Small Business

5 Best Small Business Ideas to Make Money Online

Coming up with great small business ideas to make money online is not easy. Millions of people have tried millions of things, and this serves to make the Web a very cluttered graveyard of failed small businesses.

The secret to starting a profitable and successful small business online is to get customers and clients as quickly as possible.

Like seedlings in a forest have to grow quickly to compete for limited sunlight, so online small business startups have to aggressively find new customers and clients to compete for sales and revenue.

This article will share 5 great small business ideas that can make money online and, hopefully, become profitable as quickly as possible.

Top 5 small business ideas to make money online

While all businesses need a flow of income to sustain them, initially, your small business idea will need to make money online quickly – just to survive.

Once you have picked a startup idea, it is important that you:

  • create a high quality Website
  • get up and running quickly
  • create focused, high converting content and landing pages
  • advertise and market aggressively

For each of the small business ideas presented below, I’ll also provide you with some background reading, advice and links to the products, tools and services you will need in order to get started.

You might want to learn a bit more about starting an online business by reading:

1. Hyper niche eCommerce store

Setting up and running an online store is easier than you think. If you know a lot about a focused niche (it could be anything from nail clippers to fighter jets), then you stand a good chance of being able to dominate the search engines, and market intelligently to your audience.

Not only are there great online store builders available, but there are also drop-shipping companies that can manage logistics and delivery on your behalf. All you have to do is sell.

Get started

To learn more about how drop-shipping works, read How to start a small business with drop shipping eCommerce.


  1. Choose your niche market and products
  2. Choose a quality drop-shipper like WorldWideBrands, or
  3. Quickly build an eCommerce store using a well known, high quality shopping cart builder

2. Mobile payment collector

Almost any business owner will regale you of stories of how difficult it is to collect payments from customers, clients and other businesses. A lot of the time, payments aren’t forthcoming simply because it is inconvenient for people to get it done – it’s not a priority.

There’s now technology that allows you to accept mobile payments on your iPhone, or other mobile device. Why not start a payment collection agency in your town?

Alternatively, offer businesses the facility to handle mobile payments if, as and when they have occasion to do so.

To make money, take a cut of each transaction, or charge a membership fee.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps To Implement Effective Sales Enablement

Get started

There’s not much to this small business in terms of setup. Your main obstacle will be meeting business owners and establishing your service. A blog, and online marketing should form an integral part of your overall marketing (i.e. door to door, flyers, etc):

  1. Get mobile eCommerce facilities using Intuit’s Gopayment
  2. Build a website to market your business online

3. Free software trials and promotions

There are a lot of software companies that need to generate new business. They are often happy to offer promotions and discounts in order to generate buzz for their products and services.

In addition, many software companies are moving their software to the cloud and offering it as SaaS (Software as a Service). Why not start a blog or website that tracks and promotes great deals, free trials and free software?

Get started

  1. Pick a niche (i.e. games, accounting software, small business software, etc)
  2. Create a professional blog and write plenty of great content

What’s nice about this business is that often there are free trials for the software you are about to review – this makes life a lot easier than having to buy it first.

Check out Top free trials, software & services for business for ideas on how to get started.

4. Local listings directory & service

Many businesses do not make an effort to ensure that their local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and local data are properly implemented.

But, rather than trying to compete directly with Google Places for business, why not offer a directory service that also provides a local SEO boost by completing business listings in all applicable directories, as well as your own.

Charge businesses for a listing in your directory and the SEO service of updating and managing their local listing and SEO. This is a great way to earn a sustained income as you can charge an annual amount for maintaining clients’ listings.

Get started

  1. Build a directory website
  2. Research all local listing options such as Google places, yellow pages, local directories
  3. Market your business offering online and offline

5. Guest blog & convert

There are a lot of guest bloggers looking to place their content on other websites. By offering guest bloggers a link back to their website, and possibly some other social backlinks (Hint: check out the author bio at the bottom of this page), you can encourage people to write original content for your blog.

Creating content is one of the hardest parts about building an online business, so using guest bloggers is a great way to build it up. Your job then becomes editing for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and working out the best way to generate revenue from that content (i.e. Google AdWords, direct advertising, affiliate links, etc).

While, it’s not hard to set up your blog, it is a bit harder to learn SEO and how to make money from online content.

Get started

  1. Create a professional blog
  2. Advertise for guest posts on your blog, and on sites like Craigslist
  3. Learn about SEO and Internet marketing

There are my top 5 small business ideas to make money online. Are you going to try one? If so, tell us how it goes. Alternatively, add your own ideas and suggestions for small business startups with an online focus in the comments.

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 3

  • Nice post David, for those readers that are wanting to start up an online business without the hassle of setting up webpages and payment facilities etc, it’s worth checking out a service that is available from aradium ( that allows you to sell directly from your Facebook page – it’s a Facebook store that’s really easy to set up, it’s virtually like having your own website hosted on Facebook, and a fantastic way to engage with your fans and grow your business by driving sales directly from your social media marketing platform.
    Your customers can browse, buy and checkout straight from your Facebook page — it’s an amazing way to convert ‘likes’ to ‘buys’. You can also reward your fans with special offers when they ‘like’ you. They can ‘share’ and ‘comment’ on your products as well and it all helps to increase your business profile. You can also create special promotions and competitions to help promote your Facebook store and it easy to post new projects directly onto your timeline, which lets you engage with your fans in real-time. Its worth taking a look at :)

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