4 Sustainable Online Business Ideas You Can Start Today

Sustainable Online Business Ideas

Have you ever wanted to start a sustainable online business? Owning an online business in an eco-friendly manner may seem like a dream. However, it can be a reality if you are willing to be creative and provide value to your customers.

Here are four sustainable online business ideas along with resources and tips to help you get started.

1. Sell Items Online

This is one of the oldest business models in the book. 

In the past, selling items online required specialized knowledge about coding and supply chain management. 

Fortunately, today’s technology offers multiple platforms that make it possible for anyone to sell online – even if you don’t have any experience!

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Other Places to Sell Items Online

How to Get Started Selling Online

If you are new to entrepreneurship, then we suggest reading a few books before starting. 

It is best to read books written by authors that have had success in online business themselves. You can learn from their experiences and avoid making the same mistakes they did.

Resources for Starting an Online Business

Both authors of the books below started successful online businesses and offer blueprints to teach you to do the same.

Lauch - Ecommerce Book Cover

2. Best Book About Building Wealth Through Businesses: Millionaire Fastlane 

Millionaire Fastline Book Cover

However, if you are ready to jump in and start a sustainable online business then the courses below can help you get started quickly. 

Udemy Course - Find a Profitable Niche
Udemy Shopify Online Course Cover
Udemy Amazon Course Description


Businesses that sell items online don't require a physical location. As a result, they often have lower fixed costs and smaller carbon footprints than traditional businesses. 

Online business owners often take additional steps to make their businesses as green as possible. For example, they use environmentally friendly packaging to ship their products. They also use green web hosts to reduce their website's carbon footprint. 

2. Create an Online Course

Do you have something to teach the world? It could be something related to your career or perhaps a hobby that you are passionate about. Millions of people use online courses to learn at their own pace. With the resources available today, anyone can think of an idea, create a course and start selling it online!

Where to Sell Courses Online

How to Get Started Selling Online Courses

First, analyze your strengths and interests to determine what type of course you could sell.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be a course on a serious topic. It could be about anything! 

There are tons of courses on Udemy related to gardening, health and wellness, fitness, music, gaming, cooking and more. 

You don’t have to be a world-class expert. You just have to have experience, credibility and the desire to teach others. 

Second, research selling courses online by reading a book. 

Resources for Creating Online Courses

For instance, the author of this book has spent the past two years making over $5000 passive income per month by selling online video courses. He outlines his formula here!

How to Sell Courses Online Book Cover

Third, if you are ready to jump in then this bestseller that outlines every step might be helpful. Over 79,000 people have taken this course!

Udemy Online Course Description


Offering an online course via a platform such as Udemy or Skillshare  is a great sustainable business option. You have access to millions of users and you can create your course from the comfort of your home without worrying about physical products or transportation. Spread knowledge and make money in a sustainable way!

3. Upcycle or Flip Items

Do you have items in your home that aren’t used anymore? You could potentially turn those unused items into cash! Lots of people start businesses by flipping household items or by buying items and selling them online for a profit.

Where to Upcycle or Flip Items

How to Get Started Upcycling or Flipping Items

First, take inventory of your circumstance. 

  • For example, do you have a lot of items in your home that you could sell?
  • Are you crafty and creative such that you could buy used items and improve them or make them like new?
  • Or maybe neither of these descriptions fit you, but you have a great eye for quality and market demand such that you can buy and sell items for a profit.

Resources for Upcycling or Flipping Items

If you have a lot of items to sell around your house, then mastering Mercari or eBay could be the best place to start. 

Udemy Mercari Course Description
EBay Course From Beginner to Advanced

However, if the second category describes you best (crafty and creative) then the book below could serve as a helpful resource.

Sustainable Online Business Ideas

Finally, if you are part of the third category (great eye for quality products and knowledge about market demand) then leveraging an arbitrage based business or selling items on Craigslist or Facebook could be the best option. 

Arbitrage involves taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets. Basically, you sell the same items in a different marketplace with better demand.

The book below outlines the Arbitrage business model and is a great place to start for anyone interested in buying and selling items online for a profit. The author of this book has been profiting from this technique for over 10 years!

Arbitrage Book Cover

The book also pairs with a course to teach you how to apply the Arbitrage model to Fulfillment by Amazon.

Udemy Arbitrage Course Cover

Additionally, you could also create income from selling items on Craigslist and Facebook. 

Udemy - Craigslist Secrets - How to Successfully Sell Your Stuff
Online Course - Sell on Facebook Marketplace & Facebook Groups


Selling used items is a classic sustainable business strategy. Lots of entrepreneurs improve items and sell them. Others use arbitrage to sell the same items in a different marketplace with better demand. Both are viable business options that provide value and eliminate the need for producing new items from scratch. 

4. Publish E-Books

Another way to share information or stories in a sustainable manner is to publish E-Books.

If you have expertise on a particular skillset or hobby, then you could potentially publish non-fiction E-Books to teach others.

On the other hand, if you enjoy creating stories or writing novels then you could publish fiction books for readers to enjoy.

Fortunately, E-Books don't have to be hundreds of pages or take years to write. As you will see in the section below, lots of people have successfully sold short E-Books that they wrote in a matter of days. It's all about using efficient techniques to publish quality content. 

Where to Sell E-Books Online

  • Kindle - publish E-Books on Kindle for free using Kindle Direct Publishing.
  • Apple Books - publish E-Books directly to Apple Books from your iPhone, iPad or Mac. 

How to Get Started Publishing E-Books

First, research what it takes to publish an E-Book. As previously mentioned, it is important to learn from people who have done it before so you know what to expect. 

For example, the author of the course below has a system for writing a quality E-Book in just 72 hours! Over 25,000 people have taken this course! 

Udemy Kindle E-Book Publishing Course

Second, decide which niche you want to focus on.

Perhaps you are a subject matter expert in one industry or another.

You don’t have to know everything, but you might have some expertise on something related to a job or a hobby. It could be sports, music, video games, art, design, crafts, animals, politics – anything!

You could teach people by sharing knowledge or you could write about your thoughts and opinions.

Get an idea of your strengths and interests to understand what you could potentially write about.

Resources for Creating E-Books

Time to get started! Follow the steps laid out in a course or a guide like the bestseller listed below. 

Udemy Course - Best Selling Author on Kindle

Give it a shot and keep working at it!

For instance, you could start by aiming to write a certain amount of words every day. James Clear, the best-selling author of the book "Atomic Habits", offers excellence guidance on how to accomplish big goals, such as writing a book, through small habits. Check it out!

Atomic Habits Book

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