These are the 23 most profitable business opportunities in 2021

These are the 23 most profitable business opportunities in 2021

It can be difficult to start a business from home or find profitable online ideas. Although there are many options, it seems that everything has been done thousands times before.

With all these options, how do you begin to dig for the gold?

Here are some great opportunities to help you start your own business.

There were still business opportunities after the pandemic.

Our research revealed that a “thriving” type of business is one where the founder has a higher-than-average level of satisfaction with their business performance and/or a more optimistic outlook for the future.

There have been clear winners, but we didn’t have to look at all the numbers to identify loungewear brands or home-based fitness businesses. Our research found some surprising standouts.

These are the types of businesses that thrive, and our predictions for the most lucrative small businesses to start by 2021.

  • Beauty and health businesses
  • Subscription businesses
  • Businesses that sell B2B or B2C


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Beauty and health businesses

business performance in 2020

These are the numbers55% of founders of beauty and health businesses reported that they were satisfied with their business performance over the past year. The average for all types of businesses was 38%. A good indicator of past performance is the past year, but a higher percentage expects to continue success. 79% of founders of health and beauty reported a positive outlook for the next few months.

These businesses are why they thrive

Personal care products such as soaps and hand sanitizers fall under the heading of beauty and health. These products were highly in demand at the outbreak of pandemic. There was increased concern about surface transmission. The impact of rolling lockdowns on the beauty industry was another side effect. Consumers shifted their beauty spending away from salons and at-home spas to enjoy salon and at-home experiences.

We predict that the growth of health and beauty businesses through 2021 will be slow due to the slow rollout vaccines.

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Start high-potential beauty and health businesses in 2021

You should consider the changing needs and wants of your customers if you are looking to start a profitable beauty or health business. Trends that were evident in 2020 are here to stay.

Online businesses that offer multiple delivery options and can sell online will be successful. This approach can be paired with high-demand product ideas.

  • Products for personal care such as hand soap and hand sanitizer
  • Face masks are a great home spa treatment
  • Beauty technology such as smart mirrors and massage guns.

Quick tip:You can quickly start a beauty company by selling or white label. These models are more detailed in ourGuideTo start a makeup business.

Subscription businesses

subscription business statistics

These are the numbers63% of founders selling subscriptions were satisfied with their business performance, as opposed to 55% who didn’t sell subscriptions. Two subscription models were most commonly used by businesses that prospered in 2020.

  1. Subscribers receive the same product or similar products every cycle under the Replenishment Model.
  2. Subscribers have exclusive access to products and perks through the membership model


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These businesses are why they thrive

Our consumer trends research found that customers are more inclined to shop with businesses that offer convenience. This could be through online ordering and multiple delivery options. Subscribers are a convenient way for customers to get the products they want without making multiple trips to the store. However, subscriptions can also reduce risk exposure.

reported early on that subscription box companies were seeing a rise in sales. Many people replaced the lack of connection with activities that brought joy with daily delight delivered to their doorsteps.

Start high-potential subscription business in 2021

Shopify recently made it easier to sell subscriptions through our platform. Shopify now makes it easier to sell subscriptions to existing businesses. This will allow you to increase your predictable revenue and customer loyalty. This could be a great online idea if you are just starting out.

You might sell:

  • Basics such as diapers and personal hygiene (replenishment plan)
  • Self-care boxes
  • Current product trends which work well with subscriptions such as puzzles and boardgames, nail polish, and non-alcoholic drinks

Quick tip:Check out our quick guideGuideConsider adding subscription options to existing businesses. Reach out to established subscription box companies to find out if you could partner up if you are starting from scratch. Your product can be included in popular boxes to increase your exposure and reach.

Selling B2B and/or B2C products to businesses

b2b2c businesses survived the pandemic

These are the numbers62% of founders selling both B2B or B2C businesses were satisfied with their business performance in 2020. Only 53% of B2C business owners reported the exact same. This was the most popular model among people who run businesses in the food-and-beverage industry. 53% reported selling both B2C as well as B2B.

A business’s current success is reflected in its plans for expansion. 24% of those selling both B2B or B2C products indicated that they plan to expand their business into new product categories in the near future.

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These businesses are why they thrive

As stores closed and delivery companies became overwhelmed, it became more difficult to reach new customers and get products to them. Multichannel or multi-channel marketing was more effective in reaching customers and gave them a greater chance of survival in 2020. They also had high potential to become profitable in 2021.

A brand selling its handmade skincare wholesaled to beauty retailers might have experienced a dip in its B2B sales, but it could make up the difference by selling the same products B2C through an online store.

In 2021, high-potential B2B/B2C companies will be launched

Shopify launched Handshake in 2020. This wholesale marketplace is for both suppliers and retailers. Wholesale is a great way to expand your reach to new markets if you are already selling direct-to-consumer. To make up sales lost due to the pandemic, a direct-to customer arm can be spun out by wholesalers.

Many products can be sold B2B or B2C if you are an aspiring entrepreneur. These findings suggest that you have a greater chance of starting a small profitable business. To help you find a product or to learn about the latest product trends, take a look at our resources.

  • Equipment for working out, such as exercise bands or yoga mats
  • Beauty and health products
  • Rugs and furniture are great home decor pieces.

Quick tip:Consult our experts to help you convert your B2C business into a B2B market.GuideTo sell wholesale

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Opportunities for online business

Illustration of a woman working at her desk on her online business

Millions are self-employed workers call their home base. You can join them. Here’s a list with online business opportunities that you can use from your home.


Dropshipping can be one of the most lucrative at-home business ventures. Dropshipping allows you to buy products directly from the manufacturer or supplier and then ship them out to your customers.

Dropshipping is a low-cost way to get started in ecommerce. Dropshipping is a great way to start ecommerce. You don’t need to worry about inventory management or bulk purchasing. Your supplier will take care of shipping your products.

You don’t need to purchase the products you sell. This allows you to offer many different products such as beauty, keto and fashion. You can list any product that a supplier has stock on your website at no additional cost.

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Print on demand

Print on demand offers great business opportunities for online clothing retailers, whether you are an artist, designer or brand. Working with a supplier to create white-label products such as t-shirts or tote bags with your designs, is called printing on demand.

The best thing? The best part? You don’t need to pay anything until you sell the product. Dropshipping is similar to dropshipping in that you don’t need any inventory nor buy bulk.

Handmade products are available for sale

Selling DIY products can be a great way to make money if you have always loved building things as a child. You don’t have to be an expert to make something new, but you can still create it.

Josh Pigford is the founder of Cedar + Sail and Baremetrics, a SaaS business. This started out as a side-project, but quickly grew into a profitable online business to help stimulate his creativity and sell the products he made himself.

Josh says, “I love little things that can go on side tables or desks. So I started to play around with concrete planters–the kind that can hold succulents or air plants.”

“I quickly learned the process for making the silicon molds that I needed to pour concrete into, and was ready to go. It was a month after that I got the idea to make these tiny planters. Cedar + SAIL was born!

Start by taking a look at your house if you aren’t sure what to sell. Is there something you are missing? It could be a concrete pot. Are you looking for artisan-made bed covers in vibrant colors? Do some research online to find out what is selling. Do big retailers like Amazon, Target, and West Elm sell similar products?

After you have decided on the products and services that you want to make and market, and what is trending, get started creating!

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Sell digital products

E-learning is an emerging industry. Recent research shows that the industry will be worth $325 million by 2025. This makes digital products one the most lucrative online business options for educators and creators. You can find music, videos, ebooks and online courses among other examples. These can be touched or held, but they are very popular with consumers as they can download them at their leisure and can consume them whenever they want.

Because digital products are easy to make and inexpensive to distribute, they can be a great business opportunity. It’s easy to create it once and then sell it again to other people, without having to restock inventory or talk with suppliers. You can bundle the information you know and then sell it as a subscription or one-time fee.

Photography for sale

Selling photography is a popular business opportunity. There are many stock sites that allow you to sell photos, including Stocksy, Shutterstock and Shutterstock.

Three things are essential if you want to sell photos online.

  1. Find your niche.You can choose to focus on flowers, fashion, architecture, landscapes or travel.
  2. Create an audience.Photography isn’t passive business. Promoting your photos on social media is a great way to build a following and sell more.
  3. Multiple revenue streams can be createdYou don’t have to sell on just one website. To create multiple streams of income, you should sell on as many sites as possible.

Selling photos online is a great way to make money, whether you are a hobby photographer or if it is your full-time job.

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Play video games

You no longer have bragging rights in video games. You can now earn degrees, get sponsors, and even be an esports professional player.

Video games are a lucrative business opportunity with a market value of $257 million and rising. You don’t have to play professionally to make revenue. You can make money by streaming live on a platform such as or starting a YouTube channel.

Self-publish your book

Are you a writer? Do you dream of publishing your own book? Good news! Self-publishing is a great way to start a small business.

Self-publishing means you do not work with an established publisher to manage editing, design, production, and distribution of your book. You do everything yourself. There is no shortage of people who are interested in ebooks and audiobooks. You can make and sell them and make a profit.

Pet products can be sold

Online pet shops are a great business opportunity as you can sell many products. People treat their pets like family members and will spend money to ensure they are well taken care of. You could, for example, sell organic food, luxury accessories, beds, and apparel.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to start a dropshipping company or make homemade treats. The pay is great and the work is rewarding. Who wouldn’t love to make dogs happy! People will not stop spoiling their pets, which means that job security is guaranteed.

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Resell thrift clothing

Did you know that the market for secondhand apparel is worth $38 million? If you have old clothes lying around, this makes it an excellent business opportunity.

You can make selling clothing that isn’t worn or used into one of the most lucrative online business ventures with the help of new technology.

Get freelance

Freelancing is one the most popular online business opportunities. Freelancers are self-employed, and don’t have to work for a company. You can take your office with you wherever you go, and you are your boss.

You can start your own online business with the help of the gig economy and remote work. Although it may seem competitive, if you have the right skills or are interested in learning them, you can make a lot of money.

You can make a home-based business out of your skills in app development, SEO, marketing copywriting and copywriting.

Federal business opportunities

Illustration of a person gardening the lawn of a federal building

Small businesses can bid on federal contracts through the federal government. Women with qualified companies can also be offered special business opportunities. To find potential opportunities, you can search the entire database.

These are the most popular federal business opportunities.

Your expertise can be sold

Are you a small service-based business, such as landscaping or gardening? There are many departments in the federal government that could benefit from your experience. There are many gigs you can get a contract for, such as tree removal, snow removal and grounds maintenance.

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Security is very important in government-owned buildings. There are many security contracts that you can bid on, from single-guard to multistate operations. You can bid on security contracts such as entrance security, armed guard, after-hours patrol and camera installation and monitoring. Although you will be competing with large corporations, smaller service providers can still bid for direct contracts and subcontracting opportunities to provide federal clients with security services.


You can bid on government contracting opportunities, regardless of whether it is new construction, electric, or roadwork. This could include providing materials and supplies for new buildings or renovating existing ones. These business opportunities will go through the normal bidding process. However, you can also find more intensive jobs such as custodial work through websites like Indeed.

Maintenance of equipment

You may be interested in operations and maintenance. These include roads, parking, electronics and public safety.

Why should you start bidding for government maintenance contracts? These maintenance contracts are often multi-year, which can mean stable work for your company over the long-term.

Opportunities for entrepreneurs

Below are top entrepreneurial opportunities, no matter if you want to start a multi-million dollar company or build a local business.

Be a social media influencer

Imagine turning your likes and followers into checks and dollars. This is a great time to build your social media influence. Although it may sound like a far-fetched business opportunity, it has become a profitable venture for many people in different industries such as gardening, fashion and food, as well as parenting.

Although it may take some time to build your online reputation, if you are passionate about a topic and enjoy talking about it, you can make money through growing an engaged following on social media.

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Coffee for sale

If you are looking for all possible opportunities in the coffee industry, it is not necessary to open a cafe. Online coffee retailers are becoming more popular. You can now sell everything from coffee beans and roasters to coffee cups and other coffee-related products.

Coffee is a popular beverage worldwide, so there are many potential customers who would be willing to purchase your product. Small brands also have the advantage of customers, so you can target a particular group of people. Your coffee is already in demand. All they need is to know where you can be found.

Let your space go

Sites like Neighbor make it easy to rent out space in your house to those who require more storage. This is one of the most popular passive income opportunities within the self-storage sector, which is worth more than $38 billion.

You basically become a storage unit that someone near you uses. They come to your home to store and retrieve their stuff, rather than going to a storage facility.

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Recycle food waste

Over $990 billion worth food is thrown away each year. This damages the environment and impacts the global economy. You can also find creative ways to make old, unwanted food profitable.

You can sell “ugly” fruits and vegetables at bargain prices through a subscription box.

For sale: Buy a business

Many people don’t want to start their own business.

Consider buying an existing online store like investing in real estate. You can build an income stream that you can grow and own by choosing the right property.


Some of the most famous brands are Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s as well as 7-Eleven and Hertz. What are they all alike? All three are franchises. A franchise can be a great way to get into entrepreneurship without having to build a brand.

You only need to pay a fee for a franchise to open. The franchisor or owner of the company owns all assets, trademarks, products and services. The fee allows you to operate the franchise business and also use the resources, training, support, and assistance of the company.

A franchise means everything is already in place. There is no need to purchase any products or equipment. You can get help from the franchisor in finding buildings, training and hiring staff, as well as sharing management and marketing advice.

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How to find new business opportunities

These tips will help you find other business ventures if the business opportunities listed above do not meet your needs.

  1. Take a look at the latest industry trends and insights.Continue to learn about industry trends by subscribing and joining relevant associations. Follow experts on social media.
  2. Conduct competitor research.Check out similar businesses. What are their customers saying about them? How do they price their products? This will allow you to identify key business opportunities that can help expand your market reach, and provide better products and services.
  3. Pay attention to your customers.Listen to your customers when they talk. What do your customers talk about when it comes to industry products or services? What are their frustrations? This insight can be used to create products that appeal to the right audience.
  4. Network and collaborate. This will allow you to better understand what ideas work and what don’t. Without a strong network, your business will not succeed.
  5. Find a mentor.Connect with others in your industry that have achieved more than you. They can help you improve and find more business opportunities.
  6. Keep an eye.Sometimes business opportunities appear out of the blue, and often because of your hard work. Be ready to seize any opportunity that presents itself.

Find the best business opportunities

You can find the right business opportunity for you, whether you are looking to start a dropshipping business or become an online reseller. To help you find the right biz opportunity, make sure you check out our list low-investment business ideas.

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