

And stay away from sensitive topics – if your site is a White Supremacist site that publishes reviews on guns and explosives you will most likely be turned down.

For a more detailed description of the Amazon Affiliate Business Model CLICK HERE.

2. Start A Blog

Blogging overview

What makes Blogging such a great online business model for beginners is that you can do it in your free time.

You can work on your blog for a while, and if life throws you some curve balls and you get busy, you can drop it for a couple of months then come back and pick up where you left off.

The work you did before will not be lost. And your search engine rankings will probably have increased.

This is not true of many business models. Something like Lead Gen or Fulfillment by Amazon requires constant attention. If you take your eye off the ball for a second, your competitors will drink your milkshake!

With Blogging, you can build slowly and see a trickle of money roll in early in the game, which will keep you motivated to keep plugging away.

You can keep working on the blog until that trickle becomes a stream, then a river of cash flowing to your bank account.  At that point, you can quit your job and give your Blog the full-time attention it deserves.

Another great thing about this business model is you can turn a passion or hobby into a business, as long as there are enough other people in the world who share that passion. This makes the time you spend on your business seem more bearable.

For a more detailed description of the Pro Blogger Business Model CLICK HERE.

3. Kindle Publishing

Kindle publishing business model good for beginners

If the idea of setting up and running a website scares you, perhaps you should consider the Kindle Publishing Business Model.

What makes this model perfect for beginners is that you do not need your own website. You don’t need subscriptions to expensive keyword research tools, or to deal with your WordPress website getting hacked for the 5th time.

You just need to produce digital books that people want to read. The books can be about anything, fiction or non-fiction, long or short.

I have one friend raking in money with Kindle coloring books for adults and another who has a semi-successful series of Kindle Romance Novels.

My only caveat with recommending this model to beginners is this…

This model works best if you are a writer. If you’re just starting out you will probably need to write the books yourself to make things profitable.

There are non-writers making millions with Kindle eBooks, but they are masters of outsourcing, advertising and running teams of employees.

For a more detailed description of the Kindle Publishing Business Model CLICK HERE.

4. Start A Youtube Channel

Profitable YouTube channel using Amazon affiliates

YouTube gets a massive amount of traffic and it will just keep increasing in 2020 and beyond, which is why I think starting and monetizing a YouTube channel is a great way for newbie internet marketers to make some extra money.

The best thing about the YouTube business model is that, like Kindle Publishing, it requires very little start-up cost. There are no web hosting bills, no writers to pay, no recurring costs for landing page software or WordPress plugins to update…

Of course, as your business grows you may want to add some of that stuff to take advantage of additional revenue streams, but starting out all you really need is some way to capture video, and a computer to upload the videos to YouTube.

There are several YouTubers using cell phone videos to make a very good, full time living with their channels.

Once you have your channel up and running there are numerous ways to start pulling in some money from your videos.

The YouTube Partner Program is popular with Influencers but you need a pretty big following (like 100,000) to make that profitable.

You also need 1,000 subscribers before you can even apply for the program. Once accepted you will receive a cut of the profits from the ads that YouTube displays on your videos. This can add up to pennies or multi-millions per year depending on how many views your videos get.

Evan Fong, who runs the popular YouTube gaming channel “VanossGaming,” racked up over 1.5 billion (yes with a “B”) views and generated around 11 million dollars in ad revenue in 2019.

But don’t expect to make that kind of money right out of the gate (or ever) with the YouTube Partners Program.

With 500 hours of new video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it is VERY difficult to cut through the clutter and get the eyeballs you need to become a YouTube superstar.

My preferred method of making money from a YouTube channel requires far fewer views to actually start making money.

With this method, you simply create product reviews and tutorial videos, upload the videos to your channel, then put links in the video descriptions that allow the viewers to purchase the products discussed in the videos.

Here is a great example of this business model in action. The owner of this channel, Chris Winter, claims to make around $80,000 a year with this channel:

The Amazon Affiliates program is a popular way to add product links to your videos. If you look at the video on you will see a bunch of product links in the video description.

YouTube video with Amazon Affiliate product links

If you click on one of the links and purchase the camera at, Chris will receive a commission or around 4%. So, for the Canon M50, which is around $600, he would make around $24.00.

4% is Amazon’s lowest commission, my personal favorite category, Pet Products, pays 8%. Of course, there are very few cat toys that cost $600 so it is a bit of a tradeoff.

There really are dozens of great ways to make money with a YouTube channel. If you want more information on this business model CLICK HERE.

5. Adsense Sites

Explanation of Adsense sites for beginning internet marketers

Adsense is a very simple and popular way to monetize a website. It is very similar to the Amazon Affiliate business model with one VERY important distinction.

You will make very little money with Adsense until you have a significant amount of traffic to your site.

Most Adsense sites only average around $8-$15 per 1,000 visitors.

If you are in a lucrative niche like Home Loans or DUI lawyers you can make as much as $100 per 1000 visitors. But before you run out and start, just be aware that the more lucrative the niche, the harder it will be to rank for the keywords that bring in those big bucks.

Getting to 1000 visitors per day is no easy task, it may take 6 months or more, and this is the primary reason I was reluctant to include Adsense sites on my list of best online businesses for beginners.

Most newbie internet marketers will give up in frustration before making any serious money with their Adsense sites.

Another problem with this business model is that getting approved to display Google Adsense on your site is much harder than getting approved for Amazon Affiliates. You will need a much more developed website (20-30 articles) before you can even apply.

Now for the Good News

Ok – so with all these negatives why would a beginner want to start an Adsense site?

Because it is, hands down, the simplest way to monetize a website.

With an Amazon Affiliate site, if you do a ‘Top 10 Best” type article, you need to find and insert dozens of individual links for the various products. And over time those links may stop functioning so if someone clicks on one – you won’t make money.

But with Adsense, you simply install one piece of code in the header of your website – use some sort of ad plugin to tell Adsense where to display the banner ads on your site – and you are off to the races.

Over time Adsense will figure out the most profitable Ads to run on your site so you can just kick back on a beach in Thailand while those clicks roll in.

Another great thing about Adsense is that you can monetize ANY type of content. This means you are not limited to just doing product reviews.

Let’s say you have an article about Abraham Lincoln’s False Teeth – well, it would be pretty hard to find an affiliate offer to promote on that page.

But Adsense has you covered – they have many semi-insidious ways to figure out the most profitable advertisement to show to your user so you can still make money.

So, if you are cool with waiting 6 months before the money starts rolling in – then the Adsense business model is a great way to create a full time living online. It is also one of the most passive of all business models.

For more information on the Adsense Business Model CLICK HERE.

6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a broad term, but in my business model explanation I break it down into 2 categories; Affiliate Funnels, and Affiliate Websites.

To make Affiliate Funnels profitable in 2020 is a bit of an ordeal, so for beginners, we will stick to discussing Affiliate Websites.

What is an Affiliate Website?

The main difference between an Affiliate Website and an Amazon or Adsense site is that Affiliate Sites are usually smaller and more targeted to selling a specific product or offer with a higher payout.

A good example would be a site that compares credit cards – it may only have 20 pages, but every time someone signs up for a credit card through their affiliate link, they could get up to $200 for that one sale.

Compare that to a 4 percent Amazon commission or a .20 cent click on Adsense and you can see why Affiliate websites can be so lucrative.

With affiliate marketing, there is one Mantra you will hear over and over…

“The Money is in the List”

First, let me just say – it is 100 percent true. With Affiliate Marketing, the money is in the list.

But here is what they don’t tell you… Building a list is a royal pain in the ass!

And this is why Affiliate Websites are last on my list. There are more moving parts than the other business models mentioned above.

Yes, you can also build an email list for an Amazon or Adsense site, and you will most certainly want to build one for a Blog eventually, but with those business models, it is not an integral part of the operation.

Because of the higher payouts for the offers/products you promote on an Affiliate Website, you will often need to send multiple emails to your prospects before they are convinced to buy.

Email marketing is probably one of the highest value skills you can learn as a full-time digital marketer – but if you are still undecided about this whole make money online thing – then you may want to stick with one of the simpler business models until you start seeing some income.

Top 5 Online Business Models

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