What online business can I start now to become a millionaire?
That’s the question we posed to ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot that took the business world by storm earlier this year. We were curious how well the program could emulate a human business owner. Could ChatGPT help us start a business ― and will we even need entrepreneurs at all?
Here’s what the AI chatbot generated for a get-rich-quick business idea.
Online business ideas from ChatGPT
Of course, ChatGPT wisely tempered our expectations, pointing out that “becoming a millionaire solely through an online business is not a guaranteed outcome.”
Okay, fair enough. Nevertheless, the AI chatbot still provided us with some online business ideas that it noted, “have the potential to be lucrative.” Among the business ideas that ChatGPT suggested were e-commerce, online courses, social media and affiliate marketing and dropshipping. The AI chatbot briefly summarized each option:
- E-commerce store: Start an online store using a platform such as Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce. Begin with a small niche using products you create or source from a supplier.
- Online courses: Online learning is growing in popularity, and you can make money by creating a course on a topic you are knowledgeable about.
- Social media marketing: Many businesses are trying to grow a social media presence. You can start an agency to create and manage social media accounts, run ad campaigns and provide analytics and reporting for clients.
- Affiliate marketing: You can leverage affiliate marketing by creating content to promote products or services. If someone clicks on an embedded link, you could earn a commission or generate more sales for your own products.
- Dropshipping: This idea is similar to an e-commerce store, except you outsource product fulfillment to a third-party supplier. With dropshipping, you don’t hold any inventory, which makes it one of the best businesses to start with no money.
If you’re looking for more ideas generated by a human, check out our list of 20 cheap business ideas.
Ideas for a dropshipping business
In this exercise, we decided to move forward with the dropshipping suggestion. The advantage of dropshipping is that you can get started immediately. You don’t need any startup capital for inventory, and you don’t need to spend time creating content or finding clients.
But where to begin? What products should our dropshipping business sell? To answer that question, we once again asked ChatGPT for advice.
Can you give me an idea for a dropshipping business?
ChatGPT observed that we would need to stand out from the competition, so we should consider “focusing on a particular niche.” With this in mind, it offered “home decor” as one popular niche. One example that it gave was bohemian-style home decor. We decided to go with that aesthetic.
Choosing a brand name
What’s in a name? A lot, as it turns out.
Creating an effective brand name is a tremendous challenge when you’re just starting out. Many entrepreneurs agonize for countless hours over what to call their business. Even more frustrating is choosing a domain name. Most website names are already being used by other brands or owned by internet squatters.
Fortunately, ChatGPT came to our rescue with a list of suggestions for a bohemian decor website. Among the numerous possibilities were Bohemian Haven, Free Spirit Decor, Nomad Nest and Earthy Elegance. All we would need to do at this point is double-check availability and purchase the domain using a registrar, such as GoDaddy or Namecheap. We would also need to look into the best web and cloud hosting services to host our own website.
Where to find suppliers for dropshipping?
Being totally new to the dropshipping business, we had no idea where to source products. Once again, we posed our question to the AI oracle.
What are some examples of suppliers for home decor dropshipping?
ChatGPT immediately selected five potential suppliers: AliExpress, Oberlo, Modalyst, Sprocket and Wayfair. We thought that Oberlo was a particularly good fit because, as ChatGPT explained, it can integrate directly with Shopify. According to the chatbot, you can also filter by supplier location, price and more.
Marketing plan for a dropshipping business
By this point, ChatGPT had provided us with our dropshipping business niche, name and a list of suppliers. The only significant item left was a marketing plan to promote our new business. Using business.com’s marketing plan outline, we asked ChatGPT to fill in the blanks and help us develop a strategy.
In response to our directive to write a mission statement for our bohemian decor business, the AI generated an impressively realistic set of goals quickly:
“At [Business Name], our mission is to inspire and empower our customers to create a home that reflects their unique and eclectic style. Through our carefully curated selection of bohemian-inspired home decor items, we aim to create a community of individuals who share our passion for creativity, self-expression and living life to the fullest.”
Not too shabby.
ChatGPT helped us identify our target market as young adults, urban dwellers, creatives, travelers and eco-conscious consumers as the five groups most interested in bohemian home decor.
Among other reasons, ChatGPT pointed out that bohemian decor offers a “sense of individuality and freedom” to young people and that the style appeals to travelers because it “incorporates elements from around the world.”
Once you establish your customer base, the best CRM software can help you manage your relationships with them.
In response to our query about identifying a specific value proposition, ChatGPT came back with a number of suggestions. “Unique and creative” products that aren’t available elsewhere topped the list, along with affordable prices, sustainability, personalized customer service and cultural significance.
We asked the AI to help us come up with a pricing strategy using bohemian-themed throw pillows as an example. The chatbot advised us to look at the cost of materials, overhead costs, competitor pricing and the perceived value of a pillow on the market. ChatGPT estimated a pricing range of $20 to $100 for a single pillow, depending on the aforementioned factors.
Actionable advertising steps
Having established a solid brand identity and marketing plan, all that was left were actionable steps to get customers onto our bohemian decor store. ChatGPT listed social media advertising, influencer marketing, email marketing, local events and markets, content marketing and collaborations with other businesses as ways to reach customers.
Limitations of using ChatGPT for business
We found that ChatGPT was an excellent tool for helping us brainstorm topics like business ideas, names and lists of suppliers. However, the chatbot can’t perform actions like registering a domain or browsing a supplier’s website. It can provide suggestions, but you still need to actually, you know, do the work.
As far as marketing your business is concerned, many of ChatGPT’s ideas were great starting points. The chatbot helped us develop a basic strategy for marketing using proven and cutting-edge methods. But at the end of the day, we would still need to execute, which is why our bohemian decor store remains a figment of ChatGPT’s imagination and not a real-life business venture.
Clearly, AI won’t be replacing entrepreneurs anytime soon, but our exercise shows that it can certainly help entrepreneurs. Already, digital assistants are increasing productivity in the workplace. Tools like ChatGPT can automate tedious tasks and give you more time to think creatively and do the real work to grow your business.
An AI Elon Musk bot might still be a long way off, but AI personal assistants are here already.