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Start-up Online Business Ideas and Advice (£70k budget)



New Member
Before I go into further detail, I want to give a few disclaimers:
  • I am not looking for a quick and easy get rich scheme (i.e. raucous millionaires who appear on YouTube commercials trying to convince people that affiliate marketing will buy them a Lamborghini).
  • I am a complete rookie, but, I know if something sounds too good to be true—it probably is ('The Richest Man in Babylon' was a useful read).
  • I have inherited a freehold, which I plan to sell. The £70k mark derives from part of the estimate provided by a property surveyor. However, the estimation was given before the Covid-19 pandemic, and it doesn't take a magnate to know that the current markets are unstable. So, my question is hypothetical until it is a better climate to sell (business suggestions involving the importation of Bat Soup are not welcome).
My present circumstances are that I work 40hrs a week in a factory. It is a stress-free and easy £27k a year job—'it pays the bills' as the old cliche goes. I am a single 29-year-old man with a mortgage; I'm doing ok, but with 30 on the horizon I want more from life. Ideally, I would love a self-employed lifestyle where I could work no more than 30 hours a week while obtaining a decent income. I believe my inheritance could be a tangible opportunity to make that lifestyle a reality through the creation of an online business.

My employment background is predominately in Manufacturing. Nonetheless, I do not have broad expertise in the industry as I find my work to be both boring and tedious. I only have Level 1/2 Diploma qualifications in subjects in English Language, Maths, Media and Management. The business doesn't have to theme these topics; the most crucial aspect for me is that the concept is a proven and legitimate model.

Until I eventually sell my freehold (which could be a while),I want to work towards a practical plan for my own online business. Again, £70k is a guesstimate budget that depends on the potential sale success. This adventure is going to be something that I will make into my main focus and objective. I appreciate that the process will require diligence and contingency. Thankfully, I have reliable people to assist me in the marketing and finance side of things. So, my main questions are:
  • What online business suggestions do you have for a newbie such as myself?
  • Do you recommend any courses or programmes with companies that can get me on the right track?
  • What type of rhetoric or charlatans should I try to avoid?
  • What bumps in the road should I aspect?
  • Is it better to buy a pre-made start-up, or is it more beneficial to start your own?

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions.


Staff member
Hi Tom.

I'm a little old school when it comes to this kind of investment, I always air on the side of looking into things which you have experience in. So if manufacturing is your thing, try and find high ticket product suppliers/wholesalers in and around where your expertise are best found.

In my opinion with a budget such as 70k, you should be looking to do everything "properly". Which means going completely bespoke, or using platforms like Wordpress or Magento, doing so is absolutely fine and they can provide you with alot of flexibility, but ensure you look at custom themes which are built for purpose, not pre-made templates and builders which contain too much bloat. You have no need to go down the cheap route and it will serve you better long term, that said once you decide on your business model, always get advice for the best route for your situation.

The type of business which will have longevity is sale of products/ecommerce or possibly a SaaS business, which again you have knowledge of the process and/or end user intent, but expect a big learning curve if you end up going SaaS.

Stay clear of affiliate schemes , website purchases with ad-revenue, esspecially if your unsure of revenue types and traffic levels, much of what is for sale now days has the "potential" to dry up within months of purchasing and realistically, 70k could soon disapear with the wrong purchase.

If you go down the ecommerce/online store route ( my recommended option ),you have a few options in dealing with suppliers such as dropshipping where you never deal with the product and the supplier ships direct ( which is ok to start off but often hard to find markets which are not saturated with high enough ticket items to make it worth while ). Or purchasing of bulk stock at wholesale, with your budget your best bet is to invest in stock in my opinion.

Only advice I can really give is learn from everything and never stop learning. Feel free to keep us updated, happy to give second opinions on what your told with regards to Websites and SEO if you ever need it. Even if its just confirmation that what you've been told is correct :)


Verified Member
I would echo many of Adam's points especially the one about buying an existing website with a "proven" income. I have personally fallen into this trap myself and at the time I would have classed myself as "knowledgeable" about what to look out for and the signs of sites which had potentially been artificially supported to create that income, support which would disappear very quickly after the transfer. So, if it looks too good to be true then as you say it probably is too good to be true.

While I still think there are legitimate websites out there which can make money in areas such as blogging, articles, etc this is a whole different type of skill and a whole different type of business compared to e-commerce. So, if manufacturing is where your expertise lay then e-commerce is probably an area which you should focus on first. My only question would be, if you have a lack of interest, genuine interest, in the subject matter then it can be difficult to motivate yourself. You have 27,000 reasons to motivate yourself when you are an employee but it can be very different when you work for yourself.

Many people start out on their e-commerce journey trying to scrimp and save and make their money stretch as far as possible. £70,000 is more than enough to put together a good long-term business but as you mentioned in your post, this won't happen overnight and will take time, money and a lot of effort. As a single person, without knowing your particular background, perhaps you will have more time to put towards the business especially in the early days. Personally, I have read quite a few books written by entrepreneurs which give an idea of the thought process and the challenges in setting up a new business. I also think the mindset in which you go into the business is as important as the business itself. While you are obviously not in this group, those who think the Internet is a fast-track to riches are the ones who well, to coin a historic phrase, "a fool and their money are soon parted".

The comments regarding drop shipping and direct delivery of very interesting but as Adam suggested, some of the more popular areas of the market are saturated and you are probably better off looking to "dominate" a niche market. Looking way way way down the line, if you are able to dominate a niche market there is every chance that a competitor or somebody with cash on the hip might look to buy you out at a later date. However, your journey is just beginning and it will be interesting to follow this via this post.......


Active Member
Verified Member
The first thing I would say is that with £70,000 to play with you don't need a start-up. Personally, I would buy an established business where there is scope to increase the range of products, improve supply pricing and basically push the business. The last thing you want to buy is a company which has been pushed to the limit and therefore offers little or no scope for further growth. Also, try to find a business where your particular skills and knowledge could lead to significant improvements. Once you improve the business, improve pricing and in particular client communications, improved profitability will surely follow.