Today, if you're at all serious about succeeding in any endeavor, whether online or offline, you have to deliver enormous amounts of value. Yes, you have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return. This is especially true online. Why? Because it takes time to build authority and create an audience, two primary ingredients necessary to succeed in the wonderful world of commerce on the web.
As the internet grows and expands, not only is SEO going to get more competitive, but it's also going to grow more lucrative. You could quite easily capitalize on this industry if you know what you're doing. This doesn't just go for doing work for clients, but also for yourself. You could launch any number of online businesses, niche websites, and blogs with the right amount of SEO skills. 
Owning a “real” business means you need to think about bank loans or financing, leases, maintaining inventory, business insurance, finding staff, training staff, etc. You then need to factor in finding a prime location for your business. If you don't have enough footfall then you can expect to be shutting up shop in as little as a few months. In fact, 50% of small brick-and-mortar businesses fail within their first 3 years.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who've grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.

Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that's what I love most.
Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early.  I make over $40,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial.  You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!).  Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:
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