The Top 4 Successful Online Businesses (And Why High-Ticket Is Better)

There are dozens of ways to make money online these days.

The first online business ideas that come to mind involve e-commerce. It has never been easier to sell things online than it is today. With sites such as Amazon, eBay and Shopify; combined with just a little research, a person can be selling things within a few short hours, if not minutes.

Another common way to make money online is through affiliate marketing. There are literally thousands of products and services available that affiliate marketers can promote. Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting another company’s (or person’s) product.

Note: if you are unsure how affiliate marketing works, you are can check out the article I wrote about that subject here.

There are a few Multi-Level Marketing programs online. However, MLM programs are more prolific offline in the physical world.

These are just a few of the popular methods for making money online. There are many more that I'm not going to take the time to list here.

So of all the ways to make money online, which of these is the best?

In this article I'm going to give you are the Top 4 Successful Online Business Models as of today.

Laying The Foundation

Before we dive into what those are, I think it's important to set some basic criteria that we are looking for. It doesn't matter what type of business you are're looking at, online or not, long-term profitability and stability is the main goal.

According to Jay Abraham, arguably the top marketing consultant in the United States, there are three “profit activators” that determine the profitability and long-term success of a business.

The 3 Profit Activators

  1. Get more customers
  2. Do repeat business with those same customers
  3. Sell higher-ticket products to increase revenue

Get More Customers: Will people have an initial interest in your business? Will there be new customers in the future?

Do repeat business with those same customers: Is the business model structured to do repeat business? Are your products or services something people will want/need on a recurring basis? Will you have more or different products to offer?

Sell higher-ticket products to increase revenue: Does the business offer higher priced products as well as lower priced items?

If you are looking to start a business or are searching for a business to promote as an affiliate, try to run the potential opportunity through a ‘filter' containing these three profit activators. If you currently have a business and you are looking to grow, apply this technique as well. If you do, the more likely your business will yield higher profits and long-term sustainability.

As we move forward, you are'll see how #3 is what can really take your business to the next level. Ideally, this is executed with the use of a value ladder, where the product line contains both high- and low-ticket products.

For a detailed article about what a value ladder is, click here.

This is not to say that the business or opportunity can't be successful without higher priced products. However, growth may be limited or difficult.


Just OK

Lets take a look at a few business models that do make money, but don't exactly meet Jay's criteria.


  1. Get more customers – YES
  2. Do repeat business with those same customers – YES
  3. Sell higher-ticket products to increase revenue – NO

There are plenty of people looking to buy things online. Therefore, getting new customers, and lots of them is not much of a problem. And if your product or service is of good quality, gaining repeat customers is very attainable as well.

However, selling high-ticket items in the e-commerce sector can be difficult. Most e-commerce products have very small profit margins. Large profits in e-commerce relies on massive amounts of volume. These businesses can be successful, but they can take years to build a large enough customer base to create long-term sustainability.

The same things can be said about MLM opportunities and Low-Ticket Affiliate Marketing.

Multi Level Marketing:

  1. Get more customers – YES
  2. Do repeat business with those same customers – YES
  3. Sell higher-ticket products to increase revenue – NO

Low-Ticket Affiliate Marketing (selling only low cost items)

  1. Get more customers – YES
  2. Do repeat business with those same customers – YES
  3. Sell higher-ticket products to increase revenue – NO

You will see later that affiliate marketing can possess all three profit activators. It is actually listed as one of my top four online business models. However, It must include the third profit activator to include high-ticket items as well as low-ticket items.

I mentioned earlier, there are people having long-term success using the above businesses. But the numbers of people that do are relatively small.

The businesses that DO have long-term success with the those models are using techniques such as sales funnels, value ladders and email follow-up.

What Does Better?

For me, in addition to Jay Abraham's three profit activators, there are a few additional conditions that I look for in any opportunity that I may want promote. These were also things that I wanted to achieve when starting my own online business.

The high leverage / High ticket business model

  • Must be location independent
  • Must be online
  • Must have minimal overhead and start up cost
  • Must have potential for fast profits
  • Must be lucrative and fun
  • Must have all three profit activators

Given that criteria, here are the top four online business models

Top 4 Online Businesses

  1. Affiliate Marketing
  2. Digital Products
  3. Coaching and Consulting
  4. Events and Masterminds

Affiliate Marketing (both low- and HIGHticket products)

The good news about affiliate marketing is that there are as many price points for products as there are products themselves. You'll find products to promote priced from just a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Sometimes, those are individual products from individual companies. Other times one company will have an entire value ladder of products from low to high-ticket prices.

An attractive aspect of affiliate marketing is not having to create your own products if you are don't want to. Its part of the definition of affiliate marketing: “…selling other people's products.”

Another attractive feature is most products available for promotion by affiliates also have done-for-you are promotional materials. These will include landing pages, sales copy or video and payment software. All of that is taken care of by the person or company offering the product.

Often times the product being offered for promotion falls in to the next profitable business on list.

Digital Products

Digital products encompasses a wide variety of items that can be sold and delivered online the instant the purchase is completed.

These products include: e-books, videos, e-learning courses, podcasts, stock photographs just to name a few. This is just a partial list that is growing by the day.

The beauty of being the creator of digital merchandise is you create it once, then sell it over and over and over again. Also, the only inventory you are have is right there on your laptop.

These products can range in price from a pamphlet that costs 4 or 5 dollars, to e-learning courses that contain dozens of modules and cost several thousand dollars. Once again, all three profit activators are satisfied by this model.

Coaching and Consulting

The kind of coaching and consulting I'm talking about here takes place online, and can cover any topic or niche. This could be 1-on-1 or to groups. These sessions could be prerecorded or live, and carried out on a variety of platforms.

Here is a list of possible online avenues for coach and consulting;

  • Live video broadcast – webinar, YouTube live, Facebook live, etc
  • 1-on-1 video chat – FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp, etc.
  • Prerecorded video – recorded webinar, YouTube Video, etc
  • 1-on-1 messaging – texts, direct messages in social media, emails etc
  • Coaching phone calls

This model is one of my favorites for several reasons. One being the potential for high-ticket sales. Not only can you are charge a premium price for 1-on-1 consulting, those profits multiply when you consult 1-on-many.

Furthermore, there is very little overhead. The only cost is for the equipment you are communicating on (IE: computer, phone, internet connection). There is NO inventory because your product is your knowledge.

Events and Masterminds

This next business model actually begins online but then transitions offline into a live event. These events and masterminds are usually a product of an online coaching and consulting business.

They could also be in the form of a live training event for one of the products that you have sold online. They could contain elements of both.

Again, much like coaching and consulting, the price tag for these events can be high. These events can run from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Now you are might be wondering why I have included this particular model on the list.

Let's not forget that these events have stemmed from something that began in one of your online businesses. Though an event such as this is not conducted over the internet, it can be conducted at the location of your choosing. Your clients will come to wherever you are; and that can be wherever you choose.

Update: 14 Aug 2020

But what about this virus that’s going around….???

Now I must say…I originally wrote this article in October of 2019.  At the time of this update, we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Understandably, live events have been put on hold for the time being. However, as fast as you can Google “how do I have my mastermind in spite of a pandemic?,” the industry responds and adapts.

Just like most other industries, those who host live events have taken their events back to the internet. With services like Zoom, Google Meet, GoTo Meeting and many others, events are being held in a virtual setting.

Of course, there is nothing like a live experience, so the pricetag drops somewhat. But such events are still drawing big names for a big price.


Here's where all of this can get real interesting…

Now that we have listed and examined the top for online business models, its easy to see how each model could stand alone as its own business. But it gets really exciting when you are notice that one, or all, could work with another.

This is especially so with digital products that could be the material leveraged by your coaching and consulting business… which then of course could lead to a live event…

Are You Crazy??

So at this point you are telling yourself “this guy is crazy if he thinks that I am going to start a coaching and Consulting business from scratch; Or create digital products; or host a live event.”

This is why I have included affiliate marketing as one of my top online businesses.

There are several companies online that provide one or all of these products and services. Some of them stand alone, and some companies have all of these businesses in their product line. And they are available for affiliates to promote. No creating your own digital products. No coaching or consulting. No hosting live events. They do it all for you are. You then only have one job: bring them customers.

To see how You can start your own online business that encompasses ALL 4 of the top online business models, click HERE


  • Low-ticket can be profitable, but higher-ticket is better
  • When starting a business or promoting a business, think of the Three Profit Activators and are they present?

That's a Wrap!

I really hope you are found value in this article and learned a little bit from it. If so, leave me a comment below!

Have you considered any of the businesses I listed?

Do you are currently run a business that falls into one of the business models on the list?

Does your business include all of the Three Profit Activators?

Let me know!

Until next time… always be of help to others.



Affiliate Disclaimer

There are affiliate links in this blog post. If you decide to make a purchase after clicking through one of these links, I earn a small commission for that. It does not change the price for you whatsoever. Prices do not change regardless of where you are buy.

Any income claims, or claims of success are not necessarily true for everyone. Just like any other career or business venture, hard work and persistence is required. Many people succeed…and many fail as well. It is up to YOU to determine your fate.

  • Thanks for this insightful article Jeff. As a starter on online business this info has come handy. I’m going to incorporate the three profit activator as part of my strategies to grow my business. Thanks for your great tips. Looking forward to reading more of your articles. Great stuff indeed.

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