There are still some advantages of traditional brick-and-mortar business. However, with its overheads, physical constraints, and location dependencies, many feel this model is unattractive compared to the freedom of online entrepreneurship. The laptop lifestyle is now a tangible reality for countless entrepreneurs across the globe.
While many businesses still need a physical presence, storefront, warehouse, and office spaces, there are still many other types of businesses that can start, grow, and be fully operated with just a laptop. If you’re a new or aspiring entrepreneur who wants to run this type of business, we’ve put together 10 of the best and easiest businesses to run from just a laptop.
In essence, affiliate marketing is just about promoting products or services for other companies and earning a commission for every sale made through your referral. With platforms like Amazon Associates or ClickBank, people can select a range of products they feel confident endorsing.
Marketers integrate these products into blogs, YouTube channels, social media platforms, or email lists. Affiliate marketers can generate passive income, allowing them to earn while they sleep. Also, there is no need for much equipment other than a laptop and perhaps a cellphone to take pictures of products they’re recommending.
This can absolutely be a side hustle for some people. However, affiliate marketing is a legitimate profession with nearly limitless earning potential.
One of the easiest online businesses to start with just a laptop is a freelance writing business. If you have a passion for writing, can meet deadlines, and are willing to meet customer expectations, this is one of the best businesses to start. As a freelance writer, you can write articles, blog posts, copy for websites, and more. You can work from home and set your own schedule.
The only thing needed is a reliable laptop and some time. To start this type of business, you can apply for jobs on sites like Upwork and Freelancer. You can also make your services available on other sites like Fiverr. In either case, you will want to have some samples of your work to show to potential clients.
Keep in mind that AI is becoming one of the major threats to the freelance writing sector. However, AI writing tools cannot yet compete with what a human can create consistently. Be sure to take your craft seriously and continue improving it. Before long, you’ll be able to enjoy the freedom that comes from being able to run a business from your device.
Dropshipping business model has revolutionized the retail sector. Entrepreneurs can set up online stores without ever holding inventory. When customers place orders, these are directly forwarded to suppliers who then handle the shipping. Think of it as having a business selling things but never needing to have those things in your store, warehouse, garage, or even in your possession.
Because this business is hands-off when it comes to handling the physical product, it can be operated easily from a laptop.
For many new entrepreneurs, dropshipping is an attractive business opportunity. The sector has a low barrier to entry which means that there is a lot of competition. As the owner of the dropshipping business, you’ll need to learn how to market your products so that you can generate a stream of sales.
One thing to remember about this business is that profits are typically thinner than traditional retail businesses. While this may be a big problem for many other types of businesses if an entrepreneur started this business with little upfront costs, the lower profits earned shouldn’t create cash flow issues.
From website designs to marketing campaigns, good graphics are in high demand. Graphic design business are businesses that offer services such as logo creation, website design, or marketing material design. For talented individuals, graphic design can be a thriving business. With software like Adobe Illustrator or Canva, designers can create and sell their artwork to businesses or individuals, tailoring their services to cater to various niches, from corporate branding to personalized illustrations.
Similar to freelance writing, this industry is also seeing AI advancements that may make it harder in the future for some graphic designers. However, talented designers are still very much in demand. This online business allows you to work with diverse clients and industries, developing a portfolio and potentially building a lucrative freelance career.
Laptops like the Microsoft Surface and Dell Inspiron are good choices for graphic designers to consider. Besides your laptop, you may also want to get a drawing pad. Depending on your level of skill and the clients you take on, you can make anywhere from $15-$150 per hour.
Online shopping allows people to browse and purchase products from anywhere at any time. All without having to leave their homes or offices. An e-commerce business is an attractive option for entrepreneurs of all kinds. E-commerce is a type of online business where a business sells just about anything. This could be a product, service, or subscription. E-commerce sales worldwide soared past $1.03 trillion last year and you we expect that number to continue to rise.
With an e-commerce business, you can sell on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Poshmark, or even on social media. However, unlike a dropshipping business, you will need to actually own the product you are selling. This may mean keeping inventory which may need to be housed in a warehouse space. However, if you are just starting out, this is a business you can run entirely from your laptop.
Even as you grow, you may be able to have other companies fulfill your orders for you so that you don’t need to hold inventory. Amazon, for example, has fulfillment centers where they ship to customers directly from their warehouses.
Blogs have evolved from personal diaries to lucrative business platforms. Individuals with expertise or passion in a particular field can create blogs, offering value to readers through informative content. With monetization strategies like ad placements, sponsored content, or premium subscriptions, blogging can transition from a hobby to a full-fledged business.
Professionals with expertise in fields like business, health, or education can pivot to online consulting. By leveraging video conferencing tools, consultants can offer advice, strategies, or coaching to clients globally. This not only expands their customer base but also offers the flexibility of remote work, devoid of geographical constraints.
An online consulting business is a type of online business where consultants and clients meet and discuss strategies to help the client reach their goals. When most people think about consulting, they envision a business consultant. While there is a high demand for business consultants, there are several types of consulting businesses.
- Health and Nutrition Consultant
- Social Media Consultant
- Marketing Consultant
- Financial Consultant
- Career Consultant
Selling Handmade Goods
The digital age has brought forth a renewed appreciation for uniqueness and craftsmanship. Amidst the mass-produced items, there lies a thriving market for handmade goods, where each item tells a story, embodying the passion and skill of its creator. From intricately woven scarves to hand-painted ceramics, selling handmade goods online bridges the gap between artisans and a global audience.
Platforms like Etsy have revolutionized this sector. Such platforms offer artisans a marketplace tailored to their needs, emphasizing the story behind each product, be it the inspiration for a piece of jewelry or the traditional technique used to craft a tapestry. This narrative-driven approach not only adds value to the products but also fosters a connection between the buyer and the creator.
However, selling handmade goods is not without challenges. Artisans need to ensure consistent quality, manage inventory, and often, handle packaging and shipping. Moreover, as these products can’t be mass-produced, pricing them appropriately is crucial. They need to reflect not just the material costs but the time, effort, and skill involved in creation. By effectively harnessing digital platforms, artisans can transform their craft into a viable business, reaching customers who value the authenticity, craftsmanship, and uniqueness that handmade goods inherently possess.
Online Video Editor
Video content dominates the digital realm, from YouTube vlogs to corporate promotional videos. However, raw footage often requires a skilled touch to transform it into engaging content. Online video editors can offer their services to content creators, brands, or businesses, turning video clips into polished final products.
With software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, editors can manage their business from anywhere, delivering high-quality video content to clients. YouTubers especially need good editors to make their videos engaging after they’ve created the content. There are about 113 million YouTube creators, and that number continues to rise. This means that video editors have a large pool of potential clients to choose from.
You can perform video editing on most laptops. However, some laptops are not best suited for heavy video editing. You may consider using the MacBook Pro. There is also the Dell XPS line which is considered some of the best business laptops around.
Social Media Marketing & Management
Social media management can mean a lot of things. It can refer to managing ads for a client, but it can also mean just posting images on Instagram. Depending on your level of comfort and how much time you have, you can start an online social media management business with very little experience. All of these things can be done via a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
The first thing you want to do is decide what kind of management you want to take on. Knowing this ahead of time will help you be specific when pitching your skills to a client. It will also prevent you from taking jobs that are way over your head.
This type of online business is also really easy to get started. There are no upfront costs, and the work can be done at any time. The thing that will help you stand out the most is your knowledge of the different social media management tools available. Get familiar with the most popular ones, as your clients will likely use them.
Entrepreneurship is about starting and growing a business while overcoming obstacles. In the past, one of the major obstacles to starting a business was not having the resources. Now, you can start and grow from the comfort of your home and the power of your laptop.