17 ideas for online businesses to start in 2022

Alibaba.com DECEMBER 23, 202110 MIN READ
17 ideas for online businesses to start in 2022

E-commerce has changed and expanded in many ways over the past few years. One of the major benefits of this evolution is that it has made entrepreneurship attainable for just about anybody. The growth of e-commerce has led to the birth of so many new types of online business models, so there is truly something for everybody.

In this post, we are going to talk about 17 ideas for online businesses that you could start in 2022. We’ll look at everything from launching a dropshipping store to starting a podcast.

Before we get into the different online business ideas, we’re going to discuss why someone might want to start an online business in 2022 and how the pandemic has transformed the e-commerce landscape.

Why start an online business in 2022?

business online

Starting an online business is appealing for many reasons. Not only does it allow entrepreneurs to explore their passions, but it creates endless opportunities.

With that said, here are a few reasons why you might want to start an online business in 2022.

Greater financial opportunities

When you’re working as an employee, there is typically a cap on how much money you can make. You might get bonuses and raises periodically, but there is still a ceiling on your earnings.

However, when you start an online business, there is no real limit on how much you can make. Businesses can be scaled and grown to allow you to reach your financial goals and increase your annual revenue.

It is worth noting that building a profitable online business takes time, so there is not a path to “get rich quick.” However, with consistent hard work, the potential financial gains are endless.

Independence and autonomy

Starting an online business is a great move for those who want more control over their careers. Owning and operating an online business gives you independence and the power to make decisions for yourself. You can set the rules and call the shots.

While this autonomy can be very rewarding, it is important to recognize that it is not all glitz and glamour. When you are your own boss, you have to step up and fill that “boss” role. The freedom to choose what is best for your business comes with the responsibility to guide your organization through tough times.

Time and location freedom

One of the main goals of many entrepreneurs is time and location freedom. They want to be in charge of when they work and where they work. In many cases, starting an online business allows you to work from wherever you have access to the internet.

This level of freedom is very valuable for a number of reasons. It allows people to travel when they want. It also gives them the flexibility to be present with their loved ones in times of need.

How the pandemic has transformed e-commerce

Throughout the pandemic, most countries have experienced lockdowns to some degree. In some places, this meant that businesses closed down and people had to stay at home. In other places, the “lockdowns” were more along the lines of suggested alterations of business operations.

People began to shop online because it was safer than going into stores. E-commerce became an important tool for everybody that wanted or needed to buy their essential goods from the comfort of their homes. It also affected the way that people spent their money.

For example, people spent more money on home improvement and at-home entertainment since going out to theaters, restaurants, clubs, and other social venues was no longer a possibility.[1]

Not only has the pandemic affected the way consumers shop, but it has affected the way that people make money. Many people lost their jobs or were furloughed, which caused them to seek other options, including starting online businesses.

17 best online business ideas to start in 2022

business ideas

When it comes to starting an online business, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Different types of business require different investments, in terms of both time and money.

For example, some business models can be set to “auto-pilot” after the initial setup with minimal effort required, and others demand a lot of attention. Some businesses can be started with very little capital, while others require investing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

With that in mind, let’s discuss the top 17 online business ideas for 2022.

1. Launch a dropshipping store

Dropshipping is a business model that involves selling products on a digital storefront and outsourcing inventory management and order fulfillment to a third-party company. This model is attractive to many aspiring entrepreneurs since there are very few overheads and it is easy to start and scale.

Dropshipping is a great online business for those who don’t have a ton of money to invest since it doesn’t require holding any inventory.

You can start a dropshipping business by choosing a product, choosing a supplier, and building an online storefront.

2. Host virtual experiences

While people were staying at home during lockdowns, they had to find new ways to entertain themselves. This led to the rise of virtual experiences. Even though many places are allowing people to go out and about again, people are still participating in virtual events.

Some examples of virtual experiences you can host include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Knitting classes
  • Wine tasting and pairing
  • Virtual retreats
  • Niche seminars
  • Trivia

Choose something that you are passionate about or are an expert in, and plan out your experience. You can build a brand and sell your experience on a custom online storefront, or you can sell on a platform like Airbnb.

3. Develop and sell a niche product

Another popular business idea is developing and selling a niche product. This could be a product that solves a specific problem, or it can be something that appeals to a niche audience.

This business idea requires a bit more capital since product development and manufacturing can get costly. However, this can yield a lot of online sales if your product is high-quality and you take a strategic approach to marketing and advertising.

If you use this business model, make sure that you obtain the proper trademarks and patents to protect your idea.

4. Sell sustainable products

In recent years, more people have become aware of how human behavior and consumption affect the environment. That is why sustainable products are particularly popular right now.

You can sell sustainable products to consumers or businesses. One idea would be to sell sustainable products to restaurants since some areas are requiring businesses to use sustainable products in place of single-use plastics. This could include sustainable straws, to-go cups, and napkins.

5. Create art and sell it online

If you are an artist, you should consider selling your art online. Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, or musician, the internet is a great place to connect with fans and sell your art.

You can sell your art on a custom digital storefront, or you can sell it on an e-commerce marketplace. With the rise of NFTs, you can also create and sell artistic digital assets.

contact with alibaba.com

6. Sell hobbyist products

There is a lot of value in selling products to a niche audience, like hobbyists. We discussed developing a niche product before, but this is a little different.

Sell collectibles and other items that hobbyists may be searching for, such as action figures, special games, books, guides, and so forth.

7. Sell renewable energy products

Renewable energy is very valuable since it serves as a cheaper, cleaner alternative to non-renewable energy sources.[2]

Consider selling renewable energy products and accessories, such as solar panels, solar thermal heating devices, biomass stoves and heaters, air-source heat pumps, and renewable energy storage batteries.

8. Start a podcast

Podcasts are very popular right now. If you are not familiar, a podcast is a talk show that is typically delivered in audio format. Podcasts can be monetized with sponsored ads.

If there is a topic that you are particularly passionate about or that you have experience in, why not start a podcast?

9. Become an affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing is selling another company’s product or service for a commission. Typically, affiliate marketers get a trackable link or promo code from the company. They promote the products to their audience, and when somebody buys with their link or code, they earn the commission.

Marketers can negotiate custom deals with companies, or they can sign up to be an affiliate through an affiliate platform.

Affiliate marketers can sell through their own website, paid ads, email marketing, or social media. A popular example of affiliate marketing is when influencers share links to products on their social media accounts or blogs.

10. Sell customized handmade items

Customized products are very popular right now. Some hot items that can be customized include clothing, home decor, kitchen items, greetings cards, and mugs. Customizable items are popular amongst both consumers and brands.

You can sell these items in bulk on a B2B online marketplace or directly to consumers on B2C e-commerce platforms.

11. Provide a service

Service provision is another type of online business that you could start. If you have a specific skill set, or if you’re willing to learn a skill, there are tons of opportunities for you.

Some of the top online services that you could provide include:

  • Virtual assistant services
  • Digital marketing
  • Web design
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO content writing
  • Copywriting
  • Bookkeeping

No matter which business line you choose, we recommend building a portfolio with samples and testimonials to help sell your services to prospective clients.

12. Start a blog or niche site

Blogs are another great online money maker. Blogs can be monetized with sponsored content and affiliate marketing. High-traffic sites can make a decent amount of money by serving ads. You can also use a blog to sell your own products or services.

Depending on the nature of your blog, you might consider developing an entire brand with a social media presence and all. This will help you to develop a community with loyal followers.

13. Develop a mobile app or software

App and software development are two other online businesses that you can start in 2022. The key to success in app and software development is creating something that makes people money, saves people money, or automates tasks to save time.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) businesses are also quite popular, especially in the B2B space. Some popular SaaS examples include accounting software, communications software, lead management software, and white-label hosting.

14. Write and publish an eBook

If your experience or expertise has equipped you with information that would be valuable to others, you might consider writing and publishing an eBook.

You can sell your eBook on Amazon, Apple Books, and similar platforms. This is an easy way to make passive income on the internet.

15. Sell subscription boxes

If you are looking for a fun product to sell online, consider selling subscription boxes. Typically, subscription boxes are mailed out monthly or quarterly and they are designed around a specific theme or special interest.

Entrepreneurs can sell subscription boxes with their own products or they can curate collections of products from other brands.

16. Resell items

Flipping is another e-commerce business model that involves buying items and reselling them online at a higher selling price.

You can buy items at flea markets, thrift stores, or garage sales. You can also purchase items in bulk on wholesale marketplaces like Alibaba.com. Some flippers even buy items on sale at retail stores.

17. Design a clothing line

If you’re passionate about fashion or you’re looking for a creative online business, you should consider designing a clothing line.

You can source your items from a wholesale marketplace, or you can design and produce your items on your own.

Sell on Alibaba.com

Leveraging the support of an e-commerce platform is smart for small business owners that want to take their internet businesses to the next level. Alibaba.com, for example, is a B2B e-commerce marketplace that helps online entrepreneurs connect with millions of buyers globally and increase their transactions.

On Alibaba.com, sellers have access to powerful tools that can help take their businesses to the next level. These include demand forecasting, Trade Assurance, communication management, and more.

Sign up for Alibaba.com to start selling online today.

1. https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/retail/our%20insights/how%20covid%2019%20is%20changing%20consumer%20behavior%20now%20and%20forever/how-covid-19-is-changing-consumer-behaviornow-and-forever.pdf
2. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/07/renewables-cheapest-energy-source/#:~:text=Renewables%20were%20the%20world's%20cheapest%20source%20of%20energy%20in%202020,according%20to%20a%20new%20report