When you want extra income - or an entirely new career - working from home could be just the answer. Get inspired with these 22 online businesses that you can start today.

The job market has changed dramatically over the last year. The ability to make money online is more important than ever, especially if your regular job has been impacted. Luckily, there are tons of creative ways to launch an online business so that you can not only work from home, but also be your own boss.

Not only am I a full-time freelance writer today, but I’ve also made money in the past by flipping items on eBay and selling handmade crafts on Etsy. 

If you have even just an inkling of the entrepreneurial spirit inside, browse this list for some inspiration and take the first step to launch your own online business.

1. Livestream on video platforms

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Livestream on video platforms

Both YouTube and Twitch allow you to livestream videos and earn money in the process. Twitch focuses on video game users while YouTube lets you livestream just about anything.

You can earn revenue with YouTube Live by including ads on your livestream. You can also monetize your audience by letting them pay to pin their comments.

Twitch lets you become an affiliate once you meet its content requirements. After you qualify, you’ll earn a commission from your followers who subscribe to your channel. 

2. Start a YouTube channel

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Start a YouTube channel

If you’ve got some creativity and something you’d love to talk about, starting a YouTube channel may be the perfect outlet. Whether you’re interested in doing makeup tutorials, you’d love to start a prank show, or you just want to talk about your favorite products, there’s a place for almost anyone on YouTube.

Once you hit a certain level of subscribers to your channel, you can become a YouTube partner and start earning money each time someone watches one of your videos. You can also take advantage of product placements and make money off of partners.

3. Teach kids online

Teaching online is a great side business that can be done before or after typical work hours. VIPKid, for example, allows you to earn up to $22 per hour teaching English to kids in China. In order to qualify, you need a college degree, teaching experience, and a reliable internet connection. You also have to be authorized to work in either the U.S. or Canada.

If you don’t meet those requirements or want to teach in other subject areas, there are plenty of additional online platforms to choose from. Outschool, for instance, lets you create your own online classes for kids, which can be academic or geared more towards extracurricular or club activities. 

4. Create playlists on Spotify 

You can make money from Spotify even if you’re not a musician. If you create popular playlists, you can sign up on external platforms to review music by upcoming artists. You’ll receive payment for each review, regardless of whether or not you put the artist on one of your playlists.

This is important because it keeps you in compliance with Spotify’s terms of service, which states that you can’t accept money in exchange for adding a certain track to one of your playlists. 

5. Get into dropshipping 

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Get into drop shipping

Dropshipping lets you sell products online without having to worry about inventory, shipping, or fulfillment. So the major skillsets you really need are online marketing and sales. To get started, you need to find a dropshipping wholesaler to partner with. Then you’ll create an online shop where you sell your curated goods.

Once someone buys an item, the dropshipper actually handles the shipping process. You’ll pay them a fee, but get to avoid worrying about housing inventory and shipping supplies.

6. Sell through Amazon FBA

Similar to dropshipping, you can also sell through Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) program. However, instead of choosing inventory from a wholesaler, you actually source your own product and then send it to an FBA distribution center. There are tons of sourcing options, like clearance aisles at big-box retailers, liquidation sales, or from bulk distributors. 

Create your Amazon listing and when a product sells, Amazon takes care of the shipping. Not only do you have the potential to get your products in front of a larger audience, but your customers can also take advantage of Prime shipping. 

7. Become a freelancer

You can offer a range of services as a freelancer, all from the comfort of your home. Plus, there are little to no startup costs. Popular freelance skills include writing, editing, video editing, and graphic design. As you grow your portfolio, it will become easier and easier to find clients and build your online business. 

8. Flip second-hand goods

Platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace make it easy to sell used items, whether you start with your own stuff or things you buy at thrift stores and yard sales and resell for a higher price. Just snap a few photos and list your items online.

You’ll also need some shipping materials on hand if you’re not offering local pickup. As you make money, set some of your profits aside to buy new inventory. 

9. Start a monthly subscription business

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Start a monthly subscription service

Monthly subscription services are popular and can also be profitable. There are a few different business models to choose from. One is to create a subscription box, which requires sourcing items, finding customers, and shipping the boxes.

You can also create a monthly subscription service. This could be in the form of a coaching group, meal plans, etc. Get creative to tie in an existing passion so you continually have new ideas to offer.  

10. Work as a virtual assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant (VA) is an ideal online business if you’re dependable and enjoy a diverse range of tasks. Virtual assistants help companies, entrepreneurs, and small business owners with all types of work. 

Common VA jobs include managing calendars and appointments, booking travel, researching business leads, and scheduling social media posts. You can tailor your services to your own skillset and either charge by the hour or offer fixed rate packages for a set of work. 

11. Develop websites

There’s a large demand for website developers, making it an easy way to earn money either part-time or full-time. It’s easier to get started if you already have some skills and a few portfolio pieces to show potential clients. But you can also teach yourself basic website design skills and offer a discount rate or free service to a friend in order to showcase your work to better-paying clients. 

12. Become an Instagram influencer

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Become an Instagram influencer

With an engaged following on Instagram, you can start to monetize your account in a few different ways, especially if you have a specialized niche or audience. You can charge brands for sponsored posts, earn commissions from affiliate links, or link to your own online shop.

This online business idea does take time to implement unless you already have a loyal following.

13. Manage vacation rental property listings

You don’t need to own a vacation property to make money through platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. instead, remotely manage listings on behalf of property owners who prefer a hands-off approach to their rentals. Tasks include handling bookings, communicating with guests, and coordinating cleaning crews.

Some property owners may prefer you to be in the same geographic area for on-site work, but it is possible to do most or all of the work online. 

14. Sell stock photos online

Even amateur photographers can build a business selling their digital photos online. Consider choosing a niche for your subjects so that you can build an audience who comes back for more related content. List your photos on stock photography platforms; just be sure to check how each one pays the commission when one of your photos is purchased. 

15. Sell printed products

If you like creating customized designs, consider selling printed products. You can get started with very little money by using a print-on-demand service. Use your designs to create t-shirts, posters, mugs, tote bags, and more. This is a great add-on income stream if you have an existing audience, like from your blog or podcast. 

16. Create an online course

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Create an online course

If you’re an expert on a specific topic or simply have a passion, consider making an online course to sell. An online course usually involves creating a series of videos. You then upload them to a platform like Teachable or Udemy for people to purchase. This is another online business idea that becomes passive over time since you can have limitless sales from one digital product.

You can make an online course about anything, such as art, fitness, cooking, math, and literature. Get creative, make quality content, and you’re likely to start seeing sales come in.

17. Be a social media manager

It takes some skill and experience to be a social media manager, but you can successfully build your business one client at a time. A social media manager performs tasks like approving and responding to comments, creating and scheduling posts, and sourcing followers. 

18. Sell your art digitally

If you have an artistic flair, there are plenty of opportunities to sell your work digitally. Once you finish a piece, digitize it either by scanning or taking a professional-grade photo. Then you can sell your pieces as digital downloads online, either through your own website or a platform for creatives like Etsy.

Plus, as you continue to build your online gallery of products, you’ll create passive income since there’s no re-stocking required. 

19. Open an online craft shop

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Open an online craft shop

You can also sell physical handmade products online. Research similar products to see competitive price points and listing formats. Etsy is a great place for this type of reconnaissance because you can see how many sales a seller has made.

This gives you an idea of what’s already selling well and for how much. From jewelry to scented candles, there is a huge market for handmade items online. 

20. Start a podcast

Launching your own podcast lets you flex your creative muscles while making money from several different sources. Like a blog, you typically need to grow a sizable following before the checks start coming in. 

There are many ways you can monetize a podcast, such as sponsorships and ad revenue. But if you have a very engaged audience, you can also ask for donations or offer a membership program to provide bonus content in exchange for a small monthly fee. 

21. Self-publish a book

The easiest way to make money from self-publishing a book is to sell through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Both fiction and nonfiction work can be sold on the platform.

Of course, in addition to writing the book, you also need to market it. Once you start making sales, you’ll receive 70% of the profits and Amazon will keep the rest. 

22. Start a blog

Need Extra Cash? 21 Online Businesses That You Can Start Today - Start a blog

Monetizing a blog takes time, but it can be a fun and lucrative way to write about something you love. Once you grow traffic, you can incorporate ads into your pages. As readers click through the ads, you’ll start earning money. 

Affiliate marketing is another way to make money off a blog. Anytime you sell an affiliate partner’s product through your blog, you receive a commission. Just remember, it’s smart to focus on promoting products that appeal to your blog’s audience. 


With 22 options for launching your own online business, you’re sure to be inspired by at least one. Make sure you give yourself a target of how much time you can devote to your new business each week and simply get started!

After all, hard work and consistency are two of the most important factors in building a successful business. 

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About the author

Lauren Ward
Total Articles: 23
Lauren Ward is a personal finance writer covering credit, mortgages, small business, investing, and more. She lives in Virginia and previously worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and in nonprofit fundraising. You can find her on LinkedIn or on Twitter.