Starting a remote business has become increasingly popular recently, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Great Pause” inspired many of us to rethink how we spend our days and what we do for work.
If you’re considering going out on your own in a new business that will let you work from anywhere, you’re not alone. In the U.S. alone, new business applications were up more than 20% year over year in December 2021. Many entrepreneurs – new and established alike – are looking for opportunities to take their business fully remote.
Whether you’re just starting out in your career or considering a change, these remote business ideas are proven options for people searching for a truly location-independent business opportunity.
1. Virtual Assistant
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a remote professional who remotely provides administrative and/or technical support to businesses or individuals. The duties of a virtual assistant may vary depending on the specific needs of the client, but generally include tasks such as:
- Managing email, calendars, and appointments.
- Data entry and organization.
- Social media management and content creation.
- Customer service and support.
- Online research.
- Basic bookkeeping and invoicing.
- Travel arrangements and bookings.
- Transcription and document preparation.
- Website maintenance and management.
- Online marketing and advertising.
You may want to take a business course before starting your VA services, especially if it’s not an environment you’ve worked in before. Virtual assistants typically use their own equipment and software, and communicate with their clients through email, messaging apps, video conferencing, and other online collaboration tools. You’ll set your own hours, make your own rates, and be responsible for finding and servicing new client accounts.
Recommended reading: Prepare Your Business for Location Independence
2. Social Media Manager
A Social Media Manager is responsible for creating, implementing, and managing a company’s or individual’s social media strategy. As a social media management business owner, you’ll develop and execute social media campaigns, manage social media calendars and accounts, create and curate content, and analyze social media performance to improve client engagement and reach. You’ll also have to market your business and win over those new clients.
You could develop clients’ social media strategies to align with their business goals and objectives, and consult on new channels and tactics they should use. You can offer content creation and engagement across various social media platforms and monitor social media channels for comments, messages, and inquiries as part of your service.
You might also be tasked with:
- Managing social media advertising campaigns and budgets.
- Analyzing social media metrics and using data to optimize content and strategies for maximum engagement and reach.
- Collaborating with other departments within the company, such as marketing and customer service, to ensure consistency in messaging and branding across all channels.
- Keeping clients informed on the latest social media trends and best practices.
- Dealing with any crises that come up in their channels.
Social media marketing is competitive, and it’ll be important for you to have a portfolio of results to show prospects. You might offer your services to a broad range of clients, or niche down and specialize in serving certain industries such as wellness, finance, or real estate.
3. Software Engineering
A software engineer is a professional who designs, develops, and maintains software applications and systems. In this career, you’ll use technical expertise to design and develop software solutions that meet user needs and solve complex problems in various industries, including finance, healthcare, entertainment, and many others.
It’s not for everyone, but if you enjoy problem solving and technical work, software engineering could be worth checking out as a remote career option. It’ll be important to choose a programming language and field of study that is in demand, and you may want to try a coding bootcamp before jumping in with both feet to get a computer science degree.
If you choose software engineering as your remote business, you’ll be a remote contractor providing services to clients. Technology changes quickly, so you’ll want to ensure your rates are enough to cover ongoing professional development and skills upgrading as the owner of your own business.
4. Online Teaching & Tutoring
An online tutor provides educational assistance to students over the internet. This is a great remote job choice for personable people, those who enjoy helping others learn, and those who excel at making complex ideas and knowledge understandable to others. Your job as an online tutor might include:
- Assessing a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses.
- Developing personalized lesson plans and study strategies.
- Teaching specific subjects or skills through virtual classroom platforms, video conferencing, or other online tools.
- Providing feedback and evaluating student progress.
- Helping students prepare for exams or standardized tests.
- Answering student questions and providing academic support outside of scheduled tutoring sessions.
- Communicating with parents or teachers to track student progress and address any concerns.
Some online teaching positions require teaching certifications or a degree, but not all. You might decide to get started first, then upgrade your skills and add certifications later to increase your earning opportunities.
5. Copywriter or Content Writer
A content writer creates written material for websites, blogs, social media platforms, and other digital media channels. Their job is to create compelling and informative content that drives traffic, engages audiences, and supports the marketing goals of the organization or brand they work for, which can mean:
- Researching topics and generating ideas for new content.
- Writing and editing high-quality, engaging, and informative articles, blog posts, social media updates, and other types of content.
- Conducting keyword research and optimizing content for search engines (SEO).
- Collaborating with other content team members to develop content strategies and editorial calendars.
- Analyzing user engagement and metrics to improve content performance and meet business objectives.
Copywriting and content writing are often used interchangeably; however, a copywriter is typically more focused on ad copy and generating leads and sales. Online writing offers excellent opportunities to grow your business into an agency and to offer SEO, content strategy, graphic design, and other adjacent services.
Recommended reading: 10 Copywriting Mistakes That Dilute & Weaken Your Messaging
6. Graphic Design
A graphic designer creates visual content for various media, including digital and print. Today, graphic designers may also be artists, experience designers, photographers, branding specialists, and even data analysts. The main responsibilities of a graphic designer include:
- Creating visual concepts and designs using computer software or by hand-drawing sketches.
- Developing and producing designs for websites, logos, product packaging, brochures, magazines, advertisements, and other marketing materials.
- Collaborating with other design team members, such as writers, photographers, and developers, to create cohesive designs.
- Managing multiple design projects and deadlines simultaneously.
- Staying up-to-date with the latest design trends and software tools to maintain high design quality standards.
This is another business where you might find greater success by focusing on serving clients in one specific industry or region. You’ll become known for your expertise in that area, and it becomes easier to compete as you build your reputation.
7. Online Coaching
Online coaches work in every industry and discipline, from personal wellness and dating to wealth management, career development, executive coaching, and more. Coaches provide guidance, support, and advice to individuals or groups through video conferencing, messaging, email, or phone.
The main responsibilities of an online coach depend on their area of expertise and may include:
- Setting and achieving personal or professional goals.
- Developing and implementing action plans to improve performance or solve problems.
- Providing feedback and support to improve personal or professional skills.
- Identifying and overcoming personal or professional obstacles and challenges.
- Offering guidance and advice on career development, job search strategies, or entrepreneurship.
- Improving health and wellness through coaching on exercise, nutrition, and stress management.
- Providing emotional support and counseling to help individuals cope with life transitions or challenges.
It’s important to note that although the barriers to entry are low, coaching comes with great responsibility to clients. People typically turn to a coach when they’re struggling or looking to create major change in their life. If you’re considering this as a remote business, be sure you’re a true expert in the area(s) in which you’ll be coaching.
It’s also worth taking reputable coaching classes and training to ensure the techniques you’re using in your coaching practice are current best practices.
Are you really good at something – so great that others will hire you to show them how it’s done? Consultants advise and guide people and businesses in their specific areas of expertise. They help their clients solve problems, improve operations, and achieve their goals.
This is another remote business in which it pays to specialize, as that expertise is precisely what clients are willing to pay for. As a freelance consultant, you might specialize in a particular field such as management, finance, marketing, human resources, IT, or engineering.
Consulting tends to be focused on outcomes, and you should be able to package your services with a specific deliverable that helps your client meet their goals. This might include analyzing data and identifying areas for improvement, developing and implementing strategies and workflows, conducting research and providing insights on industry trends, evaluating processes and systems to identify inefficiencies, and more.
Your consulting business might also provide training and coaching to employees, conduct market research, create marketing plans, and provide guidance on legal, regulatory, or compliance issues.
9. E-commerce Store Owner
Managing and operating your own online store is certainly a business that can travel with you. Having employees handle fulfillment or using a dropshipping service enables you to take the rest of the business with you wherever you go.
- Selecting and sourcing products to sell on the online store.
- Creating and managing product listings, including writing descriptions, taking photographs, and setting prices.
- Managing inventory and ensuring that products are in stock and available for purchase.
- Developing and implementing marketing strategies to promote the online store and drive traffic to the website.
- Managing customer relationships, including responding to inquiries, processing orders, and addressing customer complaints.
- Managing payment processing and ensuring that transactions are secure and reliable.
- Maintaining the online store’s website, including updating content and ensuring that the site is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Analyzing sales data and using that information to make informed decisions about pricing, marketing, and product selection.
Of course, some or even all of these responsibilities can be subcontracted out or entrusted to an employee. Some online store owners serve in advisory roles only. While you build the business, it’s better to be hands on.
10. Affiliate Marketer
Instead of selling your own products, maybe you’re more interested in selling products for others? Affiliate marketers generate interest and drive sales of products and services for other businesses in exchange for a flat fee and/or percentage of the sale. A type of performance-based marketing, affiliate life definitely has its pros and cons.
- Flexibility: Affiliate marketing is a flexible career that can be done from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.
- Low startup costs: Affiliate marketing is a low-cost business model, as you don’t need to invest in inventory, shipping, or other expenses associated with running a traditional business.
- Passive income: Once you’ve set up your affiliate marketing business, you can earn passive income by promoting products and services while you sleep.
- Variety: Affiliate marketing allows you to promote products and services in a variety of niches, giving you the opportunity to explore different industries and find the ones that interest you most.
- Potential for high income: If you’re successful at affiliate marketing, you can earn a significant income by promoting high-ticket products and services.
- Competitive market: Affiliate marketing is a competitive industry, with many other marketers vying for the same audience and products.
- Commission-based income: Affiliate marketers only earn a commission when a sale is made, which means income is not guaranteed.
- Lack of control: Affiliate marketers have no control over the product or service they are promoting. If the company changes its policies or offerings, it can affect the marketer’s income.
- Unpredictable income: Affiliate marketing income can be unpredictable, depending on factors such as seasonality, consumer trends, and product popularity.
- Need for ongoing learning: Affiliate marketing requires ongoing learning and staying up-to-date with new technologies, trends, and best practices.
It’s not for everyone, but affiliate marketing can be a rewarding business that allows you to be truly location independent.
This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.Miranda, Editor – Get Remote Ready