How to start an online business in 2024 + 5 lucrative ideas

10 MINS
Eunice Asuncion

Owning a small business is appealing. The idea of freedom, flexibility, and the satisfaction of creating something from scratch is why many dream of leaving their regular job and becoming their own boss. 

However, let’s be real: starting any business, whether online or not, is challenging. It requires effort, commitment, and a fair amount of resilience. The good news? You don’t have to dive into entrepreneurship right away and quit your current job. In fact, there are several ways to start building your own online business while still holding onto your steady paycheck. 

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of online business suggestions suitable for both beginners and those with some experience. We’ll also break down the essential steps to get your online business up and running. 

Consider these 5 business ideas for 2024 

Idea #1: Launch a dropshipping business 

If you like the idea of having an online store but don’t want the hassle of storing items, consider dropshipping. It’s a budget-friendly way to start a business. 

With dropshipping, you can sell products online without handling inventory. When someone buys, you forward the order to another company that deals with products and shipping. This avoids upfront costs and the risk of getting stuck with unsold items. You can run your business from anywhere with WiFi, offer a variety of products, and easily adapt to new trends or switch up your offerings. It’s a flexible way to run an online store without the storage hassles. 

Pro Tip: Check out the best products for dropshipping in 2024!

Idea #2: Learn to become a social media manager 

Many big companies have full-time social media experts, but small businesses often don’t have that luxury. Some may not even have a presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Considering that many consumers rely on these platforms, business owners might benefit from hiring a social media manager.  

If you have social media skills, you can assist online businesses in crafting effective social media marketing strategies, including creating and scheduling posts to attract potential customers. You can guide them in selecting the right platform for their target audience. Whether you’re using Facebook’s wide audience, telling stories with Instagram, or networking with professionals on LinkedIn, you make sure that each platform matches the business’s target audience and what they want to achieve. 

Idea #3: Transform your thrift store finds 

Take your thrifting hobby to the next level. Find unique items at thrift stores, give them a stylish makeover, and sell them for a profit. Online marketplaces like eBay or Facebook Marketplace are perfect for selling your revamped finds. With your creativity and eye for hidden gems, this side hustle can be financially rewarding and a fulfilling outlet for your artistic flair. 

Idea #4: Teach an online course 

Turn your expertise into a low-cost online business with an online course. Choose a topic you love and break it down step-by-step in engaging video tutorials. Though it takes upfront effort, if your course becomes popular, you’ll keep earning as more people enroll. Use apps to record and edit your videos effortlessly. If you already blog, have your own website, or manage a video channel, offering online courses can complement your existing content and establish you as an expert in your field. It’s a fulfilling and far-reaching way to share your knowledge and make money. 

Idea #5: Become an affiliate marketer 

Got a loyal following online? Affiliate marketing might be a way to turn your content into cash. It’s simple: you partner with companies like Amazon, promote their products to your audience, and earn a commission for every purchase made through your unique link. 

The key is choosing brands that fit your interests and audience. Once you’re signed up, incorporate subtle promotions into your existing content — blog posts, tutorials, engaging videos — without turning into a salesperson. Get creative, find clever ways to showcase products, and let your passion shine through. 

How to get started with an online business

When identifying what products to sell online, keep these few things in mind: 

Step 1. Identify the right niche for you.

What keeps you on your toes? What are the hobbies that you enjoy doing? What do you enjoy learning about? Selling products aligned with your passions and interests will keep you motivated and engaged in the long run. With the knowledge you have about your passion and interest, you can refine the product more to gain a competitive advantage.  

While an eCommerce business is the most common and most popular type of online business, it’s not the only one. You can also start an online business to provide an app or sell a service. For example, a personal trainer could start an online business that hosts workout videos customers can subscribe to, sells DVDs they can buy online, or offers one-on-one nutrition and workout consulting delivered via videoconferencing. If you have software development skills or know someone who does, can start an online business providing web-based and/or mobile apps to consumers or businesses.

Step 2. Research market demand

Once you’ve listed potential niches, research the market demand. This helps you determine whether your product will be profitable and anticipate any potential challenges or roadblocks before selling them. You can begin by checking social media trends, selling trends on eCommerce sites (i.e., Amazon, Shopify, etc.), conducting interviews and surveys, etc. Whatever fits the bill for you, you can start selling that product. 

Moreover, researching the market demand allows you to analyze what your competitor has to offer. You can use this information to spot areas of opportunity to provide better value to your customers.  

Step 3. Name your online store

A catchy name business name is memorable, conveys what your business does, and is easy to say and spell is a must for an online business. You don’t want a name that’s too long or too awkward. It’s also important to make sure that your online business idea or name translates well to a domain name. You may not be able to buy the exact name of your business as a domain name if someone else already has it, but you should try to get as close as possible. Also remember that .com isn’t the only domain name extension out there — you can also try the extension .net, .biz, or .online, among others. Using a different extension can give you more flexibility in your domain name.

Related: Search for domain names

Step 4. Create an online store

When you build an online store, it’s essential to choose a solution provider that’s tested and proven. You’ll want to choose a plan that provides everything you need to launch your online store, such as a domain, business email, an SSL certificate, and more. 

Selecting a web host is a critically important decision for starting an online business. You want to ensure that the web host you choose has the capacity to grow with your business as it expands, with plenty of storage space so your website will load quickly. You also want to make sure your business is always available to customers — to prevent your website from crashing, look for a web host that offers guaranteed uptime.

Another handy tool that you can use for your business would be MySchedulr. MySchedulr is an appointment-setting tool that allows your customers to book appointments with you. This reduces back-and-forth email or phone tag that usually occurs when scheduling appointments. Your available time slots will be readily available to customers, and changes to the calendar are seen in real-time. With this streamlined booking system, your customers will have a positive experience with your business—therefore, improving your professional image. Automated reminders (confirmation messages, 24-hour reminders, and cancellation emails) can be personalized and customizable. Furthermore, MySchedulr can be used as a standalone solution or can be embedded into your existing website. 

Of course, building an online store doesn’t mean you’ll automatically rank in search engines. You need to optimize your website to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results. With Web.com’s small business SEO services, you’ll have a team of SEO experts to do the optimization for you with on-page and off-page SEO. This way, you’ll be able to dedicate your precious time to your business while the SEO experts handle the heavy lifting for you. 

build an online store

Step 5. Design your Store (or hire a professional)

Whether you want to design your own website or have a website design company do it for you, start by planning out all the elements you’ll need for your online business’s website. Explain your needs to the experts at Web.com (or if you go with another design company), and we’ll be able to help you find solutions. If you’re not comfortable building a website yourself, a good website design company can take your input and create a custom website that meets your needs. 

Take a look at Quickstart for affordable custom website design services!

Step 6. Establish payment and shipping options

Providing plenty of payment and shipping options makes it easier for your customers to buy from you. When you have limited options, customers may find it inconvenient to use a payment option that they’re not familiar with. This can lead to shopping cart abandonment, lost sales, and reduced revenue for the store.  

In addition, returns and exchanges happen when a customer isn’t satisfied with the product (defective item, wrong size, etc.). Hence, it’s important to establish clear and straightforward eCommerce exchange and return policies so that customers can be confident in returning or exchanging an item when it doesn’t meet their expectations. 

Step 7. Kick-start your online marketing and promotion

After choosing the right niche, you should have identified your target audience now. The next step would be making a marketing plan. A marketing plan helps you: 

  • Identify the needs and wants of your target audience so you can reach them better with your marketing strategies. 
  • Ensure that you achieve your business goals. 
  • Set a budget for all your marketing activities so that you can spend them wisely. 
  • Guarantee consistent messaging and branding across all marketing channels. 
  • Track whether your goals or objectives are being met. 

After creating your marketing plan, it’s now time to execute it. You can create social media posts, email marketing campaigns, ads, or a website copy, depending on what reaches your target audience effectively. Don’t forget to track your results as well to see if your campaign is effective or not. 

Another important thing to consider is to be flexible in your methods because not everything will go according to plan. You should be able to roll with the changes as they come and go. 

Step 8. Build customer trust

Exceptional customer service is the key to satisfying your customers. This means staying true to your word through and through and being authentic in your marketing efforts to gain their loyalty. If they express disappointment in your products or service, take heed of it and prevent it from happening again. If your budget allows, you can offer them consolation by giving them a discount on their next purchase.  

You can also provide a customer support team to address customer needs. This can either be through email, phone, or live chat. By providing around-the-clock support, you can demonstrate your commitment to accommodate customer needs and concerns at any time of day or night.  

If you have a social media presence, see to it that you respond promptly to their messages or inquiries. Continuous engagement with customers on social media can be an effective means of fostering relationships with them and building trust. 

Ready to turn your idea into a successful online business? 

Online selling has been popular for many years now. It has intensified at the height of the pandemic where face-to-face interactions are limited. But now, it has become one of the norms of doing business. If you’re not selling online today, then you’re definitely missing out on possible opportunities. 

If you’re looking for a solution for your online store creation, head on to Web.com and choose an online store solution plan that works best for you. Get started today or call our representatives for more info!  

  • Eunice Asuncion

    Eunice is a Content Marketing Specialist at Web.com. With over three years of writing experience, she uses the power of valuable content to not only inform but also inspire growth and success for individuals and business owners in the digital landscape.

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