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What business I can start? 18 Online Business Ideas You Can Start

Start your e-commerce business with innovative, easy-to-implement ideas.

The key to starting a profitable online business is to find a business idea that matches your skills and strengths.

Consulting, starting an e-commerce store, becoming a web designer, and launching a blog are examples of online businesses you can start easily.

Online business growth is predicted to continue as more consumers access digital environments for personal and business needs.

This article is for aspiring entrepreneurs looking for inspiration to start an online business.

Starting a business is a dream for many aspiring entrepreneurs, but finding an idea and launching your endeavor can be challenging. In the digital age, selling online — both products and services — can present unique, affordable startup options for aspiring entrepreneurs. The key is matching your interests, strengths and skills to a profitable online business niche.

Whether you want to become a full-time entrepreneur or start a part-time online business to generate side income, your product or service should fulfill a specific consumer need. We’ve compiled a list of potentially profitable online businesses with minimal startup costs that you can get up and running quickly.

18 online businesses you can start quickly

Owning and maintaining an online business gives entrepreneurs the freedom to make money anywhere in the world. Here are some online business ideas to inspire you to begin your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Become an online consultant.

Consultants advise businesses and individuals on various issues and business aspects. Conducting a consultancy online offers a limitless client reach, and you can get started quickly and easily.

Some of the most popular online consultant opportunities today include small business consultants, SEO consultants and social media consultants.

Small business consultants. Small business consultants use their skills to assist new business owners with startup challenges and help experienced entrepreneurs manage business growth and overcome obstacles. Your chances of success as a small business consultant are greater if you focus your strategy on a niche aspect of business consulting.

SEO consultants. If you know the ins and outs of search engines and have technical skills in platforms like Google Ads and Google Analytics, becoming a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant may be a lucrative option. Many small business owners don’t realize how much of an impact SEO can have on their business. Start your online SEO consulting business by educating clients on the power of SEO to help transform their websites and increase conversion rates. Then, use your marketing skills to show business owners the benefits of analytics data, strategic keywords and content structure to gain more organic web traffic.

Social media consultants. Social media consultants are in top demand as social media for business becomes more crucial. Larger enterprises can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their social media accounts, but small businesses must often handle their social media marketing. As a social media consultant, you can help small businesses devise tactics, create content calendars, and develop an overall content strategy to reach their target audience. As their follower counts grow, so will your business.

2. Become a niche market e-commerce retailer.

There’s an audience for everything, even if it’s as specific as dollhouse furniture or organic dog food. You can reach customers seeking your specific products with a niche e-commerce site. Finding a business niche can help you differentiate yourself from other brands and build your credibility and expertise. Look to social media or your consumer needs to develop a product to sell on your online store.

To get your e-commerce business up and running, you need a web hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or e-commerce software. To simplify the shipping process, you can work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf. This can reduce the amount of inventory you need to keep onsite.

3. Start a web design or web development business.

If you’re a creative digital professional who thrives on forming a website’s layout, visual theme, font set and color palette, freelance website design may be a good path for you. If you have little to no experience in this field, you can learn the basics of web design and master the tools you’ll need for success.

If you’re more interested in the coding side of building effective websites, freelance web development might be your wheelhouse. If you know HTML, CSS or JavaScript and have a good eye for solving problems with creative solutions, you can launch a service to build attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. If you need to learn the basics of web development before launching your full-stack career, take a beginner’s course to get started.

Put your technical and creative skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio and create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.

4. Become an online blogger.

If you love writing or have crucial information to share, blogging may be a profitable business.

Starting a business blog is straightforward with website builders like Weebly and WordPress. However, consistency and quality are key to success. To gain a steady following, you must continually write and produce high-quality content that provides value to your readers. Content that educates, informs or entertains your readers gives them a reason to follow you.

Once you’ve mastered creating consistent content, you can make money through your blog by selling products like online courses, digital coaching, e-books or webinars. You can also sell ad space or sponsored posts. This business strategy may take a little more time and effort to monetize, but it can be very profitable.

5. Become a virtual assistant.

Do you have impeccable organizational skills and task management abilities? Maybe it’s time to put those skills to good use by becoming a virtual assistant. VA services typically involve basic administrative tasks like entering data, making travel arrangements, and answering phone calls. Previous experience in this field is ideal but not required.

Platforms like TaskRabbit and Zirtual make it easy for VA professionals to find jobs. They allow you to create an online profile, sign up for tasks you want to complete — such as data research, virtual assistance or basic errands — and begin building clientele.

6. Become an affiliate marketer.

If you love leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, consider looking into affiliate marketing as an income source. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a powerful lead generator for many companies. Many businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public.

Affiliate programs break down into different involvement levels:

Unattached affiliate marketing. Unattached affiliate marketing is a basic pay-per-click campaign that requires little to no involvement with the product you are promoting.

Related affiliate marketing. Related affiliate marketing requires you to have some authority and content on the product you’re marketing, but you don’t personally need to use the product.

Involved affiliate marketing. Involved affiliate marketing is perhaps the most effective, as you’ll be marketing a product that you actually use and enjoy.

If you have a personal website or social media presence with a large following, affiliate programs may be a profitable approach for you. PR reps always seek out brand advocates and influencers so they can send free samples.

7. Start a remote tech support business.

Many small businesses don’t have room in their budgets to hire a full-time IT employee. When their systems go on the fritz, they usually call a computer-literate friend or family member. If you’re tech-savvy and have experience working on computers and networks, you can eliminate their need to call in a favor by offering immediate technical assistance via remote desktop software.

Although some businesses may prefer you to have a technical degree, many will look to your experience and knowledge instead. You can build your remote tech support business by contacting friends, family and local business owners about their tech support needs. Use job boards like Upwork as another source for freelance tech support gigs.

8. Sell handmade crafts online.

Online marketplaces for handmade goods, like Etsy and its competitors, make it extremely easy for artisans to sell their wares online. This is an option if you can produce a steady supply of quality handmade products, such as crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware, to sell online. If you have a unique craft, selling your products on an e-commerce site is a good way to earn income while you’re at home, doing what you love.

Startup costs for this business idea are extremely low if you purchase your creative materials in bulk from a craft supplier. If you can create and sell your artwork quickly on an online store, you’ll make a profit in no time. Local artisans find higher success when they promote their businesses on social media.

9. Become an app developer.

Mobile applications are more popular than ever, with people willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great new idea for an app and know how to code, consider creating an app. You can also become a mobile app developer for businesses that must create proprietary apps.