Online Business Ideas
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Whether it’s for a secondary income or a plan to replace the day job, everybody wants to have an online business. Working from home, working while you travel, earning money when you’re not even at work, these are all potential benefits of running an online business. But how can you decide what, out of the many online business ideas out there, is the best option for you?

This article will explore 19 online business ideas that still work in 2020 and beyond. To help you find the right business, we’ll rate each idea by the following factors:

  • Required investment (rated low 🟒 – medium 🟑 – high 🟠)
  • Skill to enter (rated low 🟒 – medium 🟑 – high 🟠)
  • Income type (active ⚑ or passive βŒ›)
  • What types of people this business is good for

We hope this list will help you choose the best online business opportunity for you.

Best online business ideas: 19 excellent options

1. Niche website building for clients

Website design can be a highly lucrative online business model, but it’s difficult to make your web design business stand out in today’s crowded marketplace.

One of the best ways to do this is to focus your business on building niche websites. These are websites optimized for affiliate marketing around a specialized topic.

Online Business Ideas

The great thing about building niche websites is that it only requires minimal coding knowledge. You can build most niche websites code-free with the new WordPress block editor or a page builder. This is more than enough for a side business. However, if you want this business to replace your day job, you’ll want to study HTML and CSS.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

2. Building your own niche website

One of the best long-term online business ideas is to build a niche website and use it for affiliate marketing. For example, you might start a coffee-themed review website and use affiliate links for all of the coffee machines you review.

WordPress or code-free website builders make it easy to build your niche website. However, this is not an overnight money-making solution. You will need to post high-quality reviews optimized for high-traffic keywords. When enough of those reviews start to rank highly on search engines, you will start to make money.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Passive βŒ›
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students.

3. Podcast editing

Podcasts have experienced a meteoric rise in the past two years. As of April 2020, there were over 1,000,000 podcasts and over 30 million episodes. You can become part of this exciting industry by creating a podcast editing business.

The main thing you will need to become a podcast editor is experience with Audacity. This is a free program with advanced audio recording and editing capabilities. You can find thousands of free Audacity tutorials online. Most podcasts have minimal editing needs, so an understanding of the basics is enough to get you in the door.

To expand your revenue stream, you can also help your clients create a podcast website (or you can just stick to editing, of course).

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

4. Transcription

Transcription is the act of writing down what is said in an audio or video recording. Transcriptionists are needed for a large number of things, including YouTube videos and podcasts.

You can get started with transcription through Rev’s freelancer program or create a website to advertise your services.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

5. Audiobook narration

Audiobook narrators can expect to earn an impressive $100 per hour, and with the continuous growth of audiobook sales, opportunities abound.

You will pay a heavy price to get started though. You’ll need to invest in high-quality recording equipment and practice reading to a microphone until you feel truly at ease. Once you feel comfortable recording, you can record an audition piece and pitch yourself on sites like ACX and Voicebunny.com.

Investment: High 🟠
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑ (some contracts may also offer residuals)
Good for: Stay-at-home parents.

6. Social media management / consulting

Businesses of all kinds are trying to connect with the 3.48 billion people on social media. If you can help them make those connections, you can build an excellent secondary income or even make enough to leave the day job.

This isn’t as easy as some people make it out to be, however. You need an extensive understanding of marketing and intimate knowledge of all the popular social media platforms. You need the ability to adapt to new platforms quickly. And you need to constantly be paying attention to how all of these platforms are changing.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

7. SEO management/consulting

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the lifeblood of online business. As an SEO professional, you will research the best keywords for your clients to target. You will then provide a system they can use to optimize their content. Some businesses may also want you to edit existing content for optimization.

All you need to get started as an SEO professional is a collection of free SEO tools and a love of research.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

8. Copywriting

Copywriting is strategic writing that uses marketing psychology to convince readers to perform a specific action, usually a purchase.

To become a copywriter you need an excellent understanding of marketing strategy and psychology, and a good grasp of the language(s) you plan to write in.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students.

9. Freelance blogging

Freelance bloggers write high-quality, informative content in a conversational tone to help companies rank well on Google develop positive relationships with website visitors.

The main things you’ll need to become a freelance blogger are a good grasp of the language(s) you plan to write in and basic knowledge of SEO. You can find freelance blogging work in places such as the ProBlogger job board and Upwork.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

10. Technical writing

Technical writing is the act of documenting processes so they can be replicated, such as in an instruction manual. This type of writing is characterized by a direct, neutral style.

You will need a significant amount of writing skill to become a technical writer, but the investment is quite low. With many jobs for technical writers being posted on sites like Upwork, you can get started without even paying for a website.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students.

11. Proofreading

Proofreading is essential for all kinds of written content, and in the age of the Internet, there is more written content than ever before. You can get paid to proofread blog posts, technical manuals, nonfiction books, or novels.

The main thing you need here is a comprehensive understanding of spelling and grammar in the language you plan to proofread in. Upwork is a good place to find your first proofreading job.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

12. Fiverr gigs

Fiverr is a place where people can post freelance jobs or services for as little as $5. You can choose a simple task to do repeatedly or offer a variety of small tasks, potentially with a discount when those tasks are bundled together.

You can also use Fiverr to find bigger, better-paid freelance jobs of numerous types. This includes several of the online business ideas we’ve already discussed, like copywriting.

πŸ‘‰ How to make money on Fiverr

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Low 🟒 – High 🟠 (depending on task)

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

13. Logo / business identity designing

Go beyond generic graphic design to focus on helping companies develop their brand identities and logos.

The main things you need to pursue this business idea are an eye for design, an understanding of marketing, and good graphic design software. You can use a program like Gimp to break into this business on a low budget.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

14. Self-publishing a book on Amazon

Turn your expertise or your memories into a book and self-publish them on Amazon. You can even turn some of the articles from your WordPress blog into a book.

This option requires significant investments up front. You will need time to write and edit the book as well as money for proofreading and cover art. Once published, however, a book is an excellent source of passive income.

Investment: High 🟠
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Passive βŒ›
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students.

15. Video editing

Another great way to make money online is to help brands turn raw footage into high-quality video content.

The big investment you’ll need to make here is software. While there are many free and affordable software options for video editing, to do this professionally you must invest in either Final Cut Pro for Mac or Adobe Premiere Pro for Windows.

Investment: Medium 🟑
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

16. Twitch streaming

If you like to play video games and you’re the type of gamer who tends to get excited and yell during gameplay, Twitch streaming is one of the best online businesses for you. You can make money through a combination of paid subscriptions and channel merch.

To do this properly, you’ll want to invest in a good computer chair, webcam, and microphone. You will also need to grab some streaming software.

Investment: High 🟠
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Passive βŒ›
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

17. Online courses

Share your skills and expertise through online courses. Script lessons based on your most useful knowledge and turn them into videos. You can then sell these courses on a website like Skillshare or on your own WordPress site.

What makes teaching online courses stand out from other online business ideas is that it can be both an active and a passive source of income. You can sell the video course by itself on an ongoing basis or combine the videos with a live Q&A or feedback session. You can even do both at different times.

Investment: High 🟠
Skill to enter: High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚑ or Passive βŒ› (depending on course)
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

18. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is the act of using a third-party to manage production, warehousing, and shipping of products to customers. This allows you to sell products online without worrying about storage space or complicated shipping laws.

The main thing you will need to be successful in dropshipping is a well-designed eCommerce store. You can build one on your existing WordPress website using WooCommerce or on a new site with Shopify.

πŸ‘‰ How to start a dropshipping store

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Low 🟒

Income type: Passive βŒ›
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students.

19. Virtual assistant

This option is last on our list of online business ideas because it has the least in common with a typical business. As a virtual assistant, you will help businesses with basic administrative and marketing tasks.

You can offer virtual assistant services through your own website or sign up with an agency like Virtual Gurus to get your first job as a VA.

Investment: Low 🟒
Skill to enter: Medium 🟑

Income type: Active ⚑
Good for: Stay-at-home parents, college students, teens.

Start your online business today

With 19 different online business ideas to choose from, you should be able to find an option that suits your interests, needs, and budget.

And if you’re interested in building niche websites (probably the most popular idea from our list), we have some guides on how to tackle some of the best blogging niches including:

Do you have any questions about how to get started with any of these ideas? Ask us in the comments section!

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