Starting an online business in Singapore: 4 ideas to explore

7 min read
Siew Ann Tan

Starting an online business in Singapore today can mean so many different things to different people.

As you watch YouTube videos, you might get hit with ads that exclaim:

“Do you want to make money online?!?! In the next 60 seconds, I’m going to show you EXACTLY how I make one million dollars from my sofa...”

Ugh. I don’t know about you but whenever these ads appear, I smash the “Skip ad” button right away.

After coming across such scammy ads, you might be thinking that online businesses are a sham. However, this is not true.

Just take Singapore businesses such as:

  • Fashion retailer Love, Bonito
  • Influencer marketing agency Titan Digital Media (owned by influencer Tan Jian Hao)
  • Coffee roastery Homeground Coffee Roasters

All these thriving businesses started out online. And if their founders can do it, then so can you! Moreover, the pandemic has transformed the way people shop, resulting the rise of home businesses. Hence, with the number of people shopping online increasing, there is no better time than now to start your own online business!

If you are wondering, hmm what online business should I start in Singapore? We've got you covered with this article to help you get started on your own online business! Just check out these four ideas for starting a (legitimate) online business in Singapore.

1. Offer freelance services

Are you good at certain skills? You can provide these as freelance services to clients. Many companies, especially business owners of smaller companies, are increasingly tapping into the freelancer network to help them with their business.

For example, you can be a freelance:

  • Writer
  • Graphic designer
  • Social media manager
  • Web designer
  • Video editor

If you invest in the right equipment and a solid Internet connection, you’ll be able to perform all these services from home. And thanks to email and Zoom, you might not even have to meet clients in person. Instead, you can do all communications remotely.

As a freelancer, you will be the face of your business. Clients will decide whether to work with you based on your reputation, so you’ll have to start building your personal brand from day one.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to make your personal name the domain name of your website. If your name is Alicia Lim, for example, then consider making “” your website’s domain name. You can use GoDaddy’s Domain Name Search to check if your name is available for domain registration.

You can also improve your discoverability and garner more business by having a professional company website. This website would help you showcase your portfolio and convince others why they should work with you!

Related: How to kickstart your online presence when freelancing

2. Start an e-commerce store

Clothes on Clothing Rack

Perhaps selling services isn’t your thing. In this case, you can open an e-commerce store to sell goods instead.

As for exactly what to sell—well, the sky's the limit.

If you have a knack for making things, for example, then you can sell handmade items such as jewellery, soaps, clothing or artwork. The trick is to spot gaps in the market that you can fill by selling the right products.

Of course, before you actually launch your e-commerce store, you’ll first need to build it. While many folks are taking advantage of starting their e-commerce business on the largest online marketplaces, nothing beats building your on online store!

The good news is that you don’t need to be a coder to set up an e-commerce online business in Singapore. Nowadays, there are many online store builders that handle the technical backend work for you.

For example, the GoDaddy E-Store provides a convenient platform for starting an e-commerce store, with features such as:

  • Modern, fully customisable store designs
  • Inventory management
  • Payment processing
  • Digital products fulfilment

With all these taken care of, you’ll be able to focus on promoting your store and keeping your customers happy.

One important thing to note though, starting an e-commerce store may require you to secure business funds for your initial investment. If you need help with securing funding to start your e-commerce store, we've put together a great resource for you on securing short term financing for your business!

Related: 5 reasons to set up an online store with GoDaddy

3. Become a social media influencer

If you’re an ace at social media, becoming an influencer may be the option for you.

Grow your following with eye-catching social media content, and you may just be able to snag coveted sponsorships that pay you to:

  • Dine at high-end restaurants
  • Travel to exotic destinations
  • Wear the hottest fashions

and more.

Oftentimes, you need only a smartphone to get started, too!

While Instagram has been a popular choice of platform for some time now, TikTok has slowly but steadily been making waves.

For inspiration, check out @mingweirocks on TikTok, which is run by Ng Ming Wei.

@mingweirocks TikTok Profile

Possibly one of Singapore’s most famous TikTokers, Ng uploads comedy skits with his father that get millions of views each time.

Just a quick heads-up, though: making it big isn’t easy.

As you Photoshop your pictures to perfection or rehearse your lines, you can bet that others will be doing the same thing.

The challenge will be to find your niche, and then consistently produce good content that will attract eyeballs and advertisers.

4. Sell online courses

Woman Speaking to Laptop Webcam

Online courses are getting more popular as many will look into learning new skills as a next step to their career, or if they are considering a career switch. From SEO courses to creating your online presence, the options are endless.

How would you like to be paid to teach what you know?

That’s the beauty of selling online courses. If you have expertise in a skill, start your online business by monetizing that. Package your knowledge into a digital course, and you can sell it many times over for potentially unlimited return on investment.

After all, the digital nature of your product means that you don’t have to worry about keeping inventory, or restocking.

What’s more, once you’ve put your online course up, anyone can buy it at any time of the day. This means that you can potentially make money while you sleep!

After you’ve created your online course, you’ll need to host it somewhere for people to buy it. With its digital product fulfilment features, the GoDaddy E-Store—as mentioned above—might be a good option.

Once customers pay for your course, the store will automatically send them the course files or link. Your newly enrolled student can then dive into your course immediately!

Get started with your online business in Singapore

Online businesses are awesome. With a business plan, hard work, some luck and reliable Internet access, making a (legitimate) living online is totally possible.

No matter what type of online business you decide to start, it’s a good idea to start small.

This helps you see what is (and isn’t) working and determine if it's a viable business idea before you increase your investment. Be sure to get your marketing in order too, such as building your business’ website.

Keep testing and trying different strategies until sales steadily start to roll in. That’s when you’ll know that you’re on to something, and that the time is ripe to scale up. And who knows? You might even be able to expand your online business beyond Singapore’s shores.

Singapore has seen its fair share of successful online businesses. We hope this article gives you some ideas for an online business you can start in Singapore and help you take the next step. Here’s to yours becoming the next one!

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