Starting an online business is a tempting prospect – but that’s the easy part! The real challenge is to find out which opportunities are specific to your area of expertise or knowledge. To make your decision making a bit easier, we have created a list of online business ideas which shows you some specific examples of independent career paths suitable for various skill sets.

Earnest (refinance your student loans): Same idea as above but on your student loans. There is $1.4 trillion in student loan debt outstanding. When you have student loan debt, it can make it hard to get ahead, invest, or to buy a home. If this sounds familiar, refinancing the debt can not only help you pay it off more quickly, but it can save you money on interest too.
In fact, I wrote a book, Will It Fly?, that is uniquely designed to help people figure out if a business idea is worth pursuing. I’d recommend you read that as a guide during the discovery phase. Thousands of folks have already used Will It Fly? as a tool to help them validate and test their own business ideas before spending money they don’t need to spend. You can pick up a copy at SmartPassiveIncome.com/will-it-fly.
Get-rich-quick schemes and fad weight-loss diets are naturally popular because they satisfy the id while also attending to the super-ego. The ego's job is complete when it sees something like this. The appeal of "fast'' stems from the innate desire for instant gratification, so beware of what seems too good to be true (they often are) when you're looking to make money quickly. Be wary. Listen to the conversation deep within the confines of your mind and do your best to tame the proverbial beasts.
If can't afford to buy a website there are just as many opportunities in buying and selling domain names. The people who do this are referred to as domain flippers. The principle is the same – you buy a domain for as little as $10 and flip it for several times that amount. Do companies still pay thousands of dollars for a domain name you own but they want? Absolutely.

Some of the companies on this list are those you’ll recognize. Dell, still one of the largest PC vendors in the world, regularly hires project managers, business analysts and systems engineers for remote work. Salesforce, which came in at #3 on Forbes’ list of the world’s most innovative companies this year, hires telecommuting account executives, product designers and even upper management positions like regional vice presidents. Xerox, Adobe, SAP and American Express also make the list with their own distinct sets of work from home and remote work agreements.

One of the easiest ways to make a few bucks online is affiliate marketing. An affiliate is essentially someone who receives a commission for selling products for other companies, whether it’s on their own site or through another channel like eBay. The best part is that you don’t have to develop any products yourself, just sell other people’s products.
The stock market is the type of market in which shares of companies are issued and traded between buyers and sellers. A new trend in this area is ‘social trading’, which is a way of incorporating a social element into investing. It could also be described an online trading social network for traders. One site offering this type of trading is EToro, which brings together a community of traders who copy each other’s investment decisions to earn money. If you are looking for a more traditional approach, then companies such as Options House may be an option for you. In case you already have some experience in trading, you may be interested in such types of trading as Forex.
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Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
If you don’t already have a job, you can try your luck with a day labor agency in your area such as Labor Works or People Ready. Generally, these jobs are of the low-skill, low-pay variety — construction helper, mover, retail or warehouse work. Arrive early in the morning, and if you’re chosen for a job, you’ll work that same day and receive payment at the end of your shift.
If you have a knack for creating unique images, there’s no need to fuss over your own inventory. If your creations can be easily printed onto a product, then you can make money. Upload your designs on a variety of websites like CafePress. If someone likes them, the company prints them up and ships the product. You could create unique designs for calendars, books, T-shirts, bags, hats, greeting cards, or posters and get a commission for each one sold. Some of these sites include Zazzle, Teespring and Lulu.
If you hate the idea of writing you can always outsource that work to somebody else. But writing great content for an affiliate site really isn't that difficult. It just takes a bit of practice, and once you see those first commission checks you'll be up writing articles for your site before work, during your lunch break, and when you should be sound asleep in bed. Successful affiliate marketers can be real gluttons for punishment.
Most of them have told me that if I’m interested in consulting, I have to talk to someone at Deloitte. Do you think I could pick your brain on your job and what motivated you to choose Deloitte? I’d especially love to know how you made your choices after graduating from Michigan State. [THE PHRASE “PICK YOUR BRAIN” IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO ASK FOR ADVICE AND FLATTER, AND “MICHIGAN STATE” REINFORCES SHARED BOND.]
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YouTube is the third largest site in the world, so there’s no surprise that video is becoming one of the main communication mediums for businesses of all types and sizes. If you have video filming or editing knowledge, it won’t take you long to build your clientele. Everything from video production workshops and video editing services to soundtrack libraries and DIY tutorials can appeal to the business world. Producing video might be one of the most attractive online business ideas with lots of creativity and challenges.

20. Etsy – If you like to create arts and crafts, you can sell them on Etsy.It’s completely free to open an Etsy store. You simply sign up, post pictures of your creations and starting selling. You can choose your payment option, but PayPal is generally the easiest. Etsy makes it easy to sell and keep track of your inventory. There is a small listing fee and they take 3.5% of every sale you make.


I didn’t collect an email list when I built GreenExamAcademy.com or when I started SmartPassiveIncome.com in 2008. That was a huge mistake. It does cost money to build an email list, but it’s worth every penny. I recommend using ConvertKit for this. They have really good pricing, and you pay more as you grow. By far, it’s the best service out there. On SPI TV Ep. 28, I did a full ConvertKit demo you can check out if you’re interested! [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]
I didn’t collect an email list when I built GreenExamAcademy.com or when I started SmartPassiveIncome.com in 2008. That was a huge mistake. It does cost money to build an email list, but it’s worth every penny. I recommend using ConvertKit for this. They have really good pricing, and you pay more as you grow. By far, it’s the best service out there. On SPI TV Ep. 28, I did a full ConvertKit demo you can check out if you’re interested! [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]

The benefit to freelancing is that you can take a skill you already have and turn it into a business. You know how to provide the service, so all you need to learn is how to market it. If you're known for your skill, finding clients can be easy. You can turn your former boss into a client, access your network for referrals and more. But if you have trouble, the freelance sites can be a good source to jump-start your business. 


Through this experience, one thing I learned is that development, and the selling of the product you develop, takes time and money. This is a lesson I took to heart when I built another software company, SPI Labs, with my partner Matt Gartland. SPI Labs is behind the Smart Podcast Player, which was a significant undertaking that started out as a custom solution for AskPat and eventually became a successful WordPress plugin used by thousands of fellow podcasters.
How to Get It: Check out K12 (K12.com) and Connections Academy (ConnectionsAcademy.com). Both organizations offer various benefits—including health insurance, retirement savings accounts and paid time off—depending on where you live. As in any job where you work with kids, there will be a background and reference check as well as interviews. You may also need to be licensed to teach in the state where the students reside.

Formatting is used to make documents appear more professional and visually appealing for a reader. This task involves selecting an appropriate font for plain text (headings, subheadings paragraphs, etc.), choosing the colour of the font, dividing texts into paragraphs, bullet points or numbering, headers and footers, writing quotations in the right way and, if need be, adding bibliographic references.
People with disabilities often face many challenges in their regular every day lives. The things we all take for granted the disabled struggle with everyday. One of the biggest obstacles the disabled job seeker faces is locating work from home jobs. Actually it's an obstacle we all have but the disabled are way more disadvantaged in this respect. So are there work at home options available to people with disabilities? We explored this very question and came up with some interesting findings.
Noticeably absent from my list is “blogging”. I enjoy blogging and sharing with readers ways to save money, inspiring success stories and of course geek culture. However, blogging is not the path to quick money online. Despite what many bloggers and peddlers of courses may suggest, blogging is very hard work and it takes a sizable audience to make even a modest return.
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After listening to your show, I found a lead to my first side hustle. For my wife’s program and mine, we are required to have CPR. We took our class to meet these requirements, and I talked with our instructor who passed my name to the owner letting him know I was curious about becoming an instructor. I was contacted about certifying myself to teach classes! – John S.
And while you’ve probably heard of selling sperm or eggs, don’t get your hopes up: Yes, the young and the healthy can sometimes earn good money as sperm or egg donors, but such opportunities require extensive screenings and long-term commitments. Donating blood (sans plasma), meanwhile, is a great and altruistic thing to do, but you generally won’t get money for it.
Owning a “real” business means you need to think about bank loans or financing, leases, maintaining inventory, business insurance, finding staff, training staff, etc. You then need to factor in finding a prime location for your business. If you don't have enough footfall then you can expect to be shutting up shop in as little as a few months. In fact, 50% of small brick-and-mortar businesses fail within their first 3 years.
Check with your local bank to see if they're giving away cash bonuses for opening up accounts. Banks run promotions like this all the time, so grab some real cash quickly if you're in need. It won't break the bank (no pun intended) but it will give you a quick $50 or $100 -- maybe even more -- when you really need it. You might need to deposit a minimum amount of cash (usually in the thousands) in order to qualify for these types of accounts (but not always).
#24 – Magoosh – If you are good at GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, SAT, and ACT, and tests, Magoosh is looking to hire online test prep experts to help students prepare for these papers. As a requirement, you must be an experienced BA or BS holder with high scores in GRE, SAT, GMAT. The standard pay for weekdays is $20 an hour and shoots up to $25 an hour over the weekends.
If cooking is one of your personal passions, there are dozens of opportunities to turn it into a decent business venture. You can start by setting up a catering website, experimenting with pop-up food stalls and local food markets, or joining platforms like MenuNextDoor that encourage cooking enthusiasts to squeeze some money out of their passion. And if you’re not camera-shy, you can teach people how to cook special meals by selling online classes. 

Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others.  If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.

For a deeper look into this idea, I recommend checking out the case study in Will It Fly? on Noah Kagan, who is really detailed and transparent about starting his business. He validated a beef jerky subscription company (yum!), which proved to be a unique and inspiring example of determining the costs of items before starting a business. He didn’t pay for anything up front; he was just smart about asking: how much does this cost, and how much money do I need to reach my goal? His goal was to validate his idea by making $1,000 profit in twenty-four hours, and that’s exactly what he was able to do.
What It Is: Think Mary Kay (cosmetics), Pampered Chef (kitchenware), or Rodan + Fields (skincare)—over time, you build a base of clients to whom you sell a company's wares. "There are several reasons why I decided to become a consultant," says Rodan + Fields independent consultant Debbie Royer. "I had seen how much of a blessing the business had been to a friend of mine and my sister-in-law. Plus, everything can be done from my phone, and being a mom to a preschooler and an infant I don't have a lot of extra time to be sitting at a computer."
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