12 Best Online Businesses to Start - AlwaysWealthy
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12 Best Online Businesses to Start

Starting an online business is one of the best ways to increase your income and savings. Building wealth with a regular 9-to-5 job is difficult. If you want to achieve financial independence, retire early and build wealth, an online business is the fastest way to get there. But what are the best online businesses to start? Blogging, e-commerce, online courses, coaching? Let’s take a look at the 12 best online businesses to start this year.

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How to Start an Online Business With No Money

Best online businesses to start
Want to start your own online business? Discover the 12 best online businesses to start.

You don’t want your online business to be a money pit. The whole idea of starting an online business is for it to be profitable. This means, it has to make more money than it costs.

One of the best parts of online businesses is that you can start them with almost no money. Unlike traditional businesses, online businesses have little overhead costs.

You should still expect around $150-$200 a month in expenses for your online business. Compared to other businesses this is very little.

Within a relatively short period of time you should be able to break even with your expenses and start making profit.

The 12 Best Online Businesses To Start

Before we get to the best online businesses to start this year, let’s talk about the benefits.

Want to know the best part about online businesses? There is almost no limit to the upside. Some online businesses make a few hundred or thousand dollars a month in profit for their owners. Other people make hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars using the internet.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the 12 best online businesses to start with little or no money.

All online business ideas listed below allow you to work from home. While some of these businesses are more advanced and require certain skills and knowledge to get started, many of them are suited for complete beginners.

Ready for number one?

Start a Publishing Business

If you’re wonder how to start an online business with no money, the answer is by publishing content.

While you still need to pay around $150-$200 a month in expenses to run a proper online business, you don’t need a marketing or advertising budget.

An online publishing business is a business that focuses on creating and publishing content online. To start an online publishing business, pick a niche that you are passionate about and commit to publishing content at a frequency that is sustainable for you.

This could be anywhere between 1-5 pieces of content per week. You should publish at least one piece of content per week to gain traction and build a following online.

When you publish content online, other people that are passionate about the same topic can find you and follow you. With enough time, you can build your own tribe of followers, subscribers or readers.

The key is to stick to a niche and avoid being broad. The more you can focus on creating content for a particular niche, the more relevant your content will be. This makes it easier to build a following and monetize your audience.

The great thing about online businesses is that you can pick any platform that you like. You can publish to a Facebook profile, in a Facebook group, on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Medium or your own blog.

The platform doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent. Only focus on a single platform. Don’t try to publish on multiple platforms at the same time.

Select one niche, pick one platform and then commit to a publishing routine that you can maintain, but no less than one piece of content per week. Then publish for one year straight while studying the ins and outs of your platform of choice. Learn about the algorithm and how others are using it to gain exposure and build an audience. And then do the same things.

Why do online publishing businesses make it to the top of the list of best online businesses to start? Because they allow you to build an audience organically and for free.

While others pay for advertising and marketing, your content attracts people who are interested in the same topic. This allows you to build authority in your niche and become someone people listen to and trust.

What better marketing and advertising is there than having an audience of people who know, like and trust you? None.

The second reason online publishing businesses make it to the top of the list is because they are almost free. You are “paying” for marketing and advertising with your time and energy.

Every piece of content becomes a worker that promotes your brand and attracts new people. Since marketing and advertising are among the biggest costs of traditional businesses, a publishing business is much cheaper.

The third reason why publishing businesses are great is because there are countless ways you can monetize your content and audience. When you have an audience of people who know, like and trust you, monetization becomes a breeze.

Almost all other online business ideas later on this list can be built on the back of an online publishing business. The single most important thing you can do to make money online is publish content and build an audience.

There is a fourth reason why publishing businesses make it to the top of the list. You can build an online publishing business using your personal brand, a corporate brand or a pseudonym. While there might be benefits to showing your face and using your real name, it is not a requirement.

Start a YouTube Channel

The best way to build an online publishing business is by starting a YouTube channel. Since it’s a visual platform that combines audio and video, it allows you to build trust with your audience fast.

YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the internet after Google. People spend a lot of time consuming content on YouTube.

This includes educational content, reviews, tutorials, entertainment and gaming.

Make extra money
Make money by starting a YouTube channel

Unlike Instagram and TikTok, the content on YouTube is usually longer and more in-depth. Instagram and TikTok are more shallow, which makes it harder to build a bond with your viewers and followers on these platforms.

The length of content on Instagram and TikTok is limited. On YouTube, people watch videos that are up to 5-20 minutes long. Sometimes even longer.

What do you think is going to build more rapport with your viewers? An Instagram post or a 10 minute YouTube video? You bet the longer video builds a deeper connection.

The most profitable content to publish on YouTube is educational content and reviews. When you publish educational content, tutorials and how-to videos in a particular niche, people start looking up to you as an authority and expert.

Read More: How to Start a YouTube Channel and Make Money

This makes it easier to build an audience, keep it engaged and monetize. You can monetize an educational YouTube channel with online courses and coaching, which are very profitable.

You can also make money from showing ads on your YouTube videos, from affiliate marketing and from sponsorships. Review channels are great for sponsorships and affiliate marketing.

You can review digital products like software, plugins and tools. Or you can review physical products like gadgets, phones and technology.

For each product you promote, you can add an affiliate link in your video description. Every time someone buys through your link, you earn a small commission. If your YouTube channel gets a lot of views, this adds up quickly.

Once your channel is big enough, sponsorships are another way to monetize your content. At some point, sponsors will start reaching out to you and offer to pay you for mentioning their product in one of your upcoming videos.

Sponsorships go from anywhere between a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The best part is that you can combine advertising income with sponsorships and selling your own products or services.

Educational YouTube channels have more earning potential though. If you have a hobby, a skill, a craft, or something you can passionately teach people, choose an educational YouTube channel.

People turn to YouTube to achieve their goals, overcome problems and learn skills all the time. If you become the person they follow for this, you can easily turn it into a profitable online business.

Start a Blog

After YouTube, blogging is probably one of the best online businesses to start. Although there are platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, blogging makes it place number three on our list.

Some people think that blogging is dead or old-fashioned. But that isn’t true. A blog is simply a publishing business that focuses on written content.

Google is still the number one search engine on the internet. It’s a text-based search engine. Think about how often you use Google to research things. And then think how often the content you end up with is written content.

Make money from blogging
Create your own blog

Written content is huge and people turn to blogs and authority sites all the time to research things, get inspiration, solve problems, achieve goals and learn skills.

There are countless blogs that generate upwards of 50,000 page views per month. Many get hundreds of thousands or even millions of views a month.

You better believe these blogs and authority sites make a lot of money from affiliate marketing, sponsorships or selling their own products and services.

Read More: How to Earn Money From Blogging

Blogs are great because they can be systemized more easily than YouTube channels. Once your blog generates enough income, you can hire or pay other contributors to write posts.

After a while, you can remove yourself completely from content creation and focus on managing and maintaining the blog.

Another benefit of blogging is that you can build a corporate brand or use a pseudonym. While this is also possible on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok to some extent, it’s a lot harder and won’t feel as natural and organic.

The downside is that it will likely take more time to build traction on a blog compared to YouTube. Blogging is a slow and long-term game. You have to publish high-quality content and use search engine optimization to drive visitors to your blog.

The same is the case for YouTube, but it’s likely that you’ll get results faster. If you don’t mind showing your face and building a personal brand, YouTube is the place to be.

If you prefer writing over speaking, blogging is a great alternative to making YouTube videos.

Build an Online Course

Online courses have become incredibly popular. They’re extremely profitable because you can sell courses for several hundred or even thousands of dollars each.

Since online courses just consist of instructional videos, demonstrations and premium tutorials that are more high-quality and structured than what you would publish on YouTube, it cost nothing to create a course.

Think about this. A company like Apple creates iPhones and sells them for $1,000. They actually have factories, workers, warehouses and spend a lot of money creating their products.

Online courses can be sold at the same price as an iPhone or other gadgets, but are completely digital. You don’t need a factory, warehouse or employees. You don’t even need to ship any products.

There are no overhead costs apart from a few hundred dollars to run your online business. If you decide to grow your business and it gets bigger with time, these costs increase.

But at this point your income and profits grow as well. Starting an online course business is a million times easier than trying to create a physical product like an iPhone.

Make extra money with courses
Setting up an online course with Kajabi

You can create your own online course with a platform like Kajabi.

How is that for one of the best businesses to start? A business that allows you to sell products as expensive as iPhones but with much higher profit margins and virtually no expenses.

This is why online courses are a popular way to monetize an audience. Once you have your own publishing business going, preferably posting educational content, you can monetize your audience with online courses.

Read more: How to Create Online Courses

Online courses literally just consist of videos and maybe some PDF worksheets. If you have a YouTube channel, your videos there can be incomplete and unstructured.

Your online courses can give 100% of the information. They’re structured and walk someone through the process from A-Z.

YouTube channels are the best way to promote online courses. Since YouTube and online courses both consist of videos, your online course will feel like a natural extension of your YouTube channel.

A beginners course can sell for $29-$97. A more advanced course can sell for $197-$997. And a premium course can sell for $1,997 or even $2,997. Getting excited already?

Start a Coaching Business

Another popular way to make money online is through coaching. Just like online courses, coaching is one of the best online businesses to start.

The mistake most people make is charging hourly and charging too little. If you want to make money from coaching, the best way is to create a coaching program.

How about becoming a coach?

A coaching program is kind of like a premium online courses that comes with live support. A coaching program should offer some supplementary 1-on-1 coaching calls or group coaching calls that all clients can join to ask questions.

You can also add a platform that allows you to communicate with your clients like Discord. Coaching programs, consisting of trainings, some 1-on-1 calls and a community can be sold for $3,000-$30,000 per person.

Read More: How to Start a Coaching Business Online

Coaching programs are generally high-ticket offers. The best part is that you don’t have to do all the 1-on-1 client delivery yourself. You can hire and train someone to provide accountability to your clients.

High-ticket coaching programs are incredibly popular these days and have allowed many people to build six or seven figure online businesses.

Start a Marketing Agency

Marketing is one of the most valuable skills in the world. It’s the one thing every business needs.

If you have some marketing or advertising skills, why not build a marketing agency? It’s a great business model. The downside is that it isn’t as passive as some of the other online business ideas you can start from home.

Here are a few different types of marketing agencies you can start:

As always, it’s best to focus on a narrow niche. For example, a Facebook advertising agency that helps veterinaries get new clients is a lot more specific and valuable than just a Facebook advertising agency.

The more specific and targeted you can make your marketing agency, the easier it’ll be to get clients. It’s also beneficial to stand out in some other way.

What about your marketing or advertising method is unique? How is it different and more effective than what others are doing?

Once you’ve figured out your offer, you can go to LinkedIn and use Sales Navigator to create a list of business owners in your niche.

Alternatively you can research potential clients using Google and reach out to them directly. Write highly-personalized but conversational messages or emails and set up meetings with potential clients.

Perfect your pitch, learn how to overcome common doubts and fears related to your offer and sign up clients using direct outreach.

You can offer them a trial run for a few thousand dollars to test your agency for 1-3 months. If they’re happy with the results, sign them up on a retainer for a year or more.

Retainers can go from anywhere between $500-$30,000 a month depending on your niche and what you are offering. Marketing agencies are one of the best online businesses to start due to the monthly recurring revenue and low overhead costs.

If you use direct outreach, you have almost no marketing and advertising costs. Just like a coaching program, marketing agencies can eventually be systemized.

You can remove yourself from the client delivery by hiring and training project managers. Your product managers then handle clients and set up campaigns for them.

This allows you to take a relatively time-intensive business and make it more hands-off.

Become An Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketing businesses are amazing because you are selling other people’s products and earning a commission for every sale.

There are plenty of companies that offer affiliate programs. When you sign up as an affiliate, you receive a special link that you can use in your videos or on your blog.

Whenever someone clicks on these links and makes a purchase, you earn a small commission. Some affiliate programs offer up to 30%-50% commission on every sale.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize a YouTube channel or blog. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to deal with customers, payments or refunds.

You simply get paid whenever you refer customers to a company. Once the sale has happened, product delivery, customer support and shipping is handled by the company.

Another benefit is that you can use affiliate marketing to monetize non-education based YouTube channels or blogs.

Amazon offers a popular affiliate marketing program. When you sign up as an affiliate with Amazon, you can promote pretty much anything that can be found on Amazon. If someone purchases using your link, you get a small commission.

Make money from home with affiliate marketing
Example of Amazon affiliate links

With the Amazon partner program commission are small. But if you get enough page or video views, it might add up to a nice amount each month.

The downside of affiliate marketing is that you could make more money selling your own products and services and keeping 100% of the sale. This is why combining affiliate marketing with selling your own products or services is a great idea.

Sell Digital Products

Another great way to make money online is by selling digital or downloadable products. Once again, having a publishing business under which you can start your digital product business helps a lot.

Here are some ideas for digital product businesses:

There are plenty of digital products and downloadable files you can create and sell online.

For this type of business it helps to have experience with design, coding, video editing or Photoshop.

In case you want to start a digital product business and don’t have the skills to create these products yourself, you can partner with the creators of digital products.

Just look up what companies are already creating digital products and reach out to them. Offer them a 50% revenue split.

You market and sell their products through your own website and to your audience. Every time someone buys through your shop, you send the company that created the digital product half of the revenue.

This is a slightly more advanced and complex business than some of the other business ideas on this list. But selling digital products is still one of the best online businesses to start.

The downside of this type of business is that you will be selling low-ticket products. Your profit margins won’t be as high as with a coaching program, agency or online courses.

If you’re in a creative niche that makes it easy to sell digital products, at the very least it could be an additional income source for you.

Design Sales Funnels

Sales funnels are a set of conversion-optimized pages that are designed to get someone to take action or purchase something.

A sales funnel usually consists of several steps, such as an email capture page, a sales page and a thank you page. Unlike websites, sales funnels don’t have a lot of menus or options.

You can either buy or leave. Sales funnels are quickly replacing traditional websites. Because of this, there is a big opportunity.

Many businesses are only gradually realizing that they need a sales funnel. They are looking for experts that can design and set up these sales funnels for them.

The job description “funnel designer” is relatively new. But it’s a great one to have. Sales funnels can be sold for anywhere between $3,000-$30,000 each.

How to make money
Creating sales funnels with ClickFunnels is easy

While sales funnels do take time, skills and energy to set up, there are certain tools like ClickFunnels that make it easy to set up fully functional sales funnels within minutes.

If you have design skills and understand something about CSS and HTML, designing sales funnels might be the perfect side hustle for you.

Create Websites

If you have design and coding skills but don’t understand much about sales funnels and marketing, you might want to start a traditional web development business.

Every business and company needs a website. Freelancers need a website. Non-government organizations, funds, charities, churches, lawyers and dentists need them too.

Even if most companies already have websites, many of them are old and outdated. Companies frequently update and change their websites.

Websites will always be in demand. A well-designed and professional website can sell for anywhere between $3,000-$30,000 depending on the client and scope of the project.

The downside of this type of business is that it is very time and work intensive. Unless you build a team and outsource the web design and development, your business might feel more like a job.

Become a High-Ticket Closer

There are many content creators and business owners that already have their own coaching programs or agencies. Most of them are looking for skilled high-ticket sales people, or “closers” as they are sometimes called.

As a high-ticket closer you can either work on a commission basis, charge a flat fee or go for a combination of both.

If you’re asking for 10-20% of each sale, this can quickly add up to a decent six figure or multiple six figure income from commissions only.

The downside is that you have to be confident, extroverted and good at selling expensive products or services over the phone.

The good news is that high-ticket sales is a skill that can be learned. There are certain programs that specifically teach how to become a high-ticket closer.

High-ticket closing comes with some perks, such as being able to work and take calls from anywhere in the world, working remotely and potentially earning a high income.

If you are the type of person that’s cut out for high-ticket selling, it can be a great opportunity. It might feel more like a job than a business though. But who would complain about earning six figures while being location independent and traveling the world?

Start an E-Commerce Business

E-commerce is still one of the best online businesses to start this year. There are many different forms of e-commerce businesses. If you’re new to e-commerce, it simply means selling physical products online.

Here are a few different ways of starting an e-commerce business:

The benefit of running an e-commerce business is that it can be done without revealing your face. You can build a highly-successful e-commerce business using a corporate brand.

Start an e-commerce store with Shopify
Start an e-commerce store with Shopify

There are two downsides though. Many people are attempting to create e-commerce businesses. Because of this, it is getting harder for everyone year after year.

The second downside is that the profit margins are relatively low. With online courses, coaching programs and agencies your margins might be 30%-90%. If you run a publishing business and have your own audience there are no product costs or marketing costs.

With an e-commerce business, margins might be as low as 5%-20% since you have to pay for product costs and shipping. Most e-commerce businesses also heavily rely on paid advertising which further reduces the margins.

E-commerce is still a great opportunity for those who are willing to learn and never give up. There are still people making millions online with e-commerce.

But there are also stories of people who made millions in revenue without making much profit with e-commerce. At the end of the day, profit and not revenue is what counts.

If your goal is to make as much profit as possible, there are better businesses than e-commerce. This is why e-commerce made it last on our list of best online businesses to start.

What Kind of Online Business Is Most Profitable?

Of all the online business ideas listed above, online courses, coaching programs and agencies are the most profitable.

The reason for this is because with these business models you can charge a high dollar amount. At the same time you barely have any overhead costs. And if you publishing content and build your own audience, you don’t have any marketing and advertising expenses.

Funnel design, web development and high-ticket sales can be very profitable as well, but they are more time-intensive and less scalable.

You will find it harder to systemize these businesses and remove yourself from them. Ultimately, you are likely to operate like a freelancer and do most of the work yourself.

These businesses might be better seen as high-paying jobs. Regardless of this, they can be life-changing income opportunities.

Affiliate marketing and e-commerce are less profitable due to the nature of selling lower ticket products and having smaller profit margins.

When you sell an e-commerce product for $40, you might only take home $5-$10 in profit after all product costs, shipping and advertising expenses.

With affiliate marketing you will only ever receive a percentage of the sale. Usually commissions are between 5-25%. Higher paying affiliate programs might offer upwards of 30% commissions.

This is why affiliate marketing can’t be considered as profitable as selling your own products or services. Nothing beats keeping 100%.

Things You Need to Start an Online Business

We mentioned at the beginning of this article that you should expect around $150-$200 in overhead costs for an online business.

This might fluctuate depending on which type of business you choose. But there are two tools that almost every online business owner needs.

If you strip down an online business to the bare minimum, these are the only two things that are required.

The best website and funnel builder on the market is ClickFunnels.

It allows you to build entire websites and sales funnels with a drag and drop builder. You can use it for almost anything.

It’s an all-in one tool that makes most other tools unnecessary. Instead of using and paying for dozens of different tools, you can do everything in one place in ClickFunnels.

It’s the only tool you should probably use and never get rid of in your business.

You can get a free trial and check out all functions, features, plans and perks on their official website.

The second thing you need at some point is an email marketing provider. Mailchimp is the way to go. With Mailchimp you can build your own email list and send updates and newsletters to your subscribers.

Mailchimp is free until 2,000 subscribers. This means, unless your list gets bigger than that, you won’t have to pay anything.

With ClickFunnels and Mailchimp you have almost everything you need to run a profitable online business.

This means, you can actually start an online business for less than $100. With time, you might want to add some additional tools to your marketing toolkit. But you can always add these as you go along and grow.

Start as lean as possible with the bare necessities, keep your overhead costs low and combine as many tools as possible into one software.

Summary: These Are the Best Online Businesses to Start In 2022

Now that you know which online businesses to start, how to start an online business with no money and what kind of online business is most profitable, it’s time to be get to the fun part.

Don’t move on from this article without taking some tangible action. Create a list of businesses you’d like to try. Brainstorm your niche. Map out a simple little business plan.

Whatever you do, take a small symbolic step that will move you closer to having your own profitable online business.

March 21, 2022