There you have it – a  comprehensive guide to the best online businesses to start this year. We deliberately didn't cover ideas like app development or IT support because they require specialized skills. That's why we only provided you with businesses you can start with very little money. In fact, you can even start some of them with very little knowledge.
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you a decent chunk of change for the low-maintenance, borderline mindless task of completing surveys. Companies want to understand consumers better, and one way they do that is by compensating survey-takers (a.k.a. you). Most surveys pay between $0.50 and $1.25, and many of them take less than 5 minutes to do. You can read our full Survey Junkie review for more info.

Launching and building a vacation rental business might require some sweat equity along with the right turnkey software solution to help you keep things organized as bookings ramp up, but if you have an acute attention to detail, then this is by far one of the best businesses you can start online. Of course, this does operate in the real world, but your web presence and marketing skills are really what define this business and helps it to succeed.
Sell blood or donate plasma. Plasma is a component of blood, and the process of extracting it is similar to donating blood: your blood is drawn, the plasma is separated, and the red blood cells are returned to your body. Laws may not technically permit you to sell your plasma, but you can be compensated for your time spent donating. In the United States, you can make about $200 a month by registering with a plasma center near you.[10][11]
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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.
In short, consulting usually means providing others with expert advice. Therefore, to succeed as a consultant, you often need to have a degree or some other type of professional certification from a professional body in the field of your choice. To offer your services, you can use some of the freelancer websites mentioned in the ‘Writing’ section or set up your own. Below we list the most common types of consulting services.
Some people just seem to intuitively know more than others – they don’t get involved in destructive relationships or suffer from loss of self-knowledge. If you can relate to that description and feel your relationships have been fairly happy and stable, then maybe you’re one of them. You’ll need to invest in relevant workshops and books, get knowledgeable and certified before you can start coaching others, but it’s a fascinating business idea that will reward you both financially and morally.

I know that in the ecommerce and physical product world, there are a lot of costs up front, which vary depending on the product. Sometimes you’re going to have to spend a significant amount of money up front to pay for a mold, like Bret Miller did with his product Brik Book, which is a physical product with a specific shape that needs to be reproduced on a large scale. The mold itself could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. In this case, a crowdfunding campaign could be an excellent option to cover those costs. Listen to Bret talk about the story of Brik Book on SPI 217.
Sell scavenged valuables. If you have a metal detector, or even just a good eye, go to public places where people are likely to drop something unnoticed (such as parks, beaches, and shopping areas), and look for money, jewelry and other valuable goods. This method isn’t very reliable, but you just might get lucky and be able to find something you can sell quickly for cash.
What It Is: Transcription essentially involves you listening to audio files and typing out what you hear. Easy enough, right? Companies usually hire transcriptionists without much experience, so some job postings might only require you to have a computer and keyboard to get started. Transcription jobs can vary from transcribing a college lecture to a doctor's medical dictation, while most companies allow you to make your own schedule.
Also keep in mind that communication with a telecommuting team requires an extra layer of crystal clear clarity. Since almost everything is done via email (and there are no facial or body clues to read), you’ll need to make sure that you mean what you, um, type. I’ve found that shorter, more succinct sentences go a lot farther than long-winded soliloquies.
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I know that in the ecommerce and physical product world, there are a lot of costs up front, which vary depending on the product. Sometimes you’re going to have to spend a significant amount of money up front to pay for a mold, like Bret Miller did with his product Brik Book, which is a physical product with a specific shape that needs to be reproduced on a large scale. The mold itself could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. In this case, a crowdfunding campaign could be an excellent option to cover those costs. Listen to Bret talk about the story of Brik Book on SPI 217.
As an Instacart personal grocery shopper, you will actually be doing the grocery shopping yourself (so don’t crush anyone’s avocados!). Your compensation depends on several factors, like the average size of your orders and average number of miles driven per trip. You can also get tips in addition to the pay that comes directly from Instacart (most people report an average earnings rate of $15 per hour).

It wasn’t until 2010, two full years after my initial small investments, when I spent a bit more money for one of the best investments you can make in your business: building an email list. The Email Service Provider (ESP) I used at  the time was Aweber, which cost me $194 per year to start (that’s only about $16 per month). Once my email list grew though, the costs increased based on the number of subscribers I had: 26,000 subscribers cost me $181 per month. Aside from the costs, which actually are pretty standard, Aweber didn’t have some of the features I wanted, so I moved on.
As a ghostwriter, you will be provided with the basic outline of a piece which you will then author in someone else’s name. This type of writing service is used to produce a wide range of materials in different fields. For instance, in literature ghostwriters write books, manuscripts, reports, white papers, etc. In journalism, they create articles, blog posts or feature stories. The theatre and film industries use ghostwriters to produce screenplays, scripts or even lyrics for songs.
Online shoppers are getting more and more conscientious about their choices, and especially so when it comes to beauty products. Running a beauty shop that’s built on strong ethos and values that resonate with nature and animal lovers is one of the hottest online business ideas right now. Tropic Skin Care seems to be doing a great job at connecting with these shoppers.

By building an extensive following, this will allow you to gain profit by attracting key advertisers or get commissions by promoting other brand products (think affiliate). Blogging is big business; just ask Heather from Dooce.com. She’s a mom that blogs daily about her children and pets and has successfully turned her daily adventures into a very lucrative business by simply making money blogging. One of my favourite ways to make money from a blog is by creating your own online course.


Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out these tasks? Maybe it's time to put those skills to good use by becoming an online personal assistant or task manager. Companies like TaskRabbit or Zirtual allow you to sign up for tasks you want to complete — including data research, virtual assistant or running errands — and begin building clientele.
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.
To work in customer service, it is important that you have a noise-free environment so that you can listen to customers and respond in the appropriate way. One basic requirement for this type of position is a landline phone – not VOIPs (voice over Internet phone service) or cell phones. Some companies listed will hire you as an independent contractor, so you will be responsible for your own taxes. Businesses that provide home-based customer support opportunities include Arise and LiveOps.
What It Is: Transcription essentially involves you listening to audio files and typing out what you hear. Easy enough, right? Companies usually hire transcriptionists without much experience, so some job postings might only require you to have a computer and keyboard to get started. Transcription jobs can vary from transcribing a college lecture to a doctor's medical dictation, while most companies allow you to make your own schedule.
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