Smart entrepreneurs have been building successful online businesses for years. However, the economic and societal changes that have accompanied the global pandemic have led to more and more people dipping a toe into the world of working online. If being your own boss and working where you want sound appealing, this guide is for you.
One of the best things about working online is that you can connect with clients all over the world. This is easiest - and most profitable - when you get paid into a smart multi-currency account, like the Wise business account.
Hold 50+ currencies in the same account, and switch between them using the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden costs, so you spend less on fees and keep more of your income.
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Let’s look at some online businesses you can start in Singapore.
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Virtual assistants are in high demand, making this an appealing online business idea for anyone with sharp organisational and communication skills. You might support clients with tasks like:
- Diary management
- Data entry
- Booking travel and other reservations
- Researching online and in person
- Local support services for visitors and business travellers
You’ll be able to work with multiple clients at the same time if you choose to, as virtual assistant tasks tend not to run on regular full time hours. Instead, take on the tasks and projects that appeal, fit your skill set, and work with your schedule. You’ll need pretty much no capital to get started in this line of work, but competition can be intense for this very reason.
Think about aspects of your skills and experience that will make you stand out from the crowd. Do you have corporate experience as an admin support? Great local connections to help newcomers settle in? Speak multiple languages? All are strong selling points in the virtual assistant world. Check out the virtual assistant profiles on a freelance marketplace site like Fiverr¹ to get an idea of the opportunities out there.
Businesses large and small need support with marketing. But newer, small and medium enterprises often don’t have the budget for their own in-house digital marketing specialists. That’s where you come in with an online business specialising in digital marketing, social media and more. If you have the right skills and experience you could offer clients services like:
- Email marketing campaigns
- SEO and optimization
- Social media strategy
- Customer support and research
There’s not a lot in the way of capital required to start this online business - but you will need significant skills and experience to be able to win over customers. Check out the digital marketing professionals advertising over on a site like Upwork² to get an idea of what the competition is doing.
You might choose to market yourself on a site like Upwork or Fiverr, so clients can come to you. Or, set up your own standalone business and approach clients proactively yourself. In either case, showcase your expertise and the results you’ve been able to achieve in other businesses to attract the best clients.
Talented artist? Familiar with professional level graphic design software and image manipulation? How about a graphic design online business?
You’ll need visual skills and talents, and the ability to listen to customers and really understand what they’re looking for, to create images such as:
- Company logos
- Images for marketing
- Edited photos for company blogs and websites
- Templates and other visual materials
As with other online businesses, you’ll be able to connect with customers around the world - create your online presence, either through a freelance marketplace site, or by building your own website. This is a great way to showcase what you can do for customers, show your portfolio of previous projects and sell yourself before you’ve even had a conversation with a client.
To offer online graphic design services you’ll need to have access to professional or high level graphics software. This will come with an initial cost which you’ll want to plan into your budget projections before launch.
Copywriting is a classic online business opportunity. In fact, you might be able to become a copy and content creator as a freelancer - or pick up gigs and temporary jobs through an agency if you’d rather not work alone. You’ll need a way with words, of course - but there’s not usually much needed financially to kickstart a writing business.
You could consider offering services to small and medium businesses, such as:
- Writing copy for company websites
- Creating blog posts
- Writing snappy social media pieces
- Email marketing campaign collateral
Or, take a look at some other niche writing services out there. You’ll find individual clients and larger recruiters looking for everything from academic and technical writers, people who can write resumes, CVs and cover letters for clients, writers with experience in bid submissions and more. Online sites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancezone³ are good places to start when looking for one off projects. Or take a look at major recruiting sites like Indeed⁴ and LinkedIn⁵ for online contract jobs.
If you have a talent for writing and want to monetize it, blogging is another smart online business option. It’s worth doing some research to find a niche you can fit into, especially if you’re looking at this as a business opportunity rather than a passion project. Choose to write about something you’re interested in, and which may also come with opportunities for earning through things like:
- Sponsorship by companies
- Ad revenue
- Affiliate sales
- Creating online courses and ebooks
Blogging is a competitive world, but also pretty friendly. Do some research to see how your ideas may fit in, and be prepared to sell yourself through social media and any other available channels as you build an audience.
Tutors are needed at all levels in Singapore and around the world, and this presents an attractive online business opportunity whether you want to teach guitar, Chinese, chemistry, drama or anything else for that matter. With so many enrichment opportunities available online there is a big market for tutoring and affiliated services, including digital holiday camp activities and even online classes for preschoolers.
If you have the skills and experience - and the passion needed - online tutoring can be a profitable field. Either come up with your own business idea and market it as a standalone, or look for online and remote tutoring opportunities with existing companies. These can be found through mainstream online recruiters like LinkedIn⁶ and Jobstreet⁷.
Whatever online business appeals to you, you’ll be able to go further if you’re open to taking on international clients. For this you need smart ways to get paid in other currencies - like the Wise business account.
Open your Wise account online, with no minimum balance or ongoing fees, and use your account details to get paid like a local from clients around the world. That means you can connect with a global audience without ever needing to leave your home - and build a better, more profitable online business.
- Fiverr - Freelance Singaporean Services Online
- UpWork - The Best Freelancers For Hire In Singapore
- Freelancezone - Find Part Time Jobs, Freelance Jobs | Singapore Freelancers
- Indeed - 238 Copywriter Jobs, Employment September 2021
- LinkedIn Jobs
- LinkedIn Jobs - Tutoring
- JobStreet - Online tutor Jobs in Singapore, Job Vacancies - Sep 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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