Best Online Business Ideas For 2022

Online Business Ideas

There has never been a better time to start an online business. Gone are the days when you would need substantial startup capital and industry contacts to get your foot through the door to the business world. 

An estimated 50% of businesses in the United States are home-based and run by innovative entrepreneurs, primarily armed with little more than vision and determination.

It is little wonder why starting an online business seems so appealing. Workers everywhere are striving to find a good work-life balance. Many have become disillusioned with corporate life and crave the freedom to realize their visions and do things their way. 

For example, according to Oberlo, 29% of respondents stated that being their own boss was their main reason for pursuing their online business. 

With the substantial rise in remote working leading to the development of prevalent technologies for work-from-home environments, you can equip yourself with the tools to succeed right from the start.

This article will provide a step-by-step guide on building a successful online business. It tackles the major considerations you need to take and offers tips and tricks to make the entire process as smooth as possible, from a business idea through to launch.

We also present a range of viable business ideas for beginners, each with a proven track record of success, allowing you to start making money online in no time.

How to start an online business?

While starting an online business has never been easier, it remains tricky to get right, particularly for beginners. Around 20% of businesses fail within the first year, even with the available tools. To avoid potential problems, arm yourself with the know-how to develop your business structure before starting.

What follows are the key steps that we believe will give you the best possible chance to grow your business and find success.

online business ideas

Image Source: Science Soft

Step 1: Establish the validity of your idea

Having what seems like a killer business idea is not enough to build a profitable online business. The secret to success is knowing whether that idea will translate into revenue.

To begin, you must establish which business niche your idea falls into and define your target audience. Pinpointing the correct target markets is essential, as they are ultimately the people who will buy your product.

A business idea becomes a viable business proposition if a buyer can determine whether a product or service solves a problem. Spotify took off because it created the link between music labels and legitimate music streaming. Netflix eliminated the chore of going out to buy physical copies of media. 

Suppose you can justify that your product or service provides a solution and that your target audience is willing to purchase it. In that case, you will have established the basis for a legitimate, viable business. 

Step 2: Conduct product and market research

Once you have a viable idea, it is time to conduct market research. It is essential to understand the details of who your product appeals to and where it fits in your chosen target market.

Product research and market research are mainly interchangeable terms. Still, product research refers more to the relationship between the product or service and the customer, while market research relates more to market trends and competition.

Product research includes several strategies you can use to gain detailed insights into your product’s validity:

  • Concept testing: Gauge your audience to determine how they feel about your product and its features. There are several types of concept tests that you could carry out, such as comparison tests and monadic testing.
  • Price testing: Calculate the pricing thresholds of your target audience members to determine the optimal price a customer will pay and the product features they expect to receive in return.
  • Product tests: Create a minimal viable product (MVP) to help you identify the product’s or service’s core features. Thereby enabling you to receive valuable early feedback on what features are and are not worth developing.
  • Host focus groups: These often amalgamate the previous tests by bringing members of your target audience together to discuss your product or service, such as price and user-friendliness. 

At this stage, the most valuable information you need to obtain from market research is who your main competitors are and whether your product or service is trending positively.

online business market research

Image Source: Product Tribe

Even if you have determined that your idea can solve a problem and your product research has yielded positive feedback, entering a saturated market or niche can make things challenging to garner attention for your product. 

However, a new business entering the market has notable advantages. Before your product is fully developed, you can evaluate what the market leaders are doing well and how you can emulate them. Pay close attention to their pricing, marketing strategies, and unique selling points (USP) and see where you can similarly improve.

Knowing information about your chosen market and niche is essential, such as common terms users enter into search engines to find your product. Here are some useful tools:

  • SimilarWeb: This is a helpful tool to evaluate competition as you can spy on your competitors — things like monthly page volume, a location breakdown of traffic, email marketing, etc.
  • Google Trends: An excellent tool for market analysis. It allows you to see how often users search for terms over a certain period. Positive trends are an indication of growing demand for your product or service.
  • Ahrefs or Semrush: Conduct keyword research to validate a niche to identify trends and keyword volume.
online business google trends

Image Source: GoogleTrends

Step 3: Devise a business plan

If your initial market and product research have yielded positive results, devising a business plan that provides a roadmap for the future is next.

Business plans are essential, malleable documents that examine all aspects of a business. They detail market research results and critical areas such as goals, budgets, and projections. You also include a thorough product description, highlighting its key features and USPs.

The business plan can include:

  • A company overview.
  • Ownership structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.).
  • Short and long-term objectives.
  • The company vision.
  • Go-to-market strategy.
  • Financial projections.
  • Capital fundraising.

There are two primary purposes for a business plan. First, it allows you to maintain a big picture of each aspect of your business. However, your plan can be flexible, and many details will likely change over time. Nonetheless, having a business plan can keep things organized and on track.

The second purpose is for investment reasons. Haphazard and patchy business plans often put a potential investor off. You may need to attract additional investment and partners to the business at some stage. They will want to know everything about the company to make a fully informed decision on whether to invest or not.

online business plan

Image Source: Business Plan Template

Step 4: Build your website

No online store or business is possible without a website. With many website builders and templates now available, it is relatively easy to set up a website. However, optimizing it to the point where it will actively help you secure sales and make money is less straightforward. 

There are some fundamental aspects of your website that you must have in place for it to be genuinely beneficial, such as:

  • UX/UI design.
  • Site structure.
  • Copywriting (website, product, direct response copywriting, etc.).
online business content types

Image Source: Ethereal

Step 5: Search engine optimization (SEO)

Now synonymous with all things related to online business strategies, SEO relates to gearing all content on your website toward higher rankings for search engine results. Most search engine users only check the first couple of pages after a search query, so your business must appear high on the list.

onlilne business keyword analysis

Image Source: Ahrefs

Keywords are often considered the most valuable aspect of SEO. Making sure that frequently used search terms and phrases appear throughout your website (especially titles and metadata) increases the chances of users discovering your website.

However, targeted keywords alone are not enough. Internal links within the website help inform search engine algorithms that your website has more domain authority. External links (also known as backlinks) from other websites or social media pages also help establish this.

Finally, ensuring your website is optimized for mobile usage is vital, as mobile sources generate large amounts of traffic and follow Google’s E-A-T guidelines.

online business google eat

Image Source: DevriX

Step 6: Create appealing product descriptions

Excellent product descriptions can make the difference between a sale and a near-miss. You’ve worked hard to bring customers to your website. The last thing you want is your product description, not justifying what you sell.

It is prudent to keep your product descriptions short and sweet, as big walls of text often put customers off. Depending on what you are selling, descriptions will need adaptation. Here are some things to consider:

If you sell products, match your text with compelling imagery showing the product in the best light. Services potentially need more in-depth information.

Lastly, ensure you keep the customer at the center of everything. Focus heavily on the features rather than lengthy descriptions, and don’t be afraid to show off if you have received acclaim or positive reviews across the board. Here are some things to consider:

  • What can the product or service do for them? 
  • How can their lives be improved by purchasing it? 
online business product descriptions

Image Source: The Good

Step 7: Launch and grow your online business

You have a website in place and are now ready to launch. Here comes the challenge of making sure people find your website to purchase your goods. Driving traffic to your website is the only way your business will grow.

To achieve this, we need to talk about online marketing strategies. If you feel like you need additional guidance and support in this regard, Flippa’s Partner Market might be the ideal solution for you. We have several packages that cater to all areas of business development that could help take your business to the next level. 

Email marketing

It would help if you started building an email list through your existing social media channels soon after you have decided that your product or service is viable. It involves potential customers consenting for their email addresses to be used to receive newsletters, product updates, and marketing purposes.

To encourage customers to join, it is often worthwhile to incentivize this. Many email marketing campaigns offer free discounts or early access to features. 

Email lists are an excellent opportunity to build long-standing and loyal customers, particularly if they gain valuable information through your newsletter. Avoid emailing your subscribers just for sales purposes. As with any marketing, customers should feel value from your email communications. 

Paid advertisements

Utilizing paid ads can significantly increase business profits. It can lead potential customers within your target market to learn about your product or service. For example, Facebook ads target users based on their location, demographic, and other profile information.

Content marketing

Creating content around your product or service is an excellent way to generate traffic for your website, showing potential and existing customers that you can offer more than what you are selling.

Social media marketing leverages the power of leading platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to draw attention to products that can potentially convert into sales. Today, growing an online presence is essential for your business and brand growth.

YouTube has a massive potential audience if you are confident speaking in front of a camera. Instagram allows you to provide aesthetically pleasing images of your products and generally takes less time to produce than video content. Both offer the chance to build an online audience you can leverage for traffic and sales.

Even though they are perhaps not as prevalent nowadays, blogs are still a great example of digital marketing through content such as blog posts, product reviews, and comparisons within your niche market.

Most importantly, content marketing needs to be valuable and consistent. A customer knowing they will receive a helpful blog post at the same time every week may become a loyal customer, more likely to purchase any new products you develop.

online business content marketing

Image Source: Semrush

What are some digital business ideas?

If you’re still reading, you are likely a person who is dreaming of being your own boss and establishing an outstanding work-life balance but has yet to stumble across that one big idea to get you started.

The following are some online business ideas with proven success stories. They are all ideas you can start from home, and with careful planning, patience, and hard work, you could make a lot of money. 

1. Become an affiliate marketer

Let’s suppose that you feel like a natural salesperson with marketing talent but don’t have much desire to develop products. In this case, you could consider affiliate marketing. Advertise other company products on your website in exchange for a commission every time a sale is made via your links to a company’s website.

Affiliate marketing is exceptionally profitable in the web hosting and finance industry. You benefit from low startup costs but will rely on goods and services from others that may not be as good as initially presented. Affiliate marketers gain access to thousands of potential opportunities through affiliate programs, making it easy to start affiliate marketing.

online business affiliate programs

Image Source: Shopify

2. Start an e-commerce business

If you create your own products or want to sell a product or service, you should consider setting up an e-commerce store. E-commerce relates to buying and selling online goods; online companies can be seen as e-commerce businesses.

With e-commerce sites, you can sell physical and digital products and services that can utilize subscription fees and models. Another option is a dropshipping business, where you work with a company to sell their products on your e-commerce website, but shipping logistics are the company’s responsibility.

3. Become a virtual assistant

If you are organized and multitask efficiently, becoming a virtual assistant is a great option. Many companies are now hiring external virtual assistants to assist with data entry, press releases, and scheduling meetings.

This type of business is excellent for scalability and provides opportunities for long-term partnerships that will allow you to bring in a consistent income.

4. Set up a consulting business

Suppose you have expertise in a particular job industry. You could consider setting up a consulting business to offer advice and expertise to others looking to break into that industry. Many online businesses succeed because the owner utilizes previous work experience for their benefit.

Likewise, suppose you have in-depth experience in concepts all businesses require for success, such as SEO. In that case, you could consider building an SEO consulting business and work with companies to improve their SEO. Alternatively, start a digital marketing agency.

5. Become a resume writer

Similar to consulting, you can assist others with a resume writing business. Though quite a simple concept, resumes can be notoriously tricky to write effectively, often preventing workers from getting a chance to interview for their dream job.

Learning what employers look for when examining resumes and mastering how to structure and write them could be a lucrative avenue to pursue. If you have expertise in a specific field, for example, technical writing, then as a technical writer, you can command a premium price. You could also upsell and help with cover letter writing too.

6. Accounting or bookkeeping services

Every business needs to look after its books, and if you have experience in business finance or accountancy, you will likely find no shortage of work.

Depending on your level of expertise, you could look to offer monthly bookkeeping services, assist individuals with their tax returns, or even turn to consultancy regarding taxes and legal requirements for companies.

7. Build websites and apps

Nowadays, all businesses need to ensure that they have an effective web presence. If you are a web developer, web designer, or can build apps, this could be your business niche. You could also start building niche websites for businesses with precise target markets as part of a business venture strategy and sell them on Flippa.

8. Start a writing business

There are several types of online writing businesses that you could set up. For example, thanks to Amazon, it has never been easier to self-publish e-books. You could also collaborate with other print-on-demand platforms to sell your work.

Technical writing is a sought-after skill for businesses that require how-to guides and instruction manuals. You can offer your technical writing services via your website or sites such as Upwork and Fiverr.

You can explore many different writing-related businesses when it comes to freelance writing. You could offer to become an editor or proofreader for other writers or businesses looking to ensure that their content is accurate and engaging. You could also become a copywriter and partner with companies to produce their content.

9. Sell online courses

You could produce and sell online courses if you have expertise from previous job roles and are adept at teaching skills and knowledge. You will likely need some experience in video production to succeed, as most online courses take this format, though this isn’t mandatory. 

One potential downside here is a limit to the total amount of content you can produce. Where do you go once you have taught your customers all you know? 

A potential solution is to diversify into a business coaching business. Make sure you tailor it to all abilities, starting with a beginner’s guide to advanced skills and knowledge. Consult with those who have taken your courses and provide additional guidance for their pursuits. 

Life coaches, in particular, earn, on average, $56,151. Some in-demand life coaches can command a significant premium by selling books, courses, and speaking engagements, like Tony Robbins, who earns over $50 million a year. 

building an online business

Image Source: Thinkific

10. Run online fitness courses

If you have experience as a fitness trainer, fitness-related businesses can end up multi-faceted with several possible sources of income. You could set up a dedicated YouTube channel to film fitness videos, establish affiliate marketing with activewear and nutrition companies, write fitness product reviews on a blog, or even sell courses via a platform such as Skillshare.

11. Social media marketing

Every business needs a good social media strategy to compete online in the modern world, but most companies do not hire dedicated social media staff. As a social media manager, you can liaise with companies to manage their social media sites and ensure they add value to the customer.

As a social media marketer, you can offer your time and skills to ensure that a brand’s content is engaging. You can also check that websites contain commercial links and backlinks and have a smooth user interface and experience.

12. Software development

Many SaaS companies require experienced web developers and designers to help build their software. As the SaaS industry continues to expand, the demand for individuals with these skills will only increase, so this is a potentially lucrative online business opportunity for WordPress plugins.

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that improves the experience of anyone using WordPress blogs, and many websites will likely look to purchase these if you can develop them.

13. Use your graphic design skills

If you come from an artistic background, you may wish to set up a graphic design business. Use your design flair for other niche products, such as mugs and stationery. All businesses require logos and banners for their social media marketing and websites.

You could also look to design t-shirts or set up a t-shirt business that could form a minor part of a clothing line. An excellent social media presence and an established audience who may wish to invest in merchandise linked with your content could make this very fruitful. 

Make sure you have a strong portfolio of work and testimonials on your website to prove your credentials. Many graphic designers started selling on sites like Dribbble, Upwork, Designhill, and 99 Designs. Creating an impressive portfolio is fast and easy in this digital age. 

online business design

Image Source: Oberlo

14. Create stock photography

Many businesses seek aesthetically pleasing photography to make their websites unique and appealing. If you have experience in photography, you can create and upload stock photography, landscapes, and color compilations, which businesses can then buy and license in return for revenue.

15. Become an online researcher

Being an online researcher can make the most of your previous areas of expertise. Companies within your familiar sectors seek to create informed and accurate content and rely on experts to validate it.

You don’t necessarily have to have a specific niche or knowledge base; this is a potential online business option if you are skilled at academic fact-finding and critical thinking.

16. Generate passive income from a blog

If you manage a blog that generates a considerable amount of traffic, you could consider offering sponsored posts to earn money. The earning potential may vary quite a bit depending on your web traffic and niche, and companies are willing to pay anywhere from $100 up to tens of thousands of dollars depending on a website’s metrics and reach. 

You could also create a membership site and add exclusive content to a paywall. Membership sites can perform exceptionally well when a person actively promotes their content on social media sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube. Some membership sites can earn up to 6-7 figures.

There are other ways to monetize a blog as well. For example, you could offer sponsored email newsletters (EDMs), offer ad space, or even use a blog as a side marketing project to market another business that you want to grow.

17. A subscription box service

During the last ten years, subscription boxes have become increasingly popular as they allow people to receive items on a month-by-month basis constantly. Sometimes, these products might be for personal use, while others could be one-off or monthly gifts to friends or family members.

In particular, subscription boxes in the beauty segment are in high demand. So, if you have a great idea, for example, selling handmade candles, then this could be something you could consider exploring.

19. Flipping domain names

Flipping domain names is a lucrative business and can be highly profitable by purchasing a domain name for a low price and selling it for a much higher price. Some business names can sell for six figures, allowing for the potential to earn a massive return on your investment. 

If you’re looking to buy or sell domain names, check out Flippa’s thousands of domains, websites, and businesses for sale. It’s fast and easy to sell or buy a business online.

20. Lead generation service

All business owners want leads. If you’re skilled at sourcing or generating leads, you could start a niche marketing agency specializing in lead generation and charge on a per lead basis. Alternatively, charge your rates as a percentage of the income that you have generated.

21. Tutoring business

Suppose you have excellent grades at school or college. In that case, you could offer your tutoring services online to help needy students. This can be an excellent business to start as it allows for additional ways to diversify your services and earn passive income. 

22. Digital real estate

Blockchain technology, gaming, and virtual reality have created many lucrative opportunities in the metaverse. Even though this is risky, some businesses and investors have done exceptionally well selling digital land in the metaverse. 

Corporates and famous musicians have become involved. For example, an investor paid $450,000 to be Snoop Dogg’s neighbor on Sandbox. Recently, Facebook rebranded to “Meta,” and many investors believe that in the not too distant future, a lot of our communications, entertainment, and work could be moving into a virtual environment.

Summing up

There has never been a more exciting time to launch an online business. Thanks to the massive rise of mobile e-commerce, anyone can buy anything from anywhere these days. More people are accessing the internet than ever before. 

Getting started is the hardest thing when turning a business idea into reality. At the same time, the road to a financially successful business is still tricky to navigate, with many aspects to consider and manage simultaneously. However, your budding business idea can grow into something huge with an organized business plan, an effective marketing strategy, and a lot of patience and hard work.

Savvy buyers are always on the lookout for new business opportunities. At Flippa, we are the number one online marketplace for buying and selling businesses worldwide. If you achieve financial success with your business one day, you may wish to sell for-profit and move on to new business endeavors. Contact us today if you already have a business ready to sell.

Frequently asked questions

How to start your business?

All businesses start with an idea. Once you have validated your idea, this step will launch your business. If you don’t have a business idea, you could always consider searching for a profitable business on Flippa.

What is a business name generator?

A business name generator is a piece of software that helps its users try to create a business name by entering a keyword in the search box or a set of keywords that could describe your business. Some advanced business name generators may have additional features that allow you to join words by creating a portmanteau or allow users to use suffixes and prefixes.

What is a business model?

A business model is a way a business makes money. Some businesses may also have numerous business models and earn an income from a wide range of service or product offerings. For example, a software as a service (SaaS) business charges users monthly. On the other hand, e-commerce businesses will charge their customers a one-time fee for buying items using their credit cards.

Michael Skok, a founding partner at Underscore VC, gave an excellent lecture on disruptive business models at Harvard Innovation Labs. In the lecture, Skok discusses how startups and businesses alike have reinvested their business models to create new business models. While the video is long, it is definitely worth watching.

What are some other online business ideas?

If you’re feeling extra creative, 3D printed products could be a massive opportunity if you’re creating an entirely new product. You could also consider private labeling, which involves manufacturing a product and selling this to a third party. A print on demand business is another opportunity to sell branded or monogrammed stationery, clothing, or mobile phone cases.

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