29 IDEAS FOR STARTING AN ONLINE BUSINESS IN 2022:Looking for ideas to start an online business? Take a look at these 29 proven online business ideas.
Running a small business has undeniable advantages, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. In reality, building a business of any kind is hard work. Even though some view the internet as a get- rich-quick scheme , the basic principles of commerce still apply.
In this guide, we’ll give you a bunch of online business ideas and walk you through how to start a small online business.
In reality, “online” is simply a channel that connects businesses to people. It’s a powerful tool that lets you reach anyone, from anywhere in the world. But to create a business with this channel, you always have to connect the right customers with the right offer.
Countless people have already taken the leap into entrepreneurship. And with the right online business ideas and hard work, you can too.
This is not just a simple life-changing tip. Building an online business doesn’t work that way. To help you find profitable online business ideas, we’ve rounded up easy ways to start a business without quitting your job.
29 best online business ideas
Wondering what are the best small business ideas? Browse the following list to find the most profitable business idea for you.
1. Create your own clothing line
If you have a few designs in mind and some spare time, you can start your clothing business.
If you already have a Shopify store , you can create your own clothing line using Printify , Printful , or a similar product sourcing app.
Each of these apps automatically connects your store to printers and apparel manufacturers. They also manage all stages of the retail fulfillment process for you, giving you the freedom to design and ship a wide range of parts from the start.
Why create a clothing line?
- There’s nothing more satisfying than creating products that people will use every day.
- As soon as you create your Shopify store, you can start selling instantly. With print-on-demand apps, the process of designing and delivering your own bespoke garments has been streamlined and simplified.
- You’ll love the feeling of seeing your designs come to life as you turn your creativity into something real and profitable.
2. Start a small dropshipping business
Think you need a warehouse full of inventory to run your own business? Have no illusions! Dropshipping is a great way to start a business on a budget . You can start by sourcing a pre-existing product from a vendor and having them take care of things like packaging and fulfillment.
This process allows you to bypass many obstacles that could prevent you from starting your own business. More importantly, it eliminates the risk of discovering that there is no market for your product after placing a huge order with a manufacturer or supplier.
Why choose dropshipping?
- You don’t need to store the products in a physical location, which means your cash won’t be tied up in inventory. There is less initial risk in terms of cash flow.
- Every time a purchase is made, you place an order with a third party who takes care of the rest of the process for you. Since you don’t have to worry about things like tracking inventory or shipping packages, dropshipping eliminates a lot of potential headaches for budding entrepreneurs.
- The absence of a warehouse means you can run your business from anywhere. Whether it’s your living room or the cafe down the street, you decide where you want to work.
If you’re interested in dropshipping, read our Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping to help you get started.
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 income through a beautifully designed e-commerce site.
If painting or photography is your forte, you can sell your artwork as prints, canvases, and framed posters using Printify or Printful.
It’s a fantastic way to turn your art into something tangible that people can take home and incorporate into their space. Do you like music ? You can sell your beats, songs, samples and more as digital downloads.
Why sell your art?
- You will be a part of people’s lives by bringing your artwork into customers’ homes.
- You will create a platform to showcase your work by opening an online store.
- As an artist, creating artwork is not just a hobby, it’s a way of life. This is an opportunity to turn your passion into a source of income and do what you love for a living.
4. Become a freelance writer, designer or developer
Writers , graphic designers, and developers can build a low-cost business based on their talents. As a freelancer, you’ll be able to put your skills to good use helping people around the world complete their projects (while earning a bit of money yourself, of course).
Freelancing doesn’t mean you have to commit to month-long projects that take up all of your free time. You can easily choose small tasks that fit your schedule.
To find people who need your help, try freelancing marketplaces , like Fiverr and Upwork .
It should be noted that Fiverr is a bit different from a traditional job board. As the name suggests, most of the jobs offered are paid at €5. The key to making big money on Fiverr is to craft your offers carefully so that you can easily raise the customer’s price.
For example, you can offer to write a 150-word intro for a blog post as an initial $5 service. As an add-on, you could charge $10 for each additional 150 words. You can change your services until you find a worthwhile combination.
Why work as a freelancer?
- When you freelance, you choose the projects you want to work on and set your own schedule and location.
- Getting paid to do something you’re good at is a rewarding feeling, whether you’re looking to become self-employed or just want to earn a little extra cash on the weekends.
- If you’re new to writing, designing, or developing, freelancing is a great way to build your portfolio and gain real experience in a wide range of industries. You might find that you have a gift or a passion for something you didn’t expect.
5. Teach an online course
Teaching an online course is a low-investment online business idea for generating passive income . All you have to do is create a video explaining a topic that is familiar to you and host it on your personal website.
Although it takes some effort upfront, if you manage to put together a series of popular, high-value video tutorials, you’ll earn money continuously because people will keep signing up for your course.
To start creating your first online course, think of a subject you know well enough to teach someone how to do it from scratch. It could be anything: music production, social media marketing, web development, etc.
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 create an online course, and you could reap the rewards for weeks.
- You already have the knowledge, you just need to share it. Focus on teaching something you’re already an expert in and the rest will come naturally, whether it’s building iOS apps, developing monthly budgets, or managing advertising campaigns on Facebook.
- Teaching someone a new skill is its own reward. While it’s possible to make money teaching online classes, helping others is always a satisfying experience in itself.
6. Sell your found items at thrift stores
If you like to browse thrift stores and find bargains, a good idea for an online business is to sell your second-hand treasures online.
Your potential customers want to buy cool things, but they don’t want to rummage through old football shirts and braided belts to get their hands on an amazing find. Capitalize on it by positioning yourself as a trustworthy curator who can go and unearth those great vintage pieces for others.
Why sell your finds in thrift stores?
Let’s face it, you’re combing through the thrift store shelves anyway, so you might as well make some extra cash by putting your shopping addiction to good use.
The margins are huge.
You are selling something unique. People won’t find the vintage collections you’ve put together anywhere else on the web
7. Publish your own book
You can admit it: you’ve thought about publishing your own book one day. While seeing your name on a bestseller list may seem like a pipe dream, it’s actually not that far off the mark.
Whether it’s a sci-fi novel, a marketing guide, or a children’s picture book, there are plenty of options today for successfully self-publishing your work. . Read our article on how to publish your book on Amazon .
Why publish a book?
- What’s the point of writing something if no one is there to read it? Self-publishing is the fastest way to get your book into the hands of potential readers.
- Printing, storage and delivery are supported by Amazon
- Creative writing is your passion and you deserve to be able to earn money while doing something you love.
8. Start a blog
Blogs have come a long way since their inception. What was once a virtual diary has become a marketing and even monetization tool.
Whether you make money by posting sponsored posts, hosting third–party advertisements , or selling your products . Starting a blog is a great online business idea that you can start from home.
The key to blogging success is to focus on building an engaged and loyal following. By adopting an audience-centric approach, you will develop a community that will trust you. And when you can earn trust, you can start generating revenue.
Why create a blog ?
- Blogs have unlimited growth potential. You can expand into affiliate marketing, e-commerce, courses, and any other online business activity. Some blogs even use a paid subscription model to generate revenue.
- A blog is a long term game. You won’t see results overnight, but they will likely be longer lasting. A blog stays on the web forever, or at least until you delete it.
- It allows you to practice writing, an essential business and communication skill. Use tools like Grammarly to improve your writing.
9. Become a virtual assistant
Are you super organized and enjoy working behind the scenes? If so, you might be the perfect candidate to start a virtual assistant (VA) business .
A virtual assistant helps entrepreneurs, businesses and executives organize their personal and professional lives. There’s a wide range of tasks, from booking appointments 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 it at first, you’ll find out over time who you enjoy working with and what you enjoy doing for them. You can scale your business to meet these preferences.
- Interact with people around the world. All you need is an internet connection to do your job and you can have the chance to work with international clients and professionals.
- Grow your business into a VA network. If you’re too busy or have growth goals, you can hire and train VAs to work under you and increase your profits.
10. Try to be an influencer
Influencer marketing has exploded onto the marketing scene, and while consumers are increasingly savvy, there are still plenty of business opportunities to be had.
With influencers having found themselves in hot water for dishonest practices, there is a movement in favor of micro-influencers, that is, profiles with smaller but more engaged followers. Good news: you don’t need millions of followers to make money on Instagram .
Why become an influencer?
- This is an opportunity to learn about marketing, which is particularly useful if you want to make it a career or a side business.
- You will discover new and interesting brands. You might discover products and businesses that you love that you would never have found if they hadn’t solicited your services.
- It’s so easy a monkey can do it. Well, not literally, but you can make your pet the star if you’re camera shy.
11. Create apps and websites
If you’re tech-savvy, pick up some coding skills and start building. From mobile apps to websites , you can create digital products to buy or as a service provider.
For example, you can create a custom WordPress theme template and sell it to marketers who are looking for an affordable approach to designing their website. You can also work directly with clients to create websites and applications tailored to their specific needs.
Why create apps and websites?
- Technology isn’t going anywhere, and the demand for the technical skills needed to build apps and websites will continue to grow.
- There are an infinite number of platforms and systems. If you get tired of one system, learn and move on to another.
12. Start a podcast
If you like the sound of your own voice, consider recording it for a podcast. Podcasts are a great home business idea with multiple monetization options, like starting a blog.
Here’s what you need to get your podcast started:
- A high quality microphone
- audio recording software
- call recording software
To promote your podcast, consider collaborating with high-profile personalities as guests on your show. Encourage listeners to leave comments and share your podcast with friends and family.
Why start a podcast?
- The popularity of podcasts continues to grow.
- A successful podcast can offer endless possibilities: turn your episodes into a blog, solicit sponsors and advertisers, and make contacts you never could before.
13. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is recommending a product or service by sharing it on a blog or social media to your email list, website, or other channels. You earn a commission every time someone converts through your unique referral link or code.
Find an affiliate program that matches your interests, personal brand, and target audience. Awin , Daisycon and FlexOffers are some examples. Amazon has its own affiliate program .
Once you’ve signed up, start sharing. Create social media posts, blog posts, emails, and other content about the quality of the product or service you’re promoting. Don’t oversaturate your audience with ads or you risk coming off as a spammer or inauthentic.
Why Do Affiliate Marketing?
- It’s simple: you probably already promote the products and services you use. Now you can get paid for it!
- Affiliate marketing is a great source of passive income.
14. Create subscription boxes
Subscription boxes are thematic packages of various products. There are subscription boxes in virtually every industry, from meal prep kits and craft snacks to fitness products and makeup. You can build subscription boxes around pretty much any theme you want.
Bokksu , for example, offers Japanese snacks and sends them to customers every month.
When you create subscription boxes, you work with brands and artisans to buy and resell their products in a bundle. In general, consumers expect to be surprised by the contents of the box, although there are boxes (like meal prep kits) where the customer chooses what they get.
Why create subscription boxes?
- It is a viable seasonal activity. Ironically, “subscription” boxes are more often purchased as gifts than for the purchaser themselves. So if you only want to run your online business for part of the year, this template might be of interest.
- It is a growing sector.
- You don’t need to create your own products. Instead, you can use tried and true products and just put them together in a nice package.
15. Develop a niche product
If you recognize an opportunity in a certain niche, you may be well on your way to your next online business idea. Niche products cater to a single audience. When designed well, they serve a specific community.
Niches can be based on industry, demographics, price, geography, values, product attributes, and more. In fact, a niche can be anything specific enough to target a small group of potential customers. For instance :
- Conscious consumers: consider vegan, sustainable and eco-friendly products and brands.
- Pet owners: you can even classify them by type of animal.
- Remote workers: These professionals have different specific characteristics than traditional office workers.
Why develop a niche product?
- Niche products are unique and therefore likely to generate buzz. A quick hit can be enough to get media coverage on zero budget.
- While narrowing down may scare some people off, choosing a specific target customer makes it easier to create marketing and messaging that resonates. Instead of trying to speak to a large and diverse group, you speak to a group of individuals with many common characteristics.
16. Create crafts
If you are particularly good at crafts, selling handmade products would be a great online business idea for you. Whether you make jewelry, frames, or furniture, one business idea is to monetize your craft skills and sell products online.
Although you can use platforms like Leboncoin or Etsy , your own online store will give you more control and make it easier to track and fulfill orders.
Why sell handicrafts?
- Spend as much or as little time as you want. You decide how big you want your business to be.
- Create at your own pace. Make your handicrafts on a specific schedule, when you have free time or whenever you want.
- Turn your passion into income. Like many of the online business ideas on this list, an entrepreneurial project backed by passion leads to a more satisfying experience.
17. Become a social media manager
Effectively managing and growing social media accounts is a skill. If you have the ability, consider becoming a social media manager or brand consultant.
You will be responsible for maintaining a company’s social presence online, developing its social marketing strategy, managing campaigns and other related tasks. This is a solid and in-demand online business idea, as social media jobs are expected to increase by 10% by 2030.
To get started, create a website, your own social media channels (grow them and use them as social proof to win customers!), and a payment processing system.
As you gain more experience, you can begin to address a wider range of social media needs, such as profile growth, awareness building, or brand sponsorship management.
Why start a social media management business?
- This service-based business has few barriers to entry and is relatively easy to get started.
- You can be your own boss and decide your earning potential. The more experience and results you have, the higher your service fees can be.
- You can turn an activity you already do every day into a lucrative one as a social media manager.
18. Invest in real estate
It may sound scary, but investing in real estate isn’t difficult once you’ve done your research. Depending on the market, getting your hands on opportunities like accessible loans may be the boost you need to ensure a profitable business right from the start.
With real estate, you don’t have to worry about storage or supply chain issues. Instead, you can search for properties from the comfort of your couch. There are start-up costs and purchase conditions to consider, but you can get loans to help cover them.
The cash flow you establish with your first property can be reinvested in the purchase of the next. Do this enough times and you can start making significant income.
Why invest in real estate?
- It is a long-term investment in a company whose assets appreciate and whose cash flow is almost immediate.
- Real estate will always be demanded as a need rather than a mere want.
- It can be relatively easy to manage with the right management structure in place.
19. Sell on marketplaces
The possibility of selling your products on marketplaces is not new. Yet, it’s still a very lucrative way to build a sustainable online business. Sales platforms such as eBay , Leboncoin , Etsy , or Facebook Marketplace facilitate the process of registering products, entering contact details, and receiving payments.
And the best? These huge sales platforms already have built-in traffic. As a seller, it’s up to you to be strategic with your listing and track what sells and how well, in order to optimize your efforts. You can also do all of this from the comfort of your home.
Why sell on marketplaces?
- It is possible to start without a large initial investment.
- You get access to a pool of traffic that you might not be able to tap into on other platforms.
- The skills you learn in selling online can translate into adjacent activities later on.
20. Become a translator
Knowing more than one language can earn you money. With internet access and a laptop, you can start an online translation business . The translation industry is booming: its size has doubled over the past decade.
As a translator, you can apply your skills to translating content, meetings, resumes, books, or even online conferences.
As you hone your skills, you can charge by the hour or by the project. Either way, the bottom line is that a translation business can be both flexible and lucrative once you start working with your first clients.
Why start a translation business?
- There are many translation platforms, ready to remunerate your skills competitively if you do not want to create your own business.
- It’s also easy to offer your translation services on platforms like Fiverr for a more independent approach to translation, where you can set your own prices.
- Translation can be a flexible activity that does not require ad or inventory management.
21. Start an accounting or bookkeeping firm
Take advantage of the growing market demand for accounting and bookkeeping by becoming self-employed and offering your services to clients looking to outsource this part of their business. Obviously, the more experience and training you have in this field, the more likely you are to succeed.
You can start an accounting or bookkeeping business with word of mouth and tenacity. As you gain clients and provide quality work, clients are referred to you. As a service business, the hardest part of starting an accounting or bookkeeping business is getting started.
Why start an accounting or bookkeeping business?
- It’s a great way to put your math skills to use while enjoying the flexibility of being your own boss.
- You don’t need a ton of customers to generate sustainable income every year.
- A service business like accounting and bookkeeping relies on building relationships and returning customers, which makes the digital marketing part of the business more manageable.
22. Become an online fitness trainer
Fitness trainers are making a big splash online thanks to memberships, fitness apps, and e-books. If you’re naturally good at physical activity, starting an online fitness business might be a no-brainer.
When you’re getting started, don’t forget to leverage social media: fitness is a visual industry. Having a presence on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok can be a great way to build an audience and gain customers.
With a digital fitness business, you can also create multiple streams of income that can be set up passively (think digital guides or workout plan PDFs).
Why start an online fitness business?
- There is already a demand for people who want to be helped in their personal fitness process.
- All of this can be done online. You don’t have to meet people in real life for fitness classes if you don’t want to.
- You can create scalable content, like courses, cookbooks, or fitness programs, that can continue to generate revenue in the background and require minimal maintenance.
23. Create and sell NFTs
Creating and selling NFTs is one of the newest ways to build an online business. There’s a hot niche market out there worth tapping into if you take advantage of community building and manage to sell NFTs on platforms like OpenSea .
If you are an artist and already make physical art, translating these skills into marketable NFTs can prove to be a solid pivot in the online business world . First, learn about what NFTs are , where their real value lies, and what tools you need to start generating NFTs on the blockchain and building a brand .
Why create and sell NFTs?
- The NFT industry is booming, with a market of over $40 billion, and shows no signs of stopping.
- It’s extremely easy to jump in and hit your own NFTs once you learn the basics.
- This is a solid way to leverage your creative skills and generate income by reaching a wider digital audience.
24. Create an online coaching business
Do you have coaching skills? Join the online coaching industry and start coaching clients in your niche. How ? Start by clearly defining what you offer and what results clients can expect from your coaching efforts.
Online coaches like Instagram use to access clients who want the results it offers. If you’re getting into coaching, social media marketing is a must.
Taking the time to get certified in your particular area of expertise can help establish you as an expert in your field and increase your credibility.
Why start an online coaching business?
- Online coaching offers high earning potential if you have strong interpersonal skills and can drive results with clients.
- There is no barrier to this sector. You can get into coaching on any topic you know enough to charge for.
- Word-of-mouth marketing can be a powerful source of generating leads once you get started.
25. Work as a voice-over
You can become a voiceover artist from the comfort of your home once you’ve built a voiceover brand that producers can trust. There’s no limit to what you can do as a voiceover once you’ve set up your own home recording station.
You can dub audiobooks, YouTube videos , internet advertisements, webinars, courses, etc. To get started, consider recording a demo reel, creating a professional website, and establishing a social media presence that will attract potential customers to you.
Remember that the dubbing industry is creative, which means you may need to be creative in how you attract customers and generate revenue.
Why start a voice-over business?
- Starting a voice-over business can be a niche opportunity for a candidate with the right skills.
- The income potential is high, depending on how it is exploited.
- It can be an unconventional way to make money in an industry that is not oversaturated.
26. Become an advertising consultant
Advertising is everywhere. Why not be the one getting paid consulting fees by companies looking to optimize their advertising strategy? Yes, it is a business that you can manage entirely online.
What do you need to start? The obvious steps apply here. Choose the ad types you want to specialize in.
Whether Google PPC ads, Instagram ads, Facebook ads, TikTok ads or even display ads – then start marketing your services with a professional website and different packages service offerings.
Remember that counseling is not for everyone. You need to have a lot of experience under your belt to be sure you can deliver results to clients who are looking for your advertising expertise. If you are new to advertising strategy, it is best to wait until you have gained more experience before becoming a consultant.
Why Start an Advertising Consulting Business?
- The price of an advertising consultancy activity can be flexible and depends strongly on the perceived value.
- It’s a great online business idea if you’re good at people skills, management, and meeting key performance indicators.
- If you enjoy networking, this is one of the best ways to gain clients.
27. Create niche websites
The only barrier that stands between you and building niche websites as a service business is the learning curve.
Not only are there tons of free resources online that you can tap into to learn the ins and outs of web development, but you can also learn website building platforms to gain marketable skills that clients are actively seeking.
It’s not hard to learn how to build niche sites, but it’s the marketing part that takes the most work. Consider finding your first handful of clients on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr . Don’t forget to collect testimonials from your past clients to help sell your services to new clients.
Why create a business of niche sites?
- There are little or no start-up costs to get started in a service industry that is in high demand.
- You can cut the time you spend building niche websites in half once you create reusable website templates for yourself.
- Creating niche websites can be a great business endeavor if you have a sense of design.
28. Launch a community of members
Can you say recurring monthly payments? That’s exactly what a membership business idea can do for you. Membership business ideas are limitless.
You can create content and place it behind a paywall, or create a members-only community that has access to your niche expertise on a monthly basis. Check out member communities like Peak Freelance or Superpath for inspiration.
When deciding to go with a membership business model, clearly define your value proposition. You can offer value in the form of written content, video content, exclusive group coaching, PDFs, guides, courses, or downloadable workbooks.
It is also possible to provide a monthly physical product to each member, but keep in mind that this involves shipping, additional overhead, and inventory logistics.
Why start a membership business?
- Membership is a great business model due to the potential for recurring monthly revenue.
- You can take advantage of the “build once, sell many” content creation model that software makes possible.
- There are plenty of out-of-the-box subscription building tools for you to quickly start building a hub where users can create their own profile and consume your content.
29. Promote sponsored posts on Instagram
Instagram accounts in all sorts of niches are making a profit from referrals. Here’s a quick recap of how it works:
- Develop an Instagram page in a relevant industry that lends itself to referrals.
- Make sure you cultivate an engaged audience that interacts with your content.
- Create a brand kit and reach out to potential partners to discuss a collaboration.
- Set your prices, publish your sponsored content and get paid.
- Rinse and repeat.
Why start a sponsorship business on Instagram?
- You don’t need money, certifications or customers to get started.
- Instagram sponsorships can be a lasting business that doesn’t have to take hours of your time.
- You can grow your Instagram profile organically, without having to invest any upfront money in marketing.