The 17 Best Online and Offline Business Ideas For Beginners

Choosing to go into business for yourself can change your life in countless ways. Whether you’re looking to supplement your income, quit your 9-5 job, or achieve financial freedom, there’s a wealth of business ideas for beginners that you can pursue.

While starting a business may seem daunting, the rise of the digital age has made it easier than ever to get your foot in the door. And if you’re not technologically inclined, there are offline business ideas that have stood the test of time.

These 17 business ideas are perfect for beginners, requiring minimal investment and offering the potential for great returns. So read on, get inspired, and take the first steps towards starting your own successful venture.

Top Online Business Ideas For Beginners

Here are the best business ideas for beginners who want to be able to run their newly established asset online:

1. Blog (Or Make Videos) About Something You Have Expertise In

Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge and passion with the world while also making money. It’s simple to set up a blog using platforms like WordPress or Squarespace, and you can monetize it through various means, such as advertising, sponsored content, and affiliate marketing.

If you want to go a step further, you can also create video content on platforms like YouTube and monetize it through ads and sponsorships.

From coming up with faceless YouTube video ideas to starting a personal vlog, the possibilities are endless.

To decide on the best niche for you, consider the following:

  • What topics are you knowledgeable about?
  • What do you enjoy talking or writing about?
  • Is there a market for this content?

Choose a niche that you’re passionate about and create valuable, engaging content to attract an audience and generate income.

Then, it’s time to learn the nuts and bolts of the craft, and there are plenty of blogging resources and YouTube resources to get your great business ideas off the ground.


2. Become an Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketing involves promoting other people’s products and earning a commission for each sale made through your unique referral link.

There are many paths you can take to become an affiliate marketer, including:

  • Joining Affiliate Programs: Join programs like Amazon Associates, Clickbank, or Commission Junction to find products to promote.
  • Creating a Review Website: Build a website where you review and recommend products in your niche.
  • Utilizing Social Media: Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote affiliate links.
  • Writing Product Reviews and Guides: Write helpful blog posts or reviews of products with your unique referral link.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make passive income and can be combined with other online businesses for even more success.

If you want to start an affiliate blog, The Authority Site System is a great all-inclusive program that teaches you how to create a website, optimize it for search engines, and monetize it with affiliate marketing.


3. Teach a Course Online

Platforms like Teachable make it simple to design, market, and sell your online courses on a global scale. It’s one of the best business ideas for beginners who have learned skills in the professional world that others could benefit from learning.

To get started building an online course, follow these steps:

  • Identify a topic that’s in demand or solves an issue for your target audience.
  • Structure your course content effectively.
  • Use various channels, such as social media and email marketing, to promote your course.

Online teaching is a very lucrative business opportunity if you have a skill that others are looking to learn. You can create courses in anything from photography and cooking to marketing or coding.

With the right marketing strategy, you could earn a significant income from this business idea.


4. Sell Products Online With Print-On-Demand Companies

Starting your own small business doesn’t have to be complex. Print-on-demand services like Printful make it easy to sell custom-designed goods, from t-shirts to phone cases, without any inventory hassles.

When you work with print-on-demand companies, your products are printed, checked for quality, and shipped from the service’s facilities.

You can use online marketplaces like Etsy for handmade items or Amazon FBA for physical products. For a more proprietary option, you could set up your own Shopify online store.

This is a perfect small business idea for graphic designers who can translate their skills into merchandise a target market will want to buy.

If you start with a solid business plan, this business is scalable as well, since you’re outsourcing production and shipping.


5. Write and Publish Books Through Kindle

person reading a kindle at the beach

Looking for a great business idea that combines creative writing and entrepreneurship? Consider self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), a popular online money-making method.

Here’s how to start:

  • Find Your Niche: Choose a genre or topic you’re passionate about.
  • Outline Your Idea: Create a detailed outline to guide your writing process.
  • Write The Book: Dedicate regular time to writing, focusing on content over perfection.
  • Edit And Revise: Refine your work post-draft, considering external feedback.
  • Design Your Book Cover: Create an engaging cover, hiring a graphic design freelancer if needed.
  • Publish Your Book: Use KDP to publish your eBook and paperback.
  • Promote Your Book: Leverage marketing strategies to reach readers.

6. Become a Virtual Assistant

Want a successful business where you help others from the comfort of your home? Consider becoming a virtual assistant – one of the best small business ideas for those eager to work remotely. Here’s how:

  • Identify Your Skills: What can you offer? This could include email and social media management, customer service, and more.
  • Promote Yourself: Build an online presence via a website or social media to attract potential clients.
  • Find Your Clients: Target small business owners, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs who need your services.
  • Set Your Rates: Determine your pricing based on your experience and industry standards.

Virtual assistant work is a great bridge to a consulting business or even an agency with time, patience, and improvement as you gain experience and confidence.

Here’s some info on the best virtual assistant jobs for beginners and where to find them.


7. Break Into Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is a good business idea because there are so many ways to monetize writing, from starting a resume writing business to submitting articles to publications.

Here’s how to launch your freelance writing business:

  • Showcase Your Work: Create a portfolio on your website or social media to attract potential clients.
  • Find Your Niche: Specialize in topics or industries you’re passionate about.
  • Connect with Others: Network with local businesses and fellow writers to find opportunities.
  • Pitch Your Ideas: Approach websites, magazines, and companies within your niche with your article ideas.

With patience, quality work, and solid connections, you can turn freelance writing into a profitable career.

It’s one of the best business ideas for beginners who want to work for themselves but don’t want the chore of setting up an entire blog and directing traffic to it.

Check out our article on the best sites for freelance writers to find gigs.


8. Start Buying and Selling Stuff Online

Buying and selling products is an excellent way to make money online with a bit of an initial investment, whether you’re using marketplaces like eBay or creating your own e-commerce store.

To get started:

  • Choose Your Market: Identify the best-selling products in a specific niche.
  • Identify Suppliers: Research manufacturers and wholesalers that can supply your desired products at competitive prices.
  • Set Up Your Store: Create an online store on platforms like Shopify, or use a marketplace like Amazon or Etsy.
  • Promote Your Products: Use social media and email marketing to reach potential customers.

This is one of our favorite small business ideas that can be profitable with the right research, marketing strategies, and sourcing processes. Start small and reinvest profits for growth opportunities in the future.


9. Start an Audiobook Narration Business

If you love reading and have a great voice, an audiobook narration business may be the right small business idea for you.

Here’s how:

  • Invest in Equipment: Get a good microphone, headphones, and audio-editing software.
  • Hone Your Skills: Practice reading aloud to perfect your delivery.
  • Choose Your Genre: Find which book genres you enjoy narrating.
  • Connect with Production Companies: Approach platforms like ACX, Findaway Voices, or Author’s Republic.
  • Promote Your Services: Use social media and freelance platforms for marketing.

This great business idea could evolve into a full-time venture with the right connections and portfolio.

And consider learning how to make money on Audible for an easy way to get started.


10. Work as a Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is a lucrative business idea if you’re good with numbers. Here’s how beginners get started in this field:

  • Gain Experience: Work for a local accountant or bookkeeping firm to enhance your skills.
  • Promote Yourself: Use a website, social media, and business cards to draw in clients.
  • Set Your Rates: Price your services based on industry standards and what you offer.
  • Invest in Software: Use accounting software for efficient management of business finances.
  • Deliver Quality Service: Provide superb customer service and accurate reports.

This business idea allows you to manage personal and business finances from home, offering a unique niche opportunity. Here’s more info on starting your bookkeeping business.


11. Start a Social Media Management Business

Looking for a flexible, high-demand online business idea? Consider becoming a social media manager. Here’s your game plan:

  • Showcase Your Skills: Create and maintain your own social media accounts to display your expertise.
  • Promote Your Services: Use your social media presence to advertise your social media management services.
  • Find Clients: Network on platforms like LinkedIn or reach out directly to small business owners.

As a social media manager, you’ll help businesses grow their brand by managing their social media marketing. With the increasing importance of social media in business and digital marketing, your services will be in high demand.

Top Offline Business Ideas for Beginners

Looking for small business ideas that let you be your own boss without being online all the time? Here are some of the best offline business ideas for beginners to consider:

12. Offer Tutoring Services

Tutoring is one of the best small business ideas for academics who want to share their knowledge with others. Tutoring is commonly practiced in two ways:

  • Offline Tutoring: Offer private or group tutoring services in person.
  • Online Tutoring: Use platforms like Skype or Zoom to offer virtual tutoring sessions.

You can even tutor offline but create online courses to scale your business and reach more students. It’s a great hybrid model with a lot of flexibility. It’s an especially great side hustle for teachers.


13. Start a Dog Walking Business

Are you an animal lover seeking the best small business ideas? Here’s how to start a dog-walking business:

  • Get Experience: Volunteer at a local animal shelter and help out with friends’ pets before you execute your small business idea. Ask them for references.
  • Establish Your Brand: Develop a logo, website, and social media presence to advertise your services.
  • Market Your Business: Utilize flyers, word-of-mouth, and social media to attract clients to your own business.

Consider expanding into other small business ideas by offering grooming or training services.

With pet ownership on the rise, this business idea could be your ticket to owning a profitable and enjoyable venture.

You can find more info on how to start a dog-walking business in this step-by-step guide.


14. Start a Catering or Meal Prep Business

Those with a passion for cooking and meal planning may consider starting a catering business or meal prep business. This small business idea allows you to:

  • Work alongside an event planning business to curate meals for groups
  • Cater out of a food truck business
  • Host exclusive dinner parties
  • Prepare meal plans for families
  • Cater to specialized dietary needs

With busy lifestyles and the increasing popularity of meal prep and catering services, this small business idea has a lot of potential for growth.

Start small with 1 or 2 clients and expand your base over time, hiring support or a consulting business to help scale. Here are some great catering business name ideas to give you inspiration for your branding.


15. Get Started with Airbnb

Starting a bed and breakfast business is one of the best business ideas for beginners who have spare space in their homes. And Airbnb makes it easy for you to find customers with a mere internet connection.

You can rent out a room, an entire home, or even offer unique experiences to travelers. You’ll need to make a few adjustments to your rental space:

  • Decorating: Make the space comfortable and stylish for guests.
  • Setting Up Amenities: Add essentials like Wi-Fi, toiletries, and kitchen supplies.
  • Managing Bookings: Keep your calendar updated and communicate with guests to ensure a smooth stay.

If you don’t have your space, consider looking into Airbnb arbitrage. This hands-off method is great for creating a successful business that creates passive income. Check out this Airbnb Course to learn how.


16. Try Purchasing a Vending Machine

Did you know that Warren Buffet’s first small business idea that took off was a vending machine venture? It’s a great alternative to a real estate business model while allowing you to generate passive income in other business locations.

Here’s how to start a vending machine business:

  • Research Locations: Find high-traffic areas such as malls, offices, and schools where vending machines are in demand and negotiate a space with a property manager.
  • Invest in Machines: Purchase or lease vending machines that suit your niche (e.g., snacks, drinks, coffee).
  • Manage Stock: Keep track of inventory and restock regularly.

Vending machines may require some initial investment upfront but can be a low-maintenance and profitable business. Check out our article on how to start a vending machine business for a full guide to getting started.


17. Offer Repair and Maintenence Services

Got handyman skills and considering a lucrative business venture? Start a repair and maintenance service.

  • Find Your Niche: Provide plumbing, a landscaping business, property manager, electrical, appliance repair, or general handyman services.
  • Connect With Suppliers: Build relationships with local suppliers for discounts on supplies.
  • Promote Your Business: Use word-of-mouth, flyers, and social media to advertise.

This is one of the business models that allow you to be your own boss, set your own hours, and use your excellent customer service skills. Take a look at our full article on how to start a handyman business for all the info you need.

With constant demand from homeowners and businesses, this could be your ticket to a steady income stream.

The Bottom Line: 17 Online and Offline Business Ideas For Beginners

There are many business ideas for beginners to consider, and it’s important to choose one that aligns with your interests and skills. It takes hard work, dedication, and some risk-taking to start a successful endeavor.

But the rewards of being your boss and creating something from scratch make it all worth it in the end. Explore different business ideas, do market research, create a solid business plan, and put in the effort to make it a success.

Tran Danh

Tran Danh

I'm Tran Danh, the author behind Smart Passive Income (SPI), a blog dedicated to online business and entrepreneurship. I started this blog in 2008, following in the footsteps of Pat Flynn, the founder. Being one of the leading business blogs globally, SPI attracts over 2 million readers each month. Through my content, I aim to assist individuals in generating passive income from various online sources. Join me on this transformative journey as we delve into the world of online business and uncover the strategies and tactics that have led to tremendous success for myself and countless others.

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