Setting up an online business is an attractive option most people like to explore. The ease of setting it up and running it make it a lucrative option for budding entrepreneurs. However, the key to succeed with internet business ideas is focusing on a niche and keeping it simple; and yes, it doesn’t have to be cutting edge… just learn from successful online businesses and turn the concept into your very own.
If you like classic, yet proven web business ideas, here are 20 of them to inspire you:
1. Creating and Delivering Apps
The age of smart phones and tablets is here and that’s why creating and delivering apps and games is a lucrative web business opportunity. Have ideas but not an app developer? No worries – just form a partnership with an app developer to help you turn your ideas into cool (and profitable) apps.
2. Social Media Consultancy
Oh yes, that’s all the rage and sounds fairly jaded right? But running a social media consultancy for startups, social enterprises and non government organizations means you are tapping in to a new market with your consultancy and social media skills.
3. Online tutoring and teaching
Teaching people how to cook, bake, grow plants, look good, lose weight… there’s really a lot you can teach people online and make money while you do it. All you have to do is use your skills well, shoot videos, get on Skype and deliver your lessons. There are plenty of platforms where you can learn with other people. Sites like Participate for communal learning will allow you to discover new things while learning as a group. Eventually, you might be able to become a teacher at the end of it.
4. Online marketplace
Instead of manufacturing, stocking and selling you can take the safer route in online business and try providing a platform for sellers to display and sell their products. Setting up an art platform like Etsy where artists can upload pictures of their works and ship them out while giving you a small percentage of the sale price is one idea. You can also setup a marketplace for buying and selling websites like Flippa. You can come up with your own.
5. Crowd sourcing
These days a simple Facebook page or blog can be used to set up a crowd sourcing business. Get people to submit interesting names, logos or slogans and sell them to companies. Create a win-win situation in which the people who come up with names, slogans and logos earn something while companies get a brand or logo for lesser than what they would pay an advertising agency.
Here are some inspirations for you: How about starting a design crowd sourcing site like 99Designs? Want to help people get funding for their personal needs or projects? Look up to what Kickstarter and IndieGogo do. Again, you can learn from them and turn the concept your own by starting one for a particular niche.
6. Niche Websites and Blogs
If you have the flair for writing and can spare at least half an hour everyday to create quality content then running niche websites and blogs on parenting, relationship advice, weight management, finance, fashion, advertising is a good idea. Websites and blogs will help you generate passive income through advertising, affiliate marketing and many other monetization methods.
Why niche? It’s simple: General topics mean plenty of competition; going niche will present you a chance to be the authority in that niche.
7. Online Advertising Agency
People have made lots of money in advertising and you can do this online by setting up an online advertising agency or signing up for advertising programs with various companies who offer you pay per click options for your website. You key success factor is on how to attract big brands to be your clients.
Want to automate things? Start an ad network. Setting up one like BuySellAds.com, CrankyAds.com, etc. is not that difficult; what’s challenging is on how to attract the right publishers and advertisers into your ad network.
8. Online Reputation Management
With social media invading our lives our web footprints can make or break our image a work or ruin our chances of finding that dream job. Working as an online reputation management consultant is where you can step in and help.
If you are an SEO-whizz, you can focus your effort on making bad reviews “disappear” from the search engine result pages. If you are a master negotiator, you can try to connect with those giving your client bad rep.
9. Microwork Marketplace
This idea comes from Fiverr, a platform that allows people to post gigs for five dollars. You can get anything you want just for five dollar so creating such a platform will help you give people the opportunity to post gigs and service a group of people looking for exactly that.
You cost? Setting up a website using a microjob script and working on the math to see how much you charge sellers and buyers of those gigs. There are so many Fiverr clones out there; so, be sure you offer something unique.
Freelancing is a great option for those who like challenges and change as a constant in their lives. Whatever your skill…be it teaching, training, art, music, sport, health and fitness…well just about anything if you like to be a solopreneur.
11. Travel Writing
In 2013, digital nomadic lifestyle is becoming more prominent, as mobile technology is widely available. You can get paid to travel and chronicle your experiences as a travel writer without being tied to your place of work. Needed…a gift of the gab, flair for writing and a love for travel and meeting new people.
12. Blogging as a Service
As blogs are becoming prominent tools to attract visitors and engage prospects for businesses, you can be a “savior” for the companies who are eager to start a blog, but don’t have the right in house talent to do the blogging.
You can offer your talent in composing engaging blog posts, and you can offer more services, such as blog maintenance. If you can offer a full-fledged blogging service, your clients won’t even have to lift a finger; for that, they are typically willing to pay good service fees.
13. Ghost Writer
For those of you who look at the money that ghost writing brings in and don’t really care about giving credit to someone else for your writing, ghost writing is one career avenue that pays really well.
Please note, it’s a rather challenging idea, as it’s often difficult for you to “sell” your service – showing testimonials and work examples are not typically possible in this line of business (hence the nickname, “ghost”.)
14. Creating Teaching Resources
Teaching is an industry which will always grow that too exponentially which is why creating teaching resources like books, videos and how to guides or running websites that are online repositories of information is a great idea.
Here’s something to consider: How about joining a network like Udemy? You can market your courses via Udemy to reach out to more online students.
15. Life Coach
People are always looking for guidance. Be it relationships, work, self-development, leadership…life coaches are the new age Gurus and technology and gadgets have made it simpler for everyone concerned. If you are a good listener, have an affinity for people, are empathetic and can give good advice then this is one option for you. Just like tutoring, you can offer your service via Skype.
16. Web Content Development
With a spurt in the number of websites and blogs across the globe, the demand for high quality web content is growing. If you are able and willing to work with clients with varying needs and are able to adapt your writing style to different audiences, research, write to meet deadlines then venturing in to web content development makes great business sense.
With a growing interest in writing and publishing all over the world, there is a great need for good editors. People who can help writers present their work in a better, more organized and professional manner are hired by publishers and literary agents to fill in the gap on an assignment basis.
18. Inbound marketing service
The term coined by Hubspot CEO and founder, “Inbound Marketing”, focus on helping a website for getting found online. If you understand how to devise a plan and use tools to attract prospects to visit to your clients’ websites – and keep them returning on regular basis – your service is well-sought-after.
19. E-books Writing and Publication
Kindle has changed the way people read and with its new e-book reader; Google is poised to do so too. With self-publishing platforms like Lulu and Amazon you can turn your manuscript in to a book in no time at all. With handsome royalty to motivate you and professional tips to help you along the way turning e-book author is a great way to make money online.
20. Online Personal Concierge Service
Love to help others? Starting an online personal concierge for online clients might be a good idea for you. Helping clients with everything – work-related or non-work-related – can be very lucrative, especially if you are serving expatriates market. Your Man In India is one of the most popular personal concierge service providers you should learn from.
With the uber-popular social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and the proven platforms like Facebook and YouTube, becoming an influencer is easier than ever. You can use video, audio, and written content to establish your persona and expertise, and build a community of followers. The more followers you have, the bigger influence you have on any content you created – which also include advertorial, reviews and endorsements.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with your ideas. Online business industry is well known to have a low barrier to entry, as you can start a web business with just $10 – even with nothing. To make your web business stand above the 99% others, you need to offer valuable service and try not to get caught in price wars.
Online business requires you to understand a thing or two about Internet technology. Although you can hire people to do the tech stuffs for your startup, it’s advisable for you to learn the tricks of the trade.
As a webpreneur, you should never stop learning, as the business keeps on changing rapidly. Attend Internet marketing webinars, participate in expos and hang around in webmaster forums to learn new tips and tricks.
Do you have interesting ideas to share? Please do so by leaving a comment on this blog post…
I have an idea to test the Microwork Marketplace idea. Where would I start? Elance or oDesk for a programmer or where to find a script. Is there some kind of ebook or something that goes over the pros and cons of doing it?
Good ideas on this list
Microwork marketplace – is it Fiverr-like? I recommend you Freelancer.com for custom-building. For ready-made script, Agriya has a good Fiverr clone script – along with a good list of examples that can give you some ideas. Spoiler: Scripteen.com has a very affordable Fiverr clone script 🙂
I hope this helps!
Very comprehensive article! I’m a big fan of niche websites and creating small, manageable websites to promote affiliate products. Once you are up and running, it is quite time effective and the incomes is fairly passive overall so it’s the kind of business you can chip away at over time to build a nice side-income.
I would like to work as virtual assistant with my 10 years experience of Customer Service (Web Based), Data Management, Data Collection, Data Conversion, Automization and Documentations with web research and online assistant.
Any suggestion, guidelines and thought would really help me in order to start up and growth this business….
Hope to get response 🙂
Would you want to “work” as a VA or establish a “business”? There’s a big difference between working and running a business. Working (as a freelancer) means you trade your time with payments. Running a business means you will use your experience in setting up a team to help you complete works for your clients.
Depending on your choice, your next step would be getting your expertise to the market. As a freelancer, you can try webmaster forums, freelancing sites like oDesk or Freelancer.com. As a VA business owner, you can hire VAs on the same places, but as employers, instead of service providers.
Whichever path you choose, the number one thing you should do well is promoting your service. You can use social media marketing, email marketing and so on to get yourself found.
I hope this helps!
Hi Evan, very nice article thank you,
Down the line I have two ideas 1 is online forum for stock traders
2nd video tutorials by me will you please guide me which idea I should follow ?
Do u know where I will get script for forums website for niche public
If I were you, I’d go for video tutorials. Online forums are known as the type of online businesses that are difficult to manage. Video tutorials, on the other hand, are easier to maintain and are always on-demand.
Script for forums? If you are familiar with WordPress, then you should consider bbpress.org by the creator of WordPress
Thank you for your article. Very helpful. I was interested in developing a site which not only combines e-commerce for selling items such as t-shirts, but also visitors can sign up and and set up a post ad. Do you have suggestions on which wordpress templates are easy to develop for these applications and would not cost very much.
I’d go to ThemeForest.net and start my search from there. If you want a more flexible, powerful theme but requires you to do some customization, ElegantThemes’ Divi is the one and only 🙂