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Online business ideas: what’s the best online business you could start?

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By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly what’s the best kind of online business to start.

But first, I love how 2,000+ of you responded to my question, “What excites you about starting an online business?”…

…with a bunch of ME-FOCUSED responses. “I want ___, I need ___, I can’t wait for ____.”

What are you, a bunch of 14-year-old girls? Who else talks only about THEMSELVES and what THEY want?

Attention weirdos: What about your customers? It’s great that YOU want a flexible schedule, and freedom, and recurring revenue.

But do you notice how nobody said, “I’m really good at helping my friends with their relationship problems. I don’t want to just help people 1-on-1…I want to help THOUSANDS of people.”

Or “I love helping people get in shape. I want to help as many people get fit as possible.”


Look, I’m being tough because nobody else will. They’ll sell you the dreams of a 100% automated business based on your passion. That’s a lie. Your passion is important, but it won’t help you decide what idea to pursue, how much to charge, and how to SELL without being sleazy.

Oh, YOU want recurring revenue? Oh WOW! I’M SO IMPRESSED! I want to be in the NBA. I want to have a billion dollars. I want to have 10 houses around the world.

So what? Anyone can WANT something. Few will actually take action on it.

Few will learn how to dig deep into what their customers really want and put their needs first.

Few will build the systems required to turn your dream or passion into a real business that makes money.

Online business revenue from a recent day's online transactions

No big deal, just revenue from a recent day

Do you want this? Do you want an online business that runs on systems — not on your time?

OK, then it’s time to get real.


What other “experts” teach:

  1. Find your passion
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

Unlike other gurus who will tell you to follow your passion (then leave out step #2 and skip right to you somehow ending up living the dream lifestyle), I take a very different approach.

Yes, it’s important to create a business around something that interests you. But what separates a successful online business from everyone else is BUSINESS SYSTEMS.

How do you know which idea will be most profitable? How do you know if people will pay? How do you get traffic, and buyers…and then set the business on autopilot?

Look at this:

I'm ready to start an online business!

I told Grace she had to wait, just like everyone else. I don’t want starry-eyed dreamers joining my Zero to Launch course. I want you to know EXACTLY what it takes to start a successful online business. And if you’re ready to put in the work, I’ll show you the exact, step-by-step roadmap.

UPDATE: You can join the Zero To Launch waiting list for more detailed information, along with first access to the course when it’s open.

(By the way, imagine what it would feel like to have an online business where customers beg you to let them pay you thousands of dollars…BEFORE THEY EVEN KNOW WHAT’S IN YOUR COURSE.)

Hmm…if only there were a way to learn how to do that…

In true IWT fashion, I’ll give you the exact tactics you need to create a dependable, scalable online business — including word-for-word scripts and conversion techniques you can use to quadruple your revenue.

In today’s post, I’ll show you the different ways you can start your first successful online business — with my specific recommendation.

Which online business should you start?

Lots of options here. Should you start a drop-shipping company? Software? Etsy? Online courses?

How do you know which is best?

I could give you a bunch of theory, principles, and a long history of the relative pros and cons of each. Or I can just tell you the answer.

  • There are 6 main options for an online business
  • I have systematically tried them ALL, and I’ll tell you the straight truth about which is good and which is bad
  • As always, learn these rules. When you get more advanced, you can break them!

Your 6 options for starting an online business: Software (including apps), physical products, ads, affiliate marketing, coaching, and online courses.

6 Ways to Make Money Online - Zero to Launch

What do you notice about this illustration?

  1. Using a simple framework lets you instantly see if a business model is attractive or unattractive (most people never do this)
  2. You don’t have to quit your job and raise millions in venture capital funding (which I’ve done as well…and I can tell you I love IWT way more)
  3. Online courses and coaching are both very attractive. So how do we decide?

Coaching vs. Courses - Zero to Launch

At this point, either model is great. I love coaching, and I’ve taught thousands of people how to become freelancers/consultants/coaches via my Earn1K course. It is the single-best way to start learning business skills.

But if you want to scale your business — so you can create something once and profit for YEARS to come — that’s where an online business comes in.

Specifically, online courses.

Which online courses could you create?

Here’s where it’s easy to get tripped up. “But Ramit,” people say, “I’m not an expert in personal finance or finding a dream job. I don’t know anything that people would pay for!”

Oh really?

Take a look at these 3 amazingly weird (yet successful) courses.

What are you good at? What do your friends call you for advice on? What kind of sites — fashion, sports, marketing? —  do you read while you’re waiting to check out at the grocery store?

Notice how, at this point, we’re already jumping 50 questions ahead:

  • “But what if I’m not sure what I’m good at?”
  • “An online course? But I don’t have a website/traffic”
  • “What kind of software should I use for…”


Part of trusting the system is focusing on ONE step at a time, not jumping ahead. I have a proprietary process to show you how to identify what you’re ALREADY great at…and what the market will pay for.

Am I going to teach you that right now? Not yet. You can join my course when I open it on March 30th.

For now, I want you to know that YES — you have passions and experiences in you that people will pay for. Even if you’re not the world’s expert on them!

Let’s take a minute and celebrate. You already learned more in this post than in the last 3 months of reading blog after blog.

What I want you to do TODAY (updated)


I want to make it easy for you to learn which online business to start — and how to grow it. I’m revealing some of the real numbers and results from my business — along with case studies and other premium material — to my behind-the-scenes priority list for Zero to Launch (click here to join).

UPDATE — New Zero to Launch course reviews!

Check this out, several Zero to Launch students have posted detailed reviews of the Zero to Launch course on their own blogs. You can hear all about their experiences — including pros and cons, and who the course is right for — in their own words. I’ll keep updating this list as more reviews come out:

I’ve collected more Zero to Launch reviews, direct from students here. Check them out.

Want to learn more about Zero to Launch and get instant access to more case studies? Join the Zero to Launch waitlist (takes 20 seconds).


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