Countless people have already made the leap into entrepreneurship. And with the right online business ideas and plenty of sweat equity, you can too.
This isn’t about one simple life-changing trick. Starting an online business doesn’t work that way. Instead, to help you find profitable online business ideas, we’ve put together a collection of simple ways to start a business without quitting your day job.
Running a small business definitely has its appeal, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. The truth is, starting a business of any kind is hard work and the first step is thinking of an idea. In this guide we’ll give you a bunch of online business ideas and guide you step-by-step on how to start a small business online.
1. Launch a dropshipping small business
Think you need a warehouse full of inventory to run your own business? Think again! Dropshipping is a great way to start a business on a budget. You can hit the ground running by sourcing a pre-existing product from a supplier and having them take care of things like packaging and fulfillment.
This process lets you skip over a lot of obstacles that might be standing in the way of you starting your own business. More importantly, it eliminates the risk of finding out there’s no market for your product after placing a huge order with a manufacturer or supplier.
Why choose dropshipping?
You don’t need to stock products in a physical location, meaning that your cash flow won’t get tied up in inventory. There’s less of an upfront cash risk.
Whenever a purchase is made, you place an order with a third party and they handle the rest of the process for you. Since you don’t have to deal with things like tracking inventory or mailing packages, dropshipping eliminates a lot of potential headaches for budding entrepreneurs.
No warehouse means you can run your business from anywhere. Whether it’s your living room or the café down the street, you decide where you want to work from.
2. Start your own clothing line
If you have some designs in mind and a little bit of time on your hands, you can get your clothing company off the ground.
If you already own a Shopify store, you can set up your own clothing line using Printify, Printful, or a similar product-sourcing app. Each automatically links your store to apparel printers and clothing manufacturers. They also handle every step of the retail fulfillment process for you, giving you the freedom to design and ship a wide range of pieces right out of the gate.
Why start a clothing line?
There’s nothing more satisfying than creating products that people will use every day.
As soon as you build your Shopify store, you’ll be able to start selling instantly. Thanks to print-on-demand apps, the process of designing and delivering your own custom-made clothing has been streamlined and simplified.
You’ll love the feeling of seeing your designs come to life by transforming your creativity into something real and profitable.
3. Sell your art online
Whether you’re a painter, photographer, or musician, there are plenty of online business ideas and ways to turn your latest masterpiece into a source of revenue with a beautifully designed ecommerce website.
If painting or photography is your forte, you can sell your work as prints, canvases, and framed posters using Printify or Printful. This is a fantastic way to turn your art into something tangible that people can take home and integrate into their space. Is music your thing? You can sell your beats, songs, samples, and more as digital downloads.
Just take a look at The Drum Broker, the largest online drum sample business in the world. It created a successful and sustainable small business model with the help of apps like FetchApp and ShipStation.
Why sell your art?
You’ll be part of people’s lives by getting your work into customers’ homes.
You’ll create a platform for showcasing your work by setting up shop online.
As an artist, creating art isn’t just a hobby—it’s a way of life. This is your chance to turn your passion into an income stream and potentially do what you love for a living.
4. Become a freelance writer, designer, or developer
Writers, graphic designers, and developers can start a low cost business based on their talents. As a freelancer, you’ll be able to put your skills to good use by helping people across the world with their projects (while making some money yourself, of course).
Freelancing doesn’t mean committing to months-long projects that eat away at your free time. You can easily pick up bite-sized tasks that fit your schedule.
It’s worth noting that Fiverr is a little different from a traditional job board. As the name suggests, a lot of the posted jobs pay $5. The key to making big money on Fiverr is carefully setting up your offers so you can easily upsell the client for more money.
For instance, you could offer to write a 150-word introduction for a blog post as your initial $5 service. As an upsell, you could charge another $10 for every additional 150 words. You can tweak your services until you’ve found a combo that makes it worth your while.
If you 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. You can even use apps like BookThatApp and Events Calendar to give your customers the option to schedule appointments.
When you freelance, you choose which projects you want to work on and set your own schedule and workplace.
Getting paid to do something you’re good at is a rewarding feeling, whether you’re looking to strike out on your own or just want to make some extra cash on the weekend.
If you’re new to writing, designing, or developing, freelancing is an excellent way to build your portfolio and get some real experience in a wide range of industries. You might discover that you have a knack or passion for something you never expected.
5. Teach an online course
Teaching an online course is a low-investment online business idea for generating passive income. All you need to do is put together a video walkthrough explaining a subject you’re familiar with and then host it on your own personal website.
Although it requires effort up front, if you manage to design a popular, high-value video tutorial series, you would make money on an ongoing basis as people continue to enroll in your course.
To start creating your first online course, brainstorm a topic that you know well enough to teach someone how to do from scratch. This can be literally anything—music production, social media marketing, web development, you name it.
Next, you’ll want to grab a screencasting app, like ScreenFlow, to record your screen and voice while you walk your students through your tutorial. ScreenFlow also comes with a built-in video-editing suite, letting you shoot and cut your videos all on the same platform.
Why teach an online course?
With an online course, you can literally set it and forget it. Take a few days or weeks, depending on the complexity you’re aiming for, to build an online course, and you could be reaping the benefits for weeks.
You already have the knowledge, you just need to share it. Focus on teaching something that you’re already an expert at and the rest will come naturally, whether it’s building iOS apps, creating monthly budgets, or running Facebook ad campaigns.
Teaching someone a new skill is its own reward. While there’s definitely money to be made teaching online courses, helping other people is always a satisfying experience in itself.
6. Flip your thrift store finds
If you love hitting up thrift stores and hunting down great deals, then one great online business idea is to sell your second-hand treasures online.
Your potential customers want to buy cool stuff, but they don’t want to dig through old soccer jerseys and braided belts to get their hands on that one amazing find. Take advantage of this by positioning yourself as a trustworthy curator who can go out and uncover those great vintage pieces for others.
Why sell your thrift store finds?
Let’s face it, you’d be combing through thrift store racks anyway, so you might as well make some money while you do it by putting your shopping addiction to work.
The margins are huge. That $2 RadioShack ball cap you found over the weekend? You can turn it into a $40 vintage hat.
You’re selling something unique. Nowhere else on the web will people be able to find the vintage collections that you put together.
7. Publish your own book
It’s OK to admit it: you’ve thought about publishing your own book someday. While seeing your name on a list of bestsellers might seem like a pipe dream, it’s actually not that far out of reach.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a science-fiction novel, a marketing guide, or a children’s picture book, there are now plenty of options for successfully self-publishing your work. These include releasing your writing as an ebook.
Why publish a book?
What’s the point of writing something if there’s no one around to read it? Self-publishing is the quickest way to get your book into the hands of potential readers.
Printing, storage, and delivery is taken care of thanks to services like Blurb and CreateSpace.
Creative writing is your passion and you deserve to be able to make money while doing something you enjoy.
8. Start a blog
Blogging has come a long way since its inception. What was once a virtual journal has now turned into a marketing and even a monetization tool.
Whether you make money from publishing sponsored posts, hosting third-party ads, or selling your products, a blog is a great online business idea you can start at home.
The key to starting a successful blog is to focus on building an engaged, loyal audience. When you start with an audience-centric approach, you’ll cultivate a community that trusts you. And when you can earn trust, you can start to drive revenue.
Why start a blog?
Blogs have unlimited growth potential. You can expand into affiliate marketing, ecommerce, courses, and essentially any other online business venture. Some blogs even use a paid subscription model to drive revenue.
A blog is a long-term play. While you won’t see overnight results, they are likely to be more sustainable. A blog lives on the web forever—or at least until you delete it.
It lets you practice your writing—an essential skill to have in business and communication. Use tools like Grammarly or Hemmingway to improve your writing.
9. Become a virtual assistant
Are you super organized and love working behind the scenes? If so, you might be the perfect candidate to start a virtual assistant (VA) business.
A VA helps entrepreneurs, businesses, and executives organize their personal and professional lives. There’s a broad spectrum of duties, ranging from appointment scheduling to basic marketing management and everything in between. And everything is done online.
Why become a VA?
Work with your ideal client. Even if you don’t know at the start, over time you’ll find out who you love working with and what you love to do for them. You can evolve your business to cater to those preferences.
Interact with people from all over the world. All you need is an internet connection to do your work and you can have the chance to work with international clients and professionals.
Grow your business into a network of VAs. If you become too busy or have growth goals, you can hire and train VAs to work under you and increase profits.
10. Try yourself
After reading all this, what you need to do now is to give yourself a chance. Just try one strategy amongst all that I have publised or some other that already exist somewhere else.
Thank you for reading this article, please feel free to comment.