How do you start an online business? The best place to start is to develop an online business idea that appeals to you, matches your skills and passions, and has good potential to be profitable (or at least provides side income). The first step in how to start an online business is to come up with your business idea, but that’s easier said than done – here are the 21 best online business ideas you can start this year.
21 Online Business Ideas You Can Start Tomorrow
1) Affiliate marketer
Put your passion to work by marketing products online. Whether you have a website or are active on social media, there are numerous affiliate programs that will pay you to share links, images, videos, and more. If affiliate marketing sounds like something you’d be interested in, there are several reputable companies to choose from including; Commission Junction, Linkshare, and Impact Radius. However, before signing up for any of these services make sure that they’re still active and actually paying their affiliates. Also, ask for referrals from people already promoting them (or similar services) if possible. That will give you a good idea of what kind of results you can expect from each one. Signing up is free, easy, and can put extra cash in your pocket—what more could you want?
2) Drop Shipping
One of our favorite online business ideas, drop shipping is an easy way to make money online by purchasing items wholesale, and then selling them on Amazon. This can be a great side business idea that can also lead to full-time employment if you use drop shipping with Amazon FBA (fulfillment by Amazon). Get started by purchasing a specific product and locating a supplier on Alibaba. Your supplier will give you a quote for how much it costs to get that item from China to your front door. If you accept it, great! If not, keep looking for suppliers until you find one that offers an acceptable price and does good business as per reviews.
3) Virtual assistant
With so many Americans turning to freelance work, virtual assistants (VAs) are in high demand. A VA is an independent contractor who provides administrative support for the business and personal needs of clients from her home office. Duties include making travel arrangements, scheduling meetings, responding to email messages and taking on other tasks as requested by clients. Due to its flexible nature, virtual assistant work can be done from just about anywhere. While a traditional part-time job would require you to check your email only during certain hours or days of your choosing, a virtual assistant has access to her employer’s inbox 24/7, which allows her more time at home with family and friends.
If you’re looking for a creative business idea, start a website. While WordPress is always an option, there are other content management systems that can be used. The most popular one is Squarespace, which allows you to build a beautiful website using their intuitive web design platform. From there it’s pretty easy to get connected with affiliate programs and online retailers willing to pay you every time someone buys their product through your site. This makes starting your own site pretty straightforward—you just need to be able to come up with ideas or topics people are interested in reading about. And if original content creation isn’t your strong suit, no worries!
5) Web designer or web developer
6) Niche market e-commerce retailer
The market for niche-products is surprisingly lucrative. If you focus on selling a specific product that’s hard to find in a particular niche (say, hot sauce if you’re in Louisiana), chances are good that there are many people who want to buy it from you. Depending on your pricing model, you can sell through both an online store and local markets and fairs. If demand is high enough, even just selling at farmers markets can be a viable business option. And if you really get started early with your online store, you might have time to do both while still launching other passive income sources or completing courses related to your ultimate business idea. (See also: Why Selling Your Crafts On Etsy Could Make You Rich)
7) Social media consultant
If you’re a social butterfly, consider using your online presence to become a freelance social media consultant. By helping clients connect with people on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (to name just a few), you’ll be able to set your own hours and rates of pay. And since many of these platforms are free to use by pretty much anyone (though some offer premium services for a fee), it’s likely that your potential market is practically limitless! Check out sites like Upwork or Freelancer if you want help getting started. Just make sure your long-term job prospects are secure before taking any gigs that might require you to give up something else in order to pursue them full-time.
8) Small business consultant
While you could go it alone, partnering with a small business consultant is a great way to get objective advice and avoid costly mistakes. A consultant can save you time by going over all of your ideas, helping you pick out your strongest concepts (and some ideas that need work), and advising you on how to start pitching investors, customers and clients. A professional consultant will know best practices from their experience and be able to look at your potential new business from every angle. It’s easier than ever to find an expert these days, so don’t miss out on an opportunity just because you think it costs too much or takes too much time!
9) SEO consultant
If you’re familiar with creating content and would like to create a local business presence, consider becoming an SEO consultant. If you have experience in digital marketing, then focusing on local SEO can help businesses grow their client base. The basic principle of ranking higher in search engines is based on having keyword-relevant pages. While gaining access to information about search terms isn’t completely ethical (no matter what Google says), there are ways of gaining access to data that can be used for improving local SEO. Use these strategies to build a successful SEO consulting business in less than five years: -Increase online visibility through social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)
10) Remote tech support
Computer tech support can be a great opportunity to start your own business. It requires working from home and helping customers resolve their issues remotely. Many companies, including HP, Apple, Dell, and Microsoft hire independent contractors for technical support positions on a full-time or part-time basis. To get started building your client base on Upwork (formerly oDesk), sign up and create a profile. Share links with friends who might know of people needing computer help so you can expand your client base. Ask if they’d be willing to serve as a reference and offer services such as Skype or video calls in exchange for lower rates when bidding on jobs that come through those contacts.
Also Check: 26 Great Small Business Ideas to Start in 2022
11) Handmade craft seller
Do you have an eye for interior design or a knack for crafting? Sell handmade home goods and crafts on sites like Etsy or at local fairs and flea markets. Selling your wares is a great way to make extra money, but selling directly to customers keeps even more of your profit in your pocket. If you’re into craft fairs, try searching craigslist for stalls for rent and see if any local craft fairs need help with vendors. Before you know it, you could be making so much money you’ll wonder how you ever found time to work a 9-to-5 job! Learn more about selling online with sites like eBay and Amazon.
12) App developer
Did you know that according to Statista, there are over 2.4 million apps in Apple’s App Store and more than 5 million in Google Play? While it can be difficult to stand out, there’s plenty of money to be made with app development. The median annual salary for an iOS developer was $102,000 in 2017 and Android developers earned a median salary of $105,000 that same year. Plus, as businesses grow increasingly mobile-first, demand for these jobs is only going to increase. Learn how to develop native mobile apps or build fully functional web apps and you could easily command six figures down the road. All you need is some coding knowledge and ingenuity!
13) Tutoring business
Starting a tutoring business could be one of your best business ideas. When looking at starting a tutoring company, we highly recommend you first examine what kind of clientele you want to serve. Do you want to start an after-school tutoring program? Do you have expertise in a certain subject area or languages? Once you’ve honed in on what you’re interested in doing and who your target market is, it’s time to put together a marketing plan. Your business plan should include all these important details. The goal of your plan is to help determine whether or not starting an online tutoring business is right for you, as well as give potential customers information they might need to make their own decision.
14) Digital courses
The beauty of digital products is that they require minimal overhead and maintenance. You can create a product once and sell it over and over again. Best of all, you don’t have to ship anything or handle customer service (though both are important in certain circumstances). Just put them up for sale on your website, transfer ownership to your customers, and have done with it. That’s all there is to selling digital products—and income potential is virtually limitless.
15) YouTube channel
YouTube is quickly becoming one of your best tools when starting an online business in 2022. With Google now favoring YouTube results over videos on your own website, it makes sense to create a YouTube channel and fill it with videos covering topics relevant to your business. Don’t forget to link each video’s description box to relevant content on your site or other pages on social media! One important thing to keep in mind is that you should be using SEO-related keywords, but not too many of them at once – something like 3-5 keywords per video is enough. Also remember that unless people are subscribing to your channel, they will never see these videos in their Suggested Videos sidebar! This means you need subscribers!
Also Check: Top 10 Communication Apps for Small Business
Telecoaching is a good business idea if you have knowledge in any of these areas: mathematics, marketing, psychology, analytics or other behavioral sciences. You will have to have at least some experience with mental coaching and be willing to learn in order to make your idea successful. Because online classes are easily accessible and you can record yourself talking as much as you like (many people are still uncomfortable using video chat), telecoaching may be a good choice for someone interested in teaching but who doesn’t want to take on students in-person. Alternatively, if you want to use e-courses or another type of course service that would include an interactive portion—such as an exercise or test—you could also consider creating digital courses.
17) Podcast network
Podcasting is one of those things that’s gotten more and more accessible over time. It’s never been easier to start a podcast, find listeners, and make money—so if you want to become an entrepreneur (and also enjoy talking), consider starting a podcast network. Get in touch with local universities or high schools and offer your space as a place where students can record podcasts; you can even provide equipment! Once recorded, help with editing. Pick up a copy of How to Make Money Podcasting: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners from Amazon; it will give you all kinds of tips for getting started. It’s not going to be easy, but it will pay off in spades down the road.
18) Technical writer
There are a lot of technical writers and editors out there. If you have a background in computers, software, or other technical writing projects (or, if you’re just willing to put in some time and learn as you go), you can get paid to write online. Websites like JustAnswer will pay up to $20 per question for professional-level experts. You could also get paid a small fee for every answer that you post on Quora; however, both of these sites are relatively passive income sources compared to some of those we’ll cover next—there’s no way they’ll command more than 10 hours of your week and they might only net you a few hundred dollars per month. (Be sure to read up on why general knowledge quizzes aren’t great moneymakers.)
19) Resume and cover letter writer
Even if you don’t know how to write a resume, it’s easy to learn. Cover letters are also pretty straightforward, and they’re even easier to create—especially if you keep your resume in mind while doing so. If you can write well (and use a spell checker), that skill could be incredibly valuable to others who need help writing job-hunting materials. Here’s what you do: Pick up a copy of How to Write Your Resume or How To Write A Killer Cover Letter at any bookstore for $10-15 or take a course on Udemy for about $10 (make sure it has an excellent rating). Contact your local public library and see if they have copies available for people looking for work.
20) Corporate counsel consultant
Although you might imagine that lawyers spend all their time in courtrooms, wearing black robes and speaking in cryptic legalese, these professionals have many different roles. Corporate counsel generally advises businesses on how to stay out of trouble with government regulators and make sure they’re complying with laws. Lawyers working in other areas may help create or draft legal documents or advise clients on how to cut costs. All corporate counsel work for companies; self-employed attorneys who are not directly employed by corporations do not make up a substantial part of that field.
21) Startup advisor
One of the biggest reasons why entrepreneurs fail is because they don’t have a sound business strategy. A good startup advisor can save you time and energy as you research and discuss concepts for your own startup. Also, if you can find a reputable startup advisor in your local area who meets with other entrepreneurs on a regular basis, it might be worth your while to attend some of their meetings just to learn from other entrepreneurs’ experiences—and even get feedback on ideas for yours. Talk to your friends or family about who they work with; or use an online search engine to find an advisor in your area.
What kind of online business is most profitable?
One of our readers, Blair, asks: What kind of online business is most profitable for a beginner? My answer is that it depends on who you are. There are so many different ways to make money online. Some people have more success with lead generation; others love affiliate marketing. Maybe you’ll like building info products or maybe you’re a natural network marketer? The only way to know what will work best for you is to experiment! Our Beginner’s Bootcamp has helped thousands of people start businesses from scratch and find their own path to success.
Also Check: SWOT Analysis: What It Is and When to Use It
How do you start a successful online business?
If you have an idea for a business, but don’t know how to start it, you aren’t alone. There are a lot of people who have a great idea and don’t know how to make it a reality. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can get started that might work well for your business idea. There are three key components to starting an online business:
- Choose a business idea or industry based on your knowledge and your passion.
- Find a business niche based on gaps in the marketplace.
- Conduct market research and a competitive analysis to assess your competition and product viability.
- Familiarize yourself with the laws that apply to online businesses.
- Shop around before choosing a specific software to build your online store.
- Create a comprehensive marketing strategy (e.g., website, email marketing, SEO, social media marketing, local marketing, etc.)