Thanks to the Internet, anyone can become the owner of one or more online businesses. It is a great job opportunity for those who prefer flexible working hours and total control over their income.
Not to mention that it is more resistant to sudden outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 crisis.
In this article, we will provide you with the top 20 profitable online business ideas you can start this year.
1. Affiliate Marketing
First on the list is one of the most popular online business ideas. With affiliate marketing, you can earn money by promoting other people’s products or services.
It’s a monetization alternative for many online content creators. Tons of companies love having their products recommended by influential people, as word of mouth is still an effective marketing strategy.
If you love to give your opinion about products, affiliate marketing is a great idea to start. Many people have moved up in this business by creating a website based on a particular niche: from headphones or dog food to mattresses.
How you get paid depends on the company. Often, you will receive a commission each time someone buys a product or clicks on the affiliate link on your platform.
To get started, join affiliate programs like Hostinger Affiliates, Amazon or ShareASale. You’ll find hundreds of items to feature on your website. Be sure to choose products that fit your niche and audience.
Today, blogging is still a profitable business. It’s a great way to make money online by sharing your knowledge and interests.
However, you must have the right strategies to earn a stable income.
The key to a successful blog is choosing the right niche. Not only must it be tailored to your experience and passion, but it must also have a sizeable audience. Your blog is guaranteed to get traffic if there are people looking for you from the first moment.
In addition, the niche must have commercial potential. The main sources of income for a blog depend on several monetization options. This includes affiliate marketing, providing an advertising space, creating sponsored content, selling products, courses, among others.
Once you have set up your blog, start writing articles. Make sure they provide useful content for your audience. Also, learn some digital marketing tactics to optimize your blog and generate more traffic.
3. Content creator at Patreon
Do you want to be an online content creator? Consider joining Patreon. It’s a crowdfunding platform that many have used to get financial support from people who like your work.
With Patreon, you can offer fans several membership options at different prices to choose from. In exchange for a monthly income, you will provide exclusive content for your fans, from behind-the-scenes images to online courses.
Many creators have turned to Patreon for sustainable livelihoods, such as Humans of New York and Markus Magnusson. Not to mention that they use it to build a fan base and connect it.
To use the platform, sign up for a creator plan. Patreon will reduce some fees when you start making a profit. In return, you’ll get features like coaching and analysis to help you manage your business.
4. Selling craft products online
Do you have a gift for crafts? Try selling your products.
People are generally more willing to pay if they find unique products. Therefore, you can set a higher price for your products than the average market.
To optimize costs and profits, start with your home store and buy materials in bulk. Also, make sure you have the right target audience in mind when designing your product.
Need some ideas on how to market your products? Look for small craft businesses online for inspiration, like Bario Neal. This store, in particular, thrives on serving sustainability enthusiasts.
Today, sites like Etsy, eBay and even Instagram can help launch any small business in a short time. However, if you want complete control over your operations, consider starting your own online store. This way, you’ll have authority over your brand and won’t be charged by third parties.
5. Selling items on eBay
With savings becoming a trend, now is a good time to start selling the items you no longer use. Not to mention that there are always people looking for a great deal.
This business requires low start-up costs. To find out what price to start with, you can visit an online flea market or auction site to find good deals on older items. You can find anything from furniture to clothing to toys.
Although there are thousands of e-commerce sites to choose from, eBay is still the reference marketplace for used items. Take advantage of the platform’s popularity if you want to make money quickly.
You can also use its auction model if you have a rare item, such as a vintage record player or an antique video game console. These can generate up to hundreds of dollars if you attract a crowd of collectors.
If you have a recurring revenue stream, try to earn additional income by creating an online course to share your knowledge. Flea Market Flipper is a good example of a used product sales business that does this.
6. Amazon FBA
If you want to become an Amazon seller, sign up for Fulfillment by Amazon. It’s a program where you can have the e-commerce giant manage your inventory, shipping and customer service.
It is an excellent solution for new business owners who want a simple process for setting up their operations.
However, keep in mind that you will have to pay fulfillment and storage fees to join FBA. However, the total costs may be more affordable in the long run, compared to handling these aspects yourself.
7. Dropshipping Business
Dropshipping is one of the best online business ideas if you want to make money from home. Unlike a typical online store, you can run an e-commerce site without the hassle of making products or managing stock.
Instead, you can partner with wholesalers to label your products under their brand. When someone makes a purchase, you will inform the company that is sending the order to the customer.
Thus, dropshipping is an affordable online business to start with. To set up the store, all you need is a website, a laptop, and access to wholesale vendor directories like SaleHoo and AliDropship.
Since most dropshipping stores sell similar products, be sure to differentiate your brand from the competition. Companies manage to do this by shrinking their niche. For example, Mooshe Socks just sells cute socks.
Since YouTube is one of the most watched platforms on the Internet, becoming a video creator can be very profitable if you do it right.
With over two billion users, there are many niche markets you can access, as long as you have an audience and commercial potential. From blogs and streaming video games to music covers: the options are endless.
The amount of revenue you will earn will depend on your monetization channels. Most YouTubers earn money through affiliate marketing, sponsorships, products and Google AdSense. Some also offer online conferences and courses, like Jay Shetty.
To start your YouTube career, you’ll need to learn some editing skills and buy some good video making equipment.
In addition, you’ll need to focus on building your subscriber base. Companies usually look to partner with influential people with a large and loyal following.
Podcasting is on the rise and is one of the most promising online business ideas on this list. There are over 140 million podcast listeners in the United States alone, and more companies are partnering with podcasters to advertise their products.
Like other content creation specialists, choosing the right niche is important. If you start with a popular topic, make sure your podcast stands out from the competition.
Or choose something specific and timely. At times like these, you can make a program about social distancing or how to stay safe from the COVID-19 virus.
Podcasters earn money through affiliate marketing and sponsored content. However, those who have a large number of listeners can join podcast advertising networks like Midroll.
If you want to get started in podcasting, invest in excellent audio equipment and an editing program such as Adobe Audition.
There are two ways to publish your podcast: joining a podcast hosting platform or creating your own website. The latter option would give you more control over your brand and its monetization.
10. Online Coaching
Do you have special experiences to share? Start a coaching business. As an online coach, you can find clients from all over the world.
Some popular topics to cover are nutrition, self-development, spirituality, dating, business and more. To make your services stand out, consider choosing a topic in which you are a specialist.
Among your services you can offer private video calls or send video courses to your clients.
Also, consider making a free e-book or starting an email subscription service so potential clients can get ideas on how your lessons can help them.
11. Web development
Web developers are a highly sought-after workforce that many companies need today. Tons of companies and entrepreneurs hire them to run their online presence.
Platforms like Codecademy and Treehouse can help you get started. There are also websites that offer coding lessons for free.
Once you have enough skills, create a portfolio for your web development projects. A website like Matt Farley’s is excellent to visit if you need some inspiration.
12. Application Development
Applications are still in high demand, so it is not surprising that their development is among the best online business ideas.
Think of unique applications like Flush. It’s a toilet search engine that lets you know if there are toilets nearby in case you need them.
Nowadays, having coding skills is not a necessity for application development. Softwares like AppyPie and AppSheet allow anyone without technical experience to design mobile applications. However, it would be helpful to familiarize yourself with the easy-to-use mobile experience and interface designs.
For people to download your product, publish it as free in the app market. You can provide premium features in the app and advertising space to earn money.
13. Video game development
As the video game industry grows rapidly, why not make money creating your own games?
Just like application development, there are tons of software that allow you to create video games without any programming knowledge, like Unity and GameMaker: Studio.
A great video game should have excellent playability and a challenge that gets more difficult with each level. It would also help to include a compelling story.
You can make simple games like Dots or a more complex one like Clash of Clans.
Today, most game creators generate income by making their product free and offering purchases on the application at the same time. You can create a marketplace in the game where players can access premium features to help achieve their goals.
When your game is ready, publish it on platforms like Play Store, App Store or Steam.
14. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant does everything that an assistant can do, except that it does it online. It is one of the most popular online business ideas.
In other words, the main job description would be to perform administrative tasks for customers, such as answering emails, scheduling appointments, automating spreadsheets, etc.
In this, there is almost no limit to what a virtual assistant can do for companies. Some customers may ask you to manage their online store, social networks, website and more. So, if you are looking for a job with several learning opportunities, this could be the perfect start for you.
To get started, make an online resume and upload it to job boards such as Upwork. Having a website can increase your professionalism and make you stand out among your potential customers.
Upwork is one of the best independent online business platforms.
15. Graphic Designer
Do you have talent in art and design? Consider starting a career in independent graphic design.
Because tons of companies need help creating visual branding materials, graphic design services are always needed. You will create work from logos, social media publications, computer graphics and more.
You don’t need a degree to start this type of online business. However, you must first polish your skills. Try enrolling in an online course or reading graphic design books. Also, invest in a good computer, drawing tablet and graphic design software such as Adobe Creative Cloud.
Since the job market is quite competitive, make sure you have an outstanding portfolio.
16. Online Teacher (video courses)
For those with experience and knowledge in a given subject, becoming an online teacher can provide significant income.
There are several topics you can teach, from academic subjects like math to extracurricular lessons like music.
If you wish, try tutoring for an exam or standardized subject in your country. Many parents are willing to pay good money for someone to help their children prepare for these tests.
Alternatively, you can offer private English lessons if you are a native speaker. Companies like EF provide people from the USA and the UK with the opportunity to teach international students.
Sites like Teachable and Udemy have made it easy to have students from all over the world. They are excellent platforms to start if you are new to online teaching.
Once you have increased your clientele, you can create a website for your courses. This way, you will have more flexibility about your teaching methods and monetization.
17. Sale of informational products
Information products are digital materials that provide useful content for customers. Types may vary from e-books, webinars, and membership sites, among others. It’s another great online business idea with low start-up costs.
Similar to online coaching, this online business idea is ideal for those with special expertise. You can create informative products for various topics, from practicing Zen habits to getting a job in investment banking.
If you want to make your product profitable, make sure you address a problem that many people face.
In addition, you will need a solid landing page that can convert visitors into customers.
18. Amazon Kindle writer
Do you love to write? Try publishing a book on Amazon KDP. It is one of the best online business ideas for those who enjoy putting their thoughts on paper.
As a self-published author, you can keep the rights to your work and set the price of the book as you like. In addition, uploading your book to Amazon is an easy and straightforward process, so you can start making money online in no time.
However, keep in mind that Amazon keeps a part of your royalties. So make sure you choose the royalty option that suits your needs.
Once your book is published, promote it through online ads and social networks. Create a landing page that conveys why your book is worth reading, like this one by Tim Ferriss.
If you want your work to get more exposure, consider joining the KDP Select program. You will get access to more promotional tools, but you must guarantee that your book will be sold exclusively on the Kindle.
19. Online Ad Manager
Since digital ads play an important role in a company’s success, many companies have begun to take advantage of them. However, not many know how to take advantage of these ads.
This is where you come in. As an online ad manager, you will manage the advertising needs of your customers on different platforms, such as Google, Facebook and Instagram.
In addition to marketing skills, you should have knowledge of PPC bidding strategies, ad pricing models and analysis.
You can create a commercial website for your management services. Present it in your social network accounts, ads and job boards as Workable to gain customers.
20. Website and domain sales
If you have a background in business and web development, consider investing in websites and domains to make a living. What you will do is search for undervalued websites and domains, buy them, modify them and sell them again.
Many people are more interested in buying well-established sites than in creating their own. This is because achieving good domain authority and backlinks can take time and effort.
In addition, it is difficult to find great domain names. If you buy one that has commercial potential, someone might be willing to pay a high price to buy it.
To get started, head to markets like Empire Flippers and Flippa to find websites. Make sure the ones you want to buy aren’t banned, incomplete, or full of viruses.
During the process, focus on the user experience and design of the website. Also, follow search engine optimization practices. A website with a high search engine ranking can sell quickly.