Before I dive into the list of 25 online business ideas I wanted to preface it by saying that there are two main factors that should be taken into account before you zone in on exactly what online business you would like to pursue.
Find something that you are good at, are passionate about, or have an interest in.
Particularly if you are going to commence an online business as a side hustle whilst you also work full time, you will need to ensure that you pick something that you feel is worth dedicated your precious time towards.
A good way to help you settle on an idea is to brainstorm a full list of everything you are passionate about and interest in.
Once you have prepared this list then cross reference it against what you are good at.
This should narrow down the list to help you land on your idea. For example, I might really love crocheted items but if I can’t crochet or I am not good at it, then it is not the right business to pursue.
Ensure what you choose has the ability to make you money.
For example, say you decide to create crafts but the item you make take you a few hours to make and you can only sell it for a low value. Your hourly return will be hard to justify, so unless you were going to make the items anyway than it is best to stick with an idea that can generate you a decent return on investment.
As an example I do marketing consulting for small and medium businesses.
I know there are a lot of other options out there in this space and people are cropping up proclaiming to be experts in the field and promoting their services for cheap.
But because I have over thirteen years experience in the field I am not going to undersell myself to compete with their low prices.
I know the price someone will pay me per hour in the corporate world so I ask for at least that in my consulting work.
Will it win me the most business? No. But it is important for me to use my time in a way that generates me the most return.
25 Online Business Ideas
Below is a list of online business ideas that might give you the inspiration you need to take the leap into being your own boss.
Resume and selection criteria writing
These days someone has only a few seconds to make a good impression on a recruiter in order to gain an interview.
As a result there is a demand for resume writers to help people gain employment by developing a resume that helps them to stand out from the rest.
In addition, a lot of roles particularly government roles require selection criteria to be completed and it can be overwhelming for people to complete this on their own.
To be a resume writer, whilst you don’t need any specific training, I would generally recommend that this is best suited towards someone who has experience in either recruitment, journalism or communications.
Basically, the most important requirement is to be an excellent writer.
Creating your own ecommerce website to sell a product you create is relatively simple these days using WordPress and integrating it with something like Woocommerce or Shopify.
Marketing your product via Facebook ads and Instagram are usually great cost effective ways to grow your brand.
Be sure to do your research though before going into business. Some niches, such as baby clothes, are becoming quite saturated so if you have an idea for something a little bit more out of the box it has the potential to have more of a chance to be seen.
If you have a knack with writing than become a freelance writer can be a great online business option that you can do part time. As your reputation builds if you wish this can turn into a full time job.
A great starting point to decide if becoming a freelance writer is right for you is to take the Free Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Biz course by Gina Horkey.
After only 6 months of freelancing Gina was able to build up to an income of over $4000 a month which allowed her to quit her day job.
This is similar to the freelance writer above, but is more centrally focused on writing copy for marketing purposes.
This is the service I offer. Basically what I do is create content for small and medium businesses. So that includes blog posts, ebooks, copy for web pages, Facebook ads etc.
Whilst just about anyone can start this as a business, the higher paid jobs are usually for people who have a background in marketing, sales and SEO.
Freelance proofreading and editing can pay a decent hourly wage and there is a range of topics you could proof read for. Some people choose to specialise in one area or you might associate yourself with a blogger who needs a proofreading service.
You can start out offering your services on places such as Fiverr or Upwork and as your portfolio builds it will become easier to pitch for more business and gain repeat clients.
Whilst this is not something that has ever peaked my interest it would be remiss of me not to include, particularly as a significant amount of younger millionaires are making their money via this method.
This type of business is where you become a distributor to sell products and recruit other people in your team to do the same.
With the rise of the internet the traditional hosting of parties or ‘Ávon calling’ door knocking has been largely replaced with network marketing online allowing people to operate a great home based business.
With over 25% of websites on the internet using WordPress, you don’t need to be someone with a computer science degree in order to offer this service.
There are a number of online courses you can take to help you become familiar with designing simple but user friendly websites that are ideal for small businesses.
If you have your own website where you are able to navigate your way around the admin section with ease than this might be a great option for you.
Obviously having a background in design is going to be ideal here, and as a minimum I would suggest you take at least some training in learning the foundations of graphic design and become familiar with the likes of Adobe Illustrator.
But with the rise of online programs you can create a range of graphics in simple to use programs like Canva and Pic Monkey. If you have not tried them out I suggest you check out the free versions to see exactly what they can offer.
All of the graphics you see associated with my blog posts and throughout social media utilise the two programs listed above.
If you are a whiz at all things admin or have particular skills in bookkeeping our customer service becoming a VA could be a good idea. It can be great for people who enjoy working on a variety of tasks.
Take Gina Horkey’s Free Jumpstart Your Virtual Assistant Career course to learn over 125 services you can offer as a VA.
Social Media Manager
If you have a background in marketing or have experience in managing social media accounts this could be a good option for you.
Social media can be such a time consuming job for a small business so more and more companies are seeking to outsource this service.
As a Social Media Manager you will be tasks to help build up a brand online. Being familiar with the different social channels and how they require a slightly different approach to marketing is beneficial.
If you have always been crafty and have a flair for creating beautiful pieces setting up an Etsy store can be a great option.
You are able to reach a larger global audience than if you were just to sell your items at the local markets and it does not involve a large upfront investment.
This can be a great starting point to build up buyers and as your popularity grows you can look to start your own ecommerce website where you can retain a larger portion of the revenue.
Write a blog
Given I write a blog myself, of course this one was going to make the list!
Blogging is simply setting up a website and adding articles to it on a regular basis.
You can check out my How to Start a Blog tutorial to get you started.
It is also a good idea to network with other people who are in your niche as this can assist you to build a community of followers.
When you have people visiting your site you can make money with your blog through advertising, affiliate marketing or even create your own book or e-course.
Drop shipping website
This is basically starting an ecommerce business but instead of you needing to buy and hold the stock yourself, you instead are just the advertising platform for the item.
The actual fulfillment of the product is done by another company, such as Amazon.
You can offer one-on-one coaching online if you have expertise in things like starting a business, marketing, psychology and success etc. With the likes of Skype your service can be offered to clients all over the world.
This can be a good way to earn a higher hourly rate, but since you are working one on one with clients it is only scaleable to a certain level.
Create an online course
If you have expertise in something and know a subject inside and out, then there is likely to be an audience out there that is willing to pay you to impart your knowledge.
There are a number of places online where you can read about how to create a course but I found this article from Kate Toon gave me a good overview.
As someone who is in the process of creating a course myself my main advice would to not underestimate the time it will take you to put the course together. It can be a every time consuming exercise.
But the benefit is that once it has been created you only will need to make small updates as required and can sell the course over and over for a number of years.
Write an e-book
This is similar to creating a course, however it tends to be slightly less detailed and therefore take a little less time to create.
However e-books do tend to sell for a lot less than you can charge for a course, so they are often seen as good starting point when building your brand.
You should not underestimate the power of a good e-book. Simple Green Smoothies started as a $5 e-book and has gone on to make millions of dollars.
Buy and sell domains
Trading domain names has been around pretty much since the internet began, so purchasing a really popular one and making millions off it is not likely to happen any more. However you can get your hands on relatively cheap domain names.
Given it can be a bit of a gamble as to whether there will be future interest in someone buying the domain off you, this idea is more of a side option as opposed to one that will allow you to quit your day job.
Become an affiliate
Affiliate marketing involves recommending products or services to customers and as a result if your customer makes a purchase you receive a commission for the referral.
A lot of bloggers utilise this as a way to earn extra income and in general you would require a website to get approval into some affiliate programs.
There are a lot of businesses listed in this 25 that could also use affiliate marketing to create an additional income stream.
For example, you may become a virtual assistant and as part of this start a blog about the benefits of hiring a VA as well as resources that can save time for business.
If you want to learn how to master all things affiliate marketing than I can not recommend enough completing Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.
I myself have personally taken the course and learnt Michelle’s exact strategy on how she earns more than $100,000 a month from her blog!
If you have a particular talent for something like math or music, tutoring students as a side hustle good be a good way to make extra income.
Whilst a lot of tutoring is done face to face there is a market for it online, particularly for people living remotely. You might even be able to offer learning English lessons to people overseas.
If you enjoy taking photos, you might like to consider becoming a stock photographer by selling your images to companies like Unsplash, Shutterstick and iStockPhoto.
You will get royalties each time someone licenses an image that you have submitted.
If you want to take this on as more than a hobby then creating your own website to showcase your portfolio can help you to get private work as a photographer.
In general to get this type of work you will need to have a background as a travel agent already.
More and more companies in the travel industry are recognising the value of having a flexible workforce so opportunities are often advertised.
What better way to make an income than by showing beginners how to do something you are passionate about. You can teach just about anything these days.
You might like to get inspiration from DIY.org or DIY Network.
Create greeting cards and invitations
You could create your own and sell them on places like Etsy. There are also greeting card companies that will allow you to submit poems for greeting cards and they will pay you if they use your idea.
If you are fluent in another language and your spelling and grammar is strong, then becoming a translator can be a good job to do remotely.
If you Google translator jobs a bunch of options come up with lots of jobs available right now.
Develop an App
This option will not be for everyone, but if you have the necessary skills creating and marketing an App can be a lucrative option.