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10 Online Business Ideas For 2021

best online business ideas

You have been planning this step for several years, and you have decided that 2021 will be the year you finally quit your regular job to start an online business.

You want to break free from the 9 to 5 job and achieve that financial freedom you have been dreaming about. You can do it if you have in-demand professional skills, communication skills, and you know how to sell products you are passionate about.

In this article, we will show you 10 online business ideas for you to choose from.

What Are The Best Online Business To Start In 2021

There is a wide variety of businesses you can start online, and below are 10 of the best online ventures you can start in 2021.

eCommerce

You can sell digital and physical products online with your website as your virtual storefront.

You can start an online store to sell any type of physical product from dog food to jewelry, and there is a market for everything.

Digital products are a lot easier to sell since you don’t need to invest in supply chain management, and shipping infrastructure.

All you need to sell your products is a website with an online store or a global platform like Amazon.com, Flickr, Udemy, Skillshare, Templatemonster, MyFonts, Designhill, and many others.

Digital products can be audio products, photographs, fonts, ebooks, graphics, design templates, and online courses.

Make sure there is a market for your products and go the extra mile to differentiate your brand from those of your competitors.

What do you need to get started?

1. Products to sell


Like we mentioned earlier, the products you sell can be physical or digital. Find a market niche that you are passionate and knowledgeable about, and figure out the physical or digital products that you can sell on your online store.

You also need to figure out the supply management system of your online store. One option is to manufacture, warehouse, and ship your products yourself.

Another option is dropshipping where you find third-party manufacturers that supply the products you want to sell, and anytime a customer purchases an item for your store, the third-party manufacturer will ship the order directly to the customer.

You won’t have to invest in manufacturing or inventory management, all you need to do is set up your store, secure suppliers, and get customers to buy products from your store.

Marc Chapon is an online entrepreneur that has successfully built a dropshipping business that makes $60,000 per month in sales. Marc quit his full-time job and set up a Shopify store to sell dog-focused products with a $5000 budget.

Marc sourced pet products for his store on Spocket which is a dropshipping app and by the time he had spent $1000 from his budget he had broken even. After three months, the store had made $178,000 in sales.

2. An eCommerce platform


You can choose to build your online store with a comprehensive eCommerce software like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and 3dcart, or you can sell your products in a multi-vendor marketplace.

Platforms like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and others are multi-vendor marketplaces.

Ecommerce platforms like MemberPress (WordPress), Podia, Sellfy, Gumroad, and Teachable are built specifically for vendors that want to sell digital products.

3. Web Hosting


If you will be using a self-hosted platform like WooCommerce or Magento – you need a web host. Your
web host will provide server space that will house your online store in exchange for a subscription fee.

4. A marketing strategy


To promote your online store, you can invest in organic strategies that will attract traffic to your website or you can pay for advertising.

Paid digital advertising can be Google ads, social media ads, advertising on podcasts in your niche, or affiliate marketing.

Organic marketing strategies include content marketing, social media, and email marketing. Research your target audience to determine the best mix of marketing strategies for your online store.

Coaching

If you love solving problems and helping people reach their potential, you can become an online coach.

The demand for online coaches is massive with the coaching industry projected to be worth $20billion in 2020. According to ZipRecruiter, the average online coach makes $59,000 a year and very successful coaches like Anthony Robbins and Frank Kern make millions of dollars per year.

There is a high demand for online coaches because learning directly from an accomplished expert is the fastest way to master something you want to excel at.

The business, relationships, health, fitness, sport, and educational coaching niches are the most popular.

If you are an expert in any of these niches or you have mastered anything that people will want to learn, and you have excellent communication skills, you can get into this highly lucrative online business.

Michelle Roots is a very good example of a successful online coach. Michelle is an online fitness trainer who works with celebrities, regular clients, and elite athletes through her Train 4 Life Online app.

What do you need to get started?

1. A coaching niche


You can help others become better at doing just about anything. You can help people with productivity, career fulfillment, finances, fitness, sales, and much more. The list is endless.

Identify a niche that suits your personal experiences, qualifications, and passions.

2. Qualifications


This is not a rigid requirement and there are highly successful online coaches like
Pat Flynn (smartpassiveincome.com) who studied architectural design and has no business degree and yet coaches entrepreneurs on how to build successful online businesses.

Coaches like Pat Flynn rely on personal experience, however, this will not work for everyone.

Getting certified will help you provide better coaching and will also convince potential clients that you are an expert in your field. 

3. An SEO-optimized website and video conferencing software & tools


Your website will serve as your virtual office where potential clients can learn about your coaching services and contact you. You can also sell ebooks, online courses, and embed webinars on your website.

Your website should also be SEO-optimized for the relevant keywords to ensure potential clients can find you online and reach out to you.

You will need a quality headset and a video conferencing software tool like Zoom, GoToWebinar, or Google Hangouts.

4. A marketing strategy


You need to market your coaching services to attract clients. Tap into your personal and professional network to inform people about your services and invest in blogging to gain exposure and credibility.

Writing

Writers make up the bulk of freelancers online, and the demand for writers is ever-growing.

Content marketing is central to the digital marketing strategy of every business that wants to thrive online, and these businesses need writers to create content for their websites

Writing encompasses multiple subsets including article writing, copywriting, technical writing, resume writing, freelance book writing, UX writing, and much more.

Charmaine Pocek is a freelance resume writer that is raking in over $40,000 a month on Fiverr. She started the gig in 2011 as a side hustle earning around $15 per project. Today, she is a top-rated seller on the platform and she charges up to $300 to write executive resumes for clients.

Whatever your background and passions may be, if you can write – there is a niche where you can thrive.

What do you need to get started?

1. A writing niche


To be successful as a writer, it’s best to avoid being a generalist and instead focus on a niche you are very knowledgeable and passionate about.

This ensures you can research topics in the niche effectively and write quality content with the authority of an expert. Some of the most popular niches for writers are:

  • Travel

  • Digital marketing

  • Health

  • Finance

  • Relationships

  • Nutrition

  • Careers

  • And much more

2. The right tools


A freelance writer will need a laptop, internet connection, proper seating, a PayPal account, Skype, and an email address.

3. A personal blog


Having a personal blog will help you write about topics you like and build up a collection of samples for your portfolio.

Make sure you only publish your best work on your website. Many clients will ask for the link to your website and will hire you based on the quality of your work.

You can start a personal blog for free with BloggerWordPress.com, or Medium.

4. A portfolio


Clients will ask for samples of your work to evaluate your skills and there are three ways to create your writer portfolio.

One, you can compile existing writing samples that you created in the past. This can be your work for a writing contest, your contributions to blogs in college, unpublished fiction, or any other writing sample you already have in hand.

Two, you can create samples from the scratch by picking topics in your niche and writing quality blog posts on those topics.

Three, the final way to create writing samples is to guest post on authority websites in your niche. Clients find guest post samples to be very impressive since they show that major blogs have enough confidence in your work to put your content on their websites.

5. A plan to get clients


As a writer, you can get writing gigs on freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and others or you can check out job boards like ProBlogger and BloggingPro to find more long-term writing gigs.

SEO Expert

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves optimizing the online presence of a business/institution for greater online visibility.

Individuals, businesses, and institutions need to be seen online and they pay SEO experts to help optimize their websites and social media profiles for greater online visibility.

If you are skilled in SEO and other areas of digital marketing, you can use your skills to help businesses gain more online exposure and get paid for your efforts.

Working as an SEO expert also pays well. Most SEO consultants charge monthly retainer fees of around $1000 per month and the average SEO expert earns $50,000 per year according to Glassdoor.

What do you need to get started?

1. An SEO services nich


SEO includes technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO – your package of services should ideally include all three.

What we mean by choosing an SEO services niche is that you should focus on offering your services to clients in a specific industry.

This should be an industry that you know well due to your professional background, personal experience, and interests. This ensures you offer the highest quality of services to clients in an industry you know intimately.

2. A business website that ranks high on Google


Your SEO services website should rank on the first page of search results for your relevant keyword. Typically, these will be the relevant keywords for your local area, for example – “SEO Katy, Texas”.

Having a website that ranks high will give you credibility with clients, and you would have proved that your SEO techniques work.

Clients that find your website online are more likely to reach out to you instead of your competitors.

3. A portfolio


These will be case studies that show the strategies you used to help each client and verifiable data that shows how website traffic and other SEO statistics improved.

Clients want to see evidence that you know what you are doing and no client will hand over their business website to you to serve as an experimental guinea pig.

To build your portfolio, build and optimize your website, and do some work for free.

Reach out to business owners you know and offer to help get their websites to the front page of Google at no cost.

If you succeed, these people are likely to become your first paying customers and they will gladly give you the testimonials you need to win new clients. 

4. A marketing strategy


You can promote your SEO services business with inbound marketing strategies like content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing or you can use outbound marketing strategies like paid advertising, cold calling, and cold emails.

Graphics Design

Marketing firms, web design firms, and business owners all need the services of graphic designers for branding, website banners, logos, business cards, and more.

If you are a skilled graphic designer and you have a passion for art and illustration, people will pay for your skills. Package your portfolio and join freelance marketplaces to get discovered by clients.

Take David Nuff for example, he is a highly-skilled designer that has leveraged his profile on Toptal to earn thousands of dollars working for major companies like Google, Nestle, and Cisco.

What do you need to get started?

1. An area of specialization


As a freelance graphics designer you can specialize in any of the following areas:

  • Logo design

  • Graphical illustrations

  • Website banners

  • Graphs and charts

  • 3D modeling

  • Infographics

  • Graphical images for blog posts

  • T-shirt design

2. A personal brand and a portfolio


Your personal brand identity will include your logo, website design, and branded merch (creative brief, official papers, invoice papers, and packaging). Your personal brand identity will showcase your talents and design preferences.

You also need a portfolio of stellar examples of your previous work to show clients what you can do. Your portfolio will also convince cautious customers that you have completed similar projects to the highest standards before.

3. A plan to get clients


You can get clients by tapping into your network to get referrals and by joining freelance marketplaces for graphic designers like 99designs, DesignHill, Upwork, Fiverr, and Guru.

Blogging and Affiliate Marketing

Bloggers like Pat Flynn (smartpassiveincome.com), Lindsay Ostrom (pinchofyum.com), and Brian Dean (backlinko.com) make hundreds of thousands yearly from their blogs.

They provide useful and entertaining information to their readers and make a ton of money from blog ad networks and affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing involves the promotion of third-party products on your website, and you earn money anytime your readers purchase those products.

Many small businesses in your niche that rely on affiliate marketing to generate sales will want to work with and most successful blogs rely on earnings from affiliate promotion for a significant chunk of their earnings.

Starting a blog is quite simple, but to succeed, you need to pick a blogging niche and consistently publish high-quality, SEO-optimized content that provides value for your readers.

What do you need to get started?

1. A blogging niche


Your blogging niche will be the general topic that will guide the content of your blog. This topic will be a subject you are very knowledgeable about and the niche should be broad enough for you to consistently publish new content every few days.

2. A Content Management System (CMS)


A CMS is a platform that you will use to create your blog and publish your content.

There are many CMS options out there including Blogger, WordPress.com, Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com is free but limited while WordPress.org will require paid web hosting.

The most popular blogging platform is WordPress.org because of the abundance of themes and plugins that let you customize your blog extensively.

3. Domain name & web hosting


If you will be creating a
self-hosted blog with a CMS platform like WordPress.org, you will need a domain name and web hosting for your website.

4. Great Content


This is a given. If your blog will succeed, you need to create unique, high-quality content that will attract and engage readers.

It is quality content that will help you build a dedicated audience for your blog. 

    • A monetization strategyYou can monetize your blog in any or all of the following ways:
    • Affiliate marketing: earn commissions on products promoted on your blog.
    • PPC ads: add Google Adsense to your website and start earning passive income anytime visitors click on ads on your site.
    • Sponsored content: get paid to write promotional articles on products by businesses in your niche.
    • Sell digital products: sell ebooks, online courses, and workshops to your loyal audience.
    • Premium content: gate your best content, and make them exclusive to members with a paid subscription.

Web Development

The demand for skilled web developers is ever-growing. If you are knowledgeable about the popular Content Management Systems (CMS), and you have web design and web development skills, you can earn thousands of dollars every month as a freelancer.

If you have no technical skills, but you are still interested in this field, you can take online courses on platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, edx, Codecademy, and many others.

There are thousands of successful freelance web developers but we included the story of Kelly Vaughn to inspire you. Kelly holds a Master’s degree in public health and she used to work for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) before she switched to freelancing.

Kelly had always dabbled in coding and she was already doing freelance web development as a side hustle while she was still working for the CDC.

Eventually, she realized that she derived more satisfaction as a freelance developer and she quit her job to focus fully on her freelance business. Today, she owns a web development agency that employs multiple developers and designers and makes hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual earnings.

What do you need to get started?

1. Skills


To become a successful web developer, you need coding skills. The web development languages you must learn to become a full-stack web developer are:

  • HTML and CSS

  • Bootstrap

  • Responsive web design

  • PHP and WordPress

  • Javascript and jQuery

  • MySQL and database management

  • Development tools

You can learn these skills for free online with platforms like Codeacademy or you can pay for a coding Bootcamp on Udemy.

2. A website and your portfolio


Your website will be a major proof of your web development skills, and you can build one from scratch or build your website on a CMS like WordPress.

Nowadays, most websites are built with CMS platforms or they are set up with easy-to-use website builders like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and others. You should master each of these platforms to ensure you can tackle any project you encounter.

You also need a portfolio of your past projects. Your portfolio should include different types of websites to showcase the breadth of your expertise and experience. 

3. A profile on freelance platforms


The best way to get clients as a freelance web developer is to join freelance platforms.

Set up your profile and optimize for relevant keywords. Some of the best freelance platforms for web developers are:

  • Toptal

  • Guru

  • 99Designs

  • Upwork

  • PeoplePerHour

App Development

New apps like Bobble Heads (wallpaper app), Keynote (note-taking app), and Ria Rabbit (storytelling app) were all launched in 2020 by small teams to great success.

The developers behind these apps came up with ideas that meet the specific needs of a clearly defined segment of internet users, and created well-designed apps for which users are willing to pay monthly subscriptions.

You can do the same and start a lucrative online business by becoming an app developer.

The app development sector will continue to grow with the increasing variation of mobile & wearable devices and the ever-growing adoption of those devices. A study pegged revenues earned by app developers in 2020 at $581billion and predicted that it will grow to $935billion by 2023.

What do you need to get started?

1. An idea


Every app starts with an idea, an idea that clearly articulates the reasons why the app was created. To fine-tune your idea, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will want to use the app?

  • What goal will users achieve with the app?

  • What added value will they derive from the app?

2. Funding


App development requires significant investment, and you can fund your project by bootstrapping it with your own money, crowdfunding, taking a loan, or by securing funding from venture capital firms.

3. Development team


App development is teamwork and a team can include coders, UX designers, copywriters, photographers, user researchers, and more.

To build your team, you can work with an app development company, hire skilled freelancers, or hire developers on a permanent basis.

4. A marketing plan


The success of your app relies on your marketing efforts and how effectively you generate buzz around your new app.

You can promote your app through app store optimization, endorsement from influencers, public relations, social media, and word of mouth.

5. A monetization strategy


Here are a few ways to earn revenue from your app

  • Freemium apps

  • Paid apps

  • In-app purchases

  • Advertisement

  • Direct selling on your app

YouTube Channel

You can create a YouTube channel to educate or entertain people about anything.

If you have video-making expertise and you are passionate and knowledgeable about a topic, you can earn money from YouTube’s Partner Program if you can build a large enough following of fans and subscribers.

Highly successful YouTubers like PewDiePie get millions of views every month and make millions of dollars in earnings. He started posting videos of himself playing video games on YouTube in 2011, and today, he has over a 100million subscribers and has broken numerous viewership records on the platform.

What do you need to get started?

1. A niche


Your channel can be about food, codding, gaming, comics, popular movies, cars, health, or any topic you are knowledgeable about.

2. The right tools


You will need the right tools to create the best content and monitor the progress of your channel. Some of the tools you will need includes:

    • YouTube Studio: to monitor channel performance
    • Video editor software: to edit your videos
    • Google Keyword Planner: to find the keywords your target audience are using to search for relevant content
    • Social Blade: to track competitor performance
3. Content


Create high-quality content that will attract viewers to your channel and help you grow your subscribers.

4. A monetization strategy


There are a few main ways to monetize your YouTube channel and they are:

    • Youtube Partner program: grow your channel to 1000 subscribers and at least four thousand hours of watch time and sign up to the YouTube Partner Program to start getting paid.
    • Affiliate marketing: sign up for affiliate programs, promote products to your loyal viewers and earn a cut from every sale.
    • Merchandise sales: YouTubers like Jake Paul, PewDiePie, and others have made millions from selling merch to their loyal followers. Figure out what your audience will be interested in buying and earn money from product sales to your loyal fans.

Podcast Channel

If uploading videos of yourself on YouTube isn’t really your thing, you can start a podcast as a platform to share your knowledge and entertain people.

Podcast listening is on the rise with 32% of Americans saying they listen to podcasts every month. You don’t need much equipment to start your podcast and you can host it on Spotify or iTunes.

What do you need to get started?

1. A niche 


Your podcast should be focused on a specific niche that is broad enough for you to consistently introduce new topics that can span multiple episodes.

2. A podcast name and formats


Choose a name for your podcast and settle on any of the
three main podcast formats.

Each format has its benefits and advantages, and you should choose a format that fits your current resources and vision for your channel.

3. The right equipment and a podcast host


For your channel, you will need podcast recording equipment, audio recording software, call recording software, microphones for your iPhone & laptop, and
a podcast host.

4. Podcast directories


You can list your podcasts on as many directories as you like including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Google Podcasts.

5. A monetization strategy


You can monetize your podcast channel in any of the following ways:

  • Promoting and selling third-party products

  • Sponsorships

  • Affiliate marketing

  • Selling your merchandise

  • Donations

Conclusion

Starting an online business in the year 2021 is possible with minimal investment and the prospect of astronomical profits. With this list of business ideas, you don’t have to wait any longer.

Select any of the ideas listed above that fits your skills & passions, and get started on the road to lifestyle and financial freedom.

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