3 Online Businesses You Can Start During the Pandemic

Michael Leonard


2020 wasn't the year we all expected.

II think it’s safe to say that most people need more than a stimulus check to keep paying the bills.

Starting an online business is the answer and luckily, it’s never been easier (or cheaper) to get started.

I started making money from my laptop in 2016 and I can say that not all online businesses are created equal. In the last few years, I’ve had a ton of bad online ventures — failed blogs, dropshipping stores that lost money, and Craigslist flipping, just to name a few.

But I’ve also had a few projects to become wildly successful, allowing me to never go back to the corporate world. Here are three online businesses that you can start even during a pandemic.

1. Get Paid to Write

With so much extra time on your hands, now is the time to finally start writing! If you’ve ever thought about publishing your words online, it’s time to launch.

Here are a few ways you can get started:


Writing on Medium is arguably the easiest way to publish content and get eyes on your stuff. Compared to starting your own WordPress blog, Medium is faster, easier, cheaper, and much more rewarding.

If you’re just starting out, get in the habit of writing as much as possible. Whether it’s publishing an article a day or a few per week, get in the habit of writing.

In only a few months, I’ve been averaging $700/month just from the Medium Partner Program. You don’t need thousands of followers either.

Instead, submit to publications, write high-quality content that helps people, and learn from your mistakes. Use your Medium dashboard to study your stats, write in the same tags, and see what resonates with people.

Quantity produces quality.

Freelance Writing

Even during the pandemic, I’m still making money as a freelance writer. Not a single client left because of the global crisis. And I just interviewed a fellow writer who only had two of his ten clients leave. Businesses understand the value of content now more than ever.

If you want to write on other people’s blogs and websites, opt for freelance writing. I’ve found that you can earn a lot more than you would on Medium (on a per word basis) if you’re just starting out. But of course, the trade-off is that you’re working on client's projects instead of your own content.

If you’re ready to start freelance writing, follow this blueprint:

2. Start a Podcast

If you don’t like writing, no problem — start podcasting instead. You might think podcasting is too saturated like blogging was 5–10 years ago but think again.

Check out these stats from Podcast Insights:

  • 70% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting” — up from 64% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)
  • 50% of all US homes are podcast fans (Nielsen, Aug 2017)
  • 51% (144 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast — up from 44% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)
  • 32% (90 million) listened to a podcast in the last month — up from 26% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)

Only 51% of the US population has listened to a podcast. This stat will almost certainly continue to rise in the next 3–5 years so take advantage of the trend.

Starting a podcast is one of the cheapest and easiest online businesses you can start. Seriously, all you need is a microphone (roughly $65) and a hosting platform — that’s it.

Then, you can record solo episodes on GarageBand if you have a mac or Audacity on Windows. If you want to interview guests anywhere in the world, use Zoom — it’s free.

Seriously, don’t overcomplicate things.

Once you have your podcast up and running, focus on getting more downloads. Do this by:

  • Getting reviews
  • Repurposing on social media
  • Staying consistent and publishing regularly

And once you build an audience, you can monetize it by:

  • Getting podcast sponsors
  • Promoting affiliate offers
  • Selling online courses/coaching
  • Starting a paid membership site

3. Sell Your Skills (Online Courses/Coaching)

The education system was shifting online before the virus shut the world down. But education doesn’t stop once you graduate — in reality, it’s just getting started.

If you’re an expert in any niche, you should offer some sort of online course or coaching program. Here’s why…

According to the eLearning Industry, “In 2015, the online learning space was worth 107 billion. By 2025, however, Research and Markets believe that it will reach a staggering total market value of $325 billion.”

That’s right, $325 billion.

If you have a skill that other people want, now is the best time ever to create a product or offer coaching around it.

Help people speed up success by giving them shortcuts and hacks, so they can get their desired results. Plus, there’s a niche for everything!

In my mastermind, I know people who have online courses on every topic imaginable including how to:

  • Beat insomnia
  • Harness your intuition
  • Grow fresh food at home
  • Help coaches get leads on Messenger
  • Launch a video podcast from scratch
  • Leave your elementary classroom by 3 pm

Seriously, there is a niche for everything. Plus, you don’t need much to get started and it’s super cheap. All you really need is:

  • Email software (Free — $29/month)
  • Social media (Free)
  • Online course platform (Free-$29/month)
  • Website (optional — $200/year)

Remember, if you can help people accelerate results in any area of life, you can get paid well for it. Plus, it’s a win-win, as people are already out there looking for individuals who are a few steps ahead on the journey.

You don’t need to have a fancy degree to get started, all you need is the belief that you can help people in your niche.

Final Thoughts

While the pandemic has been incredibly difficult for so many people worldwide, it’s also an opportunity to change your life for the better.

All of these online businesses are easy to start and will change your life if you stick with it. Not to mention, you can do all of these on a part-time basis if you want a new side hustle, or you can take it full-time as well.

Plus, if an event like this happens in the future, you’ll have your online business to help pay the bills.

I’m personally doing all of these right now so if you need any help with launching, let me know in the comments.

Now is the time to finally launch your passion project and get paid to do what you love.

*Photo by sjenner13 at Deposit Photos

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My name is Michael Leonard and I am the creator of Inspire Your Success. I'm on a mission to help readers build online writing businesses and quit their jobs to live a life of freedom!

Scottsdale, AZ

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