Creating a home-based business or finding profitable online business ideas can be challenging. There are thousands of possible choices, yet everything seems like it’s been done thousands of times before.
So with all these product choices, where do you even begin digging to find the gold?
If you’re looking for a new venture, below is a big list of opportunities you can take advantage of today to grow a profitable business in 2020 and beyond.
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7 online business opportunities from home
Millions of self-employed people call home their place of business. Want to join them? Below is a list of online business opportunities you can take advantage of from the comfort of home.
Dropshipping is one of the best at-home business opportunities there is. Dropshipping is a fulfilment model that lets you buy products directly from a supplier or manufacturer and ship them to your customers. Compared to other ecommerce business opportunities, dropshipping has a low barrier to entry. You don’t have to worry about carrying inventory or buying products in bulk. You don’t even have to worry about shipping products, because your supplier handles that for you.
Since you don’t have to buy the items you sell, you can offer a variety of different products, such as beauty, keto, fashion, home, ice cream, wholesale, and more—dropshipping business opportunities are near endless. If a supplier stocks a product, you can list it on your online store with no additional cost.
Learn more: How to Start a Business (With No Experience)
Free: The Big List of Business Ideas
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2. Print on demand
Whether you’re an artist, designer, or ecommerce brand, print on demand is a great potential business opportunity for online clothing retailers. Printing on demand involves working with a supplier to customize white-label products, such as tote bags or t-shirts, with your own designs. The best part? You don’t have to pay for the product until after you sell it. Similar to dropshipping, you don’t hold any inventory or buy in bulk.
3. Sell handmade products
If you always enjoyed making and building stuff as a kid, selling handmade products is a great business opportunity to monetize your creativity. Even if you have the will to create something new but lack experience, there’s a way to make it happen.
Take Josh Pigford, founder of Baremetrics (a SaaS company) and Cedar + Sail (a handmade homewares online shop), for example. What started as a side project quickly became a profitable online business opportunity to stimulate his creative side and sell products he makes by hand.
“I’m a sucker for little things that go on side tables and desks, so I started playing around with some ideas for concrete planters—the kind of thing that can hold succulents and air plants. I pretty quickly figured out the process to produce the silicon molds I’d need to pour the concrete in, and I was set. A month or so after I had the idea to make these little planters, Cedar + Sail was born!”
If you’re not sure what to sell, start by looking around your own house. What’s missing that you wish you had? Is it a concrete pot? Colorful artisan bed covers? Then do some online research to see what’s selling. Are big stores like Target or West Elm selling similar items?
Once you’ve decided what things to make and sell and what seems to be trending, settle on a domain name and start creating!
4. Sell digital products
E-learning is exploding as an industry. Recent studies show that the industry will be worth around $331 billion by 2025, making digital products one of the best online business opportunities for creators and educators alike. Music, videos, ebooks, and online courses are a few examples. They can be held or touched, but are popular amongst consumers because they can download them and consume on their own time.
Digital products also make for great business opportunities because they’re inexpensive to create and distribute. You can make it once and sell it repeatedly to different people without restocking inventory or talking with suppliers. If you consider yourself an expert on a particular topic, you can package that information up and sell it in the form of a one-time fee or subscription.
5. Sell photography
Business opportunities like selling photos online are common. You can sell photos on endless stock sites—such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, iStock, 500px, and Stocksy—or wherever the demand for your type of photography exists.
To succeed in selling photos online, make sure to cover three important things:
- Find your niche. Whether it’s flowers, travel, buildings, landscapes, or fashion, choose one and stick to it.
- Build an audience. Selling photos isn’t a passive business opportunity. It’s a good idea to promote your photos on social media and build a following to sell more.
- Create multiple revenue streams. Don’t just sell on one site. Sell on as many as you can manage to create various streams of income.
Whether you’re a hobby photographer or it’s your full-time job, selling photos is one of those free online business opportunities that can help you earn cash if you put the time into it.
6. Play video games
Video games have come a long way from earning you only bragging rights. Today, you can earn degrees, get sponsorships, and even become an esports professional gamer.
With an industry valued at $1.7 billion and growing, video games can be one of the most profitable business opportunities, if you play your cards right. Revenue doesn’t come only from playing professionally, either. You can earn money live streaming on a platform like Twitch.tv, start a YouTube channel, or even sell game-inspired merch.
7. Become a self-published author
Do you love to write? Have you ever thought about publishing your own book? Well, good news. Becoming a self-published author is one of the best small business opportunities for you.
Self-publishing just means that you don’t work with an established publisher to manage the editing, design, and production processes of making a book. Instead, you do it on your own. With no real shortage of readers on the internet, there’s plenty of space for you to make and sell an ebook or audiobook and turn a profit.
3 internet business opportunities
There are thousands of ecommerce business opportunities on the web. Where should you start?
Here are some great internet business opportunities you can fully operate online:
8. Sell pet products
An online pet store is one of the most fun business opportunities, because you can sell a huge variety of products. Many people treat their furry friends like children and are willing to spend money to make sure they are taken care of. For example, you could sell everything from organic foods to luxury accessories and beds and apparel.
Whether you want to run it as a dropshipping business or sell homemade treats, the pay is good, the work is rewarding (who doesn’t want to make dogs happy?), and people will never stop spoiling their pets—which means job security guaranteed.
9. Sell thrift clothes
Did you know thrifting is a $24-billion industry? Probably not. However, this makes it a prime business opportunity if you have some old clothes in the back of your closet and want to make some extra cash.
With new technology at the forefront, you can take that unwanted clothing and start an online boutique to make money online.
10. Go freelance
Freelancing is one of the most common online business opportunities. Being a freelancer means you’re self-employed and not committed to a long-term employer. It allows you to take your office wherever you go and essentially be your own boss.
With the rise in remote work and the gig economy, you’ll be on your way to a successful online business by going freelance. It may be competitive. But if you have a set of skills you’ve built over the years, or even one you want to learn, there’s money to be made.
For example, you can turn a skill like web design, marketing, copywriting, or app developing into a profitable home-based business.
4 federal business opportunities
The federal government makes it easy for small businesses to start bidding on government contracts. They even offer special business opportunities for women with qualified companies. You can search the entire database at SAM.gov to find opportunities.
These are the most common federal business opportunities:
11. Sell your expertise
Do you have a service-based small business like landscaping or gardening? The federal government has a ton of departments that could use your expertise. You can land a contract for different gigs, including tree removal, snow removal, weed control, grounds maintenance, and more.
As you’d imagine, security is extremely important in government-owned buildings and facilities. From single-guard to multistate operations, there are dozens of security contracts you can bid on. Examples include entrance security, armed patrol, after-hours patrol, and camera installation and monitoring. Now, you’ll be competing against some big corporations, but even for smaller service providers, you can bid for direct contracts or subcontracting business opportunities to provide security services to federal clients.
Whether it’s new construction, electrical, or roadwork, you can bid on contracting business opportunities with the government. This includes providing supplies and materials for new buildings and roads or even renovating old ones. These business opportunities would go through the standard bidding process, but you can also find less intensive jobs like custodial work through sites like Indeed.
14. Equipment maintenance
Operations and maintenance spans a variety of categories you may find interesting, including facilities, roadway, parking, electronics, public safety, food services like vending machines, and office equipment to keep agencies and institutions running smoothly.
Why do you want to start bidding on government contracts for maintenance? Many of these maintenance contracts run on a multi-year basis, which means stable long-term work for your business.
5 other entrepreneurial opportunities
Whether you aim to create a million dollar business or want to build something smaller and more local, below are some top entrepreneurial opportunities to try:
15. Become a social media influencer
Ever imagine turning likes and follows into dollars and checks? Now’s a good time to leverage your reputation as a social media influencer. While it sounds like one of those far fetched business opportunities, it’s become a lucrative venture for people across different industries, including gardening, fashion, food, travel, and even parenting.
It may take a bit of time to build your reputation online, but if you have a topic you’re passionate about and like to talk about, you can make money by growing an engaged audience on social media.
16. Sell coffee
Running a cafe is not your only option if you want to explore all your coffee business opportunities. With the increase in demand for online coffee retailers, you can sell anything from beans to roasters to cups and other coffee-related products.
Since coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, there are plenty of potential customers ready to buy your product. Customers also give an advantage to small brands, which means you can niche down and sell to a specific group of people. People already want your coffee, they just need to know where to find you.
Learn more: How to Sell Coffee Online.
17. Rent your unused space
With sites like Neighbor.com, you can easily rent unused space in your home to people who need more storage. It’s become one of the easiest passive income opportunities in the self-storage industry, which is valued at over $38 billion.
Basically, you become a storage unit for someone who lives near you. Instead of going to an expensive storage facility, they come to your house to store and retrieve their stuff.
For more ideas on how to tap into the sharing economy, check out the video below.
18. Sell food waste
We throw out over $990 billion worth of food per year, destroying the environment and making a dent in the global economy. Entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to turn old and unwanted food into profit, and so can you.
You could sell “ugly” fruit and vegetables at bargain prices in a subscription box, turn food waste into fuel, turn rotten food into insect protein, or even create a local marketplace where people can share leftover food.
19. Buy a business for sale
Not everyone wants to start a business from scratch, and that’s OK. With Exchange by Shopify, you can choose from thousands of ecommerce stores for sale and get right into business, fast.
Think of buying an existing ecommerce store as investing in online real estate. When you choose the right property and maintain it, you can create an income stream you can own and grow without doing the heavy lifting.
Finding the right business opportunities for you
Whether you’re looking for dropshipping business ideas or want to become a reseller online, you can find opportunities to meet your future goals. While you’re exploring all your options, be sure to check out our list of low investment business ideas to find the best biz opportunity for you.
Illustration by Eugenia Mello
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Business opportunities FAQ
What are examples of business opportunities?
- Online gaming
- Print-on-demand services
- Freelance business
- Ecommerce store owner
How do you find business opportunities?
- Look at industry trends and insights. Continually educate yourself on industry trends by subscribing to niche publications, joining relevant associations, and following experts on social media.
- Do competitor research. See what similar companies are doing. Why do their customers go to them? This will help you identify key business opportunities to expand your market reach and create better products and services.
- Listen to your customers. When your customers talk, listen to them. How do they talk about industry products and services? What frustrations and feedback do they have? Use this insight to tailor products for the right audience.
What countries represent the largest global business opportunities?
China, Brazil, and India are a few of the largest global business opportunities. This comes from many different components, but gross domestic product (GDP) growth and population are two big factors.
How do you spot new business opportunities?
- Collaborate and network. This will help you better understand what ideas work and which ones don’t. Your business won’t get very far without a solid network.
- Find a mentor. Look to connect with someone in your industry who has achieved more than you. They will help you get better and identify more key business opportunities.
- Keep an eye out. Business opportunities can pop up out of nowhere, often as a result of your hard work. So be ready to take advantage of an opportunity at any time.