47 MUST START Online Business Ideas to consider in 2021

Written by Fraser McCulloch.

Most business ideas can be set up at a low cost, even under a £1000; check the list below to see which ideas are a good fit for you.

But first …..

How do you come up with an online business idea ?

The best ways to come up with a business idea are :

  • Your existing job or skills
  • Your interests or hobbies
  • Keyword research and click forecasting
  • Competitor analysis

Start with your current business skills or know how

I dropped web design as a service 4 years ago and focused on selling keyword research, content and SEO services.

I was doing keyword research and writing content as part of the previous 150 websites I had designed.

So look at the full range of your current skills and see if they can be broken down into different components.

Business Ideas Guide Download

Sell a digital product such as guide or newsletter

I bet you are brilliant at something; sell your expertise by turning it into a guide or newsletter.

Write it in Google Docs, save and download it as a PDF and sell it using Convertkit, Gumroad or Revue to your social media followers.

Start up costs are ZERO.

Lead generation service

Businesses don’t want a website they want leads and customers.

Sam booked an online appointment with me a couple of weeks ago.

He told me, during the call, that he paid other companies for leads for his home improvement business.

When you consider a house extension can start at £40,000 then Sam paying £100 for a lead is probably worth the investment.

Sam wanted to have his own website to generate more, less expensive leads for his business.

I have a number of other clients that either sell leads to other companies by generating leads to their own website.

  • Mortgage brokers
  • Home improvement services
  • Energy advisors
  • Insurance brokers

This website generates an estimated 37,000 organic visits per month.

They are a husband and wife who publish estimated prices for various home improvement work.

Starting a lead generation business for £1000 – £1500

  • Keyword Research for 12 pages – £799
  • GeneratePress template – £49
  • Flywheel web hosting – £15 a month
  • Logo and images – £100
  • Web design and development customisation – £500
  • A web form such as Contact Form 7 that sends and store enquiries in MailChimp
  • Write 12 page of content – outsourced costs would be around £1000

Rank and rent websites

I’ve never tried rank and rent but it’s an interesting business model.

I’ve worked with so many clients that take forever over a design concept, can’t write content and generally take nothing to do with a website after it’s launched.

To start a rank and rent website :

  1. Target industries that sell services at high price points eg: recruitment, home improvement etc
  2. Do keyword research.
  3. Write 10-20 pages on content.
  4. Host with Flywheel.
  5. Use Astra or GeneratePress theme.
  6. Incorporate advertising space into the website.
  7. Design basic logo.
  8. Put a call to action form on the website to capture leads.
  9. Put some basic link building in place to earn traction in Google.
  10. Put re-marketing code into the site.

Once you get traffic and leads then reach out to prospects.

For a period of time, offer to change the logo and colours, add some more content, let them have the leads and run a retargeting campaign on Facebook and Google for them.

You will still own the website but the monthly rental fee to them won’t be cheap.

Download these 47 business ideas

Dropshipping business

10 years ago a friend and I set up an online shop selling golf training aids.

We never purchased the products; we contacted about 20 manufacturers and agreed to sell their products, for a profit, and they delivered the products directly to the customers.

The beauty of dropshipping is that you don’t need a huge amount of cash flow to purchase stock and you don’t need to hold that stock in a warehouse.

You can work with a select number of wholesalers, selling their products, building up cash flow and a customer base before investing and sourcing your own products.

The downside to dropshipping is that the barriers of entry are lower; anyone could set up this type of business.

Set up e-commerce business to sell physical products

Selling products or services online is called an e-commerce business.

If you sell products you typically need to order, purchase and hold stock before despatching to customers.

There is a huge financial commitment and risk to buy products or make products before customers order.

How to find product suppliers

  • Search for wholesalers of products you intend to sell or
  • Go to Alibaba.com and do a search for the product (if you don’t have a supply chain network)
  • Find a supplier with a low minimum quantity.
  • Check that they can customise the products with your branding or preferred colours.
  • Purchase samples and test them out; for clothing, put them in a washing machine for 7 straight days.
  • You will need to factor in printing and branding plate costs.
  • The cost per product you see on Alibaba is not the cost to bring the product in the country.
  • You have shipping, customs and duties, docking and payment transfer costs.

Estimating cost prices

I have a client that’s had problems sourcing products from the Far East; poor sample quality.

Sourcing products internationally and running an ecommerce business is not a quick fix business.

  • Enter the FOB Product Cost from Aliba eg: $2
  • Enter number of units you will buy eg: 3000
  • Enter product page eg: 1.3 lbs
  • Duty rate eg: 5%
  • Best Shipping Method: Sea
  • Wire Transfer Cost: $45
  • Shipping Cost: $1365
  • Dock Fees: $250
  • Ground Fees: $975
  • Customs Duties: $300
  • Total Cost: $2935
  • Estimated Cost Per Unit: $2.98
  • Estimated Cost per unit in Sterling = £2.26

Now you need to do your research and find out what prices competitors are selling at.

Pop your keyword into Amazon and try and find the average retail price.

Your rule of thumb in marking up your cost price to retail price is 3 times.

So cost is £2.26 x 3 = £6.78 then add 20% for VAT = £8.13.

Your markup has to cover your margin, cost of selling, storing, wastage and other operational expenses.

Selling online

There is no better solution than Shopify right now to sell physical products.

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Sell handmade items

As I write this, my son’s friend is an artist and he’s looking to sell his artwork.

He can produce digital copies of this artwork and sell prints online via Etsy or his own shop in the future.

He could add a framing element to the prints and command a large price point and margin.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what sells, look at Etsy.

Artists sell jewellry, calendars, chairs, tables, clothes and thousands more products.

Subscription boxes

No doubt you’ve heard of Dollar Shave Club or various food services such as Hello Fresh.

The idea of a subscription box has been around for decades.

Magazines, books and music cassettes were all services you would subscribe to with delivered recommendations to consume.

The most popular types of subscriptions fall into 3 categories:

  • Curation – you are sent items to sample and use
  • Replenishment – you are sent products you run out of; razors, socks, food etc
  • Access – you gain exclusive access

Subscriptions are an attractive business model as they provide the merchant with recurring revenue; they don’t need to find as many new customers every month.

I’d gladly pay for 7 new pairs of black socks and some boxer shorts every month.

Go and do your research and identify the products people will pay to replenish or curate each month.

Affiliate marketing

With affiliate marketing you recommend other products and services on web properties you own (where you can add a tracking code) and you get a percentage of the sale if a site visitor eventually purchases.

So the only 3 products or service that I recommend that have an affiliate marketing programme are :

Quuu Promote

I have had a lot of success with Quuu Promote.

They help me promote my content and articles to a wider audience.

This helped me earn shares, clicks and even backlinks.

So yes I’m part of their affiliate programme.

They pay 25% of a customer’s monthly subscription.

25% of $40 or even $100 per month isn’t much.


This website is hosted by FlyWheel and I recommend clients host there too.


If you want to sell online, then Shopify is your solution.

They will provide :

  • Hosting
  • Design theme
  • Managing products and inventory
  • Merchandise tools for your store
  • Accept and process payments
  • Provide delivery options
  • Manage customer orders and details
  • Marketing tools for your customers

Estimate customer traffic before you launch a business

Start a blog

I didn’t started a blog, I started a website to showcase my website work, then tagged on a blog to write helpful articles.

To start a brand new blog, here are the steps involved.

  1. Write down blog topics or niches you’re interested in eg: golf, skateboarding, ski-ing, mortgages, tax etc
  2. Ask yourself if you could write about places, equipment or the industry.
  3. Use keyword research to find blog content ideas.
  4. Analyse the traffic of competing blogs and websites.
  5. Choose business models below to monetise blog .
  6. Write 10 blog articles.
  7. Buy a domain name at 123-reg.co.uk.
  8. Buy hosting and theme.
  9. Structure website into blog categories.
  10. Put the website live and promote.
  11. Reach out to industry peers and ask to review a couple of products to earn niche credibility.

Don’t expect to make money in the first couple of years from a blog unless you have hired a team of content writers and invested in promotion and link building.

Check out these 30 other service business ideas

Sell a book On Amazon or Kindle

The idea of selling your book isn’t to make money.

The idea is to communicate your expertise and authority in a certain field.

  • You need epub and mobi formatted books; .epub is a format for reading documents on phones and tablets, computers and electronic readers and .mobi is a format for Kindle books.
  • You need to buy an ISBN number – like an ID number for you and your book
  • You need a great cover design to make your book stand out
  • Then write and produce your book with Reedsy.
  • Since Amazon own 90% of the digital book market you may want to consider exclusive distribution via https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/
  • If you don’t want to give exclusivity then use https://draft2digital.com/ this will open up your book distribution with iBooks (Apple), Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Google Play.
  • Do your homework and ask an expert about the best distribution, pricing and margin strategy for your book.

I did publish a link building book with Reedsy; purely because I couldn’t find a nice PDF design in Word or Google Docs.

I sold the eBook myself with PayPal and Stripe as the payment processor.

Sales didn’t go so well so better marketing is required in the future.

Sell online courses and memberships

I used to sell monthly membership to teach people about search engine optimisation.

This proposition fell flat on its face so I switched to selling an online course that would deliver a result.

First 1000 Visits is the name of my online course.

I charge a one off payment or you pay 6 installments.

I would only recommend selling courses if you have an existing audience.

I have good traffic to my website each month and have built up around 1400 active users on my email database.

But converting subscribers to paying customers takes a lot of education and nurturing.

But don’t let me dissuade you.

The need for education is strong as long as you match the right topics to teach with the right audience.

For a detailed guide to creating and selling courses, click here.

Download 47 Business Ideas PDF

And you need the means to process an order and deliver the document to customers.

There are software solutions such as ConvertKit Commerce, Podia and Gumroad that make the digital download process easier but they do charge you a monthly fee.

Facebook Advertising Expert

Online marketing has become more fragmented so you need an expert for each of the major advertising channels.

You most likely need an expert that specialises in Facebook advertising.

  • Run adverts to reach prospects and buyers
  • Retarget existing website visits eg: those who have looked at certain products or have abandoned their order
  • Reach existing customers across Facebook
  • Target followers with product recommendations

The range of ad campaign options are growing and becoming more complex that only an expert working on Facebook ads exclusively can create campaigns that deliver on your objectives.

SEO consultant

SEO is the number one traffic source for most websites.

SEO is the science and art of ranking web pages in the organic positions in Google.

Most SME and larger organisations have dedicated SEO managers in house as well as hiring an SEO agency to support with the implementation work.

Here are the key aspects and functions of SEO :

  1. Keyword Research – find out what people search and click.
  2. Competitor analysis – find out what your competitors rank for and their link strategy.
  3. Content production – produce content based on research to serve the end users needs.
  4. On page optimisation and UX – making sure you write the page so it can improve click through rates from the search results and enhancing the user experience of the page when they read it.
  5. Off page optimisation and link building – strategies to earn valuable links to the page (since links are the number one ranking factor).
  6. Conversion – strategies to take the visitor from organic search to the next page, a form, a product page or a basket.
  7. Analysis and strategy – figuring out how to grow more organic traffic or fix issues to improve traffic.

SEO is not a skill you learn from a book or a course; you learn from experience of actually working on websites and SEO campaigns.

You’ll find salaries in the range of $120,000 per annum for good SEO experts.

And in this day and age creating your own website and SEO is a must if you want to get your foot on this ladder.

Freelance writing

Copy refers to words that are written for advertisements, brochures, manual, technical guides, instructions, sales letters, sales pages and websites.

The discipline is very broad and to succeed you will need to specialise in a particular industry sector eg: finance, insurance etc

In addition to great writing skills you will need good product knowledge as well as understanding what the user will want.

Copy for an advert will differ in format and length from copy for an instruction manual.

Historically copywriters learned their trade in advertising agencies and today there are thousands of freelance copywriters.

To get started in copywriting, I would start reading its bible “Confessions of an Advertising Man”.

Copywriting business

I would recommend you have some kind of industry knowledge that you can leverage so that you can sell your services to companies in that industry.

If you have a medical background; then target doctors, dentists, pharmaceutical companies and websites.

Starting as a copywriter is a good part time opportunity.

You can register with websites such as Advisable.com and Elance.com and bid for work that people request; so to start you don’t even need to find clients.

The rates from these networks are low; working directly with clients in high value industries is more fruitful.

Technical writer

Think about every piece of software or website that you use to run your business.

Someone needs to write the technical content so that users, developers and customers can use the software.

Think about Xero accounting software, ConvertKit email marketing, a wifi router, an IKEA table, Ableton software or even a keyboard.

They all need writers with product, technical, industry and user experience to write instructions on how to set up, use or customise the product.

As mentioned in the introduction to this guide, look for opportunities in your industry; that’s where you’ll find technical writing opportunities; if you’re inclined that way.

Other business resources

30 other service business ideas

Check out these 30 other service business ideas.

What is a click forecast ?

Estimate customer traffic before you launch your business.

Download sample click forecast

Download a sample business click forecast.

Run PPC advertising campaigns

Pay Per Click Advertising has exploded in recent years as Google and Facebook have expanded their product range.

One area of PPC is Google Shopping Ads.

If you sell fashion or products online you will not succeed without Google Shopping Ads.

Look at this search result for “mens tweed suits”.

The Google Shopping Ads appear at the top of the page with the images.

Underneath are the standard text adverts.

Data showed that 42% of clicks for the search “mens tweed suits” come from paid results.

So if you were to specialise in PPC as a freelancer, get PPC or digital agency experience.

As a freelance PPC expert, target Shopify and BigCommerce powered websites and specialise in Google Shopping Ads as these will deliver the client’s their best return.

Web developer

Here’s where I see web developers going; create and sell website themes and templates.

Jason created MuseGrid.com and sold Adobe Muse templates to web designers until Adobe plugged the plug on their CMS.

I use MeksHq.com and they have some wonderful themes.

I honestly love to collaborate with them in developing some more commercially oriented themes.

Look at Shopify themes; they are all created by web developers and the margins and profits are great.

You can sell through Shopify, your own website and via ThemeForest.

Many web developers are already creating themes and templates for Webflow.

There’s also a huge opportunity in premium WordPress plugins and Shopify Apps for web developers.

Download 47 Business Ideas PDF

Web designer and UX

With so many do it yourself solutions, web design prices are a race to the bottom.

If I were a designer, I would specialise in user experience; UX.

I hired Ben to create a unique web design for a client; he got paid handsomely.

If I were a web designer I would learn Webflow; that’s the place to build responsive website experiences on.

I’d target web agencies and pitch them your freelance experience and portfolio.

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Infographic designer

An infographic is an image that explains complicated information easily.

They are very popular additions to websites and are very useful in helping websites earn links from other websites.

There is a huge infographic industry and it’s definitely an area that a designer could specialise in.

However one of the challenges for designers are the do it yourself infographic tools including:

  • Venngage
  • Infogram

Of course you can create an infographic yourself using these tools.

If you are good at design, target SEO agencies and managers with your infographic design skills as these people will be your target market and main buyers.

They will pay for custom infographic design as part of their link building and promotional campaigns.

Link building expert

Links from other websites to your web page are the number one ranking factor.

And most SEO experts and agencies know this.

A link building expert is a marketer who can analysis a website, competitors and the industry and conceive a link building campaign to boost a website’s domain authority, rankings and traffic.

Here are the 4 main types of white hat link building campaigns an expert would work on.

  • Broken link building
  • Infographic link building
  • Resource page link building
  • Statistics pages

A link building specialist will typically work on a project fee basis or an hourly rate; rarely on a links acquired basis.

Outreach specialist

An outreach specialist works in tandem with a link building or SEO expert.

Once you’ve devised a link strategy and identified the prospects to target, then you need to reach out and communicate with them.

This would include:

  • Identifying prospects on social channels.
  • Finding the name and email of prospects.
  • Crafting a first contact with the prospects.
  • Crafting first email and message to prospects.
  • Managing responses.
  • Managing follow up emails.
  • Nurturing a dialogue with the aim of achieving a link to the client’s website.

Estimate customer traffic before you launch a business

Public relations expert

Before the internet, I worked for companies who hired a PR company to get their products featured in trade and consumer magazines (as opposed or in addition to paying for advertisements).

My employers at the time paid for the PR consultants time and expenses.

PR and editorial features were considered more valuable than an advertisement.

Since I started my career in the golf industry, I’ll explain how PR worked then and how influencer marketing works now.

  • A golf company launches a new product.
  • The PR agent reaches out and pitches the idea to golf magazine journalists.
  • They like the idea of this product being tested with lady golfers.
  • So they produce a testing day, video it, talk to golfers, take photographs and capture user feedback.
  • This information is then used in an editorial feature in the magazine with the aim of influencing other lady golfers to consider or purchase this brand’s product.

Instagram influencer marketing

Fast forward 20 years, there’s a golfer called Fredrik Lindblom.

He’s a Swedish professional golfer based in the USA with 35,000 followers on Instagram.

Being a golfer I love the content he produces.

He documents his journey of improvement, his scores and his journey to the top of the golf ranks.

He also produces a series of instruction videos.

And, to supplement his income, he will feature and promote some golf related products to his audience.

He’ll get a product sample and brief from a client, talk about it and promote links to that company’s product or website.

So, to be honest, influencer marketing is just a fancy modern phrase for PR – promoting your product to the public.

Social media management

I’m sure you’ve heard people say that social media is great from brand awareness and engagement.

On the flip side, awareness is like cancer, just because people have heard of it doesn’t mean they want to buy it.

I consulted with a fashion brand 3 years ago and discovered that 25% of their sales occurred through the Facebook Messenger button they added to their website.

Download 47 Business Ideas PDF

Site visitors wanted to talk directly to the brand.

Anyone can do social media; make an image or video with Canva and share it.

Of course you can propose creating images and videos and getting likes, shares and retweets.

But the more you can connect social media activity with sales activity the more value you bring to a brand.

Create SAAS product

SAAS is an acronym for Service as a Software.

You create a solution to fulfill a need and charge users a monthly or annual fee for use of the service.

For example, SiteGlide is a website and online marketing service for digital agencies to create websites and digital marketing campaigns.

Canva is a SAAS platform to help users create social graphics and other marketing collateral pieces.

They tapped into the needs of users who found that Photoshop was hard to use for these types of images.

RightMessage lets you personalise your website with their suite of tools.

The investment required to create and sell SAAS solutions is huge but the returns can be great.

CRO expert (Conversion Rate Optimisation)

Conversion rate optimisation is the art of improving conversion rates on lead generation and e-commerce websites.

Better conversion can have a huge impact on leads, cost per acquisition, cost per sale, revenue and margins.

There are so many variables that can affect conversion rates so what experts do is test one variable, measure the differences and implement the best result.

This is called A/B Testing You’ll test variables such as :

  • Price
  • Headlines
  • Copy
  • Images
  • Guarantees
  • Call to actions
  • Colours
  • Product Pages
  • Baskets
  • Checkouts

You will need a wide range of in depth online experience before moving to CRO roles.

Again your best starting point is with a web agency or CRO solution provider although freelance is an option.

Marketing personalisation expert

Whether or not you are a registered member of Amazon, you will be exposed to marketing personalisation.

If you look at any products or services they will show you previously visited products.

If you buy a book, you will be emailed similar book choices in the future.

I’ve just visited Amazon writing this article this morning; look at how they are personalising their website for me.

I’m not saying it’s perfect but they know me.

Marketing personalisation for those with smaller marketing departments and budgets is being led by a product called Right Message.

You can show different text and headlines on a page depending on the users’ job role.

You show a different message at the top of a page depending on how you’ve segmented your audience.

I can show one message to new visitors, one to previous subscribers and one to clients.

That’s only a brief overview of marketing personalisation but it’s definitely a growth area and opportunity.

Marketing automation expert

Experts in marketing automation use software to set up pre planned workflows to achieve an end result.

For example;

I set up a workflow that would send an email sequence after customers had purchased my seo training course.

Email marketing consultant

The UK supermarket chain store Tesco pays a £40,000 a year salary to their email marketing managers.

This is obviously top of the food chain salary but email is a major sales channel for online retailers.

For this small online store, the email channel drives 4% of traffic but 18% of their year to date online revenue.

Those, like myself, who have a marketing degree and learned that your most important customers are those that spend recently, frequently and the most.

Look up RFM – recency, frequency, monetary.

But it requires much more than simply blasting out an email to everyone on your list.

Tools such as MailChimp have developed over the years that allow you to use AI to suggest products to these customers.

Email is more than design and delivery; it’s about customer and business insight and having the segmentation tools to pinpoint those customers to send the right offer to.

Ecommerce product photographer

One of the biggest investments an e-commerce retailer will make is in product photography.

There’s a saying in fashion; a fashion picture isn’t a picture of a dress, it’s a picture of the woman who wears it.

In other words, if you want to sell products online those products must be shot with real models wearing the clothing.

Photographers and models aren’t cheap.

You’ll need the following :

  • In house studio and lighting.
  • Camera equipment.
  • A model or models.
  • A stylist to set up the models and shots so they are consistent not only throughout the shot but also across the entire website.
  • Photoshop for editing and touch up.
  • Upload images and match them with the products on the website.

There will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with models, marketing and merchandising teams so you need to have good stress levels.

Stock photos

The idea behind stock photography is :

  • Take and upload your photos to a website like iStock or Getty Images.
  • People search, buy and use your images.
  • You get a royalty payment or percentage of the image sale.

In this case study the author is earning around $200-$300 a month uploading 8 images a week to 3 different websites.

That doesn’t sound a lot of money if you’re based in the UK or USA but it is if you’re based in some other countries.

But stock photography has numerous side benefits :

  • Builds your portfolio
  • Showcases work to direct clients seeking bespoke work
  • Link building opportunities by targeting those using your images without crediting you.

Patreon fan website

I had never heard of the platform until I discovered a fan site through a YouTube video.

5150 fans of this Scottish football club pay the host £1.50 a month for access to the site’s content.

Not a bad little revenue stream.

Patreon as a website has over 6.7 million visits from organic search, according to Ahrefs, so it’s got a huge audience in itself.

Download these 47 business ideas in PDF format

Video production or Video editor

I tried to do my own video production and editing for my online training course.

I’d say my production skills are very basic to say the least.

People buy from people they know, trust and like so nothing can beat putting your face in front of a camera to educate, persuade, entertain or sell to prospective customers.

I started with some very basic equipment

  • An iPhone
  • A tripod
  • Umbrella lights
  • A green screen
  • A microphone
  • An app to record
  • Software to edit and produce the video

That’s all you really need to get started.

Thereafter it’s about learning your craft and improving your production, lighting, sound and editing skills.

Video is used everywhere

  • YouTube
  • Social Media
  • Training Videos

As you gain experience and personal connections you will be able to sell clients on outsourcing video work rather than them trying to do it poorly themselves.

Coaching services and training production

I’ve been using software called Camtasia for about 8 years.

I use it mainly to produce videos for support videos to clients as well as my training course content.

If you were to solely focus on video production you should target SAAS companies and digital agencies who need help with product explanation and how to videos.

Then repurpose those videos for consumption across multiple channels including YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc

YouTube channel

YouTube is the largest video search engine.

People use YouTube for 2 reasons; entertainment or education.

Here’s my view about using YouTube for educational purposes.

People go to YouTube to learn about a new product, how to use a product or to watch a product review or comparison.

YouTubers can and do make a lot of money by monetising their videos with advertising or sponsorship.

You won’t be an overnight success if you start a channel but choose a topic you are comfortable or experienced in.

Even boring topics such as being a legal paraplanner gets 19,000 views and a video about how to apply for a mortgage gets 3300 views.

Other business resources

30 other service business ideas

Check out these 30 other service business ideas.

What is a click forecast ?

Estimate customer traffic before you launch your business.

Download sample click forecast

Download a sample business click forecast.

There’s a couple of YouTube keyword research tools that I can recommend to identify what people search for

  • Ahrefs
  • VidIQ

You can get an idea of some popular marketing channels and the content they produce here.

Another benefit of focusing on YouTube is that 35% of Google search results contain a video.

App developer

I have a client with a laundry and dry cleaning business.

We wanted a solution to take orders and payment as well as handle collections and delivery.

But we could not find an off the shelf app.

So I reached out to an app developer and was quoted £15,000.

The reason for the high prices was that they had to develop the application from scratch.

We eventually customised a food delivery app.

If you research your industry hard enough you will find opportunities to develop applications that solve business problems.

Of course there are plenty of apps such as games, photo filters and apps for Instagram.

There are many platforms that enable you to create an app without using code.

Apps such as :

  • Project Trackers
  • Managing marketing campaigns
  • Tracking leads, customers or employee timesheets

Where there’s a problem, an application could solve it.

Sell online newsletter

Dru Riley sells market reports to entrepreneurs at Trends.vc

He’s grown from zero income to over £20,000 a month with his in depth market analyses.

You can pay for one off reports or pay quarterly.

Use a tool such as Gumroad or Convertkit’s commerce feature to create your product, sell it and distribute it to customers.

Simon Andrews produces a free newsletter about the advertising industry.

Whilst he doesn’t sell the newsletter, he will monetise his expertise via consulting services.

Check out these 30 other service business ideas

WordPress – patterns and blocks for Gutenberg

I am seeing an explosion in patterns, blocks, plugins and templates for the Gutenberg editor.

Gutenberg is a new type of editor that makes creating page layouts on the WordPress CMS unique, interesting, flexible and rich.

Tools such as Atomic Blocks, Kadence Blocks and Gutenberg Hubs spring to mind.

Gutenberg Hubs even enables users to copy code straight into your web page to achieve the layout you want.

When you consider there are nearly half a billion WP powered websites you have a huge market to sell to.

Remote project management consultant or virtual assistant

With so many parts to running an online business there’s a huge opportunity for virtual assistants to manage aspects of web projects.

You might specialise in :

  • Finance, bookkeeping, invoicing
  • Social media management for a client’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin pages
  • Manage campaigns for seo, web design and link building campaigns.

No matter where you are in the world there are companies that need experienced assistants and project managers.

ChatBox business

A chatbox is a little button on the bottom of a website that, when opened by a site visitor, can answer their questions or point them in the right direction; with the use of AI.

A chatbox can be used to sell, support and retain existing customers when you have a small number of people to service your clients.

There are various platforms that you can use such as MobileMonkey.com or use an AI answer engine from a company called Frase.io – no relation !

Bill from Frase produced a great case study highlighting a 400% increase in conversions for an online retailer by adding an answer engine.

Online recruiting

I had a financial recruitment company as a client and found out the commissions they earned from placing one person in a job.

£8500 per candidate on average.

Obviously commission rates are different across industries.

I did consider marketing, web development and SEO recruitment because of my experience in these industries.

But this career or role is not within my DNA.

I know a few SEO experts that have recruitment websites and they appear to do very well.

This web development recruitment website gets an estimated 6800 organic visits.

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Start up advisor and business plan writer

I work with a number of financial advisors and accountants and it surprises me that they don’t offer start up advice or business plan help on their websites.

Whilst I don’t offer either, the click forecasting and keyword research that I do for clients identifies the size of a market opportunity and traffic potential.

Whilst I can only offer the marketing aspect of a business plan, a financial advisor is better at identifying start up investment, profit and loss, cashflow forecasting and overheads required for a business.

Start up businesses need solid advice and a good business plan and many willing pay for experienced, professional advice.

Create a podcast and sell sponsorship

A podcast is essentially an online radio show.

Podcasting has exploded in the past 5 years; the search volume has doubled since 2015.

The start up investment is relatively low; you need :

  • A microphone
  • Recording software
  • A distribution channel eg: Apple Podcast, Spotify Podcast. Podbean or your website

I only became aware of podcasting after listening to Joe Rogan, who has a wealth of interesting guests.

In my own industry, SEO podcasts are fairly boring to listen to and Gary V is too over the top.

The key to podcast success is to interview interesting guests who share their stories, insights, and experiences to listeners may learn.

In terms of selling sponsorship, first you need to build up listeners and a following.

Thereafter you can introduce sponsored slots at the start and end of each show along with mentions of sponsors in your email list and website.

Online training events

A few years ago I purchased a live online training session.

My aim was to learn about creating products.

The event was 2 hours long and the schedule was as follows :

  • The problem
  • The solution
  • A live exercise in identifying product ideas
  • Then printable guidelines, checklists and worksheets to further define your product
  • After the event you received a recording of the video and the transcript.

All for $99.

The host had 200 customers on the live event.

This training was a small component of the host’s larger, more expensive training programme.

I’ve considered this approach with the keyword research module within my training course.

I use Podia to sell my training course but there’s an option to sell online training events or webinars via YouTube or Zoom.

Business coaching using Skype or Zoom

The concept of coaching is simple; a conversation between a coach and student that reviews previous performance and recommends tactics to improve future results.

During the lockdown I started following an Australian golf coach, living in the Far East, coaching students all around the world.

It definitely helped that his teaching methodology was better than anything I’ve seen in golf in 30 years.

But, with experience in any industry, you can coach people using tools such as Calendly to create and schedule booking and Skype or Zoom to host the coaching session.

One takeaway about coaching from this golf coach; the best results are from little and often coaching sessions.

Business finances or bookkeeping service

Take a look at these two companies that are doing incredibly well online that focus on a couple of niche markets.

Crunch specialise in providing finance and accounting support for the self employed market.

Their website gets an estimated 71,000 visits per month from organic search results.

With over 5 million people self employed in the UK they provide the right service to a large market.

Another company to look at is called Ecommerce Accountants.

They specialise in accounting services for ecommerce retailers who sell with Shopify or via Amazon and eBay; providing bookkeeping, vat and accounting services.

There are plenty of other markets you could specialise in and focus on.

For more ideas, check out my guide to service business ideas.

Before you go

To quote W. H. Murray from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, “the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred.