The Best Things to Sell Online to Make Money: 20 Profitable Ideas

by | Last Updated: October 15, 2019

I know what you’re thinking…

Is selling online profitable?

Absolutely!

Not only is it profitable but it’s much easier to start an online business than it is to open a local store. You can sell virtually anything online and get started as soon as today.

You don’t need a small business loan or lots of money to start either. In some cases, all you need is an email address to make money online.

There are many people who have quit their jobs and are earning a full-time living online. And most of them do it from a computer while working a few hours from home or traveling the world.

So if you’re on the fence about making money online, it’s time to take the plunge.

In this post, I’ll show you a list of things you can sell to make money online. Then I’ll answer some common questions about where and how to sell stuff online.

Sound good?

Coolio. Let’s get to it.

What are the Best Things to Sell Online to Make Money?

You don’t need to overthink this. There are many things you can sell online. Here are some of the best money-making ones:

1. Handmade products

Do you like making custom accessories? How about knitting scarves or blankets?

If you enjoy making crafts, you should consider selling them for money.

The beauty about this is that you’re already doing something you love, which is what most people wish for in life.

And since you’re making all these things by hand, that means they are unique and you can charge a significant amount of money for them.

You can turn this into a full fledged business or keep it as a side hustle to make extra money each month.

Besides the extra income, this could also be a great way to make money as a stay-at-home parent.

2. Flip items online

This is probably one of the quickest ways to make money online.

It’s called retail arbitrage, which involves buying items at local stores and reselling them online for a markup.

For example, you can find cheap Reynolds aluminum foil for $1.49 at Big Lots, and resell it online for three times the price.

The secret to doing this, is to first compile a list of popular and trending items online. Then you hit the clearance aisles at stores like Walmart, Target, Dollar Store, Lowe’s, etc., and purchase those products to resell.

With proper research, you can literally walk into a store and easily find $1,000 in profit in less than 20 minutes.

3. Ebooks

Selling ebooks is a great way to make passive income. And there are two ways you can sell ebooks online.

First you can become a Kindle publisher who sells fiction or information-based books e.g. romance novels and personal finance guides.

Another option is to create your own website to sell your ebooks. Most people prefer this option because you can charge more for your ebooks and keep all the profits.

Although it’s an easy way to make money, creating the ebook is usually to challenging part.

But here’s a secret tip… you can hire a ghostwriter to do it for you.

Sure it’ll require a small investment, but it’s only a one-time thing. After that, there are no other costs and that one ebook will keep making money passively while you sleep.

Pretty cool, right?

4. Tutoring lessons

Is there a particular subject that you’re good at? Do you have a college degree?

Then you should consider tutoring students over the Internet.

One example of this is teaching English to Chinese students online.

There’s a huge demand for this service. That’s why many stay-at-home parents are using it to make a full-time income.

Thanks to platforms like VIPKID, you can easily start making money as an online tutor.

5. Courses

Selling courses online can be extremely profitable. It’s basically a another way to monetize your skills or experience.

What’s that? You don’t have either of those things? That’s fantastic!

You can create a course to teach people how to survive in life with no skills or experience. You can show them how you can afford a home, smartphone, computer, internet access, and food – despite having zero abilities.

Heck, I would pay for that course in a heartbeat!

Jokes aside, there are tons of people making money with weird courses, like this one about growing succulents.

Creating a course is usually the most difficult part. But once it’s done, it can be a great source of passive income.

6. T-shirts

Want to make free money selling t-shirts?

Thanks to print-on-demand services, you can do that without paying for inventory. You just designs and a place to upload and sell them.

Two popular platforms for selling t-shirts are:

All you have to do is upload your designs to either marketplace. And when someone orders your t-shirt, you get paid immediately and the platform handles everything else. You never have to touch inventory.

It’s another creative way to make money online.

7. Graphic design services

Do you know Photoshop, Illustrator, etc., like the back of your hand?

If you do, you can make money selling graphic design services to people or businesses. This can be done either part-time or full-time.

When you’re just starting out, clients will want to see examples of your work. You can easily create a website to display your portfolio.

And since you’re the one with the high-demand skill, you can choose who you want to work with.

For instance… you can help design agencies that have excess work but limited funds to hire full-time staff.

There’s a ton of opportunity here.

8. Coaching

As a coach, your goal is to help people move from an undesirable state to one that is more desirable.

You don’t need a college degree or certification to do this. None of that matters if you can help people get the results they want.

Your experience is more than enough.

For example: let’s say you decided to transform you body and lose 15 pounds in a month. Then you continued to lose weight and get in the best shape of your life.

Do you think there are people who would gladly pay you to help them do the same?

Of course! Your weight loss story will be an inspiration to them and proof that you know what you’re talking about.

That’s just one example. There are many more things you can help people with.

You can easily make six-figures a year coaching people. And the best part is… you don’t need a lot of clients to do that.

9. Virtual assistance

As a virtual assistant (VA), you can make money doing anything from managing emails, moderating online communities, and other day-to-day tasks.

There’s always a demand for good virtual assistants.

Why?

Because people will pay you good money to help them keep their business and lives running smoothly.

And the cool part about being a VA, is that you can do from home either part-time or full-time.

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10. Photos

Enjoy taking pictures? Do people say your pictures are amazing and you should try to sell them?

That’s awesome! It means you’ve got some creative genius that you can turn into a steady source of income.

Sites like SmugMug give you a place to store and sell your photos.

You can set your own prices and let people buy prints, custom photo gifts, and digital downloads of your work.

Check it out if you want to make money selling photos online.

11. Social media services

As a social media marketer, you can use your skills to help businesses or people reach new customers and audiences online.

Most people can’t even create a proper Facebook page or run a popular Instagram account. But you can (or at least you can learn how to do it).

All you have to do is contact businesses and tell them how you can help them get more customers and boost their income.

Once you get them the results they want, they’ll have no problem paying you for your services.

With just a handful of clients, you can easily make $10,000 a month as a social media marketer.

12. Editing services

Are you a grammar genie who loves to read? Does poor punctuation grind your gears? Do you know the difference between you’re and your?

Then you can easily parlay your English skills into a money-making activity.

There are people and businesses who need editors for a variety of material like speeches, blog posts, manuals, books, and more.

Those people may not be able to hire afford a full-time editor, which is why they’ll turn to you.

Although some clients may require an English-related degree, there are many that don’t. You can have a degree in Math or no degree at all.

In those cases, you’ll have to prove your abilities to potential clients. But once you’ve gotten a few clients, you’ll easily get more because of referrals.

It’s up to you to decide how many clients you want to have and how much money you want to make as a freelance editor.

13. Wholesale items

If you want to sell stuff online without leaving your home, dropshipping is one way to do it.

It’s a business model that allows you to sell products you don’t have to pay for, until you receive money from a customer. That means you don’t need to buy and store inventory.

Basically you find suppliers who warehouses and ship high-margin products. Then you market those products on your own e-commerce site.

When someone places an order on your site, you send the info to the supplier who then ships the item directly to your customer.

For example: you sell patio furniture for $699 on and the supplier charges you $320. So you make $379 profit on each sale without any effort besides running your website.

It’s that simple.

You can definitely make money dropshipping from your own e-commerce store.

14. Online memberships

You can create a membership site and charge people a monthly fee to join. It’s basically like joining a gym, except it’s online.

As for what kind of membership site to create, that’s entirely up to you.

Most membership sites are just communities for people who share a common goal or want to be a part of certain group.

For example: let’s say you’re a savvy shopper who can find the biggest discounts on luxury items like makeup, shoes, etc.

You can create a membership site and charge people a monthly fee for access to those deals.

You’ll be surprised at how many people will gladly pay you to help them satisfy their need to spend money on stuff they can’t afford.

15. Private label products

Imagine having your very own product to sell. Or even multiple products, all under your own brand.

With products like these, you get to keep all the profits. That’s the beauty of private labelling.

The concept is simple…

You research a product to sell. Get a local or international manufacturer to make that product. Put your brand name on it. And sell it online via your own website or popular marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.

You can make a ridiculous amount of money doing this.

The only downside is you’ll need to make a small investment to have your products manufactured.

And if you don’t know much about private label selling, you can easily learn with the right training.

16. Writing services

Are you a skilled typist? Can you churn out thousands of words in a short amount of time? Do you know how to do good research?

Well there’s no shortage of people willing to pay you to do that. One area in particular is creating content for blogs.

Many online publications need to feed the information hunger of the billions of Internet users to stay relevant (and get that sweet ad revenue).

So they hire tons of writers and pay them $50, $100, or more for a single article.

In addition to content creation, you can also do ghostwriting, create manuals, draft reports, and more.

17. Consulting

As a consultant you’ll sell actionable advice to help businesses or professionals improve their processes and revenue.

Most people think of consultants as highly-trained experts, with MBAs and fat salaries, working for global corporations.

But you don’t need those things to be an expert. 

Let’s say you know how to generate leads online. Can you find local businesses to pay you for that?

Absolutely! All businesses care about is customers and revenue. If you can show them how to do both consistently and cost-effectively, they’ll pay you a king’s ransom.

The secret is to target small to medium-sized businesses that sell high-priced products e.g. kitchen remodeling, used car dealerships, etc.

You can easily make $5,000 a month with just one consulting client. Imagine what you can do with five of them.

18. Videos

Similar to pictures, there’s a huge demand for high quality videos.

These can be short clips or long action shots, which people pay to use for their specific media purposes.

One popular niche seems to be drone footage of anything from landscapes to buildings.

Even if you don’t have a drone, but can shoot awesome 4K and 1080p videos, you can still make good money selling videos online.

And if you’re really good, you might even pick up a few clients to make this an easy side hustle.

19. Web design services

Can you make a website? How about a high-converting landing page?

If you can, there’s a hungry market for your services.

Despite the endless GoDaddy and Wix ads, most people still can’t create a website.

That’s because it’s more than just doing a few clicks. And most business owners or professionals don’t have time to mess with that stuff.

That’s where you can swoop in and offer your custom web design services to them for a nice chunk of change.

You can easily make $10,000 a month or more selling custom-made websites.

20. Software and apps

I’ll admit that this is by far the most difficult thing to sell online – if you don’t know how to code.

But it can also make you insane amounts of money online.

The other benefits include having a recurring stream of income, and potentially having your software or app get acquired by another company for millions.

BTW, even if you can’t code, you can hire people to bring your software or app idea to life.

Sure it’ll require an initial investment, but it has the potential to be extremely rewarding.

What is The Best Way to Sell Online?

Everyone will have a different answer to this question.

That’s because there are 5 important factors that will influence how you sell online. They are:

1. Your goals

Is this going to be a side-hustle, full-time gig, or just a way to make some extra cash? Do you want to make a specific amount of money, if so why?

You need to be clear about your goals.

2. Product vs. service

Do you want to sell a product or service? If it’s a product, will it be physical or digital? If it’s a service, what kind is it?

You have to decide what you want to sell because that will be your main focus.

3. Market demand

Once you know what you want to sell, you need to see if there’s a demand for it. The last thing you want to do is to sell sand to people living on the beach.

And if you see competitors selling similar things, don’t get depressed. That just means there’s a demand for those products or services.

4. Skills and capital

Do you have the skills needed to sell a service? If not, can you learn those skills? And if you’re planning to sell a product that requires a financial investment, do you have the funds needed?

If you’re not willing to invest in training or can’t afford to fund a product, you may have to sell something else until you’re in a better position to do so.

5. A place to sell

Lastly, you’ve got to decide how you’re going to sell your service or product.

Are you going to use an online marketplace, specific platform, or a custom website?

You need to know which one will give you access to potential customers.

What is The Best Site to Sell Stuff Online?

Figuring out where to sell stuff online will depend on the products or services you choose to offer. You basically have two options:

  • Your own website
  • An online marketplace or platform

The first option will always be the best choice.

Having your own website gives you greater control over your operations and revenues. You can list all the stuff you have for sale in one place and not worry about competing offers.

You also own your customer list and have the ability to interact with them directly. This is great if you need to get feedback or sell them other products.

It doesn’t take much to create a basic website or e-commerce store to sell stuff online. You should definitely consider this if your goal is to start a business selling products or services online.

But if you’re just starting out or doing this part-time, here’s a list of the best sites based on what you’re selling:

SitesBest for selling…
Your WebsiteYour own products and services
eBayNew or used physical products
EtsyHandmade items, custom art, digital products
AmazonPrivate label products, new or used products
ShopifyYour own e-commerce products
ThinkificVideo courses
PodiaOnline memberships, paid groups
UpworkAll kinds of services e.g. writing, web design, etc
FlexJobsAll kinds of services e.g. VA, editing, etc
SmugMugPhotos and videos
RedbubblePrint-on-demand apparel and accessories
Amazon MerchPrint-on-demand apparel
VIPKIDEnglish tutoring services
Varsity TutorsTutoring services for different subjects

Table showing best sites to sell stuff

Ready. Set. Sell.

Yeah Buddy! Now that you know what to sell online, it’s time to choose one and start earning some money.

If you’re having a tough time choosing an option, just pick the one that’s easiest for you. You’ll know which one that is based on your skills and experience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your favorite.

Too many people try to chase after money selling things without experience or skills, only to end up failing miserably.

Remember, you can always return to your top choice once you get a little bit more experience or money, if that’s the case.

Speaking of experience, there are other folks like you who would love to learn what, where, and how to sell online. And this post just might be the helpful resource they need to get started.

So let’s throw them a bone by sharing this post across the web. It’ll only take a few seconds. Cool?

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About Carlton F.

Most people like to brag about themselves here. Carlton just wants you to know that he co-founded this website to help you find meaningful solutions to your money problems. Cars and traveling are his passion, but otherwise, he’s a humble dude.