Starting an online business can be a dream come true for many entrepreneurs. With just one website, you can reach customers all over the world and make your own money. Plus, there are tons of perks like cost savings, flexibility, and reduced paper waste.
To help you get started on your own online venture, we’ve put together a list of some of the best online small business ideas out there. And the best part? None of these ideas require a physical storefront. Some don’t even require a physical product – just a service.
From social media management to public speaking coaching to interior design consulting, the options are endless. So, check it out and see what catches your eye!
Table of Contents
15 Best Online Business Ideas
Here is the list of the top online business ideas to get you started instantly. The best part is that all of these ideas have money-making potential, meaning you don’t need to validate them before you start. If you are looking for the best online business to start, this is the only list you will need.
1. Start a T-shirt online shop
Want to open your own online shop but don’t know where to start? No problem! With a little creativity and an eye for design, you can open a successful online t-shirt shop using services like Printful and Shopify.
But here’s the thing, you don’t have to just sell t-shirts. You can sell anything you want in your e-commerce shop. The key is understanding the print-on-demand process that makes it all possible.
In a nutshell, print-on-demand businesses are a type of dropshipping. This means you can design and sell custom t-shirts without having to worry about storing them or delivering them.
When a customer orders one of your shirts, the print-on-demand provider produces the garment immediately and sends it straight to the buyer. Not only does this reduce overhead, but it also makes it possible to open an online shop with little to no capital.
Here’s a guide to help you launch a POD business:
2. Launch a dropshipping store
Dropshipping is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It’s super easy to get into, doesn’t cost much to operate, and is a breeze to set up. If you’re looking to start your own business, dropshipping is a solid choice. You can even start with just $100 in your pocket. Plus, you don’t have to worry about stocking up on products, since you can sell anything.
With dropshipping, you can sell products to customers without ever having to keep them in stock. When someone places an order, you just let the manufacturer or distributor know and they’ll ship it directly to the customer. And the best part? The customer pays you directly, you pay the supplier or wholesaler, and the product goes straight from the manufacturer or wholesaler to the customer. All you have to do is act as a retailer and take care of the sales and customer service.
Dropshipping is perfect for startups because it lets you sell products without having to make a huge initial investment or rent out warehouse space. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with a ton of unsold products. Overall, it’s a win-win situation.
Ready to make money with dropshipping? Here are some resources to help you on your way to a top seller:
3. Writing a blog
Do you enjoy writing? Do you have thoughts on a specific topic (or even on a broad range of topics)? Do you consider blogging to be something enjoyable?
Blogging can be a fun hobby and it can also become your online business.
If you’re a self-employed artist or designer, a blog is a perfect platform to show off your skills. Whether you’re into fitness, health, cooking, photography, or videography, people might be interested in what you have to say! Show off your knowledge of the topic in high-quality blog posts.
The more people see you as an authority figure in your field, the easier it’ll be for you to grow your business through blogging.
And let’s not forget, strategically placed ads on your blog can generate a nice income stream. You can work with any advertising network to place relevant ads on your website.
One visitor might see an ad for a trendy boutique, while another sees an ad for the latest video game. Your job is to come up with strategies to get people to read your blog.
Are you ready to build a profitable blog? Check out our guide to making money blogging to learn more about this business opportunity!
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is all about promoting other people’s products and getting a commission for it. It’s kind of like e-commerce, but instead of selling products on your own website, you direct people to another website where they can make a purchase. And every time someone buys something because of your efforts, you earn a commission.
Pretty much every business that has an online presence has an affiliate marketing program, and they all work differently. For example, Amazon has an affiliate program where you can promote any product on their website and earn a commission if someone makes a purchase through your link.
But you don’t have to be a business consultant to make money with affiliate marketing. You can also use your social media skills to get paid by companies to promote their products on your blog, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. The more popular your profile is, the more you can earn from product placements. As long as you’re not annoying your fans, affiliate marketing (also known as influencer marketing) can be a great way to make money with your social media skills.
And the best part? You can work as an affiliate marketer from anywhere and set your own hours. So you’re your own boss!
Are you ready to earn your first affiliate commission check? Here are some resources to help you get started:
- How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing: 4 Simple Steps
- 13 Best Affiliate Marketing Courses: Complete Review
- Best Affiliate Marketing Courses
5. Start an Amazon private label business
If you’re looking to make some cash on Amazon in 2023, the best way to do it is by selling your own private label products through the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service. A lot of Amazon sellers use private label in their stores – like, 59% of them.
“Private label” just means mass-producing an existing product (ideally with some changes) and then selling it to customers under your own brand name. It’s also called “white labeling” or “brand building.” You’ve probably seen private label brands before – like Target’s Mainstays or Walmart’s Great Value.
With FBA, Amazon takes care of delivering your products to customers (usually within two days or less, just like Amazon Prime). So if you have an online store, you can use FBA to sell your stuff on Amazon and make some money.
There are plenty of reasons why Amazon is a great platform for private labeling. For one, you can use a program like Jungle Scout to predict how well your product will sell on Amazon.
And you can use marketplaces like Alibaba or Jungle Scout’s supplier database to quickly find manufacturers for your products. And once you have your product ready, you can sell it on Amazon using FBA. Bonus: you don’t have to worry about delivering orders yourself!
Here is our guide to help you get started:
6. Sell your art online
If you’re a photographer, graphic designer, or even an experimental artist, there’s never been a better time to show and sell your work online. Platforms like Etsy, Zazzle, Creative Market, Instagram, and even your own website give you the chance to make some cash from your art.
Plus, services like Printify and Printful let you sell your artwork as prints, canvases, and framed posters. It’s a great way to get your work out there and into people’s homes.
And if you’re into music, don’t forget about digital downloads as a way to distribute your tunes. Once you start seeing success selling your own stuff, you might even want to offer exhibition space for other creatives in your area. It’ll give your customers more options and give you the chance to promote new talent.
Just remember, to really make it as an artist online, you’ll need a wide network of artist friends and solid marketing skills.
Think about the reputation you want to build for yourself and focus on creating works that align with your brand’s values. With a little bit of hustle, you’ll be on your way to making a name for yourself in the digital art world.
7. Sell online courses
Want to earn some passive income? One easy way is to create an online course and sell it on your own website. It may take some initial work to create a high-quality video tutorial series, but it’ll pay off in the long run when new students keep signing up for your course.
Remember, the success of your course business depends on the quality of the content you provide. So make sure the information you’re sharing is valuable to your target audience. To get started, focus on a specific problem within your field that your target audience is facing. For example, if you work in customer service, you could create a CSM training course. Check out popular courses on platforms like Udemy to see what’s already out there and where you can improve.
Once you have your topic, make a rough plan, write a script, gather images and media, record, and edit your finished product. You can use built-in editing tools on course selling platforms, or use a toolkit like iSpring Suite.
When it comes to selling your course, there are plenty of options. Some popular choices include iSpring Market, Udemy, and Thinkific.
Ready to get started? Check out our guide:
8. Publish an eBook
So you’re thinking about self-publishing your own eBook, huh? Cool! Just keep in mind that your earnings from selling it can vary a lot – it could be a few bucks or it could be close to nothing. But, the great thing is that creating an eBook is super cheap and sometimes even free. Whether you wrote a science fiction novel, a book on marketing, or something for young readers, it’s easy to self-publish it.
One thing to keep in mind is that the platform you use may take a cut of your book’s retail price. For example, some platforms take 30% of the price you set for your book. But don’t let that discourage you! You can price your book however you want, and it’s a good idea to try different pricing strategies. The best price for your book will depend on things like its length, how well it’s been received, and how much competition there is in the market.
Promoting your book is important too. There are a ton of free ways to do it, like through social media. But, if you have the budget for it, paid advertising can give your book a bigger boost.
Now, when it comes to actually publishing your work, there are a few options.
You can self-publish, use on-demand printing services like Blurb or CreateSpace, or publish your work as an ebook with an app like Digital Download on Shopify. With that last option, you can start selling ebooks through your online store right away. Your customers will get an email with a download link as soon as they make a purchase.
For more information, check out our guide:
9. Become an Influencer
A social media influencer is basically someone who has a big online following and is seen as an authority in a certain field. This could be anything from fashion to health, you name it! These influencers keep their followers engaged by constantly posting updates about their lives and promoting things they think others would like.
But here’s the cool part – just like with affiliate marketing, influencers can make money by promoting other businesses to their followers. Influencer marketing is a big trend right now in the world of online business. And, get this – the genres of video blogging and podcasting are also great ways to explore becoming an influencer, since they’re not as commonly used yet.
Now, don’t get me wrong – becoming an influencer isn’t a walk in the park. You’ll probably need a pretty big social media following before you can start making money or receiving freebies. The key is to specialize in a specific market, just like with any other online business idea. Tailor your social media posts to a specific theme and use the network that’s most popular with your target audience.
A podcast is just like a radio show, but you can listen to it whenever you want. They’re basically a series of episodes where one or more people talk about a specific topic using only audio. You can find podcasts on pretty much any topic you can think of, from breaking news and politics to true crime and beekeeping.
To make a successful podcast, you gotta have some good speaking skills. And it’s important to pick a topic that’s both interesting and can be talked about for multiple episodes. It’s also helpful to have an audience on other platforms, like social media or YouTube, to start with. And don’t be afraid to collaborate with other podcasters to get more listeners.
When it comes to making money with your podcast, the first thing that probably comes to mind is ads and sponsorships. There are podcast ad networks that can help you find sponsors and take care of all the details, like negotiating fees and writing scripts.
But, you’ll need at least 5,000 or 10,000 monthly listeners before most ad networks will consider working with you. Some popular ad networks include Midroll and Authentic, and some podcast hosting services also have their own ad networks. Just keep in mind that it may take a while to build up your audience and start making money.
For more information, check out our guide:
11. Become a freelance writer, designer, or developer
Are you a writer, developer, or graphic designer looking to start your own gig? Well, good news – freelancing is the perfect way to put your talents to use and earn some cash while you’re at it!
As a freelancer, you have the freedom to pick and choose the projects that work for you. No more committing to long-term tasks that leave you no time to breathe. You can take on smaller, manageable projects that work for your schedule.
If you’re not sure where to find clients, check out websites like Upwork and Fiverr. These platforms connect freelancers with people who need their services. Just a heads up, Fiverr is a bit different – they charge a $5 fee for each job listing.
But don’t let that discourage you – the key to making money on Fiverr is to upsell your services. For example, start by offering a small service for $5, like writing a 150-word intro for a blog post, then offer an upsell for each additional 150 words beyond the first order. Keep tweaking your services until you find what works best.
Another option is setting up your own Shopify store. This way, you have complete control over pricing and don’t have to worry about shipping physical products. Plus, you can use apps like BookThatApp and Events Calendar to give your customers more flexibility.
And don’t forget, you’ll need a portfolio to showcase your work. You can build your portfolio by doing volunteer work or signing up with a platform that already has a large user base. This way, you’ll get some exposure and direct some of that audience to you.
12. Start a digital marketing agency
Marketing is a craft, and if you’re good at it or have experience with any kind of marketing efforts, then you’re in luck. You can start your own online consulting business where you advise businesses on how to implement various aspects of their marketing strategies and campaigns.
Businesses will always need marketing services, and with your online company, you can provide them with everything from email marketing strategies to event organization to website branding. Plus, the best part is, you can run a digital marketing agency from the comfort of your own home. That’s right, starting a digital marketing agency can be done remotely, which is one of the many advantages.
You can use email and Skype for all operations and working remotely as a business owner and employing remote workers can save you money. Plus, you don’t need previous experience with SEO or digital marketing, you can learn the basics with the help of an online course and then apply what you learn to your own websites before hiring paying customers.
Are you ready to start your agency? Check out our guide:
If you’re a naturally talented photographer, you might want to think about turning your hobby into a full-time gig. And if you’re okay with sharing your photos with the world, selling them on stock photo sites like Shutterstock and iStock can be a great way to make some dough and be your own boss.
If you’re really savvy, you can also try selling your photos on more niche markets that offer higher commissions, or even set up your own online shop. Remember, beautiful photos are like works of art and people are willing to pay for high-quality stuff.
Here are some ways you can make some money from your photos by selling prints:
- You can create your own website where you sell your images or use a service like ImageKind.
- You can sell framed prints of your photos in person at art and craft shows or stick to the online marketplace Etsy.
- Show off your work in local cafes and restaurants by having prints made and displaying them.
- Offer printed copies to your customers.
- Show your work at local photography or art galleries and try to sell it.
Before you start selling prints, make sure to contact a reliable print shop (like Printique) to ensure they turn out great. Also, keep in mind that portraits usually don’t sell as well, so steer clear of them if you’re looking to make a profit. After all, the prints you sell will most likely be hung up at someone’s home or office.
If you really want to increase your income, invest more time in developing your photography skills in a professional environment.
14. Domain flipping
Think of domain name trading as a digital version of real estate. Instead of buying and flipping houses, you’re buying and flipping website addresses. Some domain names are more valuable and have more potential for growth than others. As a successful “domain flipper,” you’ll spend a lot of time and energy searching for low-cost domains with big value, then resell them for a profit at online auctions.
But, just like with any business, it takes time, effort, and focus to make a living off of it. You can’t just buy any old domain name and expect to make money. You’ll need to research search engine optimization and anticipate which businesses and industries are in need of new domains. Plus, you’ll need to come up with unique and unconventional names that you can snag at a cheap price and resell quickly.
And, be prepared to be patient. It can take months or even years to get the right price for some domain names.
Keep in mind, making money selling domain names isn’t easy. You’ll need experience and a good understanding of the industry. It’s a good idea to study the field for at least a year before jumping in. But the upside is, it’s a business that can be run entirely online from the comfort of your own home.
15. Start an online fitness studio
Are you a trainer looking to earn some extra cash? Setting up an online fitness studio is the perfect way to do just that. Think of it as an online hub for all things fitness – where you can provide follow-along training plans, specialized courses, and nutritional advice.
First things first, decide what kind of fitness class you want to stream. There are tons of options to choose from, like cardio, aerobics, barre, HIIT, Pilates, and strength training. Once you’ve got that figured out, it’s time to decide when you’re going to run your classes.
Pick a time that works best for your subscribers – if most of them are working adults, maybe schedule your streams before or after work hours so it’s easy for them to fit into their daily routine. And don’t forget, you can always poll your followers on social media to get direct insight on what works best for them.
The best part? You can do all of this from anywhere and work with an unlimited number of clients all over the world. Plus, you’re in charge of setting your own prices, so you can earn a monthly recurring income.
Once your online fitness studio is set up, it’s time to start streaming live classes. This is a great way to connect with your audience in real-time and increase the value of your online fitness studio.
How to get started with your online business
Starting an online business can be a fun and exciting way to earn some extra cash, but it does require an investment of time and resources.
And depending on what kind of business you’re starting, you may need to learn some new legal and accounting skills. But don’t worry, once you get the ball rolling, it’s all worth it.
1. Choose a business
The most important step in starting a successful internet business is figuring out what you want to do. Check out the above list of online business opportunities and choose the one that speaks to you.
2. Do some market research
Next, do your research. Learn as much as you can about your chosen field. See what your competitors are doing and how they’re pricing their products or services. This will help you figure out if your target market is already saturated and if you need to adjust your own product or service.
3. Create your own product or service
So, whether you’re offering a service or selling a product, it’s gonna take some work on your end. Like, if you’re creating a product, you’ll need to find a manufacturer to make it for you. And if you’re offering a service, you’ll need to put together packages and stuff. And if you’re writing a book, you’ll need to decide how you want to get it published.
But, if you go the dropshipping route, you’re in luck! The goods will already be ready to go, so all you gotta do is choose something that you’re excited about or that you think will sell well in the market. We’ve put together a list of the best-selling dropshipping products to help you get started.
4. Build your brand
Once you’ve got a handle on all of that, it’s time to create your brand. This includes a great website and social media presence (if that’s where your target audience hangs out), a catchy logo, and a solid marketing and outreach plan.
5. Get customers
Finally, the last step is getting your first customers. And once you have those first few loyal customers, your business will really start to take off. To attract them, you’ll need to figure out how to promote your brand to the right people, write an engaging marketing message, and come up with a pricing model that appeals to a wide audience.
Starting a business online is a great idea these days. With freelancing and remote work becoming more common, you can pretty much do any office job from anywhere in the world.
Plus, with technology advancing, there are even more opportunities for profitable internet businesses to pop up. If you’re thinking of ditching corporate life, check out our list of business ideas a few times and see how you can start making money online now. For information, check out our guide “10 Steps to Starting An Online Business“.