20 online business ideas to try

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Gamer, blogger, YouTuber, coach

Gone are the days when you needed to leave your house to make a living. Running an online business is more popular now than ever … and the opportunities will only continue to grow. Here are 20 online business ideas to consider in 2020.

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Online business ideas you really should consider

Pretty much anyone with a computer, an internet connection and some hustle can start an online business. Here are 20 good options.

  1. Virtual assistant.
  2. Social media manager.
  3. Online course provider.
  4. Blogger.
  5. Coach.
  6. Stock photographer.
  7. Printables (aka PDF pages).
  8. Affiliate marketing.
  9. Freelance writer.
  10. Graphic designer.
  11. YouTuber.
  12. Instagram influencer.
  13. Game developer.
  14. Gamer.
  15. Educator.
  16. Podcaster.
  17. Translation services.
  18. Website developer.
  19. Artist.
  20. Video editor.

Looking for a side hustle or a new full-time gig? You’re bound to find one here.

1. Virtual assistant

Online Business Ideas Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants can work for anyone in the world from the comfort of their homes.

First on our list of online business ideas is virtual assistants. A lot of entrepreneurs need help and most of them are willing to work with an assistant who is virtual — in other words, not actually in their office.

A virtual assistant helps with day to day tasks such as:

  • Answering email
  • Data processing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Posting to social media
  • Blogging and more

If you have administrative experience and a knack for organizing things, becoming a virtual assistant may be for you.

2. Social media manager

Social media has such a huge impact on businesses these days that many hire a manager, someone who can deliver traction on the different platforms out there. The opportunities for a social media manager are expanding daily — now is a great time to venture into this arena.

Related: How to start an online business

3. Online course provider

Online courses have become a massive moneymaker for those who can create courses to sell.

Some educators make six and seven figures selling courses through websites such as Teachable and Thinkific.


There are courses, created by pros, that you can purchase to educate you on how to go about building an online course. For example, you can connect with Sarah Titus and her Million Dollar Shop or directly to Teachable to learn more.

4. Blogger

Starting a blog gives you a space to share your passion, educate your readers and sell products (learn more about affiliate marketing below), as well as make money on sponsored posts.

And although blogging is a lot of work, it can be very fulfilling, especially if you are creating a blog while working a full-time job.

5. Coach

If you are an expert in a certain area in life or business, becoming a coach is now easier than ever thanks to the internet. A coach can now support clients around the world. For more information and to see if coaching is right for you, check out this article on Coach Pony.

6. Stock photographer

Online Business Ideas Photographer
Photographers can upload photos they take to a variety of websites for sale.

For a photographer, selling photos online has become an easy task with websites like Shutterstock, Fotolia and Dreamstime to sell their photos.

There are many websites that will support a photographer and their passion.

Bloggers, graphic designers, social media marketers — all rely on stock photography to make their magic. Also, if a photographer wants to take selling their photos up a notch, they can create their own website and sell their photos directly to the public for higher profits.

7. Printables (aka PDF pages)

If you are a creative person and have an artistic side, create printables to sell on websites like Etsy. Printables are PDF documents that customers purchase to download. These files can include:

  • Colouring pages
  • Calendars
  • Chore charts
  • Planners, etc.

Truly, the sky’s the limit with creativity here.

8. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest and quickest ways to make money online. You are basically selling another company’s products/services by sharing a unique link to their website. Every time someone clicks on one of those links, you get a small fee. Over time, it adds up and becomes a source or passive income.

The simplest way of sharing these links is by building a website page around the products you love and sharing them through social media and email marketing. Bloggers with sizable followings can also make money through affiliate marketing — learn how here.

9. Freelance writer

If you are a good writer and are attentive to nuance and detail, businesses will hire you to write for them. Entrepreneurs will hire freelance writers to write:

  • Blog posts
  • Books
  • Articles

Writers can also get paid to perform editing tasks for busy people. You could even ghost write for someone who needs to write, but hates doing it.

10. Graphic designer

If you have a creative eye and a passion to help entrepreneurs, then becoming a graphic designer may be just for you. Every business needs graphics.

Graphic designers are in high demand, whether for logos, promotional materials or website design.


Most graphic designers have either taken design in school, high school or postsecondary, or have learned design while being employed. Design courses are available at most community colleges.

11. YouTuber

If you have a personality that people are drawn to and you enjoy being on camera, consider becoming a YouTuber. Though the market seems to have become saturated, there is still a lot of room for new influencers on YouTube. Sharing what you are passionate about and allowing the world into your life could make you a millionaire.

12. Instagram influencer

If you can grow a following of over 10,000 people, you can easily become an Instagram influencer. Companies pay these influencers to post photos and videos of them using the sponsor’s products. This has become a serious business for many people around the world.

13. Game developer

Video game developers can now work from the comfort of their homes while creating and programming games for the companies and clients they work for. Here is a great article from Game Designing that takes you step by step through the process and the requirements to become a game developer.

14. Gamer

Maybe developing a game is not something you can do, but can you play video games? Online gamers have become a huge market for the online world. Gamers get paid by the platforms they use, like YouTube and Twitch.

Those with large followings sell their own merchandise and receive sponsorships from companies. There are kids out there starting gaming businesses at eight years old.

15. Educator

You can create a video series teaching your specialty if you have a talent such as:

  • Playing an instrument
  • Teaching a board game
  • Cooking
  • Organizing, etc.

Once the videos are made, you sell them over and over to those who want to learn in the comfort of their homes.

16. Podcaster

Online Business Ideas Podcaster
In recent years, podcasts have become big business.

A podcast is like a radio talk show that is available online for the world to listen to. Becoming a podcaster (podcast host) is the newest and fastest-growing area in the online world.

Podcasters get paid via sponsorships and hosting guests. Most podcasters use their podcast to market their own products and services as well. You can learn more, including the step by step actions needed to get started, by reading this article from Blogging.com.

17. Translation services

If you are fluent in more than one language, then becoming a translator could give you your big break. With the internet now reaching almost every country in the world, many businesses need their websites, products and services translated into different languages so they can reach new markets.

18. Website developer

With over 4.1 billion internet users recorded in 2018 businesses are launching new websites daily.

With the number of businesses out there, the need for website designers is huge.

There is a learning curve to building websites, although there are tons of free tutorials online. You could also use a website creator like GoDaddy Websites + Marketing to build websites for clients. The GoDaddy blog has many articles that you can reference for website building including this one.

19. Artist

Online Business Ideas Videographers

There is no longer a reason why artists need to starve. With the online platforms available, an artist can sell their masterpieces through a website. All it takes is finding the right domain name and marketing their artwork to the world to sell. The online world can now be their art gallery.

20. Video editor

If you have video editing skills and the software to do so, then editing videos for businesses and entrepreneurs could make you money online. Video is the newest and most requested form of communication now. Everyone in business needs videos for their marketing plan.


What will you do in 2020?

As you can see, there are many online business ideas to choose from — and the possibilities are only going to grow. Choosing the right one is all about creating a business around what you enjoy. Growing your venture will take time, energy and resources but in the end, it is so worth it. Choose an option that brings you happiness and that can make you money and dive in!

Lou Clarke is a multiple business owner, speaker, author, teacher, online creator and columnist. Founder of Martin Clarke & Associates, she has over 20 years’ experience in business consulting and accounting. Lou also supports, educates and celebrates female entrepreneurs and speaks throughout North America on time management, money mindset, business development, and bookkeeping. She received the 2014 ’20 under 40 Business Award’ from Business London Magazine, and 2014’s ‘Who’s Who Among Women in eCommerce’ with WE Magazine. A mom of four boys, Sara is passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed, so they can travel their own path and be there for their families. You can find Lou on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.