21 Online Business Ideas To Start in 2021

*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you decide to purchase any of these resources, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. 

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Do you want to start an online business, but stuck for ideas?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are a few online business ideas you can start in 2021.

All these business ideas can be started from home, for little to no money, fairly quickly.

So, whether you just need to earn some extra income, starting your business as a side hustle or need to start a business to replace your main income quickly, I’m going to give you some business ideas that you can start quickly from home.

All you’ll need is the right skills (which can be learned) and your laptop to get started.

Getting Stuck With What Business to Start?

Choosing a business to start online can seem daunting, especially if you think you don’t have enough knowledge, skills or expertise to do anything other than the job you’re being paid to do now.

But the business ideas I’m about to tell you about can all be learnt and built with resources you can find online. You don’t need to have a degree or years of experience.

You can earn whilst you build your experience. And let’s face it who hasn’t had a job when you had to learn the skills while on the job and getting paid. It’s no different online.

online business ideas

Best Online Business Ideas for Beginners

Although the quickest and easiest businesses for newbies to start are service-based businesses because you can start with what you know or learn the skills you need quickly, product-based businesses physical or digital can be better for some.

Below is a list of online business ideas that you can start getting an income within weeks if not days of starting.

1: Life Coaching and Business Coaching

A Life Coach can help clients with all aspects of their life which means there is a lot of opportunities out there. You can use your own life experience to decide what you want to coach in but are not required to have an extensive amount of experience.

Why? Coaching doesn’t involve you telling people what to do.

Your job as a coach is to ask the right questions, so your clients can come up with the answers for themselves to achieve the results they want in their life.

Business Coaches help entrepreneurs, business owners, CEO’s or corporations to start and grow their businesses.

You help clients develop and clarify a vision and mission for their business, create strategic plans and hold them accountable for their actions to help them achieve the results they want.

Whatever type of coaching you decide to do you should make getting training a priority. And start practising ASAP. The foundation to starting a coaching business is to have a methodology to get results and that is what coach training will provide.

Some niche ideas are;

  • Career Coach
  • Personal Finance or Money Coach
  • Dating Coach
  • Relationship Coach
  • Productivity Coach
  • Mindset Coach
  • Executive Coach
  • Leadership Coach
  • Small Business Coach
  • Online Business Coach

Resources to Get Started

2: Consultant

If you have expertise in an area you can get up and running with your consultant business extremely easily. As a consultant you help clients by providing the strategy they need to follow in order to get the result they want.

You can do it with strategy calls where you develop a strategy and create a plan of action and accountability calls to ensure the clients are implementing the strategy provided and answer any questions they have about how to complete action steps.

You could consult in any of these areas and more:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • Branding
  • Reputation Management
  • SEO
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Content Marketing
  • Accounting & Tax
  • Project Management
  • Recruitment & HR Service

Resources to Get Your Consultancy Business Started:

3: Create & Sell Online Courses

Online courses were hot before the pandemic but have now become a part of everyday life as people move their lives online and that trend is just set to continue.

As Traditional education is getting more expensive, but more disengaged from what is needed in the real world.

Meanwhile, people are looking to get the latest skills, in the quickest and most effective way possible. So, more and more people are looking online for the answer.

People want to get the information on how to achieve their goal from someone who has either done it before or is teaching them in a way they connect with.

And they want to learn when they have free time.

So, this leaves the door wide open to teaching the thing you are passionate and knowledgeable about. There are new people jumping online every day looking to learn the thing you want to teach.

Courses can be a mix of Video, Audio, Text and Worksheets.

Which means in terms of equipment you will need Camera [Your Phone will do], Lighting [use natural light the first time around], a good quality mic, video editing software, screen recording software and audio recording software.

You don’t need all this equipment at once, it all depends on what type of content you want to create for your course.

Your course could just be presentation style slide you record onscreen, text and worksheets. You’d only need a screen recorder & mic for that.

Resources to Get Started

You can use the following ways to get your course online;

3RDParty Platforms

You can use Udemy or Skillshare to publish your course to a ready market. This is a great place to start if you want to build confidence, create a name for yourself or develop your style. It’s also a great way to test an idea before creating an in-depth program on your own platform.

Online Course Platforms

The best platforms to create your own online school are TeachableThinkific and Podia. These platforms are similar but my favourite is Podia.

You can start with one course and create a whole program of courses. All you have to do is come up with the content and market it. Then the platform will create a beautiful interface to deliver it to your audience.

4: Create a Membership Site

You can create a standalone membership where you host it via a WordPress or Squarespace site.

Or you can create a membership site with the online course sites I mentioned earlier. If you’re already using a site like Podia to host your courses and digital downloads, then they make it very easy for you to bundle the content you have and create a membership site.

All you need to do is come up with a topic people are passionate about or a skill people want to learn and continue developing and research if there is an opportunity to build a community around that thing. Which is where your membership site comes to play.

Resources to help you get started with a Membership Site:

5: Virtual Assistant

A Virtual Assistant/VA help can business owners with everything from basic admin to building out sales funnel sequences. VA’s can be generalist like an administrator in an office who deals with a little bit of everything.

Or they can be specialist life they only work on setting up sales funnels or designing courses.

The two best resources for how to become a Virtual Assistant is Horkney Handbook and The VA Handbook.

6: Freelance Writer

If you love writing then this is the perfect gig for you. There are plenty of opportunities out there for freelance writers as creating content is a critical part of most business and all online businesses.

And for many content is their lifeblood, so they are always looking for good writers to write blog posts or general copy.

There are people who would also pay for ghost writers to write books they can sell on Kindle. You could take the freelance business one step further once you have a few clients by creating a writing or content marketing agency by hiring other writers.

If you have a talent for writing and want to know how to get started with this path check out the Smartblogger guide.

7: Online Business Manager

An online business manager provides management level services to online business owners on either a full-time, part-time or temporary basis.

If you have several years of office management experience in the real world then you may opt to be an Online Business Manager instead of a VA.

Online business manager will work on strategy level operations instead of individual tasks. For instance they may design an onboarding system for their client and then hire a VA to set-up the system.

Check out these resources to get started:

8: Translation Service

We live in a global and interconnected world so translation services are needed more and more. Both big and small businesses have the need for translators but bigger businesses with international sites and clients is where the money is at.

If you can pair your language skills with legal knowledge or financial knowledge you will find yourself in one of the most lucrative niches.

Learn more about starting a translation business here and the Pros and Cons of starting here.

9: Transcription Service

With video becoming ever more popular as well as Podcasts, this brings great opportunities for transcription services for those who want to create a blog post out of their video and audio content.

There are also the people who prefer to talk so will talk they notes, blog posts and even books and need to get them transcribed.

Find out how to get started now if this sounds like your type of business.

10: Editing & Proofreading Service

If you have an eye for detail and you love grammar then maybe the perfect business for you is the editing or proofreading business. I’ve combined them here because for me they go hand in hand however you could just start one or the other.

Learn how to start your proofreading and editing business now.

11: Web Developer

Every business needs a websites so there are plenty of opportunities available to both build new websites for new businesses and update websites for exciting businesses.

You can either create bespoke custom built websites or customize templates to create websites for your clients.

You have the choice of which platform you’ll specialise like WordPress, Squarespace or Shopify. You could also choose to only build eCommerce websites or only build custom membership sites the choice is yours.

Check out these course that will help get started;

12: Social Media Manager and Consultant

As a business owner managing social media can be the biggest time-suck so is often the first thing to be outsourced.

So this means business owners are looking for social media managers and consultants to not only schedule their posts but also for strategy and content creation.

Check out these resources to get started:

13: Graphic Design Agency

If you’ve got an eye for design then starting a graphic design agency may be for you. You could specialize and just do book cover designs or logo designs or you could do all types of designs but focus on one type of industry.

Although there are loads of free easy graphic design software out there for people to use if they don’t have an eye for design they will need someone like you to help.

The great thing about having a graphic design business you don’t just have to work with private clients, you could design templates that customers can by and customize themselves.

So if Graphic design is something you can see yourself doing check out these do’s and don’ts of starting a graphic design agency and some advice from those you have started their own agencies.

14: Copywriting Business

Copywriting is a great business to go into as copy is an essential part of business online. Businesses need copy for their website, social media post, sales pages, landing pages and emails.

Whether you’re a good writer or not copywriting is a skill you can learn as it’s all about following some core principles.

Learn about how to start a copywriting business with these resources:

15: Writing Kindle eBooks

If you’re a writer another great business to start is to become a kindle publisher and start writing fiction or non fiction books on the platform. You can write how to books on any subject you choose are write fiction romance books that are really popular on Kindle.

Resources to get started with Kindle:

16: Selling Low Content Books on Amazon

Not a great writer, no worries! You can also create and sell low content paperback books directly on Amazon. What’s a low content book? Well low content books are things like planners, journals, activity books, coloring books and puzzle books.

You can quickly create the interiors for these types of books yourself or there are places where you can get templates and all you need to focus on is the book cover design which is the most important part as well as keyword.

Check out Rachel Harrison-Sund’s blog to get started and this course and this course on Udemy.

17: Niche Blog and Affiliate Marketing

Everyone talks about blogging as a business but I think that’s a bit of a lie because if you want a blog that really makes money you need to start a niche blog with making money as your purpose. You have to treat it like a business from the start.

What makes a niche blog different normal blogs, it the focus. In today’s noisy internet world you have to zero in on what you offer people. It’s easier to sell to them when they have come to your site for a specific purpose.

So if you have a personal finance niche blog, when someone lands on your site you know they are interested in personal finance.

You know if you are an affiliate for different personal finance products the person who lands on your site is likely to click and buy one and you will earn money. Niche sites are a lot easier to monetize and grow quickly because of this focus.

If you want to learn about niche sites the expert at building profitable niche sites is Mike Pearson.

18: Selling Handmade Crafts, Printables or Print on Demand on Etsy

Selling products on Esty is a great way to start with a product based business as you will learn basic online business fundamentals, like keyword research, SEO, product description and marketing.

What’s great with a marketplace like Etsy is that it comes with a built-in audience and initial start-up costs are low. You can sell both physical and digital products on the site. The physical product can be things you’ve made yourself like candles or it can be print on demand like t-shirts.

Want to start your Etsy shop click here to get 40 free listing when you start your shop.

Then check out my favourite place for all things related to starting and growing an Etsy Business.

19: Ecommerce Store – Dropshipping or Print on Demand with Shopify Store

The next step up from Etsy is to start your own independent store using Shopify. With Shopify, you can sell products via dropshipping using one of the Shopify apps to find the best products to sell or you can sell items that are print on demand.

The best place to start when it comes to starting an ecommerce store is the Shopify blog.

20: App Development

You can create apps for the app store or for android phones. You can either choose to design one app that becomes your main business focus or you can design a series of apps for yourself or for clients.

If you think you have to be techie in order to build an app then you’d be wrong. There are platforms out there designed to help you design and create apps with zero coding involved.

Learn how to become a mobile app developer here and how to make an app here.

21: Digital Marketing Agency

Marketing is an essential part of every business so starting a marketing agency can be very profitable.

You can either start a general marketing agency taking care of different marketing needs of your clients or you can create a specialist agency where you deal with only one platform or one thing like; Facebook Ads Agency, Instagram Marketing Agency, LinkedIn Marketing Agency, Social Media Marketing Agency etc.

Udemy has a ton of courses all designed to help you start your marketing agency from start to finish including teaching you the actual marketing and tech skills needed to each platform.

My Favourite courses are:

The Last Thing You Need to Know About Choosing an Online Business

You now have 21 different online business ideas to choose from which are a mix of service-based businesses and product-based business ideas.

The first thing you should do once you’ve read through all the above ideas is to decide whether you want to start a service-based business or a product-based business.

Then start researching the ideas!

Download the start a business road map below which will guide you through all the steps you need to take from finding your idea, to launching your business.

About Me

Hey, I’m Lorraine P. Emmanuel, a Certified Business Coach and Professional Life Coach who helps ambitious + smart women create businesses & lives they love with 6-figure business systems + without tech overwhelm.

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