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50+ Online Business Ideas for Beginners You Can Start on the Cheap

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This guide breaks down 50+ online business ideas for beginners who want to make money from their couch but don’t have a lot to invest. 

So, you want to start a business online and work from home.

But…you don’t know what kind of business to start?

I get it.

And I want to help you figure it out.

Online Business Ideas for Beginners: How Can You Make Money From Home?

online business ideas for momsLet’s face it, working from home is the bees’ knees.

My freelancing business lets my kids and I live a super-flexible, financially secure lifestyle.

I think that’s something every mom can achieve and I’m constantly trying to think up new online business ideas that could be profitable.

There are just so many benefits to being a boss:

  • You can make your own schedule and still be there for your kids.
  • Once you find a niche, you can level up your income big-time.
  • It can fill your need to be creative or have something of your own, outside of being a mom and spouse.

Bottom line?

Owning a business is awesome and being able to grow it from home is the icing on the cake.

I started this blog is because I think running an online business or having a side hustle is a great fit for moms. (And if you want to start a blog too, check out Siteground’s hosting plans. They’re awesome!)

But what if you’re stumped for online business ideas?

No worries; I’ve got you covered.

Check out this monster list of 50+ online business ideas for beginners you can start — and grow — from home.

Writing Services

Online Business Ideas for Freelance Writers

1. Freelance writing

One of my favorite things about running a freelance writing business is that I need three things to do it: my laptop, electricity and internet service.

That’s it. If you’ve got solid writing skills, you can launch your own freelance writing business at home in between working your regular job and taking care of kids.

Pro tip: It helps to specialize in a niche where demand for expert writers is high. Some of the most profitable freelance writing niches include:

  • Personal finance (That’s mine!)
  • Parenting
  • Lifestyle
  • Health & fitness
  • Business
  • Marketing & blogging

If you want to be a freelance writer but don’t know where to start, here are some super-useful posts that can help:

Also, be sure to grab my Freelance Writer’s Toolkit. It’s totally free and it includes the basics you need to get started as a freelance writer, including cold pitch templates and workbooks to help you find your niche and ideal client.

be a freelance writer

 

2. Editing

One of the things that’s made me a better freelance writer over the years is working with editors who have helped me hone my craft.

It’s an editor’s job to look for the weak points in a story and help the writer polish it to perfection. Editing is something to consider if you’ve got an eye for detail and you know how to shape a story from start to finish.

Just like freelance writing, all you need to get started as a freelance editor is a computer and internet.

Here are some good places to start when you’re ready to find your first freelance editing gig:

3. Proofreading

Proofreading is also a great fit for detail-oriented mamas looking for online business ideas for beginners.

Proofreaders focus specifically on checking written content after it’s been edited to make sure it’s free of typos, spelling errors, grammatical errors, formatting issues and punctuation errors.

As far as online business ideas go, this one has definite profit potential. And Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere is your go-to guru for this.

Check out her free webinar on everything you need to get started as a freelance proofreader.

4. Digital transcription

Every time I hear the word “transcriptionist” I think of court reporters and those little typewriters.

While that’s not exactly what digital transcribers do, it’s pretty close. Digital transcribers take audio or video files and create a written transcript of everything that’s said.

Compared to freelance writing, editing or proofreading, transcribing take a little more equipment to get started.

This post from Real Ways to Earn Online offers a great rundown of everything you need to get going as a transcriber from home.

5. Copywriting

Copywriters can make big bucks by writing sales copy for businesses.

To really shine as a copywriter, you have to be able to write copy that not only attracts would-be customers’ attention but convinces them to buy.

The Copyblogger blog is a great place to start if you want to learn more about copywriting.

There’s also an area of the site dedicated to copywriter education where you can find e-books, webinars and seminars to help improve your copywriting skills.

6. E-book writing

E-books are great because they tend to contain a lot of information in a very compact format.

You can create an e-book in Word or Google docs, add some graphics, convert it to a PDF and voila! You’ve got a digital product that’s ready for sale.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service is one of the easiest ways to take your E-book to the masses. And millions of people use this service so you’ve already got a huge audience of potential readers to tap into.

Of course, if you don’t want to pay the fees Amazon charges self-publishers, you could always start a blog and sell your E-book there instead. (Psst…don’t forget to check out Siteground for hosting!)

7. Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting sounds all kinds of fancy but really, it’s just writing for someone else. You’re paid to write a piece of content and the person who paid you publishes it under their own name.

It sounds kind of weird but ghostwriting is a totally legit online business idea for the beginner.

I used to ghostwrite thought leadership articles for the CEO of a startup in the fintech space so trust me — it’s a thing.

And, because ghostwriters are often in demand by larger companies and you don’t get a byline, you can usually command a higher rate than you would if you were writing a freelance article under your own name.

8. Grant and proposal writing

Nonprofits rely on private donations and public funding to operate. That’s where grant writers come in.

It’s a grant writer’s job to create a stellar proposal that will convince the organization that’s handing out money to give some to the nonprofit.

The only thing is, grant writing can be tough to break into if you don’t have the skills or experience to write a killer proposal.

If you’re just getting started, I’d suggest checking out some of the courses offered by the American Grant Writers’ Association.

9. Resume writing

You might be looking for a way out of the traditional 9 to 5 career path but there are other people looking for a way in. If you’ve got great writing chops and a little bit of marketing know-how, you could lend your services to these as a resume writer.

Try these tips for finding clients:

  • Consider focusing on one industry that you know well
  • Create a sample resume to show off your writing skills to potential clients
  • Offer free resume reviews to entice prospects

You can also look for resume writing gigs on the same kind of sites that advertise other freelance writing jobs, like Upwork or Freelancer.

10. Press release writing

Writing press releases might be your thing if you’ve got a knack for telling compelling, but concise stories.

Compared to writing grants or an e-book, press releases usually have a much shorter format so you have to pack a punch with every word.

If you need some help perfecting your press release strategy, you can find over 100 inexpensive courses on how to whip one up on Udemy.

online business ideas for beginners

Blogging, Social Media & Marketing

11. Blogging

When I think of online business ideas for beginners, blogging has got to be one of the most popular. Like, everybody has a blog now, right?

Blogging is a way to make serious money if you’re able to establish your brand visibility and gain a loyal following.

Some of the mom bloggers out there who are killing it include:

That part of the equation takes time but all you need to start a blog is a few minutes and a small investment.

Take a look at this step-by-step guide for starting a blog with Siteground for just $3.95 a month to see how easy it is to get your blog up and running.

12. Virtual assistant

It seems like everybody and their best friend is getting into the virtual assistant game, but what is a virtual assistant?

Simple. It’s someone who gets paid to do tasks for someone else online.

Before I started freelancing, I worked for about a year as a virtual assistant for a larger VA company. The company’s client list ran the gamut from a church to a commercial real estate firm to a construction business and no two days ever were the same.

I eventually moved into freelancing because writing was and is my strongest skill. But being a VA could be perfect for you if want to help other people grow their business while growing your own.

So how do you get started as a VA?

I kind of fell into by accident but if you want to get the full lowdown, check out this post on how to start a virtual assistant business.

13. SEO consultant

Search engine optimization is everything if you want people to find your blog or website online.

SEO is what gets you noticed and helps you rank better in search engines so more people can find your site, which means more people buy what you sell, which means more profit and so on.

SEO consultants analyze websites and give their owners feedback on what they can do to improve their rankings. But, being an SEO consultant is more than just sticking the right keywords in the right places.

This post from Search Engine Journal dives into what it takes to be an SEO pro.

14. Pinterest VA

Unless you live under a rock you’ve heard of Pinterest and you know how powerful it can be for driving traffic to blogs.

But as someone who’s still struggling to perfect their Pinterest strategy, I can tell you how hard it is to stay on top of everything you need to do be visible. Enter the Pinterest VA.

A Pinterest VA is a VA who only handles Pinterest management for someone else.

That could mean creating pinnable graphics, setting up boards, scheduling pins through Tailwind or manually pinning several times a day.

This can be one of the easiest online business ideas for beginners to get off the ground if you consider yourself a Pinterest expert.

15. Facebook Ads specialist

Businesses use Facebook ads to promote their products and drive traffic to their websites. The quality of their ads plays a big part in how successful they are at attracting new customers.

If you’ve got savvy marketing skills and you know the ins and outs of Facebook, it’s possible to build an entire business online around ad consulting services.

Facebook even offers Blueprint Certification to help you build up your street cred.

16. WordPress consultant

There are several blogging platforms out there but WordPress is hands-down one of the most popular.

It’s the one I used to start this blog because it’s fairly easy to use even if you’re a total blogging newbie. But, I can only do the basics because coding is way outside of my comfort zone.

On the other hand, if you’re a WordPress wizard and you know your way around HTML, there are people out there who are willing to pay big for your services.

It might seem a bit more unusual as online business ideas go but it’s one that’s in big demand right now.

17. Social media manager

It’s never been easier to connect with virtually anyone thanks to social media.

It’s especially huge for businesses but not every business owner has time to respond to every tweet, like or share. Instead, they hire someone else to do it.

Being a social media manager is one of the easiest online business ideas for beginners to start. But, there’s a little more to being a social media manager than just hanging out on Facebook all day.

Be prepared to create graphics, write eye-catching copy, schedule posts and monitor what’s working and what’s not for your clients.

18. Blog manager

Okay, so here’s something you should know if you’re thinking of starting a blog: it’s a LOT of work.

There’s always something to do. And it can get really overwhelming, really quickly.

There are still days when I want to chuck it all out the window and pretend I’ve never, ever heard of blogging.

And it doesn’t necessarily get easier when your blog takes off and starts getting tons of traffic.

At that point, it can be even tougher to get it all done but a blog manager can help. If you’re organized and know your way around a blogging platform, some of the services you could offer as a blog manager include:

  • Developing a content strategy
  • Posting and promoting content
  • Managing email lists
  • Creating an editorial calendar
  • Tracking blog results

19. Trello/Asana project manager

Trello and Asana are the perfect tools for feeding an organization junkie’s fix.

Both platforms can help bloggers & business owners get organized and stay on task but it takes time to learn their finer points.

If you’ve got experience using either platform, you could position yourself as a Trello or Asana expert to businesses.

20. Video and podcast editor

The written word still packs a punch. But in the short time I’ve spent in the blogging world, I’ve seen a huge jump in the number of bloggers who are using videos and podcasts to expand their reach.

Recording videos or podcasts is usually the easy part; packaging them for an audience is a different story.

For the less tech-savvy bloggers (like me) hiring a freelance video or podcast editor to put it all together can be money well spent. And that could be money in the bank for you if you’ve got those kinds of ninja skills at your arsenal.

Branding & Design

Online Business Ideas Branding & Design

21. Landing page designer

Have you ever clicked on a sales page and been blown away by its design?

Some bloggers and website owners have a natural flair for design. Then you’ve got the rest of us who are learning as we go and trying not to make something so terrible-looking that it burns your corneas.

Landing page designers help us design-challenged bloggers bridge the gap by creating pages that grab potential customers’ attention. Neil Patel explains what it takes to design a high-converting landing page.

22. Web designer

It sounds like something super complicated but a web designer is essentially someone who designs websites for a living.

When someone’s setting up a new website, they might hire a web designer to make sure it not only looks great but functions great as well.

Now, you do need to know how to code to be a web designer and coding boot camp can be a pricey investment. There are, however, some coding boot camps that will let you put off paying tuition until you actually land a job.

You can check those out here.

23. Web developer

So, web developer and web designer kinda sound like the same thing but…they’re not.

A web designer would be responsible for making sure that a site’s HTML code is in the right order so the site doesn’t crash and it looks the way it’s supposed to. The developer, on the other hand, is the one who’s writing the code.

If you’re interested in becoming a developer and you’ve got a few hundred bucks to put towards learning the ins and outs, Skillcrush has an intensive class on the subject.

24. Logo designer

Soo…if you can’t tell, my logo isn’t all that fancy.

When I first started this blog, I made another DIY logo through Logoshi but that one’s not that great either. Some people are intuitive about what looks good in a logo. And then some people are me.

But if you’re in the other camp, you could easily turn your skills into a custom logo design business.

A degree in graphic design doesn’t hurt, but it’s not a necessity. All you really need is an eye for design and knowledge of the types of programs professional logo designers use, like Adobe Illustrator.

25. App developer

Do you have a great idea for a mobile app?

If you know how to code, you could develop the app and sell it yourself, versus paying someone else to do it.

And if those coding boot camps I mentioned earlier are too steep for your budget, you can start learning how to code for free with Treehouse.

26. WordPress theme designer

If you’re more inclined to web design but you’ve got the coding skills to be a developer, you could meet in the middle and be a WordPress theme designer.

It’s totally possible to compete as a freelancer if you’ve got the design skills businesses want.

27. Branding strategist

Branding is a big deal for businesses.

Your brand is your identity and if your brand isn’t attracting your ideal clients, your business ends up going nowhere.

A branding consultant can:

  • Review a business’s brand strategy
  • Point out what they’re doing wrong
  • Help refine the business’s messaging so they’re connecting with their ideal clients

It’s great as far as online business ideas for beginners go because it has low startup costs. You just need to develop your own brand first, then start marketing it.

28. Stock photographer

If you spend any amount of time on popular mom blogs you’ve probably noticed a trend. A lot of them use stylish, beautiful stock photos to draw attention to their posts.

But where do they get them?

Easy. From stock photography sites. (Elna Cain of TwinsMommy has an amazing list of stock photo sites you can browse through.)

If you’ve got a good camera and know how to frame a photo, you could set up your own stock photo site and market yourself to bloggers (like me!) who are looking for the perfect image to include in their next post.

Coaching & Teaching

Online Business Ideas Coaching & Teaching

29. Financial coach

Financial coaches help their clients learn the ins and outs of personal finance so they can manage their money better.

They help people who struggle with money learn how to master their budget, set goals and stay accountable so they reach them.

You need to be certified to become a financial coach but that’s doable if you have a few hours and a few hundred dollars to invest.

30. Blog & business coach

Starting a blog or starting a business can be scary hard.

I’m not going to lie; blog-building has been a lot tougher than it was building my freelance writing business. It’s tough trying to do all the things and still stay motivated when the things you’re doing aren’t churning out the results you want.

A blogging & business coach helps bloggers and entrepreneurs beat the challenges that are holding them back from going next level with their business.

31. Fitness coach

Fitness coaches are all about helping people to get healthy.

Online fitness coaches can specialize in coaching clients with things like:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Weight loss
  • Weight training

You’ll need to get certified as a personal trainer first but once you do that, you can start building your clientele.

32. Productivity coach

I totally struggle to get things done some days.

If you’re the super-organized type who knows how to master a to-do list, you could start a business as a productivity coach.

Productivity coaches help busy people manage their work-life balance, find their focus, stay motivated and get things done like a boss.

33. Online dating consultant

Meeting people isn’t as easy as they make it seem in the movies.

There are a ton of dating apps out there to help people connect but those don’t always work.

Online dating coaches and consultants offer guidance to people who are spending a lot of time on these apps but coming up empty in the love department. If you consider yourself to be a Tinder, Bumble or PlentyofFish pro, you could have a future as an online matchmaker.

34. VIPKID teacher

VIPKID is a platform that connects teachers from around the world with Chinese children who want to learn English. Specifically, it caters to kids aged 4 to 12.

You’ll need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to become a VIPKID teacher. It’s possible to use the platform to build a profitable business online just by sharing your English-language skills.

35. Online course creator

Online courses are something a lot of mommy bloggers use to grow their businesses. But you don’t need a blog to be an online teacher.

If you’ve got a great idea for a course, you can design it and upload it to a platform like Thinkific, Teachable or Skillshare.

And of course, if you’re looking for a way to promote your online class, starting a blog that showcases your expertise is a great way to build an audience.

36. Online tutor

I homeschool my kids. While it’s not so hard now, I’ve considered bringing in a tutor when they get a little older to help with math.

Sites like Tutor.com offer tutoring for kindergarten to college students. You have to successfully pass both an exam and a background check to offer your services through the platform. But the site accepts tutors with a wide range of backgrounds.

Note: You have to live in the U.S. or Canada and commit to at least 5 hours per week.

37. Foreign language tutor for adults

VIPKID is geared towards kids. But there are plenty of adults who want to learn a new language.

Wyzant is another tutoring platform that you might be interested in if you’re well-versed in a foreign language.

The best part about this platform is you can set your own rate, depending on your background and experience, and plan tutoring sessions around your schedule.

38. Online translator

There’s another way you can leverage your language skills if you’re looking for online business ideas for beginners: become an online translator.

Translators can take anything from textbooks and technical documents to sales brochure and website copy.

Platforms like Gengo connect translators with well-known brands like Etsy, YouTube and Airbnb. The price you earn per word for translating gigs increases the more proficient you are in a particular language.

39. SAT tutor

It’s been like a million years since I took the SAT. Looking back, I probably could have benefited from having a tutor help me prepare.

If you aced your SAT or you’re just an expert in coaching other people on how to take tests, you might consider the flexibility and income potential of building an SAT tutoring business.

And if you don’t believe you can make serious money, just ask this guy who charges $1,500 an hour for SAT tutoring services.

E-Commerce

40. Fulfillment by Amazon

Fulfillment by Amazon is a pretty straightforward business model.

You buy products to sell on Amazon. Amazon stores those products for you.

Once you make a sale, Amazon ships it out for you in exchange for a fee.

Sounds complicated but it’s not as hard to grow a business around Amazon reselling as you might think. If you’re not fully sold, check out The Selling Family to see exactly how it’s done.

41. eBay seller

You can sell practically anything on eBay: antique furniture, books, handmade crafts, the list goes on.

All you need to set up a storefront on eBay is a seller account and an idea of the kind of features you need.

You’ll need to do some research to figure out:

  • What to sell
  • How to price your items and
  • How to ship them

but eBay selling can generate big profits without a huge investment of time.

42. Etsy seller

Selling on Etsy is similar to selling on eBay; the difference is in what you sell.

Generally, anything you sell on Etsy has to be handmade. Although a rule change a few years back now allows sellers to offer select maker-developed manufactured items.

If you’re struggling with to sell or how to establish your brand, check out Unsettle’s guide to making money on Etsy.

43. Dropshipping

Drop shipping is essentially the same thing as Fulfillment by Amazon. Only you can store and sell your products through different platforms.

You set up an online store that partners with a dropshipping supplier. A customer buys something from your store and the supplier ships it out. Easy peasy.

The main perks of dropshipping are that compared to other online business ideas for beginners, it carries fairly low overhead costs.

And, it can allow you to be completely location independent, which is huge if you’re the kind of mama who’s into regular road trips.

A Better Lemonade Stand has a whale of a post detailing everything you need to know to get started with drop shipping.

44. Subscription box service

The great thing about starting a subscription box service is that the possibilities for what you can sell are really limitless.

This kind of online business tends to come with higher startup costs since you have to purchase or make items to fill your boxes.

But, if you can tap into the right audience you could make that money back pretty quickly.

If you’re stumped on what kind of subscription box service you want to offer, take a look at this list of 50 subscription box business ideas from Cratejoy.

online business ideas

Other Online Business Ideas

45. Product reviewer

Before I buy something for the first time or use a business’s services I want to know whether it’s worth it. So I scope out reviews to see what other people are saying.

While you could throw in your two cents for free, there are plenty of companies out there that actually pay moms just like you to test and review their products.

46. Tax preparer

Tax time is the worst and I dread crunching all those numbers. Next year I’m thinking about handing it off to someone else just so I don’t have to deal with it.

You might be a total math nerd, though. And if so, you could have a calling as an online tax preparer.

This is the kind of online business that requires certification to start. But it’s got great earning potential, especially during peak tax season.

47. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is another one of those online business ideas for beginners that might appeal to your inner math geek.

Bookkeepers handle tasks like:

  • Managing accounts payable and receivables
  • Managing payroll
  • Keeping track of inventory
  • Generating financial reports

You don’t necessarily need any special education, although there are bookkeeping certification programs (both paid and free) that you can use to learn the ropes.

48. Domain flipping

Domain flipping is kind of like house flipping. Only you’re investing in virtual real estate.

It simply involves buying domains and then reselling them on a marketplace like Flippa.

The key to succeeding as a domain flipper is finding high-quality properties. You’ll need to spend some time studying what kind of domains have the most potential to be profitable.

49. Online travel agent

If you love to travel or help other people book their travel plans, you could parlay that into a career as an online travel agent.

When you’re starting a travel agency from home, it’s a good idea to connect with a host agency that offers travel packages like Cruises Inc.

Your host agency can help you lay the groundwork for your online travel business. That can help you get on the fast track to booking clients.

50. Online event planning

Planning baby showers, weddings and other events is something some people seem to have a natural talent for.

If you want to start an online event planning business, start by picking your niche. For example, weddings, birthday parties, baby showers.

Once you’ve got that handled, you can work on setting up a website for your business and spreading the word about your event planning skills.

51. Professional meal planner

Cooking dinner is not my thing.

I do it but I don’t love it. Because figuring out what to make for two kids who have totally different preferences = major stress.

But you might be a pro at pulling together healthy, nutritious dinners for your family. And that makes you a great candidate to launch an online meal planning business.

For some examples of how this kind of business works, take a peek at The Fresh 20 or Real Plans.

52. Online researcher

Last on the list of online business ideas for beginners is online research.

Companies big and small need people to collect data and information. That’s what online researchers do.

You can specialize in researching a specific niche or hire yourself out as a general researcher. It’s possible to create a client base as a freelance researcher.

You can also look into companies like Ask Wonder that handle research outsourcing and hire freelancers.

Online Business Ideas Are Everywhere — You Just Have to Look

That is a long list and I hope you made it all the way to the end.

Now it’s your turn — do you have any online business ideas for beginners that I haven’t thought of?

If so, head to the comments and tell me all about it! And please pin and share this post if you found it useful.

Spread the word!

Hi there, I'm Rebecca, homeschooling single mom of two. I built a six-figure freelance writing business from home and now I teach people like you how to start side hustles, build profitable businesses online, manage money and be more productive! Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter and don't forget to check out the Resource Library--it's packed with tons of free tools to help you manage your money, business and life!

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