7 Legit Types of Online Businesses. Which One do You Start?

I don’t know about you, but I see ads all over the internet of people preaching out how their type of online business is the best one to start and if you’re someone who is brand new to this world, it can get awfully confusing when the messaging is all over the place.

The truth is that there are many different types of online businesses that exist, and many of them can be absolutely legitimate and earn you a great income, but the one you should start depends on your personal preference and what I’m going to be doing in this post is sharing the 7 most common ones you can create, how they work and give you my take on which one you should choose (if you’re serious about it that is).

I have a lot of online business experience and tried several different ones on this list and know people who are currently (or were) engaged in the others, so I can give you some good direction in this realm and if you’re still confused or need further direction, just let me know below in the comments and I’ll help you out.

Here are the 7 (legit) types of online businesses you can start:

types of online businesses

  1. Online consulting.
  2. Local marketing.
  3. Drop shipping.
  4. Amazon selling.
  5. A YouTube business.
  6. Ecommerce websites.
  7. Affiliate marketing.

A few commonalities between these online businesses are the following things:

  • They are legitimate (there are exceptions unfortunately).
  • All of them involve marketing services or finding leads (online).
  • They can all be very profitable if you understand how to use them.
  • These businesses can be worked on via a laptop and pretty much anywhere in the world.

Here is a video talking about these 7 types of online businesses:

1) Online consulting:

online consulting type of online business 05

Earning potential: $100s-$10,000s monthly.

Description: You find a marketable topic you know a lot about and can help others with (for example dating, accounting, law, ect…), create a website or YouTube channel, attract viewers to it, and then funnel those who are interested to your site to schedule private (online) consultations.

How much you charge can be totally up to you and whatever you feel is warranted for however long you wish to do the consultation for. I know certain people who charge $1,000 (or more) per consultations.

Having several recurring clients in this online business can yield a pretty stable (and large) passive income source for you.

2) Local Marketing:

local marketing a type of online business 06

Earning potential: $1,000s-$10,000s monthly.

Description: You learn specific marketing skills to help any site rank online and get leads, and then find local businesses who need those services, approach them, offer local marketing services and charge them a monthly price for it (website creation, marketing packages, paid ads, ect…).

I did at one point in my life engage in local marketing and it is a legitimate business. The more happy clients you can find, the more word of mouth will help you get more of them and this is something you can turn into an agency overtime.

3) Drop shipping:

drop shipping type of online business 01

Earning potential: $100s-$10,000s monthly.

Description: You market products on your website, drive traffic to it (through paid ads most of the time) and whenever orders are placed, you order the product from a whole-seller at a lower price, and keep the profit for yourself.

Drop shipping used to be one of the most popular online businesses people started, but overtime, many eCommerce sources like Amazon, eBay and other big names stopped allowing people to do it and so they had to continue running such businesses through their own website and using services like Shopify or Oberlo.

It’s still very possible to succeed in drop shipping, but the marketing is where you’ll find the most difficulty (and costs) as you need to funnel paid traffic to the site (and make sure the traffic buys).

4) Amazon selling:

amazon selling a type of online business 04

Earning potential: $100s-$1,000s.

Description: You create your own products (like eBooks) and/or order products in bulk and sell them for higher prices on the Amazon store. Depending on which category in the Amazon store you market at, and what you have to offer, you can get some big sales (provided you do it right).

I’m not much of an Amazon online business person (but I do affiliate marketing through Amazon Associates), but I do know certain people who make most of their living via Amazon selling.

5) A YouTube business:

youtube a type of online business 07

Earning potential: $100s-$10,000s or more.

Description: You create YouTube videos on a certain topic/s you know a lot about and can offer great content on, monetize those videos through ads on the videos and can also expand into other realms such as:

  • YouTube affiliate marketing.
  • Offer consulting services.
  • Running YouTube Ads to a certain offer you make money from.
  • Collecting email lists from your subscribers and offering them products outside YouTube.

I personally run a portion of my overall online business through YouTube. Currently, my YouTube channel has over 5,000 subscribers, I have gotten over 300,000 views on my videos and I do a lot of marketing directly on YouTube (and funnel visitors to my websites from it too).

6) Ecommerce websites:

ecommerce type of online business 02

Earning potential: $100s-$1,000s.

Description: Ecommerce websites are websites you make that sell stuff you can either own and sell directly, or do things like drop shipping and only place orders for customers once they went through your site and did it themselves (and paid you for it).

At the same time, you can also outsource your products to third party sites in situations like if you want to make merchandise for the site (like t shirts or mugs for instance) and then pay the third party sites to create, customize and ship it to your consumers.

Most eCommerce websites grow through paid ads, but you can also run a specific blog that gets enough fans overtime that know your brand, your name and come back to it over and over again, which allows you the opportunity to sell the merchandise to those people directly.

7) Affiliate marketing:

affiliate marketing type of online business 03

Earning potential: $10-$100,000 or more.

Description: This is the online business I’ve been running for most of time in this world and I find it to be the best (for me at least). The way it works is that you are basically just a promoter of products and don’t have to buy anything (you can do things like review affiliate products you do or don’t own too).

Affiliate marketing has a lot of flexibility in numerous fields, including HOW you can do it. I most typically do it through these 3 methods:

  1. Blogging (the main one).
  2. YouTube videos.
  3. Pay per click affiliate marketing and funneling to offers I sell.
  4. You can also do things like promote high ticket affiliate products too.

If you’re a beginner, stick to the first 2 and work your way into the third.

Another beauty of affiliate marketing is that you have the ability to market just about anything you want in any niche you want.

  • For example, if you’re into outdoor niches, you can start an affiliate business in that.
  • If you’re into mountain bikes, you can also start an affiliate business in that.
  • Anything you love in life can become a profitable affiliate business for you, provided you follow the right steps.

I do offer free coaching for people interested in affiliate marketing and it comes from recommend/promoting the program I learned it from (Wealthy Affiliate).

If you’re someone interested in online business/affiliate marketing and the other types of online businesses I mentioned above, then Wealthy Affiliate is where you’ll be able to get training on all of that.

Final questions on starting an online business (and what to choose):

What are the top 5 online businesses?

In my personal experience, the top online businesses are affiliate marketing, local marketing, a YouTube channel business, eCommerce and online consulting.

How do I start an online business?

If you are very new, the best way to start an online business is through picking a niche subject you enjoy and starting a blog site on it.

Which online business is best for beginners?

For most beginners who are also unable to invest big money, affiliate marketing may be one of the best online businesses to start.

If you have anymore questions on these different businesses, let me know!

6 thoughts on “7 Legit Types of Online Businesses. Which One do You Start?”

  1. Starting an online business is a great idea. But t’s so easy to get confused about where to begin as there are many programs out there online. 

    I appreciate your showing the details of each business idea. My best pick from the list is affiliate marketing because of the flexibility. I don’t have to stock items in a warehouse or deal with physical products.

    And It’s nice to know I can do affiliate marketing through blogging as I love writing and researching.

    Thank you for this information.


    • Yeah affiliate marketing has a lot of flexibility in both not having to own or ship products, to multiple ways to promote stuff, including blogging and I think any blogger would benefit highly from affiliate marketing in general.

  2. I absolutely love this article. I’m all about working from home and you have pointed out some amazing work that you can do from home. I’m into market affiliating. I love writing articles so that is why I have chosen it. The one job I didn’t see there which could also be beneficial is online teaching. 

    • That’s a good point, but I’d say that online teaching is more of a salary job vs an online business. Online consulting might fit into that niche if you run your own company that teaches people a certain topic/subject though, but either way, if you are good at a major educational topic like math, you can create an online business teaching people that Daniel.

  3. I’ve been seeing dropshipping for a long time now, but I’ve never really bothered to know what it is. Now I know, but I’ll leave it for further exploration later. Now I’d like to concentrate on learning and running with affiliate marketing. It’s interesting the age we live in now. You can run a livelihood from the comfort of your laptop. There are so many avenues to earn money online that it becomes confusing for beginners.

    • Affiliate marketing in my opinion is much more flexible and easier to operate than a drop shipping business Steve. I think you’re headed in the right direction by picking this type of online business.


Leave a Comment