The 33 Most Profitable Business Opportunities in 2022 by Michael Keenan, Shopify
Creating a home-based business or finding profitable online business ideas can be challenging. There are thousands of possible choices, yet everything seems like it’s been done thousands of times before.
So with all these product choices, where do you even begin digging to find the gold?
If you’re looking to start your own business, below is a big list of opportunities you can take advantage of today to grow a profitable business in 2022 and beyond.
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Online business opportunities
- Dropshipping business
- Print on demand
- Handmade products
- Digital products
- Video games
- Self-published author
- Pet products
- Thrift clothes
- Going freelance
- Selling on Amazon
- Selling on Etsy
- Virtual assistant
- Freelance writing
- Gig work
- Online recruiter
1. Dropshipping business
Dropshipping is one of the best at-home business opportunities there is. Dropshipping is a business model that lets you buy products directly from a supplier or manufacturer and ship them to your customers.
Compared to other ecommerce business opportunities, dropshipping is low cost to start. You don’t have to worry about carrying inventory or buying products in bulk. You don’t even have to worry about shipping products, because your supplier handles that for you.
Since you don’t have to buy the items you sell, you can offer a variety of different products. Dropshipping business opportunities are near endless. If a supplier stocks a product, you can list it on your online store at no additional cost.
Need some product ideas? Here are the top 5 shopping categories worldwide in 2022:
- Toys, Hobby & DIY
How to Get Started with Dropshipping in 2021
Learn how to find high-margin products, add them into your store, and start selling—fast.Register now
2. Print on demand
Whether you’re an artist, designer, or ecommerce brand, print on demand is a great potential business opportunity for online clothing retailers. Printing on demand involves working with a supplier to customize white-label products, such as tote bags or t-shirts, with your own designs.
The best part? You don’t have to pay for the product until after you sell it. Similar to dropshipping, you don’t hold any inventory or buy in bulk.
- Print on Demand: A Low-Risk Way to Sell Custom T-Shirts, Books, and More
- 10 Print-On-Demand Companies for Selling Your Own Custom Products
- A Canvas for Creativity: Here Are 10 Print-On-Demand Products You Can Sell (Without Holding Inventory)
3. Handmade products
If you always enjoyed making and building stuff as a kid, selling DIY products is a great business opportunity to monetize your creativity. Even if you have the will to create something new but lack the know-how, there’s a way to make it happen.
Take Josh Pigford, founder of Baremetrics (a SaaS company) and Cedar + Sail (a handmade homewares online shop), for example. What started as a part-time side project quickly became a profitable online business opportunity to stimulate his creative side and sell products he makes by hand.
“I’m a sucker for little things that go on side tables and desks, so I started playing around with some ideas for concrete planters—the kind of thing that can hold succulents and air plants,” Josh says.
“I quickly figured out the process to produce the silicon molds I’d need to pour the concrete in, and I was set. A month or so after I had the idea to make these little planters, and Cedar + Sail was born!”
If you’re not sure what to sell, start by looking around your own house. What’s missing that you wish you had? Is it a concrete pot? Colorful artisan bed covers? Then do some online research to see what’s selling. Are big stores like Target, Amazon, or West Elm selling similar items?
Once you’ve decided what things to make and sell and what seems to be trending, start creating!
4. Digital products
E-learning is exploding as an industry. Recent studies show that the industry will be worth around $325 billion by 2025, making digital products one of the best online business opportunities for creators and educators alike. Music, videos, ebooks, and online courses are a few examples. They can be held or touched, but are popular amongst consumers because they can download them and consume on their own time.
Digital products also make for great business opportunities because they’re inexpensive to create and distribute. You can make it once and sell it repeatedly to different people without restocking inventory or talking with suppliers. If you consider yourself an expert on a particular topic, you can package that information up and sell it in the form of a one-time fee or subscription.
5. Sell photography
Business opportunities like selling photography are common. You can sell photos on endless stock sites—such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, iStock, 500px, and Stocksy—or wherever the demand for your type of photography exists.
To succeed in selling photos online, make sure to cover three important things:
- Find your niche. Whether it’s flowers, travel, buildings, landscapes, or fashion, choose one and stick to it.
- Build an audience. Selling photos isn’t a passive business opportunity. It’s a good idea to promote your photos on social media and build a following to sell more.
- Create multiple revenue streams. Don’t just sell on one site. Sell on as many as you can manage to create various streams of income.
Whether you’re a hobby photographer or it’s your full-time job, selling photos is one of those free online business opportunities that can help you earn cash if you put the time into it.
6. Video games
Video games have come a long way from earning you only bragging rights. Today, you can earn degrees, get sponsorships, and even become an esports professional gamer.
With an industry valued at $257 billion and growing, video games can be one of the most profitable business opportunities, if you play your cards right. Revenue doesn’t come only from playing professionally, either. You can earn money livestreaming on a platform like Twitch.tv, start a YouTube channel, or even sell game-inspired merch.
7. Self-published author
Do you love to write? Have you ever thought about publishing your own book? Well, good news. Becoming a self-published author is one of the best small business opportunities for you.
Self-publishing just means that you don’t work with an established publisher to manage the editing, design, and production processes of making a book. Instead, you do it on your own. With no real shortage of readers on the internet, there’s plenty of space for you to make and sell an ebook or audiobook and turn a profit.
8. Pet products
An online pet store is one of the most fun business opportunities, because you can sell a huge variety of products. Many people treat their furry friends like children and are willing to spend money to make sure they are taken care of. For example, you could sell everything from organic foods to luxury accessories, beds, and apparel.
Whether you want to run it as a dropshipping business or sell homemade treats, the pay is good and the work is rewarding (who doesn’t want to make dogs happy?). And people will never stop spoiling their pets—which means job security guaranteed.
9. Thrift clothes
Did you know the secondhand apparel market is valued at $40 billion? This makes it a prime business opportunity if you have some old clothes in the back of your closet and want to make some extra cash.
With new technology at the forefront, you can turn selling unwanted clothing into one of the most profitable business opportunities online.
10. Going freelance
Freelancing is one of the most common online business opportunities. Being a freelancer means you’re self-employed and not committed to a long-term employer. It allows you to take your office wherever you go and essentially be your own boss.
With the rise in remote work and the gig economy, you’ll be on your way to a successful online business by going freelance. It may be competitive, but if you have a set of skills you’ve built over the years, or even one you want to learn, there’s money to be made.
For example, you can turn skills like web design, SEO, marketing, copywriting, or app developing into a profitable home-based business.
11. Selling on Amazon
If you’re a business owner that’s looking to get your company and your products in front of a large audience, using Fulfillment by Amazon is a great solution. In February 2022 Amazon had over 2.2 billion visits across its website and mobile app. That’s just in one month.
Not only will FBA get your products in front of Amazon’s huge customer base, it also takes care of all the logistics for you. For $40 per month, you get access to Amazon’s entire logistics infrastructure. That means Amazon will take care of:
- Customer service
12. Selling on Etsy
Don’t let anyone tell you your bespoke dog collars or vintage doll dresses can’t make you money. Etsy is an online marketplace that gears itself toward creative business owners just like you. If you need further proof, Etsy has an annual revenue of $2.3 billion.
It works by forming a sort of partnership with Etsy. Etsy lists your products on its website and mobile app and will even create ads for your products. In return, Etsy takes a commission off of every sale you make through it. This allows you to spend more time being creative instead of spending time trying to find your customer base.
13. Virtual assistant
During the pandemic, remote work skyrocketed from 15% to 74%. And with everything being done online, it stands to reason that assistant work would also go virtual. Many companies and individuals use virtual assistants so they can save money. This way they only have to pay someone a few hours a day (instead of paying a full-time salary) to do some simple day-to-day tasks.
This is where you come in. Most virtual assistant gigs don’t require more than a high school education and a good attention to detail. You can find listings for virtual assistants on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Ovdym. The best part is, with sites like these, you get to make our own hours.
14. Freelance writing
If you’ve got a way with words, you can turn that into a business. With social media and ecommerce on the rise, every business needs content. In the second quarter of 2021 351,000 new businesses were started in the US. The three writing jobs most in demand listed on Fiverr were:
- Content writing: when you write an article to help drive traffic to a website or create brand awareness.
- Copywriting: when you write sales copy to increase ROI and revenue.
- Proofreading and Editing: making sure text is free of errors and easy to understand.
That old stereotype of the poor writer doesn’t have to be you. According to the popular freelance site Fiverr, you can make upward of $500 per hour to write. However, take that with a grain of salt. Your rates are going to depend on your experience and the clients you can attract.
15. Gig work
The gig economy is valued at almost $350 billion dollars. Gig work is a great way for you to make the money you need while still allowing you the freedom to pursue your real passions. The great thing is, you can use sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and TaskRabbit, to find work.
You get to set your own hours and rates and explain your expertise. Now, for skills such as plumbing or tutoring, these sites do ask for proof of your qualifications. But if you’re just looking to do some simple tasks like picking up dry cleaning or helping someone move, you won’t need to show proof of experience.
16. Online recruiter
Believe it or not, you can create a business plan around the ability to find the right people for the right jobs. For companies that don’t have an HR department, hiring can take up a lot of time, so they’ll contract this duty out to online recruiters.
If you’re someone who’s good at matching people up with opportunities and understanding the needs of a company, this is an excellent business opportunity for you. And because of freelance sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Glassdoor, you can find those gigs (and your hirees) with just a few keystrokes.
Remote business opportunities
- NFT artist
- Home-based child care
- Pet sitting
- Website design
- Virtual event planner
- Buy an ecommerce business
1. NFT artist
NFTs are big business and can be profitable as a remote business. In fact, a Time article reports 16-year-old Jaiden Stipp sold his first NFT for $60,000 last year. And he’s not the only one: 12-year-old Nyla Hayes and 14-year-old Erin Beesley are each making upward of $50,000 per NFT.
The prerequisite is you need to create something, like music or art. But after, you can list them for free on blockchain sites like OpenSea. All you have to do is create an account and OpenSea will walk you through the process.
- Pick what digital form you want your NFT to be (digital painting, piece of music, 3D avatar, etc.).
- Choose which marketplace you want to use (Opensea, Rarible, SolSea, etc.).
- NFTs are traded in cryptocurrency, so you’ll need a digital wallet. There are also some fees for when you put your NFT up for sale.
- Connect your digital wallet to your marketplace.
- Upload your NFT file. The marketplace you choose will guide you through the process.
- Set your price and list the NFT.
Keep that in mind when starting your own NFT venture that slow and steady wins the race.
The global after-school tutoring market is predicted to reach $425 million in 2022. That means if you’ve got a knowledge base to teach, you can make some serious money and you get to see that lightbulb go off for your students.
Now, how much you’ll make will largely depend on what you’re teaching and your expertise. But with sites like Paper, TutorTap, and Superprof, you can set your own hours and rates, and your students will find you. Better yet, with software like Zoom and Google Meet, you can tutor entirely from the comfort of your own home and help students from all over the world.
3. Home-based child care
Some 50% of companies are requiring or planning to require employees to return to in-person work full time. As parents are going back into the office, they will need child care. Parents in the US are spending an average of $14,117 annually on child care post-pandemic.
So, if you’re willing to childproof your house and you love kids, opening up a small home-based child care service could be a great business opportunity. Not only that, but you could also help out your friends and neighbors, all while playing with some adorable kids.
Check out your area’s zoning laws and your state’s regulations on opening up a child care business in your home. Many local zoning ordinances put a cap on the number of kids you can take care of in a private residence.
4. Pet sitting
Pet owners spent over $103 billion on their pets in 2021. Our pets are very much like our children now. So it’s become important to find a reliable person to take care of the furred, feathered, and scaled members of our family.
If you’re a pet lover and reliable, pet sitting is a great way for you to make some money. Plus you’ll get paid to hang out with animals all day! With sites like Rover you can set your hours, your rates, and even establish that you’d like the pet to board with you in your own home. You don’t even need to travel to play with pets, the pets will come to you!
5. Design websites
Ecommerce is on the rise. In 2021, retail ecommerce sales amounted to almost $5 trillion worldwide, and they’re expected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025. With every ecommerce business, there’s a website.
If you’ve got a knack for design or have some expertise on a particular platform like Shopify or WordPress, you can turn that into big business. If you’ve got programming skills, you’ll be in even more demand. And finding customers is easier than ever with sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
6. Virtual event planner
The pandemic proved that any event could be done virtually. There were virtual weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties galore. And even though travel has opened up, those that are still high risk may not want to host any in-person events. That’s where you come in.
As the virtual event planner, you’ll be in charge of things like:
- Setting up the virtual meeting space (like creating the Zoom room link)
- The event itinerary
- Party favors (e.g., a group shot or recording of event)
- Setting up a gift registry for a wedding or babyshower
If you’re organized and love bringing people together, this is a great way to make some money from home.
7. Buy an ecommerce business
If you’re flush with cash and don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a business from scratch, just buy one. With sites like Flippa and Exchange you can buy an already established ecommerce business.
This is great for people who want to maintain the status quo and simply make enough to live off of, and it’s also great for those who love the process of growing a business. The best part is, it doesn’t matter where the ecommerce business was started. You could live in San Francisco and buy an ecommerce business that was started in Hoboken, New Jersey, and you can do all of it from your couch.
Future business opportunities
1. Ethical hacker
An ethical hacker is someone that cyber security firms hire to test out the weak points in a client’s cyberwalls. In layman’s terms, they’re paid to hack into a secure system by the owner of the system so that the owners can find the weak spots and fix them.
With identity theft and breaches of secure networks, cyber security is one of the main concerns for any organization doing business online. A report released by Gartner stated that spending on information security and risk management technology exceeded $150 billion in 2021.
If you have an expertise in coding, networks, and databases, this is a very lucrative industry to get into. And as more and more things move toward the web and the metaverse, your job opportunities will only increase.
2. Artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is being used in almost every aspect of our lives now. Just take a look at Tesla’s self-driving technology or Alexa or Instagram’s algorithm. In fact, in 2021, the global AI market was worth over $320 billion.
The fields that contributed to this industry the most were telecommunications, financial services, and health care. So, why not create your own AI startup? If you’ve got the coding skills, you could create an AI that detects early signs of cancer, or recommends the best sushi spot in your area. You could make lots of money and help people.
3. Web3 company owner
Web3 is the third generation of the World Wide Web. It includes machine learning, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, which let people better communicate while keeping their information protected. Currently, most of the Web3 companies are based around cryptocurrencies or blockchains.
You can get in on the ground floor of a blockchain or start one yourself. If it does half as well as ethereum or bitcoin, you’re in for a hefty profit.
4. 3D printing
You can 3D print a house in a matter of days, or even print a heart valve. 3D printing is increasingly popular. In fact, the 3D-printing market was valued at over $13 billion in 2021.
To top it all off, 3D printers have become surprisingly affordable. You can buy a 3D printer on Amazon for less than $200. Now that costs are not as high, you can use 3D printing to start a business. Here are some ways you can make money using your 3D printer:
- Make prototypes for brands/companies
- Make jewelry
- Make costume/cosplay pieces
- Sell your 3D printed art on Etsy
- Sell your 3D printer designs
- Rent out your 3D printer
Business opportunities for entrepreneurs
- Become a social media influencer
- Sell coffee
- Rent your unused space
- Equipment maintenance
1. Become a social media influencer
Ever imagine turning likes and follows into dollars and checks? Now’s a good time to leverage your reputation as a social media influencer. While it sounds like one of those far-fetched business opportunities, it’s become a lucrative venture for people across different industries, including gardening, fashion, food, travel, and even parenting.
It may take a bit of time to build your reputation online, but if you have a topic you’re passionate about and like to talk about, you can make money by growing an engaged audience on social media.
2. Sell coffee
Running a café is not your only option if you want to explore all your coffee business opportunities. With the increase in demand for online coffee retailers, you can sell anything from beans to roasters to cups to other coffee-related products.
Since coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, there are plenty of potential customers ready to buy your product. Customers also give an advantage to small brands, which means you can niche down and sell to a specific group of people. People already want your coffee, they just need to know where to find you.
3. Rent your unused space
With sites like Neighbor, you can easily rent unused space in your home to people who need more storage. It’s become one of the easiest passive income opportunities in the self-storage industry, which is valued at over $38 billion.
Basically, you become a storage unit for someone who lives near you. Instead of going to an expensive storage facility, they come to your house to store and retrieve their stuff.
As you can imagine, security is extremely important in government-owned buildings and facilities. From single-guard to multistate operations, there are dozens of security contracts you can bid on.
Examples include entrance security, armed patrol, after-hours patrol, and camera installation and monitoring. You’ll be competing against some big corporations, but even for smaller service providers, you can bid for direct contracts or subcontracting business opportunities to provide security services to federal clients.
Whether it’s new construction, electrical, or roadwork, you can bid on contracting business opportunities with the government. This includes providing supplies and materials for new buildings and roads, or even renovating old ones. These business opportunities would go through the standard bidding process, but you can also find less intensive jobs like custodial work through sites like Indeed.
6. Equipment maintenance
Operations and maintenance spans a variety of categories you may find interesting, including facilities, roadway, parking, electronics, public safety, food services like vending machines, and office equipment to keep agencies and institutions running smoothly.
Why do you want to start bidding on government contracts for maintenance? Many of these maintenance contracts run on a multi-year basis, which means stable long-term work for your business.
How to identify new business opportunities
If the types of business opportunities above don’t meet your needs, keep these tips in mind when looking for other business ventures:
- Look at industry trends and insights. Continually educate yourself on industry trends by subscribing to niche publications, joining relevant associations, and following experts on social media.
- Do competitor research. See what similar companies are doing. Why do their customers go to them? What’s their pricing like? This will help you identify key business opportunities to expand your market reach and create better products and services.
- Listen to your customer base. When your customers talk, listen to them. How do they talk about industry products and services? What frustrations and feedback do they have? Use this insight to tailor products for the right audience.
- Collaborate and network. This will help you better understand which ideas work and which ones don’t. Your business won’t get very far without a solid network.
- Find a mentor. Look to connect with someone in your industry who has achieved more than you. They will help you get better and identify more key business opportunities.
- Keep an eye out. Business opportunities can pop up out of nowhere, often as a result of your hard work. So be ready to take advantage of an opportunity at any time.
Finding the right business opportunities for you
Whether you’re looking for dropshipping business ideas or want to become a reseller online, you can find business opportunities to meet your future goals. While you’re exploring all your options, be sure to check out our list of low-investment business ideas to find the best biz opportunity for you!
Business opportunities FAQ
What are examples of business opportunities?
- Selling digital products
- Online gaming
- Print-on-demand services
- Freelance business
- Ecommerce store owner
What are the best businesses for beginners?
- Selling thrift clothes
- Renting your unused space
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Becoming a social media influencer
- Turnkey businesses like storage units or laundromats
What is a good business opportunity?
A good business opportunity is one that has potential for growth and aligns with your passions. Motivation is key to the success of any startup. If you have the determination to build something you are proud of, you’ll have a bright future for your business.
What are the most successful small businesses?
- Health and beauty businesses
- Subscription businesses
- Businesses that sold B2B and B2C
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SOURCE: Shopify. This article was originally published by Shopify. Author Michael Keenan. Illustrations by Martina Paukova