Today, it’s easier than ever to start a business without a physical location. In fact, there are many business models that can be run completely online. Whether you’re looking to save costs or travel the world while running your own career, here are some top online business ideas to consider.
The Online Business Market in 2022
More and more industries are shifting to fully online models. And consumers are increasingly open to purchasing both products and services online. From eCommerce businesses to online service providers, there are plenty of opportunities to turn a major profit with just an internet connection.
Why You Should Consider Starting an Internet Business
If you’re thinking of launching a great online business idea, here are some benefits you may achieve:
- Save money: Many online businesses only require a domain and hosting. And some can even be started without those costs.
- Set your own schedule: As your own boss, you can choose when to work. Most online functions can be scheduled ahead of time, or you may simply work at your own pace.
- Run your business from anywhere: Online businesses don’t just provide time freedom. You can also work from anywhere.
- Reach customers around the world: The internet is accessible around the world, so you can start a lucrative business without constraining your customer base to your local area.
- Scale quickly: With a solid online business idea, you can start small, but grow quickly once you gain extra resources.
Best Online Business Ideas
There’s no shortage of small online business ideas that can be run completely on the internet. If you’re looking for ideas for online businesses, check out the extensive list below.
1. Open an Online Store
Online stores can sell physical or digital products. With the former, you’ll also need to purchase inventory or supplies and have a place to store them. However, you may use options like fulfillment or dropshipping services to handle the logistics for you. These services charge fees; so you’ll need to factor that into your startup costs.
2. Launch Your Own Website
Websites can earn money based on ads, sponsored content, or services. Think about a particular audience you can serve and gear your site and marketing toward them.
3. Start a Consulting Business
Consultants can work with clients virtually to help with anything from business development to healthy living. Consultants generally provide individual guidance but allow their clients to handle the actual work themselves.
4. Develop Online Courses
Think about what you can teach to people and develop a ready-made course they can purchase and take at their own pace. There are also course marketplace sites you can use to simplify the process in exchange for a cut of your earnings.
5. Specialize in Search Engine Optimization
Help other businesses improve their website with keywords and other features to increase traffic. These business owners often have some web development experience, or you may simply understand search engines and keep up with relevant industry trends.
6. Conduct Market Research
Work with other businesses in your state or around the world, providing surveys and other research tools to help them learn about their customers.
READ MORE: These Are the 10 Best States for Online Businesses in the US
7. Start a YouTube Channel
YouTube offers an ad-sharing program for creators with large followings, so you earn automatic income-based on video views. Some content creators also earn revenue through sponsored content, promotional partnership, or their own merch lines.
8. Try Social Media Marketing
Provide social media content creation and management for other businesses, marketing yourself on your own website and channels. You may offer general content planning and posting services, or specialize in just one platform like Facebook or TikTok.
10. Offer Virtual Assistant Services
VAs can help with inbox management, scheduling, and data entry. Market your services or search job boards to find these perfect clients. This online business idea is perfect for beginners, because it comes with little to no startup costs, and you don’t need any official skills or training to get started.
READ MORE: Small Business Ideas for Beginners
11. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing involves posting links on your website or content and getting paid when someone purchases something through them. This can be a business model on its own. Or you can use this as an additional revenue stream for a blog or social media business.
12. Start an Online Membership
Create a community online by starting a membership site. Your readers or followers can then pay a monthly fee to join and access your content or participate in your community features.
13. Offer Virtual Tutoring Services
Work with clients one-on-one using video chat platforms, email, or texting apps to connect. Some tutors help with specific subjects, while others offer more general support or test prep assistance.
14. Sign Up for Online Marketplaces
You can sell products without creating your own eCommerce store; just sign up for marketplace sites like eBay or Amazon and they’ll take a cut of your earnings.
READ MORE: 4 Steps to Creating A Successful Online Business From Scratch
15. Self-Publish eBooks
If you’re interested in writing a book, self-publishing allows you to do it all on your own. You can even create ebooks, so readers can download your content instead of getting a physical copy.
16. Help Businesses with Digital Marketing
If you have marketing expertise, help other companies promote their business venture online. You may offer an array of services, or focus on one area like content marketing or Pinterest.
READ MORE: Online Business Growth Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Read These 5 Tips
17. Become a Web Developer
Lots of other businesses outsource their web design and development, so offer these services virtually.
18. Become a Social Media Influencer
Build a dedicated social media following. Then offer sponsored content and partnerships with relevant brands.
19. Offer Graphic Design Services
Help other businesses create logos and other graphic elements while working remotely.
20. Translate Online Content
If you speak more than one language, offer translation services for online content or documents.
21. Start a Blog
Bloggers can earn income through sidebar ads, sponsored content, or paywalls. Find a niche you can serve with valuable content and then promote your blog on relevant online communities and social media accounts.
22. Become a Freelance Writer
Alternatively, offer writing services for other blogs or online publications on a contract basis. Sign up for job sites where you can connect with website owners or promote your services on your own site or social media platforms.
23. Sell Stock Photos
Photographers, take photos and upload them to stock photo sites, where others can download them for a fee or membership.
24. Develop Mobile Apps
If you’re interested in a mobile business niche, develop your own mobile apps and sell them in app stores. Or develop mobile apps for other companies in exchange for a sizable fee.
25. Provide Virtual Fitness Training
For fitness enthusiasts interested in starting an online business, offer personal training services using video chat platforms.
26. Create and Sell Handmade Goods
If you specialize in a craft like knitting or sewing, start your own eCommerce business using a platform like Etsy.
27. Design T-Shirts to Print on Demand
You can also start your own business using print-on-demand services like Redbubble or Society6. You upload your own designs and they print them on products like t-shirts and mugs.
28. Buy and Sell Domains
Other entrepreneurs looking to start a business online need to first purchase a domain to set up their own business website or e commerce site. Purchase popular options and then create your own site to sell them at a profit.
29. Specialize in Cybersecurity
Today’s small business owners need to be wary of cybersecurity issues. If you’re well versed in this subject, offer consulting services or managed IT support for vulnerable small business owners.
30. Create Online Ads
Graphic designers or those with advertising experience can help other small businesses create their own advertising campaigns online. You may specialize in PPC ads, mobile ads, or visual content.
What Is the Most Profitable Online Business Idea?
If you’re interested in starting your own online business, you may be wondering, ‘what’s the most profitable business option?’ The answer varies based on your circumstances. However, scalable ideas like online course creation or social media influencing tend to be the most profitable over time.
What Are the Most Successful Small Online Businesses?
The most successful online business ideas vary depending on your goals and expertise. However, the following options tend to be relevant in a variety of niches and able to scale over time:
- App development
- Dropshipping business
- Social media influencer accounts
- Membership/niche websites
- Ebook publishing
What Online Business Is Easiest to Start?
If you’re looking to start an online business quickly, think of service-based businesses like VAs and freelance writing. You can sign up for VA marketplace sites in just a few minutes and find relevant companies to work with. These aren’t the most scalable online business ideas, but they can help you get started quickly. And then you can pivot over time if you so choose.
More in: Develop an Idea