Let’s start with the definition of an online business itself.
Online business is the practice of engaging in some sort of profitable activities digitally.
Worldwide, online business is a mammoth industry in itself. As per an estimate, there’re more than 20 million online businesses across the globe.
Before I start discussing some unique online business ideas, let’s understand whether its worth to step into the online business world. I would also be discussing the advantages, the disadvantages & the pre-requisites of an online business.
Is it worth starting an online business?
Read the success stories of these entrepreneurs who grabbed internet business opportunities & made millions in the process.
There’re various advantages of an online business like:
- Easy to start
- Low cost of operation
- Simple & convenient to operate
But all that glitters is not gold!.
Following are the disadvantages of an online business:
- Not easy to get customers
- Basic IT skills needed
- Not so secured source of income
Online business is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ kind of scheme. Someone who says so is simply lying or selling her stuff. Be careful.
Therefore, before you decide to plunge into the online business world, I would like to list down some pre-requisites.
You’ll need to invest
- A few bucks as well
With these thoughts in mind, let’s dive in & discuss 15 unique online business ideas that’ve the potential to generate some serious kind of money.
15 UNIQUE ONLINE BUSINESS IDEAS FOR BEGINNERS IN 2021
1. Sell A Gig On Fiverr
Fiverr is a marketplace where you can sell small & repeatable (yet technical) services or gigs to a wide audience. Most gigs here are priced at $5.
Example: If you’re a writer then ask yourself “What can I do for $5?”. Your answer may be like a resume, cover letter, translation etc. These’re the gigs you’ll be selling on Fiverr marketplace.
Please note that it’s not necessary that you price your gigs at $5. You can obviously charge more depending upon the complexity of the task. The advantage of going with $5 gig is that you can expect volume sales which may not be possible with a higher price point of say $50.
Here’re the steps you need to take to get started on Fiverr:
Step 1: Go to fiverr.com & sign up by clicking on “Become a Seller” link (at top right corner)
Step 2: Create your gig & offer it to the world. Done!
You’ll start to earn the moment someone buys your gig.
On freelancer marketplaces like Fiverr, it’s important that you hang there with patience. No matter how good you’re at your skills, you probably won’t land a sale on the first day. Therefore, I suggest you to market your gigs as much as you can. Focus on getting your first sale.
As you complete your assignments & get positive reviews, your profile will become more discoverable & trustworthy. The more people trust you, the more money you’re going to make.
Think of it like buying products on Amazon. Do you get attracted to a product with no reviews or to the one that has a plenty of positive reviews?. Exactly.
2. Give Your Opinion & Earn Dollars
This is the most easiest & fastest way to make money online.
If you’re in a hurry to start an online business then you can’t go wrong with this. Give it a try.
As per this strategy, all you need to do is give your opinion on products that you use in your everyday life.
Big brands across the world know the importance of customer feedback. So, to collect those feedbacks they run surveys. You simply have to participate in these surveys & share your opinion about the products.
The best part is that this online business can be started from the comfort of your home. No investment. A laptop is all what you need.
Let me break the steps & show you how this online business works:
Step 1: Sign Up on Gold Opinion. They’re a marketplace that connect brands with people who’re ready to give their opinion.
Step 2: Browse across hundreds of live surveys being run by brands right now. Choose the survey of your choice & participate in the same.
Step 3: After completion of a survey, get paid instantly via wire transfers, check or PayPal.
Apart from cash, Gold Opinion also offers rewards in the form of gadgets, air tickets, debit cards, gift cards, online shopping coupons, event passes, etc.
Click here to know how much rewards you’ll earn on completion of a survey. They’ve a tiered reward structure. And, there’s no limit on how much money you can make.
You’ve the freedom to choose your mode or instrument of rewards.
There’s nothing to loose as Gold Opinion comes with a FREE 7-days trial. Give it try. You’ll love it.
The advantages of this online business are:
- No experience needed
- Anyone from any country can sign up with Gold Opinion
- 7 days FREE trial
- Work from home or anywhere in the world
- Multiple modes of rewards (including cash) supported
- PayPal supported
3. Be A Virtual Assistant Without A Technical Skill
Virtual assistants are freelancers who remotely assist their clients with routine tasks like data entry, data processing, product ordering, social media posts, etc.
As per this strategy, you need to use an internet marketplace called Amazon mTurk Basically, it’s a web platform which enables people to earn from part-time online activities like information gathering, data processing, tagging photos etc.
Most of these tasks are mechanical in nature & don’t require any technical skill.
Follow these steps to get started:
Step 1: Sign up for Amazon mTurk with a worker account
Step 2: After signing in, click on ‘HITs’ where you can find a list of tasks assigned by ‘requesters’.
Step 3: Click on ‘Qualify’ against a particular task to apply. Done!
mTurk marketplace is backed by the mighty Amazon itself. So, rest assured that your payment is safe & will arrive on time.
Pro tip: You may hire a few college interns & outsource these tasks to them.
4. Sell Printables Without Printing, Selling & Distributing
Printables mean printed day-to-day consumables like t-shirts, cups, phone cases etc.
This unique business idea isn’t so hard to execute as it sounds. No, you don’t need to buy raw material, manufacture or print designs. How?
With this magical platform, all that you need to do is upload a design & the rest is taken care of by the platform itself. Yes, you heard it right. SpreadShirt will ensure that your design is printed on materials (like t-shirts), marketed & distributed to customers.
Example: After you upload your t-shirt design, SpreadShirt will make t-shirts (with your design), list them on their platform & handle the sales operations like delivering & customer support.
The platform claims to pay its sellers generously. If a t-shirt worth $20 is sold to a customer, you can expect a final payout of $12. That’s kind of cool!
Step 1: Go to Canva & create a printable design
Step 2: Sign up for a seller account on SpreadShirt by clicking on “Sell on marketplace” link
Step 3: Upload the Canva design to SpreadShirt platform. Done!
Make sure that your design stands out or else it won’t catch eyeballs of the visitors. Remember the fact that you’ll be competing with world-class designers. So, simply uploading a mediocre design & expecting sales to flow in won’t be fair.
SpreadShirt is a platform that rewards passionate designers who care about adding value to the community.
5. Become An eBook Author With Ease
The idea of becoming an author is overwhelming. You got to write/edit professionally & then comes the most hectic part – publishing.
But, in today’s digital world, anything is possible. Anyone including you can become an author. All you need is a subject (topic of your book) & knowledge about the same.
Yes, it’s possible. Let me show you how.
Step 1: Open MS Word or Google docs & start writing your heart out on a topic that you’re good at. Think — What’re your hobbies?. What makes you happy?. May be singing, fishing, running?. Don’t worry about the grammar or punctuation at this stage.
An average eBook’s length is about 10,000 to 20,000 words. So, plan accordingly. A simple 500 words per day is enough to complete your eBook in a month.
Step 2: Sign up on iamselfpublishing. They’ll help you to convert your draft into a full-fledged & ready-to-publish eBook. It’s here that your errors like grammar, structuring & flow will get corrected. Additionally, they’ll design & market your eBook.
The only downside is their high prices.
Step 3: Publish your eBook on Amazon Kindle. As you may know, Amazon Kindle is one of the World’s largest eBook marketplaces. All you’ve to do is to sign up & upload your eBook with images & description.
The best thing about eBooks income is that they’re passive in nature. Do the hard work once & reap the benefits for years to come.
6. Become An Affiliate Marketer In 12 Minutes
Have you heard of the term ‘Affiliate Marketing’? It means earning commission by referring products to your audience. If your referral buys the product, you’ll receive a commission from the product owner or brand.
Example: An affiliate marketer enters into an agreement with a clothing brand to promote their products in return of commission. She promotes the products on her blog & YouTube channel. When her website visitors or YouTube viewers buy her recommended products, the clothing brand compensates her with commission.
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that — it doesn’t require any active work. Unlike brands, you don’t need to provide customer support & worry about other administrative parts.
Affiliate marketers can promote as many brands as they want. There’s no limit or cap. So, when it comes to earning potential, the sky is the limit for affiliate marketers.
In fact, many affiliate marketers earn six, seven & eight figures each year. Here’s a list of some of the most successful affiliate marketers & their yearly earnings from affiliate marketing.
- Pat Flynn = $ 636,000 a year
- Michelle Schroeder-Gardner = $ 600,000 a year
- John Chow = $ 540,000 a year
- Jeremy Schoemaker = $ 500,000 a year
- Darren Rowse = $ 5,00,000 a year
- Missy Ward = $ 500,000 a year
But, all that glitters isn’t gold. 90% of people who try affiliate marketing don’t succeed at all. Why?. Because they’re doing things the wrong way.
Affiliate marketing isn’t about referring random products to random people. It doesn’t work that way.
Successful affiliate marketers have toiled hard for years & years to build a loyal base of targeted audience. They’ve a proven system that converts cold audience into their raving fans. These raving fans will buy whatever those marketers promote. Yes, that’s their secret. No rocket-science.
Does it mean you too have to wait for years to build & convert your audience?
I’ve a better way.
Following’re the steps you need to take to start earning affiliate commissions in no time:
Step 1: Choose a niche. What’re you passionate about?. Health, fitness, singing, music, food, fishing, traveling?. That’s going to be your niche market.
Step 2: What’s the biggest problem of your niche market?. Just think about one big problem & note it down. If your niche market is fitness then may be losing weight is the biggest pain of your audiences. Makes sense?
Step 3: Create a simple website with a simple landing page. The landing page should educate your audience & provide tips to solve the problem identified at step #2. Don’t reveal everything. Keep the audience asking for more. To know more, your audience should opt-in by providing their email addresses.
Step 4: Run a facebook ad campaign to drive traffic to your website/landing page.
Step 5: Send automated & scheduled emails to your opted-in audiences where you’ll reveal your complete system to solve their problem. It’s here that your audiences will turn into your fans. There’re many email marketing softwares like MailChimp, Aweber, Get Response that can help you send these emails.
In affiliate world, these emails are also known as ‘Drip Campaigns’.
Step 6: Look for products that can solve your audiences’ problems. For that, you can check affiliate marketplaces like Commission Junction, ShareASale, Rakuten Marketing, etc. Be careful, don’t over-promote. Focus on providing value & building a relationship with your audience. And, sales would naturally come.
Step 7 Plug the products discovered at step #5 into the automated & scheduled emails.
Step 8: You’ll earn commissions if your audiences click on your email links & buy your recommended products.
As you can see, it’s all about the system.
Cold audience > Your website > Email optin > Automated & scheduled emails > Sales > Commissions
If you’re serious about making money from Affiliate Marketing, I recommend you to take Devon’s program. You’ll learn the basics, in & outs, & a proven formula (with actual scripts used by Devon) to convert website visitors into fans & buyers.
7. Make & Sell Infographics
An infographic is a graphical representation of useful information. It’s easy-to-digest & visually appealing. Hence, loved by audiences.
Infographics can generate a lot of money if you make & market it in a correct way. Don’t believe me? Check out this post.
Follow these steps to start making money from Infographics:
Step 1: Make a bunch of useful infographics using Venngage
Step 2: Sign up & submit the infographics at ShutterStock. Done!
ShutterStock is one of the world’s largest photography marketplaces. They’ve got tiered royalty rates’ structure for contributors. Do check out their website for more details.
Infographics are used by teachers, bloggers & corporate trainers to train their students or clients. Unlike text or powerpoint presentations, infographics are more memorable & present important facts in just one shot.
8. Become A YouTuber Without Creating Videos
We all know the power of YouTube. It’s the most popular video platform right now. Whether it’s song, comedy or viral videos, YouTube is our preferred choice.
You may also have heard about YouTubers killing it with six & seven figure income. They flaunt their fancy yachts, cars & mansions.
I’m sure you too want that kind of lifestyle. And, that’s the part of the reasons why you wanna start an online business. 😉
But, you can say “OK. But I’m good at nothing, how do I create killer YouTube videos ?”.
Great question. What if say that you don’t need to create a single video to make money on YouTube?
Yes, you heard it right. Let me show you the steps:
Step 2: Search for the topic of your interest & then filter the results by clicking on “Creative Commons”. Videos marked as “Creative Commons” are copyright-free & can be reused by others.
WARNING: Don’t skip this step or else your channel can be banned for violating copyright of other creators.
Step 3: Download a few videos of your interest. You can use a software like YTD Video Downloader.
Step 4: Juggle up, mix up the downloaded videos to make a new video with a new topic. You can use a simple video editor like Final Cut Pro X for editing.
Example: If you download 10 different goals’ videos scored by 10 great players. You can create a new video with the title as “Top 10 Goals of This Century”.
You can also spot a great video & make it more funny or interesting. The opportunities are limitless. Makes sense?
Make sure that you regularly upload great videos. That way you’ll earn a loyal base of subscribers. And, needless to say, more subscribers means more views which in turn means more ad revenue.
Mike makes thousands of dollars each month from YouTube without filming a single video. In his program (YouTube Secrets), he shares the exact end-to-end process he follows to create successful YouTube channels.
In YouTube Secrets, you’ll learn the following:
- How to create viral videos on YouTube without filming & marketing
- The correct way to use YouTube editing suite
- How to access royalty-free music
- How to write YouTube titles & video descriptions to maximum clicks & views
- The art of getting millions of subscribers
- How to create killer thumbnails
- The most common errors made by most YouTubers
- How to make your videos appear on the first pages of YouTube search results
9. Sell Professional Photos Without Being A Pro
In the past decade, with digitization, the demand for professional photos has sky-rocketed. They’re used by professional web designers, filmmakers, digital marketers & many more. So, why not make money by selling these professional photos?
You don’t need to have a professional photography equipment or be a pro to do this.
Let me show you how.
Step 1: Google for some basic photography tips
Step 2: Take some beautiful photos with your phone camera
Step 3: Go to Polarr & edit the photos to give them a professional touch
Step 4: Upload the professional photos on Alamy & start earning royalty
Alamy, like ShutterStock, is a photography marketplace. They pay a whopping 50% royalty to their contributors!
10. Give Consultation & Training On Skype
Everybody possesses one or the other skill that can be taught. What’s yours?
Then, why not train others about the skill that you possess? No, you don’t need to conduct physical classes. Let me show you how it’s done.
Step 1: Download the Skype software & sign up. Skype is an easy & professional way to video call anyone in the world.
Step 2: Sign up for a PayPal account. PayPal is a digital wallet that makes receiving payment(from clients) hassle-free.
Step 3: List your training service on Craigslist. It’s is a classified advertisement platform comprising of various sections like jobs, services, gigs etc.
Step 4: Accept payment on PayPal & start training your clients on Skype. Done!
So, the process is simple. Market yourself on Craigslist, accept payment on PayPal & provide training on Skype.
Examples of some skills that are best suited for Skype training: Yoga, singing, dancing, music etc.
I predict that online training is going to be a huge industry in the coming 5 years. With better internet connectivity & a fast changing world, traditional schools will become extinct. More & more folks are gonna come online to learn new skills.
Therefore, don’t miss the boat. If you’re good at something, start teaching the same online right now. You can thank me after 5 years 🙂
11. Make & Sell E-Commerce Websites To Retail Stores
This is my absolute favorite online business strategy.
Because it’s easy to execute & has got huge market potential.
With the ever rising competition, retailers today are battling out for new customers, revenue & profit margin. The idea is simple. Give them what they want. Give them customers, order & sales. How? Build e-commerce websites & sell the same to retailers.
Before you panic let me assure you that building an e-commerce website is super easy when you have the right tool with you.
You can easily build an online store using Shopify’s drag & drop builder within a matter of few minutes. Then, you’ll need to customize the store with the retailer’s products & related descriptions. The whole exercise may take from a few hours to a few days depending on the number of products.
Follow these steps to execute this strategy flawlessly:
Step 1: Go to retail stores in your locality & try to get some retailers on board. Explain them the long-term benefits of going online.
Step 2: Buy a domain name on NameCheap. Example:xyzretailstore.com
Step 3: Go to Shopify & sign up for a free 14 days trial.
Step 4: Buy a Shopify e-commerce theme from ThemeForest (This is optional. You can install a free theme that comes integrated with Shopify)
Step 5: Install the aforesaid theme into Shopify & customize the store by adding products, description, logo etc. Watch the following video for complete tutorial:
Step 6: Give a demo to the retailers (on the processing of orders) & finally raise an invoice. Done!
The hardest part of this business will be to convince the retailers. You probably won’t land a single client on day one. Don’t give up. It’s worth to persist.
Imagine to land only 5 clients in your first month who pay $ 1000 ($200*5) as upfront fee. You’re also going to charge $ 50 per month as website maintenance cost (that equals to recurring income of $ 600 from one client per year). As your number of clients increases so will your recurring income.
If you’ve 50 active clients at the end of the first year, that means you’ve earned $ 10,000 as upfront fee. And, you’re gonna earn $ 2500 per month as recurring income from those clients. Crazy!
12. Buy Offline & Sell Online on eBay
This is an arbitrage strategy. All you need to do here is buy products from offline stores at low prices & sell the same on eBay with margin.
The offline retail stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy & The Home Depot, etc. regularly offer heavy discounts on some of their selected products. The idea is to buy those discounted products in bulk & sell them on eBay at high prices.
I’ve practically seen this strategy work like wonder. One of my neighbours is a grocery dealer. I’ve seen him buying discounted cold drinks from a mart & sell those at his small retail shop for profit. I learnt the basics of this strategy from him & tweaked it to suit the online world.
Using this strategy, you can easily book a margin of at least 50% to 90%.
Here’s how you can use this strategy to start an online business:
Step 1: Visit your nearest marts, malls & large retail stores regularly. Buy the products that are on heavy discount.
Step 2: List the products bought on eBay with photos & description. Opt for immediate payment option.
Step 3: Start dispatching your orders as & when sales orders start rolling.
eBay is the world’s #1 consumer-to-consumer marketplace. That means anyone can sell her product to anyone else. You don’t need to be a business to sell on eBay.
Selling on eBay is easy because the platform is already popular & you don’t need to build your own audience base. All you need to succeed on eBay is a great product with an awesome price.
13. Earn By Writing
Have you ever thought that writing can help you make money? Well, think again. It’s possible.
There are numerous platforms like Contena, Blasting News, Listverse etc, that pay writers generously for submitting good quality content.
These platforms pay anything between 100$ to 200$ per article. So, to make $5000 a month, you simply need to write & upload 25 to 20 articles a month. Good deal!
But, please note that these platforms have strict quality control so make sure that you brush up your writing skills before applying.
Step 1: Sign up at the aforesaid writing platforms
Step 2: Apply for open jobs/tasks/projects on the platform
Step 3: Write & Earn. Done!
I’ve been writing blogs since past 2 years. So far, its been a great learning experience. What I’ve learnt is that — to improve your writing, all you’ve to do is write a lot. It’s all about training & practice.
How do you learn driving a car? Simply by driving & learning in the process. The same applies to writing.
The more you write, the better you’ll get at it.
14. Test Apps & Make Money Online
We’re living in an era of apps. There’re apps everywhere. On phones, TVs, watches, cars & what not. These apps entertain us, make our lives simple & improve work productivity. There’s an app for anything you want. Think of a problem & there’s an app to solve it.
Countless numbers of apps are being made everyday. Before going live, developers of these apps want a group of users (called beta testers) to test their apps.
And, here comes the best part:
The app developers reward people testing their apps. Imagine earning money simply by testing apps. WoW!. That’s what this online business idea is all about.
You can get started with this online business by following these steps:
Step 1: Sign up with App Coiner. It’s a marketplace that connects app developers or owners with app testers.
Step 2: Install the apps of your choice on your phone & test them out.
Step 3: Write an HONEST opinion about the tested app by logging into App Coiner app.
Step 4: Get paid as & when users install the tested apps after reading your opinion.
The more number of apps you test, you more money you would make.
No experience or skill is required to get started with App Coiner. Anyone from any part of this world can start making money using this idea.
15. Make (Without Coding) & Sell Games
Gaming is perhaps one of the fastest growing industries in the world. But, how to make a business out of it? Oh yes, you aren’t a game developer & know nothing about coding.
Well, that’s where platforms like GameMaker step in. Using GameMaker, you can build any kind of game simply by dragging & dropping elements.
Follow these steps to build & monetize games:
Step 1: Sign up on GameMaker & build a game application
Step 2: Export the game in your preferred format (Windows, Android etc.)
Step 3: Sign up on the platform where you wanna sell the game (Windows Store, Google Play Store etc.) & publish the game there. Done!
In gaming, what really matters is the concept & idea behind the game. With the kind of technology we’ve right now, developing a game isn’t that hard.
On the flip side, if your concept isn’t convincing, even the world’s best game developer can’t help.
So, go to your phone’s app store right now & start exploring some of the popular games. Think why’re those games popular?. Is there a gap in the market?.
The answers to the aforesaid questions will help your chart a vision, strategy & idea for your own gaming app.
I’ve covered 15 unique online business ideas in this post.
Most of these ideas are :
- Suited for beginners
- Without substantial investment
Also, each of these ideas has the potential to generate more than $ 5000 a month. In fact, once you establish an authority in any of these fields, the sky will be the only limit.
A word of caution here: In money world, Ideas are often over-rated. What really matters is the execution of these ideas. As said earlier, you’ll need to invest time, some money & effort in executing these ideas.
The better the execution, the more are the chances of success.
Once you taste the initial success, make sure that you scale your business further with strategic planning & the right tools.