If you’re looking for online business ideas, you’re in the right place.
These 71 ideas will deliver all the inspiration you need to start making money online in 2020.
The best part?
I've included plenty of examples of people just like you, CRUSHING it with a location-independent online business.
Starting a profitable business is no longer just a dream lived by the few. Every day more and more people are putting in the work to get started and turning their ideas into profitable businesses.
For some guidance on how to get started and actually execute your idea, check out our Online Business Checklist.
Let’s get started…
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Contrary to what you might think, blogging is still one of the best online business ideas 2020.
Because so many businesses have a blog, it’s easy to forget how many businesses started as a blog. Blogging can help you establish authority in your subject while earning money in a variety of ways.
If you are ready to get started with blogging, we've created an epic guide to show you how to start a blog and make money.
Here are some of my favorite examples, from the HTE podcast, of people who turned their blogs into profitable businesses:
With a well-read blog, you can create a business through advertising, affiliate marketing, or selling products.
2. Virtual assistant services
When it comes to internet business ideas, a virtual assistant business is easily scalable and always in demand.
Businesses always need help with administrative tasks like data entry, managing emails, and scheduling appointments. Instead of hiring in-house receptionists and executive assistants, many are choosing to hire VA services instead.
You can freelance through Upwork and Fiverr to get started. You can go here to sign up with Fiverr and start offering services.
You can also find VA work on FlexJobs, a job aggregator site that catalogues thousands of remote work opportunities.
FlexJobs does require you to sign up and pay a small monthly fee. However, it's well worth the money.
All of the jobs are vetted and hand selected, so you don't have to worry about the kinds of scams you sometimes see on Upwork.
Plus, unlike platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, Flexjobs doesn't take a percentage of the money you make. Everything your client pays, you get to keep.
Or, you can strike out on your own and build a client base like Travinia Barber of Priority VA.
3. Job search consulting and resume writing online business
Help people find job opportunities, write resumes, and prepare for interviews.
This idea will be more successful if you focus on an area of expertise, or an industry where you have experience hiring (or being hired). In return, you’ll get plenty of referrals and happy customers while living your remote work dream.
4. Online store ideas
Crafters, makers, and inventors can make money by starting an online store. Thankfully, there are options that make it easy to set up, even if you are lacking in tech skills.
If you want to sell artisanal products, Etsy is a great platform. For everything else, there’s Shopify.
Just about anything can become a successful online store — just check out this impressive temporary tattoo business, powered by Shopify.
5. Start a monthly box subscription service
An online business focused on providing monthly subscription boxes for a particular niche can be very lucrative.
With big players like Dollar Shave Club and Bark Box, this business model has obvious potential.
Examples of just how niche you can get with this idea:
- Mantry, a monthly gourmet foods subscription tailored to men
- MistoBox, a curated and personalized coffee subscription
6. Copywriting and content writing
Writers can create an internet business that provides copywriting and content writing services.
Michael Brown started out with freelance content writing. He was so successful pitching article ideas, he had to hire writers to help.
This was the beginning of online content agency and platform, nDash.
Selling your books on Amazon is a great way to monetize your blog, podcast, or social media channel. It has never been easier to self-publish a book, using Kindle Direct Publishing.
You could also help other authors get published by starting an online publishing agency, like Angela Lauria at Author Incubator.
When it comes to publishing, stick to what you know well and work on becoming the authority on your subject.
8. Editing and proofreading
Of all the home business ideas included in this list, editing and proofreading is a great way of getting started. With so much content being published every day, there is plenty of demand.
You can turn it into a full online business in a few different ways:
- Use platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to find clients.
- Partner with a marketing or content creation agency.
- Set up a website and offer a monthly service.
9. Bookkeeping and accounting online business ideas
If you’re an accountant, you’re the real superhero. Especially during tax season.
Browse through platforms like People per Hour, and you’ll see just how many people could become your clients.
You don’t even need advanced software. Quickbooks works just fine in most cases, so you’re cutting your startup costs significantly.
Depending on your credentials and experience, consider these small online business ideas:
- A service to help small businesses transition to cloud accounting software like Xero
- Monthly bookkeeping services
- Individual tax return preparation
- Tax consulting for individuals or business
10. Customer support
If you’re good with people, customer support calls, or online community engagement, this is the online business idea for you.
Customer support consulting through platforms like Modsquad, you can make money with these skills while maintaining control of your own hours — and working from anywhere.
11. Teaching languages
The old saying goes “The more languages you speak, the more of a person you are.”
This is true even today, which is why you can start a small business online by teaching through platforms like DaDaABC.
Using Skype, you can privately tutor people who want to learn English (or another language you know) from anywhere. You can even create passive income teaching languages through online courses, like Go Natural English.
12. Translation online business
Translation can be very lucrative if you are fluent in more than one language.
You can help companies translate their content into different languages and reach a wider audience, or work with individuals.
Your first work can come from freelance sites, but once you have a few regular clients, referrals will help your business grow.
13. Fitness and nutrition services
More and more people are turning to healthy cuisine and lifestyle, which is why the fitness and nutrition industry is huge — and a solid online business idea.
Here are a few ways you can make money online while helping people get healthy:
- Sell custom meal plans (paleo, weight-loss, plant-based).
- Create and sell digital products, like workout plans, e-books, or online courses.
- Remote personal training service.
- Health Coaching.
- Check out this interview with Mike Matthews of Muscle for Life to get inspired.
14. Create an online business from your knowledge
If you want to start an online business from home and you’ve got skills that are in demand, why not create and teach classes?
If you're worried about the technical side of selling online courses, don't be. There are services that make it easy. For example, Podia enables us to create, upload, and sell online courses all in one platform.
What to do you know how to do well? Anything from hobbies like baking bread, essentials like productivity, and professional skills like marketing can become a successful online course.
Start Your Online Course Business Tonight
Give Podia a Test Run for 14 Days (for FREE)
15. Start a YouTube channel
Starting a YouTube channel is the best online business to start when you want to build an audience, even while still working full time.
Of course, with enough people watching your videos, you’ll make money from advertisements on your channel. Just look at Reza Izad and Studio71, the agency behind some of the top creators on YouTube.
But you can also use your channel as a launching pad for a full-scale online business. As your audience grows, you can make money through affiliate marketing, sponsorships, branded merch, or selling books and courses.
16. Start a podcast
Just like a blog or YouTube channel, a podcast can be a great way to get your voice out there and build a following. All you need is some gear and interesting topics to talk about.
Not sure where to start? Here's our definitive guide on how to start a podcast.
You can make money with sponsorships, or build a business around products and services your audience needs.
Podcasting is a competitive and rewarding space if you can find a gap in the marketplace and find your audience. To do that, you need to position your podcast to succeed.
A podcast’s positioning is the place a show occupies in the minds of your audience. It’s all about how your podcast is different from others within your niche.
Positioning can involve almost every element of your show, including the name, format, music, and style of language. It also affects every decision you make about the content that surrounds and supports the show, like your website and artwork.
Here's the exact process to nail your podcast positioning …
Help others succeed, while you start your small business ideas— consulting as an expert in your field.
To get started, you can charge for services like on-demand consulting calls, while you work towards recurring revenue with long-term consulting clients.
Check out our SEO consulting page.
18. Start a membership site
People are always looking for fresh resources, and many are willing to pay for premium access.
If you like producing content and have the knowledge to share, a great online business model can be to start a membership site. Your site can contain a library of valuable content, and a forum for members to learn from you and each other.
You don’t need to hire developers or learn how to code. In fact, you don’t even need a website. Showrunner Community uses Podia to process memberships, share content, and host a robust members forum.
The best part of this business model is monthly recurring revenue, that grows with every new member.
19. Dropshipping online business
Dropshipping is a form of e-commerce in which you don’t have to deal with any physical products. That’s right — no manufacturing, storing inventory, packaging, or shipping.
To start a dropshipping business, partner with a manufacturer or wholesaler of products in your niche. You make sales through your online store, and pass orders on to the manufacturer for fulfillment.
All you have to do is set up an online shop, and work on attracting customers.
20. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a very simple online business idea: someone needs their products advertised, and you’ll do it – for a cut of the profits.
If you already have an audience through a blog, podcast, or social media channel, affiliate marketing is an easy monetization strategy to try. Just remember only to pitch products you trust, so you can feel good about recommending them.
If you can learn how to write a product review that converts, the earning potential can be sky high.
Check out this guide to learn more about affiliate marketing.
21. Amazon FBA
Speaking of good businesses, Amazon FBA lets you sell customized products without having to take care of storage or shipping.
FBA means “Fulfilled by Amazon” because Amazon handles fulfillment. But unlike a dropshipping business, you have to invest in inventory upfront.
Manufacturers will customize and package a product with your private label branding. The inventory is then shipped to an Amazon warehouse for storage and order processing.
You can learn more about selling on Amazon from Greg Mercer of Jungle Scout.
22. Designing merchandise
If you’re creative, what better way to show it than by starting an online business selling your artwork on merch like t-shirts and tote bags?
If you want to keep it simple and just stick to design, there are many options. You can use Merch by Amazon, Teespring, and Society6 to name a few. They do all the printing and order processing, and you get paid when someone orders one of your designs.
23. Productize your service and start an online business
A productized service is a way to earn monthly recurring revenue, or flat-rate packages, instead of continually chasing after clients. If you can provide a service online, you can productize it.
Pro tip: there is a huge demand for effective lead magnets. This is a great opportunity for someone with some hustle to start a productized business creating lead magnets for bloggers and businesses.
This online business model is scalable because you can hire out some of your workloads as you grow the business. It works for many services, including:
- Graphic Design
- WordPress support
- Content writing
- Consulting and Coaching
24. SEO business
SEO is the lifeblood of online marketing, so if you have the knowledge, start your online business by offering search engine optimization services.
Check out my interview with Brian Dean of Backlinko to learn his approach to SEO and how to rank in Google.
25. Online ad management business
A lot of businesses want to run Google Ads and Facebook Ads campaigns, but they don’t know-how. If you’re skilled at advertising and know your way around bids and CPA, you have a business idea that’s in demand.
To get your first clients, start with local businesses that want to test the online marketing waters.
You can also learn from these marketing experts who have found success helping business owners with ad campaigns and sales funnels:
26. Social media management
There’s no marketing without social media marketing. If you’re good at creating content and engaging with audiences in social media, you have a perfect online business idea.
Social media marketing is a perfect business for scaling. You can use CoSchedule to handle multiple social accounts for multiple clients and campaigns as you grow your online business.
And tools like Combin can help you grow Instagram audiences faster for your clients.
27. Digital marketing services
Digital marketing is a catch-all term for everything about creating a presence and making sales online. It could include creating websites, email marketing, SEO, and copywriting.
Of course, it’s very much in demand. If you already do this type of work for your employer, you could be running your own online business.
28. Start a stock photography business
Stock photography is used all over the internet and in print, as an affordable way for publishers to find high-quality images.
If you love taking photos – you may have just found your business idea. There are a few stock photography services you can try. For example, you can submit work to Adobe Stock, and earn a commission from each sale (or get paid per picture).
Admittedly, you have to leave your computer to take photos. But this business can work from anywhere in the world, on your own schedule.
29. Writing music
If you write music and you’ve been told, “Hey, I think I heard that on the radio,” why not take it seriously and start a business?
Writing for film and tv can be a perfect online business for musicians — and it’s easier than ever to get your music out there. For example, TuneCore helps songwriters sell rights to their music for use in advertising, film, and tv.
TuneCore also helps songwriters get published and distributed without a record deal. And they take care of collecting and distributing royalties. That means you’ll get paid every time someone streams or purchases one of your songs through a digital platform like Spotify or Apple Music.
30. Online video production
Videos are marketing engagement boosters, so there is a huge demand for that aspect of content creation. Online video production is also great if you’re combining it with social media management.
Stanley Meytin, founder of True Film Productions, can tell you more about his experience producing videos for businesses and brands all over the world.
31. Sound editing and post-production online business
If you know your way around editing software, monetize it and start an online business that’ll help everyone’s music or videos shine.
You’ll find gigs for editing podcasts, audio tracks for video, mixing and mastering music, and more on freelance sites. Your first jobs will help you build up a portfolio and land regular clients.
32. Starting a graphic design online business
If you’ve got an eye for details, graphic design is always in demand. You can start your graphic design business easily with freelancer platforms like Upwork, Fiverr or PeoplePerHour by displaying an awesome portfolio.
The first thing you need to do is get your work in front of potential clients, and Instagram is a great place to get started. Why not create some motivational quotes or other easily shareable images and land your first client this weekend?
33. Buy and flip websites
If you want to invest in online business ideas that are already profitable, why not buy one? You can build it up and flip it when you’ve increased its value.
Check out this interview with Empire Flippers founder, Justin Cooke, to learn just how lucrative this can be.
34. Buy and flip domains
Similarly to buying and flipping websites, you can turn a profit and start an online business by buying and flipping domains.
It’s simple trade: acquire a domain at a lower cost, and sell it to someone who becomes interested, for a profit.
35. Cryptocurrency trading
There’s a reason why cryptocurrency is so popular as of late – there’s a lot of money to be made. If you’re a risk-taker and have a starting capital, try your hand at cryptocurrency trading.
Since it’s such a volatile market, you can make money day trading, as long as you can handle the risks.
36. Cryptocurrency mining
Starting an online business focused on cryptocurrency mining or just setting up mining rigs can be very lucrative. If you know your basic mining from cloud mining, you may just have a great online business idea!
37. Build apps
If you’re an app developer, look no further. There is an almost unlimited market for new mobile applications.
There are a few ways to approach starting an online business building apps:
- Build and market your own app ideas.
- Partner with people who can bring ideas and marketing skills.
- Developing apps on a contract basis for other businesses.
38. Build websites
A good website goes a long way, and so do the people that create them.
If you know how to create a website from scratch and customize it clients’ requirements, you’re all set! And you have no excuse not to have your own killer website to market your services.
39. Create WordPress plugins
If you’re wondering what business business to start, take a look at WordPress plugins. They’re absolutely essential for WordPress websites, so if you know how to create them, you’ve got your business idea.
It’s a scalable business model since the software can be licensed to any number of WordPress users.
If you have an idea that would make using WordPress easier, or add a cool functionality, get to work building it or partner with a developer.
40. Create WordPress themes
WordPress uses themes to set the design and style of the website. Every WordPress site needs a theme, and it’s the most popular CMS out there. So you can see the potential in this online business idea.
If you’re a developer, you can create passive income building custom themes. For example, Thrive Themes sells themes specifically designed for conversion.
41. Website maintenance
In addition to development, website maintenance is a big factor in running an online business. Most people have no idea how to handle backups, security, server issues, or necessary updates on their websites.
For those with experience keeping websites working properly, website maintenance is a logical idea for an online business.
This service works really well as a productized service to generate recurring monthly income.
42. Build software and sell it as a service
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a very popular online business option, for good reason. It generates monthly recurring revenue as opposed to a one-time license fee.
If the market needs your software idea, get to work building it — or partner with a developer who can. Use a subscription model to turn it into a scalable online business.
Listen to these interviews with SaaS founders to get inspired:
- Aytekin Tank of JotForm
- Syed Balkhi, creator of List25, OptinMonster, SoliloquyWP, ThemeLab, and more. (You can get OptinMonster here.)
43. Peer-to-peer lending
There’s a big market for peer-to-peer lending, but it requires initial capital and risk tolerance. For example, Lending Club is a marketplace that connects borrowers with individual investors hoping to make competitive returns.
This can be a good way to earn on the interest rate if you are looking for diverse investment ideas for your online business.
44. Real estate crowdfunding
If you want to make investment your business’ main area of work, real estate can be an attractive niche. But owning real estate is not exactly a hands-off business idea.
Real estate crowdfunding enables you to invest in real estate through online platforms, without the responsibility of directly owning property.
45. Software testing
Every software, website, and tech product needs to be tested for faults or bugs. This is where your business can come in: test other’s software, find bugs, report on usability, and get paid.
There are crowd-testing platforms where you can apply to be a tester, including uTest and Testbirds. There’s also potential in creating your own platform or service business to perform quality control and testing.
46. Virtual tech support
Many customer support teams are fully virtual since it can often be done by email and chat. If you work in tech support or customer service, why not go freelance and start a tech support business?
This is a very scalable online business idea. You can add to your team as the workload increases and you get more clients.
47. Automation service business
A lot of companies want to automate their processes, but they don’t know how.
For example, if you know how to integrate CRM software like HubSpot, you can help small businesses transition their contacts online.
This business idea is perfect as a productized service model. You can create fixed price packages to migrate small businesses to cloud-based platforms for their accounting, sales, or contact management systems.
48. Build niche websites as an online business
Niche websites target a very specific topic. They’re a great way of earning revenue because the traffic they attract is so targeted. You can monetize by selling information products, e-commerce, or affiliate marketing.
You can make it your online business’ main field of work by building and selling niche sites once they are generating high monthly traffic.
Transcription is an easy way to start a remote business. There are plenty of gigs on freelance sites to help you gain experience and reviews.
All you need is a computer and decent English language skills. With the rise of video to text content, you’ll have plenty of clients to get you started.
Eventually, you can scale this business by hiring other transcriptionists, so you can focus on getting clients.
50. Lead generation service
There are no sales without leads. Bringing people in the door (or into the online sales process) is essential to any business.
Any effective lead generation strategy could be turned into a successful online business. If you’ve been successful with LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google ads, you could easily find clients to work with.
51. Direct sales
Direct selling is a lost art and one that can bring companies a lot of extra revenue.
Many companies no longer employ in-house sales teams. Instead, they put interesting leads in contact with commission-based salespeople to close deals.
If you’re skilled at sales, you can start an online business in sales. You could also take your expertise into a consulting business, like Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion.
Advertising creatives are always in demand — everyone hopes their ads will go viral and get attention.
With a creative mind and some marketing chops, you can create a profitable digital agency. Whether your expertise is digital, print, podcast, or video a digital ad agency gives you the ability to work from anywhere.
It’s easier than ever for artists to make money online. Advertisers, content creators, and all sorts of publishers look to the internet to find the original artwork they need.
To get started, you can find commissioned work on freelance sites. As you build up a portfolio, you can create a full-fledged business by showcasing your work on your own website.
54. Online recruiting
If you’ve got experience in HR, online recruiting can be the best business idea for you.
Helping businesses find and hire stellar employees is a valuable service. Specialize in industries where you have worked in the past to leverage your network.
Maybe you have ideas about how the hiring process in your industry could be improved, like Perry Oostdam. He created Recruitee as a platform to help businesses collaborate on hiring and onboarding new team members.
55. Online research
There’s never been more content online, and it takes an expert to research it successfully. Some people will complain about the glut of content online, but someone with an entrepreneurial mindset will see this is an opportunity — where there are problems there are opportunities for online business ideas.
Depending on your interest and knowledge, here are some online research business ideas to consider:
- Market research, specializing in your industry.
- Private Investigator research
- Academic research for writers and publishers
- Research for digital content creators
56. Travel consultancy
If you’re the kind of person whose intellectual algorithms work better than Skyscanner’s, start a travel consultancy online business.
This one works well if you specialize in a particular niche. That way, you can establish your authority as an expert in a certain region, or a specific type of travel.
For example, Boutique Japan specializes in creating personalized itineraries for those who want a unique trip.
57. Crowdfunding consulting
Crowdfunding has become a very popular means of financing projects. But with so many ideas fighting for attention on platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, success is far from guaranteed.
Startups need advice on how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. This is where you come in — as a digital consultant specializing in crowdfunding campaigns.
If you’ve been instrumental in crowdfunding projects in the past, you can leverage your knowledge with a consultancy business. In fact, Indiegogo has a list of recommended advisors, so you can be sure there is a demand for this service.
58. Life coaching
Sometimes we all need just a bit more help. Who do we turn to? Life coaches.
If you can help with happiness, career fulfillment, relationships, or financial success, you will never run out of people who need your help.
Using life coaching as an online business model, you can expand your reach beyond your immediate area. Instead of working only with local clients, you can work from anywhere, help more people, and increase your earning potential.
Check out this interview with Stephynie Malik, who helps high achieving executives unlock their full potential with her coaching business, ChiqueSpeak.
59. Business coaching
Similarly to life coaching, business coaching means working with business owners to help them achieve growth and success.
This can be a very lucrative online business idea. In fact, I’ve lost count of how many entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed who are currently working full time with a business coach.
If you’re a good communicator with past successes in your industry, consider offering your services as a business coach.
60. Dating coaching
We all just want a chance at true love, and sometimes that means work. People who are too busy, or don’t know where to start, turn to dating coaches for help.
Dating coaches help people put their best foot forward, find a match, and work through the ups and downs of dating. You can make money online as a dating coach in a few different ways:
- Coaching services
- Creating effective profiles for dating sites
- Writing books
- Creating online courses
61. Start a gaming business
Can you really make money playing video games? If you’re a high-level player and you can put some time into marketing your business, then yes.
This article on Gamefly is a good primer on how advanced players can monetize their gaming skills through streaming, educational videos, or selling items within a gaming platform.
62. Advise on investments
With the availability of online investment tools like Wealthsimple, the personal finance industry is changing.
People still need advice on saving for retirement and making big financial decisions. But financial advisors don’t need to work for big investment firms to create a financial planning business.
For a fee, qualified individuals can provide this needed advice, as independent financial advisors — and can work remotely much of the time.
Diana Dyer founded Triumph Capital to help millennials with their financial planning and investment needs.
63. Start a voiceover online business
Every video needs a voiceover, and so do ads. Between independent production companies, ad agencies, and YouTubers, you can find a huge variety of voice acting gigs on freelance sites.
If you’ve got a distinctive voice, start an online business providing voiceover services.
You don’t need a fancy recording studio. With a decent microphone and basic sound editing skills, you can produce high-quality recordings.
64. Start a virtual interior design business
Interior designers can start a fully-virtual business using photographs and simulation tools.
Besides making money on interior design fees, there is an opportunity to partner with contractors, furniture and home decor stores, and artists.
Havenly is an example of a platform for designers to work remotely, creating custom designs for clients.
65. Open an online jewelry store
There are several ways to put your eye for jewelry design and style to work in an online business:
- Sell your own designs and products with an e-commerce site.
- Use Etsy to sell handcrafted pieces.
- Source jewelry from manufacturers for a dropshipping business.
- Set up an Amazon store and use FBA to sell customized jewelry.
For a unique take on an online jewelry business, listen to this interview with Jessica Honegger. She created Noonday Collection on a social enterprise model.
66. Sell artisanal products online
With the rise of online shopping, you can sell just about any physical products you can imagine with an online shop.
Natural skin care, handmade toys, fashion — what do you like to make?
67. Yoga classes business
Yoga, pilates, and other wellness activities are a big industry. If you teach classes in these disciplines, you can teach online.
Here are a few ways to scale your online yoga business:
- Start a YouTube channel.
- Sell your classes as an online course.
- Create a blog and make money with affiliate marketing.
- Teach classes on Skillshare.
68. Teach music
People who want to learn how to play an instrument but don’t have time classes prefer to learn online.
This is good news for music teachers because it enables you to find students and scale your business beyond where you live.
You can sell courses or offer one-on-one coaching sessions — fully remote.
69. Plan events
Since event planning involves a ton of research and phone calls, it’s a business you could start anywhere.
Depending on your experience and interest, you could consult on wedding planning, private parties, business events, and even corporate retreats.
Just organize everything and leave it to them to have fun.
70. Write speeches
A good speech is a work of art, and many people need help with it. Writers with a flair for crafting impactful presentations can start an online service business in speechwriting.
Speechwriting is not just for politics — people work with writers for all kinds of corporate events and personal occasions. Start by looking at freelance sites to see what kind of gigs are in demand.
You can extend this to press releases and other publicity writing, and have a booming online business.
71. Photo editing
Your first association may be “Instagram influencers,” but many advertisers and businesses need photo editing services.
You could even partner with event or portrait photographers — they do the in-person shoot, and you handle editing and packaging.
Execute on your online business ideas today
If you’re still wondering what online business you should start, check out our list of side hustles – both remote and non-remote, part-time and full-time.
And if you’re worried you don’t have what it takes to start a business, you’re not alone. A lot of people give up before they even start.
You don’t have to.
Here's the next step, take action and learn how to be an entrepreneur.