Small Online Business: How To Start Small, Grow Big?

how to start small grow big

Many people nowadays aspire to open their own business and grow it into a lucrative job. They choose to start a small online business because this is the best way to make money without losing much sweat. However, the problem of choosing which business ideas may prevent them from developing further.

In this article, you can find the 10 most amazing ideas for small online businesses with low investments.

1. Small Online Business: Challenges And Opportunities


A small online business is based entirely on the Internet, which means you can work anywhere or anytime that’s convenient. Most online businesses with small start-up costs are selling need-based goods and services that are in high demand. A lot of people have gained huge success with their small online start-ups and continue growing their businesses.


The idea of running your own business sounds fascinating, but the truth is you will have to face many obstacles during the process. Below are some of the most common challenges that every entrepreneur must overcome to develop their business.

  • Website development or app development

Regardless of small or large scale, eCommerce businesses need a professional website or app to build their online presence and introduce their products and services. However, the cost for custom eCommerce website development (developing a new site from scratch following unique design and function requests of the owners) might be over the budget of the small business owner.

There are two solutions to deal with that issue. First, young entrepreneurs can look for an outsourcing eCommerce website development company in Asia to still build custom online stores but at an affordable price. Second, they can take economical eCommerce website development packages into consideration. Those all-in-one packages often include everything the small business owner needs to build their site from website templates, domain, web host, shipping, payment, SEO, to the site’s basic user guide and training.

The thing that differentiates between the custom solutions and designed packages is the limit of customization and uniqueness. You cannot have a one-of-a-kind eCommerce website when opting for a website development package but you will spend less in compensation.

  • Digital marketing

When running an eCommerce business, merchants must ensure that they attract the right visitors and convert these people into paying shoppers. If you can figure out where they are and the social channels they use, you will attract them more efficiently without spending a fortune on marketing expenses.

  • Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks are becoming more common on the Internet. It’s a great concern for e-commerce websites, so small eCommerce businesses must ensure privacy and a safe website for customers by creating a solid security framework.

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  • Long-term goals

Most small online businesses only exist for a short time due to several reasons. They can be outdated trends, emerging needs of customers, etc. Besides, the rising demand for inventory and marketing costs can heavily affect sales growth if your business doesn’t have a specific plan for the future.


  • Rising demand for online shopping

Due to the pandemic, people can’t go to shops as frequently as they used to. This has led to customers resorting to e-commerce websites to satisfy their needs. Running a small start-up at this time can be a head start for your eCommerce business.

  • Access to a broader market

The Internet is a global network, which means even the entire world can be your potential market. It will be the most effective platform if your online business focuses on a specific field. It helps you find your customers and prospects in a quick and simple way.

  • Highly flexible and cost-saving

Running a home-based business can reduce overhead costs, such as the cost of running a brick-and-mortar shop, renting an office, holding inventory, etc. Online merchants can now enjoy maximum flexibility without having to worry about huge operating costs.

how to start a small business online
  • Easy transactions

Another benefit of online businesses is that it allows customers to pay by credit card or other payment methods in just a wink of an eye.

With all of that saying, choosing the right technology and partners to start your e-commerce website is the right first step to ensure a bright future for your business and a sustainable profit in the long run

2. Best Ideas For Small Online Businesses

A. Ideas To Start An Online Business With No Money

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a modern way of marketing that helps you earn income by referring potential customers to specific websites. These websites pay you a commission every time a customer clicks on the directing link. Needless to say, it is one of the best ideas for small online businesses.

How to run an affiliate marketing business?

Step 1: Sign up for various programs through affiliate networks.

Step 2: Create a blog, a website, a social media account, or any platform to share affiliate links with people.

Tips: Put a heavy focus on creative content and attractive design. If you can draw attention from the public and motivate people to click on your link, you will definitely gain more commissions.

Average income

An affiliate marketer with medium popularity is reported to make around $65,000 annually.

2. Freelance Writing

This job includes producing content for your clients, such as news articles, book reviews, translations, etc. In some cases, you can be your own client and create a blogging site to make money through sponsored ads from other companies.

How to start a freelance writing business?

Step 1: Create an outstanding CV, highlight your skills and experience and attach a portfolio.

Step 2: Post your CV on writing job boards and professional social networks such as LinkedIn.

You should notify the employers about your presence or join a community of freelance writers to get job information quickly.

Average salary

The average wage is $25 per hour for beginners. And it can reach $200 hourly for a professional writer.

3. Freelance Design

best business to start with little money

As a freelance designer, you create visual concepts such as images, videos, posters, etc., using software tools and technologies. Similar to a freelance writer, you can work either on your own or for numerous clients and projects.

How to start a freelance design business?

Step 1: Build a minimum viable portfolio

An appealing portfolio website can result in massive client conversions. You can start creating your own site to display the best works you’ve had.

Step 2: Enhance your business skills

Running a design business on your own includes a lot of paperwork. Therefore, you should learn to write an invoice, create a proposal that matches all client’s requirements, and take care of contracts by yourself.

Step 3: Utilize your network

By joining design job boards, connecting to other colleagues in the field, your network will expand. Growing your network is one of the most effective methods to help you find potential clients.

Average salary

Most medium freelance designers earn $32 per hour, which can total $60,000 per year.

4. Youtube Partner 

For the past few years, Youtube has become one of the best platforms that allow users to both entertain and make money at the same time. A Youtuber usually creates content through video and shares it with the whole world. The more people watch your videos and subscribe to your channel, the more money you earn through advertising.

How to become a Youtube partner?

Step 1: Set up your own account on Youtube

During this process, you should decide on a core concept for your channel. Next, you’ll need to come up with a unique name, an attractive avatar, and cover photos to show off your personality. In this way, other users can find and differentiate yours from others.

Step 2: Prepare your content

This is one of the most crucial parts while setting up your Youtube business. You must brainstorm several ideas to build your content. After that, you’ll have to consider which idea can demonstrate your best strengths and skills.

Step 3: Prepare your equipment

Don’t worry if you are a beginner and have no money to purchase a professional camera. You can use your smartphone to record and upload videos. If you already own a camera or any other equipment, that’s a good head start for your Youtube business.

Step 4: Turn on monetization feature

To earn money on this social platform, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers. You can now allow advertisers to integrate their ads into your videos to make money on reaching that level.

Average income

An average Youtube partner can earn around $12,000 to $60,000 a year if they have a few thousand subscribers and above. 

5. Online Coaching/Tutoring

best online business to start with no money

Offering coaching services such as gym, yoga class, or tutoring in various school subjects can be a potential business. You can reach out to people with needs on the Internet.

How to start an online coaching/tutoring business?

Step 1: Make sure you are qualified enough to coach or teach others

To show your proof, you may need to acquire certifications or related degrees that show your profession.

Step 2: Set up your virtual class

If you open an online fitness course, you’ll need to prepare fitness equipment and a suitable physical place to move around. If you start online tutoring, create a room on websites or apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams to easily interact with your students, and other teaching equipment depending on the subject.

Step 3: Advertise your service

You can ask your acquaintances to introduce your service to their friends, families. Besides, try running ads on social media like Facebook, Instagram and follow people who fit your customer profile. This will help you create suitable messages to promote your service later.

Average salary

An online coach/tutor can earn approximately $43,000 per year, which equals $21 per hour. 

B. Low-Investment Online Business Ideas With High Profit

1. Sell Handmade Jewellery

If you have a passion for handcrafted pieces and have been making them as a hobby, it’s time to turn them into a real business. These items can be of any materials, from plastics, raw metal, to precious gemstones, as long as you make them attractive and unique.

How to sell handmade jewelry?

Step 1: Focus on a niche that you are most skillful at

Pay attention to ongoing trends and consider whether people enjoy fast-fashion jewelry or long-lasting, durable pieces. You can then decide which types of jewelry you are going to produce that are profitable the most.

Step 2: Invest in the quality of your raw materials

Quality is one of the essential factors that affect your outcome. Therefore, you should be careful when choosing the source of your materials. Don’t be too thrifty. Try wise investment, or else you’ll regret it later.

Step 3: Market your products

You can join an e-commerce platform like Amazon, Shopify and have your own little store there. Also, building a new website to display your goods is a great idea.

Average salary

The profit margins are about 25% to 75% for each piece sold. Some experienced and skillful handcrafters can earn more than $200,000 per year as total income and up to $100,000 profit.

2. Sell Domain

Domain flipping is another low-investment business, where you buy a domain name for a cheap price and resell them at a higher cost. It sounds pretty straightforward and effortless, but you need a lot of patience, calculation, and sometimes a bit of luck.

How to start selling domains?

Step 1: Spend time looking for domains

This process requires huge patience and good fortune-telling. The more time you spend finding and considering, the higher chance you’ll gain a big profit in the future.

Step 2: Register a name for your domain

Registering helps you provide proof that it belongs to you and avoid duplication. After registering, you’ll need to pay a small fee ($10-$15) annually to renew your registration.

Step 3: Find potential buyers

To find someone who would want to buy your domain, you need to publicize your registry, create a landing page or join a professional forum to widen your network. If the value of the domain is high, you can bring it to an auction. 

Average salary

It’s not fixed and can fluctuate from time to time. One can purchase a domain for $10, sell it for $1,000 and enjoy a $990 profit.

3. Sell Stock Photograph

low investment business ideas

A stock photographer takes photos and sells them to a stock agency. The agency will then sell these photos to customers for their specific uses. This job requires special equipment and knowledge about photography.

How to become a stock photographer?

Step 1: Register on a stock agency

Find an agency that is suitable for your level. Then, create a contributor account where you’ll be uploading your photos.

Step 2: Follow a specific concept 

You should find a niche or have a plan of what you are going to shoot to capture the best moments. Here is a helpful tip: carry your camera anywhere you go to capture unique moments that suddenly happen around.

Step 3: Invest in high-quality equipment

You can start this business with devices you already have, such as a smartphone or a small camera. However, consider upgrading your equipment if you want to pursue this job professionally.

Average salary

An average stock photographer can earn up to $3,000 per month. The royalty fee for an image range between $0.30 and $99.50.

4. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a business model where retailers fulfill their customer’s orders by sending them to a third-party supplier like a manufacturer or a wholesaler. You don’t need to hold any inventory to run a dropshipping business. That’s why you can put more time and effort into your marketing activities and customer service.

How to start a dropshipping business?

Step 1: Do market research

First, you need to choose a suitable area that fits the needs of a large number of customers. Then, you should find out what competitors are doing and learn about their strategies. The next step is to identify who will be your supplier. All of these searches can be easily done using the Google search engine.

Step 2: Build your e-commerce store 

A virtual store that displays your product or service is where you receive orders and information from your buyers. You can build it yourself using e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify or hire a professional team to create it for you.

Step 3: Market your business

You can use paid ads on social media, book influencers, email marketing, or optimize SEO to gain more attention. A great tip is to analyze data before you pay money for any advertisements because it’ll help you gain insight into customers’ behaviors.

Average salary

Dropshipping business owners can enjoy a profit of 20%-30% of each sale. An average merchant with a medium-size business usually earns up to $100,00 per year.

5. Sell Homemade Cakes Online

business ideas with low investment

Opening a bakery shop on the street can cost an arm and a leg. You can bake at home and deliver your products anywhere via online platforms for those who have a relatively small budget. This great idea can save a lot of operating costs, therefore it is highly suitable for those small home-based businesses that want to grow big.

How to sell homemade cakes online?

Step 1: Make sure your cakes are high-quality

To prove that your bakery is practicing hygiene and sanitation rules, you should definitely acquire a food hygiene certificate and invest in safe and standard kitchen equipment & ingredients. One important thing to keep in mind if you want to gain big success is that your business should have a unique recipe for cakes. That’s what makes people come back to your shop. And remember, practice makes perfect!

Step 2: Create a virtual bakery

There are several ways to create a virtual place to sell your lovely cakes. You can try building a professional profile on social media or developing your website. Another easy solution is to join an e-commerce market. As long as it helps you connect to your audience and potential customers, you can give it a try.

Step 3: Promote your online cake shop

If the size of your business is small, you should focus on advertising it frequently to attract as many prospects as possible. You can start by taking appealing photographs, filming attractive videos to upload them to your online store. If you have a large budget, you can invest in paid advertisements. Don’t forget to interact frequently with customers on social media as well.

Average salary

The median annual salary for a baker is approximately $80,000 per year.

Wrapping Up

Starting a small online business even though having little or no money is not as challenging as you may think. It just takes some time and effort. No matter your age, if you have a strong passion for business and make money, there’s no time like presence! Let’s step out of your comfort zone and grab this chance right away.

Read more: Online Business For Students: 11 Promising Ideas In 2023

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