Looking for online businesses for beginners that you can start at a low cost?

You’re in the right place.

“Online” is just a channel. Starting a business, whether online or offline,  always begins with an idea and we’ve got the best ones for your new business. However, regardless of the idea you pick, you will need to put in lots of planning, hard work, and dedication to make it successful.

Wondering how to get started?

Though there are many ways to make money online, you can consider leveraging the popular online business ideas for beginners listed below.

27 Online Businesses for Beginners You Can Start Today

When it comes to picking up a business idea, you should choose one that best fits your lifestyle, skillset, and budget. You should also evaluate if your business idea is practically feasible.

The good part about starting an online business is that it is easier to reach anyone from anywhere in the world. They also have low startup and ongoing costs when compared to brick-and-mortar shops.

Here are a few low-cost online business ideas for beginners to help you make a choice:

1. Blogging

Starting your own blog is one of the most cost-effective online business ideas. You just need to buy a domain name and web hosting. Though you can also start a blog on free blogging platforms such WordPress.com and Blogger.com, we won’t recommend doing that.

It’s always better to have your own domain name and web hosting to have full control over your blog. You can use WordPress.org to easily build your blog from scratch as it offers numerous free themes and plugins.

How can you make money from your blog?

  • You should choose a specific niche for your blog and create valuable content on topics related to that niche.
  • Once you are able to drive decent traffic to your blog, you can monetize it by joining ad networks such as AdSense.
  • You can also reach out to brands in your niche to run direct ads on your blog.
  • Many websites, brands, and marketers also offer payments for backlinks from high-authority blogs.
  • You can sign up for the affiliate programs of relevant brands and promote them through your blog content to earn commissions and free giveaways.
  • If you are able to build a loyal readership, you can convert your blog into a membership website where people will have to pay to get access to premium content on your blog.
  • Another way to make money from your blog is to sell ebooks, online courses, and valuable templates.

2. Dropshipping Business

The U.S. online retail industry is expected to reach nearly 1.32 Trillion by 2025. You can build an ecommerce website or set up an online store on Shopify and similar platforms to sell products online.

You don’t even need to design and manufacture your own products from scratch. Many popular brands offer white labeling services where you can resell their products online.

The first step to starting an ecommerce business is to figure out which products you want to sell and find out a way to source them. Then, you can invest time and effort into setting up an e-store, marketing your online shop, and attracting customers.

A dropshipping business just requires you to create a store, market products, and take orders. The manufacturers and suppliers that you partner with will fulfill the orders, so you don’t need to handle shipping and order fulfillment.

This makes it one of the easiest online businesses for beginners to start at a low cost.

You can form an LLC for your dropshipping business as it’s one fo the bets business structures for a small business. It will reduce your personal liability and also provide tax benefits.

Also Read: 7 Steps for Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

3. Online Courses

Are you extremely good at something? Do you have a skill that many people want to develop? Then, creating and launching an online course can be a great idea.

You can create a course for anything, from dancing to marketing, DIY art, social media marketing, and more. Your course can include lessons in written form, in videos, or a mix of different media.

Platforms such as Teachable and Udemy allow you to create, launch, and promote your online course to make money. You should also leverage other channels such as social media and newsletters to generate buzz for your online course.

4. Freelance Business

Another popular side hustle business that many professionals start online is freelancing. In fact, there are over 70 million freelancers in the US in 2022 and this number is set to grow to 90 million by 2028.

Whether you’re a copywriter, content creator, SEO professional, designer, developer, or virtual assistant, it’s easy to offer your services online.

Platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr give you access to huge marketplaces to kickstart your freelancing business with minimal time and cost. All you need is to do is build an impressive profile, showcase your expertise and client testimonials, and get the required work tools to get started.

Also Read: Freelancers’ LLC Guide

5. SEO Consulting

No business can survive in this competitive digital world without a website and SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial to improve any website’s performance.

An SEO consulting business is not only one the easiest online businesses for beginners to start and it also has a high demand.

Why is it one of the most sought-after online businesses?

Because the number of potential clients for your business are practically unlimited. Every website owner, whether it’s a business website or a personal blog, needs SEO.

If you have the knowledge of SEO and want to start your own online business, become an SEO consultant. You will just need to invest in your own business website and SEO tools that you’ll need to do your job.

Also Read: Starting a Consulting Business Checklist

6. DIY Handicrafts Store

Are you a creative person who loves creating arts, crafts, and DIY projects?

If yes, then a handicrafts store is one of the best online businesses for you as a beginner.

Whether you like making jewelry, making paintings, or creating any other form of art that can be sold, you can start your own online business.

Here is a list of products that you can create to start an online business:

  • Handmade soaps
  • Organic candles
  • Jewelry
  • Knitted goods
  • Crochet products
  • Embroidered items
  • Drawings and paintings
  • Decorative items
  • Ceramic painting
  • Papier Mache

These are just a few online business ideas for beginners, but the list is endless. If you have any sort of creative talent that produces a physical, sellable object, you can sell it online.

Check out this small, but successful, online business that sells handmade candles. It has a simple and elegant website to showcase products and take orders.

DIY Handicrafts Store

Image via Handmade Candle Co.

Even as a beginner, you can easily replicate this great business idea and open an online store for selling handmade items. The only investment you’ll need is the amount for purchasing raw materials for creating products.

If you anyway create products to pursue your hobby, you might as well make a living by selling those handmade items.

Also Read: What is the Best Entity For Starting A Retail Business?

7. Affiliate Marketing

This is one of the most popular online businesses for beginners as it requires practically no investment. You do, however, need to have a good social media following or a successful blog to capitalize on this.

Affiliate marketing basically involves enrolling in some brands’ affiliate programs and promoting these brands to earn commissions on every sale that you help make.

You will get a unique affiliate link that you need to market on different platforms like social media or your website. The more people who click on your link and make a purchase, the more income you’ll earn.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, it’s not as easy as it looks. First, you need to have a large enough audience for you to actually make money online from affiliate marketing. You can’t share your affiliate link with your 200 followers and expect to earn enough to make a living.

Second, you need to be a good content creator to be able to convince your audience to try out a brand or product.

If you have the necessary skills and a large audience base, then affiliate marketing can be one of the most lucrative online businesses for you.

8. Influencer Marketing

Another profitable online business idea for beginners is to become an influencer.

Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing and requires similar skills, but influencers can get paid in a variety of ways other than sales commissions.

What’s more, is that influencer marketing is trending these days. Social media influencers have become the new celebrities and earn a lot of money from brand collaborations.

What do you need to become an influencer?

Here are some necessary skills and conditions to become a successful influencer:

  • Good social media presence and follower base on at least one platform
  • Expertise in one area of interest or niche
  • High engagement rate on social media posts and stories

If these conditions are met, then you can easily start an online influencer marketing business.

Simply market yourself as an influencer looking for collaborations and provide your preferred mode of communication. Or you can reach out to relevant brands in your niche and pitch your services.

You can also enroll in popular influencer marketing platforms to win brand collaborations.

9. Print-on-Demand Store

People love personalization and that’s why print-on-demand stores are such a rage these days.

Such stores let customers choose their preferred product and design to create unique products that are made on order. Some stores provide limited customization options, while others let customers upload their own designs to provide unlimited customization options.

The best part is that, just like a dropshipping business, you can outsource the manufacturing and order fulfillment part to different vendors. You just have to build a great online store with an easy-to-use mock product generator and brand your business.

There are many companies, like Printify, that you can use to create your own print-on-demand online business, even as a beginner.

Print-on-Demand Store

Image via Printify

It frees you from the hassles of order fulfillment and gives you more time to perfect your online store and customization options. That’s what makes it one of the best online businesses for beginners.

Also Read: Best States to Form an LLC for Your Online Business

10. Pet-Related Businesses

People love their pets and are willing to spend a lot of money to keep their furry little friends happy and healthy. In 2021, people in the US spent over 123.6 Billion dollars on their pets.

Clearly, a pet supplies business is among the most lucrative online businesses for beginners.

Here are some types of pet-related businesses you can start:

  • Foods and treats
  • Toys and plushies
  • Grooming products
  • Beds

Create an online store and sell pet supplies to pet owners across the country.

Other than supplies, you can also offer services like walking and training. You can market your services online through social media or a website and get clients from your locality.

Offering services comes with the limitation that you can serve clients only from a specific location. An online pet supplies store, on the other hand, can deliver products anywhere in the world.

As this is one of the more complex online businesses for beginners listed here, use a business startup checklist to ensure you start your business the right way.

11. Social Media Management

No business can thrive in this digital world without any social media presence.

As of July 2022, there were 4.7 billion social media users in the world. If more than half the world’s population is active on social media, businesses can’t ignore the opportunity to reach their target audience on platforms where they’re most active.

You can tap on this opportunity by starting an online social media management business.

Many businesses are moving to social media to engage their target audience, but most don’t have in-house social media management capabilities or human resources.

You can offer your services and can manage the social media accounts of multiple clients daily to earn a steady stream of income. All you need to do is create and share social media posts and stories, engage with their followers, and respond to DMs.

Even a beginner can acquire these skills and start a social media marketing and management business without much investment. The low startup cost and minimal skill requirements make this one of the best online businesses for beginners.

When you start getting more clients than you can handle, you can scale your business by hiring more employees.

Also Read: Top 10 Ways to Improve Productivity While Working from Home

12. Content Writing

Content is the backbone of digital marketing, as all forms of marketing communications require a well-drafted copy. Not just that, content is also essential for SEO (search engine optimization)  as your website content directly affects your Google rankings.

If you start an online content writing business, you’ll have no dearth of clients and every business needs content writers to some extent.

One essential condition for starting this online business, however, is that you should have exceptional writing skills and an understanding of SEO. If you have that, content writing is one of the most lucrative online businesses that you can start to make a living.

Given that it is a creative pursuit, it’s important to pick the right work space that inspires you to create great content.

You can start with freelancing and when you start getting more clients, you can hire other content writers to establish a full-fledged business. An LLC is a good entity type to start a small online business.

Also Read: What is an LLC and How Long Does It Take to Form One?

13. Subscription Boxes

Another one of the popular online businesses for beginners is a subscription business, specifically theme-based curated subscription boxes.

Subscription businesses work on the principle that consumers need certain products or services on an ongoing basis. Instead of making a purchase every month, they can buy a subscription and keep receiving those goods or services.

This is a good way for existing businesses to earn recurring revenue and for consumers to get a hassle-free shopping experience.

How can you start a subscription business as a beginner?

By curating themed subscription boxes and selling them to a niche target audience.

Find a market need for which you can create a subscription and identify a target audience.

For example, you could create a monthly book subscription for book lovers who’d love a surprise book box every month. Or you can start a subscription for pet foods and supplies, which pet owners anyway buy every month.

OwlCrate, for example, is a successful monthly book subscription box with thousands of subscribers. They keep their customers happy and coming back for more by curating theme-based boxes every month with exciting new books and goodies.

Subscription Boxes

Image via OwlCrate

Once you decide on the type of subscription, you then need to find vendors who’ll provide the products.

You can find multiple small businesses that are willing to offer discounted prices for bulk orders and can provide theme-based customizations every month. This will help you avoid financial challenges that new businesses often face.

Choose a theme for every month and curate a subscription box with an assortment of items for your customers. That, right there, is a brilliant business idea if you do it right.

14. Podcasting

If you have expertise in any topic and a flair for speaking, you can start your own podcast.

Podcasts are very popular because they provide information on the go. People can listen to a podcast while commuting to and from work, working out, or doing any other activity.

You just need to find the right niche and make a long list of topics that you can cover. Make sure that you don’t choose a very small niche and run out of topics a month after starting your podcast.

Unlike most other online businesses listed here, you don’t need to register a formal business to start a podcast. It is one of those online businesses for beginners that can be started instantly without any legal formality or investment costs.

Also Read: How to Start an Entertainment Company: A Guide for Beginners

15. Video Editing and Production

Videos are the most popular type of content because they can deliver a lot of information in a fun and engaging way. That’s why more and more businesses are now leveraging the power of videos to attract and engage their target audience.

If you have good video creation and editing skills, you can start your own video production and editing business. You can help brands create engaging marketing videos or even offer video editing services to influencers.

All you need is a good video editing software solution and the right skill set and you can do really well with this online business. You can start as a freelancer and form a business as you get more clients and hire other employees.

16. Remote Virtual Assistant

This is one of the online businesses for beginners that’s simplest to start.

As a virtual assistant, you just need to help your employer with day-to-day tasks like scheduling meetings and taking calls. You’d be their assistant but work online from a remote location.

This way you don’t need to commute to work and can work from the comfort of your home, not to mention save time and money by doing so.

The best part is that you don’t need to make any investments yourself as your employer will provide you with the right tools that help you do your job well. All you need is a good internet connection.

When you gain enough skills and experience, you can start your virtual assistant business where you provide businesses with virtual assistants. You can hire employees who’ll work as VAs and you can simply earn for your service, like a staffing agency.

Also Read: How to Start a Virtual Bookkeeping Business in 5 Simple Steps

17. Website Design and Development

As mentioned earlier, all businesses need a website. Even if you don’t sell anything on your website, you still need one to provide your potential customers with information about your business.

Of course, you can create SEO-friendly content for your website and attract relevant organic traffic to generate sales leads for your business.

Given the importance of business websites, every business would want to develop a unique and engaging website keeping their target audience in mind.

The problem is that most businesses won’t have the in-house capabilities to do that and would outsource the task to a web developer.

If you have website design and development skills, you can start an online web development business. Become a Sole Proprietor and offer your services to clients.

When you start getting many clients, you can bring in more employees and grow your web design business.

Liking this list of online businesses for beginners so far?

Keep reading to find other online business ideas that are great for beginners.

18. Graphic Design

Graphic designing is a skill that’s high in demand in this digital age and if you have these skills, this online business idea is great for you.

Start a graphic design company as a Sole Proprietor and hire more designers when you start getting a lot of clients.

As a graphic designer, you can help businesses and individuals with designing needs like:

  • Visuals for their blogs
  • Infographics
  • Social media content
  • Landing page designs
  • And more!

Just like content writers are essential for all the text content, graphic designers are essential for all the visual content for a website. This means that you’ll never run out of work, if you’re good at what you do.

This is one of the online businesses for beginners that just need the right skills and a low budget to start. All you need to invest in is a good design software solution and you’re good to go.

19. PPC Consulting

Pay-per-click advertising is an effective, but expensive digital marketing technique that most businesses use at some point or another. Given that they need to pay each time someone clicks their ads, they need to ensure that their PPC campaigns are highly targeted.

As a PPC consultant, you can help businesses run cost-effective, highly-targeted campaigns.

If you have the required knowledge about how to optimize PPC campaigns, PPC consulting is one of the best online businesses for you, even if you’re a beginner.

What else makes it one of the most lucrative online businesses for beginners?

You don’t need much investment to start your own online business—just the right skill set and a way to market your business and earn clients.

Start your own business website and also market your business on other platforms like LinkedIn. You can also start a freelance business to get started and earn clients, and take things from there.

20. Niche Reviews Website

One of the best online businesses for beginners who know web development is to start a reviews website.

This is one of those online businesses that will practically run on their own. Just find a niche and create a user-friendly and SEO-friendly website. The users will add reviews and keep your website populated with fresh content on a daily basis.

The one challenge that you’ll face is high competition as there are lots of popular review websites already in existence. The best way to overcome this challenge is to find an untapped niche where there’s a need for a review website and no big players in the market.

21. App Development

Just like web development or software development, app development is also one of the lucrative online businesses for beginners with technical skills.

There are over 3.2 million apps on Google Play Store and the number will only grow in the future.

An app development business, therefore, is one of the online businesses that will be in demand in the near future.

You don’t even need your own original idea to develop an app as you can partner with other individuals or companies to help them develop their apps.

As an app developer, you’ll always be in demand as a lot of people have ideas for apps but don’t know how to execute them.

22. Event Planning

If you have a natural flair for organizing things and taking charge of ensuring everything goes well at an event, then this online business idea is for you.

Start an event planning business where you can offer your services to host birthdays, weddings, baby showers, or other events.

The nature of this business is such that you can only cater to clients from your locality.

If you truly want to make this an online business, you will need to tie up with a lot of vendors to get things done remotely and cater to a wider area.

As you scale your online business, you can also start offering various food or decoration options for your clients to choose from, via your website.

Want to take your online business to the next level?

Make your website a comprehensive database for different types of vendors and allow users to rate them. This means that anyone looking for a decorator or food vendor in an area will come to your website to find one.

It will help you earn a passive income from your website, in addition to your event planning businesses. That’s what makes this one of the best online businesses for beginners

23. Remote Tech Support

The future of business is remote.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to allow their employees to work remotely and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Employers are not realizing the benefits of remote working and the cost efficiences that it provides.

Tech support is one role that can be easily done remotely and that’s what makes it one of best online businesses for beginners.

If you have the required technical skills, you can easily start an online remote tech support business. You just need to find one steady client to make this business feasible and can expand further after that.

As you start getting more clients, you can hire other tech support professionals and grow your business.

Also Read: 11 Tax Tips for Contractors & Remote Workers to Save Money

24. Stock Photography

Do you have great photography skills and a high-resolution camera? Well, then this is one of the best online businesses for you to start.

Simply sell your high-quality pictures on stock photography websites and earn lots of money from it. Most websites will pay you a share of income, each time your pictures are used, so the earning potential is great.

Of course, if you want to grow further, you can start your own photo studio and offer your services as a photographer for events. Here’s how you can do that:

Stock Photography

However, if you want a 100% online business, stock photography is your best option.

25. Music Creation and Distribution

This is one of the online businesses for beginners that have songwriting or music creation skills.

There are many platforms like TuneCore where you can distribute and sell your music without a record deal. Each time someone streams or purchases your song, you get a royalty.

With the introduction of the metaverse and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), you can also sell your music as NFTs. This means that you get paid directly and don’t need a middleman to sell your music.

It’s a great time to be a musician in this day and age, as you have lots of options to sell your music and not be limited by the traditional route.

26. Build an Online Game

If you’re looking for the best online business ideas for beginners that have a huge earning potential, this one’s for you.

Build an online game and keep earning from it as long as it’s popular and there are active players who play your game.

Even if you don’t have the development skills, you can still benefit if you have a great idea or concept for an online game. Simply partner up with a developer and develop an online game together.

In this case, you’ll need to form a Partnership business instead of a Sole Proprietorship.

Also, given that a game is your intellectual property, you need to protect it with a copyright. Do this from the start or else someone may copy it and all your effort will go to waste.

GovDocFiling provides a variety of legal services that you can use to legally protect your new business and get the most benefit out of it.

27. Travel Consulting

Do you love planning travel itineraries and have a knack for finding the best deals?

Use your skills to start a travel consulting business where you help people plan their trips in the best way possible.

Here are some things you can help your clients with:

  • Find the cheapest flight, train, or bus tickets
  • Make an itinerary based on the no. of days, budget, and personal preferences
  • Find great places to stay and get special deals and discounts

Over time, you can partner up with hotels, airlines, etc. to offer exclusive deals to your clients and make yourself invaluable for their travel planning needs.

Also Read: 31 Best Business Ideas for Small Towns

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the easiest online business to start?
The easiest online businesses for beginners to start include:

  • Blogging
  • Online shop or ecommerce business
  • Online courses
  • Freelance business
  • SEO consulting
  • Web design

2. What is the best online business to start in 2024?

The best online business ideas for beginners in 2024 include:

  • Blogging (niche blog)
  • PPC consulting
  • Online courses
  • Freelance business
  • Dropshipping business
  • Affiliate marketing

3. How do I start an online business with no experience?

To start an online business without experience, you should:

  • Brainstorm online business ideas and evaluate their feasibility.
  • Research your niche, target market, audience, and competitors.
  • Leverage state and federal filing services to register your business as an LLC or a Corporation.
  • Build your own business website and social media accounts.
  • Create a marketing strategy to generate awareness about your products and services.
  • Deliver good customer experiences to increase customer retention rate and average order value (AOV).

4. What is an easy business to start from home?

Easy online businesses for beginners to start from home include:

  • Blogging
  • Print-on-demand store
  • Freelance business
  • Becoming an influencer

5. Is it difficult to start an online business?

Starting an online business can be challenging for beginners but there is nothing to worry about. You just need to plan ahead, manage finances, and start small.

You can easily leverage professional help for more complicated tasks such as fulfilling essential legal requirements for starting a business.

Ready to Start Your Own Online Business?

These low-investment online business ideas can be a great starting point for beginners, bootstrappers, and anyone who wants to build a side business.

Regardless of the business idea you pick, you will need to come up with a proper business plan, build a brand, create a marketing strategy, and check financing requirements. Don’t forget to register your business with your state and ensure that you have enough funds to get going.

Do you need help starting your online business? Discuss your business idea with our experts in the comments below and seek advice on how to start, register, and build your online business.

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