Running a small business definitely has its appeal, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. The truth is, starting a business of any kind is hard work and the first step is thinking of an idea. In this guide we’ll give you a bunch of online business ideas and guide you step-by-step on how to start a small business online.
Countless people have already made the leap into entrepreneurship. And with the right online business ideas and plenty of sweat equity, you can too.
This isn’t about one simple life-changing trick. Starting an online business doesn’t work that way. Instead, to help you find profitable online business ideas, we’ve put together a collection of simple ways to start a business without quitting your day job.
If you have some designs in mind and a little bit of time on your hands, you can get your clothing company off the ground.
If you already own a Shopify store, you can set up your own clothing line using Printify, Printful, or a similar product-sourcing app. Each automatically links your store to apparel printers and clothing manufacturers. They also handle every step of the retail fulfillment process for you, giving you the freedom to design and ship a wide range of pieces right out of the gate.
Why start a clothing line?
There’s nothing more satisfying than creating products that people will use every day.
As soon as you build your Shopify store, you’ll be able to start selling instantly. Thanks to print-on-demand apps, the process of designing and delivering your own custom-made clothing has been streamlined and simplified.
You’ll love the feeling of seeing your designs come to life by transforming your creativity into something real and profitable.
Think you need a warehouse full of inventory to run your own business? Think again! Dropshipping is a great way to start a business on a budget. You can hit the ground running by sourcing a pre-existing product from a supplier and having them take care of things like packaging and fulfillment.
This process lets you skip over a lot of obstacles that might be standing in the way of you starting your own business. More importantly, it eliminates the risk of finding out there’s no market for your product after placing a huge order with a manufacturer or supplier.
Why choose dropshipping?
You don’t need to stock products in a physical location, meaning that your cash flow won’t get tied up in inventory. There’s less of an upfront cash risk.
Whenever a purchase is made, you place an order with a third party and they handle the rest of the process for you. Since you don’t have to deal with things like tracking inventory or mailing packages, dropshipping eliminates a lot of potential headaches for budding entrepreneurs.
No warehouse means you can run your business from anywhere. Whether it’s your living room or the café down the street, you decide where you want to work from.
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 revenue with a beautifully designed eCommerce website.
If painting or photography is your forte, you can sell your work as prints, canvases, and framed posters using Printify or Printful. This is a fantastic way to turn your art into something tangible that people can take home and integrate into their space. Is music your thing? You can sell your beats, songs, samples, and more as digital downloads.
Just take a look at The Drum Broker, the largest online drum sample business in the world. It created a successful and sustainable small business model with the help of apps like FetchApp and ShipStation.
Why sell your art?
You’ll be part of people’s lives by getting your work into customers’ homes.
You’ll create a platform for showcasing your work by setting up shop online.
As an artist, creating art isn’t just a hobby—it’s a way of life. This is your chance to turn your passion into an income stream and potentially do what you love for a living.
If you love hitting up thrift stores and hunting down great deals, then one great online business idea is to sell your second-hand treasures online.
Your potential customers want to buy cool stuff, but they don’t want to dig through old soccer jerseys and braided belts to get their hands on that one amazing find. Take advantage of this by positioning yourself as a trustworthy curator who can go out and uncover those great vintage pieces for others.
Why sell your thrift store finds?
Let’s face it, you’d be combing through thrift store racks anyway, so you might as well make some money while you do it by putting your shopping addiction to work.
The margins are huge. That $2 RadioShack ball cap you found over the weekend? You can turn it into a $40 vintage hat.
You’re selling something unique. Nowhere else on the web will people be able to find the vintage collections that you put together.
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product or service by sharing it on a blog or social media to your email list, on your website, or on other channels. You earn a commission each time someone converts through your unique referral link or code.
Find an affiliate program that suits your interests, personal brand, and target audience. Affiliate Future, ShareASale, and FlexOffers are a few examples. Amazon has its own affiliate program, and you can also check out the Shopify Affiliate Program.
Once you’ve signed up, start sharing. Create social media posts, blog articles, emails, and other content about how great the product or service you’re promoting is. Don’t oversaturate your audience with ads, otherwise you risk coming across as spammy or inauthentic.
Why do affiliate marketing?
It’s easy: you likely already promote the products and services you use. Now you can get paid for it!
Affiliate marketing is a great source of passive income. With the Shopify Affiliate Program, affiliates earn an average of $58 for each user who signs up for a paid plan and $2,000 for each Plus referral.
Subscription boxes are themed packages of various products. There are subscription boxes in pretty much every industry, from meal-prep kits and craft snacks to fitness products and makeup. You can curate subscription boxes around virtually any theme of your choice.
When you curate subscription boxes, you work with brands and artisans to purchase and resell their products in a bundled offering. Typically, consumers expect to be surprised by what’s in the box, though there are some (like meal prep kits) where the customer chooses what they receive.
Why curate subscription boxes?
It’s a viable seasonal business. Ironically, “subscription” boxes are purchased as gifts more often than for the buyer themselves. So if you’re only interested in running your online business for part of the year, this could be a model worth checking out.
It’s a growing industry. Subscription commerce sales grew from $16 billion in 2019 to almost $28 billion in 2021.
You don’t need to create your own products. Instead, you can use proven, successful products and simply put them together in a nice package.
If you recognize an opportunity in a certain niche, you might be on to your next successful online business idea. Niche products cater to a unique audience. When done well, they serve a specific community.
Niches could be based on industry, demographic, price points, geography, values, product attributes, and more. Really, a niche could be anything specific enough to target a small group of potential customers. For example:
Conscious consumers: think vegan, sustainable, and eco-friendly products and brands.
Pet owners: you could even drill down by pet type.
Remote workers: these professionals have specific attributes different from the traditional office worker.
Why develop a niche product?
Niche products are unique and thus buzzworthy. Early success can be all you need to drive press coverage with zero budget.
Though niching down might be scary to some, choosing a specific target customer makes it easier to create marketing and messaging that resonates. Rather than trying to speak to a broad, diverse group, you’re talking to a group of individuals with lots of shared characteristics.
If you’re particularly crafty, selling handmade products would be a great online business idea for you. Whether you make jewelry, picture frames, or furniture, one way to monetize your craft skills is to sell products online. Handmade goods is a great industry for creatives and even an achievable business idea for kids.
While you can use platforms like Craigslist or Etsy, your own online store will give you more control and make it easier to track and fulfill orders.
Why sell handmade goods?
Devote as much or as little time as you want. It’s your choice on how big you want to grow.
Create on your schedule. Make your handmade goods on a set schedule, when you have spare time, or whenever you want.
Turn your passion into income. Like many of the online business ideas on this list, an entrepreneurial endeavour backed by passion leads to a more fulfilling experience.
The ability to sell your goods on marketplaces isn’t new. Yet it’s still a very lucrative way to start a sustainable online business. Seller platforms like eBay, Bonanza, Etsy, Offerup, or Facebook Marketplace make the process of listing products, capturing contact information, and receiving payments easy.
The best part? These massive seller platforms already come with built-in traffic. As the seller, it’s your job to get strategic with your listing and keep track of what sells and how well so you can optimize your efforts. You can do all of this from the comfort of your home, too.
Why sell on marketplaces?
It’s affordable to start without a hefty upfront investment.
You get access to a pool of traffic you might not be able to tap into on other platforms.
The online selling skills you acquire can translate into adjacent businesses down the road.
The only obstacle standing between you and building niche websites as a service-based business is a learning curve. Not only are there tons of free resources online you can tap into to learn the ins and outs of web development, you can also learn website builder platforms like Shopify to gain marketable skills clients are actively looking for.
While learning to build niche websites isn’t hard, it’s the marketing part that might take more legwork. Consider finding your first handful of clients on platforms like UpWork, Indeed, or Fiverr. As you get the ball rolling, don’t forget to collect testimonials from past clients so selling your services to new clients becomes easier.
Why start a niche website business?
There is very little to no startup costs to get started in a service industry that’s in demand.
You can cut the time you spend creating niche websites in half once you create reusable website templates for yourself.
Building niche websites can be an engaging business venture if you have an eye for design.
Creating and selling NFTs is one of the newest ways to start an online business. There is a passionate niche market worth tapping into if you leverage community building and manage to sell NFTs on platforms like OpenSea.
If you’re an artist and you’re already making physical art, translating those skills into marketable NFTs can prove to be a solid pivot into the online business world. First, get informed on what NFTs are, where their value really lies, and what tools you need to get started generating NFT art on the blockchain and developing a brand.
Why create and sell NFts?
The NFT industry is booming, with a market cap of over $40 billion, and shows no signs of stopping.
It’s extremely easy to get started and mint your own NFTs once you learn the basics.
It’s a solid way to leverage your creative skills and generate income as you tap into a wider digital audience.
SaaSend can help online shop owners by handling their logistics needs once and for all so they can focus on developing their businesses. SaaSend helps online shops find the best, safest, most cost-effective route for their parcels, and also takes care of any warehouse, packaging, tracking and even insurance needs they have by partnering with top international and local service providers.
Online shop owners can make mistakes when they are in a hurry to make money. They may not do the market research and focus on the content. This is a big mistake because content is not the only important part of an online store. Good content attracts more customers and increases the chances of conversion. However, when you don’t have enough information about the market you work in, good content doesn’t matter much.
Many online store owners make the mistake of thinking that they can just launch their store and wait for customers to come. They don’t do enough research on the market and competition, and they don’t spend time creating content for their store.
This is why it’s important to be patient and put in enough time researching the market before launching a new online store. It’s also important to create content for your store, so that you can start generating traffic with SEO right away.
Online shopping is a booming industry. With the rise of e-commerce, more and more people are turning to the internet to buy their products. However, there are many mistakes that can be made when launching an online shop.
Most important one is that you should not be impatient and try to rush things at the expense of quality. Market research is necessary before starting your business and it will help you understand what your target audience wants and needs.
Secondly, you need to have enough content on your website – this means that you will have to invest time in coming up with articles for your blog or social media channels as well as designing a content strategy for your website. It is also important that you deliver on time, as customers will not wait if they see no progress from your side.
Finally, it is crucial that you stay tight on schedule – if there are delays then customers will lose interest and move onto another website which has a better reputation for delivering products on time.
Online shop owners are often impatient when it comes to the market research. They want to open their online store as soon as possible and start selling without having done any research.
There are many mistakes that can be made by an online shop owner. The most common one is not doing enough research on the market before launching the store. This will lead to a lot of wasted time and money.
It’s also important for online shop owners to have content ready for their audience, this is crucial for delivering value to customers on-time with a tight schedule.
Online shop owners have a lot of challenges to deal with. Especially when it comes to marketing and content. One of the most common mistakes that they make is being impatient and not doing enough research before starting their business. They also fail to deliver on time, which is a big no-no for any online store.
Another common mistake that online shop owners make is not making good relationships and deals with other brands. Valuable business partnerships can help owners a lot when it comes to growing a newborn online shop.
SaaSend can help online shop owners by handling their logistics needs once and for all so they can focus on developing their business. SaaSend helps online shops find the best, safest, most cost effective route for their parcels, and also takes care of any warehouse, packaging, tracking and even insurance need they have by partnering with top international and local service providers.