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In recent years, there has been an enormous move towards online work, with a growing number of workers opting for remote positions with existing organisations, or, in many cases, starting their own online businesses. But how do you know which businesses will work, and which are the best options for making some serious cash?
Well, fortunately for you, we are here to help: in this guide, we’ll show you the best successful online businesses ideas that are proven to work, and that are pretty much guaranteed to help you turn a serious profit.
Benefits of Remote Working
A growing number of people across the world work from home and prefer remote work to traditional employment because it’s:
- Highly flexible
- Has fast-moving prospects
- Can turn into an online business (without lots of training)
Table of Contents:
Best Online Business Ideas in 2023 (UK 🇬🇧)
So, just which are the most lucrative and successful online business ideas? We took a closer look at the best options to help you free yourself from the shackles of traditional work, and launch your own successful online business.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the proven most successful online business opportunities.
1. Blogging ✒️ – Leverage Your Knowledge & Personality
Blogging has long been a popular option for those who want to earn some cash online, but did you know that you could start an online business using these skills?
In short, blogging essentially means spilling your thoughts via text.
Suppose you just saw a newly released film… Now you can share your opinion about it with the world. Post it online, and boom! You’re a blogger. Same with your favourite outfit, the newest hair trends, or even the most mouthwatering restaurants and places to eat.
Part of the beauty of blogging is its simplicity; as long as you have something to write about and the skills to write about it well, the chances are that you can make it as a blogger, and enjoy a profitable online business.
With blogging, you can:
- Use your personality and knowledge to create great online content.
- Spark healthy debates or inform a target audience.
- Share your interests and experiences with your readers.
- Connect with brands and companies – pro bloggers today are paid a very high price to advertise or mention a specific product.
- Sell your own product or service, and develop outside credibility by contributing to other blogs. Guest posting gets your name out there, triggering Google’s search algorithms.
- Convert your attention to income – making money is the key reason many choose to become a blogger. Once you have regular visitors, it’s time to consider monetization channels.
Setting Up Your First Blog
how do you go about setting up your online business and starting a blog? Well, first things first: you will need somewhere for your blog to live. This will be the place that your readers will head to in order to discover your content. To start an online blog, you will need:
- A Website builder – this will build your website, allowing your blog posts to be displayed, and for your readers to contact you if you wish.
- A hosting site – this is essentially the space on the internet where your blog “lives”, allowing you to have a site, and for that site to be found on the internet.
- A method of contact – this is usually an online form or similar, allowing your readers to leave comments and feedback on your blog – this can be very useful for market research and to inform future content.
Find a Domain Name
The first step is to find a name for your blog, and purchase a domain name – this is the site that your readers will head to in order to access your content.
There are a number of options here – you can buy a domain name separately to everything else, and set the site up manually – more on hosting in just a moment – or you can opt for a service such as WordPress, which will walk you through the steps in order, and take care of what can be a pretty overwhelming process for the uninitiated.
If you are brand new to blogging, and simply meant to get on with your own business, we recommend the latter option – WordPress and Wix are both great options that will take care of the set-up process for you.
Website Builder and Host
As we mentioned, you will need both a website builder and a host to kick things off with your content and start an online blog – so why not streamline the process by choosing a host that offers an integrated, no-fuss website builder.
For the big-thinkers looking further down the road to when your blog is generating thousands of views a day, look for quality dedicated hosting.
There’s none better in the game for blogging than WP.
With them, you’ll meet any demand with:
- Immense scalability, in what and how you offer services.
- Immense customizability, for unique branding.
- Ease of use – especially if this is your first time creating your own website.
Just Want a Host?
In some cases, you will find that you have the skills and experience to build your website yourself – but you will still need somewhere to host it, and this is an important choice that can make or break your online business.
Essentially, your host controls your earnings: if your site goes down, or you face technical glitches, the effect on user experience will eventually lose you money as customers are unable to access your site, or are put off by a blog that is constantly out of action.
In short, choosing a web host is the initial step to starting a blog.
Staying in Touch📝
Once your blog is up and running with a solid audience, it’s important that there is a clear way for fans to get in touch – it is important to allow readers to leave comments and feedback, as this can really help with market research for future content, your readers will be providing you with a steady stream of suggestions and opinions to help keep you in touch with what your readers are looking for.
As an added bonus, JotForm’s features are not just limited to collecting feedback – this is a diverse tool that can be used to offer a great number of benefits to your blog, including the ability to collect payment for your products, publish a calendar for your audience to book for your services, or collect sensitive information securely with HIPAA compliance.
Some of the main benefits of JotForm include:
- Free service – no need to spend more money on your blog before you have started earning.
- Drag and drop solution – this is super accessible even if you have no coding skills or experience.
- A plethora of templates to personalise forms and response boxes to your brand and theme.
Promote Your Blog
Once you have got your blog up and running, the real work comes from producing content, and actually getting started with your blog. The trick to success is consistency – you need to be posting regularly, and ensuring that you are keeping up to date with key changes and updates in your field.
There are a number of tools that you can use to schedule blog posts, and this is perfect for maintaining a consistent blogging routine – simply write up a bunch of posts, and then slot them in to automatically post at a specific time – we all like an easy life!
Once your blog is up and running, make sure that you are attracting readers to ensure that you drive traffic to the site – this plays a key role in monetizing your blog. Speaking of, explore avenues for making money on your site – this can be anything from selling ad space to joining an affiliate program, which allows you to be rewarded in exchange for reviews. You can also search for sponsored blog opportunities, and reach out to other bloggers and influences for money-making opportunities.
Use Social Media
The power of social media is not to be underestimated – make sure that your blog is integrated with all the main platforms, and update these regularly to build a following and attract readers to your blog. The more traffic you get, the more money you can make, and this, combined with good search engine optimization, is a surefire way to build your audience.
If you are looking for a profitable online business that is easy to start, allows you to be creative, and has the potential to be super lucrative, then blogging is a tried and tested business model that will set you on the right path,
2. Start a Podcast 🎙️ – Create a Community Around an Interest
Another one of the most popular profitable online business ideas is podcasting, and this is a hot topic; when it comes to online businesses, podcast monetization is all people talk about these days.
Podcasting is all about creating a community and keeping your audience engaged with high-quality, highly engaging or usable content.
The secret is to use your existing skills, in a similar manner to blogging, to share advice, stories or wisdom, and start an online following that helps you earn good money. This is a versatile business idea – you could be a teacher, a creator, or even a comedian (e.g., H3 Podcast), and, make some seriously decent money doing podcasts on the side.
Podcast Monetization 101
The first step in the process is to create your podcast, and for this, you will need a topic. As we mentioned, consider the skills and abilities that you already have – this will ensure that you are talking confidently about something you know, and can make the most of your existing abilities.
Once your podcast is recorded, it is time to think about monetizing it. There are a few options to consider here, and some of the best online business ideas for podcasts include:
1. Create Courses or Sell a Product
You may be skilled in a particular subject – so why not create an online course to share your knowledge? Use your podcast to teach others or solve a problem through a course, and then upload it, invest in social media marketing, and relax as the passive income roles in – this is a great online business idea if you want to keep earning after your product has been created.
If there’s one proven online business model that everyone uses in the UK, it’s sponsorship, and podcasts are a business model that lend themselves well to this form of income. Find one relevant to your topic and audience and create a lasting, mutually-beneficial partnership.
3. Affiliate Commission
Affiliate commission is another great online business idea that works perfectly with podcasts. Check out a brand or product connected to your podcast topic, such as the Amazon Affiliate Program and set aside some time to promote them. Each time you mention a product, there’s a chance your audience will be interested in purchasing them, too.
4. Patreon, Donations, Crowdfunding
Nearly every famous podcaster you can think of has a Patreon where they receive donations from their regular listeners.
Producing high-quality content requires effort and sometimes even money – it is ok to ask your listeners for support, in recognition of the hard work that you put in.
5. Sell Merch
What would your online business be without a fierce line of merch? Aside from monetization, promoting links to your merchandise store can also be great for marketing and promotion.
By investing in branded merch, you will create a group of people walking around advertising your podcast – what more could you want in terms of widespread advertising?
6. Choose a Great Media Host
Just as you need a web host to start a blog, starting a podcast requires you to have a media host. It is important to opt for a top-tier podcast hosting platform designed to make podcasting easy, without limiting your freedom and creativity.
Take Buzzsprout, for instance.
They have one of the most well-crafted dashboards, which allows you to spend more time producing content, as well as a host of great features – these include a new embed player, built-in transcription integration, updated publishing workflow, etc.)
3. Teach English Online 👩🏫 – Travel, Learn, and Communicate
Good at English? Then, teaching the language online can be a great online business idea, and allow you to make a really decent living. Most online schools pay between £20 – £40 per hour, meaning that the lowest rung adds up to £100 per week for an hour’s work each day between Monday and Friday, rising to around £500 per week for 25 hours work – this is an online business idea that has the potential to be super lucrative.
What Do I Need?
One of the best things about teaching English online is the ease with which you can get started – in most cases, all you need is to be a native speaker, and have a laptop or computer. The best thing is that you can do it from anywhere, as long as you have a stable Internet connection.
Some online schools require a BA degree or ESL certification, but this can differ from site to site, so check out your intended school to see if you will need this to get started.
You also need some basic equipment at your disposal:
- Computer/ laptop with HD camera
- Headset with a good quality mic
- Fast, stable Internet connection
Note: You’ll be paying taxes out of your income (given that you are self-employed).
Pro Tip: Join an International Education Institution
If you are planning on teaching English abroad, your best bet is to join one of many international education institutions. Your pay rate will increase with time, and your experience will increase your teaching skill quality.
Recommended Service: EF EnglishFirst ✔️
They specialize in language training, academic degree programs, educational travel, and cultural exchanges.
You don’t need previous working experience or to speak the local language.
Simply sign-up, and if you're accepted, you’ll be able to explore the world and work with people from different regions, all while earning good money.
4. Do Paid Surveys 💷 – Get Efficient, Avoid Startup Costs
Finding the best survey sites and doing paid surveys is probably the easiest way to earn some extra cash online, and the good news is that this is a simple process:
- Sign up
- Create a profile
- Provide your opinion on products, services, ads, etc.
But how much money can you actually make?
That depends on the company you choose, the number of surveys you take, and the demographic you fit. Usually, survey rewards range from £1 – £20.
If you take several per day, you’ll be earning a reasonable amount of cash monthly.
Step-by-Step Survey Money-Making
So, just how do you go about making money from surveys? The process is pretty simple:
#1 Find a Company
First of all, you need to sign up with a reliable company to take surveys (more details below).
#2 Create a Profile
Make sure to separate and fill out your profile for each company you plan to do surveys for. You won’t get a survey unless the company can identify you to fit the desired demographic.
#3 Get Surveys
You’ll be notified via email once the surveys are available. While some are instantly ready to take, others require a few minutes of answering pre-survey queries.
#4 Take Surveys
Once you are set up, simply start answering questions. The nature of these can vary depending on the type of survey and may include long or short-form questions.
#5 Earn Rewards
This process varies from one company to another. While some give you points that you can, later on, redeem for money, other companies will transfer the money directly to your PayPal.
Pro Tip: Register without Commitment
There are tons of survey companies out there, and you need to make sure that you’re choosing a reputed company that offers free registration without commitment.
Recommended Service: Consumer-Opinion ✔️
If you are looking for a great survey company to get started with, why not try Consumer-Opinion, a reliable site that offers plenty of options for surveys, ensuring that you will always have a chance to earn some cash.
5. Freelancing Platforms 💻 – Join the (Powerful) Minority
Freelancers are those who offer their services for money, and this has become one of the most popular forms of self-employment, as this is an online business idea that allows you to use your skills to earn money.
Whether you are a writer, web developer, designer, social media manager, or an SEO expert, you can make a healthy living with a freelance online business.
The Many Benefits of Freelancing
While not having a 'secure' income at all times can be a nuisance, many people believe it's a marginal disadvantage compared to all the pros freelancing has, and these include:
Build a Portfolio
Freelancing is an excellent way to showcase your talent and build a portfolio – you can use the work you create to help you climb the ladder and apply for more lucrative positions.
Little to No Startup Costs
If you are already skilled and have the required equipment for the job, freelancing can be extremely affordable – all you really need is a laptop and an internet connection!
One of the main advantages of freelancing as an online business. You can begin right away. Just sign up on a reliable freelancing platform (more details below), set up your profile and payment method, choose your niche, and start bidding on jobs.
Once you find a client, do the given task and submit before the deadline, and get paid instantly, minus the processing time.
You are your own boss. Freelancing allows for more independence over an office job. It’s flexible and works great as a part-time job.
Freelancing as an online business allows you can make your own decisions; in many cases, as long as you hit the deadlines, you can work when and where you want.
This also depends on what kind of jobs you do and the hardware required.
In freelancing, it’s you who decides how much you want to earn.
If you’re skilled to do the job and can successfully finish each project, your clients will be more than happy to pay you for your professional work.
The better your work, the more you can earn – the sky is really the limit.
Pro Tip: Choose the Right Platform
With freelancing, you can have great job security. Unless you choose the wrong platform.
Recommended Service: Upwork
We recommend using Upwork.
Upwork is the world's largest freelancing platform that connects businesses and pros across the globe.
6. Web Design 🕸️ – Build Brands Through Creativity
Let's not fool ourselves; nowadays, the first impression of a company is largely based on its website’s aesthetics.
And as a skilled web designer, you have the opportunity to build visually appealing websites that will give visitors great first impressions.
While some designers earn more than six figures/year, the average wage is around £40,000 per year.
You can either design for others on a freelance basis, or start your own online business where you choose which clients you want to work with, set attractive rates, and create a personalized work schedule.
If the latter seems challenging, for now, consider the following tips:
Branding Yourself Before Branding Others (How to Get Web Design Clients)
- Build your skills enough to create an eye-catching, professional portfolio. Include in it only your best projects to increase your chances.
- Send out cold emails to those you think might need a new website.
- Instead of just offering them your services, show them what you’re willing to do to help them succeed.
- Don’t charge too much at the beginning, but up your hourly rate a bit every two or three months.
- If you are a great web designer, design, and code templates and consider selling them online.
- Create a blog, post articles, publish open-source projects, and make a name for yourself.
- Finally, as you start getting contracts, make sure to pick your clients wisely. Feel free to let go of those you have a bad feeling about. It isn’t worth your time or effort.
Pro Tip: Use the Right Tools
To create appealing websites, use a powerful tool web design tool and have a list of helpful resources that you're planning to utilize – this will allow you to leap on projects and opportunities when they arise, and make the most of every client that comes your way.
Related Read: Top Online Logo Generators
Recommended Product: Adobe Dreamweaver ✔️
This is a quality product preferred by both amateur and professional web designers, and offers tons of useful features.
For instance, you can view HTML pages during your design process: a “code view” displays the HTML code only for a specific page. A “design view” shows how the HTML page will appear in different web browsers.
A “split view” lets you see both the code and design view simultaneously, and this is super convenient.
7. eCommerce 🏪 – Sell Your Own Product!
E-commerce refers to any type of business conducted over the Internet, and is a simple yet profitable way to make money online by selling to customers anywhere or anytime.
Here are 5 reasons why everyone is turning to eCommerce in 2023.
Fast Go-To-Market Time
It takes only a few clicks to make an eCommerce store go live, unlike traditional retail, which can take many months of preparation: the best ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Big Cartel offer pre-made templates that help you create your online store in minutes.
They also manage hosting, platform maintenance, PCI compliance, and more. You no longer need technical skills to have a well-crafted eCommerce site up and running, and this means that this is an online business option that is accessible to everyone.
Compared to doing it all 'in real life' (factories, stores, etc) it costs relatively less to create & sell online.
For example, marketplaces charge nothing for a sign-up and take a small fee for the sold item. As you’re starting out, there’s no major investment like a physical inventory, shopfront, or payroll.
Shoppers Start Online
People love shopping online. Even if they end up purchasing from a local store, shoppers almost always research online to compare prices, brands, read customer reviews, etc. Therefore, if you have a great online presence, it will be easier for people to find your product, and you can boost your overall profit.
A solid online presence lets you provide detailed information about your product or service to your audience via key product content – this includes important aspects such as in-depth product descriptions, in-store inventory availability, product comparisons, and pricing.
Blog posts can also help provide valuable content regarding the use of your product or service. All this information helps your customers make their buying decision online, and makes your store more appealing than the competition.
Serve Niche Markets
If you serve a niche market, you’ll find it easier to sell your product online. It will open your brand to a larger depth of customers.
Pro Tip: Choose a Suitable Platform
If you want something more advanced that comes with extra customization and virtually no limitations – look no further than WordPress.
Keep in mind that with this choice, like some of the others, you’ll need the best WordPress hosting possible, and maybe even a web developer to create your website, to compete.
(Look out for Uptime in the above list. Customers don’t like to wait!)
Recommended Product: Shopify
While we also reviewed Shopify in depth, there are some great eCom alternatives to consider. For example, BigCartel.
Our article will help you to choose between Shopify vs Wix, but have in mind these things about Big Cartel : Big Cartel is the only E-commerce platform that lets you sell online for free, and is suitable for those selling individual products.
On the other hand, Shopify is a more robust E-commerce platform best suited to scaling any sized business.
8. Dropshipping 📦 – ... The Drone Future
Dropshipping is one of the most popular online business ideas, and this is largely due to its simplicity. It works by allowing you to sell and ship products you do not own or stock. Instead, your suppliers – manufacturers or wholesalers – produce the goods, warehouse them, and ship them directly to your consumers for you.
The main process is pretty straightforward:
- You get an order
- You forward it to your supplier
- The supplier fulfils the order
Dropshipping is an easy way to get products to consumers, and lets you earn a healthy profit.
Benefits of Dropshipping
There are a number of benefits to dropshipping, and these include:
Plenty of Options to Increase Consumers
Wholesale consumers can showcase your product in their online or physical stores, and market it directly to their line of consumers. As an online UK business owner, you’ll be able to expand your market and gain new customers indirectly.
Low Starting Cost
Because you no longer have to purchase wholesale or pay for product manufacturing, you can start selling with little to no early investment. Even your website/store setup costs can be taken to a minimum if you choose high-quality free hosting.
Opportunity to Maximise Cash Flow
As you’re not stocking the product, you pay nothing until it is sold.
Since you don’t have to hire staff or rent a warehouse, while at the same time spending no money on buying products for reselling, you have zero financial obligations.
Come to Market Faster
Dropshipping reduces wait times when items are shipped from the manufacturer to the merchant, allowing you to sell the goods the second they are published on your eCommerce website.
Pro Tip: Automate Your Shipping
When starting a dropshipping business, the biggest challenge is deciding how to automate. Thankfully, there are services out there that will help you get this down in no time.
Recommended Service: Oberlo ✔️
With Oberlo, the most essential tasks are automated for you. Shop owners can easily browse and add items to their store with a single click.
The best thing?
When placing consumer orders for manufacturers, just a simple click will fill in the consumer details, saving you more time.
Furthermore, with manufacturers doing all the heavy lifting (e.g., storing, shipping out goods), you have one less thing to stress over.
9. Web Development 🚧 – Never Be Jobless Again
Another one of the most popular online business ideas is to specialize in web development which, when combined with web design, can ensure that you are never out of a job again.
All businesses are going digital, and almost every business needs a website these days.: and that means that there is a high demand for people like you.
If you don’t know how to build a website from scratch but want to learn web development, there are several online lessons you can take.
Benefits of Web Development
Here’s how web development can help you succeed
- Skip higher education: get paid for your skills.
- 9 out of 10 employers are looking for you right now.
- Self-start: access to plenty of free resources online.
- You will also probably never be jobless.
Pro Tip: Learn from the Best
No previous IT knowledge or coding practice? Worry not. Here is where you can catch up and learn web development skills:
Recommended Product: Codeacademy ✔️
If you’re new to web development or considering learning it, Codecademy is a free platform.
Recommended Product #2: Treehouse ✔️
Another great online school is Treehouse
10. Managing Social Media 📱 – Leverage Your Online Extroversion
Last but not least, if you value your time and flexibility, managing a social media business could be a viable option for you.
The duties of a social media manager include:
- Planning, scheduling, and posting content across media channels.
- Analysing, tracking, and recording campaign performances.
- Finding trends and using these to boost social media platforms and profiles.
- Working with other brands and influencers to drive leads and improve business visibility.
Remember, in order to nail social media management, you must know your target client. Perhaps you focus on design companies, travel bloggers, or media spas. Regardless of what you choose, consider learning every little detail about your niche demographic.
Also, learn how to craft an effective posting schedule, build a portfolio, and grow your client base.
Pro Tip: Make Your Job Easier
Every successful social media manager knows that you can/need/must automate a lot of your work. There are a ton of inexpensive services out there that will help you do just that:
✔️ Recommended Product: Hootsuite
Use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to help you keep track and manage all your social media channels.
It lets you monitor what people are saying about your client’s brand and helps you respond instantly, as well as help you to schedule posts in advance and automate most of your work, leaving you feeling like a mastermind while earning cash for your client (or yourself).
Starting an Online Business: FAQs 🙋
What are the Most Profitable Proven Online Business Models?
In no particular order: Training, selling digital products, blogging, freelance writing, and Amazon FBA – these five have so far been the most profitable UK online business ideas in 2023.
What are the Most Successful Online Businesses?
Selling your own brand, affiliate marketing, app & web development, eCommerce stores, managing social media, and freelancing are currently the most successful online business ideas out there.
What Online Business Can I Start With No Money?
Online business ideas that don’t require any investment include freelance writing, social media management, web designing, graphic designing, SEO consultancy, online retailing, and virtual assisting.
How Do I Pay Taxes When Working From Home?
You don't need to pay taxes in the state where your company is headquartered. You only have to pay taxes in your home state of residence (where you’re remotely working for your employer).
If you're having trouble understanding your tax obligations, we recommend hiring an online accounting service. A team of expert accountants will handle everything and save you time. It's not free, but you'll avoid getting in trouble with the law and additional trouble down the road.
Before you start an online business, understand what works best for you, and consider online business ideas that meet your strengths and interests. Start an online business with no money. Or make an investment, by learning new skills.
Whatever you choose, we hope that this comprehensive guide of the best online business ideas UK has to offer will help you get started effectively.