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10 Inexpensive Beginner-Friendly Business Ideas to Make Money Online

12 min read

Launching an online business has some benefits: no need to spend money on renting an office, and more flexibility in creating a convenient work schedule. But the best benefit for aspiring entrepreneurs is that lots of online businesses are incredibly easy and inexpensive to start.

If you find yourself wondering: “What is the best business for beginners? What small business can I start?”, you’re in the right place.

Whether you’re looking to supplement your income, or want to become a full-time entrepreneur, check out our list of low-cost and easy-to-start online businesses. We think this could be the first step to becoming an accomplished business owner!

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Start a Dropshipping Business

If you’d like to open an online store, but don’t have products to sell the dropshipping business model might be right for you.

In a dropshipping business, the seller accepts customer orders, but does not stock or own inventory. Here’s how it works:

  1. Customers place orders with your online store.
  2. Your store sends the order information to your dropshipping supplier.
  3. Your dropshipping supplier prepares and ships your customers’ orders.

The key to launching a successful dropshipping business is identifying a high-demand product, and finding a trustworthy and reliable supplier.

The first can be done with special product research tools like Jungle Scout or Unicorn Smasher. And the latter is easy with Ecwid, as we can connect you with various dropshipping apps, with lots of suppliers all over the world. Here are some to check out: Spocket, Syncee, and Wholesale2b.

You can select suppliers by location in Syncee

Learn more: How To Start A Profitable Dropshipping Business

Launch a Print-on-Demand Store

When you run a print-on-demand business, you work with a supplier to customize common products with your own designs to sell them on a per-order basis under your brand.

Just like with dropshipping, the beauty of owning a print-on-demand store is that you don’t deal directly with inventory. Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose a design you want to print on products (t-shirts, cups, totes, baseball hats, print, etc.) and set up an online store.
  2. Customers order the product with your design from your online store.
  3. Your store sends the order information to your supplier.
  4. The supplier prints your design on a product and ships it to the customer.

Consider launching a print-on-demand store if you:

  • Have a following and want to set up a merchandise store (for example, if you’re a musician, influencer, or artist)
  • Have design skills, or are ready to spend time sourcing beautiful designs from other artists.

In Ecwid, you can set up a print-on-demand store via Printful.

Printful offers over 260+ customizable products

Learn more: Podcast: Create a Print on Demand Store

Become an Online Tutor or Sell Online Courses

Online learning has steadily grown in popularity over the last decade, and the number of people studying online has increased significantly due to the pandemic. While kids and teens were getting used to distance learning, more and more adults have been brushing up on skillsets with various online courses.

It’s unlikely people will forget about online learning when the pandemic wanes (it’s convenient, after all!), so there still will be a demand for online tutors and online courses.

If you’re not a teacher, but have expert-level knowledge in a specific niche, you can offer your services to those who’d like to learn a new skill. You can give lessons via Zoom, or create a video course and sell it on your website.

Flow Movement sells dancing courses

Learn more: How to Start Selling Online Courses as Quickly as Possible

Offer Copywriting Services

The amount of content created online is increasing every year, and someone has to take care of all those blog posts, social media posts, emails, copy for websites, and so on!

Copywriting is one of those skills that is easy to learn, so even if you’re not a copywriter, you can master this skill relatively quickly with the right practice. And with tons of online courses available (see, we told you they were valuable!), honing your skills won’t break the bank—lots of courses out there are completely free.

Don’t forget to set up an e-commerce website to demonstrate your expertise, and accept orders online. Be sure to include samples of your work and recommendations from happy clients.

Sell Homemade Food and Drinks

Whether you’re a fan of brewing homemade kombucha, or dream of running a local catering company, this home business idea can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. No matter what you have in mind, start with studying rules and regulations for selling food online.

Options for selling food and drinks are limited only by your interest, innovative spirit, and imagination. You can sell food for special occasions like birthday cakes, sell weekly meal plans, offer non-alcoholic beverages for parties, or create special sweets for people with allergies.

Paleolista sells bone broth with Ecwid E-commerce

Also: What Are the Most Successful Small Businesses?

Launch a Curated Online Vintage Store

If you’ve always had a thing for fashion, but weren’t sure about launching your own designed apparel, this option is a great alternative to regular fashion and beauty business ideas.

The popularity of vintage and eco-conscious fashion fits well with the idea of a curated collection of vintage clothing. Moreover, this creative business idea doesn’t require a huge budget, as you can source your products from thrift stores.

This option works particularly well if you’re looking for Instagram business ideas. Fashion is one of the most popular niches on Instagram, so consider selling your products there via shoppable posts.

You can also create shoppable ads on Instagram

Create and Sell DIY Products

Looking for small business ideas for teens? Selling handmade goods is one of the easiest ways to start a small business: there are many products you can make yourself from inexpensive materials and without official training.

For example, if you’re interested in craft business ideas, consider making and selling candles, notecards, pet toys, soap, or tote bags. It won’t take much time to learn how to make them, and you can find plenty of lessons online.

Not sure if you’re crafty enough? Some DIY products can be made from other goods—for example: gift baskets. In this case, all you need is beautiful or unique accents, and you’re ready to sell.

Nicobella sells handmade greeting cards

Learn more: 25 DIY Crafts to Make and Sell

Sell Simple Digital Products

Digital products have a huge advantage over physical goods: you don’t need to manage inventory and shipping, which makes running a business much easier.

We’re not saying you need to create your own software to sell, there are lots of other digital products almost everyone can make! For example: downloadable recipes, checklists, tutorials, printables for distance learning, designs for embroidery, or even local travel guides.

Also: 18 Digital Product Ideas For Almost Every Small Business

With Ecwid, you can sell digital files up to 25 GB in size. But that’s not the only benefit! You also get:

  • An unlimited number of files you can upload per product. Upload as many files to your products as necessary — you won’t run out of space.
  • Secure downloads for your customers. All files are safely hosted by Ecwid and are delivered to your customers automatically, via unique download links.
  • Protection from digital piracy. You can set a lifetime for the link, so it’ll automatically expire after a specified period.

Tenina Holder sells recipes as e-books in her online store

Resell Products From Local Businesses

Supporting local business has become more than a trend during the last year. Customers are eager to adapt their shopping habits if it can help small businesses in their area. You can satisfy the demand by setting up a store featuring products from local companies.

For example, you can set up a gift shop that offers bouquets, gift baskets, chocolate, and other products made by local artisans.

The Studio Phantasmagoria features products of local makers

Also: How to Promote Your Small Business Locally: 15 Practical Ideas

Start an Organic Food Delivery Service

This option is great if you have a car and there are farms in your area that grow organic food. You can partner with them to sell farm products to local customers (one more way to support local businesses!)

With Ecwid E-commerce, it’s easy to organize local delivery:

  • ask customers for their preferred delivery date and time at checkout
  • set both day and time slots for when you’re available to deliver orders
  • take into account the time you need to prepare an order for delivery.

Learn more about delivery time picker for local businesses.

Turn Your Business Idea Into Reality

Launching your own small business doesn’t always mean a huge budget or special training — the business ideas listed in this blog post prove that.

Today’s online technologies make it simple to learn new skills and provide a vast variety of beginner-friendly tools you can use to start a business. For example, with Ecwid, you can set up an ecommerce website for your online business for free, without a background in tech.

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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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I’m so impressed I’ve recommended it to my website clients and am now using it for my own store along with four others for which I webmaster. Beautiful coding, excellent top-notch support, great documentation, fantastic how-to videos. Thank you so much Ecwid, you rock!
I’ve used Ecwid and I love the platform itself. Everything is so simplified it’s insane. I love how you have different options to choose shipping carriers, to be able to put in so many different variants. It’s a pretty open e-commerce gateway.
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I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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