Your day job just isn’t cutting it anymore.
The pay isn’t that great.
You can’t stand sitting in another meeting that should have been an email.
So you start looking for online businesses that you can start with little time, money, or training.
Your search turns up tons of ideas -- but few actionable steps, real-world examples, or data to back them up.
That’s why we put together this data-backed, example-filled selection of 10 online business ideas that anyone can do.
We really do mean anyone, too. Whether you’re a seasoned creator with a dozen online courses under your belt or you’ve never made money online in your life, every one of these side-hustles is ripe and ready for pivoting on.
Sound good? Then, without further ado, let’s take a look!
Solopreneur-friendly online business ideas
Side-hustle #1: Resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn writer
You may be unhappy with your 9-to-5, but there are plenty of people out there who are looking to find their next employer.
When you consider that 25% of adults use LinkedIn, there are a lot of people who you could help out during their job searches.
If you have experience in a particular field, consider writing resumes for those just entering the industry who don't have all of the insider experience that you do.
Alternatively, you could help existing professionals update their resumes to the latest conventions, like having two-page resumes or having a graphic resume.
Key takeaway: You don’t have to be a career coach or have 30+ years in your field to be a successful resume writer.
Instead, you need to have a way with words, knowledge of your industry, and know-how to make someone’s profile or resume come to life.
Side-hustle #2: Become a virtual assistant
“Virtual assistant” is a catch-all term for anyone who helps small businesses with key tasks.
Companies hire virtual assistants (VAs) to execute an ever-growing list of duties, which include:
- Social media management
- Managing emails
- Proofreading and editing
- Designing and editing graphics
Virtual assistants’ versatility may be one of the reasons why the profession has an 11.60% compound annual growth rate through 2021 and is popular with small business owners from all walks of life.
As an example of just how successful VAs can be, consider Kayla Sloan.
She started off as a freelance writer and virtual assistant in 2014 before quitting her job in 2015 and developing a six-figure business later that year.
Keep in mind that even if you don't want to offer virtual assistant services in the long-term, it can be an invaluable way of getting insight into running other kinds of businesses, too.
For example, this student, blogger, and part-time VA knew that she wanted to work for a successful blog so that she could see how one was run.
Key takeaway: Even if you’re still figuring out which side business is the best for you, consider offering VA services in the interim.
Not only can it help you to develop your skills as an entrepreneur, but it can also give you insight into how real-world businesses are run and expose you to industries that you never even knew existed. (Sounds like you need a virtual assistant instead of becoming one? Then check out these virtual assistant tips to learn how to make the most of a VA, or swing by this review of the best virtual assistant services to find your own.)
Side-hustle #3: Edit podcasts
With how easy it is to monetize a podcast, it's understandably competitive, as well. Creators trying to break into the field will need the best possible podcast even to hope to compete.
Which is why they could use a podcast editor just like you.
Podcast editors can help creators with any number of things, from reducing background and enhancing the audio to editing it for clarity and length.
For example, Sonics Podcasts works with creators to edit and produce their podcasts.
Similarly, the podcast production company Counterweight Creative grew from a one-person podcast production company into a a business with several contractors and $10,000 in monthly revenue hat has worked with smaller brands to powerhouses like Salesforce.
With how many podcasts are out there, there’s nothing stopping you from niching, either.
If helping other small businesses is more your thing, then service small creators who are trying to grow their podcasts or who have only one season published.
Want to mix your side-hustles with your passion? Then specialize in podcasts about vintage car repair, or data science, or watercolor painting -- if you can think it up, there are probably several podcasts out there for it already, and space for yours, too.
Key takeaway: As long as you’re familiar with podcasting best practices and common editing programs, it’s entirely possible to grow a thriving podcast editing side-business.
Side-hustle #4: Narrate audiobooks and articles
Do you have a soothing, NPR-quality voice?
Then you could make a pretty penny from narrating audiobooks.
With audiobook sales rising by 22.7% between 2017 and 2018 and the average person listening to 6.8 audiobooks per year, it’s a wonder that audiobook narration isn’t listed as one of the hottest careers of the year.
Now you may be thinking -- why would someone even hire me to record their audiobook for them?
Consider this: After all the effort an author put into writing the ebook, they may not have the time to record the audiobook version -- and that’s where you come in.
If ebooks sound a little too time-consuming for your schedule, you could try offering article narration for blogs instead.
For example, Medium publications can include Audio Narrations in their articles, though this narration can sound somewhat robotic.
For lengthy, emotionally-driven pieces of data-heavy reports, there are probably thousands of authors out there -- and even more listeners -- who would want to hear it in audio format instead.
Key takeaway: With the explosion in self-publishing and rise of audiobooks over the past few years, there’s definitely a market out there for authors and businesses alike who are looking to transition their written content to audio format.
Side-hustle #5: Create your own ebook
For all of you super knowledgeable but camera-shy people out there, why not profit from your knowledge by writing an ebook?
After all, there were an estimated 957.3 million ebook users in 2019, with this number expected to rise to nearly 1.12 billion by 2023.
And if that’s not convincing enough, the average revenue per user is $14.30, with much of this revenue generated in the United States.
So to put this another way, people really like ebooks. More people will probably read ebooks in the future. And ebooks can give you a decent profit margin if you’re in the right niche.
Now even if you’re concerned that you don’t have enough experience or anything interesting to say don't -- because it's not true.
You could write an ebook about anything, whether it’s more of an actionable how-to stylebook or something that goes through your personal experiences.
For example, online teaching guru Elena Mutonono sells several digital products on her website to help others grow their online teaching businesses.
Similarly, Shawn C.H. Leamon offers an ebook about what people undergoing divorce should know about managing their finances.
But if you’re not savvy about online teaching or financial management, don’t sweat it -- there are ebooks about practically every topic imaginable.
And if you can’t find one, that just means there’s space for you to write it.
Key takeaway: Regardless of what you’re knowledgeable and passionate about, selling ebooks from your own site is just one of the many ways that you can profit from your passion -- and you don’t have to be the next Stephen King to do it, either.
Side-hustle #6: Create an online course
People love to learn.
In fact, they love it so much that the global e-learning market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.2% until 2027.
Now if you’ve been thinking of creating an online course but don’t know where to start, this guide to creating, selling, and profiting from online courses in 2019 will give you a super-strong foundation.