You see people make money online and you’d like to do it, too. It can’t be hard, right? Well, not if you have the best online business idea. And the truth is what’s right for one person may not be what’s right for you. While some savvy people have made millions applying make-up on YouTube, others have carved out a nice living for themselves by selling organic recipes and cookbooks on Amazon. The secret is to match your natural talents with an audience that’s willing to pay you for it.
A word of encouragement? There’s always someone willing to pay you for your expertise.
We reached out to a wide variety of entrepreneurs to find out the hottest online business ideas. You’ll find their responses below. We’ll also follow that up with the most reliable ways to make money online. Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any online business ideas of your own that you’d like to share!
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Big Apple Buddy, www.bigapplebuddy.com.
They will ship any item from the U.S. to anywhere in the world – in the most personal, transparent and fast way possible. There are many items, such as tech gadgets or fashion brands, that are only available in the U.S. I have used this service myself many times to get items shipped to Italy – such as the newest Jawbone UP3 fitness tracker. They are always very responsive and great!
Caitlin Pyle, Creator, Proofreadanywhere.com
The best online business idea is turning your genius, or your own personal know-how, into very sellable, super-valuable, high quality eBooks, online courses, tutorials etc. that help will people enhance or change their lives. I love this strategy because it is mutually beneficial. You get to share what you love + earn money from it, and others get to learn and benefit from it in the same way you have.
Selling your know-how can really pay off. Even if your know-how is super nerdy and small — I created an online course that teaches people how to start a business proofreading transcripts for court reporters. Lives have been changed in the process, including mine! The course has earned me over $166,000 in profit since its launch in February, exactly four months ago today.
Austin Lugo, Author and Entrepreneur
Imagine a learning center for people of all ages. A library not constricted by silence, but encouraged by expedient contemplations and unique ideas. Imagine such a place where people go not to be silenced, but speak freely upon their behalf. A TED conference meet library. Each book would be given a 3 month limit, and only if the book is both checked out and discussed freely will it stay.
A place where new authors can gather feedback, for each book encourages notation and markings, instead of dissuading the diligent intelligence which presides in such a place. A charity which provides the meaningful, encouraging the purposeful. There is no greater strength than that of knowledge..
Alexander Ruggie, Public Relations Director, 911 Restoration
My online business idea is proximity pricing.
It works like a map app, but instead of just showing you the businesses around you, it will show you their products too. So if you want to know where the closest, cheapest snickers bar is, you can two finger tap your way there and find it within walking distance for $0.75. But you may be able to find it within 10 miles for $0.25, you just have to be willing to drive.
This would all be accomplished by a cloud based bar code / QR code reader stream that coalesces all of this data for the users to tap into through GPS data and preferences, the seller and user ratings, and finally reliability reviews and the like.
I believe that as far as the future of small business retail, it will be in collaboration with the bigger players on levels that they never expected.
Malik Akande, Founder, Uberkit.net
My response is a little biased, because it is my business; however who best to talk about a business but its founder? My top online business idea is uberkit.net.
This business supports one of the fastest growing niches online – people interested in Uber.
Joni Cohen, eCreamery.com
ECreamery.com is a site where you can create your own flavor of ice-cream or gelato and name the creation.
They have positioned ice-cream as a gift item. They print personalized messages on pints of ice-cream and send them anywhere in the U.S.
When the box arrives with four pints of ice- cream, it’s like an instant party.
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Antonio Gual, Designer, Tulle New York
The idea that one can order a tailor who would come directly to one’s house or office to do alterations. Genius!
Lisa Batra, Founder and CEO, My Kid’s Threads, LLC
My favorite online business idea is a service that solves a problem, gives back to the environment and can financially assist any charity across the U.S. I started My Kid’s Threads, an online consignment service that features amazing high-end designer children’s clothing for purchase or consignment, after working 15 years in eCommerce for Fortune 500 companies. Busy families love the convenience of shopping online, saving money and giving back to charities or earning some cash for their kids’ outgrown clothing.
Jay Berkman, The JLC Group
The idea is simple: a global search directory that lists the nearly 2000 crowdfunding sites, as well as the hundreds of 3rd party sites that are designed to help those seeking to raise money (for business startups, charitable causes, political campaigns etc).
Yes, there are a handful of platforms that do something similar. RaiseMoney.com will prove unique courtesy of a strategy that captures the attention of multiple silos and using multiple brand-awareness tactics.
Emmanuel Ley, FashionStork.com
We just implemented the idea of allowing online customers to tip the staff.
I don’t brag much, but I’m super proud of this. We style men monthly, and because the items are selected by a stylist who reads their profiles, we designed our interface to allow gratuities while telling a bit about the stylist. We believe we are starting something major companies will be doing in the years to come.
I’m really interested in the wave of productized consulting that seems to be swelling up recently. To put it in layman’s terms, an individual (usually a freelancer or consultant) who has a very specific skillset packages their services up in a way that makes it appear like a product. Some people are hesitant to work with individual freelancers, but if you look and sound like a company, they are much more at ease.
Slisha Kankariya, Co-Founder, Four Mine Co LLC
Bridging the gap between online and offline shopping and getting people over the uncertainties of online shopping is key in converting customers. In order to do this, online retailers must create a flawless shopping experience that caters to the needs of their customers. Four Mine is an online jeweler specializing in diamond engagement rings and wedding bands. What’s unique about us? We offer a free try-before-you-buy replica ring service. Our high quality diamond simulant and metal alloy rings look and feel as close to the real ring as possible. Consumers can try their favorite three styles at home- with no obligation to purchase.
This inspires consumer confidence and comfort with our brand, the quality of our rings and builds a lasting relationship!
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Setting up a blog is an easy online business to start. You can write about any topic that interest you. Monetize your content through online ads or business partnerships.
Get paid by promoting others’ products and services. Sites like Amazon have wonderful affiliate programs where you can make money by reviewing for your audience.
Do you love teaching people something new? Are people always asking you to teach them how to do a specific task? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you should definitely create a course. Sites like Udemy and TutsPlus are always looking for new instructors and class ideas.
If you’ve ever purchased on eBay, chances are you purchased from an individual. Selling items online is a great way to make money. This isn’t a virtual yard sale where you’re simply clearing out pieces you no longer need. An online shop is much more intentional and driven, where you can specialize in a product. Examples include selling computer parts, essential oils, or hand-knitted hats.
One of the best places to set up shop, is through Etsy, an online sales store. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Being Successful on Etsy to learn more.
Everyone is an expert in something. Maybe you know a lot about copywriting or meal planning or raising a credit score. And, if you can teach what you know, there’s probably someone who’s willing to pay for it.
Are you a web designer? You can make serious money designing websites for individuals. If the thought of having a one-on-one client is too limiting, you can also create website templates and sell them on sites like ThemeForest or CreativeMarket. You can also sell them on your own site. Not a web designer, anything can be learned! Refer back to #15
Are you gifted in technology? Perhaps you know a lot about smartphones or computers? Create an online business where you walk people through the process of setting up their technology.
Are you a video editor? If so, there’s someone out there who desperately needs your services. Not everyone understands what to do with a jumpcut.
Are you an organized person, or can you help others get organized? Consider creating a virtual assistant business where you can provide administrative services in exchange for cold hard cash.
Are you interested in home decor? Do you love re-imagining home spaces? Consider a career as an online interior decor. You can create mood boards, set up design strategies, and make furniture and fabric recommendations all online.
All companies need a presence on social media these days. If you’re naturally gifted in social media, companies will hire you to manage their accounts.
Resume writing can be one of the most difficult tasks ever. If it’s not difficult for you, consider a career in resume writing. While you may not have repeat business, you’ll get a lot of great referral traffic.
Do you love video? The bar for entry is much lower than it used to be. Now, from your smartphone you can create high quality videos. Upload those videos on a site like YouTube and monetize it with advertisements. If you get popular enough, you can also benefit from company sponsorships.
A big thank you to everyone who participated! We’d love to hear from you, too. What’s your favorite online business idea? Let us know in the comments below!
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