We’ve compiled this list of businesses you can run remotely and that anyone can start for less than a hundred dollars.
Starting a business today could mean location and financial independence for tomorrow.
1. Freelancing Business
Have a skill you excel at? Why not sell that skill to eager clients? Whether you’re a writer, a designer, a developer, or really anything else, getting started as a freelancer has never been easier, thanks to platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. Make a profile, garner a reputation, and you’re off to the races! Successful freelancers enjoy more flexible hours, location independence, and potentially higher incomes than they would find elsewhere.
2. E-commerce Drop Shipping
The E-commerce business is booming, and contrary to popular belief, Amazon and Alibaba don’t own the whole pie. There are plenty of slices for you to partake in. Drop shipping is great when you don’t have a ton of startup capital because it doesn’t require you to hold any inventory upfront. Essentially, customers purchase a product from your site, at which point you use that revenue to purchase from the supplier (hopefully with a decent profit margin) and then ship to the customer. All you need to do is market! And platforms like Shopify make building a storefront a breeze, while platforms like Oberlo automate the drop shipping procedure. If this seems like it’s up your alley, check out our post on the three must-haves for any successful E-commerce company.
3. Social Media Management
The fact that I’m adding this to a list of business ideas in 2021 quite frankly baffles me … but I’m obliged to because I still see businesses uploading pixelated photos once per week and not seeing any return for their social media presences. If you’re savvy on the major platforms and are confident in your ability to organically grow and engage audiences, then this business could be just the one for you! And a good portion of it can be done from your phone—“holy location independence Batman!!”.
This one’s definitely a slooooow burn (meaning it will be some time before you see consistent revenue), but once you do, it’s largely passive income that can be used to augment other business ventures, or simply serve as a fun and relaxing primary income. The trick is to choose a good niche, have a defined purpose, and implement digital marketing tactics like SEO in order to take your blog to the top. Make sure you publish new posts regularly and that you simultaneously build your external web presence. Once you’ve reached a sizable degree of daily traffic, you can pursue advertising opportunities through Affiliate sites like Click Junction or through automated paradigms like Google’s AdSense. Make sure your blog revolves around something you’re passionate about … otherwise it will get very tedious very quickly.
Find me a business owner who says that bookkeeping is their favorite part of the gig and I’ll eat my foot. But seriously, if you’re a person who’s good with money and numbers, then overhauling bookkeeping responsibilities for other businesses could be perfect for you. You can charge monthly retainers and take on a few clients at a time … or as many as you feel you can realistically handle.
6. Self-Publish Ebook(s)
Full-disclosure, talent isn’t necessarily enough to propel you forward on this path. You’ll need to have some serious marketing chops and you’ll need to approach this idea from an entrepreneurial mindset. Who’s your target demographic? What will they want to read? What will make them purchase? What will make them continue to purchase? However, if you can nail all those answers and then self-publish on Amazon—you could have a pretty tasty passive income over time, while doing what you love. For what it’s worth, Adult Romance is the heavyweight champ of overnight success for self-published writers… so if you’re rocking the steamy conversations on Tinder and Bumble, you might consider turning them into some lucrative novellas. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.
7. Business Consulting
If you’ve hung up the 9-to-5 suit in favor of working for yourself, you might consider converting your business and management experience into a marketable commodity. Pin-point overarching themes around inefficiency that you see in any particular industry, assess how your experience could resolve them, and then sell those potential solutions as value propositions. Consulting is heavily reliant on personal networking and word-of-mouth, but if you have the digital marketing chops for it, you can always develop a campaign and accrue clients that way.
8. Creative Agency
Okay … yes, “Creative Agency” casts a wide net, but the basic formula for remote, digital agencies remains the same whether you’re selling brand strategy, web development, marketing, or copy. Start by develop your own agency’s brand, defining value propositions, establishing social proof, and perfecting your pitch. Once you’ve done that, go sell your first clients, staff a team to get the project across the finish line, and then rinse and repeat! You’ll need be equal parts marketer, creative whiz, and manager … but the upside potential is huge!
9. Life Coaching
Searching for the definition of a “life coach” will yield you a thousand different answers, so I’ll give you ours. A life couch leads their clients along a path towards self-betterment, whether it be increasing self-confidence, landing a dream job, or modifying bad habits. If you’re a supportive, yet firm, type … the person whom everyone comes to for advice … then this may be a great gig for you! Common exchange formats for remote life coaches include email and Zoom calls, so all you need is some wisdom, a willingness to help, and an entry-level laptop.
10. Resumé Writing
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people on the job market right now in the wake of COVID. However, that creates a massive demand for eye-catching, memorable resumés. If you’re familiar with best practices for formatting, and also have a knack for selling the traits that differentiate a job applicant, then you could probably throw up a landing page and be in business tomorrow! There’s also a huge potential for upsells—including updating LinkedIn profiles and optimizing job experience descriptions.
Are you the one who’s redecorated their apartment/house/dwelling 17,000 times? Do people say “wow” when they visit? If so, Interior Decorating could be perfect for you! This is not to be confused with Interior Design, which requires licensing and structural modification. Interior decorating only involves aesthetic changes (furniture, paint, wallpaper, cushions, etc.), but those aesthetic changes are super Instagram/Pinterest-worthy, so finding new clients should be a breeze! Your starting “portfolio” can even be the various rooms in your place, or friends’ rooms that you’ve helped decorate.
12. Virtual Fitness Instruction/Training
It’s safe to say that we’re all used to the at-home workout regimen now, and with the advent of celebrity workout courses and digital gym experiences like Peloton, the idea of remote fitness has become somewhat normalized. If you’re ripped like a bag of potato chips and can motivate people to become the best versions of themselves, then you might consider moving those weights in front of your webcam. Build a loyal client base and then offer Zoom workout classes with regimens people can do at home. If you really want to be a gym-class hero (no pun intended) then offer diet plans as well to help people carve those abs even when they’re not sweating.
13. Health Coaching
This is similar to the last idea, but is far less sweaty. Health coaching is about encouraging clients to make healthier decisions in their day-to-day life. Maybe they want to quit smoking, ease back on the booze, eat a healthier diet, or just holistically improve their way of living. If you can successfully get people feeling healthier, then you’ll have happy clients… and happy clients will shout your services from the mountaintops and garner you a sizable following just through word-of-mouth. Heath coaching pairs nicely with a blog or ebook series on the same topic.
14. Dating App Profile Improvement
Have you noticed how much Tinder, OK Cupid, and Bumble charge for their premium memberships? There is MONEY in this industry. Is it ethical to capitalize on people’s loneliness? Debatable—but this we’ll make a separate post about the ethics of the romance industry. In any case, by optimizing people’s profiles with content and photos that are more likely to garner “right swipes”, you could make a killing with very rapidly. The world’s been closed down for over a year, and people are eager to get out and find that special someone, so be an entrepreneurial Cupid and make it happen for them!
15. Social Media Advertising
Not to be confused with social media management. Social media advertising involves managing and optimizing paid ad campaigns for your clients. You know those posts that roll across your feed that say “sponsored”? Yeah, businesses dump big bucks into those. This business idea requires an understanding of marketing basics, a meticulous desire to A/B test everything, and an ability to identify target demographics. Generally speaking, your client will have a specified budget, on top of which you can add the markup for your services. You’ll need to know your numbers well, as clients won’t hire you unless you can provide an estimate for the ROI they can expect. Also be ready to pivot the next time Facebook decides to make a revolutionary change to their policies.
16. Search-Engine Optimization
SEO entails optimizing a website through best practices and strategic keywords to achieve higher rankings in Google search results. This is a powerful asset for businesses and their online presences as it results in a consistent, passive stream of potential customers. If you’re not already familiar with search engine optimization, finding some decent online courses is simple enough, and within no time, you’ll be ready to take on your first clients. Upwork and Fiverr again work really well for finding SEO clients, and this offering is complemented well by a basic understanding of web development.
17. Date Planning
Fifty percent of marriages go down the toilet. How many of those could be saved if people just took the initiative to be spontaneous and romantic and sweep their partner of their feet every now and again? If you’re creative with that sort of thing, then you could be a “date consultant”. Plan unforgettable nights and long weekends—movie worthy stuff (in accordance with your client’s budget) and help drive that failed marriage percentage down. And what’s to say that first dates can’t be unforgettable? You never know when a couple is going to have their last first date, so might as well offer to make it something fit for a storybook.
Do you have a knack for teaching and making abstract ideas more understandable? If so, if you might consider tutoring! It can of course be done over video chat (as the world’s teachers have woefully learned) and you can work with every age group, from young children to adults. You can specialize in one subject in particular, like math or grammar, or you can be a generalist and help people with a range of topics. The best part is that you’ll be helping people achieve things they never thought they could, and that’s a caliber of satisfaction that you can’t buy.
19. Language Teaching
The world is more connected than ever before, and with that comes both a need and a desire to communicate with our fellow humans from foreign soil. Whether you’re bilingual or only fluent in your native tongue, there are plenty of online platforms that enable people to become language teachers overnight. Some people find the regulations associated with said platforms to be a tad stringent, and so if you feel the same after trying one, you can always go out and find your own clients the old fashioned way. Be prepared to work odd hours. Much of remote language learning is done in real-time, so meeting with your students during their daytime may mean that you end up burning the midnight (or 3AM) oil.
Another idea in the realm of foreign languages. Professional translators often work in more business-oriented settings—translating documents, audio recordings, and meetings in real-time. And with the remote nature of the global workforce, remote translators are in high demand. Make yourself known, establish a reputation, network as much as possible, and in no time, you will have translated that hard work into a sustainable remote career.
21. Spokesperson Services
The world is online, and with that comes a need for businesses to reintroduce a “human element” to the two-dimensional realm of a computer screen. How does one accomplish that? With a cheerful spokesperson that greets the user via video when they visit the website. Having a face explain a company’s value propositions is far more powerful than written text alone. You may be surprised just how in-demand this service is. If you’re looking to get started, try making a profile on Fiverr and building a reputation there. Clients daily purchase your services, and if you’re good at it and deliver with professionalism, you’ll have a litany of 5-star reviews in no time.
22. Music Lessons
Unless you’re holding the instrument for your student for some odd reason, you really don’t need to be in the same location to teach them how to make music. Giving lessons online and over video chat is perfectly feasible, and since you’re both in front of computers, you can even incorporate elements of recording and post-production into your curriculum. Start by deciding which instruments you’d like to teach, and then design your course and launch a website for people to sign-up! It’s time to take your remote business from ‘piano’ to ‘fortissimo’.
23. Online Courses
Platforms like Udemy and Skillshare make it super easy to upload pre-recorded courses and develop a semi-passive income doing what you love. I personally invested a TON of hours and money into Udemy courses at the peak of COVID quarantine. I learned multiple coding languages as well as search engine optimization in ways that made sense to me, and at a pace I was comfortable with. Students on these platforms expect a high quality of production, so it’s important that you invest the necessary time to make your course GREAT. But once you cultivate a following of eager students, you leisurely continue to to develop quality material while the money keeps rolling in from course sales.
24. Accountability Guidance
For some people, having another person to hold them accountable helps them stay focused and reach their goals. It’s the addition of a human element that deters “fifty-percenting” and encourages follow through. If you’re organized, stern yet supportive, and like to help people succeed, then this is a perfect remote business for you to start. Build a brand, put up a website, and then drop a few posts in some entrepreneurial social media groups and I guarantee you’ll find your first clients in no time.
25. Virtual Assistance
Virtual assistants handle a wide range of administrative tasks, such as appointment scheduling, filtering emails, and executing documents and contracts. They’re a huge help to business owners in relieving some of the extra work on their plates and enabling them to focus on moving their company forward. If you’re organized, professional, and pay close attention to detail, then virtual assistance may be a good route for you. Just be aware that this idea may require to adhere to your clients’ working hours more closely than the other ideas in this post. Search Upwork for ‘Virtual Assistant’ gigs and you’re sure to find a long list of entrepreneurs in need of your services.
26. Online Cooking Instruction
HelloFresh and BlueApron took off like hotcakes, so the opportunity is certainly there for you to take your own slice of the home cooking pie. You may not be able to send clients pre-packaged ingredients, but you CAN deliver fun and engaging real-time classes to customers, form the comfort of your own kitchen to the comfort of yours. Offer fun and unique recipes, come up with themes for each class, and tell a story with your cooking. A business like this could work really well with a subscription model, so consider looking into companies like chargebee that make that pricing model super easy.
27. Voice-over Recording
You make think animation or cartoon characters when you hear “voice-over” and sure, that’s one use-case, but a more practical day-to-day use of voice-over work is for automated answering playbacks for business phone numbers, as well as explainer videos and other types of corporate promotional items. In a more B2C space, audiobooks have become immensely popular, and if you have the type of voice that people could listen to for hours on end, then that could be viable path for you as well.
28. Start a Podcast
This is arguably an even slower burn than starting a blog, but the upside potential is equally as great. If you have an interesting topic/theme with a compelling style of delivery, then consider starting a podcast in your free time. There are plenty of platforms out there to host your creativity, and once you have a big enough audience, you can start bringing on advertisers. Promoting through podcasting is extremely powerful because they’re generally delivered by the host, who the audience has bonded with over the course the show’s run. Again, podcasting will be a long run, but if you find something you’re passionate about and can have fun with the journey, then it’s completely worth it.
So that’s our list! And if you didn’t see anything that catches your eye, not to worry! Our affiliate company, Hustle Guide, helps people come up with unique business ideas based on their existing skills and passions. They’re launching soon, so keep an eye out! And in the meantime, stay tuned for more amazing Motmill content, and let us know in the comments what kinds of remote businesses you’re starting.