Looking for online business ideas you can try for yourself?

Starting a business is not the complicated endeavour it used to be. The Internet provides a lot more options for would-be entrepreneurs – if you know where to look.

Being an online entrepreneur brings a lot of benefits; some of the most notable ones are:

  • Flexibility of work time
  • Ability to grow at your own pace
  • Ability to do what you love full-time
  • Opportunity to keep growing your business

But what kind of online businesses can you try? What types of businesses work in this day and age and what are the best options?

In this blog post, I’m going to share 6 proven online business ideas you can try now.

1. Monetizing your knowledge through online courses

Do you have deep knowledge about cooking or photography or any other interest you think no one would pay for? Well, there are plenty of people online willing to part with their money for that knowledge.

You can monetize your knowledge by creating online courses that include videos and written content. It is a lot of work creating the content and promoting it, but creating a high-quality online course can be a money-maker for years to come.

All you’ll have to do is update your course to add the latest pieces of information and keep promoting it to the right audience. And, of course, you can keep growing your business by continuing to create online courses. Or, you can diversify: create membership sites, write and sell an e-book and create premium content.

To set up an online course business, you can use a tool such as Kajabi which is an all-in-one platform created to monetize your knowledge. You can market your course through your website, send emails, and host your course on a single platform.

kajabi screenshot

To give you an example of what you can achieve with an online course business, Paul Jarvis made about $300,000 in his first year through his freelancing course, Creative Class.

2. Become an affiliate marketer

If you have a blog, whatever niche you blog about, your audience has needs that some products can meet. If you’re not making this product yourself, you can still market relevant products from other sources to your audience.

And for this, you get a percentage commission. Generally, there are 2 common ways to go about affiliate marketing:

  • Promote independent products
  • Become an Amazon affiliate

To promote independent products, you may have to negotiate with the owner on your commission or find their terms. However, as an Amazon affiliate, you can review and promote products related to your niche. With this, you get paid when viewers buy through your website.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of making sense of cents makes a large portion of her income through affiliate marketing. For instance, she made $50,000 in June 2019 through affiliate marketing. It’s vital to note it took years to get to this level.

affiliate marketing example

3. Become a coach/consultant

Are you an expert about a niche? In that case, another great online business idea is to become a coach for other people who wish to know more about those topics.

Some examples of niches where being a coach or consultant is common are:

  • Business: help others grow their business by offering them practical advice and support
  • Personal development: help people achieve their goals
  • Marketing: help businesses develop their marketing strategies and plans, find marketing opportunities and even implement these strategies

Whatever niche you operate, you can become a coach or consultant once people are ready to learn from you personally.

4. Set up an ecommerce store

Nowadays, it’s very easy to set up an ecommerce store to sell physical products to your buyers. You can easily use services such as Shopify or WooCommerce to build your entire store, from creating the website to setting up payment options and even to promoting your online store to your target audience.

shopify screenshot

These services provide the necessary tools you need to set up and promote your store to your ideal buyers. Here’s an example of an ecommerce website with their products on display:

ecommerce website example

However, if you’re scared this is too big of a step, you can always start by selling your products via established platforms like Amazon.

5. Start a freelancing business

Whether you can write, design a website, or audit business accounts, there are a lot of people out there who genuinely need these services and are ready to pay for them.

And as a freelancer, you can work for as many clients as you want rather than a single employer.

You can determine personal rates for your work and also increase them when you need to. As a freelancer, it’s advisable to have a blog where you can promote your freelance work and show your samples and portfolio.

However, as a beginner, you might have to use job boards such as Upwork or Fiverr to get jobs. Apart from these popular ones, there are job boards for different professions and you should find one related to your industry.

For example, Problogger job board is a board for writers while TopTal is popular for designers. Daniel DiPiazza made almost $24,000 on Elance (now Upwork) in 4 weeks as a freelance website designer.

As for what type of freelancing you can do? There are a lot of options out there; some popular freelancing gigs include:

  • Search engine optimization services
  • Planning, strategizing and managing social media marketing
  • Web design and development for businesses, bloggers and so on
  • App development
  • Software development
  • Content creation for website copy, content marketing strategies, business blogs and so on

6. Become an influencer and build a business out of it

Over the last few years, a plethora of people have gained influence and notoriety online – and managed to build a business for this social influence.

Once you get to a certain stage, brands in your niche will want to work with you – and pay you for it. For example, you can get paid to:

  • Promote a brand on your social channels
  • Review products and services
  • Collaborate on joint marketing campaigns
  • Advertise a brands’ products on your website/blog

However, becoming an influencer does take time and work; you’ll need to:

  • Pick the right niche: a niche you know you’re very knowledgeable about
  • Be very active online: influencers need to constantly put out new content on their channels in order to grow and stay relevant
  • Constantly engage: engage with people online constantly to grow your following and build relationships
  • Create a blog and keep posting quality content all the time – or, better yet, start a vlog and/or become a YouTuber
  • Constantly share quality content with your audience
  • Contribute on big-name websites and blogs in your chosen niche

As I mentioned earlier, it does take considerable time to build up your social influence; but, if you love social media, it’s worth the effort as you can also turn it into an actual business – but don’t quit your day job yet!


There are a lot of ways to make money online and build a successful business. There’s no perfect solution for everyone – you need to think what you know and what you love to do and try to build a business out of it.

Finding the best online business idea depends on the service you can render to people and how you want to deliver that service. The business ideas presented in this article are some of the most popular forms of online businesses – choose the one that works for you and start working on your dream business.