Have you been thinking about starting an online business but can't come up with any good ideas? I want to start this “best online business idea” series and continue to add to it throughout the year. That way, you can bookmark this post and get inspired when you come back to it.
The Key Elements to Success
Before you start researching best online business ideas, there are two key elements that will make this a huge success:
- Key #1: Amplification
- Key #2: Consistently Creating Content to Connect
Amplification: What platforms out there can you reach millions of people. Why settle for paid ads or 2005 marketing when there are platforms that you can use to reach millions of people. (TikTok, YouTube and Podcasting).
Consistently Creating Content to Connect: Then, connecting with your audience by pumping out more and more content. You'll start seeing your subscriber count increase, your SEO traffic grow and your email list take off. You'll want to create a homebase in the form of a website. We recommend Bluehost for reliable web hosting.
Nothing to overthink here, just implement a lot of proven and practical business ideas. Then, carefully evaluate which ones would be most likely to work for you.
Here are some online business ideas you can start right now:
Create Handmade Goods
If you’re good at crafts, you can try your hand at selling handmade products. Whether you make accessories, picture frames, jewelry, or furniture, one excellent business idea is to monetize your crafting skills to sell them online.
There is always a demand for handmade products
What are the advantages of selling handmade goods?
- You control your own timing.
- No pressure. You can grow it at your own pace.
- Create your schedule.
- Turn your passion into income.
How can you turn this into a passive income business? Setup the fulfillment company to auto-fulfill your orders. Click here to create a on-demand, auto-fulfill company.
Create Monthly Subscription Boxes
Subscription boxes are a “service” where customers signup for a monthly box (or quarterly). You put together subscription boxes in pretty much every niche, from meal-prep kits and craft snacks to fitness products and makeup and jewelry. You can curate subscription boxes around virtually any theme of your choice. You put together the box and create the subscription box offer.
Let's run the numbers:
1,000 paying members x $19 = $19,000 per month or $228,000 per year
1,000 paying members x $49 = $49,000 per month or $588,000 per year
1,000 paying members x $99 = $99,000 per month or $1,188,000 per year
Bokksu, for example, curates Japanese snacks and sends them to customers each month.
Sticking on to a theme is the key here. If you decide to ship milk sweets, only send milk sweets. That makes you specialized merchandise and will show you as an expert.
The process works like this:
You tie-up with brands and artisans to purchase their products and resell their products in a box. There are two types of offering possible. One is to surprise the customer by not disclosing what’s inside the pack and another one is announcing what to expect.
The two keys to making this successful:
Creating viral content and hiring influencers to advertise to their following. Have you noticed that the goofier, funnier the videos are – the bigger the subscription box business takes off?
Top 7 Subscription Box Services
- Dollar Shave Club
- Blue Apron
- Bark Box
- Hello Fresh
- Birch Box
- Sephora Play
The majority of “subscription” boxes are purchased as gifts more often than for the buyer themselves.
It’s a growing industry. Subscription commerce sales grew from $57 million in 2011 to more than $2.6 billion in 2016. The biggest advantage is that you don’t need to create any product. Instead, you can use products in demand, simply put them together in a nice package.
Affiliate Marketing is Trending Again
Affiliate marketing is a popular online monetization option in which you recommend products or services by sharing it on a blog or social media, to your email list, on your website, or on other channels. You earn a commission when someone buys the products through your unique referral link or code.
Most people just starting out tries to be everything to everyone while blasting their links everywhere. The key to pick ONE topic & do all the things. Very easy to create educational, explanations, reviews and walkthroughs for all the things that fall under your one topic.
Your initial task is to find an affiliate program that suits your interests and target audience. Affiliate Future, ShareASale, and FlexOffers are a few examples. Not surprisingly, Amazon, the world’s biggest online store has its own affiliate program, and you can also check out the Shopify Affiliate Program.
Once you’ve signed up for the program, start sharing the link in your social media, blogs, sites, email campaigns, etc. Create posts about the benefits of the products you’re promoting. A key thing to remember is not to overkill with your ads and promotions that would bore the audience and leave.
Create a Podcast Around a Topic You Like
If you think you’re a good speaker or orator, consider starting a podcast. Podcasts have great potential to become a mainstream earning option, similar to starting a blog.
One of my goals this year is to start a “I Love Making Money” podcast where I interview people making money with a side hustle and then, get all the answers on this podcast.
Here’s what you require to start your podcast:
- A high-quality professional microphone
- Audio recording software (preferably paid)
- Call recording software
- A well-equipped studio
- To promote your podcast, consider inviting prominent figures as guests on your show. Encourage listeners to leave reviews, be it a positive or negative review, and share your podcast with their friends and family through social media and paid ads.
Why start a podcast?
- Podcasts are very popular among users. According to Podcast Insights, 51% of Americans have listened to a podcast.
- A successful podcast has endless possibilities: turn your episodes into a blog, invite sponsors and advertisers, and make connections to increase the revenue steadily.
How do you monetize a podcast?
- Brand Deals
- Affiliate Marketing
Build Apps and Websites
Ok, this is a bit techy. If you’re tech-savvy, interested in technical stuff, acquire some coding skills, start building apps. Whether it’s mobile apps, Shopify apps, or websites, you can give them a shot. It is not as difficult as you may think.
For example, you can create a custom Shopify theme template or a custom WordPress theme and sell it to merchants looking for an affordable DIY approach to designing their website. Or work as a freelancer with clients directly to build websites and apps as they want it to be.
Why to build apps and websites?
- Technology is eternal, and the demand for the technical skills required to build apps and websites will only continue to grow bigger.
- There’s an endless amount of platforms and systems out there. If you think a particular skill is boring or not going well in the market, you can always shift to a new skill easily.
Become a Virtual Assistant
Are you skilled in office management tasks? If so, the Virtual Assistant business may be the best fit for you.
What does a VA do?
A VA assists entrepreneurs, businesses, and executives in their personal and professional tasks. There’s a broad range of duties, starting from appointment scheduling to basic marketing management and everything in between. And most importantly everything is done online.
Advantages of becoming a VA
- Choose to work with your ideal client. Once you start to work for them, you’ll find out if you’re comfortable with them or not. It’s easy to switch clients if you don’t like to work for them. You can evolve your business to cater to those preferences.
- You can work for clients across the globe and in different cultures. Just an internet connection is enough to do your work, and you have the chance to work with international clients and professionals and learn.
- Create a network of VAs. If you become too busy or have growth goals, it’s very much possible to hire and train VAs to work under you and increase earnings.
If you're looking for Virtual Assistant Jobs, check out these two guides:
- Best Freelance Platforms to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs
- How to Find a Virtual Assistant Job Working from Home
Start a Blog
Blogs need no introduction. What started as a personal journal has now become a powerful marketing and monetization tool.
You can make money from publishing sponsored posts, hosting third-party ads, or selling your products. You can also be a guest writer in popular blogs, once you establish yourself in the field.
The key to starting a successful blog is to focus on writing quality content to engage a loyal audience. When you start writing with an audience-centric approach in mind, you’ll build a community that trusts you. And the trust will translate into revenue in no time.
Why start a blog?
- Blog writing has unlimited growth potential. The possibility to expand into affiliate marketing, eCommerce, courses, and essentially any other online business venture is very high. Some bloggers even use a paid subscription model to increase their revenue.
- A blog business model works in the long-term. While you won’t get overnight results, they are likely to be more sustainable. Blogs live forever on the internet. That makes them a great channel for passive income.
- The key to growing your blog is to setup systems for writing and distributing content through your network of backlinks. For example, if you write about one topic like online hosting companies, then your network is EVERY online hosting company and website training companies. You would connect to get your content on their site to link to your blog. That way – you start owning the search terms for everyone searching for hosting.
- Pro tip: Use tools like Grammarly or Hemmingway to improve your writing.
Related: How to Install a Blog
Publish Your Own Book
Seeing your name on a list of bestsellers will be a dream come true. But, it’s actually not as difficult as you think.
The trend has changed and it’s very much in reach to self-publish your work, be it a romantic novel, a how-to-achieve guide, or a kids picture book.
There are many services out there to help you release your own eBook. These include releasing your writing as an ebook with the Digital Downloads app to on-demand printing services like Blurb and CreateSpace.
Want to sell ebooks through your online stores? Install the Digital Downloads app and it’ll instantly let you stock digital files as products. Once a customer purchases them, your ebooks can be sent to your customer via email or as a direct download link.
Ok, what if you want to sell physical copies of your books? Simple. You’ll just need to place an order with Blurb or CreateSpace whenever your work is purchased. They’ll custom print your book and handle the entire process for you.
Why publish a book?
- You don’t want to write something awesome and read it all by yourself, do you? Self-publishing is the quickest way to showcase your creativity to the world.
- Services like Blurb and CreateSpace take care of the printing, storage, and delivery.
- If creative writing is your passion and you want to be able to earn money while doing something you love.
Create an Online Course
Teaching online is a simple but powerful business idea for making excellent passive income. Creating a curriculum around your passions and then, charging others to take your class.
And today, there are amazing course builders that allow you to build your course, charge money and start promoting by the weekend. Click here to view the best course builders and online course platforms.
How to start your first online course
List down all the topics you think you can teach well. Finalize a topic and brainstorm it to teach someone how to do it from scratch. Some ideas can be —music production, voice-over techniques, drawing, singing, social media marketing, web development, you name it. The list is endless.
Once the topic is chosen, the next step is to get a good screencasting app, such as ScreenFlow. The app helps you record your screen and voice and create the tutorial. ScreenFlow also has a built-in video-editing suite to shoot and edit your videos all on the same platform.
- Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Online Course Sales
- Create Course Training Portal
Become a freelance writer, designer, or developer
Are you good at writing? Coding? Or graphic designing?
You can make big fortunes as a freelancer.
Writers, programmers, and graphic designers can start a business based on their talents. As a freelancer, you’ll be using your skills to help people across the world with their projects, and in the process, you make some money as well.
We have a complete training section on how to make money as a freelancer, especially on Fiverr. Check out these training guides:
There is a widespread misunderstanding that freelancing means committing to months-long projects that eat away at your free time. There are projects of any sizes out there. You can choose from small ones to bigger ones that last longer. The choice is yours.
Of all the freelance websites, Fiverr is a little different from the rest. As the name suggests, all the posted jobs start at five dollars. Though, it generally averages around $50. The strategy to make big money on Fiverr is carefully setting up your profile so you can easily upsell the client for more money.
For instance, you could offer to write a 100-word introduction for a blog post as your initial five-dollar service. As an upsell, you could charge another $10 for every additional 100 words.
Want total control over how much you charge?
Create a Shopify store. You can list your services as products and disable shipping since you won’t actually be physically delivering anything to your customers.
Sell Your Art Online
Whether you’re an artist, painter, photographer, or musician, there are plenty of ways to start an online store and turn your latest masterpiece into a money-making machine with a carefully designed eCommerce website.
If painting or photography is your strength, you can sell your work as prints, canvases, and framed posters using tools like Printify or Printful. This is an excellent way to turn your art into something tangible that people can take home and decorate their homes. Is music your thing? You can sell your beats, songs, samples, and more as digital downloads.
Why sell your art online?
- The ability to be a part of people’s lives by getting your work into customers’ homes directly within minutes.
- You’ll create a platform for showcasing your work.
- The chance to showcase your talent to the world and make money from the same is a satisfying thing.
Launch a Dropshipping Store
Time has changed a lot in the business of selling online.
These days, you don't need a warehouse full of inventory to run your selling business. Dropshipping is a great way to start a business on a limited budget. You can start selling pre-existing products from a supplier instantly and having them take care of things like packaging.
Why choose dropshipping?
This process makes it very easy to start an online business without the obstacles you normally face in physical stores. More importantly, a dropshipping business eliminates the risk of procuring huge inventory and finding later that there are no takers for your products.
Start Your Own Clothing Company
- You don’t need to stock products in a physical location, meaning that you needn’t invest a huge sum in inventory.
- Whenever a purchase is made, you place an order with a third party and you’re not going to handle the process. Since you don’t have to deal with tasks like tracking inventory, packaging, or shipping, dropshipping eliminates headaches for you
- As there is no warehouse involved, you are free to operate your business from anywhere in the world. Whether it’s your living room or the café next door, you decide where you want to work from.
If you have the designer in you and some designs in mind and a little bit of time to work on, you can get your clothing company right from the scratch.
Just start an online store with Etsy or shopify and start selling your products and designs instantly. The major advantage of doing this online is that you get the reach you want almost instantly.
Why start a clothing line?
- There’s nothing more satisfying than creating designer clothes that people love to wear every day.
- As soon as you build your online sales store, you’ll be able to start selling instantly. Thanks to apps like Printify and Printful (in Shopify, for example), the process of designing and delivering your own custom-made clothing has made simple.
- You don’t need a physical store to sell your clothes and thus, eliminating the expenses of conventional stores.
Social Media Marketing
If you think you’re good at creating media posts that attract visitors to like, follow, recommend, retweet, insta-heart, reblog, share, upvote, comment, etc, then you have an excellent option to start an online business.
Did you know that the majority of Gary Vee's business comes from managing social media? His empire helps businesses with their social media. Here's how to earn residual income as a social media manager.
A career in social media marketing is booming big time now. By becoming the social media manager for businesses and companies to manage their social media profiles, spread their presence across the web, keep their brands on track, and reply to customer questions, you can create a sustainable career for yourself.
And what’s even better? Like all other business ideas we discussed above, this job can be done from home, a cafe, a hill station, or a resort. That’s the biggest advantage of doing online business.
This one needs formal training in accounting.
If you’re a trained accountant, despite stiff competition from foreign contractors, you can make handsome money by offering your service to clients online.
If you’re already working for clients offline, you can offer them to work from home to cut down their costs.
Becoming a freelancer has another excellent benefit that you get to work in different places you like. In this way, you can live where ever you want and spend enough time in the city you wish to! You will be able to explore the various place and go wherever life takes you!
If you specialize in Search Engine Optimization techniques and have technical skills in platforms like Google Ads, Google Analytics, FB ads, etc, becoming an SEO consultant could be a great option for you. The biggest advantage is that many small business owners haven’t realized yet how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. You can plan to start your online consulting business by creating awareness among those business owners on the power of SEO to help optimize their websites and increase their revenue generating potentials.
You could explain to business owners what they get by using analytics data, strategic keywords, and content marketing to gain more real-time organic web traffic to their site. If you are unfamiliar with SEO or want to brush up on your digital marketing skills, there are many online courses available to take for learning.
It’s always a good idea to keep updating yourself as Google's algorithms are always changing, so you will require to continue your learning process on SEO to stay competent and successful in this field.
Small Business Consultant
If you’re someone with great business acumen, you can consider becoming a business consultant to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Your business skills can help new business owners start their dream startup and experienced entrepreneurs increase their turnover.
Your chances of success are bigger if you focus your strategy on a niche, that you are strong in.
You can get clients by soft pitching in places like FB ads, blog posts, etc.
You can show testimonials if you have already and your business strategies as a case study if you don’t have any testimonials. Just show the clients how you would bring in new clients with your strategies.
You can increase your presence by writing business articles on platforms like LinkedIn and Medium
Become a Content Creator
Videos are becoming popular like never before. From TikTok to Instagram and Snapchat Stories to Facebook Live video, Twitter live streams, videos will only continue to grow. Needless to say, TikTok and Youtube are the king of platforms for paying content creators. If you’re someone who loves to create videos for the world, now is the time to make full use of it.
Related: YouTube Earnings
Whether you’re planning to start a vlog about your life and getting ad revenue or selling products to your audience, or building a YouTube channel to drive more traffic to your website – 2021 is a great time to get started.
Not only will making YouTube videos help you tell better tales and provide more valuable content to your audience – it can also help you get profitable earning opportunities.
The beauty of the Youtube video business is that you don’t even need to get an expensive new camera – provided you have a smartphone with a quality camera lens, you can start shooting your first video right now!
Learn Facebook Advertising
Facebook continues to give a tough fight to Google, once the undisputed king in the online ad industry, and grow. Lately, businesses are spending more on Facebook ads.
But here’s the problem and how you can take advantage of it:
A lot of conventional businesses don’t know the HOW TO when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies, with a new perception of new age internet marketing, don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment. That's where you come in. They hire you. You charge 10% of what THEY spend. Your goal is to increase their business so they increase their ad spend so you make more money. It's a win-win-win.