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.
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 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 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.
Let’s get into some specific ideas to get you started in the online business world.
Freelancing, Consulting and Coaching Businesses
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:
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.”
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:
- Social Media Posts
- Technical Writing
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!
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:
- Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline
- Learn Web Design: Guided HTML, CSS, & Design Courses
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:
- Facebook Advertising
- Pay Per Click Consulting
- Web Development
- Online Researcher
- Travel Consulting
- Wedding Planning
- Party/Corporate Events Planning
- Foreign Language Teacher
- Social Media Manager
- Kickstarter/Indiegogo Advisor
- Public Speaking Coach
- Dating Coach
- Music Teacher
- Nutrition Coach
- Virtual Assistant
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
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.
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!
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:
- Self-Publish a Book on Amazon (and promote it to your audience)
- Create a Digital Product or Course
- Affiliate Marketing
- Premium Webinars
- Paid Private Facebook Group
- Freelancing, Consulting, or Coaching (it’s easier to sell your services to people who already love your content!)
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)!
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:
- How To Become A Social Media Influencer In Ten Simple Steps
- Confessions of an Instagram Influencer
- How To Be A Snapchat Influencer As Told By Snapchat Influencers
- Start a YouTube Channel
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:
- How to Start a Podcast in 2018: Pat Flynn’s Complete Step-By-Step Podcasting Tutorial
- How to Start a Successful Podcast (For Under $100)
- How To Start A Podcast: Step By Step
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.
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!
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:
- eCommerce Business Blueprint: How To Build, Launch And Grow A Profitable Online Store
- How to Make an Online Store (eCommerce Website)
- 3 Steps To Launch Your First eCommerce Website
- 10 Dos and Don'ts of Launching an eCommerce Site
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:
- 5 Tried-and-true Tips For Buying And Selling Domain Names For Profit
- 6 Ways to Sell a Website, and 4 Ways Not to Sell One
- Sedo (For Buying and Selling Domain Names)
- Flippa (For Buying and Selling Websites)
Bonus Business: Stock/Forex or Crypto Trading
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:
- Stock Basics Tutorial
- Forex Tutorial: Introduction to Currency Trading
- The Total Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency Trading (Bitcoin, Ether and More)
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!