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Success Stories of Profitable Online Businesses: 4 Inspiring Case Studies with Tips to Kickstart Your Own Venture

Are you searching for the next big online business ideas? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll uncover four very profitable online business ideas and success stories that will inspire you to take the leap and transform your passions into a thriving online venture. From launching a digital boutique to sharing your knowledge through online courses, selling handmade goods, or monetising your art and photography, there’s an opportunity waiting for you to seize! For each of these online business ideas, we will be highlighting a case study example – to inspire you along the way!


  1. Key Takeaways

  2. Launching an online store – Case study: Showpo

  3. Online courses – Case study: Coursera

  4. Selling Handmade Goods Online – Case Study: Madeit

  5. Art and Photography – Case Study: Aqua Bumps

  6. Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Launch an online store and maximise profits by selecting the right niche, setting up shop & managing product sourcing.

  • Create and sell successful online courses with effective digital marketing strategies & monetisation models.

  • Monetise art & photography to unlock potential with platforms like Printful, Prodigi, Behance or Squarespace, then market it!

Crafting Your Digital Boutique: Launch an Online Store

Launching an online store is an exhilarating and potentially profitable business venture. Given the rapid expansion of e-commerce, there’s no better time to enter this flourishing sector. But how do you ensure your online store stands out from the competition? It all starts with choosing good online business idea, the right niche, setting up shop, and effectively managing your product sourcing and inventory.

Case Study: Showpo

Showpo, founded by Jane Lu in Sydney in 2010, is a popular online fashion retailer in Australia. The brand has gained widespread recognition for its trendy and affordable clothing, targeting a young demographic. Showpo’s success is attributed to its strong online presence, engaging social media strategy, and a commitment to offering the latest fashion trends.

Jane went to great lengths to keep her startup idea a secret from her parents in the early days. She even went as far as to dress up and pretend to go to a job that didn’t exist for two whole years. She was literally putting on her corporate attire every morning for a fictitious job in the city.

Zooming ahead to 2023, Showpo now pulls in an astounding $100 million every year and operates with a team of over 110 employees. With more than 3.5 million followers on social media and shipping to more than 120 countries, it’s safe to say that Jane’s parents are now fully aware of her once secret ‘day job’!

Sleek scoop for future entrepreneurs: Showpo’s success is fuelled by its ability to connect with its target audience through social media, staying attuned to current fashion trends, and providing affordable yet stylish options. The brand’s emphasis on a seamless online shopping experience contributes to customer loyalty. Jane

Tips for launching your online store

Choose Your Niche

The foundation of any successful online store and marketing strategy begins with selecting the perfect niche for your business. A well-chosen niche allows your store to stand out from the competition and focus on a particular audience. Your niche could be based on industry, demographic, price point, geography, values, product attributes, or a combination of these factors.

Specialising in a particular, niche market increases your chances of drawing a dedicated customer base that will value your distinct products, making it easier to establish your own business.

Setting Up Shop

After choosing your niche, the next step is to establish your online store. Platforms such as Shopify offer a user-friendly and adaptable interface for building a prosperous online store. Design your own website, to showcase your products in an appealing and organised manner, ensuring a seamless user experience for your customers.

To manage your online business efficiently, consider utilising web hosting services and hiring a virtual assistant to provide support. Selling physical copies of your work, such as books or prints, can also help attract a wider audience and boost your search engine optimisation. Additionally, a consulting business can offer valuable insights and strategies for further growth, including expanding into a personal training business.

Product Sourcing and Inventory Management

With your online store operational, it’s important to concentrate on sourcing products and managing your inventory. Strategies such as dropshipping, print-on-demand, and working with wholesalers can help you maximise your store’s potential and minimise the risk of stocking up on expensive products.

Check out Sleek’s ultimate guide to starting an ecommerce business!

The Art of Selling Knowledge: Creating and Selling Courses Online

If you’re passionate about sharing your knowledge and expertise, creating and selling courses is an incredible online business opportunity. Creating captivating courses, marketing them efficiently, and choosing an appropriate monetisation model can transform your passion for teaching into a profitable enterprise.

Case Study: Go1

The industry of online courses is a dynamic and competitive landscape. In this market, Go1 has become a groundbreaking force, reshaping the approach businesses take towards employee training. Founded in 2015 by Andrew Barnes and Chris Eigeland, this Australian-based online training platform has swiftly become a pivotal player in the e-learning industry. The driving force behind Go1’s success lies in its unwavering commitment to simplifying the learning and development journey for organisations.

Sleek scoop for future entrepreneurs: Go1’s success lies in their commitment to simplifying the learning and development journey for organisations. Embracing a mission to unlock positive potential through a profound love for learning, Go1 has garnered support from a robust investor base, including M12 (Microsoft’s venture capital arm), Madrona Venture Group, Salesforce Ventures, and SEEK.

Tips for launching your own Online Course business

To create a successful online course, it’s essential to start with an engaging topic that resonates with your target audience. Consider your own expertise, market research, the market demand, and the unique selling proposition of your course when selecting a topic.

After choosing an engaging topic, concentrate on designing a compelling learning journey. This can be achieved by integrating interactive elements, logically organising your course content, and fostering a personal connection with your students.

Marketing Your Online Course

Promotion of your online course is key to reaching your target audience and driving sales. Leverage social media to connect with potential students, utilise email marketing to nurture leads, and create high-quality content to showcase your expertise and drive traffic to your course. Implementing digital marketing strategies, such as social media and email marketing, will help you achieve your goals.

Collaborating with other industry experts can also help expand your reach and credibility, boosting the visibility of your course and attracting new students. By utilising these marketing strategies, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a successful online course business.

Monetisation Models

Selecting an appropriate monetisation model for your business is a significant factor in optimising your earning potential. Popular monetisation models include:

  • Selling the course directly

  • Offering a membership or subscription model

  • Upselling additional products or services

  • Affiliate marketing

  • Advertising and sponsorships

To select the best business model for your online course business, consider various monetisation strategies. With the right approach, you can create a thriving online course business that generates substantial income.

The Creator’s Marketplace: Selling Handmade Goods Online

For those who prefer working with their hands, selling handmade goods is an excellent online business idea. By crafting unique products, branding and marketing your creations, and choosing the right sales platform, you can turn your passion for handmade goods into one of the best online business ideas – a successful online business. With a variety of online businesses available, focusing on handmade goods can set small business owners apart from the competition and help them sell online effectively.

Case Study: Madeit

Madeit is an Australian online marketplace that focuses on handmade and unique goods. Founded in 2007, Madeit provides a platform for Australian artists and makers to showcase and sell their creations. The platform’s emphasis on supporting local artisans, handmade products, and a sense of community sets it apart. Today, Madeit’s revenue is estimated in the multiple millions!

Sleek scoop for future entrepreneurs: Madeit’s success is driven by its commitment to supporting the local handmade community, creating a marketplace that values craftsmanship and uniqueness. The platform’s focus on fostering connections between creators and buyers contributes to its appeal.

Tips for new entrepreneurs thinking of heading down this path

How to sell Unique Handcrafted Products

For success in selling handmade goods, here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Create distinctive, superior-quality products that resonate with your target audience.

  2. Focus on what sets your products apart from the competition.

  3. Ensure that each piece is crafted with care and attention to detail.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success in selling your handmade goods.

By offering unique and distinctive products, you’ll be more likely to attract a loyal customer base that appreciates the value and craftsmanship of your creations.

Branding and Marketing Your Creations

Branding and marketing your handmade goods is vital for creating a successful business. Here are some steps to help you develop a cohesive brand identity:

  1. Define your ideal customer.

  2. Clarify your brand values.

  3. Create a mood board.

  4. Design a logo that captures the essence of your brand.

By following these steps, you can craft a distinctive identity for your products, reach the right people, and become an authority in your field.

Leverage social media marketing to expand your reach, interact with customers, and create a community around your brand. Share your story and the uniqueness of your handmade products to attract potential buyers and generate sales.

Unleashing Creativity: Monetising Art and Photography

For artists and photographers, the opportunity to monetise your creative work online is exhilarating and potentially profitable. By diversifying your artistic offerings, building an online portfolio, and implementing effective marketing strategies, you can turn your creative passion into a thriving online business.

ocean pool

Case Study: Aqua Bumps

Aqua Bumps, founded by Eugene Tan in 1999 in Bondi Beach, Sydney, is an iconic Australian brand that has transformed ocean photography into a thriving online business. Specialising in capturing the beauty of ocean waves and coastal landscapes, Aqua Bumps has become a celebrated online photography gallery. Eugene Tan’s passion for surfing and photography led him to share daily snapshots of Bondi’s waves with friends. As social media gained prominence, Aqua Bumps grew into a global sensation, attracting a dedicated following of ocean enthusiasts.

Sleek scoop for future entrepreneurs: Aqua Bumps’ success is rooted in Eugene Tan’s authentic passion for ocean photography and the surfing lifestyle. The brand leveraged the power of social media to share captivating visuals, building a community around its stunning imagery. The daily updates created a sense of anticipation, and the limited edition prints made the art accessible to a global audience. The key lesson from Aqua Bumps is the fusion of genuine passion, visual storytelling, and leveraging online platforms to transform a local photography endeavour into a global sensation.

Tips for new entrepreneurs in the photography / art game

Diversifying Your Artistic Offerings

To maximise your earning potential, consider diversifying your artistic offerings. Sell prints, digital downloads, and merchandise featuring your artwork to reach a wider range of customers and boost your income. Platforms like Printful and Prodigi make it easy to create personalised shops for your designs, allowing you to easily sell your art on various products.

Building an Artist’s Online Portfolio

Establishing an online portfolio is key for displaying your art and photography to prospective buyers. Platforms like Behance, Squarespace, and Adobe Portfolio provide user-friendly options for displaying your artwork in an organised and visually appealing manner.

Include detailed information about your work, such as titles, dimensions, mediums, and the story behind each piece to make a strong impression on potential buyers.

Marketing Strategies for Artists

Implementing powerful marketing strategies is pivotal to the success of your art and photography venture. Utilise social media to connect with potential buyers, share your work, and build a community of art enthusiasts interested in your creations. Collaborating with other artists and industry experts can also help expand your reach, increase your visibility, and attract new buyers to your art.

By employing these marketing strategies, you can unlock the potential of your art and photography business and generate substantial revenue.


In conclusion, there are numerous profitable online business opportunities waiting for you to explore. Whether you’re passionate about launching an online store, sharing your knowledge through online education, selling handmade goods, or monetising your art and photography, the possibilities are endless. With the right strategy, dedication, and marketing efforts, you can transform your passions into a successful online business. So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey today!

Helpful resources to read next

Now that you’re on your business creation journey, why not check out some of our other helpful resources

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