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Top Small Online Business ideas for Beginners in 2021

If you have come here, it is because you are looking for top small online business ideas for beginners to venture into in 2021. Here, we propose a list of 17 concepts that you could start as soon as possible. As you can imagine, it costs little to start this type of activity, you will have to rely on your talents to enjoy a competitive advantage over the many other people who already exercise these activities or could start right away.

However, you will need knowledge, business skills, technical skills, art, capacity for sacrifice, stamina… Well, let’s be reasonable: you won’t need all of these things at once but you will need a large part of them. Remember that we are not talking about easy businesses, but about a small online business ideas for beginners in 2021 that you can start without investing almost anything.

While some of these ideas are relatively new to the Nigeria space, the others are the regular ones you see everyday on the internet. Nonetheless, we’ve made a compilation and there’s every tendency that you’ll find an online business idea(s) that’ll help you invest the little capital you have to make more profit.

The Best Small Online Business Ideas For Beginners in 2021

1.  Buy wholesale and sell retail

The modern tools at your disposal, such as electronic marketplaces, allow you to buy almost anything at the best price. You can, for example, visit a website like (which usually has a lot of items at a good price) and see if you could dedicate yourself to selling products at retail. Depending on the type of items you buy and the number of units, the initial investment can be very reasonable. You can also opt for other platforms such as,, and the likes. 

You can also search for stocks from liquidation companies to buy heavily discounted items and sell them individually. You can start small, then reinvest your initial earnings so you can buy more.


2. Blogging: An excellent small online business idea


Creating a blog is undoubtedly an interesting way to start a small online business. However, you’ll need to have specialized knowledge to understand how it goes.. Here we recently talked to you about the possibility of a blog about insurance, and a long time ago about another about celebrities. Although your own domain does not actually cost a lot of money, you can also start without paying much, with a free blog. For example, using WordPress.

3. Insurance brokerage

Are you an expert in the insurance sector? Why don’t you start your own brokerage?
Yea, this sector isn’t common. But that’s the beauty of it all. A quick check around will prove to you that just a handful of Nigerians know about this online business idea and only a few are actually exploiting the advantage.

As an intermediary, you will not need much investment, and at the beginning you can set up your office in a room in your house. Although, you’ll a strong competition from other land-based brokerages and you will have to comply with legal requirements, but with a good network of contacts, it’s achievable.

4. Be a consultant in your area of expertise

More than an experienced professional, hardened in many battles in the business world, they realize that many people could benefit from their knowledge. Some take the step of leaving their salaried job and setting up a specialized consulting firm. Ask yourself if you are an expert in something that you could monetize, perhaps you can be successful as an independent consultant. A small online business idea that’s achievable with little capital, right? Well, that’s why you’re here!

5. Repair of toys and other adult things

Can you fix almost everything? Do you have knowledge in electronics? Why not try to smile back at those children who have damaged their favorite toys? In some places they call these businesses with the poetic name of “toy hospital.”

Under this ‘Buhari era’ when most families are not too buoyant to constantly afford new toys, it could be an interesting small “side hustle” business that you can run online. You only need to know ‘how to do’ tricks and few tools.

Also, you probably have learnt a skill that allow you to fix Smartphones, Cars or even fix electric wirings and all sorts of vices. It’s time to put those smiles to use by announcing your presence online. Take pictures and videos of you at work, ask your available clients to recommend you to their friends and family. In no time, you’ll be a mobile office, shuttling between one place to another.

6. Personal Online Trainer

If you know everything about physical education or are willing to train, a very promising small online business idea to consider is working as an online personal trainer. Some time ago, this service was an almost exclusive service for celebrities, but now, it is being democratized, owning to the fact that doing sports efficiently and with the appropriate frequency is not so easy. Having the services of a personal trainer for a few weeks is the best way to get serious and not give up, therefore, your services will be needed.

7. Mystery Shopping

Informally known as pre-order shopping, a mystery shopper is a person who visits stores incognito, as if he were a normal consumer, but values the service and attention received. If you have contacts in the quality and marketing sector, you could set up your own Mystery Shopper agency, and start doing the evaluation missions in first person.

Simply put, this online business involves that you get the orders from persons actually seeking for a particular product(s) and service and help them purchase it. This way, your money is not held down for a long time since you already have ready customers waiting to receive them.

On the other hand, you don’t even have to spend your money. You get the funds from those who want to purchase the goods and help them get it, while including your profits to the total price. However, you need to have built enough trust with a formidable base before venturing into this.

8. Translation agency

Are you perfectly fluent in another language? If you are looking for profitable businesses without investment, why don’t you offer your translation services to companies?
Nigeria is country with multiple ethnic groups who different languages. However, it’s a country flowing with “milk and honey,” and have investors looking to expand beyond their horizon. Yet, there’s a language barrier that likely will keep them from achieving their aims.

This is where you come in. You can create a platform where people or companies can contact you for your services. In a country where exchanges are increasingly present, there are many more opportunities for translators, although of course also a lot of competition. More so, you’re not limited to national details alone, you can go international.

9. Making costume jewellery

If you know how to make necklaces, rings, bracelets, and other jewelry pieces, you should think about selling them. You can follow different marketing strategies, especially organizing sales at friends’ houses and setting up your own website. Here are some craft ideas you can make at home to sell (to write about this later). You’ll be surprised at how much fortune you can make with this small online business idea.

Irrespective of the harsh economy that has hit the country, Nigerians love looking good especially when there’s an event to attend. However, considering how challenging it is to afford classy jewelries, most people would rather go for the less costly yet beautiful, and customizable ones. As expected the internet is the next stop to get what they want.

10. Design and manufacture clothes for fashion stores

Despite independent retailers having a worse time than the big chains, there will always be a market for original creations. If you know how to make your own designs, you can choose to draw and make your own models, and then sell them to fashion stores.

Conversely, you don’t have to be an drawing artist to get this done. You can as well outsource to someone who is navvy enough to construct a design and pay the person for his/her service. Thereafter, you can sell these designs online to fashion stores that need them.

11. Virtual assistant

Next on our list of top small online businesses for beginners is the task of a virtual assistant. An underlying trend in the Nigerian economy is the outsourcing of non-strategic functions, a phenomenon that is accentuated in times of crisis. A single person can provide virtual assistant services to many professionals and small companies, with the consequent savings for them.

To achieve this, you need a skill(s) that sells and a digital device such as a Smartphone. Some great examples of such skills that sells online include; Graphics designing, copywriting, content writing, web developers, video and animations creators, and many others. With any of these skills, you can set up a career that allows you help professionals seeking for assistants to help reduce their workload and make reasonable amounts from this venture.

12. Sell used products on eBay

Another way to start a small online business in 2021 without money is simply by buying and selling second-hand products. For this you can use well-known portals such as eBay, or set up your own online store.

Perhaps the best thing is to start with the first, and once you have contacts and fame, go to your own store. And what can you sell? Anything! Be it cars, houses, sewing machines, Mobiles, Mattresses, Furniture, etc. You can sell virtually anything legal on eBay, Jiji and any other top merchants websites(to write about this later).

More than one person wants to get rid of their junk to get both money and space at home. But many do not know very well how to do it, or do not have time. One solution is to sell used things for others on portals like eBay, for a commission. 

13. Organize events

Organizing events needs a lot of organizational capacity, a lot of contacts but you can do it with little money. You can think of planning weddings (one of the 10 examples of business plans), birthdays, or business events. It is one of the most interesting profitable small online businesses without investment for a person with a flair for people and good taste.

14. Private classes

Among the profitable small online business opportunities without investment related to knowledge is the possibility of giving private lessons. Depending on your training, you may be able to teach school children, high school kids or even college students.

Now, you don’t have to get discouraged if you are not balanced enough to tutor formal educational classes. There are lots of alternatives. You probably are versed with sports, fitness, cooking or other vocational skills that you can teach to others. Why not consider selling yourself to the ever-waiting online audience?

15. Commercial intermediary

We could also call it facilitating contacts. If you have a good commercial network, you can earn a lot of money without spending a dime. The only thing you have to do (and it is not easy, obviously), is to connect people who need to sell something with other people who need to buy that something. It is something that can be done in almost all sectors, but that can only be achieved by people with excellent business mastery and a great network of contacts. You can convert this to a very profitable small online business idea, especially in sectors with high-value products.

16. Redesign CV

How many people look for a job without even having a presentable resume? There is an interesting small online business opportunity around counselling the job seeker. Although we cited the design of the resume, but in reality much more can be done, from preparing for job interviews to drawing up a balance of competencies.

17. Aesthetics or hairdresser at home

Home services are both very practical for the customer and very cheap to set up (you don’t really a shop or premises). And they are usually profitable businesses that require little investment. That’s especially true for service activities like general beauty and cosmetic care. There are also other options such as taking the bar home, or bringing a romantic catering.

The good thing about this business idea is that you’ll definitely have gigs to run. Once you’re good with what you do, people will order your service and once you start getting recommendations from others, you might even consider to grow your business offline to a more massive enterprise.

What to know before starting an online business?

Starting a small online business in 2021 is relatively easy, you don’t need to be a overly rich to have a virtual store, there are different platforms that allow you to perform this task in a very simple way. Currently, you just have to have a good product idea and post it online for everyone to know.

However, having an original product to sell online and a platform with which you can easily set up a virtual store is not everything. There are some points that you should keep in mind before starting an ecommerce store, if you want to have an online business that little by little captures customers and has a solid reputation on the web. For this reason, we’ll talk about what you have to know before starting a small online business for beginners in 2021.

Tips for starting an online business

1. Get your own domain

On many occasions, because they have something “cheap”, some entrepreneurs prefer to use a free domain such as WordPress. And although to have a test site these types of domains are good, to set up an online store, where your brand is being exposed, is not the best idea.

We recommend you acquire your own domain, choose a name that is easy to remember and that has a direct relationship with the line of your business. Having your own domain will allow you to project a more professional image with your target audience, thus increasing trust between your brand and your customers.

2. Choose the best web host

Before setting up your online store, it is not only necessary that you have a sticky and easy-to-remember domain name, you also need a hosting provider that allows you to host your online business. Web hosting companies are responsible for providing the hosting service, so that your website can be available to anyone through the Internet. There are different companies that offer this service, but before hiring one we recommend that you take the following into account:

  • Support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: You don’t when you may have a problem with your website, that is why it is essential that you consider that you need the web hosting provider to offer technical support service at any time.
  • Same language: It’s recommended that you look for a web hosting company that provides its services in your language.


3. Validate your product idea

Do you have an original product idea? Do your family and friends love it? It is very good but it is not enough. Starting an online business in 2021, whatever it is, is already very risky, but there are ways to minimize the probability of failure and one of these is by validating your product idea before it goes to market.

Apart from showing close people what you want to sell online, we recommend you make your idea known in forums in which you are not known, so that in this way you receive objective comments that can help you to have greater security about your product and even improve it. Consider the positive and negative comments of your product to have a clearer idea of the impact that your product can have on the market.

4. Know your competition

Seeing your competitors as adversaries is a misconception. Knowing your competition is a fundamental aspect when starting any business. One way to find out about your competition is to do a Google search for the keyword that best describes your product and to analyse which online stores are offering the same as you. Check what they are doing, you will realize that some of the strategies that are implemented can work for you too. 

5. Implement a SEO strategy

You cannot currently be successful in e-commerce if your product cannot be easily found through search engines like Google. In order to be visible in organic search results, you need to implement an SEO strategy. The topic of SEO is very broad, but we can focus on the fact that the use of keywords is a very important factor so that your product can be found on the Internet quickly. So do a research on the keywords for which you want to appear and implement them in the content of your website naturally.

There you have it…. The best 17 online small business ideas for beginners in 2021 with little or no investment at all. If you have followed through from the beginning of this article to now, then I can only but wish you a healthy congratulation because you’ve gotten a priceless possession. In no time, you should have your online business running with your sight focused on growing to be better.

However, you can let us know what you think in the comment section about these business ideas, giving us suggestions that you think should be included, as well as telling others how these ideas have helped you. We’ll be waiting!!!