If you are looking for online business ideas for 2020 (and beyond) then check out the list below. These are actually some of the best time-tested business concepts for building an online business no matter the timing.
Like starting any business, not just an online business, deciding on the best business to start depends a lot on you. What resources do you have or can you get? What skills do you have or are you willing to learn? What are your short-term and long-term goals for the business? While it is not required, building a business around something that interests you or that you are passionate about will increase your enjoyment and will increase the chances that you will stick with it when the times get tough.
Online Business Concepts/Definitions
Affiliate marketing – including sales links on websites and in emails to promote products and services offered by others in exchange for a commission.
Blogging – the process of creating regular posts on a website that typically focus on a topic or audience. This in and of itself is not a business, however once a blogger has an audience it is possible to make money by selling ad space as well as promoting affiliate products or one’s own products.
Lead generation – capturing contact information through websites or other means that pertain to a particular business service or product and thus becomes a qualified lead for a business that offers that product or service. This is a business because the qualified leads are usually exchanged for some monetary compensation.
Online services – the process of offering intangible services in any of a wide variety of areas in exchange for monetary compensation. These services include, but are not limited to, writing, SEO (search engine optimization), graphic design, legal services, accounting services, virtual assistant services, and many others.
E-commerce – building a website that contains descriptions, images and prices for some set of products and offers those products for sale to online customers. E-commerce could involve stocking and fulfilling orders or drop shipping orders to customers.
Create Digital Courses – teaching people new skills through video or electronic documents. Digital courses can be delivered through a variety of online platforms or you can create your own YouTube channel or website.
Create digital content – creating video or electronic documents usually contracted to specific buyers looking to fill their channels with content. A business can be started by creating your own agency or by freelancing through a variety of existing contract sites.
Develop apps – developing apps through coding or app development tools that can be sold in the phone app stores can be a lucrative online business as the use of mobile devices continues to grow.
SEO Services – Search Engine Optimization is the process of identifying relevant keywords for a specific topic or product and then creating content, structure and links that allow a web page to be found and hopefully placed highly in the search engine results pages for those keywords. Offering SEO services as an agency or freelancer is a good business model for those who enjoy data research and content development.
Coaching – As in the real world, there is great demand online for people to provide knowledge and motivation for achieving a person’s goals. Creating an online coaching business involves creating content that educates clients and usually also offering live and recorded one-on-one and group coaching sessions.
Domain Flipping – researching available domain names that fit specific product, brand, community or niche topics, purchasing the domain and then selling it for a profit is a good business model for those who have funds to invest. Value can be enhanced by developing content and getting a site ranked using the domain which can make this business venture more profitable than just trying to identify domains with potential value and trying to resell them.
Start a Podcast – A podcast is the process of recording and publishing audio content, usually focused on a specific topic, on a regular schedule. Content may contain information, opinion, interviews or even fiction. A podcast is the audio equivalent of blogging and can be turned into a business in the same ways, by building an audience then selling ads and promoting products.
Dropshipping – creating a business website where products are listed for sale, however instead of stocking and fulfilling orders directly, the website business owner sends orders to a third party that handles the stocking of inventory as well as the packaging and shipping of the orders.
Develop Websites – Websites can be built for a wide variety purposes, many of which do not involve making money. But having the skills to build a website, especially with advanced features such as the ability to e-commerce, can be the foundation for a business built to provide this service to local brick-and-mortar businesses as well as online businesses.
Graphic Design Services – For those with a leaning toward creative ventures, providing graphic design services can be a profitable business to consider starting. Many individuals and businesses look for the services of a good graphic design creator. In today’s market this means not only being able to create visually pleasing graphics but also the ability to use technology and deliver results in a variety of digital formats.
Build Niche Websites – This variation of website development is focused on very specific topics (niches) where the goal is to build an audience that trusts and depends on the author for information and where the community often interacts with each other. The owner of the site often develops it with the intent of doing business through affiliate marketing or other revenue generating efforts.
Technical Writing – Building a business around one’s interest and ability to write technical information can be a good online business opportunity. Many companies seek others to help create or update software instructions, physical product instructions, and corporate training documents.
Resume’ Writing – The job market is always changing and individuals are always changing with it. Many individuals seek the assistance of someone well-versed in creating and updating resumes in order to provide themselves a better opportunity to land a desirable job than they could do by themselves. Starting an online business that provides resume writing services could be for you if you have experience in human resources or as a hiring manager and therefore know what hiring managers are looking for.
Virtual Assistant – If you have a variety of skills in using office productivity tools, setting up meetings, using social media, and other activities that benefit busy executives and managers then creating a virtual assistant business might be a good choice for you. Building an online business around these services involves finding one or more clients who are looking to outsource these needs to a dependable person or agency rather than bring in an in-house person for these tasks.
Social Media Manager – This is another online business model that involves providing a service that many companies may have a full-time position for but recognize the need for having some assistance from someone knowledgeable about building a social media audience, content generation and distribution, social media advertising, and other aspects of this predominant technology.
Build a YouTube Channel – Building a YouTube channel is a similar online business concept as blogging and podcasting. You create video content centered around a topic, or maybe a personality. As the audience grows there is opportunity to generate revenue from advertising and product promotion.
Sell Handmade Goods – One of the manufacturing business options that also works online is making and selling handmade goods. Woodworking. Painting. Crocheting. Knitting. A whole online marketplace for these types of products has blossomed on Etsy. If you have or can develop the skills to produce a quantity and quality of product in this model, there is money to be made.
Online Activity versus Online Business
Many of the things listed above can be activities that you do online without it becoming a business. These can be fun hobbies that provide a distraction from a job or the grind of other day-to-day demands.
Blogging is an activity. It can be turned into a business by selling ad space or being an affiliate marketer.
Content creation, which is really just writing, can be turned into a business by selling your content/writing to someone looking for content.
Building websites could be just an activity where you are sharing information or building a community around a topic. But if your website brings in enough traffic you can turn it into a business by selling advertising, selling products as an affiliate marketer or selling your own products.
Activities such as e-commerce, lead generation, drop shipping, buying and flipping domains, and being a virtual assistant are pretty much by definition businesses. There would not be a point to doing these activities unless they are part of a business.
What business opportunity piques your interest?
After you have had a chance to read through these suggestions for building an online enterprise, drop a comment below with your thoughts about what are the best fit for you based on your resources, interests, skills, and goals. Follow any links above to dig deeper into these ideas and continue your research.