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Starting an online business has numerous benefits, including flexibility and the potential to reach a vast audience of over 2 billion online shoppers. With eCommerce revenues projected to exceed $8 trillion by 2026, there’s never been a better time to start a small business online.
This article will explore various ideas on online business and provide examples, required skills, relevant statistics, and potential earnings.
Additionally, we’ll outline the steps necessary to launch your online business and start earning money from the comfort of your home.
The Internet has revolutionized the way we do business. With the rise of e-commerce, social media, and other digital technologies, starting and growing an online business is easier than ever.
However, with so much competition, standing out from the crowd and succeeding can be challenging. That’s why it’s essential to have a solid plan and strategy.
Table of Contents
Why Start an Online Business
Before we get to the lucrative ideas for online business, let’s address one thing quickly. If you are still on the fence about starting an online business, here are some compelling reasons to take the plunge:
- Low startup costs. Starting an online business is much cheaper than starting a traditional brick-and-mortar store. You don’t need to worry about rent, utilities, or other overhead costs. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection to get started.
- Passive income. Many ways to monetize your online business include affiliate marketing and online ad displays. These can create passive income streams, allowing you to earn money even when you’re not actively working on your business.
- Flexibility and freedom. You can choose your working hours and location as an online business owner. This allows you to create a better work-life balance and pursue personal interests.
- Global reach. The Internet has no borders, meaning online businesses can reach customers worldwide. This opens up new markets and revenue streams for your business.
Best Online Business Ideas to Get You Started
Building a successful online business takes significant time and effort. Therefore, choosing an idea that aligns with your skills and interests can increase your chances of success and make the journey more fulfilling. Here are 30 profitable ideas on online business to consider pursuing.
1. Become a Freelancer
Becoming a freelancer is a viable option for those seeking ideas on online business who have the necessary skills and experience in a particular field.
With the rise of the gig economy, more people are turning to freelance as an alternative to traditional nine-to-five jobs. In addition, 75% of freelancers have reported increased income compared to their previous full-time job.
Freelancers can leverage their prior work experience and network to establish a professional brand and succeed in nearly any industry. However, web developers, graphic designers, and writers are some of the most in-demand jobs online.
To start this online business, deciding on a niche and unique selling point that sets you apart in the competitive market is essential. For example, a freelance writer may focus on creating journalistic-style content for B2B and SaaS companies.
Building a portfolio website to promote your services online is crucial. Signing up for freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and creating a LinkedIn profile can also improve your online presence and increase your chances of success. The estimated income for freelancers depends on the industry and location.
2. Start a Blog
Estimated income: depends on the blog’s operational expenses and monetization channels—requirements: writing, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) skills. Creating a blog can be one of the most lucrative ideas on online business. With a focused approach, generating significant income from a blog is possible. To start a successful blog, there are several crucial elements to consider:
Niche. It is essential to choose a specific theme for your blog. This helps build a loyal audience, boost search engine rankings, and increase engagement.
There are numerous blog ideas to explore for inspiration. Content quality. Unique and high-quality content is the key to attracting and retaining readers.
Publishing informative and engaging blog posts can help establish your authority and credibility in your niche. Traffic volume.
The more visitors your blog attracts, the higher your chances of making money. Building a solid social media presence, optimizing for SEO, and promoting your blog can help drive traffic to your site—monetization strategies.
Bloggers can earn money through affiliate marketing, advertising, sponsored content, and selling products or services. Experimenting with different strategies to find the best combination for your blog is crucial.
3. Launch a Dropshipping Business
Projected Earnings: $200-$3,000+ monthly, depending on the business and market size. Prerequisites: business management, digital marketing, and site maintenance expertise
For beginners seeking low-risk and profitable businesses, dropshipping is an ideal choice. This business model involves collaborating with suppliers to sell their products on your website while they handle storage and shipping, and you focus on promoting the items to potential buyers.
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Because there’s no need to manage inventory, the startup costs are relatively low. For example, setting up a dropshipping business site typically costs around $150, which includes web hosting, a domain name, and membership in a supplier directory like DSers.
Because customers cannot examine the products in person, the trust of the dropshipping business model relies heavily on customer trust.
Therefore, before collaborating with suppliers, assess their credentials to avoid problems and provide outstanding customer service to ensure customer satisfaction.
Additionally, monitor market trends and seek out new products to offer to stay ahead of the competition.
4. Start an Online Store
Starting an online store is lucrative for those looking to launch their eCommerce business. To get started, it’s important to research trending products or find a micro niche that can help reduce competition and provide significant growth potential.
For example, Neuro, a company that sells caffeinated gum and mints, succeeded by tapping into a niche that provides a healthier alternative to energy drinks and coffee.
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Before launching your eCommerce store, carefully calculate startup costs, which can vary depending on the complexity of the website and its features. For example, simple sites can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while larger and more complex ones may require $10,000 or more investments.
To maximize your revenue potential, consider selling your products on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. By diversifying your sales channels, you can reach a wider audience and increase your profits.
5. Sell Handmade Goods
If you have artisanal or crafting skills, selling handmade goods online can be profitable. One advantage of this online business idea is that you can offer unique products that customers can’t find anywhere else. Therefore, you have the flexibility to set higher prices for your creations.
Bridget Bodenham is an artist who sells her vase sets on her eCommerce website, giving her complete control over the business and marketing strategies.
Alternatively, you can sell on Etsy, a popular marketplace with over 96 million buyers worldwide. However, be prepared to face competition from fellow merchants for buyers’ attention. You can turn your crafting skills into a successful online business with creativity and dedication.
6. Sell Prints
Selling prints is a lucrative option for visual artists to monetize their artwork and gain exposure. Setting up an online store and partnering with a printing service like Printful is a straightforward way to get started.
By doing so, you can focus on creating more art and promoting your business while the printing service handles procurement and shipping.
Another approach is selling full-size digital files of your prints. This allows customers to print and frame the art, avoiding shipping costs. However, it’s essential to include a copyright notice to prevent unauthorized duplication and take legal action if necessary.
7. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing might be the answer if you’re looking for low-cost options for online business. As an affiliate marketer, you’ll promote products or services for a brand by incorporating links to them in your content. You’ll earn a commission based on the number of purchases made through your unique affiliate link.
Getting started is easy: sign up for an affiliate program, such as Amazon Associates or Skimlinks, and create original content, such as blog posts or social media updates, that speaks to the interests of your target audience.
A successful affiliate website example specializes in a particular niche, such as childcare. For instance, Baby Gear Lab is a website that publishes comprehensive baby product recommendations and reviews. By providing valuable content and including affiliate disclosures, readers are informed that the website owner will earn a commission if they purchase through the links.
9. Flip and Sell Thrifted Goods
Consider flipping thrift goods online as an inexpensive online business. You can resell unused items around your home or buy secondhand products from online marketplaces.
To determine the appropriate prices for your items, research competitor prices and consider repairing or repurposing the product for added value. While not required, basic crafting or handyman skills can be useful.
For instance, best dressed, a fashion YouTuber, upcycled her thrifted outfits and sold them on Depop, a fashion marketplace.
The potential income for this business varies widely, from $50 to $5,000 per month. Effective business management and negotiation skills are pivotal to success in this venture.
10. Flip and Sell Websites
If you have web development, design, SEO, and digital marketing skills, you can earn a considerable income through website flipping. Although it takes longer to generate a profit than other ideas on online business, this business model can be quite lucrative.
The first step is to purchase an underperforming website with growth potential from marketplaces like Flippa.
Once you acquire the website, optimize it for search engines and research the best monetization methods for its niche.
To fetch a good price for the website, it should generate significant traffic and revenue—generally, website flippers price sites at two to three times their annual income.
For example, an online store making a certain amount per year can be sold for two to three times that amount.
11. Buy and Sell Domain Names
One profitable online business idea is buying and selling domain names. Some domains can even sell for millions of dollars. However, the most popular domains are often unavailable. That’s why some sellers opt for locally focused keywords like jobsinlondon.com.
To begin, use domain checkers or auction sites like Sedo to find and purchase affordable domains with potential. For example, consider buying multiple domains at once to increase the chances of making a sale.
To sell the domain, create a landing page or send email pitches to potential customers. Remember that persistent marketing is necessary to find the right buyer for your domain. Digital marketing skills are essential for this business to succeed.
12. Design Website Themes
Designing website themes can be a profitable online business idea for web designers who want to earn extra income.
With the increasing number of individuals launching their websites, there is a growing demand for beautiful, pre-made designs that are easy to use.
Start by testing your theme with free web hosting. Then, sell its license on your website or list it on a theme marketplace like TemplateMonster, giving your theme more exposure. However, remember that most marketplaces charge a commission for each sale.
Consider including regular updates and priority support to increase your theme’s value and longevity. Another option is to provide a custom theme service, as many businesses are willing to pay more for a unique web design.
13. Launch a Subscription Box
Launching a subscription box service is a profitable online business model that periodically delivers a product package to customers. This business type has become increasingly popular in recent years, with over 50% of online shoppers subscribing to at least one service for a personalized experience.
The main advantage of running a subscription box service is the recurring income and long-term relationship with customers it generates. However, to succeed in this business, you must repeatedly offer a product people are willing to pay for.
For instance, Butcher Box delivers various types of meat and prides itself on sourcing only organic meat, which is its unique selling point. In addition, it requires business management, digital marketing, and site maintenance skills to run a successful subscription box service.
14. Offer Social Media Marketing Services
If you have experience and skills in content creation, social listening, and influencer marketing, offering social media marketing services can be a profitable online business idea.
Utilize your social media account to showcase your expertise and attract potential clients. Additionally, you can create a portfolio site or blog to promote your services and increase your online credibility.
One example of a successful social media marketer is Nadine of The Social Shells, who utilizes her blog to boost her brand’s visibility and establish her expertise in the field.
15. Create an Online Course
One profitable online business idea is to create an online course. Sharing your expertise can help others gain new skills and experiences. However, picking a unique and in-demand subject is crucial in a saturated online learning market.
Consider conducting market research to ensure there’s a potential target audience. For example, Crystal Dawn’s course on creating raw desserts caters to a niche market of healthy plant-based food enthusiasts.
Building a website with a learning management system (LMS) extension is a great way to maintain complete control over your teaching and monetization methods.
This option allows you to choose a suitable course platform that aligns with your teaching style and subject matter expertise.
With production expenses and the number of students being critical determinants of your earnings, you can expect to earn anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000+ per month.
16. Launch a YouTube Channel
Creating video content has become a lucrative business idea with the rise of content creators. With over 120 million daily active users, YouTube is the most popular platform for sharing video content.
Whether it’s reaction commentaries, software tutorials, or cooking demos, you can produce video content from the comfort of your home.
To monetize your YouTube channel, aim to attract at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within the first few months.
Once you surpass these metrics, you can join the YouTube Partner Program and earn money from your videos.
Other ways to monetize your channel include crowdfunding on Patreon, affiliate marketing, and sponsored content.
17. Start a Podcast
Podcasting is an increasingly popular way to share your ideas with the world. With over 380 million podcast listeners worldwide, it’s a great time to start a podcasting business.
To stand out, consider focusing on a specific niche, like The Pen Addict, a podcast about pen-related topics that has built a dedicated following.
To get started, create a website to host your podcast and distribute it on popular platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Use social media to promote your podcast and attract new listeners.
As you grow your audience, several ways to monetize your podcast include affiliate marketing, crowdfunding through platforms like Patreon, and advertising networks like Midroll.
To produce a high-quality podcast, invest in proper recording equipment and software. Creating a production budget can help you allocate resources to improve the overall quality of your show.
18. Explore Audiobook Narration as a Business Idea
Narrating audiobooks is a promising business idea, with income estimates ranging from $25-$55/hour, depending on experience, location, and skill level. As audiobooks gain popularity, the demand for talented narrators increases.
The role of an audiobook narrator is to bring print and digital stories to life through audio files. It requires clear enunciation, tone control, and the ability to differentiate voices for various characters. Possessing acting skills can give you an edge over your competition.
Investing in recording and editing software is a must to produce high-quality work. Additionally, taking vocal and acting classes can help you improve your narration skills.
Beginners may start with freelance projects to gain experience. As your experience and portfolio grow, you can pursue professional opportunities through voice-over companies or job portals like Bunny Studio and ACX.
19. Start a Consulting Business
Consulting is a great idea for an online business for professionals with expertise in a particular field. Companies in different industries benefit from the problem-solving skills of consultants in areas such as marketing, operations, and human resources.
One successful consulting business owner is an SEO expert who has worked with over 5,000 companies, offering services in content marketing, paid advertising, and social media.
However, starting a consulting business may require effort to generate clients, especially for new small business owners.
First, focus on generating leads through platforms like LinkedIn and contacting potential clients through cold emails.
Additionally, having a professional email address dedicated to your business can increase the likelihood of success. Consulting rates typically vary depending on industry and skill set, but with dedication and experience, it can be a profitable idea for an online business.
20. Self-Publish an eBook
Self-publishing an eBook can be a lucrative online business idea. With self-publishing sites like Amazon KDP and Apple Books, anyone can sell eBooks through a personal website without sending a manuscript to a traditional publisher. This can save you the hassle of building an audience from scratch, though it’s essential to remember that the costs to self-publish a book can range between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
If you’re a blogger, eBooks can be a great way to compile your existing content into a comprehensive guide. For example, consider adding printable worksheets or other supplementary material to add value to your product. For example, some writers create websites to maximize revenue instead of solely relying on self-publishing sites.
Creative writing and content marketing skills are essential for self-publishing success. Depending on the platform, you can earn up to 75% royalties from the eBook’s price.
If you’re interested in pursuing this idea, allocate a budget to cover the initial costs and read our tutorial on how to create your website from scratch, which may be beneficial for maximizing profits.
21. Offer Transcription Services
Offering transcription services can be a great online business if you’re a good listener with a fast typing speed. Transcription involves converting audio files into text documents, and your earnings can vary depending on your niche. For example, medical transcriptionists earn the most, averaging $26/hour.
To succeed in this business, having good typing skills and proficiency with data processing software is essential. Taking typing lessons can help improve your typing speed and accuracy.
Once ready, check out platforms like Rev and TranscribeMe for transcription jobs and start building your portfolio.
22. Offer Translation Services
If you are proficient in two or more languages, consider offering translation services as an online business idea. In addition to translating content from one language to another, you’ll need to localize it to suit the target audience’s cultural preferences.
Check out translation job listings on job portals or search for freelancing positions at translation agencies. Be sure to build a portfolio showcasing your best work.
Obtaining certification training can improve your chances of finding better-paying opportunities. For example, as a certified translator, you can attract reputable clients such as government offices and corporations.
23. Develop Apps
Developing apps is a profitable online business idea for individuals with app development, UI/UX design, and product management skills. Mobile apps are the preferred way to access online stores, with 78% of digital buyers using them. This trend has increased the demand for mobile developers, making it an ideal time to start your app development business.
If you lack app development skills, you can take advantage of online courses on eLearning platforms or use code-free web development software like AppyPie.
As an app developer, you can monetize your apps through ads and in-app purchases or by selling them on marketplaces like Flippa. To find customers easily, it’s crucial to have a solid portfolio showcasing your skills.
24. Launch a Data Entry Service
Data entry services are ideal for those looking for a flexible online business. Many companies require experts to compile information from various sources into a well-organized digital format. These sources might include meeting notes and daily sales reports.
Typing speed is a critical factor in this business. You will have more leverage if you can type at a speed of 60-90 words per minute. Before starting this business, we recommend taking typing courses like Keybr to improve your typing skills.
Investing in a numeric keypad and having a good internet connection will also increase your productivity and efficiency in data entry.
25. Write Resumes and Cover Letters
Offering resume and cover letter writing services is an excellent online business idea for those with solid writing skills and personal branding expertise. In today’s highly competitive job market, job seekers need an outstanding application to secure a job.
You can find potential clients on professional networks like LinkedIn and pitch your services. Creating effective and well-branded applications is the key to success, which can help clients secure better job opportunities.
Build your portfolio and network by offering pro bono services to friends and family, and use your success stories to attract new clients.
Consider obtaining a certification like PARWCC to enhance your credibility and give you more leverage in fee negotiations. It’s a great way to take your business to the next level.
26. Become a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant is an excellent way to make money online. Virtual assistants provide administrative support to business owners and entrepreneurs by managing tasks such as scheduling appointments and responding to inquiries.
In addition to basic clerical tasks, some virtual assistants offer digital marketing support, including managing social media accounts and formatting email newsletters. Those with these additional skills can earn up to $60/hour.
To start your online business as a virtual assistant, search for job openings on platforms like Fiverr and Zirtual.
You can also create your website to promote your services.
Check out Virtual Nina Creative for inspiration on creating an attractive and engaging website. With strong administration, communication, and digital marketing skills, you can earn an average of $23/hour as a virtual assistant.
27. Work as a Virtual Recruiter
If you have a talent for networking and excellent communication skills, consider working as a virtual recruiter. This excellent online business idea offers the flexibility to work remotely or on the side.
Unlike a traditional recruiter, you don’t need a formal education to work as a virtual recruiter, although having a business or human resources degree can be an advantage.
You can find virtual recruiting jobs on freelancing marketplaces like Upwork or join HR outsourcing companies.
Once you have joined, you can post job openings on LinkedIn and add a Hiring badge to your profile to attract potential applicants.
This is an excellent opportunity to help employers find talented candidates and earn an average income of five figures per year, depending on the industry and job level.
28. Tutor Students Online
One of the most promising online business ideas is starting an online tutoring business. If you have teaching experience, this is an excellent opportunity for you.
However, with the growing trend of distance learning, many parents and guardians require assistance with their children’s education.
Skooli is a useful site that can help you find tutoring jobs in your areas of expertise. They make it easier for you to connect with students who need your help.
Once you have built a sizable pool of clients, consider creating a full-fledged tutoring business on your website. In addition, you can take inspiration from how BMAT Crash Course built its website.
29. Write Guest Posts
Consider this internet business idea if you enjoy writing and want to make money online without starting your blog. Writing guest posts involves submitting articles to other bloggers for a fee, often under a pseudonym.
Numerous digital publishing platforms like Business2Community and Writer’s Digest are open to guest post submissions.
Choosing sites in a niche, you’re familiar with is best to make writing more enjoyable. Payment varies based on the length and quality of the post, ranging from a few dollars to several thousand dollars per article. You must have strong writing, content marketing, and SEO skills to succeed in this business.
30. Sell Stock Photos
If you’re an aspiring photographer looking to start an online business, consider selling stock photos. Stock photos are licensed images for various purposes, such as marketing campaigns, websites, and social media posts.
To begin, you’ll need a good camera and lighting equipment. Research the market to see what types of images are in demand and use relevant keywords to optimize your images for search engines.
Focusing on a specific niche can strengthen your branding and make you stand out. Check out Tania Cervian’s website for inspiration on creating and showcasing unique, creative portraits.
To build your portfolio, submit your images to popular stock photography sites like Shutterstock and Getty Images. Alternatively, create your photography website to manage your business and marketing strategy independently.
31. Sell NFTs
NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) provide a unique opportunity for digital artists to sell their artwork and its ownership to the open community. With the potential for substantial profits, some art pieces have sold for millions of dollars.
To sell NFTs, you’ll need web3 design or game development skills and knowledge of cryptocurrency. Ethereum is the most widely accepted form of payment, and you’ll need to set up a digital wallet to receive payments.
Once you have your artwork and cryptocurrency in place, you can upload your NFTs to marketplaces such as OpenSea and Rarible.
While most marketplaces focus on digital artwork, some now support game assets, videos, and music. Choose a suitable marketplace for your artwork type and set up an auction to sell your NFTs.
I Have My Online Business Idea; What’s Next? Finding an online business idea is only the beginning of a long journey as an internet entrepreneur.
After finding an online business idea, there are several important steps to take to bring it to fruition:
- Conduct market research to understand your target audience’s needs and demands.
- Choose a niche to specialize in within your industry.
- Secure a domain name and web hosting to establish your online presence.
- Build a website that accurately reflects your brand and offerings.
- Leverage various online platforms to promote your product or service and attract potential customers.
In conclusion, starting an online business has become an increasingly popular way to earn a living and achieve financial independence. The low startup costs, flexible hours, and global reach make it an appealing option for entrepreneurs.
However, it’s crucial to conduct market research, decide on a niche, and build an assertive online presence to succeed. By following these steps, you can turn your ideas for online business into a profitable venture. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge and embark on this exciting journey. Remember, success is within reach with dedication and perseverance. Start building your online empire today!
What are some online business ideas that can be started from home?
Many online business ideas, such as blogging, e-commerce, online coaching, affiliate marketing, and more, can be started from home. Finding a niche, you’re passionate about and can effectively market to your target audience is key.
What are some online business ideas for beginners?
Some online business ideas for beginners include starting a blog, selling products through an online marketplace like Etsy, offering virtual assistant services, and starting a YouTube channel. These ideas require minimal investment and can be a great way to get started in online entrepreneurship.
What are the top ten online businesses?
The top ten online businesses vary depending on the industry and niche. The most successful online businesses include e-commerce stores, subscription-based services, coaching and courses, and affiliate marketing.
What are some examples of online businesses?
Some examples of online businesses include e-commerce stores like Amazon and Shopify, digital marketplaces like Etsy and Fiverr, online coaching and courses like Udemy and Coursera, and subscription-based services like Netflix and Spotify. These businesses are all conducted online and have disrupted traditional industries.
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