The year is almost starting, and I know many of you are thinking of starting fresh come in 2021. The best way to start the new year would be to start a new business online.
Here, I gathered some ideas from friends online about what they think would be the best online business ideas for 2021. Allow me to share the top 20 online business ideas for 2021 with you.
Why Online Business
Before we start, let’s talk about why online business is the way to go for 2021. This list is Bigcommerce.com’s 2019 projection. Paid media will need experts; content and commerce will take precedence; headless commerce will become mainstream; experiences will bleed over to offline; AI will make all things possible online; the retail workforce will change.
So far, if you are often online, you may have observed that all these predictions have come true. Facebook alone has countless job postings for content and media experts. Online shopping, not only on platforms like Amazon and Alibaba but even on Facebook, has become widespread. AI tools, even for writing, emerged. Indeed, there is nowhere else to go but online.
Surely, in the coming months, more reports of online business trends will come up, and I am sure you will be even more convinced of setting up your online business. Before you do that, let me now give you some best online business ideas.
20 Online Business Ideas to Explore
While some of these online business ideas may seem to bring only passive incomes, with the right dedication, you can make them your source of livelihood, and you can even make a fortune. This list is in no particular order since, for some people, some items here would be more lucrative than the others.
1. Be a Blogger
If you love writing, note that you can earn from it. You can do a full-blown blog of discussions and guides or just a listicle, which is a straightforward type of blog where you only make lists, like this one, except much shorter.
The best thing about blogging is, you can monetize it with Adsense. One of my friends has affiliations with other sites, and some companies sponsor another one of my colleagues.
ViralNova is one success story of a listicle. It revised already successful content from other sites and earned about $100 million, not to mention $400k+ per month in ad revenue.
The leg work would be in promoting the sites on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, but even that would not be difficult if you are often always online.
Of course, you will need patients. At the onset, you might be making so little, but with enough patience and hard work, you can drive in traffic to your site and earn more. Besides, no business succeeds without hard work.
Start by getting a domain name from the likes of BlueHost, HostGator, or GoDaddy. There are many more out there. Look for the one that fits your budget and needs best.
2. Affiliate Marketing
If you already are blogging, then affiliate marketing would be the one for you. It will not necessarily bring you big bucks, but at least your blog will be generating income, and your efforts of writing would pay off.
Affiliate marketing is all about a commission from selling products. Hence, you have a company’s banner or logo placed on your site, and whenever one clicks from your blog and buys on the site, you get a commission. The upside, you don’t have to have your product to sell. You need to display these company’s banners.
A friend of mine is an Amazon affiliate, and she does someone of a listicle mostly of items from Amazon. She rakes up a lot in featuring Amazon products and then having an affiliation to the store.
Being an affiliate is easy, at least with some companies. With Amazon, you only need to sign up as an affiliate to sell products. You get a unique referral link, which you put on your site. Of course, you get a commission for every product sold, and that’s it without lifting a finger.
You can explore other affiliate networks like Shareasale or ClickBank. Oh, and if you are using Grammarly, you can be their affiliate and get the service for free. There’s a lot of perks without having to lift your fingers so much.
3. Sell Your Product through existing sites
Creative people also have a place in online business. They can make or design products, then sell them online would be a great way to earn. If you love photography or graphic design and have a massive collection of creative outputs, try submitting them to the likes of CafePress.
If someone likes your image, CafePress could have it printed on shirts or mugs, and they do the shipping as well. Of course, you earn from this because the images and designs are your babies. Other sites that you could explore would be Zazzle, Teespring, and Lulu.
The upside to this business is that you don’t have to maintain your site. You design and submit, and get commissions from sales.
4. Set Up an E-Commerce Site
If you don’t want your product sold on other sites, then make your online store. The plus here is if you already have affiliate marketing, then you can pair it up with your e-commerce site and earn even more from your product and affiliates.
Be warned, though; you will be competing with bugs online e-commerce sites. Nevertheless, explore their weaknesses, and you will find that niche where you can capitalize.
Perhaps of the many online businesses that you can do, e-commerce would be one of the toughest. Still, with proper hard work and excellent products that would capture the interest of people, then this is one of the most profitable online businesses you can do.
Start by brainstorming on a profitable market that you can penetrate and keep asking yourself if this market will continue to be productive. Research who is in the market and how that player is doing. If the market is already on a downslope, you may want to look for something with an upslope because that would be where the growth potential is.
Once you’ve decided on your market, explore Shopify, an e-commerce system. You can set up a store in it without having to buy your domain. You don’t need coding, and it is low-cost. It will be a smooth start.
5. Develop Apps
Perhaps building apps is one of the most popular ways of earning money for the younger generation. Everyone uses a smartphone, and everyone needs something to make life easier–a map, a delivery app, a game, and so many other things. Find a niche in all these people’s needs and make an app. Voila! You could earn a lot.
Indeed, it is not easy to create an app. You will need to have the skills, but there are so many courses out there where you can learn. MOOCs like Coursera and UDemy offer free and paid courses for these.
The fact is if you find that niche, and you create an app to fill the void, you are sure to earn. How do you think apps like Uber, Grab, Food Panda, started? They realized the need of the people, and they made an app. Bingo! They’re rich!
Another upside: developing app n does not cost much. You must not worry about covering overhead costs — no need to worry about shipping and storage.
Well developed apps earn from apps and in-app sales. It’s a good passive income, and if you dedicate more time to it and make it even better, it is an even better full source of income.
6. Be a Virtual Assistant
Being a Virtual Assistant is perhaps one of the vaguest jobs online for me. I get confused about what exactly their tasks are, but what I know for a fact is that many of the VA’s I’ve met earn tons. Some of them do clerical jobs; some do calls. It all depends on their clients’ needs, everything that has to do with the day-to-day operation of a company.
Why am I listing this on businesses? Well, VA’s are freelancers, so they serve to do the outsourced works of some companies. My friends have about two or three clients, and they earn tons of money in total while spending only a few hours for each client.
It is not an easy job, though, because you could encounter demanding clients. You have to make sure you don’t sell your skills short. Know your ability; know your price, and you’ll be off to earning so much from being a Virtual Assistant.
7. Teach Online
One of the most in-demand services now would be related to ESL. However, English is not the only thing you can teach online. You can do workshops, seminars, webinars. If you know other languages, you can use it and teach it as well.
The idea here is that you monetize your expertise. If you are an expert SEO marketer, why not make an SEO 101 (or higher level) webinar? If you are a writer, then teach writing online.
If you are always on Facebook, you’ve probably seen so many ads on webinars. Yes, these people earn a lot.
There are many ways to start this. You can try sites like Teachable or create a page on Facebook. If you don’t want to maintain your page, you can join companies like Tutorlingo or other ESL companies.
One thing is for sure, knowing a skill and teaching that talent could be a reasonable source of income. I, for one, earn from teaching how to write.
8. Be a Professional Freelancer
Freelancing is now widespread. Go to Upwork or Elance, and you will find so many people looking for writers, video editors, graphic designers, and whatever professional companies need to work on their outsourced work. One of my friends started in Upwork as a freelance video editor and eventually was hired as a regular by the company.
Now she is earning $1000 a month editing videos in the comforts of her home. The same goes for one of my writer friends, who is not among the highest-paid writers on Upwork. Writers are, in fact, one of the most in-demand professionals online.
If you have skills, sell it on sites like Upwork or Elance. Start from there, and you could move further as you build your portfolio.
9. Online Marketing (One of Best Online Business Ideas)
SEM or Search Engine Marketing initiates once a blog or site is up with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Honestly, this is perhaps one of the online businesses where the earning potential is sky high crazy! An SEO expert is responsible for marketing a website through various means.
Some ways to market would be article marketing, forum posting, social bookmarking, submitting your site to search engines, writing press releases, and blog posting. These are only a few of the many ways to do SEO marketing.
SEO is where the big bucks are. I honestly suggest you learn SEO marketing. There are many online courses about this. Kick off a career in SEO marketing by enrolling in a class.
10. Be A Crypto Trader
Perhaps cryptocurrency trading is now finance’s next big thing. A Bitcoin, for one, could reach over $18k! If you want to join this trade, you must purchase cryptocurrency from a bitcoin or crypto exchange. Then wait for the value to increase.
This business is somewhat of a gamble, though, because there is no guarantee of how much the values could move. I suggest doing extensive research before you venture into this and make sure you only put out the amount that you are okay to lose (in case you lose).
11. Be A Web Developer
Build a website from the ground up. Good command of coding is necessary though if you want to do this. Nevertheless, again, there are several courses online where you can learn to code.
The important thing is, this job is quite lucrative. Web developers earn decent money, especially if you are good at it and can get so many clients.
So this is the best online business idea among these that you can do freelancing work online if you have great technologies skills.
12. Be A Vlogger or YouTuber
If you are comfortable showing your face on the screen in action and talking to a camera, well vlogging would be an excellent career for you. Vloggers earn from advertising and affiliate marketing. I read in a recent article that vloggers could make millions.
Per my research, Ryan ToysReview is the top-earning YouTube channel to date. This channel is about Ryan, a 7-year-old boy, whose parents document is toy reviews. Among the many celebrities who became wealthy from YouTube are PewDiePie, Shane Dawson, and Dude Perfect.
There are countless things you can do. You can make an educational video, a magazine-style, a product review, and perhaps the most popular are react videos and gamers.
Don’t limit yourself to YouTube because there are other platforms too. Facebook is also one platform for vloggers.
If being an internet celebrity is your dream, then vlogging would be your thing. You don’t need to spend much (unless you set up a crew), and yet you can earn big from ads and sponsors.
13. Be a Podcaster
If you don’t like showing your face on camera, but still are interested in airing or broadcasting your ideas, then you can do a podcast. This type of program is like a radio talk show that could be on Spotify, or again, YouTube. You can do information podcasts or anything that you want to discuss. The upside of this is that your audience is not forced to watch you; they can listen to your voice.
The earning potential of the podcast is similar to that of vlogging. You can get sponsors, which you promote on your podcasts. Of course, you must build trust among your audience for sponsors to support you. Good content also matters.
14. Self-Publish a Book
Yes, e-books are still in trend, and it is quite easy to earn from it, especially when you are in the self-help niche. I was once a ghostwriter for an e-book publisher, and this person is making vast amounts of money for a very simple personal development guide e-books.
You can publish a book on Amazon or other platforms. However, Amazon would be the easiest way to do this. Just follow the simple and inexpensive guides that Amazon will also give; there are guidelines on formatting and other things that you must meet.
If you have good content and can sell a few hundred in your first week, Amazon will take over and promote your book. You will just be sitting pretty in your home.
Just make sure that you are writing a useful or interesting book. Perhaps ask some people what they would like to read. Your ebook also doesn’t need to be extensive. A short read is an excellent piece since people can finish it efficiently.
15. Study Facebook Advertising
Yes, contrary to what some people think, Facebook is still growing, so businesses are even spending much on ads. However, many companies are unfamiliar with how to advertise on Facebook. If you get familiar with how to do this, then such businesses will need you.
If Facebook is your hangout, you probably have seen so many job posting looking for Facebook Advertisers. If you want it, then the good news is it’s quite easy to learn. Try resources like How to Create a Facebook Ads Funnel: 2 Strategies by Jon Loomer. Once you are familiar with the skill, reach out to the businesses that need you.
16. Buy and Sell Domains
This industry is quite vague to me, too, but apparently, it is a big thing. It is only like buying a house and then fixing it a bit and then selling it or buying a car and improving it up a tad and selling it.
In buying and selling domains, you also purchase domains and fix it, making it look better. Then sell it. You’d be surprised at how many buyers there are out there. These are people who want to take off the dirty work of setting up a site themselves.
17. Start a Consulting Business
Are you an expert on anything? SEO, writing, or perhaps you’re a medical doctor? You can start a consulting business online. All you need is your knowledge and the willingness to help people with what you know. You may buy a domain for this, or you can set up a page on Facebook or any other platform. Of course, you need to show your credibility, so a little background about you would help. The upside of this is you help solve other people’s problems while you earn.
18. Assist with Lead Generation
I see so many job postings on lead generators. I searched, and indeed, it is quite a stable income source since all businesses rely on leads. If you assist in lead generation, you look for points and match them to the company. You are somewhat of a middle man. Think of it as a head-hunter; you look for the best fit for a business.
19. Instagram Sponsorship’s
This online business idea is for those who like taking photos and are always on Instagram. You can earn on this platform too. If you have enough following, you can get sponsors. The important thing is your account must have a focus. For instance, your focus is on fitness. With enough followers, fitness products may choose to sponsor you.
You might be wondering why I made a separate section for writers when I could have included it in being a freelance professional. Well, there are vast opportunities out there for writers.
All websites need writers. E-book publishers need writers. Even those in the academe need ghostwriters (trust me, there are so many of them). Of course, there are also those who simply want their words edited.
Thus, if you are a writer, the internet is an open sea of opportunity for you. For the Content writer, online business ideas are great to spoon-feed.
You are especially in high demand if you know SEO. This is one niche for writers to grab. You are also especially in demand if you know how to teach writing since many non-English speakers who are in need of help for the essay parts of language tests will be looking for you.
Why? Because most online ESL schools only offer the speaking part of English. Very few offer the writing part.
Thus, if you are a writer, get yourself out there, because there are so many ways you can earn a decent income.
The coming year offers your significant opportunities. Some of the best online business ideas mentioned above may seem saturated, but really, there is no such thing as ‘saturated’ on the internet. With the massive reach of the internet, there are so many things you can do and so many services you can offer.
The upside of an online business is that you can be a digital nomad. You can work anytime, anywhere around the world.
If you hope to take control of your time and yet earn while doing what you love most, then build your online business now!
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the box below.
Find Other Business Ideas Also:
- Top 21 Most Profitable Business Ideas for Beginners
- Top 13 Business ideas in the Travel and Hospitality Industry
- 15 Business Ideas Without Investment: Start Making Money
- Top 13 Yoga Related Business Ideas & Opportunities
- 17 Interesting Beauty Business ideas and Salon Related Business
- Top 10 Most Profitable Upcoming Business Ideas
- Top 10 Business Ideas for Mechanical Engineers Can Try Their Hands-on
- Top 8 Business Ideas for Women: Start Business with low Investment
- Top 23 Business Ideas for College Students
- 10 Most Profitable Small Retail Business Ideas