10 Online Business Ideas for Beginners [2020]
Start Things Off Right With the Perfect Business Idea

10 Online Business Ideas For Beginners Thumbnail

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jul. 24, 2018

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this simple, step-by-step guide, we’ll compare web hosting plans so you can find the perfect host for your website. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
  • Time To Complete:
    10 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    Awesome Ideas

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

Is 2020 the year you finally create your online business? It could be! If you’re like most of the entrepreneurs/future entrepreneurs we know, you’ve gone over tons of online business ideas, imagining what your life would be like if you quit your job and could make money anywhere in the world.

But as awesome as that sounds (and is!), time and time again you return to your comfort zone – steady income from a secure job, the consistent schedule, the ease of having a boss who tells you what to do.

“I’ll try doing the online business thing next year,” you say to yourself. Then next year never really comes.

It’s time to end the cycle of procrastinating on creating an amazing life of freedom and fulfillment by building an online business!

To help you finally get going, we’re laying out 10 online business ideas you can get started on ASAP.

What We Mean by “Online Business Ideas for Beginners

If you’ve been interested in creating an online business, you’ve probably come across a few “beginner” posts like this one.

In researching this article, we found a lot of websites with ‘easy online business ideas for beginners you can start today right now and make tons of money tomorrow” posts.

At Create a Pro Website we’re all about helping out beginners like you with everything you need to create and build a successful online business.

However, we’re not about selling you false ideas about how easy it is to be successful online.

You can be successful, but it will take time and hard work.

That being said, in our list of online business ideas, instead of throwing out every option under the sun, we focused on those that are reasonably easy to start; depending on which you choose some will take more work than others to get to success/profits.

Here’s how we’re breaking the ideas down:

Freelancing, Consulting and Coaching Businesses

These are businesses where you use a skill you have or learn to earn money for helping clients get things done (by hours spent or by project). This is one of the fastest ways to start earning money online, but it’s hard to scale your income with them.

Audience-Based Businesinesses

Audience-based businesses are those where you create content that people enjoy enough to keep coming back for more, then you leverage their attention to earn income in a variety of ways. They usually take a long time to get going but have a lot of long-term profit potential.

Product-Based Businesses

Product-based businesses are those where you sell digital or physical goods – either ones you make or someone else’s. Depending on what you sell and how, they can start earning income quickly or take a while, but in general they also have good long-term earning potential.

Make sense?

Let’s get into some specific ideas to get you started in the online business world.

Freelancing, Consulting and Coaching Businesses

10 Online Business Ideas Freelancers, Consulting, Coaching Thumbnail

Freelancing, Consulting, and Coaching businesses let you leverage some sort of skill you already have (or can learn) to make money by trading your time/effort.

Compared to some of the other types of online business ideas you can start making money fast, but it can be hard to scale your income as you’ll pretty much always need to trade time for dollars.

For this list, we focused on businesses whose work is both:

  • In-demand online (personal training is great but 95% of the time people will want to meet in person)
  • You can learn/sell without needing a lot of experience or a fancy degree (believe it or not people do look for architectural consultants online and that kind of sketches us out).

And here are a few websites that make it easy to start finding clients and working on projects that pay:

10 Online Business Ideas Become a Copywriter Thumbnail

Become a Copywriter

According to all-around awesome site Copyblogger, “Copywriting is the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action.”

This can range from pay per click ads to website copy to email marketing.

If you already have a passion for writing, copywriting might be a great option for earning some online income!

And since most of us have some ability to write, it can be a great option if you’re not really sure which online business is right for you.

Copywriting is also a great beginner online business idea because just about any online business you’ll create will need copywriting at some point.

Quick note “copywriting” traditionally refers to words used in advertisements that are meant to sell products/services.

If that’s not quite your style there are quite a few other types of writing you can make money doing too, including:

  • Blogging
  • Social Media Posts
  • Grants
  • Resumes/CVs
  • Speeches
  • Technical Writing

10 Online Business Ideas Become a Graphic or Web Designer Thumbnail

Become a Graphic or Web Designer

Have you ever seen a Pinterest post or website home page that looked so good it really stuck with you?

You can thank the graphic designers and web designers of the world for that.

And you could be one of them!

Graphic and web designers basically visual communicators who make the web pages, infographics, logos, and fancy ebooks we love to download look great.

And with today’s tools, you don’t have to be great at drawing to be a designer (though it certainly helps)!

Here are a couple of resources to get you started:

10 Online Business Ideas Become a Business Consultant or Personal Coach Thumbnail

Become a Business Consultant or Personal Coaching

Copywriting and graphic/web design are some of the most in-demand and easy to learn freelancing businesses around.

But there are a ton of other ways you can make money as a freelancer, consultant or coach!

Here’s a laundry list of other profitable skills you can make money with online in case writing/making things look awesome isn’t your style:

Audience-Based Businesses

Audience-based businesses involve creating lots of amazing content to build a following of people who love the work you create.

Some of the most common types of content you can do this with include:

  • Blog Posts
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Photos/Artwork

These businesses take a lot of work to get to a point of making money – at least months, sometimes years.

But, once you get a good-sized audience built, there are a ton of options for monetizing the attention you get.

And many of those monetization methods can bring in the holy grail of online business money: passive income.

Here are a few audience-based business ideas.

10 Online Business Ideas start a Blog Thumbnail

Start a Blog

At Create a Pro Website, we’re big fans of blogging (that’s why we make posts like this).

And for good reason!

It’s super easy to start a blog to share your thoughts, share what you’re learning, or share your life with the world.

Getting into audio recording and want to let people know the best soundproofing materials you’ve found? Go for it!

Maybe you’re really into coffee and know everything there is about little details like the best low acid coffee and the perfect coffee to water ratio.

Or perhaps you’re super outdoorsy and want to cover a nich related to hunting like the best rangefinders or best drones for taking outdoor landscape shots.

The world is your proverbial oyster when it comes to topics you can cover on your blog (especially if it’s a seafood blog!).

And unlike other forms of audience-based business, you can completely own your blog and build it yourself; from your domain name to your website hosting, with a little investment, you can do whatever you want with your website.

And, there are tons of opportunities for earning income with your blog, including:

To get a better idea of what it’s like to start a blog and earn money from it, check out this amazing post from our friends at Create and Go (and sign up for their Pro Blogger course for all the tools and info you need to get started)!

10 Online Business Ideas Become a Social Media Influencer Thumbnail

Become a Social Media Influencer

If worldwide fame appeals to you, becoming a social media influencer might be the online business for you!

Thanks to the grassroots power of social media, as long as you have an engaging, authentic story to tell (and a solid work ethic), it’s possible to build a huge following!

And once you do, you can partner with sponsors and advertisers to trade your influence and attention for income (in a creative, tactful way of course; please don’t sell out yourself or your audience for the sake of a few dollars!).

While becoming and remaining a social media influencer requires constant evaluation of which platforms are gaining/losing attention (RIP Vine, nice work Snapchat), in 2018 the top social media platforms for becoming an influencer are Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube.

Here are a few resources if this sounds like the gig for you:

10 Online Business Ideas Start A Podcast Thumbnail

Start a Podcast

In case you haven’t heard (see what we did there), podcasting has been blowing up the last few years.

And for good reason – unlike blog posts, videos, or social media, it’s possible to listen to your favorite podcast while doing the dishes, driving to work, going for a run…

Pretty much any time when you would have either been listening to music and not learning anything or just silently hating life (one of the best perks of working from anywhere: dodging rush hour traffic).

Podcasting sits in an interesting space between blogging and social media influencing.

Like blogging, you can mostly own the platform (not relying on a social network that can change their policies/algorithms and destroy your business).

But you can leverage platforms like Spotify and Soundcloud to tap into an existing platform and audience.

And like social media, most podcasters earn revenue from paid sponsorships and ads, though you can certainly create and sell your own products or services through a podcast too.

Here are a few resources to get your podcast started:

Product-Based Businesses

10 Online Business Ideas Product Based Business Thumbnail

Product-based businesses revolve around selling digital and/or physical products to earn income.

You can either create your own product or buy and sell other people’s.

Product-based businesses can involve some audience building if you create your own e-commerce website, though opportunities to advertise through influencers or pay per click ads, or build partnerships with companies offering related products mean you can start bringing in cash without needing a lot of people’s attention.

There are also some solid platform options out there that will let you start moving products and making sales without needing to build a website!

Let’s take a look at those first.

10 Online Business Ideas Sell On Amazon, Ebay, Etsy Tuhmbnail

Sell on Amazon, eBay, or Etsy

Just like the freelancing/consulting platforms we shared above make getting your first clients easier because people are already there looking to get a job done, sites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy make it easy to start selling products.

To start selling, you could do something as simple as going to a church sale, buy some cheap stuff, and flip it on eBay.

You can also find dropship products through Amazon to make some cash without having to keep boxes of stuff in your basement.

Or you could learn how to craft really cool handmade goods and sell them on Etsy (sweet hobby + income potential = awesome online business idea).

If you’re interested in the idea of selling physical products but aren’t sure you want to fully invest in building an entire website and business infrastructure to do that (or you just don’t have a product idea yet), selling things on some of these websites is a great place to start!

10 Online Business Ideas Create an E-commerce Website thumbnail

Create an eCommerce Website

If you know you have a really great product or store idea and you’re totally ready to get after it, then you should definitely look into starting an e-commerce website.

Though it can be a lot of work to do this compared to some of the other ideas here, eCommerce websites have a few advantages including:

  • You can own your website/domain – no worrying about getting shut down because of some terms of service violation you didn’t know about.
  • You can make unique products and build a brand that stands out from the competition (this can be hard to do as a consultant or content creator).
  • Scaleable income: once you figure out what products sell well and build a website and business that helps you do it, you can turn a lot more traffic into a lot more income without doing a lot more work.

If an eCommerce website seems like an interesting idea, here are some resources to learn more about getting started:

10 Online Business Ideas Website selling and Domain Flipping Thumbnail

Website Selling and Domain Flipping

You’ve probably heard of people who buy and sell real estate (it’s one of the old school ways of building a business to gain financial freedom and quit the 9-5).

And you’ve probably heard about people who buy and flip houses.

Well, we think that’s a lot of work (not to mention a lot of money down).

But you can actually do something similar online!

There are two ways you can do this:

  • Selling “Real Estate” in the form of domain names.
  • Selling “Houses” in the form of websites.

With buying and selling domain names, you’re basically trying to find and buy domain names you think someone will want enough to pay you a lot of money for (you can get an unused domain name for as little as $15 bucks a year; carinsurance.com sold for $49.7 million).

With selling websites, you’ll either buy an existing site, build up its income/income potential, and re-sell it, or build a site from scratch and sell it once it’s started generating revenue.

Now that sounds like a good bit of work, why would you want to do that?

Well, maybe you don’t want to sell a website that’s earning you money; if you learn how to build a successful niche site, you could just keep it and its income.

But if you find you really like building websites and get good at it, you can make a lot of money in bigger chunks by selling your sites.

And just like with our first online business idea, Copywriting, in learning how to build websites that become valuable enough to sell, you’ll gain a ton of useful skills to earn money online in a whole bunch of ways!

If you’re ready to start building your online empire, here are a few resources to get started with domain flipping and website selling:

Bonus Business: Stock/Forex or Crypto Trading

10 Online Business Ideas Forex and Crypto Trading Thumbnail

This last online business idea didn’t quite fit into our 3 categories, but we definitely think it’s an interesting opportunity (and one that beginners can get into).

Some people consider joining the volatile stock and forex trading markets a risky business (we’re probably some of those people).

And while cryptocurrencies are definitely cool, they’re probably even riskier.

But, if you put in the work and can handle some pretty wild swings in your net worth, trading stocks, foreign currencies, and cryptocurrencies can all be learned online, done online, and very profitable.

Learn more here:

Time to Start An Online Business

10 Online Business Ideas Time to Start an online Business

There it is, no more excuses; financial and lifestyle freedom is out there, waiting for you.

And we’ve laid out a ton of ideas and resources to help you make the choice to finally start your online business.

Next year won’t come.

Tomorrow won’t come.

By picking one of the online business ideas above and putting in some good old-fashioned hard work, you could that cliche person hanging out on the beach in Honduras while having fun with your business and making money online.

We think that’d be pretty dang awesome!

And if you found this list super helpful and know someone else who’s been dragging their feet with the online business thing, share this post to help get them going too!

How to Setup a Gmail Custom Domain for Free
Learn how to set up a custom, professional email through Gmail

professional email address gmail custom domain

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jul. 2, 2018


Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this simple, step-by-step guide, I’ll show you exactly how to set up your professional custom email address through Gmail. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
  • Time To Complete:
    20 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    A Custom Email Address

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

So you want to make your email address look professional right?

But you also want to use your Gmail account because boy those people at Google make things stupidly simple to use…

If that’s the case – you’re in the right spot!

I’m going to show you exactly how to get a professional email address for your website and set up a Gmail custom domain for free!

As always, we have a video guide for this making a professional email address available on our YouTube Channel and below:

If you liked the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Moving on…

Custom email addresses help you build and promote your brand (people see your website/business name in your emails, not “Gmail” – and they definitely don’t need the extra promotion).

This way, instead of sending email from “[yourname plus some random numbers]@gmail.com” you’ll be able to send and receive emails from “[yourname]@[yourwebsite.com].”

And with this here how to create custom email address free guide, you can still use your free Gmail account.

And while a lot of posts and videos out there will tell you to pay for Google G Suite or use other tools like Mailgun – we’re going to show you a super simple way to use a free custom email address with Gmail!

Why Use a Custom Domain for My Email Address?

A custom domain email address is one of the more important parts of building a brand for your pro website.

We’ve seen plenty of bloggers and new businesses using generic Gmail addresses and that’s easy enough to understand – Gmail is free, easy to use, and everyone already has one.

But if you’re in the process of creating your pro website, it’s really easy to get a professional email address using your website’s domain name from your web hosting provider at no extra cost to you.

Why use a custom domain/professional email address instead of a generic Gmail?

Three reasons:

  1. A custom email address from your business’ domain makes you look more credible and professional.
  2. Custom email addresses help you build and promote your brand (people see your website/business name in your emails, not “Gmail” – and they definitely don’t need the extra promotion).
  3. You can create multiple custom domain email addresses for things like “[yourname]@[yourwebsite.com],” “info@[yourwebsite.com],” or “customer-support@[yourwebsite.com]” and with the process we’re going to show you in this post, you’ll be able to have all those emails go to one Gmail inbox.

Why use Gmail instead of your hosting provider’s email client?

When you sign up for website hosting, you’re almost guaranteed to also get access to professional email addresses through them (especially if you use our favorite hosting company, Hostgator).

If you haven’t tried this already let us save you some time: their email clients (the web interfaces that let you access those email addresses) suck – most look like they stopped updating their user interface in 2003.

Gmail, on the other hand, is fantastic – it looks great, it works great, you already have one and know how to use it.

Why not just use Google’s G Suite?

In case you haven’t heard, G Suite is Google’s business version of its free apps.

For people like you looking to create their first pro website, the most important benefits of G Suite are additional Google Drive storage and support for custom domain email addresses.

But, that’ll cost you $5 per month – nothing crazy but that’s an extra $60 a year you can spend on other cool tools to grow your website.

And, as it turns out, if you already have a custom domain name and a professional email address from your hosting company, there’s actually a way to use your website’s custom domain with Gmail for free!

So let’s go over how to make a professional email address and connect it to Gmail in 4 easy steps.

1. Get Your Custom Domain Name and Website

The first thing you’ll need to do is get a custom domain and website hosting.

If you haven’t done that yet, here are a few beginner’s guides we’ve put together to help you out:

With your domain name and web hosting set up (your website can still be a work in progress), you’re ready to move on to step 2.

2. Setup Your Professional Email Address (HostGator)

As far as web hosting goes, we’re huge fans of HostGator – it’s what we’ve built Create a Pro Website with!

So here are the steps to set up a professional email address with your website’s custom domain using HostGator’s portal – but the steps should be similar for other hosting companies.

1. Log in to the HostGator Customer Portal and click the “Email Accounts” link under “Control Panel

gmail custom domain hostgator email accounts

2. Fill Out the Form with Your Professional Email Address and Password, choose the Unlimited Option to Keep All the Emails You Get, and click “Create Account!

how to create custom email address free hostgator

3. Use Your Custom Domain with Gmail for Free

Now that you’ve set up your professional email address, let’s make Gmail your mail client so you can send and receive emails using their awesome interface.

1. Log in to your Gmail account, click gear icon at the top right and then the “Settings” option in the drop-down menu

how to get a custom email address gmail settings

2. Click the Accounts and Import tab, scroll down to the “Check Mail from Other Accounts” section, and click “Add a Mail Account”

free custom email address gmail add account

3. Enter your professional email address in the pop-up and click Next

gmail custom domain free email address

4. The next screen will ask if you want to use Gmailify, we want the “Import Emails from My Other Account (POP3)” option then click Next

import emails email address with my own domain name

5. Enter the full professional email address you created with HostGator in the “username” box, then your password in the “password” box. In the  “POP server” box, make sure it says “mail.[yourwebsite.com].” For the other options:

    • Check “Leave a Copy…” If you want to be able to access your emails with another client (besides Gmail).
    • We recommend SSL for security, but you’ll need a bit more setup. For HostGator, you’ll need to update the POP server name and port number, see here for details.
    • You’ll want to check “label incoming messages” so you can tell when emails are coming from your professional email address.
    • Don’t check the archive/skip inbox option – you want to be able to see when new emails come in!

what an email address gmail add domain settings

6. With all those options set, click “Add Account.” On the next screen, you’ll be asked if you want to be able to send email from your new professional email address – select “Yes” and hit “Next”!

This creates an “alias” which basically means people see that they’re sending email to your custom domain email address but really you’re using your Gmail. When it shows up in their inbox it’ll say your new professional email name.

personal email address send email gmail custom domain

7. On this screen, fill in the name you want to have displayed when people receive emails from your professional address (eg “[Your Name]”).

making email addresses add sender name

8. Click Next Step and you’ll be taken to the page to send email through your custom domain’s SMTP server. Enter that same username and password as before, leave the security option at the default, and click Add Account.

gmail business email free smtp settings

4. Verify and Test Your Gmail Custom Domain Setup

Once you’ve gone through all that, the last thing you’ll need to do is verify your new professional email with Gmail and test to make sure everything is working.

1. Once you click that last “Add Account,” a window will pop up asking for the code. Head back to your Gmail inbox and within a couple of minutes, you should see a verification email with a code inside.

gmail custom domain confirmation code

2. Copy and paste that code from the email into the verification box in the pop-up and you’re done verifying!

how to create custom email address free enter verification code

3. Now you’ll want to test to make sure your custom domain email address works with your Gmail. If you have a separate email address (from the Gmail you’re using with your custom domain), log in to that email and try sending an email to your professional email address.

If you don’t have another email address, you can just send an email from your current Gmail to your professional email, it should still work.

4. If your test email shows up in the Gmail inbox you set up with your custom domain, and it’s labeled with your professional email address, then you’re good to go!

5. One final tip: once you’ve set up your custom domain, be sure to head back to the “Accounts and Imports: tab in your Gmail settings and select the “Reply from the same address the email was sent to” option.

This way, whenever someone sends an email to your professional email address, your replies will show they’re from that address too (instead of your Gmail address).

gmail custom domain free reply from same address

Professional Email Address + Gmail, Free

So there you have it, that’s how to get a custom domain and use it with Gmail for free to get a professional looking email while getting to use the awesomeness that is Gmail!