Did you know that 75% of Americans would rather focus on a job or career they’re passionate about if it were financially feasible, but only 37% have actually started a side business? This information comes from a recent national poll and the numbers are astonishing. In order to help demystify the process of starting a side business and the amount of work it takes to do so, we’ve rounded up these high-quality ecommerce online business ideas that can actually be started right now.
Starting a side business is one of the best ways to get started in ecommerce because it’s a lower-risk option than just quitting your day job to pursue your passion but it’s still something you can grow and scale over time. If you’re one of the 75% of Americans who would rather work in a job or career they’re passionate about but you aren’t sure how to make that happen, this roundup of online business ideas should help you get started on the right foot.
So, when starting a side hustle there are some important pieces of the puzzle to take into consideration. Since this won’t be your main job, it can’t take up all of your time; you still need time and energy to work your regular job successfully so you might need to focus on automation and productivity strategies when it comes to your side business. Here are some things to think about:
- Automation: Automation is the best friend of side hustles. It means that you can produce a lot more output with not as much input so you can get the results you’re looking for without having to do all the work to get there. Look for all the possible ways you can automate aspects of your side business so things can run in the background when you can’t work on your business.
- Store Management: Your store needs to be low-maintenance to manage so that you’re not spending all of your limited hours on the backend operations when you do have time to dedicate to your side business. Consider setting up your store on a hosted ecommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce so complex and time-consuming store management tasks are taken care of for you.
- Order Management: Order management for your side business also needs to be low maintenance because, again, you don’t want to be spending all your free time fulfilling orders when you have other tasks to be doing. Think about how you can create a really efficient order picking and packing process so fulfillment is a breeze, or find a fulfillment warehouse you can partner with to handle the process for you.
- Business Costs: Since your side business is exactly what the name suggests — a side business — you should focus on running it as lean as possible so it doesn’t eat up the resources you have to fund it and so you can make the most out of your profit margin earning potential. To help reduce your business operating costs, check out this article.
- Productivity: You’re going to have to keep the time you have to dedicate to your side business as productive as possible so in order to help facilitate that, using the right apps can make all the difference. Don’t go too app crazy, but using productivity apps or apps designed for ecommerce and entrepreneurship can go a long way in helping you run the best side business in the time in you have available.
- Scalability: Side businesses don’t always have to scale, they can stay a side business throughout their lifetime, however, if you’re looking to build a career around your passion and growing your side business is the way to do it, then scaling your operations might be of interest to you. We suggest first to just start, and then think about scaling later. While it is important to plan for your business’ future and make decisions now that will help boost it’s value later, sometimes thinking too far into the future can lead to not starting your side business at all. Just start now – start small and scale step by step. Go at your own pace and take your side business one day at a time. After all, by running a side business in addition to working your regular job, you have the luxury of not putting all the pressure on your side business to provide for your lifestyle, so you’re free to grow it at the pace you see fit.
Ready to get your own ecommerce side business started? Check out these ecommerce online business ideas to get going in the right direction!
Table of Contents
- Online Business Ideas #1: Product Curation
- Online Business Ideas #2: Start an Online Marketplace
- Online Business Ideas #3: Start a Dropshipping Store
- Online Business Ideas #4: Find an Online Business for Sale
- Online Business Ideas #5: Create an Affiliate Ecommerce Store
- Online Business Ideas #6: Create Digital Products
- Online Business Ideas #7: Make Homemade Products
- Online Business Ideas #8: Work as an Influencer
- Online Business Ideas #9: Be a Remote Freelancer, Contractor or Employee
Online Business Ideas #1: Product Curation
One of the most manageable types of side businesses to start centers around product curation. This is one of the best online business ideas because you can really tailor it to fit your own areas of interest and expertise by making your store anything you want it to be.
By starting a product curation side business, your main intention is to hone in on a particular market or niche and curate a selection of products that meets the needs for that audience. Finding a niche and sticking to it is super important for this type of side business, so if you choose to pursue this route, we recommend doing some solid research into your niche and looking through directories like our 500 Niches Document to find the perfect area of interest to focus in on.
Once you narrow down your niche, it’s time to curate a selection of products to sell in your store. You can approach this part of your side business through many different ways: You can either manufacture your own selection of products, wholesale them from other brands, private label them from existing companies, dropship them from dropshipping suppliers, or even list them from affiliate networks. There’s so much flexibility when it comes to product curation side businesses, but remember that the main advantage here is to focus on the curation aspect of the store.
This type of side business’ competitive advantage comes from creating a pared-down selection of items for shoppers to choose from, so use that to your advantage. Spend your time sourcing and listing high quality items rather than a high quantity of items, which will not only save you time but it will be more enticing for visitors as well.
Here are some types of product curation online business ideas you can start:
- Antiques, Art, Collectables & Vintage Items: These types of products are basically a perfect match for product curation stores because there are often just one or very few stock keeping units (SKUs) of any given item, which isn’t enough to stock an entire store with but works perfectly for the premise of a curated store.
- Clothing: With fast fashion brands overflowing with the same stock of garments from one store to the next, originality and exclusivity is a growing trend when it comes to consumer’s clothing choices. Building an entire side business that revolves around curating clothing items to suit a specific niche is definitely relevant to modern-day shoppers.
- Accessories: Similarly, curating a selection of accessories to suit a specific niche market has its place in today’s ecommerce industry.
- Grooming & Personal Care Products: This type of product curation store could focus primarily on toiletries or beauty products that pertain to a specific niche.
- Digital Goods: This is a growing market where the amount of products within the industry is multiplying year after year and curating a selection of digital products for a niche audience could be helpful for consumers.
- Services: Similarly, helping consumers connect with others who provide the services they’re looking for has become a growing market as well.
The next steps you’ll have to take to get a product curation side business up and running will be to source your products and then set up a store to sell them on. Where you source your products from will depend entirely on the type of business model you want to operate (manufacturing, wholesaling, dropshipping or private labeling) and the way in which you want to earn your revenue (through commission/affiliate links or through product sales).
If you want to source products from suppliers, check out supplier directories like our Manufacturers Directory, Clothing Manufacturers Directory, Wholesale Suppliers Directory, Dropshipping Suppliers Directory or Private Label Manufacturers Directory and if you want to earn commission through affiliate links, check out affiliate networks like the ones we mention in our Best Affiliate Programs article.
Next, curate a selection of products and list them on your own ecommerce store hosted by an ecommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce. You’ll be able to easily list new products as you come across them and remove products if and when they sell out. They’re both flexible platforms to build on which give you the tools to create the exact kind of curated site you want to create.
Online Business Ideas #2: Start an Online Marketplace
Next up on our list of online business ideas you can start now is an online marketplace. This type of side hustle will likely take a bit more effort to start up but once you have it running it can operate fairly autonomously and require very little input on your part, if that’s how you design it to operate.
Online marketplaces, as we discussed in our How to Start an Online Marketplace article, are ecommerce stores where multiple merchants can sell goods or services to customers. You can set up your own online marketplace as a side business by giving merchants the ability to sell through your marketplace so you don’t have to worry about sourcing, adding, and selling your own products.
Online marketplaces typically focus on providing a specific type of product or service to an in-demand market, so again, focusing in on a niche is very important when it comes to starting your own online marketplace as well.
Examples of online marketplaces:
- Amazon: Started as an online marketplace of booksellers
- Etsy: An online marketplace of individuals selling homemade products
- AirBnb: An online marketplace for homeowners to rent out their property
- TaskRabbit: An online marketplace to match freelance laborers with local demand
- Creative Market: An online marketplace selling digital assets for businesses and creatives
As you can see, each of these online marketplaces provides products or services where there is a demand for them and focuses solely on that niche. We suggest that if you decide to start an online marketplace as a side business that you find a niche where there’s a real need for a type of product or service, and also a way for others to be able to supply the product or service to your online marketplace. Online marketplaces only work when a large group of people can contribute to the supply, so keep that in mind when you’re creating an online marketplace of your own.
Setting up an online marketplace can be challenging for that reason, simply because you’ll have to coordinate not only the customer-facing side of your store but also the supplier-facing side. This means you’ll have double the input and double the support required to keep things flowing. Many aspects of running an online marketplace can be automated, however, so although the initial setup may require more effort it may also offer a high return on investment.
Another aspect of running an online marketplace that you’ll have to take into serious consideration is how you plan to monetize it. There are several different avenues you can choose, such as a commision-based business model, a membership/subscription fee business model, a listing fee business model, and a freemium business model — all of which we discuss in more detail in our How to Start an Online Marketplace article.
To get your own online marketplace started, find the niche you want to serve, set up your marketplace through a platform like Sharetribe, and define your monetization strategy. Review our How to Start an Online Marketplace article linked above for further directions and information.
Online Business Ideas #3: Start a Dropshipping Store
One of the most popular types of side businesses to start right now, dropshipping stores are a very accessible ecommerce business to start. If you’re looking for a low-risk and easy-entry point into the world of ecommerce, dropshipping is a great place to start.
Dropshipping businesses are an attractive business model because you as the merchant can start your own online store without having to purchase any inventory upfront and without having to handle any aspect of the shipping or fulfillment process. By dropshipping, you’re able to partner with compliant suppliers who ship and fulfill your customers’ orders on your behalf, making it look like the package came directly from you.
By not having to purchase inventory upfront, manage it in your own warehouse, pick and pack orders and ship them to your customers you’re able to save a lot of time and money that you can spend elsewhere on your business. These tasks are outsourced to the supplier, who completes them on your behalf, making the process look seamless to your customers.
Starting a dropshipping store is one of the top online business ideas because there are so many aspects of the store that you don’t have to worry about! This means that it will take up less of your time, which is advantageous because you’ll be working on your side hustle when you have some free time, and a large part of running your business will be outsourced and automated.
Dropshipping does have some downsides, however, which we discuss in-depth in our Dropshipping 101: What is Dropshipping article. Mainly, you lack brand control because another supplier will be creating your products and shipping them to your customers and because this other supplier handles so many aspects of the process on your behalf, your margins are smaller which decreases your profit earning potential. While these might not be huge drawbacks for a side business, they can impact your business’ future scalability.
To get started dropshipping, you need to find the right products to dropship and the right suppliers to source dropshipping products from. Then, you can set up your store and begin selling to customers.
To find dropshipping product ideas, check out our article on 75 Print-on-Demand Product Ideas and to find dropshipping suppliers, check out our Premium Dropshipping Suppliers Directory. We’ve even curated a list of the Top 10 Best Shopify Dropshipping Apps if you’re setting up your dropshipping store with Shopify and want to integrate your supplier directly to your store to automate the process to its utmost potential. Some of the top dropshipping suppliers that we recommend include Printful, Gooten, Modalyst, and Spocket — all of which have Shopify dropshipping apps that can connect directly to Shopify stores.
If you’re looking for a side business you can start easily and quickly without compromising on the quality of your products, then consider starting a dropshipping side business.
Online Business Ideas #4: Find an Online Business for Sale
This might be a less-conventional type of side business that comes to mind, however, finding an online business for sale could potentially be one of the best online business ideas on this list.
When you search through online businesses that are for sale, you can find the exact store you’re looking for at the exact size and stage you’re willing to commit to so you can build the exact type of side business you’re looking to operate. By purchasing a business that’s already up and running you can skip through the time-consuming formative stages of starting an online business and get straight to the operational part. This is an ideal option for people who want to operate an online business but spend less time starting one completely from scratch.
This type of side business idea doesn’t come without its own set of downsides, however, so keep these in mind if purchasing an online business for sale is something you think you’re interested in:
- You’ll likely have to spend a fair bit of time finding the business that’s the right fit for you. You can search through marketplaces like the Shopify Exchange to find the business for you, however, you might not find what you’re looking for right away.
- Not all businesses for sale will be side-business-sized businesses. If you’re looking for a side business you can truly run in your spare time, make sure to evaluate the commitment level thoroughly before pursuing further.
- When purchasing a business that’s for sale, you’ll likely have less freedom to make that business exactly what you might want it to be. Since the business already has a brand built around it, supplier connections, and customer relationships, there may be aspects of the business you can’t change without alienating people who shopped from that online business before.
If you’re looking for online business ideas where most of the hard work has been done already and you can just jump right in and start running the show, then purchasing a business for sale might be the best option for you. For information about how to find online businesses for sale and how to find the right one for you, check out this article.
Online Business Ideas #5: Create an Affiliate Ecommerce Store
This is another low-maintenance side-business idea and it’s a great option for people who don’t want to handle any inventory and who don’t want to have to actually ship products to customers.
By starting an affiliate side business, you’ll earn revenue by recommending products or services to your audience and you’ll earn a commission of the earnings for every sale you facilitate. This way, you just have to recommend products to your audience and they’ll purchase those products from the company’s website, you don’t actually have to sell any products on your store.
Affiliate side businesses can be operated in many different ways: You could start your own affiliate ecommerce store which curates a selection of products for your visitors to browse through, or you could send out email newsletters focused around a niche topic and recommend related products by using affiliate links, or you could even add affiliate links to your blog, YouTube channel, podcast or Instagram to earn revenue on the recommendations you make through those channels.
No matter how you plan to operate your affiliate ecommerce store, you’ll have to sign up to affiliate programs and networks so you can get started earning revenue for the recommendations you facilitate. Check out our article on the 100+ Best Affiliate Programs for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs to find the right affiliate programs for your niche and market.
To earn revenue from affiliate marketing as a side business, you’ll have to build up an audience of social media followers or website visitors in order to earn a substantial amount from the commission of sales you facilitate. It can take some time to build up this audience, but it’s not unlike the amount of time it would take to build up any kind of audience to a new ecommerce store. Start small and slowly build up your audience step by step.
Online Business Ideas #6: Create Digital Products
Creating digital products is one of the best online business ideas for people who want to actually sell a product of their own to their customers without having to create a physical product that they then have to ship to their customers.
Selling digital products can be an extremely ideal side business to start because you only have to create one version of a product to then be able to sell it again and again to your audience. Unlike physical products, you don’t have to create an individual item for each customer who purchases it so you won’t be required to source and store inventory, worry about broken or damaged products, running out of stock or products getting lost in the shipping process. Digital products are much easier and faster to manage, and one digital product file can be sent to an infinite number of customers.
As a side business, this works out rather well because it means your digital product business will require less attention than physical product businesses usually do which makes it a great option if you have a very limited amount of time to spend on your side business.
Here are some digital product online business ideas you can start:
Selling filter presets is a trending digital product at the moment as filters gain popularity on social media platforms such as Instagram. With the ability to alter the color, tones, and gradients in photos, presets are easy to create and are typically sold in bundles. Presets are custom-created and are typically used in software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. For information on how to create and sell your own presets, check out Skillshare’s how-to videos.
Writing ebooks can be both compelling and profitable as a side business. This mainly depends on your ability and desire to write regularly, even in small quantities, like 300-400 words every day. Writing informational and educational ebooks that are popular on the market, or writing about topics you’re passionate about can not only be financially rewarding but fulfilling as well. If you are more of the creative type who likes to create and tell stories, writing fiction can be a great choice for you.
If we analyze the popularity of ebooks on Amazon it turns out that fiction sells more than nonfiction: Up to two-thirds of all the ebooks on Amazon are fiction, while only 30% are non-fiction. So, if you think that writing fiction is something you could do, you need to decide on the type of fiction you’re interested in writing and find a way to distinguish yourself from your competitors. One thing’s for certain — since fiction is very popular, you’ll have plenty of competitors so you need a unique idea and great marketing after it’s written and published.
Non-fiction is less competitive than fiction and is predominantly produced by independent and small-to-medium sized publishers. On average, they’re shorter in length than fiction titles; the average non-fiction ebook has somewhere between 15,000 to 40,000 words. Since the best place to publish ebooks online is the Amazon Kindle Store, you can visit it and research the most popular categories and the most popular ebooks in each one. For example, some of the most saturated topics for nonfiction are “How-To” books like how to make money online, how to learn to play an instrument, and so on. Self-help books also do really well, as well as cookbooks and guides on healthy lifestyles.
If you want to have a published book on the most popular site for self-publishers – Amazon’s Kindle Store — here’s a step-by-step explanation of the processes you need to go through.
Decide on a Broader Topic
Firstly, you need to decide on a broader topic for your ebook, whether you decide to go with fiction or nonfiction. Examples of fiction can be a science-fiction, crime, or mystery novel. For non-fiction books, you can decide on a cookbook, a self-help book, or anything else that’s informational and/or educational.
Research and Brainstorm a Topic & Title
The second step is the part where you’ll do the research and brainstorming with the goal to find exactly what to write about and then create the perfect title. If you decide to write a self-help book, for example, you can write about many topics like time management or how to manage stress and anxiety. If you’ve decided to write an educational book, you can write a beginners programming guide for kids for example, or a book about healthy eating habits – and practically everything in between.
The title of your book is very important, especially when it comes to non-fiction books. It needs to be keyword rich so that people can find you through the search bar but it should also sound natural and a promising read for the reader.
Write Your First Draft
When you’ve completed the first two steps, next you need to start writing. You can decide to write a specific number of words daily or to set aside a certain amount of time to write each day. It all depends on how much free time you have, how fast you want to finish your book, and how long your book should be.
Proofread & Edit
After you complete the first draft, you’ll need to proofread it a few times to see if everything is correct. You will then edit it or rewrite some parts so that it’s done and prepared for publishing. You can even pay a professional editor to help you out or give it to a friend for an honest opinion.
Design the Cover & Set Pricing
Here comes the easiest and the second-to-last step. Although it may be the simplest, it’s very important for the success of your book: Creating a cover and deciding on the price of your ebook.
The cover you can create yourself in a free or paid photo editor, but you can also pay a freelance graphic designer to help you create a polished and professional-looking cover. After the cover is done, all you need to do is put a price on the book (ebooks usually go from $0.99 to $4.99) and publish it.
As for publishing, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing page offers simple but thorough instructions, and that can walk you through the process of both publishing your ebook, and getting paid, step by step.
If you have a good DSLR camera and a keen eye for taking great photos, you should consider doing stock photography as a side business. Even if you don’t have much experience in taking good-quality photos, you can easily teach yourself how one step at a time using all the instructional articles, video tutorials, and great resources Google can find.
Becoming a stock photographer can be a great investment if you know what you are doing and what’s most needed on the market. After you take and edit your photos, you can sell them on any of the many websites for stock photos like Shutterstock, Unsplash, or iStockPhoto.
These are the steps you need to take in order to successfully be a part of the stock photography market.
Choose a Subject
If you’re a beginner in photography, this is the most important step. Why, you may wonder? Well, if the niche you are taking photos for is too competitive or not in high demand, your photos won’t be seen or downloaded — meaning, no profit. You need to do your research on the most popular sites for stock photos and read many articles so you really know what the stock photography market actually needs.
Take a look at the most searched keywords, the most downloaded photos, and don’t forget to think like an advertiser. Many people who use stock photos are advertisers who use them for brochures, posters, and other ads and promotional material, so know your future customers in order to give them what they need.
Keep in mind that this is a competitive space so see if your photos can in some way differentiate from those of your competitors if you want to succeed.
Photograph & Edit
The second step is to take your camera everywhere with you, photograph as much as you can, select the best photos, and edit them if needed. When taking photos, try and make them as professional as you can. The size of the image and its quality is quite important when it comes to stock photography. You have to use a DSLR camera, preferably with a good-quality lens, in order to have high-resolution photos.
If you don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience, do your research first. Take some time and either sign up for a photography class or check-out some online photography tutorials.
Optimize Your Photos
The last part before finally publishing the photos you have taken is to give every single photo a good name, description, and of course, keywords. Optimizing your photos will make them more searchable in the stock photography sites, so don’t miss out on this crucial step.
You can make this side-business profitable by selling your stock photos on the sites we mentioned, as well as by selling them directly to businesses if you decide to create your own website where you’ll publish everything you photograph.
Fonts are an important digital asset that can be used in many different ways, whether it’s for logos, branding, websites, products, digital media, paper media, etc. and there’s an entire world of font-lovers who appreciate the art of typography. To learn more about fonts and to sell them on online digital marketplaces, check out Creative Market, 1001 Free Fonts, Adobe Typekit, Font Fabric, and MyFonts.
Logo templates, business card templates, brochure templates, website design templates, email newsletter templates, presentation templates, and social media templates are all online business ideas that are possible to pursue. So many people purchase digital templates so they can create a custom digital asset without having to work with an expensive professional designer so there’s plenty of demand on the market for these digital products.
When it comes to selling your digital products online, consider selling them either on your own ecommerce store or through an online digital product marketplace like Creative Market. Creative Market specializes in selling all different types of digital products and they draw in a huge amount of traffic to their site which means you get more eyes on your products. To learn more about Creative Market and the features and services they offer, check out our Creative Market Review.
Online Business Ideas #7: Make Homemade Products
It’s perhaps one of the most fundamental online business ideas out there but making homemade products has stood the test of time. It’s such an appealing type of side business to start because it’s accessible, it’s manageable, and it usually can be built around a personal hobby or skill.
To start a side business around products you can make from home, first consider what you’re capable of making and what niche market of customers you’re targeting. This will help you narrow down what kind of products to sell and what is feasible to build a business around.
When it comes to starting a side business based around homemade products, however, take into consideration that there will be a fair amount of competition as it is such an accessible type of business to start, and scaling the production of homemade products can prove difficult down the line if demand for your products increases.
Here are some online business ideas of products you can make at home:
- Bath Bombs
- Solid Cologne/Perfume
- Beard Oil
- Body Lotion
- Exfoliating Scrubs
- Hair Products
- Bow Ties
- Pocket Squares
- Enamel Pins
- Tote Bags
- Hats & Beanies
- Phone Cases
- Greeting Cards
- Posters, Art & Canvas Prints
- Beach Blankets
- Dresses & Skirts
For further explanations about how to make these types of products and how to start a side business around them, check out our articles on 30+ Products You Can Make Yourself & Sell From Home and How to Start 11 Different Types of Ecommerce Businesses.
Online Business Ideas #8: Work as an Influencer
We’ll start off this section by saying this isn’t one of those online business ideas that’s just easy to jump into, as it typically takes a lot of work to grow your social media accounts to influencer status. However, it is important to note that not all influencers have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers and, in fact, micro-influencers are a very important part of the influencer ecosystem as well.
Micro-influencers are generally understood to be known as influencers on social media platform who have a relatively modest number of followers (think anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 followers) but whose followers are highly engaged. This means that for every photo or video they post, their followers are watching and listening to their recommendations and they trust the content that the influencer puts out there.
If you want to start working as an influencer as a side business, understand that it takes an enormous amount of time and consistency in order to grow an engaged following, but if you set your sights on becoming a micro-influencer rather than a full-blown influencer, this becomes a more achievable goal as it pertains to being a side business.
Micro-influencers are also important because not all brands can work with the top influencers in every niche. Influencers cost money to work with, as their work needs to be compensated, and high-value influencers can charge hefty fees ranging anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per post. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, generally don’t charge nearly as much because they have a smaller number of followers, so they’re more accessible to small-to-medium sized brands.
This means that as a micro-influencer, you’ll have paid work opportunities with brands just like high-ranking influencers do, so you won’t be missing out on that type of revenue stream. If you choose to work as an influencer, remember that you have several different ways to diversify your revenue streams, such as through partnerships with brands, affiliate links, Adsense revenue, advertising revenue, and by selling your own products. When working as an influencer as a side business, dipping into each of these distinct revenue pools can help you make the most of the work you do and it can present more revenue earning opportunities.
To learn more about what influencers do and how to start a side business around it, read on.
What Influencers Do
Influencers are individuals with a large following online who are known for their expertise in a specific field or industry. They are loved for their honesty and openness, or for simply for being regular people, unlike celebrities whose lifestyles may seem unrelatable to the general population. Influencers have increased their numbers in the past few years, mostly because being an influencer is both profitable and a great home-based small business idea. This is especially true for micro-influencers.
If you think you have the qualities that people like when it comes to influencers and are interested and informed in some field or industry – you can become an influencer yourself.
Let’s see what steps you’ll need to take in order to achieve this.
Find Your Niche
The first step to becoming an influencer is to find your niche, or a topic which you’re capable of writing articles, recording videos, and/or creating content about. Depending on your interests, hobbies, or education, you can choose one of the many niches out there.
The field or specific niche you choose for yourself should also depend on your love and passion for that particular topic. This is essential since you should create new content regularly and be up-to-date with the new information in that field or industry.
Choose your Social Media Platforms
The second step is to decide what your main social media channels are going to be. There are many platforms where you can establish a presence but if you choose all the popular ones, you may have a hard time keeping up with and engaging your followers.
That’s why you should choose two or three social media channels — the most popular ones being Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and more. The ones you choose depend on where your target audience mostly hangs out, so do your research and choose accordingly.
Create Content Strategy & Publish It
The third step is to create your content strategy and publish your content. Depending on the social media networks you’ve chosen, you will create the appropriate type of content that’s mostly popular with your target audience.
If you use Instagram, your strategy might be to create and publish 2 to 4 images every day, if you decide to go with YouTube you can record videos and publish them weekly or even daily, and so on. When you have enough followers, you can start publishing sponsored photos or videos. Be sure to publish them after a couple of regular posts, so that you can earn money without overcrowding your followers with ads or sponsored stories.
Engage & Grow
The fourth and last step is to engage with your followers and grow your channel/profile. Make sure to reply to comments, ask your followers questions, and even create some contests.
Want to know more about growing your influencer side-business on Instagram by acquiring more followers? Check out our Advanced Instagram Marketing Tactics to Get a Ton of Followers article and you’ll learn how to get the most out of your Instagram account.
Are you passionate about a certain topic that you want to write about? Is it useful for a certain audience? Do you have great writing skills and if not, are you willing to improve them? If the answer to these questions is yes – blogging is definitely a side business idea worth considering.
Still a viable source of income, blogging is the type of side hustle that’s easy to start now more than ever. With so many guides, tutorials, online classes, and vlogs on how to start blogging nowadays, you can easily familiarize yourself with all the technicalities and strategies necessary to start, grow, and profit. What’s more, blogging is a home-based online business you can start with little to no money, so all you really need is the desire, a computer or a laptop, and an internet connection.
Blogging is a great way for you to express your thoughts, knowledge, and creativity while producing content that’s in some way useful to your audience. In time, as you grow your audience, you can earn and make a profit in various ways — from ads to affiliate links, and more!
Want to start a blog? Here’s briefly what you’ll need to do first, just so you know what you’ll be getting yourself into.
Find Your Niche
Finding your niche means choosing a topic (or topics) to write about, but it’s much more than that — it’s what will define your blog and decide what’s going to be its main focus of interest.
Of course, your blog can be about more than one topic – your travels, your career, parenting, personal development, and so on. However, creating niche content means finding your target audience more easily, acquiring loyal readers and a growing audience and, most importantly, monetizing your blog more efficiently via AdSense or affiliate links.
Niche blogs also do better in search engines like Google and help you carve out your place as a knowledgeable person in that particular field, so make sure the niche you choose is something you’re really interested in and passionate about.
Choose a Blogging Platform & a Hosting Provider
After choosing your niche, the next thing you need to cross off your list is creating a name for your blog and choosing an available domain. Both should be short and memorable with keywords that represent your niche and tell readers what your blog is all about.
Next comes choosing a blogging platform. This is the place where you’ll create, design, and publish your content. Don’t worry, the blogging platforms out there are mainly easy to use and don’t require prior knowledge. WordPress is the most popular one at the moment, both for beginners and experts.
When that’s out of the way you need a hosting provider. This is the platform that’ll host your blog on the internet, meaning it’ll keep all your files secure and will give readers access to your blog. For this, we recommend Kinsta as it’s one of the most high-quality hosting service providers on the market.
Create a Content Strategy
Creating a content strategy is not simply just about writing quality content, but much more than that. You need to define your goal for the blog and really know your target audience in order to understand what type of content they find most interesting and useful.
According to this, you then need to set aside a few topics you want to write about and use all the help you can get. See what your target audience likes online and do keyword research accordingly. You can use keyword research tools like KWFinder to generate more ideas, visit similar blogs for more inspiration, brainstorm with friends and, of course, write everything down. This way you’ll have a more clear idea on what to write about and if you’re ever stuck or lacking inspiration you can simply go back to the list and check out your content ideas.
Publish and Promote Your Posts
Once you start publishing your blog posts you need to promote them in order to drive traffic. Doing this via social media is the best way to do it. Since you know your niche and your target audience, see what social media platforms your readers mostly use and focus on one or mostly on two in the beginning. Other platforms you could use for promotion would be forums where your target audience is most active, message boards, even guest posts for other blogs in your niche, and so on.
One of the top influencer platforms is Instagram, so if you’re starting a side business as a social media influencer, consider using Instagram as one of your main platforms. Not only can you interact with and engage a massive audience of people but you can partner with brands and promote affiliate links to help earn revenue.
To grow as a social media influencer on Instagram, you’ll have to organically grow your following by posting interesting and engaging content. The more consistently you post, the better, as more eyes will be drawn to your content more regularly.
You’ll be able to start earning revenue as soon as you amass an engaged Instagram following which can generally start at around 5,000 – 10,000 followers. From here, you can join affiliate networks to work with brands, you can promote affiliate links in your Instagram Stories, you can post ads in your Instagram posts and you can promote your own website and products to your audience as you go.
To get started, simply start posting content consistently! Do some research on how to post engaging content, look to other influencers to see what they post and how they interact with their audience and begin to interact with other accounts on the platform by liking and commenting their posts to help your account gain more exposure.
Having your own podcast can be a great side business idea while working full time that can be started entirely from your home or office. If you already have an audience somewhere — like from a social media profile, a blog, or a YouTube channel — you have a big head start. If you start a podcast in a niche that’s your expertise or one that you have knowledge in, then you’ll probably have people in mind who can be guests on your show. This, too, is an advantage and can help you to speed up the process of building your audience.
Most podcasters have guests who are influencers in some field that their podcast show is about. Because of that, they have an audience who is interested in that specific field or niche and the sponsors are easier to be found considering their advertisement would be closely related to the topics of discussion.
That being said, your main focus, in the beginning, should be gathering an audience that is interested in your podcast, looking for guests, and coming up with topics of discussion. When you have a large enough audience, more influential people will be interested to be guest on your podcast show and that’s when you’ll get serious and bigger sponsors to work with you.
Find Your Niche
The first step, finding your niche, for many is the easiest step. If you have knowledge about a certain topic or a huge interest in some field that you’d like to improve your knowledge in, you already have your niche. Also, think about your target audience. Are there enough people interested to listen to discussions and interviews in your niche of choice? If the answer is yes, you’re good to go.
Get Equipment & the Necessary Software
The next step is to get the right equipment and software for audio editing. When it comes to the equipment, you would need a microphone with an additional stand and a windscreen (or pop filter) which eliminates the sounds from blowing air into the microphone. A shock mount would also be useful to have since it can reduce the vibrations that the microphone picks up.
As for the software, you need it for your intro and outro as well as for some prerecorded ads from your sponsors. There are both free and paid alternatives, so editing your podcasts can cost you no money at all.
Invite a Guest and Prepare Your Show
The third step is to find and invite guests as well as to prepare the concept of each podcast. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to find some competitors in your niche and see how they plan their podcasts for inspiration.
Record, Edit & Publish
The final step is to record your podcast episode, edit it (if needed) and publish it. You should already have a title for the show, description, and keywords so you’re found more easily in search engines.
Learn more about how to start a podcast here and enjoy your podcasting journey!
Successful YouTube video creators are the present-day celebrities in this digital era we live in, and some of them earn millions each month. That being said, you don’t need to have millions of subscribers and be a popular YouTuber in order to earn money. In fact, what you actually need is a good idea, a good camera, a healthy dose of dedication, and a little bit of patience.
What makes YouTube a great side business idea while working full-time? Read on.
First of all, it’s an online, home-based business so you can work from the comfort of your own home whenever you want. Secondly, you can express your thoughts, knowledge, and creativity for the world to see. The best part about it, however, is that if you do it right it can really grow and even turn into a full-time job and a profitable business.
So, what type of video content is best for monetization nowadays? Let’s give you some ideas so you can choose according to your passions and knowledge.
Before we start, bear in mind that whatever topic or niche you choose for your YouTube channel, it should be something that you care about and know about to some extent. Even if you’re not that knowledgeable about it, you should at least have the desire to learn more as you make videos and grow your channel since your audience will trust you and learn from you. Having said this, let’s briefly go over the type of video content that works today.
Makeup, Hair Care & Fashion
Makeup and other beauty regimens are some of the most popular topics on YouTube, especially among women. If you find yourself drawn to this niche, you can perform makeup tutorials, hair care and skincare tutorials, beauty product reviews, fashion videos, and much more. If your channel starts to grow, you can monetize it via brand sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and/or Adsense.
Cooking, Food & Nutrition
If you’re a foodie who enjoys cooking, there are plenty of opportunities for a potentially successful YouTube channel. Cooking videos, or “What I Eat in a Day,” videos are a great idea if you have plenty of interesting or practical recipes to share so you can give your audience some ideas for their upcoming meals. Even if you don’t like cooking but are nevertheless interested in food and nutrition, you can do informative videos on nutrition and different food diets. You can later earn via Adsense, affiliate marketing, and/or selling your own products if you decide to take that route.
Do you know that some of the most popular YouTubers out there started out with gaming channels? Indeed, gamers still have a massive following so if you’re into gaming, you can stream while playing some of the top video games, review your favorite games, talk about news from the industry, and so on. You can earn money via Adsense, affiliate marketing, and/or via third-party advertising networks for gaming channels.
Fitness & Yoga
YouTube has become one of the go-to places for workout inspiration. More and more people use this platform to get in shape whether it’s through general fitness, weightlifting, yoga, pilates, and more.
So, if you’re a fitness instructor or a self-taught enthusiast, why not share your passion and make some money on YouTube? You can target a specific fitness-focused audience and grow your channel by keeping your viewers motivated so they subscribe to your channel and visit it as often as you post content. Once you have enough subscribers, you can earn via Adsense, sponsorships, merchandise, and even affiliate marketing.
Since more and more people are starting online businesses or marketing their already existing businesses online, digital marketing is an essential skill to learn. This platform is a great place for learning digital marketing and that’s exactly why YouTube channels based on this topic have a huge potential for growth.
You don’t have to be an expert in digital marketing to create this type of channel. The only thing you actually need is an interest in this subject and willingness to learn more — along with some good research on what topics precisely interest people the most. When your channel starts to grow, you can earn via Adsense, affiliate marketing, or you can even offer one-on-one Skype sessions and turn this into a full-time business.
How-To Videos & Tutorials
If you have knowledge about a particular topic or you’re passionate about something and are willing to learn more along the way, how-to videos and tutorials can be a great idea for your YouTube channel. In fact, how-to videos and tutorials can be a great idea if you don’t feel comfortable being on camera yourself since you can always create screencast videos by recording your computer screen while showing your audience how to do certain things. Once your channel starts to grow you can earn via Adsense, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and even one-on-one sessions.
Unboxing Videos & Product Reviews
Another really popular idea for a YouTube channel is filming unboxing videos where you unbox products and give your honest opinion about them. Before buying some products, many people consult online reviews and YouTube is one of the first places they go to.
Reviewing products where you simply talk about your experience with them is not only fun to do but this type of channel has a big potential for growth and once you have an audience, you can attract some really interesting sponsors. Many businesses want to get their products in front of as many people as they can, so you can later earn revenue via sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and of course, Adsense.
If you already have a product or service and an ecommerce website, you can use YouTube to grow your business and utilize video content to your advantage. Just check out our article on How to Make Money on YouTube Through Ecommerce and see how you can use YouTube to help your business grow.
Online Business Ideas #9: Be a Remote Freelancer, Contractor or Employee
Working as a remote employee can be one of the best online business ideas because oftentimes the job positions aren’t structured around being present during certain hours of the day so you can fit the job tasks around your schedule. This means you can earn money in your free time while learning skills in a relevant job or industry you might be interested in.
Remote ecommerce jobs are a great way to get your foot in the door if there’s a particular ecommerce-related job you want to develop your skills in but need guidance or if you want to learn the tools of the trade from a specific mentor. Even taking on entry-level positions can offer a lot of insight and knowledge, so don’t shy away from those if you’re looking to take on a side job role.
These are some of the top marketplaces you can go to find freelance, contractor or employee work in the ecommerce industry:
- Jobspresso: Curated remote jobs in tech, marketing, customer support, development, writing & editing and more.
- Upwork: Freelance services in web development, mobile development, design, writing, administration support, customer service, marketing, accounting and more.
- Fiverr: Freelance services in graphics & design, digital marketing, writing & translation, video & animation, music & audio, programming & tech, business, and more.
- WeWorkRemotely: Remote jobs in business & management, programming, sales & marketing, customer support, finance & legal, copywriting, design and more.
- FlexJobs: Vetted remote, part-time, freelance and flexible jobs in various categories.
- Remote.co: Remote jobs for developers, customer service representatives, recruiters, designers, sales professionals, and more.
- WorkingNomads: Remote jobs for digital working nomads in categories such as development, management, marketing, design, sales, customer service, writing, consulting, finance, healthcare, legal, and more.
- JobRack: Find high-quality Eastern European developers, designers, project managers, content writers, administration support, sales & marketing representatives and more.
- StackOverflow: Remote jobs board for developers.
- Toptal: The freelance marketplace for high-quality and leading freelance talent.
- PeoplePerHour: Freelance services by the hour.
- iWriter: Online content and article writing service.
- Dribbble: Social network for creatives to show and tell, promote, discover, and explore designs.
- Behance: Showcase & discover creative work in the graphic design, photography & illustration fields.
- Freelancer: One of the largest freelance marketplaces online.
Although you can look for job roles on these marketplaces, if you’re looking to start your own side business, you might be more inclined to work as a freelancer or contractor in order to make a name for yourself in your chosen industry. If you’re looking for inspiration for the types of freelance or contract work you could do, check out the lists below to find an area that best suits your own skills and qualifications.
Types of Remote Writing, Copywriting & Editing Online Business Ideas
- Articles & Blog Posts
- Resumes & Cover Letters
- Product Descriptions
- Website Content
- Technical Writing
- Proofreading & Editing
- Creative Writing
- Research & Summaries
- Sales Copy
- Press Releases
- Legal Writing
- Email Copy
- Business Names & Slogans
Types of Remote Social Media Online Business Ideas
- Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Ads
- Social Media Account Management
- Influencer Outreach
- Influencer Marketing
Types of Remote Business Online Business Ideas
- Virtual Assistant
- Data Entry
- Market Research
- Business Plans
- Branding Services
- Public Relations Management
- Growth & Growth Hacking
- Contracts & Grants Analysts
- Payroll Support
Types of Remote Web & App Development Online Business Ideas
- WordPress Development
- Shopify Store Development
- Web Programming
- Mobile App Development
- Desktop App Development
- Data Analysis & Reports
- IT Support
- Chatbot Development
- User-Experience Testing
Types of Remote Marketing Online Business Ideas
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Web Analytics
- Local Listings
- Domain Research
- Search & Display Marketing
- Ecommerce Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Web Traffic
- Mobile Advertising
- Music Promotion
- Project Management
- Campaign Management
Types of Remote Customer Service Online Business Ideas
- Email Support Management
- Phone Support
- Chatbot Support
- Social Media Listening & Message Support
- Cold Calling
- Customer Satisfaction Management
Types of Remote Graphics & Design Online Business Ideas
- Logos & Design
- Flyers & Brochure Design
- Shipping & Product Packaging Design
- Product Design
- Book & Album Cover Design
- Business Cards & Stationery
- Presentation Design
- Infographic Design
- Cartoons & Comics
- Architecture & Floor Plans
- 3D Models & Product Design
- Photoshop Editing
- Banner Ads
- Social Media Designs
- Invitation Designs
- Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Types of Remote Video & Animation Online Business Ideas
- Whiteboard & Animated Explainers
- Intros & Outros
- Logo Animation
- Slideshow & Promotion Videos
- Live Action Explainers
- Short Video Ads
- Spokesperson Videos
- Video Editing
- Lyric & Music Videos
- Animated Characters & Modeling
- Product Photography
- Visual Effects
Types of Remote Music & Audio Online Business Ideas
- Voice Overs
- Mixing & Mastering
- Jingles & Drops
- Sound Effects
As you embark on the journey of starting your own side business, remember to select the side hustle that fits within your skill set. This way the part time business of your choosing won’t seem too hard and won’t take all of your free time. After all, starting a new side business while working full-time can seem daunting but if you do it right you can earn some additional revenue on the side and maybe even turn it into a full-time business or career.