A lot of potential Nigerian entrepreneurs want to start a business in Nigeria. They are searching for the most successful small business ideas and legitimate online business opportunities in Nigeria. So this is my take on top 10 legitimate online business opportunities in Nigeria.
Nigeria has an estimated population of 180 million people. According to a report by the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) in June 2017, Nigeria has over 91 million internet users out of a population of 184 million. 85% of these users are believed to be accessing the internet using their mobile phones.
Today, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, several businesses in Nigeria are taking their business online to leverage the massive community of Nigerian internet users and market their products. Several Nigerians are also interested in investing in legitimate online business opportunities.
What is an Online Business?
Online business is a business that is conducted, managed, or delivers services primarily over the Internet. Online business is a business that can be registered or not, formal or informal. Running a business online does not exclude it from legal requirements.
Why You Need To Start an Online Business In Nigeria Today
An online business model is a simple way to make money online in Nigeria as a student, job seeker, and also as a side hustle for those who are employed.
Online businesses rarely follow traditional business models. Many don’t as a necessity require a license or registration to operate.
How to start an Online Business in Nigeria?
The first thing you should carefully consider is a business name. Immediately after shortlisting a few names, check for their availability as a domain name. If it is, then register all the domain extensions and country-level extensions associated with it.
Thereafter, be sure to register your business with relevant authorities in Nigeria, such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) which is the government agency responsible for registering and managing the database of legitimate businesses in Nigeria.
Then it is also advisable to open a separate bank account for your business.
How to Promote Your Business Online
There are several ways of promoting your business online. But for those just starting out, I would suggest you go with content marketing. This is creating content (text, audio, video) around your products, services or industry and using these to market your business.
While creating texts/contents for your products and services, you need to spend a good time to research the keywords that people will typically use to search for such products. These are the keywords that you will use in your search engine optimisation or online advertising campaigns when the time comes.
As the popular saying goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” While promoting your business online, you must also continue to promote your business through other ways too.
What Are the Top 10 Legitimate Online Business Opportunities in Nigeria?
If you desire to be a business owner, here are my picks for the top 10 legitimate online business opportunities in Nigeria (in no particular order) you can explore. If I’ve not mentioned a legit online business available in Nigeria, let me know.
- Affiliate Marketing
- Web design/ web development
- Job board
Now let us explore them in detail.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a legitimate online business in Nigeria. Affiliate marketing is a commission-based arrangement where you receive a commission from merchants for sales or leads that you direct to their website.
When you sign up for an affiliate marketing opportunity with a merchant, you will get a unique link.
Using this unique tracking link, which you can place on your blog, email, social media or anywhere you like to direct interested persons to the merchant’s website.
You then get a referral commission for every time someone buys after clicking your link on social media or elsewhere.
In most cases, they will provide you with a dashboard where you can see details of all the sales, leads you’ve made for the merchant and your commission.
It’s advisable that you only market genuine products or services that you have used yourself.
Note that affiliate programs can use various types of payment terms. For example, in Pay per Sale terms, a product owner pays you a percentage of the sale price when the purchase is done.
A good example of affiliate marketing today is those into web hosting and domain name registration. The majority are affiliated to the bigger players in the industry. They earn income by selling the web hosting and domain name services of bigger players in the industry. Selling domain names can be lucrative if you are knowledgeable about the business.
Blogging is another fantastic legitimate online business in Nigeria. A blog is an online diary or journal updated regularly in chronological order by a person or group that focuses on news or views.
The content of your blog does not have to be intimate. It can also be corporate, but the important thing is that you have to have a powerful passion for the topic you wish to blog.
For your blog to thrive, you need to update it regularly with great content valuable to your blog visitors.
If you are fortunate, regular visitors to your blog may become subscribers. Subscribers will get notification of any recent updates to your blog. Subscribers can also share your blog with their friends on various social media platforms.
By growing your subscribers, you would create a community around your blog.
Once you’ve created a community around your blog, you can then start monetising your blog by displaying Google AdSense ads on your blog.
Or if you’re not interested in Google AdSense, you could use other customised solutions or plugins to sell ads directly.
You are wondering how to get started? You can use platforms such as Blogger, Tumblr, Medium or WordPress.
Be sure to register a unique domain name to use with your blog to make it more professional.
Some brands like Amazon, Commission Junction, Avantlink, pay a small percentage of sales for every product an affiliate brings in.
Vlogging is a new legitimate online business in Nigeria that has caught on, especially with the youths. What if you have a passion for a particular topic, but you’re not into writing? Don’t despair.
You can always do a vlog! A vlog is a blog in which the postings are primarily in video form.
In recent years, there has been an increase in video content and is very popular on social media.
What platforms can you use for your vlog? You can use YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion and even Facebook!
Yes, with the recent launch of Facebook TV, Facebook has shown their interest in catering to this niche of video content creators.
Once your vlog gets a lot of traffic and subscribers, then you can consider monetising it by placing online adverts.
But what if writing isn’t your thing, and you’re also camera shy and won’t be caught dead in a video? Then you can consider Podcasting.
Unlike vlogging, with podcasting, your gear needs to be your voice and a voice recorder.
What platforms can you use to host your podcast? You can use SoundCloud, LibSyn, PodBean and Amazon S3.
As with blogging, you need to be passionate about your podcast.
Remember your voice is now the primary focus and if you sound insecure or bored, nobody will listen to your podcasts.
You need to capture the attention of your audience through the passionate way you speak to your audience. Your podcast needs to provide value and be entertaining.
The mode of monetising your podcast is also similar to how you go about monetising a blog.
5. Web Design/Development
Web design and web development are some tried and tested legitimate online business in Nigeria.
According to this article, individuals like politicians, chieftains of corporate organizations and successful business people are now using online tools such as websites to promote their brands and personality. If you learn how to use common design tools and build excellent websites, you are in for pleasant business. To be successful, you need to know how to design professional websites, create web graphics, build web pages, and upload web pages to the server.
The two are interchangeable, but they are different.
Web design as the name implies is the design and graphic elements of a website which you see on the front-end.
Most web development aspect focuses on the back-end of a website.
Another area related to web design and website development is app design/development because most people using mobile phones spend their time on apps.
A forum is an online discussion site where you can hold conversations around a particular topic with other community members in the form of posted messages.
If your forum becomes famous, you can monetise it by placing ads similar to how you monetise a blog. You can even convert it into a paid membership site.
It’s interesting to note that one of the most popular websites in Nigeria is a forum. It is substantial evidence that having a forum is a legitimate online business.
An online directory is a listing of information within niche based categories.
Your directory could be about products, services, or general business listings. You can monetise your list through the use of ads or paid placements.
Owning a niche directory where you can collect payment for listings or payment for placing ads on your site is another profitable legitimate online business in Nigeria.
8. Job Board
A job board is a website that specialises in employment or careers. You can also monetise your job board through the use of ads or paid memberships or job placements.
Regarding the actual development of your job board, you can use an off-the-shelf job board software or create a customised job board from scratch.
As a consultant, instead of offering services, you offer advice and strategy so that your clients can become more active.
Using your website and social media channels, you can have a commanding online presence and build your brand.
Whatever your passion, you can provide one-on-one coaching. As a coach, you offer your clients advice and guidance.
You help your clients set goals to improve their business and make them accountable for reaching those goals.
BONUS: Digital Marketing
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of people asking me about how they can engage in digital marketing. There are loads of online courses on digital marketing that you can take and some courses are free.
Depending on how detailed the course is, you will learn about some opportunities mentioned above. You may also receive a certificate in digital marketing that will be helpful in your career prospects.
These courses in digital marketing are also helpful for those looking to pivot from their current careers into digital marketing.
Besides taking courses, it will help if you can work in an established digital marketing agency. This will give you a hands-on experience about what digital marketing is about.
BONUS: Social Media Marketing
Are you proficient in using various social media platforms? Then you can consider social media marketing. Many youths in Nigeria are earning a living as influencers on social media using social media marketing.
Your Business Plan, Market Research and a Strong Team Building
According to this article, in starting a business, not all business ideas are worth starting at all.
After identifying the significant need or problem your business idea is addressing, address your value offering. You may need to ask questions from people, make your own research and as well seek for advice from entrepreneurs.
It is one thing to conduct market research when you want to start a business, it’s another thing to utilise the feedbacks gotten from your research.
The entire essence of this is to help you know more about the business you want to start and helps to form a sound foundation for the business.
If you are planning to be the only one running your business, then you may not need to build a team.
These are my choice for the top 10 legitimate online business opportunities in Nigeria.
As I mentioned above, this is not an exhaustive list. There are other opportunities such as graphic design, virtual assistants, and so on.
Even though entrepreneurs complain of the heavy taxes government subjects them to pay, we cannot compare it with doing business in some other countries.
So if you’re looking for new fresh opportunities, you can try any of these that you have a passion.
Remember that everything has beauty, but not everyone can see it. To be a successful entrepreneur, strive to see the beauty in the above online business opportunities.
Which of them appeals to you? Have I missed out on any opportunity that you feel should be on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Do you own a legitimate online business in Nigeria? Share the link to your website below.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this post is for informational purposes only. You should always get independent, professional accounting, financial and legal advice before making any business decisions.
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