5 Online Business Skills That MAKE MONEY

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 01/14/22 •  13 min read

When I first started working online, I had no idea what I wanted to do.

The idea of having more freedom in my life, and having a platform of my own was exciting – but beyond that?

I was clueless.

I didn’t know if I wanted to be a blogger, freelancer, marketer, influencer – or something totally different.

On top of that, even if I decided I wanted to do any of those things.  I didn’t know where to start.  I didn’t know what skills I’d need in order to be successful at any of them.

One thing I did learn pretty quickly is that there are a handful of skills that will be useful to you regardless of which path you decide to take.

If you can get to an intermediate level at each of these online business skills, you’re going to have a much easier job finding work, building an audience, and making money.

What are those skills? That’s what I’ll be telling you about in this post.

My First Two Online Projects Ever

I don’t know where the inspiration came from, but in late 2008 (yeah, that’s how long I’ve been doing this) I decided that I wanted to start a site dedicated to tennis.

I grew up playing competitively and had some contacts in the industry, so I bought my first domain: hookedontennis.com.

At the time I’d never heard of WordPress, so I found getting started with basic HTML to be clunky and time-consuming, it also didn’t take long to realize my initial idea for a tennis site wasn’t very feasible – mostly due to the fact I just wasn’t that interested in tennis anymore.

After a week of that, I moved onto an affiliate tutorial (that’s no longer there) from Glen Allsopp.  I didn’t know what that was either but the concept sounded great!

You write a review of something, get a special link, people click the link, and you get paid!

How hard can that be?

As you see in this video, clearly harder than I expected:

I bought Jamoramaguitarlessons.org, and used his template to try and sell a product for guitar lessons.

By not understanding the fundamentals of marketing and setting up a website however, that idea quickly floundered as well.

While both of those were good learning experiences, in each case there was a big problem.

I didn’t take time to develop a set of fundamental skills that would help me be successful online – mostly because I wasn’t sure what those skills were.

Over a decade later, there are five skills that more than anything I’ve found to be incredibly useful to building an online business.

If you’re good at even one of these skills, you can build a successful business around it.

But if you can get a general understanding of all of them, you can apply them laterally across your business and become much more effective in the process. We talk about this a ton in Location Rebel Academy.

5 Online Business Skills That Every Entrepreneur Should Have

Below we’ll be looking at what these online business skills are, why each of them are so important, and what some potential starting points are as you become proficient in each.

Critical Skill #1: Copywriting

It took me a while to fully understand just how important copywriting is.

When I launched my very first product way bacl in 2010, I was still writing the sales page for it right before I launched it.

Most people will spend 98% of their time creating a product and 2% of the time working in the sales page, if that.

However, it’s that well-written copy that will get people in the door in the first place.  This is why most online products aren’t successful –  because their creators don’t know how to sell it.

I’ll even go as far to say this is the most important skill you need for success on the internet.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you’re always selling something.

Whether it’s an idea, a product, yourself – when almost everything online is distributed via words, there is never a time when you aren’t selling.

If there’s one skill that has been more crucial to my success than any other? It’s copywriting:

Potential Jobs You Can Get in Copywriting

However, if you do decide to go the freelance copywriting route, keep this in mind:

Critical Skill #2: WordPress

When I began my first two websites I had no idea what WordPress was – because of this, my ideas never got off the ground.

So to make sure we’re all on the same page, what is WordPress? 

WordPress is what is known as a CMS or Content Management System.  What this means for you, is that you can build and manage a website with next to no knowledge of development or coding.

You should also understand that we are talking about wordpress.org, wordpress.com is different and should probably be ignored if you’re serious about building a business.

To be totally honest? My business(es) wouldn’t exist without WordPress.

Sean Laptop Vail

Me, probably with WordPress open on my computer. While drinking a beer. After skiing. THIS is why you create an online business 🙂

I likely never would have gotten the traction on any of my sites were it not so easy to customize and setup WordPress.

But why mention that here?

You can take any idea from a thought to execution in a weekend if you know how to use WordPress.

Even better, if you’re skilled enough to help other people design and setup their businesses in WordPress? You can make a pretty killer business for yourself.

In fact, at its most basic level, I think the single easiest way to make your first dollar online revolves around this process:

So while copywriting is essential, it doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have an easy way to put those words up for people to see – this is what WordPress allows you to do.

Potential Jobs for WordPress Experts

Critical Skill #3: Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a skill that can be polarizing.

Usually people will either go all in on it, and try and make search engine traffic the primary form of traffic for their website and brand.

Or they ignore it completely.

Regardless of which way you go, understanding the basics of how it works, and being able to properly optimize a post for Google is an incredibly useful skill to have.

For me, SEO has completely made my business.

When I was first getting going with Location Rebel, I did freelance SEO. This served as my bridge business, while I worked to get where I really wanted to be.

Now, I can directly tie 10s of thousands of dollars of monthly revenue in my businesses directly to the search traffic I receive.

There are a ton of resources out there for learning SEO. Glen’s course SEO Blueprint is my favorite of all of them.

I also personally use SEMrush for all of my SEO research.

To put it bluntly, the opportunity for making a living is pretty much limitless if you’re able to create or optimize content that gets ranked in search engines.

Potential Jobs in SEO:

Critical Skill #4: Design Essentials

When you show up to a website that looks like crap, what do you do? Chances are you leave immediately never to return again.  While you don’t have to be an expert designer to be successful, understanding some of the basics will go a long way.

Couple some basic design knowledge with WordPress skills, and you’re giving yourself a recipe for success.

SO many new bloggers or freelancers creating their portfolio sites have horrible looking webpages, simply because they don’t know any better.

For instance, the difference between a custom logo on a blog and stock text says a lot about your commitment to your website.

A good WordPress theme can go a long way, but if you have enough design knowledge to know the difference between what looks good and what doesn’t? You’ll be in great shape.

Potential Jobs in Design:

Critical Skill #5: Basic HTML

While understanding how WordPress works is far more important in my eyes, that doesn’t mean you’re completely free from having to learn some basic HTML.  The fact is, if you want to get the most out of WordPress you’ll want to learn some of the fundamentals.

You by no means need to know how to code a full HTML site, but the more you know, the easier it will be to customize certain aspects of your WordPress site.

Luckily there are some great ways to learn HTML that are actually fun.  My favorite is Code Academy.  I’m still far from an expert, but I can at least make my sites do what I want, when I want…

Well, some of the time at least.

What makes this stand out, is if you do get really good at HTML and CSS, you open up worlds of opportunity to do more website development work – which is always in demand.  It also pays well, so devoting some serious time to this particular skill can be incredibly valuable – although not entirely necessary to see success.

In fact, if I were to tell a teenage which one skill I’d learn in order to ensure they’d always be able to support themselves?

I’d tell them to learn how to code.

Copywriting is also an essential life skill, but to be honest, it’s easier to find coding jobs than copywriting jobs.

Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

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Potential Jobs in Web Coding:

How it All Ties Together

If you haven’t noticed, there are some common themes amongst all of these skills.  Every single one can lead to successful freelance work.  Freelancing is usually the easiest way to get started online.


Because with any of these, there’s a virtually unlimited amount of people looking for work at every level.

You don’t have to be the very best of the best right out of the gate.  Start small, and expand the type of clients you bring on and work you do as your skills are built up.

Along with this, we should point out how important these skills are laterally.  Take affiliate marketing for instance.  You’ll want to be proficient in all of these skills to have the best chance of success.

If you’re a good copywriter who can put together a good-looking WordPress website, who also knows the fundamentals of SEO?

The sky is the limit.

Each of these skills work together in different ways, and by understanding the basics of each, you can take any idea and implement it in a weekend to test for viability, and potentially create something huge.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.