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 a great online business idea. Here are the best online business ideas from a variety of entrepreneurs, plus a few of our own tips.
Jonathan Whitney, Bloggeroid
Blogs are a time tested form of online business that can always be monetized through adsense, affiliate links, advertising, and a number of other creative applications.There are two big reasons why a blog should be your first online business.
- You can test your market. If you have an idea, start blogging about it. Answer the common questions people might have and provide valuable content in your idea’s niche. Once you have an audience, you can pitch a product/service to them and effectively test that market before jumping into it.
- Blogging is not capital intensive, but there is a high potential for return. The best bloggers make 6 figures monthly. Even if you are just blogging as a hobby, it will teach you the basics that you need to know for an online business, such as web design, content creation, SEO, and advertising. These skills are essential for any other type of online business.
Greg Liberman, CEO, Puppyspot.com
Instead of matching potential couples online, we match puppies to potential owners by helping to eliminate the x-factors that are often associated with buying a puppy, whether online or offline. PuppySpot.com is committed to helping responsible breeders place healthy puppies into happy homes across the country.
Jill Bong, Chicken Armor
We went micro-niche with Chicken Armor poultry saddles when we were unable to find chicken saddles/aprons that were affordable and didn’t need to be laundered. Chicken saddles are worn by chickens like a vest and help to protect their backs against mating and molting injuries.
After about a year of testing materials and prototypes and materials, we developed Chicken Armor. Since its inception, we’ve sold many tens of thousands of saddles to all 50 states and to countries in 4 continents.
Konrad Billetz, Founder, Frameri
Frameri is a company that invented the first line of interchangeable, swappable frames and lens systems for glasses. With Frameri, you can swap your lenses into multiple different frames to rock lots of looks.
I mean, you’re able to change your shoes + outfits every day, why not your glasses?!
Maxime Rieman, Director of Product Marketing, CoverWallet
CoverWallet’s focus is on simplifying insurance for small businesses. We’ve done this by providing educational content and tools, as well as a platform to buy and manage insurance policies online.
The reason this is a great online business idea is because, while hundreds of thousands of people start their search for business insurance online, the majority still deal with a brick-and-mortar agent to buy and manage their policy. This takes a lot of time and can be a hassle (in both managing the physical paperwork as well as working around an agent’s schedule).
CoverWallet’s platform lets you see average pricing, notifies you when you need to renew a policy or certificate, and lets you see all key policy info online – meaning no delays when you’re trying to close a new job.
Saoud Khalifah, Creator, FakeSpot & Trustwerty
FakeSpot is a web tool dedicated to helping Amazon shoppers weed out fake reviews and find the most authentic products! Simply copy the Amazon product page URL, paste it in at Fakespot.com, and click “analyze.” Fakespot then calculates a letter grade that rates how much you should trust the reviews of the selected product. Use Fakespot before making your next electronic, beauty, fashion, or household purchase. You can also visit Fakespot’s website to see their curated lists of the most authentic products by genre.
Trustwerty on the other hand is where you can find the best of the best in online shopping. Use Fakespot to find fake reviews and if you want to research the best facial masks, baby products, or electronics, use Trustwerty. Their search engine displays and ranks products based on their review quality where the authenticity is judged by Trustwerty’s algorithm.
Billy Gordon, Owner, Small Pet Select
The reason we started Small Pet Select is because we thought we could provide small animal owners with better quality hay products than what was being sold in the pet stores.
If you give your pets higher quality hay, you are likely to have a happier, healthier pet, less likely to have to visit the veterinarian or end up dying unnecessarily.
Customers order online and we ship the highest quality hay direct to our customers door!
Audrey and Joseph, Sky Shelves
We believe space is an important element in everyone’s life. Our goal is to help everyone maximize their existing space, effortlessly and with a touch of freedom in design.
Sky Shelves uses a patent pending design allowing you to interconnect and modify endlessly your space with an added magnetic innovation.
The “No Screws and No Tools” aspect increases the longevity of the product, making it easy to disassemble and assemble any new desired combination for future use.
Deb Babcock, Blue Sky Pottery
I’ve been a seller on Etsy since 2006 and have sold over 10,000 pieces of handmade pottery through that site. In 2014, I opened a second Etsy shop to sell my watercolor paintings…it’s a little slower but a great way to get your art out there. I live in a little tiny town up in the mountains of Colorado, so the online presence has been a wonderful way to be able to create my art in this environment and then sell it all over the world.
Will Yin, Founder, Scent Trunk
Scent Trunk creates a custom perfume for you based on your preferences. How it works: for free, we’ll ship you 6 scents to test out. Once you provide feedback on those (what you love, like, and hate), we’ll send you a perfume based on your exact tastes. People love the opportunity to customize the perfect perfume for them.
Debra M. Cohen, Home Remedies
A great online business for people who want to work from home, earn a great income, and need a flexible schedule is a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business. HRNs pre-screen and refer painters, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and more to local homeowners. The HRN owner earns a commission for any work secured. Homeowners can go online and request a contractor and they are custom matched with a contractor from my network.
I started my HRN business 20 years ago on a part time basis and it has grown into a cottage industry with more than 300 businesses like mine operating nationwide.
Jared Shaner, Chief Revenue Officer, Trellis
My favorite online business idea is from a current client who is looking to create an online marketplace for new and/or gently used consignment items. It stems from the concept created by folks such as Thredup that allow consumers to gain some monetary return when they are done with their clothing that in many cases were quite expensive when first purchased.
The ease and convenience of having a prepaid shipping bag sent to your home which you can stuff and send back to be sold online is a trend I see catching fire in the next couple years; I would not be surprised to see a number of other players in this space emerge. It’s a novel alternative to donating a $200 shirt for instance when someone might be willing to give you $50 online for it.
Dana Gutkowski, President, North Pole Notes
With North Pole Notes, subscribers sign up to send personalized and unique letters as Santa Claus, not just in the holiday season, but ALL year. Perfect for parents, Godparents, Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles, or just about any gift giver!
Normally Santa is only associated with the Christmas season, but with North Pole Notes, he can become a part of the family all throughout the year as he dresses in different outfits and also sends poems with news ideas on how to remain in Santa’s nice list. After all, shouldn’t we always be encouraging children to stay on the nice list?
Toby Balsiger, PR & Communications, WebsiteTigers
Here’s my online business idea: A website where you can enter in the name of your online date and the business will research the person for you. So let’s say you find someone on a site like Match.com that you want to set up a date with, but you want to learn more about them first. You can submit the name into this website and the business will research all of the social profiles and anything else they can find online about the potential match for a flat fee. There would also be an option for a background check.
The site has one more feature to leave a review for the person after you meet them. Let’s say you go out with someone on a date who seems creepy so you end it early. Then when you get home, you leave a review saying the person was creepy, and didn’t look at all like his or her profile picture. This would help other people that might be considering dating them!
David Mercer, Founder, SME Pals
With tens of thousands of new drones being purchased, and subsequently crashed or damaged, there is an opportunity to start an online drone blog, advice, and repair business. Here’s the clever part: use a 3D printer to print good quality spare parts cheaply and use those for repairs and spares. Customers with damaged parts can order them online, have them printed, and delivered. Alternatively, they can post the damaged drone to you to your workshop, have it repaired, and sent back.
Jaclyn Baumgarten, CEO & Co-founder, Boatsetter
Boatsetter boats can be rented with a captain or without (so no experience is required), and the fleet ranges from yachts to sailboats to pontoon boats. Boat owners and boat captains are able to earn income through the online platform.
Boat sharing creates a unique, private boating experience for everything from sunset cruises and snorkeling excursions to fishing charters or parties at the sandbar. You can own the experience, not the boat!
Jason Weisbrot, Co-founder, Arteeni
Arteeni is an online gallery and marketplace for American artisans selling handmade and unique items. We curate both the artisans and their products to make sure we have the best quality items on the site. Products include fine art, jewelry, handbags, home goods, small batch foods, and much more. Also, a portion of each sale is donated to a charity chosen by the customer from our curated list, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Homes for Our Troops, and the Alzheimer’s Association, among others.
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, and tutorials 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 and 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.
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 if you’re 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.
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.
Selling a lot of product online? If so, you will need a fulfillment service that can help ship your orders promptly. Click here to learn more.
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 third party sites that are designed to help those seeking to raise money (for business startups, charitable causes, political campaigns, etc).
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.
26. Solopreneurs can supplement their income with productized consulting.
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!
28. Affiliate Marketing
Get paid by promoting others’ products and services. Sites like Amazon have wonderful affiliate programs where you can make money by reviewing other people’s products and services for your audience.
29. Create a Course
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.
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.
31. Web Design
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.
32. Tech Support
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.
George Meszaros, Success Harbor
Why not turn your hobby into an online business? You can monetize most hobbies multiple ways. You can create a blog about your hobby where you sell advertising. You could also write a book, create an online course, or provide training online. You could set up an ecommerce site where you sell your products. If you are ready to get started, check out our guide to start a small business.
34. Virtual Assistant
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.
35. Online Interior Decorator
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.
36. Social Media Marketer
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.
37. Resume Writer
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.
38. Create Videos
Do you love video? The bar for entry is much lower than it used to be. Now, you can create high quality videos from your smartphone. 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.
Jeff Lee, Founder, eGobie
eGobie handles one of life’s more important, albeit time-consuming daily errands. The company specializes in mobile car wash/detailing services and mobile oil change service. With the use of a smartphone app, customers can order these services with a few clicks of a button. Customers can register for a free account, log in, tell eGobie what service they would like to receive, when to receive it, and where to receive it.
Over to You
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!