Top 24 Online Business Ideas to Launch in 2024

Top 24 Online Business Ideas to Launch in 2024

If you’re considering starting a small business online, now is the perfect time.

In this article, we will explore 24 profitable business ideas you can start right away. For each idea, we’ll cover essential details, including required skills, appropriate statistics, real-life examples, and earning potential.

We will also guide you through the necessary steps to jump-start your online business, enabling you to earn money from the comfort of your home.

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Best Online Business Ideas for 2024

Building a successful online business starts with an idea that aligns with your own skills and interests. Most online businesses benefit from having a website, or downright require one to be successful.

With tools like Hostinger Website Builder, you can get your site up and running with the help of AI. Simply specify the name and type of your website and describe it in a few words. The AI will generate a fully customizable website that you can easily tweak with the drag-and-drop editor, so it perfectly reflects your business idea.

Use the following 24 unique business ideas for your inspiration to get started.

1. Start an Online Store

  • Estimated income: $1,000-$100,000+/year, depending on the eCommerce business, its expenses, and the market size
  • Requirements: business management, digital marketing, and site maintenance skills

Setting up an eCommerce website gives you access to a global market with the convenience of selling to anyone at any time.

Compared to physical stores, eCommerce businesses require lower startup and operational costs on average. For example, with Hostinger, you can start your own online store for only RM13.99/month.

Additionally, online stores provide powerful tools for customer data analysis, personalized marketing, and automation, helping you streamline your business processes and make more money.

Find online store ideas by researching trending products or focusing on a particular niche. Segmenting your niche may initially attract low traffic volumes, but it helps reduce competition and provide substantial growth potential.

Gate Foot Forge is a great example of an eCommerce store because it showcases a clear and focused niche: hand-forged ironwork.

This allows the brand to effectively target and serve a specific customer base interested in bespoke craftsmanship. Read more about the story behind the brand on Hostinger Blog.

2. Sell Handmade or Thrifted Goods

  • Estimated income: $50-$5,000+/month
  • Requirements: artisanal or crafting skills, business management, and negotiation skills

Starting an affordable online business can involve selling second-hand goods for a profit or creating unique, handmade items.

As selling handmade goods means offering unique products, this justifies higher prices.

Bridget Bodenham, for example, makes a living selling her pottery directly through her website.

Alternatively, for those interested in thrifted goods, begin by sourcing unused, high-quality items around your home or from secondhand marketplaces. Look for vintage clothing, jewelry, or fully-functioning retro tech.

After acquiring these items, check competitor pricing to set your own rates. Some items may require repairs or modifications to increase their value, making handyperson or crafting skills advantageous.

For example, Dressed Herring, built with Hostinger Website Builder, is an excellent example for a store selling thrifted goods.

By using high-quality images and detailed product descriptions to highlight the uniqueness and quality of each thrifted item, the brand makes it easier to attract and retain customers who value sustainable and vintage fashion.

3. Sell Prints

  • Estimated income: 10-20% commission/print
  • Requirements: artistic skills, such as photography, graphic design, and fine arts

Selling prints is among the top online business ideas for visual artists. You can make money by selling unique items, like mugs, t-shirts, and posters, that contain your artwork.

One of the easiest ways to start selling prints is by creating an online store and signing up with an on-demand printing service like Printful.

This way, you can focus on creating more art and marketing the business since the printing service takes care of the procurement and shipping.

To effectively market your prints, do this:

  • Build a portfolio website to showcase your art. Remember to include an online store page.
  • Use social media to engage with art lovers and direct them to your store.
  • Offer promotions and limited editions to create urgency and exclusivity.
  • Be proactive in protecting your work by including copyright notices with each piece.

4. Launch a Subscription Box

  • Estimated income: $6,000-$400,000+/month
  • Requirements: business management, digital marketing, and site maintenance skills

A subscription box service is a business model where your brand periodically delivers a product package to customers.

With a subscription box service, you generate recurring income and foster a long-term relationship with customers. That said, to succeed in this online business, you must sell a product that people are willing to pay for repeatedly and focus on having a solid niche.

Consider selling items that need to be restocked regularly, like coffee, tea, or snacks. Other products, like books or candles, could work, too, as long as you consider how often your subscription boxes will be sent out to customers.

Get started by doing this:

  • Source products from reliable suppliers who can consistently meet demand.
  • Design attractive packaging that reflects the theme of your box.
  • Create a website for your subscription business.
  • Set up a subscription management system on your website or use platforms like Cratejoy.

A good example of an effective subscription box service is the Butcher Box. This subscription service delivers various kinds of organically sourced meat directly to the customers’ doorsteps.

5. Start a Dropshipping Business

  • Estimated income: $200-$3,000+/month, depending on the online store and market size
  • Requirements: business management, digital marketing, and site maintenance skills

Dropshipping is a relatively low-risk and straightforward online business model, ideal for beginners looking to enter the eCommerce space.

In dropshipping, you collaborate with suppliers to feature their products in your online store. While the supplier manages inventory and logistics, your primary role is to market these products to potential customers.

One major advantage of dropshipping is the minimal need for inventory management, which significantly reduces startup costs.

For example, if you use Hostinger Website Builder to create your dropshipping site, you get all the eCommerce features you need to start selling, a free domain name, and web hosting starting at RM13.99/month.

On top of that, a membership to a supplier directory like Spocket starts at $39.99/month, meaning that you can launch this online business idea for less than $45/month.

The success of a dropshipping venture largely depends on customer trust, as buyers cannot physically examine the products. It’s crucial to meticulously select reliable suppliers and provide exceptional customer service to maintain customer satisfaction and foster trust.

6. Become an Affiliate Marketer

  • Estimated income: around $50,000/year, depending on the affiliate program and niche
  • Requirements: content marketing skills

Affiliate marketing is a great cost-effective online business model. As an affiliate marketer, you endorse a brand’s products or services by incorporating affiliate links within your content. The affiliate earns a commission for each purchase made through these links.

To start in this field, follow this tutorial to learn how to create an affiliate marketing website. Focus on creating content, like blog posts, that is pertinent to the products you are promoting. The content should be original and align with your readers’ interests to drive engagement and conversions.

When you have content ready, register with affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates, Skimlinks, or Hostinger Affiliates. Then, start driving traffic to your website.

A prime example of a successful affiliate site is Baby Gear Lab, which specializes in childcare products. This site offers thorough recommendations and reviews of baby products. Importantly, it includes affiliate disclosures to inform readers that purchases made through their links may generate revenue for the site’s owner.

7. Start a Consulting Business

  • Estimated income: around $18-$30/hour, depending on the industry and skillset
  • Requirements: skills and experience in a particular field

Consults help companies across industries solve problems, including marketing, sales, and human resources. If you have advanced knowledge in a specific area, consulting could be the best online business idea for you.

Launching your consulting business is relatively straightforward, too. Start by doing this:

  • Identify your area of expertise and the market need for your services.
  • Develop a comprehensive service offering that outlines the problems you solve and the results you deliver.
  • Build a professional website with an AI website builder.
  • Set up a dedicated email for business to build trust. 
  • Network extensively both online and offline, and use platforms like LinkedIn to connect with potential clients.
  • Consider offering free workshops or webinars to demonstrate your expertise and attract clients.

8. Become a Freelance Writer

  • Estimated income: around $30/hour, depending on the industry and location
  • Requirements: expertise in a specific field; writing, content marketing, and SEO skills

If you’re a writer, consider starting your own freelance business.

To stand out in a crowded market, it’s essential to identify a niche and a unique selling point. For example, freelance writer Elise Dopson differentiates herself by producing journalistic-style content for B2B and SaaS companies.

Guest posting is another profitable avenue for writers, allowing them to earn income by contributing articles to other blogs, often ghostwriting under another name.

Additionally, writing resumes and cover letters offers a steady income stream in the competitive job market.

Use your knowledge to help others with their job applications. Getting professional certifications, like PARWCC, can make you seem more trustworthy and help you negotiate better rates. Doing free work for friends or family can build a portfolio that shows your skills and attracts paying clients later.

9. Launch a Blog

  • Estimated income: $100-$10,000+/month, depending on blog operational expenses and monetization channels
  • Requirements: writing, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) skills

Launching a blog remains a top online business venture today. Several high-earning entrepreneurs, such as Pat Flynn, initially started by documenting their expertise and experiences for a niche audience, which then expanded into substantial revenue-generating platforms.

For instance, if you have a keen interest in culinary arts and dining, starting a food blog would offer a platform to express your gastronomic interests and insights. A well-defined focus for your blog paves the way to multiple revenue avenues, ranging from partnerships to affiliate sales.

However, building a profitable blog involves more than just discussing topics you’re passionate about. Prioritize the following elements when setting up your blog:

  • Topical focus. Blogs dedicated to a specific area tend to perform better than those covering broad subjects. Check out our article on blog ideas for inspiration.
  • High-quality content. Creating original and compelling content can convert visitors into regular followers and enhance your blog’s visibility on search engines.
  • Audience size. Blogs attracting a large audience are typically more successful in securing business partnerships and monetizing their offerings.
  • Earning strategies. Common methods to monetize a blog include affiliate marketing, Google Ads, and sponsored posts. It’s advisable to employ a combination of these strategies to optimize earnings.

10. Publish Your Own eBook

  • Estimated income: 35-75% of the eBook’s sales price, depending on the distribution platform
  • Requirements: creative writing and content marketing skills

If you’re sitting on a completed book manuscript, consider launching and marketing eBooks via your own website or through platforms like Amazon KDP and Apple Books.

For those who blog, compiling your blog posts into a detailed eBook can be an effective strategy. This is a tactic used by Elna Cain, who repurposes her detailed articles into guides and enhances them with printable worksheets to increase their value.

While self-publishing platforms provide access to a ready audience, they typically limit your share of the total earnings. This is why many authors opt to sell through their own websites to enhance profit margins.

If you’re planning to set up a website, consider our step-by-step guide on how to create a website from scratch.

11. Create an Online Course

  • Estimated income: $1,000-$50,000+/month, depending on the production expenses, online course platform, and number of students
  • Requirements: teaching skills and subject matter expertise

Many people look for online courses to boost their job market value and gain new experiences. If you are interested in sharing your knowledge online, creating online courses is one of the best online business ideas to consider.

Since the online learning market has become saturated, consider picking a unique subject that others haven’t covered. Then, conduct market research on whether the subject has a potential target audience.

For example, Crystal Dawn‘s course on creating raw desserts is an excellent example of this line of work. The topic is specific and caters to a niche market of healthy plant-based food enthusiasts.

While there is a wide range of hosted course platforms, we recommend building a website with an LMS extension. This option offers complete control over your teaching and monetization methods. For more information on how to market your courses, read our guide on how to sell your online courses for maximum profit.

12. Flip and Resell Websites

  • Estimated income: $10,000-$100,000+/year
  • Requirements: web development, web design, SEO, and digital marketing skills

Website flipping is a process that often takes longer to yield profits compared to other online business strategies on our list. However, notable entrepreneurs like Yaro Starak have successfully capitalized on this model to make money online.

Begin by buying underperforming websites that show potential for growth. These can often be found at competitive prices on marketplaces such as Flippa.

After the purchase, the real work begins to enhance the site’s value. This involves ensuring the website functions properly and optimizing it for search engine visibility. Do enough market research to identify the most profitable monetization strategies for the site’s specific niche.

Before listing a site for sale, it’s crucial that it attracts considerable traffic and generates consistent revenue. Sites that demonstrate profitability are more appealing to potential buyers.

Typically, website flippers price websites at two to three times their annual revenue. For example, an online store earning $1,200/year might be listed for sale at $2,400 to $3,600.

13. Buy and Sell Domain Names

  • Estimated income: $1,000-$10,000+/domain
  • Requirements: digital marketing skills

The trade of domain names can be a highly lucrative online business when approached correctly. After all, domains in high demand have occasionally fetched prices in the millions. Such sought-after domains are typically already taken, so you should set yourself more realistic goals when starting out.

Many who engage in domain flipping opt for names that incorporate local or niche-specific keywords, like jobsinlondon.com. These domains are not only more economical but also face less competition.

Begin by scouting for potential and affordable domain names on domain checker tools or auction sites such as Sedo. Buying domains in bulk might improve your chances of making profitable sales.

Next, either set up a landing page for the domains you wish to sell or initiate contact through email pitches to prospective buyers. Remember, consistent and effective marketing efforts are essential to make the buying and selling of domain names a successful venture.

14. Create Themes and Plugins

  • Estimated income: $5-$200+/theme license; varies for plugins
  • Requirements: web design, front-end development, and CMS knowledge

For web designers seeking additional income, selling website themes is a great online business strategy. With the increasing number of people and businesses launching their own websites, there is a growing demand for attractive and effective pre-built tools and designs.

Start by designing and programming themes and plugins. Test them on free web hosting platforms to ensure they are compatible and functional. Once finalized, you can market these digital goods through your own site or on established marketplaces like TemplateMonster. Keep in mind, though, that while marketplaces may increase visibility, they often take a cut from each sale.

To enhance the attractiveness and value of your products, consider offering ongoing updates, priority support, and customization options. Businesses frequently look for unique, specifically tailored designs and functions and may pay more for such premium services.

Additionally, providing a range of customization choices and color schemes can further boost the marketability and potential pricing of your themes and plugins.

15. Develop Apps

  • Estimated income: $61-$80/hour
  • Requirements: app development, UI/UX design, and product management skills

78% of digital consumers prefer mobile apps over websites for shopping. As a result, such a multi-channel approach in eCommerce is significantly increasing the demand for mobile app developers.

If you’re new to app development, consider enrolling in relevant courses on eLearning platforms like Treehouse. Alternatively, tools like AppyPie allow you to create apps without coding, providing a swift entry into the app development industry.

App developers typically generate revenue through advertising and in-app purchases. Another viable option is to sell your apps on marketplaces such as Flippa, or create your own website.

Our eCommerce Website Builder’s clients don’t have to pay any transaction fees – you will be able to keep all your profit to yourself.

16. Become a Virtual Assistant

  • Estimated income: around $24/hour
  • Requirements: administration, communication, and digital marketing skills

As a virtual assistant (VA), your primary role is to support businesses with various tasks, such as appointment scheduling and managing correspondence. Skilled VAs who can also provide marketing support, like managing social media accounts or managing email marketing campaigns, can earn more.

To diversify your offerings and increase your potential earnings, consider extending your services to include social media marketing and data entry.

Social media marketing requires strong knowledge of content creation, social listening, and influencer marketing, which can significantly boost a brand’s visibility and engagement. Showcasing your social media skills on your own profiles can serve as a practical portfolio to attract clients.

Data entry, while more straightforward, demands fast and accurate typing skills. Investing in training courses, like those provided by Keybr, and possibly a numeric keypad, can enhance your productivity and bargaining power with potential clients.

Start your virtual assistant business by creating a professional website to market your services and by looking for opportunities on job portals like Zirtual and Fiverr, especially if you are based in the US.

17. Offer Transcription Services

  • Estimated income: around $16/hour
  • Requirements: good listening skills, fast typing speed, and proficiency with data processing software

This great online business idea focuses on transcribing audio files into text documents.

Besides typing speed and accuracy, your niche can also affect your earnings. Medical transcriptionists generally get paid the most, averaging $26/hour. If you want to set a higher hourly rate, familiarize yourself with the industry.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Practice your typing skills to reach a speed of at least 75 words per minute.
  • Register on transcription platforms such as Rev and TranscribeM to gain experience and credibility.
  • Set up a professional website with information about your services and rates.

18. Tutor Students Online

  • Estimated income: around $15+/hour
  • Requirements: expertise in school subjects or standardized tests and teaching skills

Launching an online tutoring service is a perfect match for individuals with a background in education.

Platforms like Skooli provide an excellent starting point for tutors looking to match with students who require help in specific areas of study. To further establish credibility and attract students, creating a dedicated teacher website for your tutoring services can be very beneficial.

Once you’ve developed a substantial client base, consider expanding into a comprehensive tutoring service on your own website.

For guidance on setting up a successful online tutoring platform, you might look at the BMAT Crash Course website as a model. This site effectively demonstrates how to structure content and design features that facilitate learning and student engagement.

By adopting similar strategies, you can enhance the educational experience for your students and potentially increase your client retention and referral rates.

19. Start a Podcast

  • Estimated income: $500-$10,000+/month, depending on the monetization channels and the number of downloads
  • Requirements: communication, audio editing, and social media management skills

With over 400 million podcast listeners worldwide, it’s an excellent time to start a podcast on a topic you are knowledgeable or passionate about.

We recommend adopting a micro-niche concept to make your podcast stand out. One great example of this is The Pen Addict, a podcast focusing on pen-related topics. While the scope seems limited, this program has attracted a loyal group of enthusiasts.

Create a site to promote your podcasts and upload each episode on Spotify and Apple Music to expand your reach. Consider establishing a social media presence to attract more potential listeners.

First-time podcasters usually earn money via affiliate marketing. Once their audience has grown, they can get sponsors, set up a Patreon page for crowdfunding, or join an advertising network like Midroll.

Having proper recording equipment will improve the podcast’s quality. Make sure to allocate a production budget to upgrade your tools and software. If you don’t know where to start, research some of the top agency podcasts to get inspired.

20. Start a YouTube Channel

  • Estimated income: around $18 for every 1,000 ad views
  • Requirements: video editing, community management skills

YouTube is a leading platform for video content creation and sharing. The range of content niches available is vast, covering everything from reaction videos and software tutorials to cooking demonstrations.

When you set up a YouTube channel, aim to gather 1,000 subscribers and achieve 4,000 watch hours in the initial months. These milestones qualify you for the YouTube Partner Program, which enables channel monetization. According to CreditKarma, channels with 100,000 subscribers generate around $2,000-$4,000/month on average.

Beyond advertising revenue, consider diversifying income through methods like Patreon crowdfunding, affiliate marketing, and partnerships for sponsored content. To optimize your channel’s performance, regularly review viewer feedback and analytics, adjusting your content strategy to boost viewer engagement and growth.

21. Offer Translation Services

  • Estimated income: $21-$35+/hour, depending on the certification and years of experience
  • Requirements: language and cultural knowledge, communication and research skills

This online business is ideal for people fluent in multiple languages. You can find translation jobs on job portals or freelance platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr. Consider also looking for opportunities with translation agencies that hire freelancers.

Compiling a portfolio that showcases your best work to attract potential clients will enhance your chances of getting noticed by the right agencies.

Improving your qualifications through certification can lead to more lucrative and prestigious projects. Certified translators are often sought after by high-profile clients like government entities and large corporations, adding significant credibility and opportunities to your services.

22. Sell Stock Photos

  • Estimated income: $0.1-$8,100/image, depending on the license, resolution, and distribution channel
  • Requirements: photography, artistic, and SEO skills

Stock photographers produce licensed images for various purposes. For example, businesses often incorporate stock images in their marketing campaigns to make them more appealing while saving time and money.

To begin, invest in a decent camera and lighting equipment. Research various markets to see what’s currently in demand and optimize your images with relevant keywords.

We recommend focusing on a specific niche to strengthen your branding. For instance, consider how Tania Cervian produces and showcases its creative portraits.

Stock photography sites like Shutterstock and Getty Images are excellent places for new stock photographers to build a portfolio. Alternatively, create a photography website to manage your business and marketing strategy independently.

23. Become an Audiobook Narrator

  • Estimated income: $25-$55/hour, depending on the skill level, years of experience, and location
  • Requirements: narration and voice acting skills

The rising popularity of audiobooks has increased the demand for narrators. An audiobook narrator transforms written words into spoken stories. As a narrator, your job is to narrate the story while expressing the different nuances between characters and plot lines.

Narrating audiobooks requires excellent voice clarity and tone control. Sometimes, you must do different voices for different characters. That’s why having acting skills will give you an advantage over your competitors.

Similar to starting a podcast, investing in recording and editing software will improve your work’s quality. Taking acting and vocal classes is also an excellent way to upgrade skills.

Newbies may have to settle for freelance projects in the beginning. Once you’ve gained enough experience, look for professional gigs from voice-over companies and job portal sites, such as Bunny Studio and ACX.

24. Build a Social Media Following

  • Estimated income: varies widely depending on audience size, engagement rate, and niche
  • Requirements: content creation skills, understanding of social media trends

Influencers and creators across platforms like Instagram can monetize their audiences and content through sponsored posts, advertisements, and partnerships with brands.

Adding live streaming and livestream shopping to your repertoire can further enhance your ability to monetize your online presence. Livestreaming allows for real-time interaction with your audience, building stronger relationships and fostering community. Platforms like Twitch and YouTube provide tools for monetization, such as subscriptions, donations, and ad revenue.

Livestream shopping, a growing trend especially popular in Asia, involves showcasing and selling products live to an audience. This format combines entertainment with instant purchasing options, making it highly effective for conversion. Creators can host these sessions on social media platforms that support live video, such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and TikTok.

To succeed as an influencer, focus on creating compelling, engaging content that resonates with your target demographic. Building a strong personal brand and maintaining authenticity will help attract and retain a loyal audience base.

Conclusion

There you have it – the top 24 small online business ideas for 2024. Each option offers its own potential for profitability, so it’s crucial to assess your skills, experience, and financial goals when selecting the best fit for you.

For instance, individuals with a background in writing might explore blogging, freelancing, or eBook publishing. Conversely, those with talents in arts like painting or pottery may find success in crafting and selling handmade goods through an online storefront.

Achieving success as a digital entrepreneur demands effort and perseverance. Choosing a business idea that resonates with your passions and interests will not only keep you motivated but also enhance the fulfillment and rewards of your entrepreneurial journey.

We hope this guide assists you in launching a successful online business. We wish you the best of luck!

Online Business Ideas FAQ

In this section, we’ll answer some common questions about online businesses.

How Long Does It Take to Begin Making Money Online?

A business generally takes two to three years to become profitable. However, the exact estimate varies depending on the type of business. Each business has different capital costs, operating expenses, and time investments.

How Much Money Can I Make Online?

A business’s revenue depends on various factors, including its type, marketing strategy, and scope of operations. For example, bloggers monetizing their site by selling ad spaces generate around $200-$2,500/month, whereas affiliate marketers average about $12,000/month.

How Much Time a Day Should I Dedicate to My Online Business?

Working on your online business part-time may take 3-4 hours daily. Full-time entrepreneurs can expect to work up to 60 hours/week or more. Establishing a business takes plenty of time and work, so be prepared to invest more time during the first year.

What Kind of Online Business Is the Most Profitable?

When effectively managed, blogging can be one of the most profitable online ventures. Successful bloggers have the advantage of diversifying their income streams through various online business opportunities. These can range from affiliate marketing and selling advertising space to offering consulting services and creating online courses. 

Author
The author

Matleena Salminen

Matleena is a seasoned Content Writer with 5 years of content marketing experience. She has a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, website building, and AI. In her free time, Matleena enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese. Follow her on LinkedIn

Author
The Co-author

Jordana Alexandrea

Jordana is a Senior Content Writer with over 5 years of experience in digital marketing and web development. When she’s not busy with work, she dabbles in creative writing and movie reviewing. Follow her on LinkedIn.