Best Online Startup Business Ideas
The world of online business has bloomed over the past few decades, and making money online is only getting easier. With new technology entering the market that allows people to work from home, new business ideas are always emerging.
The great thing about starting a business online is that the barriers to entry are relatively low. You don't need to have a lot of money or experience to become your own boss. However, you will need to be willing to put in the hard work and dedication required for any new business venture.
Here are some of the best areas to start your own online business so you can easily find success.
1. Website Development
Website development is a service that is in demand from businesses, bloggers, and more. The skill to develop a well-crafted, user-friendly website is the main requirement for this startup that could be operated from your couch. However, to introduce a startup that will grab customer’s attention, you’ll need to focus on your competitive edge. This could entail unique templates, free marketing tools, or top-tier business features. Unique offerings make a splash with customers and make choosing your services a no-brainer.
Recommended: Check out our full list of tech startup ideas.
If you’ve spent more time at home lately, you’ve most likely gotten familiar with online shopping. The most successful ecommerce startups target a specific market with visual sales tactics and a well-curated selection of items that appeals to their demographic. Start by identifying a market that isn’t super saturated or a demographic that is being overlooked, preferably one that you are passionate and excited about. To operate this startup from home, however, you’ll need adequate space for storing goods and space to photograph products for your website.
Recommended: Check out our full list of ecommerce startup ideas.
3. SEO Services
Search engine optimization (SEO) services are in high demand by businesses and individuals who want to boost their site traffic and reach new audiences. If you’re an SEO expert, parlaying your SEO skills into an online startup can be a very lucrative endeavor that helps customers get the most of their online platforms. Since this is a result-oriented startup, to be successful you will need to fine-tune your SEO skills to ensure your methods show noticeable improvement in the customer’s site traffic. For this reason, purchasing software that allows you to thoroughly study analytics and search engine trends is crucial.
4. Ebook Writing
Build your readership or expand a business by writing ebooks. Ebooks are an emerging market for aspiring authors looking to draw in more readers and diversify their market strategies. With more and more people staying home, the market for easily downloadable ebooks is stronger than ever. If you’ve got a knack for writing, an ebook startup is a great way to share your stories without the cost of going to print. Not to mention, it is super work-from-home friendly.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves creating content that promotes other people's products. This can be in the form of blog posts, social media posts, or even YouTube videos. When someone clicks on one of your affiliate links and makes a purchase, you will earn a commission from the sale.
This type of online business is perfect for entrepreneurs looking for a low-cost way to get into the online world. It's incredibly easy to start, and you only need a few skills in order to to get your affiliate sales started. The best part is that once you create a ton of content, you have the freedom and flexibility to focus on other businesses without having to continually put a ton of time and effort into your affiliate business.
6. App Development
If you have a background as a coder or are interested in learning how to code, app development is a great online business to get into. The barriers to entry are higher than some of the other ideas on this list, but the potential rewards are also much greater.
With over 2 billion active Android devices and over one billion active iOS devices, there is a huge market for app developers. And with the rise of new technologies like augmented reality and the Internet of Things, there are even more opportunities for app developers to create innovative new apps. The apps that end up becoming successful are those that provide endless entertainment or those that serve a specific pain point.
Recommended: Get inspired by checking out our list of the best app startups to watch.
Next on our list of online business ideas is blogging. Starting a blog not only offers a space to share your passions with a like-minded community but it is an opportunity to monetize your interests. While there is no end to the type of blogging that is possible, most require the same basic necessities: writing skill, photography proficiency, and an eye for the aesthetic. Starting a blog from home can be a challenge if you don’t have adequate space to create impactful photo or video content that works within your niche, so you should consider the amount of space you have before going into this type of online startup.
8. Social Media Influencer
Social media influencers create a strong brand centered around their personality and lifestyle. Creating content that is engaging and marketable while maintaining a rapport with brands, followers, and other influencers is key to being a successful social media influencer. Since this industry is saturated with aspiring influencers already, you’ll need to focus your efforts on creating a distinct, appealing brand that will result in rapid growth. Like blogging, a successful influencer needs the space to create targeted content, so creating a space inside your home that is optimized for content creation is a necessity.
9. AI Company
What was once the stuff of sci-fi movies has increasingly become a part of our everyday lives. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing industry with a myriad of opportunities for tech-savvy entrepreneurs. However, with AI companies becoming more common, your startup must challenge the status quo with innovative offers that set them apart. To come up with a marketable AI product, consider problems that companies and individuals need solutions for, and you can create the AI company to solve them.
Check out our interview with the founder of AI startup Linguix!
10. Online Job Board
More and more people are taking to the internet to find employment or post job openings. An online job board startup can cash in on this growing demand by creating a platform that makes the hiring and job search process easier for everyone involved. Even better, this startup is easy to manage remotely. Differentiate yourself from the competition by creating a job board for a specific industry or modifying the traditional hiring process with new, creative ideas.
11. Graphic Design
As more businesses turn to the internet to promote their products and services, the demand for graphic designers has also increased. Graphic designers are responsible for creating visual content that represents a brand or company. This can include everything from website design to social media posts to logo design.
Already having skill in graphics design makes it easy to start your own business by scouting and gathering new clients. To scale your graphic design business, you can start hiring other designers to do most of the work for you while you continue to find new clients. You can also create a smaller successful business for yourself by focusing on a niche you are passionate about, like green living or travel.
12. Dating Website
With 30% of adults in the US looking for love using online dating websites, there is a great deal of opportunity for entrepreneurs to jump in on this market. However, it isn’t as easy as just playing virtual matchmaker — a dating website startup needs to be effective, user-friendly, and able to offer customers something no other site can. Focus on creating a safe, positive environment, and consider catering your dating website to a niche market to stand out.
Check out our interview with the founders of dating app startup So Syncd!
13. Social Media Platform
More than ever, people are looking for new social media platforms to connect with like-minded people which makes this a great time to start your own social media platform. Consider the needs and wants of social media users that aren’t being met currently. Create the space for your target demographic to connect, share, and explore by incorporating new and exciting features that shake up the social media space.
If you currently work from home, you know that cybersecurity is especially important as more people begin to work remotely. From communicating with team members to making sales, everything we need to do is available online. That’s why cybersecurity startups are essential and profitable. The key to starting a successful cybersecurity company is to build trust with customers, giving them not only a reason to allow your startup access to their private information but to choose you to protect their data over one of your competitors.
Check out our interview with the founder of cybersecurity startup AaDya Security!
There are many startup ideas under the umbrella of telecommunications such as cellular networks, home security, and television networks to name a few. Establishing the right telecommunications startup idea for you is dependent on the demand and your experience level. For example, a home security telecommunications company is a potentially profitable startup but only if you can successfully build the trust of homeowners and offer them features they can’t get elsewhere. Beginning this startup from home will require you to dedicate a lot of time to marketing and networking in order to make your business successful but once you do — the sky’s the limit!
16. YouTube Channel
Anyone with a newer cellphone model can start their own YouTube channel. All it takes is a little bit of creative thinking, and you can start filming videos on any topic you want. Once you start building up a following, you can then begin to monetize your channel through ads or sponsorships.
The best thing about starting your own YouTube channel is that it's incredibly easy to start. Once you record a video, you can use the YouTube Creator app to upload your video, and your channel is started. Try to stick with a topic that you are already familiar with and have a ton of experience in to make your content stand out from the competition.
17. Telehealth Service
Telehealth technology has been an extremely important tool in the recent transition to hosting all kinds of health visits online. With no end in sight for virtual doctor visits, this industry is ripe with potential for remote entrepreneurs. A successful telehealth service needs to have the highest level of cybersecurity, a platform that is easy to use, and communication technologies that allows healthcare and patients to have stress-free communication.
Check out our interview with the founder of mental healthcare startup Circles!
18. Streaming Service
If you’re like most people, staying at home usually means using one or more streaming services. With 62% of adults subscribing to streaming services in the US, streaming services of all kinds are drawing in large numbers of subscribers. Now, it’s your turn to cash in on this growing market. If you are a skilled curator for a genre of music, film, or other media, a streaming service startup that centers around a niche market can be a great way to appeal to a demographic that’s needs aren’t currently being met.
19. Digital Marketing
It will be a long time before the digital marketing sector begins to fade. As more and more businesses turn to the internet to connect with their target market, the demand for digital marketing services will only continue to grow. Digital marketing involves using various online platforms to promote a brand or product. This can include everything from social media marketing to search engine optimization.
You can grow your own successful startup by focusing on a niche that is underserved, like local businesses and helping them to use platforms like Facebook or Google Search to find new clients. You can also implement the same techniques as a graphic designer and hire others to do the work for you while you focus on scaling your business.
20. Crowdfunding Platform
Crowdfunding platforms are used for everything from generating donations for charitable causes to raising money for aspiring entrepreneurs. The best approach to starting a crowdfunding platform is to find a niche that your startup will target then decide on the type of crowdfunding software you want to use. With a variety of crowdfunding platforms in existence, it's important that yours reaches a specific audience and offers them an experience they aren’t going to get elsewhere. For example, creating a crowdfunding platform to help small businesses who have lost crucial income in the past year would give you a market that existing platforms may not adequately address.
Recommended: Check out our full list of startup ideas for social entrepreneurs.
21. Online Coach
Help customers reach their personal and professional goals by creating an online coaching startup. The beauty of an online coaching startup is that there are limitless possibilities for the type of coaching you can do, and it is all possible to do remotely. Whatever your specialty is, there are most likely people looking for help in that area. The goal is simply to give customers the tools and support they need to reach the important milestones using your interpersonal skills and expertise.
22. Online Courses
Put your knowledge and skills to good use by sharing them with others! Online courses are easily taught and managed from home. All this online startup requires is a strong skill set, background, and knowledge base to draw from as well as strong interpersonal skills to get started. Whether it’s teaching crochet techniques or the basics of social media marketing, there is no end to the possibilities in this industry as long as you have interested students. Make it your own by developing a curriculum that is unique to you with assignments and objectives that will keep your students engaged.
Recommended: Check out our full list of startup ideas for education entrepreneurs.
23. Search Engine Creation
With more and more people looking for a different search engine experience than Google or Bing, starting your own search engine can be a potentially lucrative online startup. Make your search engine stand out by offering unique features such as advanced privacy settings, an algorithm that prioritizes different sources of information, or more in-depth search tools. To successfully start this type of business, you’ll need a strong background in web development and dedication to the marketing of your new creation.
24. Niche Website
Become the platform for like-minded people to gather or source information by developing a niche website that is laser-focused to appeal to a targeted audience. To start, research potential niche topics (preferably ones you are actively interested in) that will generate high site traffic, and find related keywords to drive SEO. Then, develop a unique, well-designed website loaded with focused content to appeal to your target audience.
25. Virtual Assistant
You don’t have to be in an office to help businesses and fellow entrepreneurs get organized. A virtual assistant startup is a great business idea for organized, task-oriented individuals. If this sounds like you, it is easy to get started by utilizing sites that can help you find work you’re interested in. Get a competitive edge by diversifying your skill set to make yourself eligible for a litany of job opportunities.
If you like the idea of an ecommerce startup but don’t have the room to store items to sell, dropshipping could be the perfect solution. Dropshipping startups simply take customer’s orders online, but instead of filling orders themselves, they are sent to a third-party retailer for fulfillment. Essentially, your startup consists of customer experience management, marketing, and curating items for your dropshipping business.
27. Video and/or Photo Editing Service
It's no secret that the future of the internet will be video and photos. Although copy will always be a part of the process, video is where most businesses attract the most attention. Creating your own video and photo editing service is a great way to start an online business.
The best thing about starting a video and photo editing service is that it's relatively easy to get started. You can use basic editing software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to edit videos, and there are plenty of free or low-cost photo editing programs like GIMP or Adobe Photoshop. Try to find businesses that you know will need a lot of editing help, like wedding videographers or event coordinators.
28. Online Resale Business
The fact of the world is that there are too many products being created and not enough people to consume them all. This has resulted in a massive amount of overstock, which can be bought at a fraction of the retail price and resold online for a profit. If you are savvy enough and love finding the best deals, you can make a legitimate business out of reselling old products.
You can buy products from online marketplaces like eBay or Alibaba and then resell them on your own website or through a marketplace like Amazon. You can also focus on niche products that are in high demand but low supply, like vintage items or hard-to-find collectibles. The key to success is to find a niche that you are passionate about and have a good understanding of the market.
29. Freelance Writing
If you really want the freedom to travel the world and be your own boss, freelance writing is one of the best opportunities out there. As a freelance writer, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals who need content created for their websites, blogs, emails, video scripts, product descriptions, advertisements, and more. The world of communication is based on verbal and written language, so freelance writing won't go out of style anytime soon.
All you need is a computer and an internet connection, and you can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a good command of the English language. To get started, sign up for a freelancing platform like Fiverr or Upwork and start bidding on projects that you are interested in. Be sure to deliver quality work and build a strong reputation so you can get more clients down the road.
30. Online Consulting
Have you been working in the same industry for years? Do you have a wealth of experience in a specific industry that many other people know nothing about? If you do, welcome to the very profitable world of online consulting. With your extensive knowledge, you can help businesses in your industry to grow and succeed using the advice you know already works.
As an online consultant, you can offer your services through video call platforms like Skype or Zoom. You can also use social media platforms like LinkedIn to find clients and build a network of contacts. The sky's the limit when it comes to online consulting, so get creative and start thinking about how you can use your skills to help businesses in your industry.
31. Domain Flipping
Any entrepreneur who is staying on top of trends and feels like they can predict where the market is going next will find success in starting a domain flipping business. Domain flipping is the process of buying domains that you think will be valuable in the future and selling them for a profit later on. The reason this can be so successful is that you don't need to put any work into the domain. All you have to do is buy it at a low cost and sell it to the highest bidder.
To get started, all you need is a good understanding of how the domain market works and some start-up capital to buy domains. Once you've bought a few domains, start promoting them through social media, email marketing, and other digital channels. Then, sit back and wait for the offers to start rolling in.
32. Ethical Online Marketplace
There are tons of online marketplaces that help to connect buyers and sellers of products or services, but you won't find many that have ethics built into the platform. Most marketplaces are looking to make a quick profit without much regard for the people they are doing business with.
An ethical online marketplace is one that focuses on connecting buyers and sellers who share the same values. This could be anything from an environmentally friendly marketplace to a platform that only does business with local businesses. The real secret here is finding an underserved community that is looking for connection but doesn't have a place for it yet.
33. Virtual Meeting Platform
Ever since people were forced indoors, the world of virtual meeting platforms has exploded. That doesn't mean there are enough to fit all industries of any size. You can easily start a virtual meeting platform that is designed for a specific industry or even just businesses in a certain city.
The best thing about starting your own virtual meeting platform is that you can design it however you want and add any features that you think would be beneficial. For example, there aren't many meeting platforms that have fully integrated Virtual Reality that allow people to be in the same room with each other without physically being there.
34. Online Newsletter
An online newsletter is a great way to stay connected with your audience and provide them with valuable content on a regular basis. This could be anything from industry news to tips and tricks for running a successful business.
A big part of starting an online newsletter is having a strong understanding of your target audience and what they are interested in. Once you know that, you can start creating content that will help them in their business or personal life. You can use the connections you have with your audience to start promoting products, create some of your own, or partner with sponsors in order to help your audience receive the most support with their problems.