20 Best Online Business Ideas to Start in Uganda

Ernest Walugembe

SEO Writer

As the common saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Thus, you need to innovate to survive the current economic downturn in Uganda and expand your income sources. Starting a brick-and-mortar business can provide a regular income. However, not everyone has the time or the capital to start a physical business. Discover 20 online business ideas that can help you make money in Uganda.

#1: Write Website Content

Freelance writers are the bedrock of the world’s websites. There is an ever-growing demand for writers for e-commerce product descriptions, landing pages, blog posts and more.

You don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway to land your first writing gig as a business owner. However, your team needs to have a decent understanding of grammar rules to succeed. 

The easiest places to start looking for work for Ugandan writing entrepreneurs are Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. As you gain experience, you can get private clients. You can also open a personal blog, which you can monetise through advertisement.

#2 Become a Web Designer

An average of 252,000 new websites are created per day, according to Siteefy. Thus, there’s no shortage of potential clients for a web designer with the right skills. Web design has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. So, while coding is an excellent skill, it’s not as essential as it was a decade ago.

Instead, you need intimate knowledge of content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla. In addition to the usual bidding websites such as People Per Hour and Fiverr, you can get work through Facebook groups and direct outreach to companies.

#3 Earn Through a Graphic Design Business

Consider starting an online design business if you are a graphic design expert. Your company may be asked to create logos, business cards, and similar marketing materials. Expertise in design tools such as Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Suite is vital in this kind of work.

Many Ugandan businesses offer their graphic design and printing services locally along the famous Nasser road. But you can also tap into the global markets by bidding for projects through 99designs, Fiverr and Freelancer. To succeed as a graphic designer, keep tabs on the latest trends in design through web design blogs.

#4:  Sell E-commerce Products

An online e-commerce store is one of the least time-consuming businesses you can start to make money in Uganda. You can sell almost anything online. However, since apparel and electronics are non-perishable and have steady demand, you can never go wrong when you deal in such goods. To learn about other products you can sell online, browse the top 10 profitable business e-commerce business ideas.

Keep in mind is that starting a new e-commerce website requires investment in terms of website design and marketing. That’s why some Ugandans instead sell on already established e-commerce websites such as Jumia, Kikuu and Amazon. These e-commerce giants, thus, earn a commission on each sale

#5: Offer Virtual Assistant Services

A virtual assistant takes care of routine administrative roles for busy business people. To start a virtual assistance business, you may need computers, phones and a reliable internet connection. The key to success in this business is having adaptable staff. Therefore, your team needs to be familiar with how computers and the internet work.

On a typical day, the role of a virtual assistant may include the following:

  • Managing emails
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Data entry

LinkedIn is an excellent place to get clients for your virtual assistant business in Uganda. You can also find clients via Upwork and PeoplePerHour.

#6: Tutor Students Online

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an explosion in the need for online tutors, and teachers are still in high demand today. Some of the most successful tutors online focus on teaching languages. That said, you can teach everything from music and fitness to science and the arts. Being a qualified teacher can give you an advantage. 

However, websites such as Preply, TeacherOn.com, and Tutor.com support even non-qualified teachers. Some Ugandans also offer tutoring services through Upwork, People Per Hour, and even the local classifieds website, Jiji. Regardless of your chosen platform, you need a computer with a good internet connection and a quiet room to succeed as an online tutor.

#7: Start a Digital Marketing Agency

Marketing is one of the oldest professions, and the Internet has enabled people to offer services remotely. If you have a team with the right skills, you can cater to clients from around the globe.

Email and SMS marketing still take up the lion’s share of marketing budgets. However, people with social media marketing skills are also in high demand. 

If you’re into digital marketing, you can advertise your services through People Per Hour, Upwork and social media.

#8: Earn Money Through Affiliate Marketing

The Amazon Associates is, perhaps, the best-known online affiliate marketing program. However, it is, by no means, the only one. There are several other affiliate programs available to people in Uganda. As an affiliate salesman, you get a cut of the profit whenever a person you have referred buys a good or service from the principal business.

To maximise the benefits of an affiliate program, consider starting a blog or product review site. That way, you can link to the principal website to start earning from commissions. However, you may not even need to create a website for some programs. You can start making commissions from selling goods and services to your friends and acquaintances.

#9: Trade Forex and Stocks

Working as a forex day trader is one of the easiest ways to make money online in Uganda. Using platforms like Metatrader and Interactive Brokers, you can profit from trading foreign currency. You need to educate yourself and have a measure of discipline to succeed in forex trading, though.

Trading forex usually requires a considerable time investment. If you like earning passive income, a foray into the world of stocks may be the way forward. Although the basics of trading stocks are similar to day trading, playing the long game is the key to success. You can set stock trades and leave them for weeks, months, or even years at a time.

#10: Build a Following as an Influencer

As an Influencer, you can make money by publishing a steady stream of videos and other pieces of content. In the process, you can build a social media following. Big companies are all too happy to pay big bucks for endorsements and advertisements to influencers.

Popular channels for Ugandan influencers include YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch. Another possible source of income for influencers is offering subscriptions for specific goods or services. Naturally, your earning potential as an influencer will depend on the number of subscribers you manage to rack up.

# 11: Launch a Social Media Management Company

Virtually every business today needs to enhance its presence on social media. Therefore, companies are contracting firms worldwide to craft engaging content. Typical work in this industry includes making and replying to posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other channels. Be sure to check out our detailed guide for essential tips for social media marketing.

Advertising through social media platforms is the most straightforward way of getting clients for your social media management business. Whether you get foreign or Ugandan-based customers, you can operate your social media management company right from your home office.

#12: Organize Virtual Events

When you think of event planning, you likely picture weddings and graduations. Yet, the world of event planning extends well beyond these joyous occasions. Many organisations need planners for their virtual conferences, workshops, and webinars. If you’re tech-savvy and have organisational skills, you could offer your event management services, taking care of the administrative part of such functions. 

Your role would involve sending out invitations and organising event schedules. You may also need to host such meetings over online video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet. Advertise through your website and social media channels to find companies that require virtual event planning.

#13: Becoming a Published Author

Even before the advent of the internet, writing books was one of the rare businesses you could do from home. However, the web has made the process of researching, writing and publishing books much easier. You can write books in a wide variety of genres, including crime, drama, romance, and self-help.

Contact a local publisher such as Fountain Publishers if you are targeting the Ugandan audience. Otherwise, many international publishers are interested in the works of Ugandan authors. You may need a literary agent to take care of business matters if you work with a publisher. Alternatively, you can self-publish online through platforms such as Amazon. One reason writing books is appealing to many people is that it may allow you to earn a passive income in the form of royalties for years after the publication date.

#14: Sell Courses Online

If making a passive income is your goal, then very few online business ideas are more fitting than selling courses. You’d need some expertise to start, and you could offer everything from software tutorials to self-help courses and language lessons. The possibilities are endless.

You can sell your courses on a wide range of sites, including the following:

  • Teachable
  • Udemy
  • Skillshare
  • LinkedIn

To create a course, you will need to prepare a script and graphics for demonstrating your points. If you choose to record the course yourself, make sure you get a quiet room. Otherwise, there are plenty of AI tools that can do the reading for you.

#15: Make Podcasts

Over 82 million people listened to a podcast in 2021 alone, and the number of podcast enthusiasts is expected to rise. While the most popular podcasts are about sports, politics and celebrities, you can start a podcast on virtually any topic.

Once you build an audience, you will have opportunities to earn money from advertising, listener donations, and sponsorships. To make it work, be prepared to invest in a studio and some professional recording equipment.

#16 Test Software for Bugs

Organisations such as Microsoft, Yelp, and Kayak pay thousands of dollars every year to ethical hackers who find vulnerabilities in their applications. These tech companies are all too happy to use this knowledge to fix security vulnerabilities and prevent unethical hackers from exploiting them. 

You will definitely need coding knowledge and lots of patience to succeed in this work. Sign up on websites such as Hacker One to access bug bounty programs. 

#17: Offer Consulting Services Online

Working as a consultant may not be for everyone, but if you have years of expertise, you have a good shot at success. You may need to boost your profile on LinkedIn or similar career sites to get noticed.

Be sure to keep tabs on the bids and tenders sections of local newspapers such as the Daily Monitor and The New Vision. That way, you can stay in the loop when the government and the private sector seek consultants with your skills. 

#18: Start a Tech Support Firm

Without technical support, the operations of many companies worldwide would suffer. Thus, almost every organisation requires an internal or contracted tech support team. Advanced online tools enable contractors, including Ugandans, to provide tech support services remotely to companies from around the world.

Your role as a tech support specialist usually involves: 

  • Guiding users on using computers, software, websites, and factory equipment
  • Troubleshooting issues 

Your staff must have technical skills in the relevant equipment to be effective. The job is usually done through chat systems, email, or phone. To find customers, consider advertising through your website, LinkedIn, or social media channels. 

#19: Sell Apps and Software Online

Companies are always on the lookout for software tools and applications that can give them an edge. Additionally, iOS and Android app stores have a significant demand for apps and games that can enhance productivity or entertainment.

Consider designing apps to exploit this demand. You’ll likely need software developers on your team to make useful apps. However, using AI tools and app-making platforms can drastically reduce your spend on developers. You can list your apps in app stores such as Play Store and Microsoft Store to start earning from your efforts. Alternatively, you could offer computer software downloads or sell your tools using a subscription model online.

#20: Translate and interpret Content Online

There is a steady demand for translators for Ugandan languages such as Luganda, Acholi, Runyankore, and Rukiga. The beauty with running a translation agency is that you can do all the work from the comfort of your home.

While a translator deals with documents, an interpreter translates sound. Interpreters are typically needed for court sessions, doctor appointments and classes. You can find companies in need of translation and interpretation services through Appen, Upwork and advertising.

With a modest investment, starting an online business in Uganda can help boost your income during challenging economic times. There are plenty of business types you can run over the internet. You can earn a passive income through writing books and selling online courses. However, some businesses, such as online writing and digital marketing, will require your day-to-day participation. To save time, consider working with an established digital agency to reduce your workload.

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