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Nick Schäferhoff
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27 Easy to Start Online Business Ideas

Will 2019 be the year you will finally create a profitable online business?

You’ve thought about it every year. You’ve gone over countless online business ideas in your head and imagined what your life would be like if you could quit your job and generate money on the internet.

You could travel the world with ease, create a comfortable lifestyle for yourself and your family, and achieve financial freedom. You could finally escape the constraints of the 9-5 lifestyle and own your time completely.

But then, what happens? Usually, you spend some time considering the ideas but ultimately resort back to your comfort zone.

The steady income of your secure job, the ease of having somebody else tell you what to do every day (instead of trying to figure it out from scratch), and the consistent schedule.

You tell yourself, “You know what? This year is a little too crazy. I’ll start that online business next year!”

But “next year” never comes.

We’re here to tell you that 2019 is the year you should start your online business. There’s more opportunity than ever, and you should take advantage!

To help you get started, We’re going to layout 27 online business ideas. Read through them, see which you connect with, and start doing your research. Then get started with one, it’s that simple!

27 “Easy to Start” Online Business Ideas

Here is our list of 27 online business ideas for 2019:

1. Start a Blog and Monetize it

We talk a lot about how to start a blog on this website, and for good reason. In 2018, it’s easier to start a blog than ever before, and your blog can also be a big potential source of income (if you know how to monetize it).

Keep in mind that you don’t just start a blog and expect the money to roll in. You need to create content consistently, and it also needs to be content that educates, informs, or entertains people. In other words, it needs to capture their interest in some way.

What’s more, you need to sell something through the blog. This can be ad space, products, digital products, sponsored posts, coaching, ebooks, etc.

But if you’re willing to put in the work and you’re in it for the long haul, blogging can be extremely profitable (some bloggers make $50k per month or more).

Here are some resources to help you get started with your first blog:

2. Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

Learn affiliate marketingAffiliate marketing is basically the process of earning a commission by promoting somebody else’s product.

There are two main ways most people do affiliate marketing:

  • Information products. You promote products like ebooks, membership sites, video series, etc. This type of affiliate marketing can earn you up to 50% or more in commission, has relatively low barriers to entry, and it’s easy to find products to promote.
  • Amazon partners. Many affiliate marketers have success with Amazon. There are literally millions of products to choose from, and it can be quite profitable. For more information, you can check out the Amazon Associates Program.

Quick side note: Before you start affiliate marketing, it helps to have at least a basic knowledge of SEO and copywriting (more on each of these later).

That being said, you can read a few copywriting books and look through the beginners guide to SEO from SEO Moz to help you get started.

3. Set Up an E-Commerce Site

One of the best ways to earn online income is by setting up an e-commerce store. Here’s the plus side: if you try to go the route of affiliate marketing, the best affiliate marketers are focused on 3 main niches; dating, weight loss, and making money online. You would have to compete with the best of the best, and it’s not easy.

With the e-commerce route, in many markets, you’ll be competing against old-school business people who may or may not have any internet marketing experience. Many of them have glitchy, out-of-date websites, which leaves you a lot of room for improvement, and you can capitalize on their shortcomings.

It’s still not easy by any means. It requires hard work, and you need to stand out amongst the hundreds of thousands of e-commerce websites and online stores. But by filling a unique niche and executing the right marketing techniques, you can make your e-commerce store a profitable success.

Here are some tips to help you get started with your e-commerce store:

  • Find a profitable market. Brainstorm some ideas, do keyword research, and try to get as specific as possible. For example, there is probably a lot of competition for selling surfboards. But if you narrow it down to surfboard racks, you may have a better chance of standing out in the market.
  • Ask yourself, “Is the product expensive?” There are costs associated with manufacturing, distribution, reselling, etc. If your product isn’t expensive (at least $50 or more), there may be no profit left by the time you sell the product.
  • Ask yourself, “Is the product in a growth market?” If your market has already passed its peak (i.e., the VCR market) and is on the downslope, you probably don’t want to get involved. Instead, you want to get into an industry that’s on the upswing – that’s where you’ll have the most profit and growth potential.
  • Consider building a Shopify store. Shopify is a system built for e-commerce. With some basic web knowledge, you can set up a good-looking store very quickly, with a low-cost investment and with no coding needed. Shopify has a 30-day free trial too, so you can get started without spending a dime.

Here are some additional resources for creating a successful online store:

4. Self-Publish a Book on Amazon

Publish a book on amazonHave you ever thought of writing a book, but didn’t know where to get started? All the publishing nonsense, editing, and formatting, marketing, etc.?

With Amazon, you can self-publish a book fairly easily, and really make money from it. There are some simple and inexpensive guides like this one to help you write your book AND have it generate consistent income.

Here’s the secret sauce: If you can launch your book and get a few hundred sales in the first week, Amazon will take over and start promoting it for you. This way you can make some real money from it. It’s actually easier than it sounds, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Here are a few tips for writing a book:

  • Validate the book by giving a survey to friends, an email list, and/or survey sites like Pickfu. By validating your idea before you write the book, you’ll improve the odds of people willing to buy your book (and you’re not wasting your time by writing it.)
  • Create an outline and stick to it if possible.
  • Set aside at least 30 minutes to an hour each day to write.
  • Format the book according to Amazon’s standards.

Once the book is written and formatted, you can head over to KDP.amazon.com. Log in with your Amazon account, then under “Create a New Title”, select “Kindle eBook.”

Here’s a good strategy for your book’s launch week (to get 100+ sales):

  1.     Set the price at 99 cents for the first week.
  2.     Run a 99 cent promotion with sites like Buck Books and Robin Reads.
  3.     Post a book excerpt on a relevant subreddit and link it to your book page at the end.
  4.     Post 1-2 guest posts during the launch week that link back to your book page.
  5.     Blast your email list multiple times.
  6.     By the end of the week, hopefully, your book has eclipsed the top 5,000 or 10,000 overall paid ranking. From there, raise the price to $2.99, and continue raising the price $1 at a time every few days until it stops selling (then, lower it back by a dollar). This will tell you the optimal price for your book.

(Here’s a case study of a book that used this strategy to launch successfully and consistently bring in $3-$4K a month in profit.)

5. Create a Digital Product or Course

Creating a digital product or course is similar to writing an ebook. You’re monetizing your expertise by teaching it to the others.

That being said, you don’t have the benefit of Amazon promoting your course. You have to do the promoting yourself through your own website, your email lists, and possibly through affiliate partnerships. You also need to create a compelling sales page that will convince visitors to buy from you.

If you don’t already have an audience, it might be better to self-publish on Amazon first. That way, you can validate your course idea, grow your email list (just make sure to have an email opt-in at the front and back of the book!), and more or less create a rough draft of the course (since it will probably be similar to the book).

Here are some additional resources to help you with an online course creation:

  • TheRiseToTheTop.com – David Siteman Garland’s website that’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs launch profitable online courses.
  • Monetize Your Expertise Podcast – Helpful episodes by online course expert Grant Weherley to help you start your fist online course.

6. Become a YouTuber

Videos are becoming more and more popular. From Instagram and Snapchat Stories to Facebook Live video, videos will only continue to grow. If you’ve always loved the thought of being behind the camera, now is the time you can take advantage.

Whether it be starting a vlog and getting ad revenue/selling products to your audience, or building a YouTube channel to drive more traffic to your website – 2019 is a great time to get started.

Not only will making YouTube videos help you tell better stories and provide more valuable content to your audience – it can also help you get profitable speaking opportunities.

The best part is, you don’t even need to go out and buy an expensive new camera – as long as you have a smartphone with a quality camera lens, you can start filming your first video right now!

7. Start App Development

Mobile apps are getting more and more popular by the year. If you have an idea for a cool, useful, and/or fun app for a phone or a tablet, this may be the way to go.

It helps to have some coding knowledge, but it’s not an absolute necessity. There are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.

Word of caution: the app market is saturated right now, so make sure you validate your app and do your research before investing lots of money in your idea.

Here are some resources to help you in the app development process:

8. Learn Facebook Advertising

Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads. But here’s the problem: a lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.

Consequently, they’re looking for Facebook ad specialists to step in and do it for them. Luckily, this is something you can learn fairly quickly. Once you do, you can reach out to businesses and offer to help create profitable Facebook ads.

Here are some Facebook Ad resources you can learn from:

9. Learn and Master SEO

Search Engine OptimizationSEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to getting a website to rank higher for certain “search terms” in search engines like Google. When a website ranks higher, it gets more relevant traffic and in turn, can make more revenue.

This is another highly valued skill in the internet marketing world. That being said, it can be a bit difficult because Google is always changing its algorithms. With it, some of the rules of search change. You always have to be on the leading edge, learning and testing new strategies.

If you can master SEO, companies will always be willing to pay you for your help.

10. Become a Copywriter

Copywriting is the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action. It can range from anything to sales pages, to email marketing, to even quality blog content.

If you have a natural inclination and passion for writing, copywriting may be your ticket to earning online income.

It’s a great way to achieve freedom in your life. Not only does copywriting allow you to work remotely, but it also allows you to control your schedule. Plus, learning the skill itself will help you in many areas of online business (i.e. building a blog, affiliate marketing, etc. – when you can write in a compelling way, all of these become much easier!)

11. Skype Coaching

Do you have an expertise that you’d like to help people with? Then Skype coaching may be a potential option for you. Basically, you hop on Skype and provide assistance to your coaching clients. This can come in the form of daily, weekly, or monthly calls.

There are Skype coaches for just about everything – life coaches, health coaches, dating coaches, etc.

Note: It’s much easier to market your coaching services when you also have a blog on your coaching topic.

12. Buy and Flip Domains

You’ve probably heard of people who buy and “flip” real estate, right? They buy a house for a relatively good price, fix it up a little bit, and then resell it for a nice profit.

It’s the same idea for buying and flipping domains. Whether it’s your own domain, or whether you’re looking to buy somebody else’s site and flip it, this can be a good source of online income.

You can use resources like Empire Flippers to both buy and sell your domains.

13. Start a Podcast

PodcastingA podcast can be a great revenue generator.

As you grow your podcast, you can offer paid sponsorships and sell your own products and services. Through the podcast, you’ll be able to earn the trust of your listeners, which makes them that much more likely to buy what you have to offer.

14. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is when you create an online store to sell other people’s products (i.e you don’t do any of the manufacturing or shipping). Then, you get a commission for each sale.

The benefit here is that you don’t have to risk buying up stock in a product and losing money if it doesn’t sell. The entry barrier is lower and you don’t have to invest nearly as much to get started.

If you’d like to learn how to dropship, Drop Ship Lifestyle is one of the best resources to help you get started.

15. Freelance Pay Per Click Consulting

(These are PPC ads)

You ever saw those sponsored ads at the top of your Google search results? That’s Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising in action.

It’s a form of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Put simply, it’s a way of buying visits on your site.

If you can master this skill, you can offer the service to other businesses.

16. Sell Products on eBay

Sell on ebaySure it’s a bit old school, but people are still making lots of money on eBay. To start selling, you can do something simple like head to a local clothing store and buy some clothing on sale.

Then, you can list it on eBay for a higher price, and if it sells, you can reinvest the profit in more clothing and continue making more profit.

It requires some strategy and planning but is surely a profitable way of online business.

17. Become a Web Developer

A web developer is someone who knows how to build a website from the bottom up. In order to do this, you need to learn coding, which will take time and hard work. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, it can pay quite well.

Here are some tips for learning to code and getting started with web development.

18. Invest Your Time in Graphic Design

Ever saw a beautiful sales page or a website design that really jumps out at you? That’s all due to a graphic designer.

Graphic designers are basically visual communicators. They design web pages, sales pages, logos, and really anything else that needs to look sharp.

To be a great graphic designer, you don’t need to be great at drawing, you don’t need a college degree, and you don’t need to buy a fancy expensive computer. But you do need to be a visual thinker, you do need to specialize in something, and you definitely need a portfolio.

19. Build Niche Sites

The idea behind a niche website is to target a specific niche (for example, a specific kind of photography), rank on Google for the keywords related to that niche, and then turn that traffic into earnings through affiliate offers or through selling your own products.

A lot of research goes into this – you should be ready for a bit of workload. If you create a good niche site, it can bring you an extra $500 a month or more.

For further reading, check out this post from Sean Ogle: How to Build a Niche Site in 2018 that Brings in $500 a Month

20. Start a Consulting Business

Do you have tons of knowledge in a specific field? Then you may have what it takes to be a highly paid online consultant.

As a consultant, you simply must apply the knowledge, skills, and experience you have in a specific field to help clients solve a problem or issue they have in that field.

For further reading, check out this post from Next Avenue: How to Become a Highly Paid Consultant

21. Start a Paid Private Facebook Group

A paid private Facebook group provides you with the chance to create a highly engaged community.

It gives you a place to deliver your content, allows your community members to interact with each other, allows you to limit access to qualified members, and also allows you to moderate and control the group.

Note: If you already have a website and an email list, it’s easier to create a paid private Facebook group, but it’s not an absolute necessity.

22. Assist with Lead Generation

Businesses are always on the lookout for ways to create new leads. Leads, after all, are the lifeblood of businesses.

When you assist with lead generation, you basically play the matchmaker. You connect business with the leads for whom they can solve the problems.

23. Instagram Sponsorships

Do you love taking photos and dream of building up a great Instagram following? As you grow your following, more sponsorship opportunities will become available. For example, if your account is focused on fitness, you may be able to sponsor products like protein powder, supplements, etc.

24. Create SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS businessGoogle Apps, Dropbox, Leadpages – these are all SAAS.

SAAS is any kind of online software that you pay to get access to.

For this, you first must brainstorm/find an online service that people are willing to pay for on an ongoing basis. Once you create it, the challenge is to maintain it, which is not an easy task. That being said, it can be quite profitable if you can make it work.

25. Technical Writing

Ever wondered who wrote the instruction manual for that new TV? That’s the job of technical writers.

If you have a love for writing and like the technical side of things, then you may have what it takes to be a technical writer.

Here’s a resource that can help you get started: Starting a Technical Writing Business from Scratch

Here are some sites where you can find work:

  • Freelanced.com
  • Upwork.com

26. Resume/Cover Letter Writing

People will always be looking for jobs – they’ll need help with their resumes and cover letters.

That’s where you can come in and help them create a stellar resume to get them hired.

27. Tech Support

With online tech support, you basically offer your skills as a tech whiz. You can work with bigger companies or even one-on-one clients.

Tech support jobs can also regularly be found on Upwork.

Conclusion

It’s a new year and a new chance for you to start an online business and create an absolute financial and lifestyle freedom for yourself.

2019 is all about taking action. With this big list of online business ideas, you have plenty of options to get started with. Don’t wait any longer, and definitely, don’t put it off until next year!

Take a few ideas and run with them – by this time of the next year, you very well may have your own successful and profitable online business! Just be sure to report back here and let us know your results!

If you have other online business ideas you think are worth mentioning, be sure to drop them in the comments below!


Want to ask a question or leave a comment?


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47 comments

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    1. Avatar

      Hey Karim, I don’t have any experience with that but it works well for some people. Just be careful, Amazon has been known to check what products are going well from other merchants and then just selling them themselves.

  1. Avatar

    Hello, I would like to inquire more on starting a consultant business. Is it limited to just online? Or can an entire physical business be based on it? What are the requirements in order for one to start up a consultant company?

    1. Avatar

      Hey, you can, of course, also be a consultant offline. In fact, many consultants just find their clients online but then do the actual work face to face. And the requirements are relatively low. You basically just need to have specialized knowledge that others will pay you to apply to their lives or businesses.

  2. Avatar

    Hi Nick! I was researching online successful businesses and came across your article. For the last couple months I have been thinking about starting my own online business that is geared towards online health/fitness coaching. Then I think maybe freelance writing or perhaps starting my own blog. Do you any suggestions on how to start these businesses? Where I could even begin? I have been a nurse since 2010, love fitness. However, starting a blog would be interesting as well.

    1. Avatar

      Hey Maria, why not do both? Having a blog to attract traffic, improve your SEO, build trust, and demonstrate your expertise is a perfect companion for a freelancer site. You could offer your services and also make the blog a centerpiece of your web presence. In addition, you are honing your writing skills and can use those for guest posting on other health/fitness for increased exposure.
      For an example, check out Jeff Cavaliere/Athlean X on YouTube. He is a fitness trainer who is heavily investing in video content to build his brand. The free content that he puts out allows him to sell more of his services as well as products. You could do similar things with your blog. Win win win. Good luck!

  3. Avatar

    Hi Nick. Your article is very helpful. I want to start creating blogs and vlogs on topics that I truly love – food. I would like to cook and show them. That of course sharing what I know and in turn could help me financially too. How do I start? Please help. Thank you.

    1. Avatar

      Hey Luisa, I would first have a look around at what already exists in your industry and how you could differentiate yourself from it. For example, two of my favorite cooking channels on YouTube are Bon Appetit and Binging with Babish. Both of these live off of the personality of their presenters, together with a wide knowledge of food. See what new thing you could bring to the table and make decisions from there. Good luck!

  4. Avatar

    Hi Nick. With writing a book, dumb question, where do I start? Who can I go to for advice and help? I feel I have an amazing life story. Do i start at the beginning or the end? And then how I got there? Is this something that might sell? A biography of a nobody?

    1. Avatar

      Hey Tammy, that’s really a question every writer has to answer for themselves. For me, the most important thing is consistency. I am better at writing long pieces if I do a little bit every day. Like, half an hour. If you have more time, you can do more, of course. But the important thing is to work continually. Aside from that, there are many blog posts and books on this topic. I suggest you start there.
      As for who will read it, that’s a question of marketing and finding the right audience. It would probably help to create a rough outline and sketch out the topic of the book to understand who you would write it for.
      Hope this helps!

  5. Avatar

    1) I went to Manila starting in 2006. I was there to hire Filipino computer programmers.
    I met about a dozen guys Blogging about Southeast Asia – Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, etc.
    One of them did pretty good for about 4 or 5 years. Then, most of them flamed out. It became saturated.
    People now leave comments on AirBnB, Trip Advisor, Travelocity and Lonely Planet.
    The Blogging metaphor is a tough row to hoe.

    2) Here’s the dirty little secret about Affiliates.
    In the early days, people were Hijacking cookies and substituting their Affiliate ID into the cookie.
    They would wait about 2 weeks and then go back and put the Legitimate Affiliate ID back into the cookie.
    In other words, they were Stealing.
    They would pirate the ID, accumulate credit and then restore the ID.
    Google eventually figured it out and closed the loophole.
    But, a bunch of dudes made a lot of money this way. Those glory days are over.

    3) The cat is out of the bag on being an Instagram or YouTube Influencer.
    Actors and Models are flooding this zone.

    4) There was a time that people had actual brick and mortar Ebay stores.
    Other people would take their crap to the physical store and get it photographed and sold.
    Now, LetGo and CraigsList are flea markets full of crap and scammers.
    Plus, you eventually run out of crap to sell.

    5) If you are going to try and write a book and sell it on Amazon, you better be a damn good writer.
    If you’re a damn good writer, go get a gig with the NY Times, Washington Post or Vanity Fair.

    6) Flipping Domains? If you got the money to Flip Domains, you might as well Day Trade stocks.
    Or buy and sell Gold.
    I know about five dues that lost big money doing this.

    —————————-

    1) Technical writing is in demand. If you can do this, you can get contracts and work at home.
    2) Online Tech support is a viable option. Also, you can be a Reservation Agent for an Airline or Car Rental company.
    Low cost airlines contract people to work at their house being reservation agents.
    3) You can make money programming… if you’re a good programmer. Join Upwork, which was formerly Elance and oDesk.

    Of the 27 things listed… about 20 of them have Jumped the Shark.
    About 5 of them are legitimate ways to make money, but you need to perfect the Skill.
    Two or three of them, done correctly, could lead to a decent windfall… for now.

    Make no mistake, if any particular area starts to make money, thousands of other hyenas will show up and give you competition.

    1. Avatar

      Thanks for your detailed input! While I don’t agree with everything you say, I like that you took the time to give your perspective. I think with enough hustle, you can still make it even in more saturated fields. I’m not saying it will be easy but you see new people coming onto the scene every day.

    1. Avatar

      Yeah, we wouldn’t leave you high and dry with just ideas and no input on how to execute them. Glad you found the post useful. Thanks for the comment!