While there are a lot of different ways to make money online, there are essentially 5 elements that make up a successful online business. A long-term, sustainable business will have these core elements, no matter what the business model is.

Here are the 5 elements that all successful online businesses have:


I know that there are people that will disagree with me on this point, because you don’t necessarily have to have a website to make money online. True, but I believe if your goal is to build a long-term actual business you need some sort of web presence.

Email/ lead capture system

An email list is hands-down your most valuable business asset, whether you are an online or offline business. So many people do not treat this with the seriousness that it deserves. Until you have a large database, you may not realize the importance of having one.

Offline businesses generally have tangible assets, such as furniture and equipment, but if you have ever heard of someone “buying a book of business”, that is what it means. Usually it relates to the financial services or real estate business, but it could be any business. For Online businesses, you really don’t have any other business assets, so your email list is paramount.

Something to sell

It’s pretty obvious that you need to have a product or service to sell, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t have to be your own product. Look at Amazon – they sell thousands of products that aren’t even theirs. They didn’t manufacture them.

A method to accept payment

You would be surprised at how many people skip this step. If you don’t have a way to get paid, how do you expect to build a business? This can be as simple as using Paypal, but many people also use some sort of merchant services or even something like Stripe. It really depends on the type of business you have and how much money you bring in.

You need to check on which methods will work best for you, based on the fees that each payment method incurs. If you have very high ticket items, such as year long coaching packages or retreats, it might be a good idea to seek out payment methods that don’t erode your income.

Ways to market and bring in leads

I find that people tend to overlook marketing the most. They sometimes focus on activities that don’t necessarily bring in paying customers. I’ve heard many people talk about the fact that they have the most amazing product and that customers will just show up to buy their stuff. In the online world, with billions of web pages, just how would that happen, exactly?

Without consistent and preferably multiple methods for bringing leads into your business, no matter how good your product or service is, it will not survive.

These are the bare bones essentials for building long term wealth online. There are other tools, methods and business models, but for most people, these basics will get you started.

Debbie Peck Digital