5 Low-cost Online Business Ideas for Malaysians (2021) + Newbie Tips

It's 2021 - wages are dropping and physical jobs disappearing - Malaysians are in need of a side hustle now more than ever. An online business is one of the best side hustle opportunities out there - all you need is an internet connection, hard work and some online business idea, and you're ready to fire that online business engine.

In this guide, I'm going to run you through all the basics of an online business, ideas you could try yourself as well as other tips that will help you along the way.

Let's get started!

Online Business Ideas to Try

Sell on Shopee

Want to start selling products online, but don't want to set up a whole e-commerce website, or spend money to get traffic to your store? You can do that by starting a store on Shopee.

If you're already buying on Shopee, you'll be happy to know that you can use the same account to start selling. Except for prohibited items, you can sell just about anything on Shopee.

Why sell on Shopee?

  • Shopee is the biggest online marketplace in Malaysia. So selling on Shopee means you'll get yourself in front of the largest group of online shoppers in Malaysia
  • You don't need to spend money to create a full-blown e-commerce site - you can list your products, create promotions and collect payments on Shopee directly
  • It's absolutely beginner-friendly to sell on Shopee, since you don't need any technical skills to start

This is what Otakuya, one of the biggest sellers on Shopee in the gaming niche, has done on Shopee.

If you're interested to get started on Shopee, you can read my beginner's guide for new sellers on Shopee to help you kickstart your journey.

Sell handmade products

If you enjoy making handmade crafts like miniatures, soap, or jewellery, you can easily turn this into an additional income stream with a dedicated Instagram page or e-commerce website.

Take a look at what TinyPinc has done with their Instagram page and e-commerce website to sell their miniature clay products.

Why sell handmade products?

  • To be able to put your handmade pieces into the hands of fans all over the world is a crafter's dream
  • Making your passion profitable can give you more time to refine your craft

You can use an e-commerce platform like Shopify or EasyStore on top of an Instagram page to sell to your customers. Both platforms offer a complete, no-code solution for crafters who are non-technical.

Try affiliate marketing

If you like trying out new products and recommending them to people around you, affiliate marketing might be one of the best online business opportunity for you right now.

You make money by earning a commission on every sale made through your unique links. The more people buy products using your links, the more you make.

Why try affiliate marketing?

  • You can start relatively cheaply - no need to buy products to sell
  • It's a great way to earn a side income from doing what you already love

Ready to try affiliate marketing? Here are some affiliate marketing programs in Malaysia you can check out. There's an affiliate program in almost every niche out there, so I think you'll be able to find one that sticks.

Start a blog

Starting a blog to make money online is one of the oldest tricks in the book. With an established blog, you can build a brand that will help you create long-term income.

From ads, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing to selling your own products and services, there are many ways to make money from a blog.

RinggitOhRinggit.com's writer Suraya Zainudin built authority in personal finance space in Malaysia by writing useful and authoritative articles in the niche. Her brand has since grown into a large following on social media, and allowed her to publish a series of books in personal finance.

Why start a blog?

  • It's a great way to build authority in a space, which can help you land big opportunities
  • A blog can be a stepping stone a brand across other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, or even your own podcast

If you need help getting started, here's my blog on how to start a blog in Malaysia.

Become a freelance writer

While you'll need to know some basic grammar, you don't need to be a writing pro to become a freelance writer. These days, you can even get the assistance of writing software like Grammarly and Instatext to make sure your writing is sound.

The benefit of freelancing is that you can do it on the side, while keeping your day job.

Why become a freelance writer?

  • Businesses need words to complement just about every marketing collateral they use - there will always be a demand for freelance writers in Malaysia
  • You don't need any special software to get started - a basic word processor tool is usually enough

For those who are just starting out, there are a few Facebook communities you can join to land your first writing gigs:

Useful tips to help you get started

Legalise your business

When you're just starting out, it's fine to try a few businesses on for size. But when you have a business that's already growing, make sure to legalise it by registering your business with SSM.

If you're running your business solo, a simple sole proprietorship will be enough. But if your business is growing big fast, consider getting a Sdn Bhd set up instead.

Get your accounts in order

If you're planning to use income from your online business for big-ticket purchases like a house or car, make sure to keep your accounts in order.

Other than hiring an accountant, make sure to keep all the documents from invoices, purchase orders and so on. These will be useful later.


If you have a computer, an internet connection and extra time on your hands, you have all the right ingredients to start an online business in Malaysia.

There are many ways to start an online business in Malaysia - the most important thing is to make sure it aligns with your interests, goals and budget.

Do you have an online business? Share them in the comments below!


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Welcome to Entrepreneur Campfire and thanks for reading my articles

Lu Wee here, and I am the pen behind Entrepreneur Campfire. I like diving deep into business trends, review business tools and create in-depth tutorials for people just like you.

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