25 ideas for online businesses that work

Small BusinessCategory
24 min read
Stacey Hartman

In today's fast-paced digital world, the allure of starting an online business has never been greater. The ability to work from anywhere, cater to a global audience and enjoy the flexibility of being your own boss are just a few of the many reasons aspiring entrepreneurs are exploring online ventures. However, with so many possibilities at your fingertips, choosing the right online business idea can feel like a daunting task.

Don’t fret, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we've compiled a list of 25 diverse online business ideas that cater to a variety of interests and skill sets.  

Whether you're a seasoned professional looking to transition into the online space, or a budding entrepreneur looking for the perfect opportunity, these ideas will inspire you to take the leap and start building your ideal online business right away. 

Editor’s note: Working for yourself? GoDaddy can set you up with its free logo maker, free website builder and productivity tools like Microsoft 365, backed by GoDaddy's world-class help team.

25 online business ideas that you can start today

Here are the 25 online business ideas that we’re going to cover: 

  1. Provide content editing
  2. Launch a drop shipping business
  3. Develop an ecommerce store
  4. Produce podcasts
  5. Offer translation services
  6. Build niche websites
  7. Revamp and update websites
  8. Sell handmade products
  9. Design a training program
  10. Create a YouTube channel
  11. Provide ghostwriting services
  12. Do voiceover work
  13. Stream video games
  14. Sell 3D-printed items
  15. Offer social media management
  16. Become a freelancer
  17. Start a subscription box service
  18. Buy and sell domain names
  19. Provide accounting services
  20. Offer travel planning services
  21. Get into professional CV writing
  22. Become a life coach
  23. Teach online classes
  24. Provide technical support
  25. Offer online community management

Ready? Let’s go. 

1. Provide content editing

With the rise of AI-generated content, the need for careful and thorough content editors continues to grow.  

  • What it involves: Content editors spruce up content, fact-check, and give content suggestions, as well as correct grammar and punctuation. They also explain writing ideas in simple terms for non-writers. 
  • Skills needed: Writing, copy editing, and proofreading experience. Strong attention to detail. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: The average content editor salary in the UK is around £15.78 per hour. Entry level positions for full-time roles start at £27,000 per year while many experienced workers can make up to £45,486 per year. 

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2. Launch a drop shipping business

Drop shipping is a great way to get started in ecommerce without having to manage your own inventory.  

  • What it involves: Drop shippers operate an online store, selling products without holding inventory or handling the shipping process. They partner with suppliers who fulfil orders on their behalf, allowing the drop shipper to focus on marketing and customer service. 
  • Skills needed: Ability to: 1) identify a profitable market segment 2) Create a strong marketing plan 3) Source reliable suppliers 4) Provide solid customer service. 
  • Equipment required: A computer, reliable internet connection and drop shipping website. 
  • Possible earnings: Depending on the niche/market, many drop shippers in the UK can earn £2000 a month or more. 

Note: If you're looking for a seamless way to accept payment online, GoDaddy offers a number of options to make it easy. 

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3. Develop an ecommerce store

Ecommerce store set up

If you’d rather sell your own products instead of drop shipping, opening your own ecommerce store would be the next logical step. 

  • What it involves: Ecommerce store operators need to effectively operate their online shops, manage product inventory, and ensure a seamless customer experience. Additionally, they must implement strategic marketing and customer service efforts to drive sales, build customer loyalty and maintain a strong online presence. 
  • Skills needed: Grasp of digital marketing, including search engine optimisation (SEO), email campaigns, and social media to promote their store. Ability to conduct DIY product research to identify profitable items and inventory management to maintain accurate stock levels. 
  • Equipment required: A computer, reliable internet and an online store builder. 
  • Possible earnings: Earnings for ecommerce stores vary widely, but a 10% net profit is considered to be an average profit for ecommerce stores. 

Related: How to set up an online shop — the complete guide 

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4. Produce podcasts

Podcasts continue to grow in popularity and, with a relatively low barrier to entry, the possibilities are numerous.  

  • What it involves: Podcasters create and distribute episodic digital audio content. They often focus on specific topics or themes, engaging listeners through storytelling, interviews or discussions. They also manage the technical aspects of recording, editing and promoting their podcasts, building an audience and fostering a sense of community among their listeners (often on social media). 
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and storytelling skills. The ability to engage and connect with their audience through compelling content. Must have technical proficiency in audio recording, editing, and publishing software. Social media marketing skills to promote their podcast. 
  • Equipment required: Quality microphone, headphones, recording software, camera (if doing video), computer, strong internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Depending on audience and monetisation, the average podcast in the UK makes £954 in profit. Having said that, this average is raised by the top earners in the industry.   

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5. Offer translation services

Language translation is a specialised field but one that can be easily done online.  

  • What it involves: A language translator converts written text from one language to another, ensuring that the meaning, style and tone of the original content are accurately preserved. 
  • Skills needed: Possess fluency in both the source and target languages, including cultural nuances. Strong grasp of grammar and syntax. The ability to accurately convey meaning and tone. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: The average pay for a translator in the UK is around £14.10 per hour or £27,504 annually. While beginners can expect to earn around £23,500 each year, highly skilled pros may receive as much as £37k or more. 

When you work online, you may have customers who live almost anywhere. You'll need a way for them to pay you online that’s safe and secure. Fortunately, GoDaddy offers lots of easy ways for you to accept online payments.  

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6. Build niche websites

Computer screens with website designs

Niche websites are websites intended to cater to a small segment of a large market by focusing on a specific interest. 

  • What it involves: A niche website developer designs and builds websites that target a specific audience with a shared interest in a particular subject. They create user-friendly and engaging content, ensuring the site's layout and features effectively address the unique needs and preferences of the niche market. 
  • Skills needed: Strong web development skills. Keen understanding of user experience and interface design. Deep knowledge of the targeted niche market. Ability to create engaging, audience-specific content that resonates with users. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: The average base salary for a web developer in the UK is £33k annually, with many experienced freelance developers earning considerably more. 

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7. Revamp and update websites

The internet has been around for a long while and older website features are rapidly becoming outdated. Offering web redesign services is a valuable online business idea.  

  • What it involves: This job is similar to the previous listing, but someone providing website update services will need to assess the current site's layout, user interface and overall design to identify areas that require improvement or modernisation. They will then create and implement a refreshed design that adheres to the latest web design trends and meets the specific goals of the website owner or business. 
  • Skills needed: Strong web development skills. Keen understanding of modern user experience and interface design. Ability to combine modern web design standards with the needs of the website owner. Detailed knowledge of how to bring old content up to current standards. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Earnings will vary widely based on skill level and the amount of work needed. But the average salary for Website Maintenance roles in the UK is currently around £27,000. 

Related: How to start a web design business 

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8. Sell handmade products

If arts and crafts are your strong suit, then selling your crafts online can be a good way to bring in some extra money. 

  • What it involves: A crafter creates handmade items, such as jewelry, clothing, home decor, or artwork by utilizing their artistic skills and various materials. They earn a living by selling these unique products through various channels, such as online shops and craft fairs. 
  • Skills needed: Strong digital marketing skills, including photography, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media management. Quality customer service. Familiarity with marketplace platforms like Etsy, Amazon or Instagram Shopping. 
  • Equipment required: A computer, reliable internet connection, POS (point of sale) system (if also selling via craft fairs) and crafting materials. 
  • Possible earnings: Earnings will vary widely by the type of craft being sold. Take Etsy, for example: while casual sellers might only bring in a modest side hustle of £20 - £30 a month, others can make enough to comfortably quit their jobs and do it full time.  Ebay sellers are able to make between £10,000 and £100,000 annually. 

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9. Design a training program

Online skills training courses remain a strong demand. If you have extensive knowledge on a topic, you can turn that knowledge into an online business. 

  • What it involves: Virtual trainers design and deliver educational content through digital platforms, typically in video or audio format. These often take the form of a static online course that users pay to access but can also be live. 
  • Skills needed: Strong communication skills to effectively train viewers on complex topics in an understandable way. Proficiency in using various online training tools and technologies. Excellent time management and organizational skills to plan lessons and create relevant training courses. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection, as well as access to a digital learning platform, such as Udemy or Skillshare. 
  • Possible earnings: What you can earn will vary based on how you choose to distribute your online classes, but online trainers can earn an average of £43k a year. 

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10. Create a YouTube channel

Woman with film clapperboard

YouTube is a popular video-sharing platform that allows users to upload, view, rate, share and comment on a wide variety of user-generated content, ranging from entertainment and educational videos to music and live streams. 

  • What it involves: A YouTube creator produces, edits and uploads video content on the YouTube platform, often focusing on specific topics, interests or niches. YouTubers try to grow their subscriber base and increase views. Once they’ve hit a viewership threshold, they can potentially earn money through ads, sponsorships or merchandising. 
  • Skills needed: Strong storytelling and communication skills to create engaging, relatable content that resonates with their target audience. Solid video editing and production skills. Understanding of social media and digital marketing strategies to promote their channel and attract viewers.
  • Equipment required: Quality video camera, studio lighting, microphone, editing software, a computer and a strong internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: The national average salary for a YouTuber in the UK is £31,500 per year. When advertisers pay a YouTuber to display their ads, they get a share of that payment. The standard share for creators is 55% of the generated revenue. 

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11. Provide ghost writing services

Self-publishing is exploding in popularity and the demand for skilled ghostwriters has grown as well. 

  • What it involves: Ghostwriters create written content (articles, books, speeches, etc.) on behalf of another person, often without receiving public credit for their work. They collaborate closely with clients to ensure the final product reflects the desired tone and message. 
  • Skills needed: Impeccable writing skills, strong grammar, punctuation, and storytelling abilities. Ability to adapt to different writing styles and tones to accurately convey the client's voice. Excellent research skills. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Ghostwriters sometimes charge by the word or by service, but typically can expect to earn £21 per hour on average. 

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12. Do voiceover work

For those with strong acting backgrounds, voiceover work and voice acting is a solid money-making option.  

  • What it involves: Voiceover artists provide the spoken narration or character voices for various media projects, such as commercials, films, video games, and animations. They use their vocal talents and acting skills to convey emotions and add personality to a script. 
  • Skills needed: Exceptional vocal control and versatility to alter pitch, tone and accent. Strong acting skills. Good enunciation. Ability to interpret scripts and take direction. 
  • Equipment required: Quality microphone, headphones, recording software, camera (if doing video), computer, strong internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: While earnings will vary based on the actor’s skill and credits, most voice actors can expect to earn within the range of £70-£100 per hour. Of course, influencers and celebrities can expect to earn much more. 

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13. Stream video games

Video game streaming kit

Streaming video games started as a niche form of entertainment but continues to grow in popularity, especially around esports competitions and noteworthy personalities.  

  • What it involves: Video game streamers broadcast themselves playing video games live on platforms like Twitch or YouTube Gaming, while providing commentary to their viewers. They engage with their audience through chat interactions and often monetise their content through donations, subscriptions, sponsorships and advertising revenue. 
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and entertainment skills, enabling them to engage their audience through commentary, humour, and personality. Solid understanding of the streaming platforms. Technical expertise for troubleshooting issues (or someone to do this for them). Social media savvy to promote their channel and build a loyal community. 
  • Equipment required: Quality microphone, headphones, streaming software, camera, a computer able to handle simultaneous gaming and streaming, and a strong internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Video game streaming has a wide variance in earnings. Smaller streamers on Twitch are able to earn in £50 to £100 or so a month, while the most successful can bring in thousands of pounds.  

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14. Sell 3D-printed items

3D printers are becoming increasingly accessible, allowing owners to create custom 3-dimensional products.  

  • What it involves: A 3D printer crafter designs and creates unique objects, such as figurines, sculptures, or functional items, using 3D modeling software and a 3D printer. They may sell their creations online or at craft fairs or provide made-to-order 3D printing services to clients seeking personalised designs and products. 
  • Skills needed: Proficiency in 3D modeling software to design and prepare digital files for printing. Thorough understanding of 3D printer operation, maintenance, and materials. Strong entrepreneurial skills, including marketing and customer service. 
  • Equipment required: Quality 3D printer, 3D modeling software, print materials, and a computer. 
  • Possible earnings: Similar to handcrafted goods, the earnings will vary widely for 3D printer designers and crafters. The average income for a freelance 3D artist in the UK is estimated at £33,740. 

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15. Offer social media management

Social media is a must for businesses these days, but managing a business across multiple platforms is extremely time-consuming. And so, the demand for social media management continues to grow.  

  • What it involves: A social media manager is responsible for creating, curating and managing posts across various social platforms to enhance a brand's online presence and engage with its audience. They also analyse performance metrics and develop strategies based on those metrics to increase engagement for the brand. 
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and writing skills to create compelling content that resonates with the target audience. Deep understanding of each platform's algorithms and best practices. Highly organised, creative and analytical, with the ability to multitask and adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: While the average salary for a social media manager in the UK is £32,453, experienced social media gurus can expect to earn much more. 

Note: Interested in creating videos for social media? GoDaddy’s online video editor can help you out. 

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16. Become a freelancer

If you’re more of a generalist, jack-of-all-trades type of person, then general freelancing can be a diverse and interesting option.  

  • What it involves: A general freelancer offers their expertise and skills in various fields such as writing, graphic design, web development, or marketing on a project-based or contractual basis. This allows them to work with multiple clients simultaneously. 
  • Skills needed: Excellent time management and organizational skills to handle multiple projects and meet deadlines. Exceptional communication abilities to build rapport with clients and understand their requirements. Self-motivated, adaptable and continuously focused on developing their expertise in their specific field to stay competitive and relevant. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: It’s difficult to put an exact figure on general sorts of freelancing. With ad hoc tasks, the rates are likely to vary. However, it’s certainly possible for freelancers to earn more than double the national minimum hourly wage — and that’s not bad, when working from home!  

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17. Start a subscription box service

Subscription box services have flourished in recent years and are increasingly expanding their reach into more niche markets. The subscription box market was valued at £395m in 2021 — and is set to be worth £1.8b by 2025. 

  • What it involves: Creating a subscription box service involves carefully selecting and sourcing unique, high-quality products tailored to a specific niche. You'll also need to design appealing and functional packaging that reflects your brand identity. Additionally, you would need to develop a robust marketing strategy, manage inventory and logistics, establish pricing and billing structures, and provide excellent customer service to maintain subscriber satisfaction and retention. 
  • Skills needed: Project management and organizational skills to oversee product quality and sourcing. Creative and strategic thinking abilities to curate appealing boxes. Excellent customer service and relationship-building skills to foster loyalty and ensure subscriber satisfaction. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Subscription boxes tend to generate a gross profit of between 40% and 60% due to the low cost of goods and recurring renewals.  

Note: Your subscription box service will need a website. Create a digital store using GoDaddy’s easy Online Store builder. 

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18. Buy and sell domain names

Domain investing, also known as domain flipping or domain trading, is the practice of buying domain names to hold onto them or improve their value and later selling them at a profit.  

  • What it involves: A domain investor researches and registers potentially valuable domain names, anticipating future demand for these web addresses based on trends, keywords or industry relevance. They then hold onto or improve the domains and eventually sell them at a higher price to interested parties. 
  • Skills needed: Superb analytical skills to identify valuable and potentially profitable domain names. Excellent negotiation and marketing abilities to sell or lease those domains at the best possible price. Keen eye for market trends and consumer behaviour within the digital landscape to make decisions that maximise their investment returns. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: New domain investors typically start small, earning around £100-£2000 per month. 

Note: Buy and sell domains anywhere with GoDaddy’s domain investor app, available free on the Apple App Store or Google Play. 

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19. Provide accounting services

A woman doing the books

Are you an accountant by trade and want to be your own boss? Freelance accounting would be a great fit.  

  • What it involves: A freelance accountant provides professional accounting services to clients on an individual or contractual basis, without being tied to a single employer or company. Their responsibilities may include financial reporting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and financial analysis. 
  • Skills needed: Exemplary analytical and organizational skills to accurately maintain and analyse financial records. Understanding of accounting principles, tax regulations and financial management. Excellent communication skills to effectively convey financial information and advice. An ability to adapt to the varying needs of different businesses and industries. An ACCA or ACA license will also likely be required. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: With certifications like ACCA or ACA under their belt, accountants in the UK have the potential to earn impressive hourly rates. While the average is around £21 per hour, those with a high level of experience can expect to earn considerably more. 

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20. Offer travel planning services

Travel is booming and more travel planners are a necessity. If you’re a seasoned traveler, why not offer travel planning services? 

  • What it involves: Travel planners, also known as travel agents or travel consultants, helps people plan, organise, and book transportation, accommodations and activities. They bring together their expertise in the travel industry and destination knowledge to create personalised itineraries, provide travel tips and ensure a seamless and enjoyable trip for their clients. 
  • Skills needed: Organisational and multitasking skills to manage multiple clients and bookings simultaneously. Strong attention to detail to ensure all trip components are arranged accurately and efficiently. Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills to build rapport with clients, understand their travel preferences and effectively convey relevant information and recommendations. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Freelance travel planners typically make an average of £27,456 per year in the UK. 

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21. Get into Professional CV writing

As the economy continues to shift, Curriculum Vitae (CV) review services are in high demand and are likely to stay that way for a long while. 

  • What it involves: Crafting, editing and improving CVs for clients to showcase their skills and achievements in a compelling manner. They work closely with clients to understand their career goals, tailor their CVs for specific industries or job opportunities, and provide guidance on best practices to increase the likelihood of securing job interviews. 
  • Skills needed: Strong writing and editing skills to accurately and creatively present a client's professional background. Understanding of current recruitment trends and hiring practices to ensure the CV aligns with industry expectations. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate with clients, gather relevant information and provide constructive feedback throughout the CV development process. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Most CV writers charge a flat rate for each one, with fees typically around £100-150. Professionals on a full salary can earn upwards of £25k a year. 

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22. Become a life coach

If your strength is motivating others, the coaching field is in-demand and likely a perfect match for your skills. 

  • What it involves: A life coach is a professional who helps individuals identify their personal and professional goals, overcome obstacles and develop strategies to improve various aspects of their lives. Through guidance and support, life coaches assist clients in building self-awareness, fostering personal growth and achieving desired outcomes in areas such as relationships, career, health and overall well-being. 
  • Skills needed: Active listening and communication skills to understand their clients' needs, challenges and aspirations, while providing thoughtful feedback and guidance. Excellent interpersonal and empathetic abilities to establish trust and foster a supportive environment. 
  • Equipment required: A computer, a web camera for remote sessions and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Life Coaches in the UK can earn around £40-60 per hour, depending on experience. 

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23. Teach online classes

A coffee cup by a video call

Teachers and skilled tutors are always in demand, so if you have a passion for helping others learn, consider teaching live courses online.  

  • What it involves: An online teacher delivers educational instruction and support to students through virtual platforms. They create lesson plans, assess student progress, provide feedback and adapt their teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles and needs in a remote setting. 
  • Skills needed: Strong communication and presentation skills to effectively convey information and concepts through digital mediums. Ability to use technology and online teaching tools is important to be able to enhance the learning experience. Excellent time management, organisation, and adaptability skills to meet the unique demands of virtual education. 
  • Equipment required: A computer, a web camera, good headphones/ear buds, a ring light and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: Online teachers typically make £31 to 44k per year in the UK. 

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24. Provide technical support

As long as technology continues to grow, there will be a need for technical support.  

  • What it involves: Freelance technical support professionals provide help and troubleshooting services for clients experiencing issues with their hardware, software or network systems. They diagnose and resolve technical problems, offer guidance on best practices and may also help with system maintenance, updates, and configurations to ensure optimal performance and user satisfaction. 
  • Skills needed: Advanced problem-solving and analytical skills to efficiently diagnose and resolve a wide range of technical issues. In-depth knowledge of various hardware, software and network systems. Strong communication and customer service skills to effectively interact with clients, explain complex technical concepts in layman's terms and provide clear guidance. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: The pay will vary on the specialty and technical skill level, but freelance technical support engineers are paid an average annual salary around £37,500 in the UK. 

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25. Online community management

If you’re outgoing and enjoy listening to multiple points of view on topics, then a community manager role could be for you.  

  • What it involves: An online community manager is responsible for overseeing, engaging with, and growing an online community on behalf of a business, organisation or client. Their duties typically include creating and curating content, moderating discussions, and responding to community members' questions and concerns. They also monitor community sentiment and use strategies to foster a positive and active community environment, all while working remotely. 
  • Skills needed: Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to effectively engage with diverse community members, address their concerns and foster a sense of belonging within the community. Organisational skills and a keen understanding of social media etiquette, analytics and content creation. 
  • Equipment required: A computer and a reliable internet connection. 
  • Possible earnings: The average community manager salary in the UK is around £35,000 per year or £17.95 per hour. 

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Tips for starting an online business

Starting an online business can be both an exhilarating and challenging endeavour. If you’re ready to go, here are some quick tips to get you rolling: 

  • Choose a business idea based on your passion and areas of knowledge Man in red apron leaning against a counter
  • Identify a niche that isn’t currently being served by anyone else 
  • Do some market research and competitor analysis 
  • Familiarise yourself with UK law and regulations 
  • Register your business and complete all the steps to legally establish a UK business 
  • Decide on a suitable legal structure 
  • Insure your business if needed 
  • Select appropriate software for your business venture 
  • Develop a simple marketing plan 

By following these steps, you will be well on your way to establishing a thriving online business. 

Related: How to start a business from scratch 

Conclusion 

The UK’s e-commerce revenue is expected to grow at an annual rate of nearly 8% through 2027, with an average revenue per user of £2,111.  

There's a startup for literally everyone, across a wide range of professional interests and skill sets.  

After settling on a business idea, take the next step by crafting a strategy that will set you up for success. By identifying the right niche, honing your skills and taking advantage of what the internet can offer, you can build a thriving online business and enjoy the flexibility and freedom that come with it.

For even more ideas on new businesses to start, explore our post on 37 of the best small business ideas. If you'd like to learn more about how you can start an online business, our guide has you covered.

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