10 Most Profitable Online Businesses

Explore some of the most accessible and profitable ideas for starting an online business in 2024. Whether you want to fly solo, start a small team, or build a global business - this curated list of niches will give you the inspiration to get started.
March 2, 2024
10 Most Profitable Online Businesses

Tired of the daily grind at your 9-to-5, or do you just want to diversify your income streams? Launching your own online business can be the first steps in breaking the chains keeping you from financial freedom.

Whether you have an idea but want to make sure you’re going the right way or you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve identified the top 10 online business ideas for 2024.

There’s no time like the present, so let’s go.

Criteria for profitability

We considered a range of factors to curate the most profitable online business niches for 2024. While not exhaustive, these will apply to the vast majority of entrepreneurs looking to launch a new internet venture in the current economy:

  • Market Demand: How many consumers are looking for these products and services? We evaluated both the current and anticipated future demand.
  • Scalability: The capacity to expand operations and increase revenue with minimal incremental costs. This is essential for long-term growth and a global reach.
  • Profit Margins: The gap between the cost of delivering a service or product and the selling price. We looked at niches where lean business models with low initial investment were most feasible.
  • Expertise and Skill Requirements: We looked at what’s needed to effectively compete in a niche. Do you need extensive education or particular connections to make it work?
  • Competition Level: We analyzed the market landscape and whether it’s been completely saturated or monopolized.


The e-commerce market is projected to top $3,647 billion in revenue in 2024, and to continue growing at a CAGR of 9.83% until 2028. The appetite for online retail is only growing, and it won’t slow down anytime soon.

Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Amazon have democratized access to global markets, allowing anyone with a product to reach millions of customers. While this means competition is fierce, the key lies in selecting the right niche and having a unique value proposition.

For example, Paper Shoot is a vintage-inspired, eco-friendly digital camera brand operating that started in Taiwan but has since expanded globally.

Affiliate Marketing

In part driven by online e-commerce, the affiliate market is worth over $17 billion in 2023, and has seen phenomenal growth in the last 5 years.

Similar to e-commerce, affiliate marketing is a highly scalable niche but has the benefit of having a lower skill cap. Many successful SEO experts today had one of their first breakthroughs doing affiliate work, including Pat Flynn, Matt Diggity, and Zac Johnson.

And the good news is that these companies are hungry for exposure, spending over $8.2 billion/year on affiliates in the US alone. The easiest way to get started is to setup a Wordpress site using a webhost like Dreamhost or BlueHost then start writing about your favorite products. However, you must have patience and discipline to really see results.

Consulting and Coaching

In a global business landscape dominated by a knowledge economy, the demand for specialized knowledge has never been higher.

Whether it's offering fractional or interim consulting services to enterprises or providing personal coaching in areas like fitness, business, or personal development, experts can monetize their skills and experience.

Plus, you can build a community or “online class” anywhere. Many use social channels, like Linkedin or Instagram, to connect with clients. Others use dedicated online platforms, like  Intro.co or Sidebar.com.

Michael Knouse, on the other hand, built a 7-figure business by prominently leveraging in-person events.

Marketing Services

With higher competition than ever, digital marketing services are becoming a make-or-break factor, whether you're a local mom-and-shop or an industry behemoth. The market is expected to more than double in size, reaching $689.8 billion by 2028.

Whether it’s as an independent freelancer, consultant, or agency, demand for services like SEO, pay-per-click advertising, social media management, and content creation is at an all-time high.

Neil Patel is arguably the most prominent digital marketer in existence. He managed to leverage his professional background and personal identity to create an SEO-powered empire.

App/Website Design & Development

Nowadays, having a website is a necessity for any online business. So, new business = more websites (or apps) = higher demand for design and development services. In fact, demand is expected to rise by a further 8% by 2029.

Now, with AI-powered website builders and design tools, like Webflow or Wix, freelancers or agencies can scale their operations like never before. And, while you still need a good eye for aesthetics and knowledge of the latest trends, you don’t need a lot of technical experience to build functional sites.

Lately, there’s been a boom in subscription-based design services. Brett, founder of DesignJoy, makes seven figures annually by selling a range of design services as a retainer.

Digital Products

Selling digital products eliminates a lot of logistics involved with physical products, like sourcing/manufacturing, packaging, shipping, returns, etc. With low overhead and high margins, selling ebooks, software, online resources, etc., is an attractive way to go.

The digital commerce market is forecast to hit a massive $4.5 trillion by 2032.

Another attractive thing about this industry is its flexibility. For example, Money Hacking Mama generates $120K/year by selling downloadable printables on Etsy. And today, most of these types of designs can be created within minutes using generative AI tools.


Despite controversies, YouTube is still the premier platform for content creators to monetize their video content through ads, sponsorships, and merchandise sales. As of 2023, it boasts over 2.7 billion logged-in monthly users, eclipsing similar platforms.

If you don’t want to be beholden to YouTube for your income, you can integrate affiliate marketing, crowdfunding through platforms like Patreon, or launching your own product lines.

You don’t have to become the next Mr. Beast either to be famous. With improvements in generative AI technologies, faceless YouTube channels are becoming increasingly feasible, and profitable.

Online Courses and Training

The online education market is estimated to cap $185.2 billion in 2024 alone. In this dynamic, digital economy, the need for flexible and accessible learning will only grow. In almost every field, professionals need to constantly upgrade or learn new skills to progress.

The initial challenge is to develop high-quality, engaging, and informative content and then to generate interest in your class.

However, platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn enable experts to share their expertise and even run online classrooms with ease. An alternative is to launch your own platform, like Contrarian Thinking which offers financial advise and courses with a community-based approach.

Freelance Writing (Ghostwriting)

This might be one of the easiest niches on this list to get started in. There are many freelancer platforms, and demand is always high. That being said, competition is equally high with estimates of between 650,000 to one million freelance writers working worldwide. So, you may need to be willing to start at a low rate as you build a client base and portfolio.

Our tip is to try and stick to a niche and self-publish on sites like Medium to build your image as an authority. This will allow you to gradually work up to big-ticket clients and more stable contracts.

There’s no shortage of success stories, with names like Carol Tice, Elna Cain, and Jorden Roper all managing to carve out a presence in their respective niches.

Virtual Event Planning

This might not be one you’ve heard before, which means it’s not as saturated as most other online business niches. With the normalization of remote work and the rise of digital gatherings, virtual event planning has the potential for significant growth.

Many businesses are attracted by the lower cost and decreased waste involved with digital events. However, they still often need help with planning, setting up, or actually hosting them.

Team Building Hub offers a variety of events, including virtual and hybrid events with interesting concepts, like virtual escape rooms and online game shows.


Our global, digital business landscape offers boundless opportunities for you to create your very own successful business. Often, just taking the leap and getting started is the part that most people struggle with.

To kickstart your journey, join my Free 5-Day Side Hustle Mini-Course. In it, I distill the strategy that helped me quit my 9-to-5 and diversify my income streams, all while traveling the world.


Do I need any qualifications to start an online business?

Generally, no. Typically, a portfolio of real-world completed projects and positive feedback from client reviews will take you further online than a degree or diploma. Depending on your niche, you may need specific skills or experience. However, for most, you can find plenty of resources online to learn the basics and get going.

Do I need a large investment to start an online business?

No, many online businesses can be started with minimal upfront costs, especially in services like freelance writing or digital marketing. All you need is time and the willingness to learn.

Can I manage an online business while working full-time?

Yes, many successful online entrepreneurs began as side hustles that you can manage alongside full-time work. I explain the process I went through to achieve this in my Free 5-Day Side Hustle Mini Course.

How quickly can I start earning from an online business?

It varies. Some businesses, like freelance services, can yield income within days or weeks, while others, like YouTube, may take longer to monetize.

Join my Free 5-Day Side Hustle Crash Course

In this free course, I'll help you step-by-step to setup your side hustle for success.

Get the lessons that helped me quit my 9-to-5, travel the world for one year, and diversify my income streams.

Dexter Zhuang
Dexter Zhuang

Dexter is the founder of Money Abroad, a website and newsletter on building wealth for global professionals. Over the last 10 years, he's been a product leader, product manager, consultant and coach at companies like Dropbox, Xendit, and growth-stage startups across the US, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. His work has been featured in global publications like Business Insider, CBS, US News & World Report, and Tech in Asia. He graduated from Dartmouth College.

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