13 Profitable and realistic online business ideas
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13 Profitable and realistic online business ideas to make money from home

Starting an online business from the comfort of your home is easier than ever.

You need very few resources to get an idea off the ground.

You could start a side hustle to generate extra income while you continue studying or if your daily responsibilities don’t allow you to work in a traditional job.

You may even want to create an online business as a hobby because your current job doesn’t fulfill your passion.

Or simply because you’re retired and you still want to stay active.

An online business can be your main source of income or complement income from elsewhere.

That’s the beauty of online entrepreneurship.

It offers a vast range of possibilities so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

To help with that we’ll be sharing 13 realistic online business ideas that you can start working on today!

If you can work from home, you can work from Rome! 13 realistic online business ideas to work from anywhere

The 4 main benefits of online businesses

You’ll see that there are many different types of online businesses, each with its own pros and cons.

But by working online there are four keys that always remain consistent.

  1. You’ll reach a wider customer base.
  2. You can start with a very low investment.
  3. You’ll have more flexibility.
  4. You’ll be able to adapt quickly to changes.

The type of business may change but those benefits will always remain the same.

You’ll reach a wider customer base

Working online means that you’re not limited to finding clients locally anymore.

Your customers can find you globally from anywhere in the world.

And providing them value is equally effortless, since you can virtually connect with them or deliver any digital product automatically.

Online businesses are very cost-effective

The barrier to entry of online businesses is very low. This means you can start generating income with a very small investment.

Sometimes all you need is a computer, a couple of free apps and an internet connection.

The fact that you can automate some processes and reach a larger audience, makes online businesses very efficient.

Some ideas such as launching an eCommerce store to sell physical products may require more investment.

Our eCommerce platform SureCart has a free plan but you’ll need to invest in stock, storage and other essentials.

SureCart Pricing

The cost / potential revenue ratio will always be much better in the online world than in the physical one.

You can get a whole year of SureCart’s Pro features for what it would cost you to rent a commercial space for just one or two weeks!

More flexibility

Flexibility doesn’t just mean not commuting to the office and working from the comfort of your home in pajamas.

Although that’s a benefit you might enjoy.

It means you can work from the location that brings you the best work-life balance or where you feel more productive or comfortable.

This flexibility is place and time-based as you can also adapt your working hours to the schedule that suits you best.

Better responsiveness

Adapt or die.

Online businesses allow you to gather and analyze more information easily.

You can make quick and affordable changes to test new ideas and make data-driven improvements in your offer and products.

Want to know which color, offer or call to action converts best when promoting your service?

Create an A/B test with CartFlows, start collecting data automatically and pick the winner with just one click.

AB Testing with CartFlows

Want to validate a new idea?

Create an attractive landing page with a subscription form and quickly drive traffic through ads to test the interest of your target audience.

Afraid of investing time in resources in a new product? Launch a pre-sales campaign or a crowdfunding.

In the online world of businesses you’ll find dozens of tools to adapt and continue to grow quickly.

Online business ideas you can start today

Don’t know how to take advantage of your skills, time or available budget?

Here are some online business ideas that could provide more financial independence and a more flexible lifestyle.

Idea

Idea Upfront investmentTime to start generating IncomePassive income potential

Resources and knowledge required

Online consulting💸🧠
Freelancing💸🧠
Sell digital products💸 💸⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝 🏝 🏝🛠️🛠️ 🧠
Sell online courses💸 💸 💸⏳ ⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝 🏝🛠️ 🛠️ 🛠️ 🧠
Create a job board💸💸💸⏳ ⏳ ⏳ ⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝 🏝🛠️ 🛠️ 🧠 🧠
Create a private community💸💸⏳ ⏳ ⏳ ⏳🏝🛠️ 🛠️ 🧠 🧠 🧠
Grow traffic and monetize it with ads💸💸⏳ ⏳ ⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝 🏝 🏝🛠️ 🧠
Promote affiliate products💸💸⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝 🏝 🏝🛠️ 🧠
Buy and sell digital real estate💸💸💸⏳ ⏳ ⏳ ⏳🏝🛠️ 🧠 🧠 🧠
Run an eCommerce💸💸💸💸⏳ ⏳🏝🛠️ 🛠️ 🛠️ 🛠️ 🧠
Dropshipping💸⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝 🏝 🏝🛠️ 🧠
Create a directory💸💸⏳ ⏳ ⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝🛠️ 🧠
Rank and rent💸💸⏳ ⏳ ⏳🏝 🏝🛠️ 🧠 🧠

IMPORTANT NOTE

We have done our best to categorize these ideas as much as possible, but many of them resemble each other. We’re not repeating ourselves for the sake of it, there is a method here, we promise!

Idea 1. Online consulting (sell your time and expertise)

In an online consulting business you would offer your time to share the knowledge and experience you’ve gained in exchange for payment.

This way your clients will get better results faster, since they will avoid making mistakes and won’t have to go through the learning process that you have already gone through.

Consulting is usually done in person or via video call, but you can also implement email consulting like Andy from Rippedbody.

Email consultation example

Pros of online consulting:

  • It’s technically very simple to implement. A bank transfer and a call can do the job.
  • Instant and predictable financial outcome. You’re sure of what you’re receiving for your effort.
  • Low risk: You won’t have to recoup investments or risk time and money creating something that no one will buy.

Cons of online consulting:

  • Your income will be tied to your time. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
  • You need to build a good reputation for people to trust and hire you. That will take time.
  • Scalability is limited. You can raise your rates to some extent, but on average it will be difficult to earn more unless you hire someone to help.

Examples of online consulting

When we think of selling expertise we immediately think of coaches you can hire by the hour to improve:

  • Your productivity.
  • Your health.
  • Your nutrition.
  • Your relationship with your partner or children.
  • Just about anything you like…
Productivity Consultant Image by Ashley Jansenn.

Thanks to how quickly technology advances, hundreds of niches where you can sell your expertise continue to be created.

Just go to Google and type “name of some pro app + consultant”.

You’ll find:

  • Notion consultants.
  • Evernote consultants.
  • Airtable consultants.
  • WordPress consultants.
  • WooCommerce consultants.
  • And many more.
Notion Consultant Example

It’s difficult to estimate the potential earnings from these examples as the rates are usually provided privately.

Depending on the problem you’re solving and the number of clients you can handle, this idea can generate a nice income.

Additional resources and tips for creating an online consulting business

When following this business idea you can take two different approaches, which can be complementary:

  • Offer your services in some marketplace like Coaching.com or somewhere more specialized.
Consultant marketplace
  • Work independently, creating your own website where you can position yourself as an expert and offer your services.

IMPORTANT NOTE

Throughout this guide we’ll mention many times that you should create your own website with WordPress. This guide on how to create a website in 10 minutes will come in handy for almost any idea!

Idea 2. Freelancing/agency work

Freelancing is a simple, flexible way to earn money from your existing expertise. You can go it alone, work with a freelance marketplace or with an agency.

Like Darren Lambert does.

WooCommerce freelancer example

Pros of freelancing:

  • Much more flexible working schedule. If you meet deadlines you can work when it’s most convenient for you.
  • Increases your credibility. You can build a portfolio showcasing your past work, which will boost your reputation and attract new clients.
  • You can create a wider variety of services to reach more customers with different needs.

Cons of freelancing:

  • Your income is time-dependent.
  • You need a good reputation.
  • You’ll face a lot of competition.

Examples of freelancing

For every need that someone has there is a freelancer or agency selling their skills to solve it.

Commonly you’ll find skills related to business.

They usually provide a financial benefit to the customer, so they’re relatively easy to sell.

SEO Agency example

You can be a freelancer offering:

  • Web and eCommerce design and development.
  • App design and development.
  • SEO audits.
  • Graphic designs such as logos or social media images.
  • Copywriting.
  • Video editing services.
  • Content marketing strategy.

But you can also find skills outside that area, for example:

  • A report on how to decorate your home according to your liking.
  • Contract redaction and other legal paperwork.
  • Creation of a diet suited to your needs.
  • Help clients create and improve their resumes.
  • Online research about a specific topic.
Interior design services

Interior design services by Havenly

NOTE

You can also sell your skills in “packages of hours”. Offering your services as a virtual assistant or social media manager for a set number of hours or days per week.

Additional resources for selling your skills

You can create your own website to grow your reputation and attract your own clients.

Contra freelancing

Or promote your services on marketplaces where people look for professionals like Toptal or Contra.

Or a combination of both.

Idea 3. Sell digital products

Selling digital products is usually one of the first business ideas that come to mind when thinking of online entrepreneurship.

And that’s normal.

Selling digital products is financially attractive and it’s satisfying on a personal and professional level since you’re creating something out of nothing.

There are many types of digital products that you can create and sell. It’s quite likely that you‘ll find something that fits your skills.

Example of digital Products

Pros of selling digital products:

  • High scalability. Once the product is created there are hardly any extra costs for selling it at scale.
  • Income is not tied to your time. Being 100% digital means you can automate the entire sales process while you work on other things.
  • Easy to create. There are many parts that can be outsourced such as the cover design of an ebook or the proofreading of its content.

Cons of selling digital products:

  • Unknown profitability. You won’t know the return you’ll get for the time and money invested in creating the product.
  • Piracy. You’re irreplaceable but your digital products are more susceptible to piracy or being copied. This can impact your revenue.
  • Crowded space. Because the entry barrier is low, you’ll face lots of competition from similar products.

Examples of digital products

Digital products come in all shapes and sizes:

  • Apps and games in the App Store, Play Store, and independent developers.
  • Plugins and themes for WordPress and other platforms.
  • eBooks on Amazon, iBooks and similar.
  • Music and sound effects.
  • Stock photos and videos.
  • Graphics and icons.
  • Fonts.
  • Cover letter and resume templates
  • Email sequences.
  • Craft patterns.
  • Audiobooks.

The list is huge, as are the potential profits!

Traf grossed more than $100,000 in less than a week selling a pack of custom icons for iPhone.

6 figures selling icons

Additional resources for selling digital products

If you’re interested in selling digital products, read our guide to the best digital products you can sell.

Best digital products to sell

You can use platforms like eBay or Etsy to sell your digital products in exchange for a fee.

Or create your own store using WordPress and SureCart.

SureCart Homepage

Idea 4. Sell your knowledge through online courses

Gathering the knowledge you have on a subject and organizing it into an online course is a great way to bypass the limitations of 1-on-1 consulting.

It can also help you reach a wider audience.

Instead of explaining the same concepts over and over again, you’ll make the content accessible for your customers to consume on demand.

It’s less time-dependent, has more earning potential and less stress as you can tailor the content to the level you want.

Online courses usually consist of video lectures, but you can also create written or audio lessons.

The key is to structure the content properly so that students can follow it as independently as possible.

Notion Mastery Course

Pros of selling online courses:

  • Huge revenue potential. An online course can be valued at more than $1,000. If you get a thousand customers, you do the math…
  • Less piracy potential. Much of the value of your course will revolve around your support, updates and the community that will be built around it.
  • Great scalability. As this is still a digital product, it also has the same scalability benefits.

Cons of selling online courses:

  • Customer support. You’ll probably have to provide technical and day-to-day support by answering questions about the content you’ve created. That can be quite time-consuming.
  • Medium overhead costs. You’ll need more money and especially time to start up.
  • Competitive market. Since this is such an attractive business idea you’ll find other entrepreneurs and large companies offering courses.

Examples of online courses

If you visit a marketplace like Udemy, you’ll see that there are dozens of categories where you can potentially create your online course.

Examples of courses

You can create an online course on almost anything.

Courses that teach a skill to help find a better job are the most lucrative.

Andrea Bizzotto generated over $100,000 during 2022 with his course on Flutter.

Revenue potential with courses

Additional resources for selling online courses

You have two main avenues to sell online courses::

  • Sell through third-party platforms like Udemy or Skillshare.
  • Create your own training platform with WordPress and SureMembers.
SureMembers homepage

Idea 5. Create a job board

You’re looking to create your own online business, but there are literally millions of people out there looking for a more traditional job.

You can help them find their ideal role by creating a job board.

Keep in mind that your final client will probably be companies and recruiting agencies.

It costs a lot of time and money to find the perfect candidate for a position.

If you can help organizations secure the right talent for the right role, it can work out very lucrative.

Job board business model

Pros of creating a job board:

  • Huge income potential and plenty of scalability opportunities.
  • Secured future. The need to find a job or secure top talent isn’t going anywhere.

Cons of creating a job board:

  • You need a decent marketing budget. You have to attract companies and job seekers at the same time.
  • It will take you a long time to see results and profitability is not assured.
  • There are already big players in the market, such as LinkedIn.

Examples of job boards

Job boards related to remote work are in great demand.

RemoteOK Job board

But you can create job boards for any niche.

You can even focus your job board on one location and not a type of job, like Berlin Startup Jobs does.

As a motivational example, RemoteOK was generating more than $60,000 per month in 2020.

Job board potential revenue

Additional resources for creating your own job board

There are third-party platforms such as Jobboard.io that will make it easy for you to create your job board.

These kinds of tools usually have high upfront and recurring costs though.

That’s why it’s better to start in a more economical way, using WordPress and a job board plugin.

Idea 6. Create a private community

Private communities foster a sense of belonging and create an ecosystem where members are in the company of like-minded people, which forges strong relationships that are beneficial to everyone.

The monetization of private communities is simply done through a monthly or annual membership fee for being part of it.

The concept of what makes a private community can be very broad and its limits are very fuzzy.

Instead of a closed online course, you create a membership where you upload new content on a recurring basis.

You could offer a monthly live session to interact with your audience, which makes it more of a private community rather than an eLearning website.

You could add a private Slack channel, Discord, or a forum where the community itself would create the content.

Private community example

Pros of creating a private community:

  • Very loyal audience. This will be very useful for testing and launching side projects and for your branding.
  • A very satisfying idea, since you’ll be surrounded by many people who share your ideals and interests.
  • Steady and predictable income.

Cons of creating a private community:

  • It’s probably one of the most complex ideas to start and maintain, as you need a fairly high critical mass of users to make it work.
  • Moderation challenges. When working with numerous people interacting with each other, there will likely be recurring conflicts that you’ll have to resolve.
  • Time-consuming. Creating and maintaining an online community is a long-term commitment and it can be exhausting.

Examples of private communities

Nomadlist is an example of a great private community.

Its creator, Pieter Levels is also the founder of the job board RemoteOK.

This is the perfect example of how you can monetize an idea around the same target audience using a different approach.

Additional resources for creating your private community

You can take the easy way to create a private community using a tool like Circle.so.

Remember that on these types of platforms you usually have to pay a monthly fee to use them.

We recommend creating your own platform. It’s more affordable and you have more control of your business.

You can achieve this by using WordPress, SureCart and BuddyBoss.

Budyboss private community

Idea 7. Grow traffic and monetize it with ads

Not many people like ads, but they can earn you money if you use them right.

Just display ads from third-party companies and start earning money for every click or number of visits.

Example of displaying ads Image by Simply Recipes.

Pros of displaying ads:

  • No support involved. As you’re creating content for free you don’t have to offer any kind of support if you don’t want to.
  • Easy to implement. Starting displaying ads on a website is as easy as pasting a line of code or enabling a checkbox in a plugin.
  • Huge audience reach. Your visitors can see your ads over and over again, and there are many more people willing to read than to buy from you.

Cons of displaying ads:

  • You need a huge amount of traffic to see results. It can take you months to start earning money.
  • Uncertain future. The rise of ad blockers makes the future of ads unpredictable.
  • Showing ads might hurt the user experience and your reputation.
  • You don’t have full control of what you’re displaying on your website. Not all ads will be suitable for your audience.

Examples of traffic monetized using ads

There is a good chance that any blog you visit is monetized with ads.

Newspapers, recipe blogs, travel blogs. Almost everyone will use ads at least as an additional side income.

Example of blog monetized with ads

Followchain grew massive traffic in just a couple of years, and according to its founder, was making $30,000+ monthly in 2021.

Additional resources for monetizing traffic using ads

Adsense is the most widely used ad network on the internet. It’s well known, reliable, and very easy to implement.

Adsense homepage

However, there are more alternatives to Adsense, such as Mediavine, Ezoic or TheMoneytizer.

You could also monetize video content through a YouTube channel, but this is usually a much more complex option.

Idea 8. Promote affiliate products

Affiliate products are those that you can promote and get a percentage of the sale if the purchase is made through your recommendation.

It’s a very beneficial strategy for everyone.

You can promote affiliate products for free and the seller can get new customers without risk.

All this without the end customer having to pay extra money.

Affiliate marketing is done by installing a cookie in visitor’s browsers when they click on your links. It sounds complex, but there are plugins that do this automatically for you.

It’s a business model used by many websites, including Astra.

Astra affiliate disclosure

Pros of promoting affiliate products:

  • The more traffic the better, but you don’t need a massive amount of traffic to start monetizing it.
  • Easy to implement. If you have the audience, all you need to do is find good affiliate programs and create some special links.
  • Potential for passive income. Articles and videos promoting affiliate products can make you recurring money for months or even years.

Cons of promoting affiliate products:

  • Huge competition. Your cookie may be overwritten by another cookie site if the user clicks on a different link before purchasing.
  • Uncertain future. The affiliate program you use could reduce its commissions overnight or even disappear.

Examples of affiliate niche sites websites

Affiliation is used as a complement to monetize free content on many blogs and even YouTube channels.

If you want to see real examples all you have to do is type in Google “best XX”.

Example of affiliate site

It’s very difficult to estimate how much these sites can earn from affiliate marketing as most work with advertisement networks and direct sponsorships.

But there is a huge potential. According to Niche Pursuits L.E. Mcarthur makes more than $60,000+ / month with a portfolio of niche sites.

Affiliate earning potential

Additional resources for creating an affiliate niche site

To create an online business supported by affiliate earnings you only need two things.

  • A channel to distribute your content, which will usually be a blog made in WordPress or a YouTube channel.
  • A good affiliate program. The most common is to start with Amazon Associates or Astra’s affiliate program. But there are hundreds of affiliate programs available for every product you can imagine. Some of them are oriented toward beginners.

Idea 9. Digital real estate

There is a market for buying and selling digital products that you can take advantage of:

  1. Buying businesses of this type to save yourself a lot of work when starting out your own idea.
  2. Buying digital assets, improving them and reselling them.

We’ll be discussing the second option here.

The two previous ideas (ads and affiliates) are often combined when it comes to monetizing a website.

Many people who try to start up businesses of this type fail to achieve adequate levels of income due to lack of time or knowledge.

Some will decide to sell their creations. Which is where you come in.

Flippa flip businesses

Pros of selling digital real estate:

  • If you have the knowledge, you can standardize the improvement process and work quickly on the websites you buy.
  • High income opportunities. In digital real estate you can even double or triple the initial value of your purchase.
  • Flexibility. You can decide which sites to buy and what to do with them. You can also keep them and receive income from ads and affiliates and not sell them again.

Cons of selling digital real estate:

  • Risky. You might find many websites penalized by Google that you’ll struggle to make profitable again.
  • Time-consuming. You may find yourself spending countless hours looking for the right site and finding nothing worthwhile.
  • Non-scalable and involves constant work. If your idea is purely to buy, improve and sell websites, none of these actions can be automated. You’ll have to repeat them constantly to keep making money.

Examples of online business flipping

Mushfiq Sarker is the reference when we talk about this online business idea.

On his website The Websiteflip you can find some examples, such as the one about the outdoor content site he bought for $24,000 and then sold for $175,000 a couple of years later.

The actual profit was even higher than that ($238,356) since up to the time of the sale the website continued generating profits month after month.

Websiteflip example

Additional resources for online business flipping

The Websiteflip is the best source of information to learn about this type of business.

Empire flippers

Flippa and Empire Flippers are the big marketplaces where you can buy and sell online businesses.

Idea 10. Run an eCommerce store

Running an eCommerce store consists of using a digital platform to showcase products and allow visitors to purchase them.

This will let you promote your products to a larger audience and welcome and manage hundreds of customers at the same time.

As you can imagine, the earnings potential can be huge.

But so is the effort involved.

The entire sales process takes place online, but don’t forget that if you sell a physical product your biggest bottleneck will be warehouse management and shipping.

Example of ecommerce

Far and away eCommerce store example.

Pros of running an eCommerce store:

  • It’s easier than a physical store in terms of setting up and starting to sell
  • You can reach more customers than through a local store.
  • You can sell 24/7.

Cons of running an eCommerce store:

  • You need upfront investment to get started. Especially if you want to create your own products.
  • You’ll need physical space to store and handle the products.
  • If you don’t create your own products, competition will be high.
  • Returns and refunds take time, effort and money.

Examples of eCommerce

There are thousands of eCommerce stores for almost every product you can imagine.

You don’t have to sell a trendy product to be successful.

eCommerce case study

Casper went from zero to hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue in less than 4 years by selling mattresses!

Additional resources for creating an eCommerce

Although starting an eCommerce store is probably one of the most expensive ideas on this list, it’s still something that can be done economically.

You can create your eCommerce store for as little as $50 or use free eCommerce platforms in return for a percentage of each sale.

You can also explore the option of working with Amazon FBA. An alternative to traditional eCommerce where Amazon takes care of the physical part of selling a product.

Amazon FBA

Idea 11. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a low-effort way to start your own online store.

Rather than creating your own digital product or sourcing other products, you let someone else source and ship them for you.

In this business model you’re not responsible for the storage and shipping of products. A third party takes care of everything.

Your online store will look like a typical store to the buyer. However, the purchase order will be sent to the dropshipper, who will take care of the product and shipping.

Dropshipping is quite similar to Amazon FBA, but in this case you don’t have to send a bunch of products beforehand as everything works on demand.

Dropshipping by Oberlo

Dropshipping by Oberlo

Pros of dropshipping:

  • Low upfront cost. You’re only responsible for the store website.You don’t need an inventory of products or worry about shipping.
  • Greater percentages per sale than affiliate marketing. This can result in higher profits for the same web traffic.
  • Easy to scale as you don’t have to worry about storage, handling and delivery.

Cons of dropshipping:

  • It can be tough to find quality dropshippers.
  • You’ll still be in charge of customer support, which can eat up much of your profit.
  • Lack of control over shipping, which is a very important part that customers value highly.
  • The same applies to the quality of the product.

Examples of dropshipping stores

It’s difficult to find dropshipping stores because in the eyes of the buyer they look like a traditional eCommerce store.

Many entrepreneurs use suppliers from China. So if you detect images with content from that country, it’s very likely that you’re in front of a dropshipping store.

Take the example of The AnythingStore.

Example of dropshipping

As you can see, the same product can be found on Aliexpress, which means that they are probably using a dropshipping business model.

Aliexpress product

Additional resources for creating a dropshipping business

We’re working on a how-to-start dropshipping business guide, so stay tuned for new updates on the blog!

Idea 12. Create a directory

A web directory is an online platform that gathers resources on a specific topic for quick and easy reference.

It’s very similar to a job board, but in this case you can list other types of useful items for your audience: used cars, local services or events are just a few ideas.

You can even use a wider approach inside a niche.

For example, creating a wedding directory where the users can filter and find different resources for the organization of the event: photographers, catering, travel agencies for the honeymoon.

Monetization can be done by selling premium ad spaces with better visibility, charging an annual fee for listings or offering more features.

create a directory

Pros of creating web directories:

  • Some directories are easy to maintain as the content is very static.
  • They can be monetized using affiliate marketing to further increase profits.
  • A good directory will attract a very specific target audience, which will be very useful for future business ideas.

Cons of creating web directories:

  • Limited revenue. You can’t list thousands of resources and have hundreds of clients or the site won’t make sense.
  • There are many well-established directories out there. You’ll probably have to find a very niche topic to succeed.
  • It’s a difficult business to start because you need to work with two types of users in mind, the providers and the seekers.

Examples of website directories

Google Maps is a big threat to business directories but it has many weaknesses that you could take advantage of.

Dexknows directory example

Dexknows lists businesses and professionals in its directory, allowing the users to quickly filter by location and other needs, such as pest type if we are talking about pest control services.

Additional resources for creating a website directory

To run a business of this type you only need WordPress and a plugin for creating directories like Classified Listing Pro.

Softr homepage

You can also use other specialized database tools such as Softr.

Idea 13. Rank and rent

If you know how to create websites, instead of offering your website creation services to businesses that don’t yet have one, you can create a generic site for yourself.

If you get to rank it and attract traffic to it, rent out the site to potential customers.

This can be as simple as adapting the website to their brand image and adding an address and telephone number.

Pros of rank and rent:

  • Replicability. If you create a good method, you can easily replicate it for different businesses and locations without having to create massive amounts of new content.
  • Much easier to sell than a website creation service, since the investment that the potential customer will have to make is lower.
  • If your customers make a profit by renting the site they will be willing to keep renewing the contract and even be open to purchasing the site.

Cons of rank and rent:

  • For this business model to work you need to invest time creating the website and ranking it.
  • Many people search for local businesses directly on Google Maps. So renting a website might not look very interesting to potential clients.

Example of rank and rent websites

Again it’s complex to discern when a website belongs to a business or is being rented.

As a hint, you can look for very local businesses that can get clients to pay quickly once they find them, such as locksmiths or phone repair companies.

Example of rank and rent website

Those sites that have fairly generic content and are more focused on action than branding are potentially rank and rent pages.

Additional resources for creating rank and rent websites

Creating, ranking and renting websites is not much different from offering a website creation service.

But in this case you’ll have to make sure you get the website to the top positions in Google. Otherwise your site won’t be valuable and you’ll have a hard time trying to rent it out.

So make sure you use a fast WordPress theme and good hosting.

That’s the key foundation of great WordPress sites!

Online businesses frequently asked questions

If you still have doubts about online entrepreneurship, you may find the answer to some of the most common questions we receive.

What kind of online business is most profitable?

The most profitable online business is probably the sale of knowledge through online courses. It can be managed 100% online, is easily scalable and leaves large profit margins, as there are courses that can be sold for thousands of dollars.

Software as a Service would probably be at the top as well. Keep in mind that the most profitable online businesses are not necessarily the easiest to start or maintain. You may do better and feel more comfortable executing a more modest idea.

What online business can I start with no money?

As long as you have a computer and an internet connection there are many businesses you can start with no money using free apps and third-party platforms. You can offer your services on a marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr, sell digital products through Gumroad, books through Amazon, or monetize a community through Podia.

What is the easiest online business?

The easiest online businesses are those in which you have and offer a direct 1 to 1 service to the final customer using skills you already have. Presenting yourself as a consultant who shares his knowledge by the hour is the quickest and easiest way to start.

For example, a designer who analyzes and highlights the flaws of a landing page. Services that include some kind of deliverables such as translated documents or edited videos would be equally easy to run and maintain if you have the right skills.

Keep in mind that much of the complexity of online business lies in searching, finding and keeping customers. That can be equally complex for any type of business!

Do I need a website to start an online business?

No, you don’t need a website to start your own online business but you could definitely benefit from one. You can work on third-party platforms like Etsy for selling your craft products or Substack for selling access to a paid private newsletter.

Having your own website will give you much more control over your business. And in many cases a greater profit margin. Whichever idea you choose we recommend you create your own website and grow using it as a central hub.

Final thoughts on online business ideas

In this guide you have seen 13 online business ideas that you can realistically make an income from.

There are ideas that you can implement and profit fairly quickly, such as offering consultant hours or services, or selling digital products or online courses through an established marketplace.

Other types of businesses such as job boards, private communities or directories, although easy to create, require a lot of marketing.

The safest ideas are those that generate content and monetize it through ads, affiliate products, sponsorships or via renting the whole site.

It will take longer to see results, but you can tailor the workload to your needs, and ultimately sell the website if you want to.

Buying, improving and reselling websites is another idea that can be very lucrative.

We would only recommend starting an eCommerce store if you have the necessary time and money.

You can mitigate this by starting with a dropshipping store. You can still exercise your sales skills without having to work with stock or couriers.

Whatever you choose to do, with sufficient time and effort, there’s absolutely no reason why it cannot be a success.

We hope you found this guide useful and that it will encourage you to start your online adventure!

What kind of business are you going to start?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

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