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17 Min. Read

20 Online Business Ideas: Which Internet Business Is in Most Demand?

online business ideas

It’s not easy to come up with ideas for business. You’ll need to think carefully about the demand for the product or service you want to offer and see if it’s sustainable in the long run. 

Thankfully, online business ideas are relatively low risk compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. You don’t have to rent a retail space or an office. You can also manage the business and earn money from anywhere in the world.

Here are some online business ideas you can try.

1. SEO Consulting Business

SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the practice of driving traffic to a certain website. It involves designing user-friendly pages, producing good copy and link building, among others tasks.

Due to the highly specialized and competitive nature of the field, it’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to hire dedicated SEO people. These consultants will be responsible for planning and implementing the company’s SEO strategy.

If you want to establish a successful SEO consulting business, you need to stay up-to-date with the latest SEO and digital marketing trends. Search engines regularly update their algorithms to ensure that they return the best search results, so you need to be quick to adapt to these changes.

The best SEO consultants can charge each client about $500 to $1,000 per month. Hourly rates can even reach up to $150. 

It’s no secret that being an SEO consultant is one of the most lucrative ways to make money online. If you drive heavy traffic to your clients’ website, they should be more than happy with paying you for your services.

2. Small Business Consulting

A small business consultant works as an adviser for other businesses or individuals. While the job used to involve in-person meetings with clients, it can now be done through online consultations and meetings.

What does a small business consultant do? They can be hired for the following reasons:

  • To provide expertise on a specific field
  • To identify problems
  • To institute change
  • To teach or mentor people

Business consultants are hired for their skills and knowledge. In order to become one, you’ll need to work on your credentials. You can begin by earning certifications, networking with like-minded individuals, and sharing your knowledge online.

From the get-go, you should be able to tell your clients how you can guide them to manage their business better and increase profitability. If you become quite successful, you can eventually earn about $75,499 year.

3. Social Media Consulting Business

If you’re starting an online business, it’s likely that you already spend a lot of time on the internet. Why not turn that passion into profit by becoming a social media consultant?

A social media consultant plans and executes campaigns, improves engagement and ultimately helps drive sales through social platforms. You will be responsible for some, if not all, of the following:

  • Content creation: You should have a deep understanding of how to create effective and engaging posts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest
  • Community management: You should know how to maintain your clients’ voice and brand identity while communicating with customers about products and services through social media channels
  • Data analysis: You should be able to study and make conclusions based on the data you’ve gathered from campaigns
  • Social media marketing: You should know how to use social media platforms to promote your clients’ products and services to people

On average, social media consultants can charge about $20 to $40 per hour. Plus, as social media becomes more and more ingrained in people’s lives, you can expect your prospects to get better over time.

4. Niche Market E-commerce Retailer

Online retail is one of the most common online businesses, and it’s surprisingly simple too! All you have to do is to set up an account on sites like Amazon, and then begin selling products.

But how will you stand out from other online retailers? The answer is simple: by selling unique items. Here are some examples:

  • Handmade jewelry
  • Beard oil
  • CBD products
  • Vegan products

If these examples don’t interest you, you can look for a niche by using Google Trends. It will help you learn what people are searching for and find untapped markets.

It’s also advisable to offer products that are related to your interests, so you’ll be able to provide people with information about your products in a way that your competitors can’t. Once you find your niche, making money online should be within your reach.

5. Web Design or Web Development Business

Plenty of business owners understand the importance of having an attractive, user-friendly and informative website. To achieve that goal, most of them hire a web designer or developer.

What do you need to establish a web design business? Here are the essentials:

  • Gain technical skills: Every web design business should have people who are knowledgeable about visual design, user experience (UX), HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  • Get the right tools: Web design and development requires specialized tools. At times, you may need to resize, edit or crop images, so it would be useful to have graphic design software available. You should also have a content management system (CMS), like WordPress or Joomla.
  • Build a portfolio: Potential clients will always judge you depending on your past work. Make an attractive portfolio that will convince them that your skills are top-notch.
  • Join the community: Network with other web design businesses and experts, so you can stay informed about the latest trends in your field.

Starting an online business that focuses on web design and development requires little overhead. You can meet with your clients online to discuss their needs and preferences, then deliver everything they need without leaving your house or office.

6. Blogging Online Business

Choosing to be a blogger may not sound like you’re establishing a business online, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. A lot of people monetize their blogs and have profitable online businesses.

So how do bloggers earn income? One way people make money is through advertisements. If they have about 10,000 visitors per day or more, they can earn passive income by adding some pay-per-click (PPC) ads to their websites.

Additionally, bloggers who are authorities in their given fields can sell online courses and eBooks to their target audience. While it will take a lot of effort in the beginning, the online courses and eBooks will continue to make money over time.

7. Virtual Assistant Online Business

It’s possible to establish a profitable online business by being a virtual assistant. You can help small businesses and personalities schedule appointments, book travel arrangements, communicate with their customers or manage their social media accounts.

The range of services that virtual assistants can offer people is limitless. As long as it’s a task that they can accomplish from a remote location, count it in.

If you’re eager to become a virtual assistant, you can try looking for tasks on sites like Fiverr or Remote.co. You can also try reaching out to small businesses within your area and ask if they need your assistance.

8. Affiliate Marketing Business

One of the most common ways is to earn money online is through affiliate marketing. This involves creating content that will promote a product or a service, then receiving a commission from the seller.

While that concept seems simple enough, content creators need to strike a balance between producing useful content and hard selling. It’s all too easy to sound like an online salesman instead of an honest, engaging creator.

There are various ways that you can get paid through affiliate marketing:

  • Pay-per-sale: In this structure, you’ll get a percentage of each sale the merchant gets from your affiliate link
  • Pay-per-lead: For this structure, you’ll get paid for every person who visits the merchant’s website and signs up for their newsletter or a trial version of their service
  • Pay-per-click: This involves getting paid for every person who clicks links to the merchant’s website from the affiliate marketing platform

Becoming an affiliate marketer allows you to earn passive income and work from your home. You’ll also get performance-based rewards, depending on your arrangement with the merchant.

9. Remote Tech Support Business

A unique business that’s quickly becoming essential is remote tech support. This refers to troubleshooting customers’ problems with software, mobile devices and other electronic equipment from a remote location.

A remote technician can assist people by responding to their emails, chatting or responding to their calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software. Remote staff members should also be able to directly access the customers’ computers to identify and fix problems.

One of the key advantages of this type of service is convenience. They don’t have to wait for service technicians to come to their house to check issues. All they need to do is provide access to a remote technician and they can get their software issues fixed right away.

Since this is an online business, owners can also keep costs low by allowing staff members to work from home. You don’t have to rent office space in order to get the business going.

10. Handmade Craft Seller Online Business

If you’re a creative person who has a passion for crafting, don’t hesitate to turn that hobby into an online business. There are plenty of websites where you can sell handmade goods online, including Etsy, ArtFire, Handmade at Amazon and eBay.

The cool part about this internet business is that you can customize orders depending on your customers’ needs and only start working on products as orders pour in. That makes it relatively low-risk since you don’t need to spend time producing items that will just sit on shelves.

It’s advisable to stick to one type of craft and do it the best you can. For instance, you can narrow it down to sewing or crocheted items. That way, you can continuously hone your craft and produce better items over time.

11. App Development Online Business

These days, it feels like there’s a smartphone app for just about anything. Whether it’s an app for socializing, tracking your health, taking new classes or any other purpose! You name it, and it probably exists.

If you want to establish a small business that specializes in this field, the most important step is simply hiring software programmers. To save on costs, you can look for programmers offshore.

You also have to decide on how you want to make money. Here are your options:

  • Making paid apps: These are apps that can only be used if the user purchases a paid subscription. They’re usually highly specialized apps with features you can’t find in free versions.
  • Offering premium paid services: These apps are available for free but have features that can only be used if the user pays a fee.
  • Relying on advertising revenue: These are completely free apps that only earn revenue from advertisements.
  • Doing work-for-hire: For this option, you’ll only be making apps for others. Clients will give you their idea and you’ll be in charge of executing and building the app from scratch.

In addition to securing state and local business licensing requirements, it would be advisable to also get trademark and copyright protection for your apps. This protects your intellectual property from being stolen in the future.

12. Search Engine Marketing Online Business

Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to the practice of using pay-per-click or display ads to drive traffic to a certain website. It differs from SEO because in that it deals with using paid advertisements rather than organic search results.

Search engine marketers come up with marketing strategies that will help clients get the most return on investment (ROI) out of their budget. This involves doing keyword research, winning ad auctions, getting a good quality score on AdWords and more.

If you want to establish an internet business that mainly offers SEM consulting, you’ll need to be a subject matter expert in the given field. To get started, you may want to take digital marketing courses and earn certifications. Once you’ve earned some credentials, you can begin looking for clients.

13. Dropshipping Business

E-commerce websites that operate on a dropshipping model refer to those that purchase items from a third-party supplier who fulfills the order. That means you don’t keep goods in stock: You transfer your customer’s orders to the manufacturer, retailer or wholesaler.

Dropshipping is quite popular with young people who want to start online businesses because it requires relatively low capital. Your biggest challenges will be building an attractive e-commerce website and getting customers to order.

It’s also quite important to find manufacturers and retailers you can trust. Since they’ll be in charge of order fulfillment, any delays on their end will reflect on you.

Dropshipping and e-commerce are some of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy. In 2019, American e-commerce sales grew by 14.9% from $523.64 billion the prior year. 

Since it’s such a staple, when you’re brainstorming online business ideas always consider dropshipping as an option.

14. Tutoring Online Business

Doing business online doesn’t have to be a calculated cash grab—sometimes it can come from a place of genuine passion for your craft. Starting an online tutoring business is a really satisfying and fulfilling way to make some extra money.

One advantage of e-learning is that you can work with students from anywhere in the world and maximize their time by teaching them one-on-one. Here are some popular topics that you can focus on:

  • Teaching English as a foreign language
  • SAT and ACT preparation
  • High school and college-level subjects (e.g., algebra, calculus, physics, chemistry, reading)

Once you’ve identified what you’d want to teach, it’s also helpful if you earn a few certifications. You can apply for a certification from the National Tutoring Association or the American Tutoring Association.

Promoting your online tutoring business should also be a priority. For this, you can use social media or build a website. But you can also join tutoring websites like Varsity Tutors or iTalki to gain students easily. Once you have a steady base of students, you should see your online tutoring business take off.

15. Digital Course

A business that offers digital courses is a lot like online tutoring, except you don’t teach students live. Instead, you create instructional videos and allow students to learn in their own time.

Online businesses that offer digital courses usually have their own websites where they publish content. However, you can also opt to publish your e-learning courses on popular platforms like Udemy, Skillshare and Coursera.

For this business idea to work, it’s best to stick with one niche that a lot of people are interested in. These can include anything from photography, business, crafting, drawing, cooking and more.

If you become a popular instructor, you can make up to a few hundred dollars per month. Very popular instructors can even make tens of thousands, depending on how many people enroll for their course.

16. YouTube Channel

Becoming a YouTube content creator is a great way to make some extra money while having fun. Even though there are thousands upon thousands of YouTube creators, this online business idea is still vastly underrated! 

The most common way to make money on YouTube is by joining the YouTube Partner Program. To qualify, content creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time over 12 months. Advertisers pay based on clicks and impressions, and YouTube offers the creator 55% of the revenue.

Note that content creators need to follow advertising guidelines in order to earn revenue from their videos. That means they shouldn’t publish videos that contain foul language, adult content, violence, hateful content and other topics that are not advertiser-friendly.

Aside from advertising revenue, YouTube content creators can also earn money from brand sponsorships and crowdfunding. If your channel becomes quite popular, you should see a steady stream of revenue from all of these platforms.

17. Skype Coaching Business

If you’re brainstorming online business ideas, never omit Skype coaching from your list of options! It’s a simple business model that will allow you to earn money without the need to hire additional staff.

People who become coaches are great at understanding another person’s situation and providing actionable advice. The coaching can be applied to various aspects of people’s lives, including business, health, personal finance and spirituality.

Payment for coaches varies depending on their niche and specialization. Life coaches earn a median of $30 per hour, while business coaches earn about $40 per hour.

To promote their services, Skype coaches usually manage their own websites or blogs, or produce their own content on YouTube. Finally, offering products like books give coaches an additional revenue stream.

If people tell you that you have a lot of charisma, then being a Skype coach shouldn’t be out of your reach. All you’ll need is a stable internet connection plus a home workstation to get started.

18. Podcast Network Business

Launching podcasts is one of those popular business ideas that still has massive growth potential. In fact, it’s estimated that 132 million Americans will begin listening to podcasts by 2022.

Compared to videos or blogs, podcasts can engage audiences with long-form content packaged in a highly digestible format. Listeners can tune in while they’re driving or doing chores.

If you want to earn money from streaming or producing podcasts, you can build your own podcast network. It can come in the form of an app or a website that streams audio content from all over the world.

As an owner of a podcast network, you’ll be in charge of promoting shows and making sure that they gain a large audience. The more listeners tune in, the more you can earn from advertisements and sponsorships.

19. Technical Writing Business

Technical writing is the practice of writing official business documents like software manuals or instructional materials. It can also include writing reports, executive summaries and briefs.

Since this type of service is essential for a lot of businesses, there will always be a strong demand. In fact, employment for technical writers is expected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028.

To establish a technical writing firm, you’ll need a skilled team of writers. They can work from their homes and submit all of their deliverables online.

Due to the highly technical nature of the job, firms can charge their clients $2 per word or more. This is especially true for technical writers who write content about complex topics, like robotics and software development. On average, though, most technical writers earn about 20 cents per word or less.

With that said, technical writing shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re considering online business ideas. This type of business offers a service that a lot of companies need and has great potential to gain profit.

20. Resume and Cover Letter Writing Business

Every job seeker understands the frustration of sending out resumes and cover letters only to receive few, if any, favorable responses.

That’s where resume writing service businesses come in—they employ designers and copywriters to create a professional resume that highlights a candidate’s strong points.

For this type of business, all you’ll need is a computer, phone and internet connection. You’ll likely be interviewing candidates to become more familiar with their skills and qualifications, which you’ll then include in their resume.

Since you can complete all of the work online, most of your expenses will go into computer maintenance and marketing. Target forward-thinking individuals who know the value of hiring a professional to write their resume.

In terms of earnings, a resume writing company can charge $20 or less per resume. But if you have plenty of experience plus a lot of knowledge in the field, you can earn up to $700 or more per resume.

What Kind of Online Business Is Most Profitable?

The most profitable online businesses are internet retailers. But while e-commerce websites earn a lot of money, the competition is quite stiff.

If you have a magnetic personality and a ton of charisma, you can also try your luck at becoming an influencer or a blogger. This type of business lets you earn money from things you’re highly interested in.

Final Thoughts

Your skills, personality and attitude are the factors that will help you decide which online business is most profitable for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

Once you’ve settled on a business idea, you can use accounting software like FreshBooks to keep costs low. That way, you can spend more time doing what you love and less time crunching numbers.

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