It seems that there’s no shortage of great online business ideas.
According to hostingfacts.com, there are 966 million websites in the world today and WordPress alone is responsible for over 76.5 million blogs.
Although there’s no one accurate figure, some studies suggest that over 100 million freelancers around the world are successfully running small online businesses from their homes.
The perks of being your own boss seem so great that many are willing to quit their stable jobs to embark on this entrepreneurial journey.
So if you’re quietly contemplating the idea of starting something of your own, here’s a list of the most popular online business ideas that are within the reach of almost anyone who’s willing to take the plunge.
The monster list of 40 online business ideas below is awesome, but you may also be interested in watching our new video “10 Online Business Ideas to Make You Money.”
Online business ideas you can start tomorrow
- Travel consultant
Do you spend more time packing and unpacking your luggage than most of the people you know? Then you might be onto something! Travelling is one of the greatest passions of this age – the crazier and more nomadic, the better! If you have a knack for organising memorable, authentic trips and enjoy the process of creating exciting day-to-day plans, why not do it for money? Become a travel consultant to help adventure-seekers plan their unforgettable holidays from A to Z and enjoy every second of your working day.
- Get baking!
From freshly baked butter croissants to colourful macaroons and pillow-soft morning bagels – the world of the great bake off is a rich and ever-growing place. The beautiful thing about the online world is that a great passion can be turned into a great business almost overnight.
- Wedding planner
If spending hours pinning images of gorgeous table arrangements and bouquet ideas on Pinterest is your definition of a perfect job, then you will make an exceptional wedding planner. Sharp project management skills and an eye for detail are pretty much the most important requirements for this job – no fancy diplomas to stop you from breaking into this industry! You can sell your consulting services, wedding decorations, game packages, personalised gifts – the list of possibilities is endless (well, almost).
- Party/corporate events planner
Event planning is a bit like wedding planning, just on steroids. The scope of this idea is so large that it includes everything from cheesy stag and hen do parties to sophisticated product launches. Again, the entry barriers are rather low, but a flush work portfolio and a few glowing testimonials are something you need to consider to get a good head start in this field.
- Foreign language teacher
Everyone knows that the quickest way to learn a new language is to mingle with native speakers. If you were lucky enough to be born in an English, French, Spanish (insert any of the world’s main languages) speaking country, then missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the skills you take for granted is exactly that – missing out! Use online communication tools, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, to connect with learners and leverage your privileges. Time is money, so package your hours into teaching sessions and you’re good to go.
6. Open a T-Shirt online shop
7. Handmade goods shop
It can take you less than a day to build a storefront to showcase your work and connect with customers on platforms like Amazon and Etsy. If you’re into crafts and DIY, it’s definitely a viable business option to consider.
8. Online researcher
Although it sounds like a too-good-to-be-true idea, some people are successfully earning a living off their skill to find information online. From data research for infographics to market research for budding startups, talented researchers know that you can put a price tag on knowledge.
9. Content curation
The German Economist Schumpeter once said that there are “no original ideas”, only new combinations of old ones. Curation of curiosity-fueling content is an intriguing and little-known business model. One of the best success stories out there is Brainpickings – a platform that describes itself as “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more”. The subscription-based model and successful utilisation of affiliate links have turned the blog into a self-sustaining business.
10. Become a private chef
If cooking is one of your personal passions, there are dozens of opportunities to turn it into a decent business venture. You can start by setting up a catering website, experimenting with pop-up food stalls and local food markets, or joining platforms like MenuNextDoor that encourage cooking enthusiasts to squeeze some money out of their passion. And if you’re not camera-shy, you can teach people how to cook special meals by selling online classes.
Check out our guide to mastering dropshipping here. In short, dropshipping is the easiest option to start an eCommerce business without having to buy products in advance.
12. Fresh produce delivery
Organic, fresh food is somewhat of a modern craze. Fruit and vegetable deliveries, local farm boxes, and freshly-made goodies from local producers can help you kick off a business that not only encourages a healthier lifestyle but also supports the local economy.
13. Social media manager
Social media is an integral part of any business but it’s time-consuming and ever-changing – so really quite difficult to keep up with and, more importantly, capitalise on. Many business owners are willing to outsource this time-intensive task, so it’s a great opportunity for social media fanatics. Bundle together a few interesting offers, such as “Startup social media kit” or “Small Business Social Media Starter Kit” that encompass everything from social media graphics to analytics reports and the seamless experience will bring you more clients than you expect.
14. Kickstarter/Indiegogo advisor
Grabbing the attention of curious browsers on the most popular crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is a tough job. If you’re inventive and know how to tap into human emotion, then this is a niche worth exploring. Many aspiring entrepreneurs look for personalised advice to carry their campaigns to the finish line, so try offering action-oriented eBooks or online courses targeted at this particular audience.
15. Remote sales team
As more and more companies take on the lean, mean approach to business, outsourcing cold calling and telesales functions becomes a sort of standard in the startup and small business environment. Whether you want to sell highly-targeted sales pitches or customer data, such as phone numbers and email addresses, the potential is vast.
16. SEO expert
One of the online world’s hottest professions at the moment, this business is a gold mine for the tech-savvy entrepreneurs. While everyone’s slightly obsessed with getting their sites SEO optimized, not many people can actually wrap their heads around this topic. If you decide to go into this field, you can think about offering link building, content creation, on-page SEO optimization and similar one-off packages.
17. Selling online courses
Derek Halpern has built a really strong personal brand. He’s the founder of a software and business training company called Social Triggers and makes a LOT of money teaching people how to sell what they know best. And what he knows best is how to sell. If you’ve got some serious expertise, start making money out of it by selling online courses or simply teaching online.
18. CV writing
Banging out a winning CV is a mission impossible for many. If you’re good with words and know how to highlight people’s best qualities, CV writing could be a pretty sweet place to start a business. Additionally, you can sell slick CV templates that will help job hunters to get noticed faster and yield better results.
19. Speech writing
Giving speeches is a terrifying experience. Giving bad speeches… Well, no one wants to be in that situation. Wordsmiths have a hugely sellable skill to win people over using nothing else but the power of well-strung sentences. If you can write, cash in on this skill by crafting speeches that make birthdays, weddings, award ceremonies, or political debates a more memorable experience.
20. Public speaking coach
Naturally, the next one on the list is coaching people how to deliver great speeches. Public speaking is the number one fear on most people’s list – some fear it more than death! This skill can prove to be handy in many areas – from pitching to investors, to delivering key messages at global conferences. If you’re a natural on stage, help entrepreneurs rediscover their in-born ability to communicate by selling effective presentation templates and online coaching classes.
21. Self-published author
If you have the next Harry Potter manuscript sitting in your drawer and the publishing industry hasn’t been kind to you, try self-publishing. Using tools like Amazon’s direct publishing or working with dedicated consultants like I_Am, you not only get the satisfaction of pushing your work out there but also retain 100% of your royalties! Don’t think you can write a good novel? Then stick to what you know – self-help is a money-making genre!
22. Dating coach
Online and mobile dating are booming. Thousands of people around the world are looking for love online and, unfortunately, many are unsuccessful in their quest. As a dating coach you’d be responsible for helping your clients to organise and prepare for a perfect date, to refine their flirting skills and to advise on the do’s and don’ts of a dating life.
23. Mystery shopper
Okay, it can be rather difficult to make a living solely from this but it’s a great place to start if you’re planning to build your own mystery shoppers’ army. Customer experience is one of the biggest obsessions of online and offline retailers, so there’s great potential here! Take a look at some of the existing platforms here and here.
24. Selling professional photos
The number of websites and blogs operating online demand a constant stream of high-quality, beautiful photographs that can help businesses attract and convert more customers. Setting up a stock photo library is a great business idea as it targets virtually every industry regardless of a company’s size. Check out sites like SmugMug, Photoshelter and iStockPhoto for more information.
25. Bug testing
Bug testing is a service that no software company can ignore. If you can build a platform to crowdsource expert skills and resources to tackle this area, then you have solid chances of turning a profit. To learn more about this model, look into BugFinders and CrowdSourceTesting.
Pick your niche (tax accounting, personal finance, bookkeeping, financial reports, etc.) and establish a good online presence by creating and promoting your website. Most of the solo traders and small businesses look for professional help with their accounts, so this is a huge area for potential work.
27. Investment advisor
A lot of people with middle-class income would like to create a robust investment portfolio to secure a financially stable future but simply have no clue where to start. If you have professional experience as an investment analyst or do a lot of investment yourself, then offering investment advice for middle-class investors is a natural move for you.
28. Mystery objects shop
If you have an eye for quirky stuff, maybe running a mystery object shop could help you combine the thirst for curious things with a steady source of income. TheSomethingStore and Muddy Creatures are nailing the concept of a surprise purchase that taps into the explorer instinct many of us possess. There’s no exact science or skill fueling this business idea – let your imagination go wild…
Profitable online business ideas that you can nail
29. Relationship coach
Some people just seem to intuitively know more than others – they don’t get involved in destructive relationships or suffer from loss of self-knowledge. If you can relate to that description and feel your relationships have been fairly happy and stable, then maybe you’re one of them. You’ll need to invest in relevant workshops and books, get knowledgeable and certified before you can start coaching others, but it’s a fascinating business idea that will reward you both financially and morally.
The trend of healthy eating is here to say. Yet with so much contradictory advice online about what is good for us and what is not, more and more people turn to professional nutritionists for specialist tips and guidance. You can easily find free online courses to learn the fundamentals of this profession and start offering personalised nutrition plans online.
31. Yoga instructor
Selling yoga classes online is a great source of income. There are hundreds of sites like Reflexion Yoga or Yogaia that offer these services but they all have one thing in common – the classes are taught by pros. To capitalise on this huge trend you’ll either have to team up with a great yoga teacher or be one yourself.
32. Makeup artist
Lots of successful makeup artists started their career on YouTube. All you need is a strong portfolio and a professional-looking website to get this gig going. Offer a couple of free makeup sessions to build your reputation and use content marketing to spread the word online. When you feel that you’ve got enough momentum going, start selling makeup tutorials, makeup products and personalised tips.
33. Music teacher
Can you play a musical instrument? Chances are someone is looking for a teacher right now. You can build a subscription-based online business or use your website to generate leads and teach via Skype or in person. Browse GuitarTricks and JustinGuitar for some inspiration.
34. Personal trainer
Kayla Itsines is probably one of the best success stories of this industry. She’s built a whole Kayla Fitness empire and grown her services from simply writing personal training plans to selling official fitness apps and books. You can jumpstart your career by offering free taster video classes and personal tips on your website and harvesting social media sites like Instagram and Facebook to promote your services.
35. Business consultant
Running a business consulting company is a great option for those who’ve been involved in the process of building a business before. Whether you’ve gained your experience through working with a number of different startups or learned the secrets of business management in a more corporate environment, helping other entrepreneurs achieve great results can include everything from business planning and forecasting to liaising with banks and institutions.
36. Video producer
YouTube is the third largest site in the world, so there’s no surprise that video is becoming one of the main communication mediums for businesses of all types and sizes. If you have video filming or editing knowledge, it won’t take you long to build your clientele. Everything from video production workshops and video editing services to soundtrack libraries and DIY tutorials can appeal to the business world. Producing video might be one of the most attractive online business ideas with lots of creativity and challenges.
37. Natural & organic beauty shop
Online shoppers are getting more and more conscientious about their choices, and especially so when it comes to beauty products. Running a beauty shop that’s built on strong ethos and values that resonate with nature and animal lovers is one of the hottest online business ideas right now. Tropic Skin Care seems to be doing a great job at connecting with these shoppers.
38. Women sportswear
With LuluLemon spearheading the way, online sportswear shops for women are quickly climbing to the top of the most popular online business ideas amongst eCommerce entrepreneurs. Since yoga pants are clearly here to stay, it’s safe to say that the athleisure trend is one of the best and, perhaps, the least explored niches in eCommerce right now.
39. 3D-printed products
One of the biggest technological breakthroughs of this age, 3D printing is dictating a new strategy in the eCommerce world. Some of the best selling 3D-printed products include jewellery, home accessories, bicycle parts, tech accessories and more. For some beautiful examples check out Wonderluk, 3DigitalCooks, and DanitPeleg.
40. Ethical fashion brand
One thing is clear – clothes and accessories will always be one of the super-profitable online business ideas for an eCommerce site. However, with so many boutiques and brands already online, rising above the noise is extremely difficult. Yet, one promising idea that savvy entrepreneurs have probably already noticed is the booming trend of “ethical fashion”. Brands, such as Pachacuti, People Tree, Sea Salt and Matt&Nat have successfully crafted their brands around the concept of organic, ethical production of fashion items and are riding the trend to the top of the strongest brands list.
Want to learn more?
- How I launched my eCommerce store in less than 30 minutes (with products)
- 20 Amazing Startup Business Ideas That’ll Make You Money
- The Most Inspiring and Successful Shopify Stores
- 22 Free Business Name Generators to Find the Best Brand Names
Is there anything else you’d like to know more about and wish was included in this article? Let us know in the comments below!