Online Side Business Ideas for 2020
It’s easier than ever to reach people around the world when starting an online business, which can be one of the attractions for thinking of an online based business idea.
These types of business ideas are also usually low cost to start and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
To help inspire you or if you actually want an idea to run with, here are 23 online business ideas you could start as a side business if you work a full-time job.
1. Affiliate Marketing Business
The affiliate marketing online business is a classic online business idea, but for good reason. It’s a business model that can work well if you have a passion and love other products that companies have to offer. Affiliate marketing also helps consumers if you do it right.
To start, you could begin by finding a niche that you have a passion and/or strength in. Then, see if there are products or services that are sold in those areas that would offer you a commission if you made sales on their behalf through a website that you create.
2. Augmented Reality Ads Developer
Augmented reality has accelerated much quicker and become more popular than virtual reality. This will present an opportunity for advertisers to create in-game ads and apps for augmented reality. For instance, if a person was to use their phone and a certain app to view a billboard with a secret discount code, this could potentially drive sales for businesses.
If you have a passion for marketing and augmented reality, this would be an interesting approach to take and could be operated all online.
3. Drop-Shipping Company
This is another common online business idea, like the affiliate marketing idea, but money can be made from drop shopping companies. To start this idea, you’ll want to find a product or set of products that isn’t too competitive but has potential to be a profitable niche.
Then, you can use services like Shopify to open an online store with those products and drop ship them from another country where it’s manufactured for a lower cost.
4. Progressive Web App Developer
Progressive web apps are being pushed by Google and other tech companies and search engines to make the internet a more friendly place with slower load times.
If you have an interest in app and website development, this could be an interesting niche online marketing agency approach. By targeting companies that need an online presence, you can sell them progressive web app services, and run the company online.
5. Online Political and News Verification Service
These days, people want to know all the information they can about the news sources and even political figures they follow, especially in North America. That is where you can come in with this business idea.
The online verification service would help provide transparency to the public regarding news articles that are published for a possible fee to access this information. Or, you could run ads on the website to monetize.
6. Smart Device Security Company
Smart devices can be seen everywhere. From Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices, there are countless other baby monitors, door monitors and security cameras that are all considered “smart devices”.
The one major problem with these smart devices is that they have poor security. Companies that develop them usually do a poor job in creating security for these devices as it’s more profitable to get it out in the market and there are no consequences. But this does open up a security problem, especially for families.
This service would involve setting up an online consulting system where customers could upload the make and model of the devices they have, and you could assess if they are secure, and if not what steps to take. All for a nice fee. If you have a background in online security, this could be a great online business idea to launch.
7. Online Direct Sales Service
Sales. It’s what drives the bottom line for every single company, and it’s very important. All companies could use more sales, and some are even struggling, which is a huge problem.
If you have a background in sales, this could be a great online consulting company to start. By offering the services online, you can target companies that aren’t in your area, and do consulting calls by video.
8. Virtual Personal Assistant
This is a popular online based business idea, but it’s popular for a reason. The Virtual Personal Assistant involves getting clients who need help with their day-to-day online tasks, and usually it is other online business owners that need this help. For instance, you could be hired to qualify certain leads using a criteria they give you, or transfer data from one program to another.
It’s not super complicated work, but if you’re good at online-based tasks and want to work from home, this is definitely a business to consider.
9. SEO Agency
Another popular online business these days is an SEO agency. Although SEO is not a quick marketing win like some other platforms like Instagram or Facebook, SEO is still a great way for companies to get long-term leads that can get them results and sales.
If you have skills in SEO or have a friend that does, you two could start an SEO agency, helping other small business owners rank in the search results for certain terms. And the best thing is, is that once you have your clients, you can run this business from anywhere in the world.
10. Social Media Agency
The social media agency is complimentary to the SEO agency online business idea, however, this takes a different approach by only focusing on the social side.
If you wanted to niche-down this business idea, you could target people with a personal brand and manage their social media accounts and they would become your clients. You could then be known as the personal brand specialist in social media over time.
11. Influencer Marketer Marketplaces
Influencer marketing is a growing field that many companies are tapping into for a source of marketing. However, many companies struggle with the outreach, pricing and management of the influencer’s services and offerings.
If you have experience in marketplace development, you could create an online marketplace where influencers can list their services and offerings for other businesses to sign-up and use. Then, take a fee for managing that relationship so you can make money too.
12. Virtual Marketing Assistant
The virtual marketing assistant is different from the personal assistant, as this idea specializes in marketing, in both offline and online marketing. Where as the personal assistant was a generalist that may do more clerical online-related tasks.
To start this online based business idea, I’d recommend selecting a niche, and if you already have a background in a certain marketing niche, using that one as you’ll have all the skills to launch quickly.
13. Copywriter & Proofreaders
Copywriting and proofreading are great online businesses to start. If you have any copywriting or technical skills, you can easily start this idea, and eventually as you grow, this is a great field to hire others and to perform the work so you can focus on other parts of the business.
14. Online Document Replication Service
Many people have hardcopy documents that may need to be transformed into a digital and online version. For instance, many companies that are established have a lot of offline documents such as paper records, etc, that ultimately take up a lot of space.
What if you were able to implement an online system where people submit their documents and either yourself or an AI program converts the document into the necessary online version that they can edit and mange. You could charge a fee per project or a fee per page converted.
15. Digital Publishing Company
Do you have a background in book publishing or writing? Well this could be a great idea to consider if you do. This company would involve helping others publish their digital ebooks and other materials with either professional publishers, or by doing it themselves.
16. CBD Information and Education Company
CBD is a derivative of the cannabis plant that is growing significantly around the globe. It’s legal in many countries and it has many benefits for people.
To support this growing market, you could start a CBD information and education company, to help educate both sellers and buyers of CBD. This would allow you to differentiate yourself from the online sources that simply educate the end consumer. To make money from this online business idea, you could charge a consulting fee to work with the business owners to educate them on CBD and the proper usage and marketing, as well as running ads on the buyer’s information side.
17. “What type of Wire” App
These days, electronics are ingrained into our lives. This increase in dependence in technology ultimately requires us to have multiple different types of electronics for the different purposes. For example, we may have an electric drill, smart phone, desktop computer, laptop computer, Bluetooth speaker, etc. You get the picture. It’s common for people to have a large amount of different electronics at home.
However, a common problem people face once they start gathering all these electronics is finding out what the cords are for. If you get your charging cords mixed up and they get packed away in a box, how can you tell what cord is for what when you need it? Well this app would help solve this problem. Using machine learning, you could develop an app that can identify what type of electronics cord and charger it is, just from a picture.
This business idea would take more upfront development, but it could be very useful for others.
18. Offline Business Conversion Company
There are many retail and brick-and-mortar based small businesses across North America that are experiencing issues with lower foot traffic and increased competition from e-commerce stores like Amazon.
To help these small business owners level-up their businesses by moving their businesses online, you could help them reach new customers that they previously couldn’t reach. As well as allow them to have an online presence so previous customers can use them instead of switching to another online option.
This idea would involve working with the business owners to establish a strategy to move them online, and how they can manage inventory, shipping and an online presence for increased sales and brand exposure.
19. Coaching Booking and Scheduling App
While there are a few options out there for coaching booking and scheduling, there is still room in this niche for competition to come in and still be unique from the competition.
Many online businesses these days are popping up, and many of them are geared towards providing coaching services for a wide-variety of skills and services. However, a major problem that coaches run into is that they spend a lot of time coordinating with potential and current clients on meeting times and bookings.
By developing an easy to use, and email-integrated scheduling app, you could help coaches with their client needs. To monetize, you could charge a monthly or yearly fee, or let people use it for free and collect and sell the information from the platform.
20. Online Technical Training and Coaching
Technical training is increasing in demand. Especially since there is an increasing rise in dissatisfaction from students of academia based schools regarding the usefulness of degrees in the career force. With this increase in dissatisfaction, there is also a corresponding growing demand for technical skills in the workplace.
And with the advances in technology, the technical school doesn’t need to be offered in person. All the training and classes can be operated online. If you have a technical skill, or enjoy putting together teams, this would be a great and long-lasting company to launch.
21. Personal Care Aide Matching Site
Personal care aids demand has been huge in the past 10 years, and is only expected to grow significantly more over the next 10 to 20 years. This is due to the increase in retiring baby boomer populations and their need for long-term healthcare.
To help the elderly find the right care-aide, you could set up an online care-aide matching service that would help people choose a care aide based on a certain set of criteria. For instance, if they wanted a person to speak a specific language, have certain care skills or perform certain tasks, you could easily filter this for the area you are located in. To make money, the website could run ads or take a small fee for care aids to be listed on the site.
22. Fill-in Chef Website
Chefs are in high-demand and will continue to be in high-demand as there are not enough people going to school and training to be professional chefs. This also presents a problem for restaurant business owners as they need to have quality chefs at all times in order to serve their customers properly.
To help the restaurant owners, you could create a website that would help restaurant owners have fill-in chefs for the nights that are extra busy and they need help. First, you could outreach to chefs in your city to see if they would want to list their availability on the site for other restaurant owners to hire them on an on-call basis. Then, restaurant owners could pay a fee to access this pool of chefs that can easily come fill-in on a busy night.
23. Niche Online Software Development School
Software development is still a skill that is in high-demand, and will continue to be done for years to come, as the research shows. If you have a passion for software development and education, this could be a great and long-term online business to start.
To begin, you could start by teaching a coding language you know by building online course modules and other materials, all available online. As you build a reputation for that certain programming language, you can hire other software development specialists to create the other parts of the course that could be added to the school.