20 Unique Remote Business Ideas


Do you want to earn a living with your own business, work on something interesting, and do it all from home?  If so, then some of these ideas might interest you:

  • virtual concierge
  • website broker
  • Apple remote tech support
  • website critique
  • Airbnb marketing manager
  • virtual reality app development
  • traveling content writer
  • 3D printing shop
  • online business project manager
  • website flipping
  • podcasting
  • drone master
  • cost reduction consultant
  • international business liaison
  • subject matter expert
  • home staging consultant
  • online business a/b tester
  • video game streamer/caster
  • online services general contractor
  • video game tournament promoter

Without further delay, let’s get to the details!

1. Virtual Concierge

As a virtual concierge, you take care of whatever your client needs – and you can do it from home!  If your client needs a paper edited, you either do it yourself, or hire someone who can.  If he needs pizza, cake, and balloons for a birthday party, you order them remotely so that they are delivered on time.

Once you have experience as a virtual concierge, you can hire and train others to do the same type of work.  If you market your services and bring in enough clients, you can earn an income without actually being a concierge yourself.

It is a good idea to market yourself for a specific niche, such as working parents, single mothers who have high-powered careers, or professionals (doctors, lawyers, professors) who have enough money, but not enough time.

2. Website Broker

Perhaps you are interested in “flipping” websites, or buying and selling websites to make a profit (more on this below!)  This will require some know-how, in terms of what to look for when buying a site, and how to value a site.  It also takes some startup cash, no matter how humble your first websites are.

Working as a website broker is a good way to get into this industry.  Essentially, you will work with both buyers and sellers, connecting them if the website and price are both right.  You act as an intermediary and relay questions, answers, offers, and counteroffers between buyers and sellers.

In this way, a website broker is similar to a real estate agent.  Just like you should do an inspection for a home, you should also do an inspection for a website.  This can prevent you from buying a dud.

You want to avoid things like:

  • sudden spikes in traffic
  • sketchy backlink
  • PBNs (private blog networks)
  • a pending lawsuit against a website or its owner
  • a site that has been banned or sanctioned by Google or Amazon (many websites rely heavily on these companies for monetization, through ads or affiliate commissions).

You also want to verify traffic, revenue, expenses, and profit to make sure they check out.  If you take this level of care in protecting your clients, you will find repeat business over and over.

You can charge a flat fee, a commission on the website sale price, or a combination of both.  You might want to look into some type of insurance, in case you overlook one of the problems mentioned above when you broker a deal.

3. Apple Remote Tech Support

If you love all things Apple and can name their products by heart, this might be the right business for you.  In addition to product knowledge, you should also know what types of problems people have with the hardware and software.

You will need to keep up with tech blogs and Apple itself, to stay up to date in your knowledge.  To find business, go to forums and see what questions and problems Apple customers have.  You might be able to find a single niche that earns you a good income.

You can also do this for other devices, or for software, such as Microsoft Windows, Office, or other programs.  There are already people making a good living helping people with Microsoft Excel questions and training.  Check out mrexcel.com for inspiration.  You can find your own niche and do the same!

Later on, you can try to hire and train others to expand your business, but it might be difficult to find others as passionate about the products as you are.

4. Website Critique

If you have a keen eye for detail and know which websites are good at a glance, then you can parlay that skill into a business.  Many websites rely on having a high level of visual appeal to keep customers on the site.  Others rely on sharp marketing copy to convince customers to buy.  Still others offer some type of tool or service in order to earn money from ads or affiliate commissions.

Either way, you can offer critique and suggestions for improving these sites.  If the copy on a sales page feels slimy, say so, and point out the reasons why.  Then, offer alternatives and constructive criticism.

Then again, maybe the pictures on the site are low-quality or do not match the words on the page.  Maybe the paid writers for the site are not doing a good job.

These are things that a busy site owner might not realize, if he is consumed by other responsibilities.  By pointing these things out, you can save him time and money on lost traffic and income.

You could offer this service for a one-time fee, or on a subscription basis in exchange for a periodic review.  This is one business where you might need to hire freelancers who know about web copy writing, web design, or graphic art to help you analyze the site.

5. Airbnb Marketing Manager

Tons of people are making extra income by renting out spare rooms on Airbnb.  Some of the folks on Airbnb are making six figure incomes renting out rooms and houses to tourists, vacationers, or businessmen.  As their business grows, they may need help with various aspects of the business: housekeeping and cleaning, maintenance and repairs, and of course, marketing and advertising!

If you can write good copy and attract interest in a few words, then you can help people who don’t have any experience in marketing.  Of course, even folks who are capable of writing well might not have the time or desire to do this work.

After you have some experience with this type of work, you can hire a freelancer or employee as a type of VA (virtual assistant) who can help you with any tasks you need.  You can also offer this person’s services to your clients for an extra fee.  Your VA can take and make calls concerning rental rates, availability, and terms and conditions.

6. Virtual Reality App Development

Everyone knows app development is a saturated market – tons of people have gotten into it.  There is still plenty of money to be made, but it is more competitive than ever.  The solution is to find a niche that you can dominate while it is still young.  That niche is virtual reality (VR)!

Virtual reality came about long ago, but the technology just wasn’t there yet.  It developed over time, and now there are virtual reality video gaming systems available.  Technology keeps advancing and getting better.  If you have the skills, or hire the right people, you can get in front of this opportunity.

Developing virtual reality video games is one option.  Lots of people already play games on their devices.  If only 1% of those users want a more immersive experience that only VR can offer, then you have a sizable market of millions of people.

Another option is developing training for various professions.  If you choose a “niche within the niche”, or a profession to develop VR training for, then you can probably dominate for years to come.

7. Traveling Content Writer

If you want to be a digital nomad, then this is the job for you!  Even if you want to travel with your family while earning enough to survive, this could still be the ticket!  As a traveling content writer, you would either write paid content for one or more blogs, or write for your own blog.

As the digital nomad traveling through Europe, you can spend a month in each of 12 major cities, and have one hell of a year.  At the same time, you can write blog posts about each of the cities.

You can write about the people, restaurants, sights, sounds, tourists you meet, and your favorite places to visit.  You can also offer unique photos that are hard to come by for a blog owner stuck stateside with a 9 to 5 job, a mortgage, and 3 kids.

As the traveling family, you can visit most of the 50 states and Canada while living out of an RV.  While doing this, you can write for a site about campers or RVs to earn some extra income.

You might even write about your experiences walking or biking on a historic trail.  There are tons of ways to make money doing this, and while the income might not be permanent, the memories are.

8. 3D Printing Shop

3D printing is really taking off, and threatens to disrupt and upend the world of traditional manufacturing.  Using a 3D printer can eliminate much of the waste produced by traditional manufacturing.  There is also a wide variety of materials you can use for 3D printing.  The list is large, and grows by the day.  It includes:

  • plastic
  • wood
  • glass
  • metal, including titanium and aluminum
  • food, including chocolate and sugar

Recently, a company printed a 3D house, and scientists are even 3D printing human organs!  If you want to get in front of this exciting field, learn your stuff, and earn a few bucks all at once, then a 3D print shop is the way to go.

You can open up a store on Etsy, or advertise your products on Amazon, eBay, or your own website.  After you take orders, you input the design, let it print, and walk away to work on another business!  When the print is complete, you make sure it is correct and ship it to the customer.

Once you have experience and a little capital saved up, you can invest in more machines, expand into printing other materials or larger items, and hire employees to help you manage it all.  This is a business that can really grow into something you can be proud of.

9. Online Business Project Management

There are many online business owners these days, from self-made e-commerce millionaires to passionate blog owners to drop-shipping magnates to website-flipping tycoons.  At some point, each of them will build the business to the point where they will need employees, or at least freelance help.

At some point, these business owners will realize that it is difficult and demanding to manage people to get their projects off the ground and completed on time.  That’s where you come in.  If you have experience in project management, hiring and training remote workers, or both, then you can start in this business right away.

The website owner will explain his goals and vision for a project to you.  Then, you will manage the remote team that will get everything done.  This could include explaining web page layout to a web designer, specifying details of a logo to a graphic designer, and requesting just the right wording from a copy writer.

Working for a business owner may not end up being full time, so you might take on two or three clients at once, to stay busy and to increase your income.  You can also refer overload work to people you know, but make sure they are serious about their work, and will help you to finish yours!

10. Website Flipping

If you have some capital and some knowledge about what makes money for a website, this can be a great business opportunity for you.  This is similar to flipping a house.

We’ve all seen those shows on HGTV, right?  The husband/wife, brother/brother, or sister/mother duo buy a fixer-upper home, do the renovation work themselves, and then turn it over for a nice profit (hopefully).

Flipping a website is the same idea.  You step in with the capital to buy an existing website that needs some work.  The current owner either doesn’t know how to do the work (or doesn’t want to), or needs the money for something else (retirement, surgery, another project, whatever).

Typically, you either use one of these methods to buy a website:

  • use a website like Flippa or Empire Flippers
  • use a website broker
  • approach a website owner yourself, and ask if he is interested in selling

After buying the site for a multiple of earnings (typically 24 to 40 times earnings), you start to improve it.  Going back to the housing analogy, improving a rental property increases the rent you can charge, and this increases your cash flow.

To improve a website, you want to increase the traffic.  There are a few ways to do this, including:

  • improve content to attract more website visitors from Google
  • promote your site on social media accounts, including YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook
  • buy paid ads on Google, Facebook, YouTube, or other sites

Ideally, the cost to improve traffic is outweighed by the extra revenue you can generate.

You also want to increase the revenue of your site.  There are a few ways to do this, including:

  • putting ads on the site, using Google AdWords or other services
  • adding affiliate links, to earn commissions when you recommend products on Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, or other sites
  • selling your own products, either physical or digital (e-books, online courses, and virtual consulting, coaching, or tutoring)

If you can increase your traffic and revenue and keep them steady and consistent, you can sell the website for much more than you bought it for.  The best part is that you collect income from the website while you wait for the traffic and revenue to improve before you sell!

This is another business where it pays to hire the right people to help you with things you don’t know how to do – or don’t want to do.

11. Podcasting

If you have the gift of talking at length about many different topics, or if you have tons of interesting people to interview, then a podcast could work for you.  You will need to invest in some decent audio equipment to start, since the sound makes the podcast.

To earn money doing this, you will need to have some type of partnership or advertising revenue.  You can also direct people to a companion website.  If you can convince listeners to join a mailing list, you can sell them a product (physical or digital) or some type of coaching or consulting.

As with other businesses, you will need to choose a unique niche: something that is large enough to monetize, but small enough that the market is not saturated.  Your goal should be to produce the best show in your niche and dominate the space.

12. Drone Master

We haven’t quite gotten to the point where Terminator-esque machines try to end our civilization, but drones and robots have come a long way in a decade.  If you start in one drone niche, establish a name for yourself, and build a booming repeat business, you can later expand into other areas and build a drone empire.

How do you get started?  The easiest way is probably to start with a basic website, optimized for local search.  This won’t be difficult, since there are probably not very many drone operators in your local area.  Just to be safe, do quick search.  If there are other operators, pick a different drone service niche to start with!

Some of the things you can do with robots or drones as a “force multiplier”:

  • lawn mowing robots – get it done in half the time or less, and then charge less to dominate the market!
  • cleaning robots – Roomba by iRobot comes to mind.  Imagine a cleaning business where your employees never complain or ghost on you!
  • aerial photography – there are many possibilities here.  You could do aerial photography for real estate agents, property owners, cities and towns, surveyors, construction site scouting, event security, and even weddings for brides and grooms who want a different perspective of their big day!

The uses for drones and robots will only grow, so you might want to jump into this space now.  Don’t worry if you don’t know how to build a robot from scratch.  You can hire a local high school kid in robotics club to repair your drone fleet for you.

13. Cost Reduction Consultant

Many business owners are busy bringing home the bacon by making deals with other businesses.  They don’t have time to call up vendors, suppliers, insurance companies, and utility providers to ask for discounts or bill corrections.  However, you do have the time!

You can do this on a commission basis, charging a percentage of what you save the customer, so that everyone wins.

Example

You call up an insurance company, and after a 15 minute discussion, you find out that your client is eligible for a 10% discount on a $6000 per year policy.

You saved the company $600, and if you take 20% of that, then you earn $120, and the company still saves $480 for the year.

All of that money for work that might take you an hour at most (doing the research and making the call).

If you can find enough customers who need this service, you can become very efficient at calling companies and using a script to quickly get these discounts.  Later on, you can also look into income or property tax savings if you have some knowledge in that area.

14. International Business Liaison

Just like many American companies have expanded across the globe, there are businesses in other countries that want to come to the US market!

If you speak another language fluently, you can help these companies to realize their ambitions.  Some of the services you can offer include:

  • translating a foreign language website into an English version
  • translating videos into English, and perhaps shooting new videos for the company
  • negotiating with banks, landlords, towns/cities, utility companies, and business partners in the U.S.
  • preparing an itinerary and being a sort of virtual assistant/concierge for visiting foreign business leaders

To find these companies, you will need to do some digging by reading newspapers and press releases in the foreign language you know.  Look for any news concerning expansions into other markets, specifically the U.S.  This will take a lot of work, but if you do a good job for one client, you will start to build a reputation for excellence.

15. Subject Matter Expert

If you have specialized knowledge or an advanced degree in a subject, then you might be able to make a living as a subject matter expert.  This basically means that you have such deep knowledge of a subject that few others possess your level of expertise.  For instance, a college professor with a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics who knows all about statistics in the context of medical studies.

As a subject matter expert, you have some options for earning an income.  You can create your own course, or help others to create a course on your topic of expertise.

Along the same lines, you can publish a book, either physical or electronic, although this might not be lucrative if your area of expertise is very narrow and not well-known by the public.

You can also consult for companies that need your expertise and charge a per-hour, per-project, or daily, weekly, or monthly fee.

16. Home Staging Consultant

Some homeowners and real estate agents will hire someone to “stage” a home.  This means decorating with furniture, rugs, carpets, mirrors, pictures, and even fruit baskets.  This makes the home look more attractive and valuable, and (hopefully) results in a higher sales price.

If you have a good eye for decorating and arranging furniture, then you have a shot at running this type of business.  To do it remotely, you will need the homeowner or real estate agent to send you pictures of every room.

You will also need a per-room or total budget for the project.  Then, you can decide how each room should look, and what items should go where.

This business allows you to work from home and do the shopping to decorate a house, without any of the cost going to you.  In fact, you would get paid to shop and decorate!

The target market would be people in high-powered careers who move often and don’t have time to do staging.  They want to sell quickly at a good price, in order to move to the next job opportunity on the career ladder.  If you can establish a relationship with some real estate agents, all the better.

17. Online Business A/B Tester

This is the age of “big data”, and if you have the skills to analyze data, interpret the results, and explain your findings to the bigwigs, then you can make some money!  Even if you don’t have these skills, you can still subcontract the work out, although good data scientists will be expensive to hire.

Every online business has at least one “offer” – an exchange they propose to website visitors, in order to benefit both parties.  This could mean Amazon.com shipping you a new iPhone case in exchange for some money, or a website visitor entering a name and an email address in exchange for a free e-book.

Some questions are, how successful are these offers, and would a different offer bring better results?  That’s where you come in.  A/B testing means comparing two things side-by-side, to judge which one performs better.

As a simple example, let’s say you help a business owner to run two ads, one at a price of $60 and another at a price of $80.  Then, you can determine which price earns the most revenue (the higher price will sometimes bring fewer customers, and so it might not be the best price to charge).

The possibilities are endless: you can alter the ad copy, website design, button colors, and frequency of email follow-up with customers, among other things.  Many business owners don’t know how to interpret data from such a study in-depth.  If you can help with this, then you can make a lot of business owners very happy with their results!

18. Video Game Streamer/Caster

Everyone knows that sports casters, like John Madden, get paid to comment on games.  Believe it or not, there are people on YouTube and Twitch doing the same thing for video games!  These people either offer running commentary as they play, or comment on a game played by someone else.

In many cases, these games are competitive, with players from all around the world joining in.  There may be cash prizes offered to the winners, making the stakes even higher and the games more exciting.  Many players want to watch these expert players in order to learn the latest and greatest game strategies.

A video game caster needs to keep the audience’s attention while accurately commenting on the specifics of the game.  Understanding the mechanics of the game is a must, and many video game casters are experts in the games they comment on.

You can ask for donations or offer ad sponsorships during casts in order to earn money.  You can also direct listeners to a companion website where you offer a “premium” membership.  This could include exclusive broadcasts, interviews with the best players, and free gear sent out once a month, quarter, or year.

19. Online Services General Contractor

There are many online services being offered – just check a site like fiverr.com and see for yourself.  Even if you don’t know the ins and outs of how to provide these services yourself, you can still own and operate your own business.  Here’s how.

You put together a package for a potential customer: web design, search engine optimization (SEO), improved pictures for the website, a brushing up of the website copy, and a speed check and improvement.

You charge one flat fee for all of these services, spelling out exactly what will be done in each area.  Then, you hire subcontractors to work on each of these areas separately.  You can make a little profit between what you charge the customer and what you pay your subcontractors.

This is how general contractors in the real-world construction industry make money.  They act as an intermediary between the business and the subcontractors, so that companies don’t have to deal with all of the screening and hiring.

If you get really busy, you can consider hiring some of your best freelance subcontractors as full-time employees.

20. Video Game Tournament Promoter

In the same vein as the video game caster, a tournament promoter will find the best of the best in a specific game, and pit them against each other.  This could be a team battle or a free-for-all, or some other variation depending on the game.

There should be some type of prize to entice the players to join, and perhaps some type of giveaway to entice viewers to tune in.  The stream could be offered on YouTube or Twitch, possibly for free or possibly on a subscription basis (see #18 for more info).

If you try to get into this business, make sure that you have some startup capital for prizes and giveaways, and know of a good video game caster to keep the fans on the edge of their seats.

Conclusion

If you want more ideas on how to build your business, check out my article on how to find remote freelance clients.

If your business really takes off, you might need to hire extra help in the form of VAs (virtual assistants).  For more information, check out my article on how to find a virtual assistant.

I hope this article gave you some good ideas for a remote business.  If you can think of any others, leave your idea in the comments below.  If you decide to pursue any of these ideas, let me know how it goes!

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