This is the greatest era to be alive! With the rise of the internet, you now have the freedom to work ANYWHERE you want (as long as you have Wi-Fi connection).

How can you do this?

Start an online business in Malaysia!

The benefit of having an online business is you can sell to ANYONE in the world, and not restricted to just Malaysians.

You can also work based on your preferred timing with flexible hours.

The question is, which type of online business should you start? And how to start?

In this article, we will share 5 online business you can start in Malaysia. Pick one to start and treat it like a real business.

Note: The biggest mistake would be jumping to all types of online business at the same time. A person that chase 5 rabbits at the same time will end up catching none!

If you are ready to start your online business, grab a drink, get comfortable, and let’s jump in.

How to start an online business in Malaysia in 2018


Top 5 Online Business in Malaysia for 2021

1. Start an E-commerce Store

2. Make Money from Blogging

3. Offer Freelancing Services

4. Sell Digital Products

5. Affiliate Marketing


Online Business 1: Start an E-Commerce Store 

Start an ecommerce store

The world is changing and plenty of physical retail shops are gradually closing down due to the rise of online stores.

Just look at the bankruptcy of the biggest toys brand in the world, Toys R Us, which is heavily attributed to the rise of e-commerce sales in online stores.

The good news is, E-commerce is still at its early stage in Malaysia. So if you are looking to start your online e-commerce shop, here’s a step by step process to get your store up and running:

Step 1: Build an Online Platform Using Shopify / SiteGiant

Shopify will provide you an online platform to sell your products.

In fact, Shopify is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, where big brands such as Red Bull, Gym Shark, Budweiser and Tesla Motors have used Shopify to sell their products online.

Shopify makes it easy for anyone to get started immediately by offering a 14-day trial. Click here to enter your email address and begin the trial.

Shopify ecommerce platform

After the trial has ended, you may go for the basic package at $29 (RM115) per month. This would be your monthly online platform costs.

As an alternative to Shopify, you may go for SiteGiant Malaysia at only RM57.50 per month or RM690 per year. This would be the cheaper choice as compared to Shopify as it’s a local ecommerce platform. Click here for Sitegiant’s option.

On the other hand, if you are starting a physical shop in shopping malls, expect your costs (rental, utilties, inventories) to easily be in the range of RM15,000 to RM30,000 per month!

Step 2: Find Products for Your Store at AliExpress 

You have 3 options to source your products:

Option A: Buy products from vendors and store it at your home or rent a factory to store it.

Option B: Only buy products when someone has ordered from you (Aliexpress Method)

Option C: Manufacture your own products.

With Option A, you have to purchase your products upfront, while Option B lets you order from the vendor only when a buyer has purchased from you.

Option C on the other hand needs more upfront work, but if you are looking to build a long term brand and have some startup capital, go for Option C.

For those with low cashflow, Option B is the safest option among all and will ensure your cash flow is always positive.

To go with Option B, head over to AliExpress and sign up for an account.

Join Aliexpress

On the left side, you will notice there are categories of different products to choose from. This is where you can decide the types of products you want to sell in your store.

Aliexpress product categories

Ideally, pick a product that you have some interest in. For example, if you are interested in electronics item, you can sell products in the category of consumer electronics or cell phones & accessories.

You can then take these products and list them on your online store with a markup. The beauty of using AliExpress is you won’t have to buy any of the products until someone else buys from you.

Once someone had purchased your product on your store and filled up their address and contact, you can then copy this information and order from AliExpress. They will then handle the shipping and delivery of the product to your customers.

By doing this, you won’t have to worry if your product will be sold or left obsolete in your store since your upfront cost is zero and your profit would come from the markup you add to the products listed on your Shopify platform.

Step 3: Use Oberlo to Import Products 

Once you have signed up for Shopify and decided on your products, it’s time to import these products from AliExpress or other sources and list it on your store using an app called Oberlo.

Oberlo is a free app to help you easily import products to your store without you having to do it manually. Here’s a guide from Oberlo on how to import products from say AliExpress to your Shopify store.

Once you are logged in into Shopify, go to Apps > Visit Shopify App Store:

Shopify apps

Search for Oberlo and get the app:

App store to find Oberlo

For starters, add 15-20 products to your store for initial testing. Adding too many products at the beginning will deter you from focusing on selling.

You will want to the store up and running and make money as soon as possible.

Step 4: Get a Logo

The next step is to get a logo for your online store. All you need is $5 (RM20) to purchase a logo design.

Avoid spending too much on a logo at the start. You can spend more on the designs of the logo as your business grow.

Head over to Fiverr to sign up for an account.

Once you have logged in, go to Graphics Design and select Logo Design.

Fiverr graphic design

Once you are there, sort the price range from $5 to $5:

Fiverr price range

You can then pick your logo seller. Be sure to check out the seller reviews before purchasing.

Step 5: Customize Your Store by Picking a Theme 

Now we want to make your store look decent by picking a theme from Shopify.

There are plenty of beautiful free themes on Shopify. Once you are logged in, go to Online store and select Themes.

You can then explore the available free themes and pick one for your store:

Shopify free themes

If you are finding it hard to decide on a theme, we recommend starting with Venture or Brooklyn.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to customize your theme.

Step 6: Set Up Payments 

You are now ready to accept payments!

Go to Settings > Payment Providers:

Shopify payment providers

This is where you can accept payments via PayPal, Credit Card, Cash on Delivery or Bank Deposit.

Types of payment providers

And that’s it!

Your store is now live and ready to make money.

At RM115 a month(Shopify) or RM58 a month (Sitegiant), this is one of the cheapest business to get started with when you do not have a lot of capital to start a business.

Here’s a recap of the steps to start an e-commerce store:

Step 1: Build an Online Platform Using Sitegiant or Shopify (Pick 1)

Step 2: Find Products for Your Store at AliExpress or Manufacture Own Products

Step 3: Use Oberlo to Import Products to Your Online Store

Step 4: Get a Logo from Fiverr

Step 5: Customize Your Store by Picking a Theme

Step 6: Set Up Payments

BONUS Brainstorm Idea – What can you sell online in Malaysia?

Go to sites like Shopee and Lazada. Go through each category and assess the top sales. This would prove that the product is in demand and people are actively looking to buy.

Aim to sell those type of products in your online store.


Online Business 2: Make Money from Blogging 

Make money from blogging

Blogging is the most traditional way of making money online and has been around for a long time.

If you love writing, blogging is a great way to make money by writing about the things you are passionate about.

The key to success in blogging is to pick ONE topic to blog about and stick to it.

One common mistake people make is covering too many topics. This will do more harm than good, especially when you are a new blogger in the space.

For example, if you love cars, blog about cars ONLY. Don’t go off track by talking about food or business. If you love these topics as well, start a separate blog for each topic.

Remember, one blog one topic.

To get started with blogging, you need to first have a website.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to code, software such as WordPress has made it easy for anyone to create a website.

We have written an in-depth step by step guide on how to create a website from scratch and write your first blog post.

Click here to read the guide and get your website setup.

In case you are wondering how much does it cost to create a website and start blogging, it’s $2.95 (RM12) a month from Fastcomet’s hosting. And if you need a logo, spend $5 (RM20) on Fiverr to purchase a logo design. This is another cheap option to start an online business if starting an e-commerce store is not your thing.

Besides Fastcomet, you can also opt for local hosting provider in Malaysia – ServerFreak, who is well-known to provide reliable, fast, and affordable hosting service to companies in Malaysia. Another popular local hosting company in Malaysia is Exabytes

Once you have established your blog topic, here are 3 methods to make money from blogging:

Method 1: Sell Display Ads 

This is a common strategy used by most bloggers to start making money. Think of your blog like a media outlet, where people would pay you to display their ads.

Whenever someone clicks on the ad, you will be paid for each click, and these clicks will add up over time as your audience grow.

Here is a sample of an ad on a blog post:

Google Display Ads Sample

To place these ads on your blog, sign up for an account with ad network such as Google AdSense, Taboola and Outbrain.

Before you start putting ads on your blog, we recommend having 5-10 published blog posts to increase the number of clicks on the ads.

Method 2: Sponsored Post 

A sponsored post is where you would be paid by companies to promote their product or services.

For example, one of the most famous blogs in Malaysia, Bangsar Babe has a public relation section on her blog to invite people who are interested in collaboration and paid content.

As your blog gets more traction, expect to receive plenty of sponsored post requests from brands and companies. Remember to disclose on your blog that it’s a sponsored post for full transparency.

Note: Before you accept these sponsored posts, ask yourself if the post will be relevant and useful to your readers? If the answer is no, reject the request. Your blog’s reputation matters more in the long run.

Method 3: Offer Consulting Service 

This is probably the most lucrative method to make money as a blogger.

By offering consulting service, your readers will get a 1v1 session with you over Skype or on the phone. Start small by charging a low hourly rate and gradually increase your rate as you do more consulting work.

No matter what topic you blog about, there is a need for consultants.

For example, if you blog about fitness, there is a chance that someone needs personal consulting sessions with you on how to lose weight or build muscles.

And you can carry out the consulting session at your home, just use Skype and charge by your hourly rate.

Note: If blogging not your thing, you can opt for vlogging by starting a YouTube channel and offer 1v1 consulting, ads, and sponsored video.


Online Business 3: Offer Freelancing Services 

freelancing service

While the first two online business requires a monthly cost of RM115 (Shopify) and RM12 (Fastcomet) to get started, our third online business requires no upfront cost to start making money.

Enter Freelancing!

Here are some in-demand freelancing services you can sell online:

1. Logo Design

2. Web Design

3. Photoshop Editing

4. Social Media Marketing

5. SEO

6. Article & Blog Post Writing

7. Copywriting

8. Animation/Explainer Video

9. Video Editing

10. Web Programming

11. Virtual Assistant

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free” – Joker

Below are the list of freelancing platforms you can sign up and start selling your service:

Fiverr (International)

Upwork (International)

Legiit (International)

Favser (Malaysia)

Freelancing Malaysia (Malaysia)

But what if you don’t have any of these skills?

You have two choices:

a) Learn a new skill on YouTube

All of the above freelancing services have free tutorials available on YouTube. While it may take some time to learn, these skills will be useful to you forever and you can build a living from freelancing with these skills.

b) Arbitrage Between Freelancing Platform

Arbitrage is a method of selling your services on one freelancing platform and ordering the service from another freelancing platform when a customer orders from you.

This may sound confusing, let’s look at an example.

For example, let’s say you are selling social media marketing on Legiit for $200 and someone has ordered from you. You can then go to Fiverr or Upwork to search for social media marketing services at say $80. You will be the middleman.

By using this method, you can profit from freelancing without doing any of the work, except for communicating two-way as the middle person.

While you will earn lesser as compared to actually doing the work yourself, you can always start with arbitrage while you are learning the skills.


Online Business 4: Sell Digital Products 

Sell digital products illustration

Instead of selling physical products through your e-commerce store, you can choose to sell digital products like courses and eBooks.

The benefit of digital products is people can consume the content immediately and do not have to wait for the product to arrive, unlike physical products.

Again, your audience is not restricted to just Malaysia as the information will be applicable worldwide. For example, someone looking to lose weight can purchase an eBook or courses online to help them get to their goal quicker.

Here’s an example, Jordan Yeoh is probably the most famous fitness person in Malaysia. Jordan has put together a course to lay out exactly he transformed his body from fat to fit. Instead of you taking the long road to learn fitness, you can purchase his digital product and expedite your learning process.

Jordan is definitely not the fittest guy in Malaysia (let alone the world), and yet his program has done really well and is sold to diverse people from all over the world as you can see from the testimonials.

Fitness digital product is just an example, you can sell digital products for ANY hobby or skill.

You don’t have to be the best in the market, you just need to be better than the person you are selling to.

Start brainstorming, what are you above average at?

Once you have done that, here comes the fun part…

Creating your first digital product!

As discussed earlier, your digital product can be in the form of written eBook or video course. As video has a higher perceived value, you will be able to sell the video course for a higher price as compared to the eBook even though both contain the same information (yes, videos has an unfair advantage).

You can shoot the video with your phone’s camera, but if you are camera shy, go for the eBook option and write.

Basically, the content and selling point of the digital product is to help a beginner go from knowing nothing to achieving their goal.

In Jordan’s case, his selling point is getting people from zero to fit within 28 weeks:

Jordan Yeoh digital product

Source: []

Once you have created your digital product, the final piece of the puzzle is to build out a sales page to sell the digital product and have it automatically delivered to your buyer once they have made the payment.

This can be done by having a software like Clickfunnels. In fact, Jordan Yeoh is using ClickFunnels as well to sell his fitness product.

Check out our guide on using ClickFunnels in Malaysia.

Once you have signed up, refer to their step by step tutorial on how to build the sales page with their ready-made templates. Everything is just drag and drop.

The fun part about this business is you only need to create the course or eBook ONCE, and people can buy the product whenever they need it. This is one of the ways people make money while they are sleeping!

Here’s a recap of the steps to sell digital products:

Step 1: Brainstorm what you are above average at

Step 2: Create the digital product

Step 3: Use Clickfunnels to build your sales page


Online Business 5: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing clicks

Affiliate marketing is a unique way of making money.

This business model is perfect for people who don’t have a product to sell.

Instead of creating your own product, you can promote other people’s product from the different online marketplace.

When someone purchased the product through your link, you will get a commission. This is called affiliate marketing.

There are two types of products you can promote:

a) Digital Products

b) Physical Products

Let’s start with digital products.

To start promoting digital products, sign up for an account in Clickbank. Clickbank is the number 1 affiliate marketplace for digital products.

Find a product category that you are interested to promote. On the left sidebar of Clickbank’s homepage, you will find the list of categories:

Clickbank product category for affiliate

Source: []

If you prefer to promote physical products instead, sign up for an account with Amazon Affiliate.

Pick any product on Amazon to promote and you will get a unique link from Amazon Affiliate. When a person clicks your link and purchase, Amazon will pay you.

Once you have picked your product (digital or physical), create a website (refer to online business #2) to promote the products and insert your unique links.

For affiliate marketing to work, you need to have plenty of visitors coming to your website. Here’s a guide to how to drive traffic to your website.


Costs of Starting an Online Business in Malaysia (Updated 2021)

Here are the costs of starting each online business:

1. Start an E-commerce Store

Shopify Platform – Monthly cost of $29 (RM115)*

SiteGiant Platform – Monthly cost of RM57.50*

*Pick either Shopify or SiteGiant

Fiverr Logo Design – One-time fee of $5 (RM20)

2. Make Money from Blogging

Website – Monthly cost of $2.95 (RM12). Pick a hosting from Fastcomet (International) or ServerFreak (Malaysia) / Exabytes (Malaysia)

Fiverr Logo Design – One-time fee of $5 (RM20)

3. Offer Freelancing Services

No costs

4. Sell Digital Products

ClickFunnels – Monthly cost of $97 (RM403)

5. Affiliate Marketing

Setup Website – Monthly cost of RM15 – RM25


Online Business Registration in Malaysia (A Quicker Way)

Once you have chosen your online business idea, for starters, simply register the company as a sole proprietor or partnership (less than RM100 per year).

As your business grows, then you can opt for a separate entity in the form of Sdn Bhd. You have two options to do this:

Option 1: Head over to the Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (“SSM”) office to register your business.

Option 2 (Recommended): Incorporate your Sdn Bhd online via a digital company secretary, where you won’t need to drive to the SSM office and queue.

Note: If you wish to incorporate your company online, Foundingbird is a digital company secretary in Malaysia that helps entrepreneurs incorporate their Sdn Bhd fully online.

What makes Foundingbird different from the traditional company secretaries is, they do not require a physical appointment nor signing and scanning of any paperwork as everything can be done online.

This includes filling in the incorporation form, making payment, to identifying verification using e-KYC.

You can also download the Foundingbird app to access your company documents and get exclusive business deals.

To know more about how Foundingbird works, read more about their platform here.

As always, do ask and clarify all your enquiries before signing up to ensure a smooth process in incorporating your company.


What’s Next?

Once you have set up and launched your online business, the next step is to market the business and get more buyers.

As an online marketing agency in Malaysia, we have helped plenty of clients run profitable marketing campaigns to generate sales online. From these practical experience, we have put together an eBook on the 28 digital marketing strategies for local service business.

Our team have spent 3 months to produce and edit multiple versions of this eBook before deciding to launch it live.

Click on the image below and grab a copy for only RM19 👇👇




The best part about starting an online business in Malaysia is you don’t need much capital to get started.

While you will need at least RM10,000 a month (rental, utilities, employees) to start a local brick and mortar business, you can start an online business today for as low as RM12 a month!

Yes, it will take hard work at the beginning to start your online business, but the rewards of living a comfortable life while working from anywhere in the world is a luxury you can enjoy in the long run.

For starters, please start with ONE online business and don’t get distracted. Once you have made money, you can then decide on whether to scale the business or start the next online business.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or email us at