5 Easy and Low-Cost Online Businesses You Can Start Today

5 Easy and Low-Cost Online Businesses You Can Start Today
Image by Ian Scheider on Unsplash

Many people want to own and run a business because it promises financial security and independence. However, opening an e-commerce shop is arguably easier than a brick-and-mortar store. It’s relatively cheaper too because you don’t need an actual physical location to start selling products.

The timing has never been better now. Advances in technology and changes in consumer behavior brought about by the pandemic have resulted in the rise of online businesses.

Shoppers now go online to shop for more than just groceries, take-out food, and home supplies. Everything from clothes to courses can now be sold and bought off the internet.

Easy and Cost-Effective Business Ideas

There are plenty of options available to would-be entrepreneurs as far as business ideas go. So much so that it can be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t know where and how to begin.

This article will help you narrow your search by providing information on low-cost ideas proven to work even for beginners.


If you have a writing background with a good eye for detail, consider working as a proofreader.

Proofreading deals with reading written work and marking all errors. Typically, you’ll be asked to follow a style guide as a reference when spotting these mistakes. You’ll have to correct spelling, punctuation, and errors in grammar. You will also need to check for consistency in the text.

It should be emphasized that proofreading differs from editing in that you don’t need to edit the mistakes but leave them as suggestions. The writer or editor will decide how to implement your suggestions and improve the copy.

Examples of written content that require proofreading include the following:

  • E-books
  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Academic papers
  • Business documents

Millions of online content are created every day. Statistics show that 7.5 million blog posts are published daily. And that’s just one type of content, so there is a great need for proofreading services.

If you are someone who has really strong hold on a certain language, your proofreading services can be used for correcting translated scanned documents, Translated Images and more.

To get started as a proofreader, you can create an account on Fiverr and look for clients there. Remember to brush up on your grammar and language skills before working on your first proofreading assignment.

Image by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Freelance Researching

Freelance researching is one of those online business ideas that let you work on your own terms. Becoming a web researcher is relatively easy.

You don’t need to be a talented or experienced writer to do it, although being one is definitely an advantage. You just need to be detail-oriented and know how to use the tools available to find what you need.

Companies differ in their research needs. But here are some tasks you might be expected to accomplish:

  • Market research
  • Academic research
  • Research for advertising professionals or digital advertising agencies
  • Put together a dossier on a competitor
  • Answer technical questions on forums
  • Analyze statistics to point out trends

Becoming a freelance researcher doesn’t require any special preparation. Search engines like Google will be the main tool you’ll use to do this work. However, it would be good to look up and learn about other types of research software that might come in handy.

It’s also a good idea to focus on a niche in which you are an expert. This will increase your chances of getting hired and landing clients more frequently.

Offer Transcription Services

Transcription work is another option that doesn’t require background knowledge or experience. You can become a transcriptionist if you’re a fast typer with sharp hearing.

Offering transcription services is a flexible business model. Like online researchers, transcriptionists can work at their own pace. And if you’ve spent years doing it and have amassed a number of regular clients, you can scale your business by hiring other people to transcribe content while you focus on core tasks like managing staff and growing clientele.

Transcription services can take on different forms:

  • Transcribe audio interviews for reporters.
  • Transcribe medical journals and literature.
  • Create captions for TV shows and videos.
  • Develop transcribed versions of podcasts.

As with accepting research work, it is important to pick a niche to focus on as you begin your career as a transcriptionist.

Do you have a nursing background and would be focusing on medical transcription? Are you a law student who intends to accept legal transcription work? Or would you rather focus on offering general transcription services?

Specializing in a particular area allows you to get better at what you do and charge a higher fee in the future. After picking a niche, use project management software to organize your process. Get a time tracker app too.

You might also want to join online groups and forums specifically for those who are doing freelance transcription work. These will help you build your network, get leads, and ask questions in a supportive environment and grow as a professional.

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Do Voiceover Work

Much of digital content depends on video production. Brands advertising online often use videos to promote their products and services, particularly on social media.

Voiceover work is another great business idea because almost all videos produced for brands need voiceovers.

Starting a business doing voiceovers is affordable and something you can begin at home. You’ll need a decent microphone and basic sound editing software. Still, it should be said that it isn’t for everyone. People with proper voice training and experience working as voice talents are bound to have an edge over total newbies.

The best way to find the right opportunities is to sign up for a freelance voiceover site like Voices.com.  Another option is to apply for a job on a freelancing platform like Upwork. You’ll also have excellent clips to show potential clients once you get your foot in the door.

Have Your Own YouTube Channel

Becoming a YouTuber might seem like a cliché. But if you think about it, there are 38 million YouTube channels right now because it can be a fun and potentially lucrative career.

Sure there’s plenty of competition in most niches. However, if you are passionate and knowledgeable about a topic and work hard to deliver the kind of content your audience wants to watch, your channel can grow too.

If you’re already an entrepreneur or have an interesting profession, YouTube can be a great way to earn income on the side. It is undoubtedly one of the best platforms to promote your brand, service, or message to the world.

As with previous business concepts, focus on a niche or skill you’re confident in or good at. This will help you come across as an expert and help you become more comfortable with the camera.

Next, you’ll need to think about what story you want to portray with your videos and how you will shoot it. It sounds like a lot, but it can be as simple as setting up a camera in a pretty area of your bedroom and unboxing your latest Amazon haul.  

Finally, take the time to research how YouTube works. Study videos of top competitors in your niche to know what sells and how you can set yourself apart from other channels that talk about the same topic.

Growing your channel will take some time. You’ll probably need to network on social media and blogging platforms. But with patience and determination, you can make a comfortable living this way.

Wrap Up

Starting an online shop is even better as it is often more attainable than opening an actual store. It costs less because you don’t need to pay for rent and maintenance. Plus, the demand is higher as more people purchase goods and services off the web. However, selling online isn’t the only option. If you have the skills and experience, you can monetize what you’re good at by doing freelance work or starting a YouTube channel. The possibilities are endless!