Best Online Small Business Ideas

4 min read · 4 weeks ago


Starting a small business online is appealing to many who want to be their own boss. With e-commerce experiencing immense growth, entrepreneurs are looking to find the best online small business ideas. This article rounds up some of the top options to set you on the path to launching your own online business.

What draws people to start a small business online? There are several benefits:

  • Low start-up costs
  • Ability to launch quickly and easily
  • Avoids the need for physical store or, in some cases, even a physical product
  • Flexibility and freedom of Internet entrepreneurship
  • Opportunities to start small building a supplemental income before planning on your online business for your financial security

The big question, then, is which online small business is the right one to begin. The best online small business for you will vary depending on your interests and goals. These best online small business ideas can help you narrow your options:

  • Freelance designer
  • Freelance writer
  • Blogging or e-books
  • Software development/consulting
  • Selling online
  • Online assistant
  • Transcriptionist


Freelance Designer

Those who are artistic and know how to use design software could be well suited for this online small business idea. The advantage of being a freelance designer is that you can take on clients when you are available. 

Upwork is a good place to start as a freelance graphic designer as small businesses and big brand enterprises both use the site to find part-time people with design know-how. By offering your services online as a graphic designer, you can build up a client list by designing flyers, posters, emails, e-books, and much more.


Freelance Writer

Freelance Writer

Take all of what we said above and change out design with writing. Instead of being the person who tackles the visual components of a client’s communications, you’ll be crafting the messaging and supporting their content marketing efforts.

This is another online small business that is easy to start as you only need a computer and an Internet connection. Upwork is the main place people post freelance copywriting jobs. Its competitors include Hubstaff Talent, Outsourcely, Credo, and Freelancer.


Blogging or E-Books

If you have a knack for writing but don’t want to be a writer for hire, you could try blogging or e-books. You could get a domain name and begin your own blog about something that interests you. Establish your online presence, then monetize that blog through digital advertising and affiliate marketing.

E-books are another route to receiving passive income for writers. Self-publish your fiction or memoir and make it available for online purchase. Or take the experience you have from another area of life and write a book that helps others. E-books on parenting, career success, time management, or even blogging basics can be sold online for download. All you need to do is write the book one time, set up the download, and publicize your effort. Then, it can continue to make money over and again.


Software Development/Consulting

If you know how to code, design websites, or develop software or apps, you could launch an online small business doing this technical work. Many people want to be online, but they don’t have the skills to code a site or the expertise to build and debug an app.

You can work for hire or build your own apps and software to fill a new niche. As Nerd Wallet puts it, this is a great way to earn money from your specific skill set. “Whether you sell your work in the App Store or make money through advertisements — or you’re holding out for the long haul and are hoping to get bought by a bigger company — the cash you make will be a direct result of your effort and ingenuity.”


Selling Online

There are many small business ideas online that let you take a hobby and turn it into a business. Someone who likes to bake or make bath bombs, for instance, could start selling online. Maybe you’re a quilter or do pottery. Or you might make customized clothing or upcycle items as jewelry. You might also start a small business selling online art, photographs, or vintage clothing. With so many people looking to buy online today, it’s easier to find your niche and start an online shop right out of your home.

Even if you’re not going to make that unique or cool object or artwork, you can still get into the e-commerce business. You might find a wholesaler of a trending item and set up an online store to market and sell that product. In the dropshipping model, you don’t even worry about keeping inventory on hand or doing the product mailing. Your supplier takes care of sending the orders directly to your customers.


Online Assistant

Online Assistant

If you’re organized and efficient, one of the best small business online ideas is to become an online personal assistant. With the globalization of the workplace and it being easier today to do work anywhere, any time, you could find jobs helping people do many different tasks. An online personal assistant might:

  • Research travel
  • Plan events
  • Data entry
  • Schedule meetings
  • Manage customer relations
  • Make appointments
  • Handle personal shopping

Anything you can do to make another human’s life easier is fair game for an online personal assistant.

Find out more about this best online small business idea in “The 6-Step Guide on How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business.”



Those who can type quickly and have a good ear could start a small business online in transcription. Especially with healthcare professionals turning more and more to dictation tools to capture their consultation notes, there are many opportunities in medical transcription. 

The key thing here is that you’re going to need to be able to listen and type quickly to make money in this area. Transcriptionists are typically paid according to the line of work, and you’ll need to turn around the transcriptions quickly. You’ll be more successful the greater your accuracy and timeliness.


Start Your Small Business Online

This is only a sampling of many best online small business ideas you might pursue. Get started by choosing a business that interests you and you have some knowledge about. You’ll also want to do a business plan and make sure there’s a market for your idea. 

To learn more about how to start a small business online, visit our Resource Center. We have the information you need to get your online small business ideas off the ground.