12 Online Business Ideas for Beginners
Will 2021 be the year you will finally create a profitable online business?
You’ve thought about it every year. You’ve gone over countless online business ideas in your head and imagined what your life would be like if you could quit your job and generate money on the internet.
But then, what happens? Usually, you spend some time considering the ideas but ultimately resort back to your comfort zone.
The steady income of your secure job, the ease of having somebody else tell you what to do every day (instead of trying to figure it out from scratch), and the consistent schedule.
Here is our list of 27 online business ideas for 2021:
1. Start a Blog and Monetize it
We talk a lot about how to start a blog on this website, and for good reason.
In 2021, it’s easier to start a blog than ever before, and your blog can also be a big potential source of income (if you know how to monetize it).
Keep in mind that you don’t just start a blog and expect the money to roll in. You need to create content consistently, and it also needs to be content that educates, informs, or entertains people. In other words, it needs to capture their interest in some way.
What’s more, you need to sell something through the blog. This can be ad space, products, digital products, sponsored posts, coaching, ebooks, etc.
But if you’re willing to put in the work and you’re in it for the long haul, blogging can be extremely profitable (some bloggers make $50k per month or more).
Here are some resources to help you get started with your first blog:
- 65+ Blogging Statistics and Trends for 2021
- How to Start a Blog
- How to Increase Blog Traffic
- How to Monetize a Blog
2. Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is basically the process of earning a commission by promoting somebody else’s product.
There are two main ways most people do affiliate marketing:
- Information products. You promote products like ebooks, membership sites, video series, etc. This type of affiliate marketing can earn you up to 50% or more in commission, has relatively low barriers to entry, and it’s easy to find products to promote.
- Amazon partners. Many affiliate marketers have success with Amazon. There are literally millions of products to choose from, and it can be quite profitable. For more information, you can check out the Amazon Associates Program.
Quick side note: Before you start affiliate marketing, it helps to have at least a basic knowledge of SEO and copywriting (more on each of these later).
That being said, you can read a few copywriting books and look through the beginners guide to SEO from Moz to help you get started.
3. Set Up an E-Commerce Site
One of the best ways to earn online income is by setting up an e-commerce store.
Here’s the plus side: if you try to go the route of affiliate marketing, the best affiliate marketers are focused on 3 main niches; dating, weight loss, and making money online. You would have to compete with the best of the best, and it’s not easy.
With the e-commerce route, in many markets, you’ll be competing against old-school business people who may or may not have any internet marketing experience. Many of them have glitchy, out-of-date websites, which leaves you a lot of room for improvement, and you can capitalize on their shortcomings.
It’s still not easy by any means. It requires hard work, and you need to stand out amongst the hundreds of thousands of e-commerce websites and online stores. But by filling a unique niche and executing the right marketing techniques, you can make your e-commerce store a profitable success.
Here are some tips to help you get started with your e-commerce store:
- Find a profitable market. Brainstorm some ideas, do keyword research, and try to get as specific as possible. For example, there is probably a lot of competition for selling surfboards. But if you narrow it down to surfboard racks, you may have a better chance of standing out in the market.
- Ask yourself, “Is the product expensive?” There are costs associated with manufacturing, distribution, reselling, etc. If your product isn’t expensive (at least $50 or more), there may be no profit left by the time you sell the product.
- Ask yourself, “Is the product in a growth market?” If your market has already passed its peak (i.e., the VCR market) and is on the downslope, you probably don’t want to get involved. Instead, you want to get into an industry that’s on the upswing – that’s where you’ll have the most profit and growth potential.
- Consider building a Shopify store. Shopify is a system built for e-commerce. With some basic web knowledge, you can set up a good-looking store very quickly, with a low-cost investment and with no coding needed. Shopify has a 30-day free trial too, so you can get started without spending a dime.
Here are some additional resources for creating a successful online store:
4. Create a Digital Product or Course
Creating a digital product or course is similar to writing an ebook. You’re monetizing your expertise by teaching it to the others.
That being said, you don’t have the benefit of Amazon promoting your course. You have to do the promoting yourself through your own website, your email lists, and possibly through affiliate partnerships. You also need to create a compelling sales page that will convince visitors to buy from you.
If you don’t already have an audience, it might be better to self-publish on Amazon first. That way, you can validate your course idea, grow your email list (just make sure to have an email opt-in at the front and back of the book), and more or less create a rough draft of the course (since it will probably be similar to the book).
Here are some additional resources to help you with an online course creation:
- TheRiseToTheTop.com – David Siteman Garland’s website that’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs launch profitable online courses.
- Monetize Your Expertise Podcast – Helpful episodes by online course expert Grant Weherley to help you start your fist online course.
5. Become a YouTuber
Videos are becoming more and more popular. From Instagram and Snapchat Stories to Facebook Live video, videos will only continue to grow. If you’ve always loved the thought of being behind the camera, now is the time you can take advantage.
Whether it be starting a vlog and getting ad revenue/selling products to your audience, or building a YouTube channel to drive more traffic to your website – 2021 is a great time to get started.
Not only will making YouTube videos help you tell better stories and provide more valuable content to your audience – it can also help you get profitable speaking opportunities.
The best part is, you don’t even need to go out and buy an expensive new camera – as long as you have a smartphone with a quality camera lens, you can start filming your first video right now!
6. Start App Development
Mobile apps are getting more and more popular by the year. If you have an idea for a cool, useful, and/or fun app for a phone or a tablet, this may be the way to go.
It helps to have some coding knowledge, but it’s not an absolute necessity. There are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.
Word of caution: the app market is saturated right now, so make sure you validate your app and do your research before investing lots of money in your idea.
Here are some resources to help you in the app development process:
- How to Build Your First Mobile App by Entrepreneur
- How to Find and Hire the Best App Developers by Yalantis
7. Learn Facebook Advertising
Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads. But here’s the problem: a lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.
Consequently, they’re looking for Facebook ad specialists to step in and do it for them. Luckily, this is something you can learn fairly quickly. Once you do, you can reach out to businesses and offer to help create profitable Facebook ads.
Here are some Facebook Ad resources you can learn from:
- How to Create the Perfect Facebook Ad in Minutes
- The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Advertising by AdEspresso
8. Learn and Master SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to getting a website to rank higher for certain “search terms” in search engines like Google. When a website ranks higher, it gets more relevant traffic and in turn, can make more revenue.
This is another highly valued skill in the internet marketing world. That being said, it can be a bit difficult because Google is always changing its algorithms. With it, some of the rules of search change. You always have to be on the leading edge, learning, and testing new strategies.
If you can master SEO, companies will always be willing to pay you for your help.
9. Become a Web Developer
A web developer is someone who knows how to build a website from the bottom up. In order to do this, you need to learn coding, which will take time and hard work. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, it can pay quite well.
Here are some tips for learning to code and getting started with web development.
10. Invest Your Time in Graphic Design
Ever saw a beautiful sales page or a website design that really jumps out at you? That’s all due to a graphic designer.
Graphic designers are basically visual communicators. They design web pages, sales pages, logos, and really anything else that needs to look sharp.
To be a great graphic designer, you don’t need to be great at drawing, you don’t need a college degree, and you don’t need to buy a fancy expensive computer. But you do need to be a visual thinker, you do need to specialize in something, and you definitely need a portfolio.
11. Start a Consulting Business
Do you have tons of knowledge in a specific field? Then you may have what it takes to be a highly paid online consultant.
As a consultant, you simply must apply the knowledge, skills, and experience you have in a specific field to help clients solve a problem or issue they have in that field.
For further reading, check out this post from USA Today: How to Become a Highly Paid Consultant
Dropshipping is when you create an online store to sell other people’s products (i.e you don’t do any of the manufacturing or shipping). Then, you get a commission for each sale.
The benefit here is that you don’t have to risk buying up stock in a product and losing money if it doesn’t sell. The entry barrier is lower and you don’t have to invest nearly as much to get started.
If you’d like to learn how to dropship, Drop Ship Lifestyle is one of the best resources to help you get started.