Imagine this: no more compulsory Monday morning meetings, no more office politics and… you’re the boss.
Dreamy? It could be your new reality.
With over 30 million small businesses in the US in 2019 alone, small business ownership is more common than you think.
Want to put your entrepreneur hat on and run your own business? Today is a better time than tomorrow. If you keep putting it off, it’ll never happen.
Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week and a very smart man said: “The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct your course along the way.”
Without further ado, here are 57 small business ideas that you can jump on right away and that won’t require a major investment of money to get started.
And when you’ve got THE idea and are ready to get started, get a website or an online store set up to get your business found and even sell products online.
1. Run an eCommerce store
Got an eye for detail and a passion for curating and collecting things? Set up your eCommerce store and share your vision with the world.
Whether you have your own product or decide to partner with a dropshipper, the world of eCommerce is for everyone wanting to sell stuff online.
With a little bit of clever marketing and search engine optimization, you could be on your way to take on the big guys.
Pros of running an eCommerce store:
- Cost. You won’t have to worry about renting an actual shop. Spend anywhere from $8.99 to $50 per month running your eCommerce business.
- Reach. Sell and ship your goods globally. Your shop will be accessible 24/7, so you can sell even when you’re asleep.
- Flexibility. Customize everything, refresh your storefront as often as you want and do it all in a matter of minutes.
2. Become a personal trainer
Help others reach their fitness goals by becoming a personal trainer.
From one-on-one sessions to meal plans, getting fit is no easy feat. Most people are willing to pay to get support in their fitness journey.
Get certified, build an online presence to boost your brand, and charge anywhere between $50-$100 per hour. And don’t forget to feature the success stories of your clients on your website.
- Gym enthusiasts
- Nutritional experts
- Health devotees
3. Build a freelance writing business
Got a talent for finding the right words? Many companies need help with their marketing material, presentations, reports and many other writing tasks.
Take your writing to the next level and put a price tag on your hours. Set up your own website or use freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr to find your first paying customers.
Freelance writing is a great way to get a feel for entrepreneurship in a part-time capacity, too.
Choose freelance writing if you:
- Enjoy flexible working hours
- Want to set your own rates
- Would like to expand your writing portfolio
4. Train in hairdressing
People need haircuts all of the time and if you know how to transform someone’s locks from untidy to glossy, then you’ve got yourself a business.
Work in a salon, have them come over to your home, or travel to your clients’ homes – the choice is yours. The most important thing is to build a loyal customer base that’d come back for more.
Showcase your work on a website and over social media, and offer discounts for repeat visits, for example, to win over business.
Hairdressing is a great business idea for:
- The fashionista (stay on top of the trends)
- The perfectionist (no split end goes unseen)
- The confidant (let your clients know you are there for them)
5. Become a carpenter
Many people would gladly pay for a custom-built wardrobe that fits their space perfectly.
Not only would they, but they do. And they pay a lot of money for it.
Start with bookshelves and other simpler pieces, collect some great reviews from friends and family.
Before you know it, you’ll have built a strong business with plenty of orders to keep you busy for the foreseeable future.
Here’s when you should become a carpenter:
- You have a talent and interest in working with your hands and raw materials
- You can advocate for sustainability over mass-production
- You know a lot about wood and its properties
- You want to make a considerable amount of money – bespoke furniture is pricey
6. Drive people around with Uber
Becoming a driver for ride-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft is an excellent business idea for petrol heads.
People will always need lifts from A to B, and as long as you have a valid driver’s license and the right insurance in place, you can get started quickly.
Just set up a driver’s profile on a ride-hailing app, pick your hours, and watch out for your first customer.
Pros of becoming an Uber driver:
- You can get started in a side job capacity
- You can set your working hours
- You get to meet new people
7. Run a cafe or bakery
Have you noticed a coffee shop sized rental unit in your neighborhood?
If you’re all about quality coffee and nice cakes, why not seize the opportunity and set fix up a cafe or a bakery.
Bring the community together and let your baked goods take the center stage. Expand your business and offer home delivery service for special occasions. Or even better, organise baking courses either in person or online.
Running a bakery is great for anyone who is:
- Passionate about good coffee, and can tell their Arabica and Robusta apart
- A talented baker with many recipes up her sleeve
- Wanting to create a relaxed communal space
8. Create beautiful web designs
Since everything is online nowadays, there is a growing need for web design experts to help create and redesign websites.
Whatever you do, it’s better with a website – your client base is basically bottomless.
Someone who has both the technical and the design skills to make a website functional and easy to use can play an important role in a company’s digital marketing strategy.
Before you know it, businesses will be fighting over your time.
Pros of web design as a business idea:
- It’s another good business idea to start in a part-time capacity and move to full-time if needed and wanted
- It allows you to build a strong freelance business and potential employ people
- It helps you to develop your skills － the sphere of web design is constantly evolving
9. Tutor others
If you know a subject inside out and can explain it to others in a simple way, tutoring could be the business idea for you.
Making use of online tutoring platforms, you can set up a profile and start conversations with parents and students alike.
Or, print out flyers and distribute them around your local area for in-person tutoring. Think schools, libraries, cafes and such.
With hourly rates starting from $20, running a successful tutoring business will let you share your knowledge and help others succeed in their studies.
Tutoring is for you if:
- You like to help others achieve their best
- You are a clear communicator
- You get along with all kinds of people
10. Run a daycare
Love taking care of and educating kids? Then consider opening a daycare business in your area.
Engaging and high-quality child care is always in demand. You can get started by turning your spare room into a playroom and registering as a childminder.
Survey your neighbors, friends, and family on the main things they look for in daycare providers, and you can build a business to tick all of the right boxes.
Reasons to start a daycare business:
- Easy to start
- Easy to scale as demand grows
- Become an important part of your neighborhood
11. Start a profitable blog
Starting a blog used to be time-consuming and expensive, but it has since become a very affordable way to earn income.
In order to make money off your blog and call it a business, you need to put in the time and effort － it will definitely not make you enough to pay all of your bills in just a few month’s time.
With a good niche, engaging content that shows up in search engines, and well-chosen affiliate campaigns, you can gain traction and make it a profitable business in the long-run.
Pros for choosing blogging as your first business idea:
- You only need a niche, a laptop, and internet connection to get started
- You can work from anywhere, at any time
- Great earning potential for consistent (and good) writers
12. Establish a cleaning service
A tidy home is a happy home, goes the old saying.
People are busy and if you’re a bit of a neat freak, you can help them save time by setting up a cleaning service.
You can aim your services towards businesses or individuals, whichever you prefer. With an online booking service, you can easily manage your availability and keep your diary as neat as possible too.
Why you should set up a cleaning service:
- It’s an easily scalable business idea
- You don’t need extensive training to get started
- It’s a service that is easy to market – nobody likes a dirty home
13. Launch a doggy daycare
You would be surprised at how many people need help with their pets.
Whether it’s because of long working hours or a commute, a dog walking service can be very popular in pet-friendly neighborhoods.
The pets will get enough exercise and the owners will feel less guilty leaving their beloved pups at home all alone.
Or make it one better and open a dog daycare center. Let the dogs socialize with each other and play with them all day long.
The best business idea for:
- Pet lovers
- Pet owners
- Someone with a spare shed to turn into a daycare center for dogs
14. Get busy gardening and landscaping
Does seeing a forgotten and mistreated lawn make you sad? Save the gardens everywhere by setting up a gardening and landscaping business.
Use powerful before-and-after photos on your website to demonstrate how you can save someone’s apple tree or rose bush.
This is a fantastic business idea if you:
- Have a passion for gardening
- Have an eye for detail
- Have an understanding of how different plants work together
15. Become an event planner
If you get a thrill every time you throw a dinner party, you should consider earning money planning events.
From weddings to children’s parties and family gatherings, most people’s calendars are planned around social events.
Create a strong brand and gather testimonials from your clients and your business idea will be a reality in no time.
This is an ideal occupation for:
- The life of the party
- The extrovert
- Someone who loves to obsess over napkins and place cards
16. Go live streaming
Starting a live streaming channel could change your life.
Building a community can be rewarding on many levels, and a great idea for a small business.
Host your own cooking show, take your audience with you on your travels, or showcase your video game skills.
Keep your streaming schedule consistent and watch your subscriber base grow, and alongside it, your earnings will too.
This is a great business idea for:
- The true hobbyist
- The jet-setter
- The gamer
17. Become a virtual assistant
Got a talent for reaching inbox zero and being on top of your calendar?
Maybe you should offer your services up as a virtual assistant (a VA for short) and help businesses with administrative tasks.
This could include database management or scheduling appointments, but some skilled VAs can help with sales or marketing activities, too.
Support businesses worldwide from the comfort of your sofa if you:
- Have great organizational skills
- Are a good communicator
- Get enjoyment out of tidy files and folders
18. Open a photography business
Photography might be just a hobby now, but you can always make it into a professional business.
Decide on your specialty: will you focus on portraits, events, or nature photography? There are many photography niches you could explore.
A good idea to test the waters is to sell your snaps to stock photo portals like Adobe Stock or Getty Images.
Alternatively, set up your own website and an Instagram account and start building your brand. Photography is also great to do as a side hustle, not just a main business.
Best suited for:
- The ones with an eye for photography
- The creative types
- The avid travelers
- Those looking to capture important life moments
19. Host crafting classes
Nothing beats the feeling of creating something from scratch.
Chances are that if you’ve been wowing family and friends with hand-made soaps or knitwear, people would pay to learn from you.
You can earn anywhere between $50-$100 per participant, depending on the length and difficulty of your craft lessons.
Do this to get started:
- Create a website
- Distribute posters and flyers around town
- Ask around to rent a venue for your classes (think local coffee shops and community halls)
20. Become an accountant
Bookkeeping and all things related to accounting can seem like an alien language to many.
If you are a trained and licensed accountant, you probably have a network in the field already and could set up your own business relatively easily.
Take this business idea to the next level:
- Decide on your specialty (small businesses, freelancers, or big corporations)
- Ask your old clients for referrals
- Set up a website
21. Set up an interior design shop
Do you pay attention to all of the latest home decoration trends and watch one too many interior design shows?
Why not turn your passion into a business idea. If you can visualize how different living spaces work the best, how you can save space and make rooms highly functional, you can run a successful interior design business.
Get started by asking friends and family if they need help doing up their children’s bedrooms or bathrooms.
Once you have a few strong before-and-after shots in your portfolio, start building your brand online.
Become the next design guru if you:
- Can put your vision of a beautiful bedroom into words (and a mood board)
- Love a stay-cation (no place like home, right?)
- Believe that everyone has the right to a comfortable home
22. Run a car mechanic business
The truth is that there will be a need for mechanics as long as people drive cars.
For those who spend hours and hours tinkering with their cars as a pastime (and like doing it), this could be a very lucrative business idea.
You need some physical space to get started. Chances are that if you live in the suburbs, you can start off by doing smaller jobs and visiting your clients in person.
Once the word spreads and orders start coming in, you can look at investing in a small garage.
This is a perfect opportunity for:
- Anyone interested in mechanics
- Project lovers
23. Run a courier service and deliver parcels
Although big companies like FedEx and DHL dominate the courier industry, you could become the local delivery hero.
Think about what kinds of transportation you have at your disposal.
If you have a car, you could deliver big orders, but spend more time looking for a parking spot. With a bike, on the other hand, you’ll be able to do smaller deliveries much faster, like documents or food orders.
You also need to think about what you want to specialize in delivering. Will you become their lunch go-to? Or work together with small businesses and provide nimble same-day delivery?
Delivery is a fantastic business idea for:
- Action-driven people
- Those who want to provide a personalized service
- People who love variety (no day is the same)
24. Open up a nail salon
Whether you’re a glitter queen, a fan of acrylics, or sport a classic French manicure, why not share the love?
If you have the skills and enthusiasm, a nail salon business could brighten up your neighborhood.
Get the pricing and treatments right and watch your diary almost book itself. Spread the word with a website, an integrated online booking system and a photo gallery of your best work.
Start small – get clients to come to your house or go to theirs. As your business grows, you will be able to rent a space.
This is an ideal business for:
- Beauty gurus
- Nail art fans
- Anyone with a steady hand
25. Run a tailoring service
There’s no feeling worse than realizing that a favorite shirt or dress doesn’t fit the way it once did.
Having the skills to tailor and even alter clothes can turn into a profitable business.
You’d be surprised how many zippers or buttons malfunction, or how many people can’t shorten their jeans themselves.
Start your tailoring business from home easily:
- Set up a website with a clear price list and contact information
- Run a social media campaign or two for awareness (think “half price on women’s shirt alterations”)
- Ask for reviews and referrals, and post them online
26. Start a catering service
Can you whisk up a showstopper birthday cake? Or does your stuffed turkey both look and taste the part?
You can start small with your catering business. Ask around for anyone who’d need an extra pair of hands with an upcoming family gathering or a birthday party.
Make sure to have some business cards at hand with your contact details and website address, and hand them out to the guests.
Want to start your own catering business? It’s perfect for:
- The dedicated home cook
- The keen home baker
- The culinary adventurer
27. Shop for other people
Everyone is busy, and sometimes finding the time to buy new clothes, or, in some cases, basic grocery shopping, can be challenging.
This is where a personal shopper steps in. Running errands for your clients, either out and about town or online, can easily start out as a side business.
Helping your clients juggle work, family and leisure time can be rewarding, so make sure to document your successes online on your website.
A great personal shopper:
- Has good communication skills
- Is a people person
- Is patient and reliable
28. Jam it out – become a DJ
If your friends love the playlists you put together and your Spotify or Soundcloud account has a following online, you might have what it takes to make money as a DJ.
Start by asking around in local restaurants, pubs and nightclubs to find out who calls the shots on music. Have a couple of different mixes at hand to demonstrate your skills.
Being active online and building a strong brand through social media helps to share your music with a bigger audience.
It’s a perfect business idea for you if:
- You have an ear for music
- You are interested in electronic music industry
- You want to share a good time with others
29. Start a window cleaning business
You’re never going to run out of dirty windows that need cleaning for as long as the world exists.
Most people living in a two-story building or higher are in a definite need of window cleaning services. Getting started is fast too, since you don’t need to invest a huge amount of money in the beginning.
If you live in a city, you could also consider taking on the big office blocks. Imagine the satisfaction in knowing that your work made the whole glass building shine.
Conquer the world of windows if you:
- Are a bit of a perfectionist
- Like to stay fit
- Aren’t scared of heights
- Enjoy fresh air and high views
30. Become a landlord or a landlady
Do you have a spare space that you could rent out? Maybe an old country cottage, or a small flat, or maybe just a spare room?
Consider renting your property out or list your spare room on Airbnb and earn extra income easily. As long as you have the correct insurance in place and pick the right type of tennant, you can really make your property work for its upkeep.
Pros of renting out your space:
- Passive monthly income
- Cash to maintain your property
- You have full control of the renting process
31. Start affiliate marketing
Regarded as one of the easiest ways to make money online, affiliate marketing is a very popular way of monetizing the traffic of your website, blog, or email campaigns.
Affiliate marketing is based on referrals, meaning that you can promote someone else’s product or service on your website. Anytime a visitor clicks on the referral link and ends up buying the product or service in question, you get a commission.
It’s a simple concept, but with powerful implications. Pick a great campaign that fits your niche and start straightaway.
Affiliate marketing is the business idea for you, if:
- You have, or want to have, your own website or blog
- You have a lot of traffic
- Or if you have a great niche
32. Refurbish and resell electronics
Technology moves extremely fast and devices become obsolete every few years – it’s exhausting and expensive to keep up.
Fixing up and refitting older electronics with newer parts and software is a good idea for a side business for anyone who loves tech.
Pick up an older smartphone or a laptop, upgrade the hardware, install updated software and sell it on for a profit. With an eCommerce website, you can manage and display your stock easily, too.
This business idea is great for:
- The tech savvy
- Those curious to see what’s inside a computer
- Anyone stockpiling a lot of old tech around the house
33. Open a car wash business
Don’t trust the drive through car washes and their scratchy bristles, do you?
Take matters into your own hands (literally), show off your top-notch waxing skills and set up a car wash service instead.
Create a website with your price list and contact details, and you could get going with just a few buckets, sponges, and good quality soap and wax.
Keep the costs down and offer mobile services travelling to your clients’ driveways while you save up for your own spot.
This is THE business idea for you, if you:
- Are obsessed with cars
- Can’t find a decent car washing facility in your area
- Like fresh air and bit of exercise
34. Do modeling
For those gifted in the looks department, setting up a modeling business could jump-start your career as a model.
You could get going by creating your brand on social media. A website that acts as your portfolio and a strong social media presence are both powerful tools in attracting clients and modeling agencies.
Before you know it, you might be taking the runways by a storm.
Get started in a few easy steps:
- Learn the basics of photography
- Decide if you will edit your photos and if so, how much
- Think about what types of photos you want to showcase online (portraits, outfit photos, and so on)
35. Run a movie extra business
Most people have wondered what it’s like to be on a movie set.
If you live in an area known for being the backdrop to many films, you can become an extra and appear in crowd scenes. Even better, set up your own business, recruit people, and supply extras directly to movie companies.
Subscribe to newsletters announcing casting calls in your area and attend auditions. Network, network, network.
You can expect between $150-$200 from a day’s work on the set. However, the networking opportunities available are worth much more for those who inspire to become the next big names in the film industry.
Movie extras is a great business opportunity if you:
- Have a passion for cinema
- Harbor dreams of becoming an actor or part of a film crew
- Are interested in behind the scenes of the film industry
36. Start a pet grooming business
Combine your love for dogs, and your trimmer and clipper skills.
Another great business idea for pet lovers, setting up a pet grooming service can start out small and be scaled up as you grow. You need a good animal grooming kit and access to a wet room (think a bathroom or a utility room).
Doing home grooming appointments makes pet grooming easy to start, and once your business is up and running, you can consider investing in a van or a studio.
It’s ideal if you:
- Are a pet person
- Don’t mind getting your hands dirty (both literally and figuratively)
- Are passionate about animals’ welfare
37. Become a consultant
Put your business skills and experience into use and share your knowledge with those who might be struggling.
As a consultant, you will be expected to provide valuable insights and solutions to various problems as an outsider.
You want to be able to help your clients set up processes that make a real difference to their businesses on a daily basis.
Having a clear website detailing your services and celebrating your successes will help on your journey. To truly stand out, you need to focus on strong search engine optimization to beat the competition.
It’s a perfect business idea for:
- Someone with a long career in a particular industry
- Someone with great problem solving skills
- Someone keen to help
38. Open a gift shop
Do you take great pride and pleasure in having the skills to pick the perfect presents for your loved ones?
Then you should set up a gift shop business.
You could either curate your favourite gifts in your own eCommerce store or run a gift hamper service. Combine the best products for a football fanatic, an expecting mother, or a garden lover, and make people smile.
Make sure you think of a good online marketing strategy and before you know it, your business will be taking off.
Here are some pros of an online gift shop business:
- Reach a wider audience
- Offer a big selection of products
- Less physical costs
39. Teach and sell pottery
Learning how to make a mug out of a lump of clay is empowering.
Handmade ceramics have been around since the beginning of days, but make a great addition to anyone’s home to this day. And if you know how to make top-class pottery, you have yourself a business idea.
With an online eCommerce website, you can create listings of your finished products and sell them anywhere in the world. You can run a behind-the-scenes weekly or monthly newsletter to engage with your customers.
Who knows, once you have a big enough audience you might be able to do pre-orders on more exclusive pieces, too.
It’s a great business idea for:
- The crafty folks
- The ceramic lovers
- Those wanting to raise awareness on their craft
40. Rent venues
Do you have an empty garage or a lodge sitting unused?
If you’re not keen on renting them out on a long-term basis, you could lease them out on a case-by-case basis instead.
Rather than having someone make use of your garage every day, rent it out for a few hours in the evenings for band practice or something else.
And if you have a property located in the countryside, you could brand it as a prime wedding or party venue. Set an hourly rate and create extra services, like cleaning or furniture rental for your guests.
This is the business idea of choice, if you:
- Own or have access to interesting venues
- Find a fitting niche for your venue
- Want to start smaller and grow big
41. Lead cooking classes
Knowing how to make a mouthwatering meal is a life skill – no arguing about it.
If you’re quite the home chef, share your knowledge and set up cooking classes. You can organise your classes around themes, like certain countries (Italy, USA, Spain, or Japan) or types of dishes (pasta, salad, fish, or rice).
The easiest way to get started is to host online classes, since you won’t have to worry about hiring a big enough kitchen for you and your students.
You could also partner up with local professional schools and strike a deal to use the home economics classrooms in the evenings.
Decide on your pricing (do you sell your classes as a course, or can someone simply join one class), set up your website and social media, and you’re off to a great start.
This is a perfect business idea for you, if:
- You have a talent for explaining what you’re doing in simple terms
- You love cooking
- You want to have a career in the food industry
42. Rock it as a motivational speaker
Do your friends turn to you in their time of need? Are you the one considered to lift people up and give out good advice?
You should consider running your own business as a motivational speaker. Many companies and organizations look for keynote speakers for various events, but you can also run webinars online.
Being able to move people with real life examples of overcoming difficulties and conquering your fears are some of the traits of a successful motivational speaker.
Ideally you want to include success stories of people who were able to overcome a fear or try something new on your website, and in your marketing, to get your business off the ground.
Build a business as a motivational speaker if:
- You are a storyteller
- You like being in the spotlight
- You want to unlock others’ potential
43. Become a career coach
What you wanted to do when you were 16 might not be what you still want to do when you’re 35.
And if you have good people skills and enjoy uncovering someone’s true potential, you could make a name for yourself as a career coach.
You need to have a wide knowledge of different industries and the skills they require, and where people could go to develop those skills.
The best idea is to decide on the different types of coaching packages you can offer your clients. Maybe one person only needs a shorter consultation, but another will need more hand-holding and long-term support.
You will build relationships with your clients and might even end up with new lifelong friends.
Career coaching a top business idea for those who:
- Have a passion for helping others
- Enjoy analysing people and their behaviors
- Have an interest in different career paths
44. Operate a removing service
People move around constantly. Career moves, family moves and many other things make people abandon their old home and get a new one. So, removing services are always in demand.
To get started with your removal business, you only need yourself and a van. If you’re lucky, you can even borrow one from family and friends until your business is up and running.
With your own business website, you can manage your availability, highlight success stories from your previous clients, and set up contact forms and price lists, all in one place.
Pair it with some strong social media branding, and you’re on your way to success.
Here are the pros of setting up a removal service:
- You get to travel on the job
- No need for a gym membership
- Be part of your clients’ exciting life events
45. Set up some gardening lessons
You’d be surprised at how many people find gardening intimidating, or have no idea how to grow edible plants.
Put your green thumb to use and share your knowledge and tips on how to succeed with gardening. Help others avoid making the same mistakes you’ve already made and learned from.
This business idea is perfect for those proud of their big vegetable garden, as well as for the urban balcony gardener.
You can organise both in-person and online lessons. Think about how you will group your different lessons together (how to grow berries, best ways to grow cabbage, and so on).
For both in-person and online lessons, having a website where participants can register and pay for your courses saves everyone time and effort.
This is a great business idea for:
- Those with a green thumb
- Those who appreciate locally produced food
- Those keen to help others succeed in growing herbs on the windowsill
46. Become a massage therapist
Got a sore back and shoulders after a long day at your desk? You’re one of many who could benefit from seeing a massage therapist regularly.
And if you have qualifications in massage therapy, you could be sitting on a highly lucrative business idea without even realizing it.
Massage therapists charge anywhere from $50-$100 per hour, and you need only a massage table and some oils on top of your skills to start.
You can make use of a spare room to treat your clients, or visit them in person with a foldable massage table.
There are easy ways to set up and grow your massage business:
- Build a website to have your services and availability in one place
- Ask your clients for testimonials
- Offer special offers to new clients
47. Lead group fitness classes
If you’re in your element in front of a fitness studio, cheering everyone on, you could be good as a group fitness instructor.
Most group fitness instructors work at multiple gyms and earn $20-30 per class, on average.
While you need formal training to launch your fitness career, if you build a strong brand, you will soon have a loyal client base.
You can grow your business by offering personal training opportunities or even setting up your own group fitness gym.
This is the best business idea for:
- Sport and fitness enthusiasts
- Those wanting to inspire others
- People who want to stay fit while on the job
48. Become a graphic designer
Graphic designers are constantly in demand.
From website and app design, to marketing materials and physical leaflets, there are plenty of areas you can specialize in.
And since you can be your own boss when you run your own business, you can choose to focus on your strengths.
You can price your work in many ways, depending on the project and client.
In order to keep things simple, set up your website as the focal point of your brand and your portfolio, and start promoting your services.
Use a website to kick-start your graphic design business:
- Showcase your previous work just the way you want to
- Include all the relevant contact information easily accessible
- Keep your website optimized for search engines and be found
49. Unleash your creativity as a make-up artist
Beauty comes in all forms, shapes and sizes, and if you love the transformative power of make-up, you have yourself a business idea.
Most makeup artists have basic vocational training, but even if you are self-taught and can create a bridal look to rival anyone else’s, you have a good chance of making it as a make-up artist.
Start by building a social media presence, and display different make-up looks that you have created in the past.
Offer to help friends and family with their make-up for events and parties, and ask them to share their look with the world – social media is perfect for this.
This is a fantastic business idea for:
- Beauty bloggers
- Creative souls
50. Start dropshipping
In the world of eCommerce, dropshipping has gained popularity fast.
And there is little wonder, since it’s eliminated the issues of stock management and the high start-up cost of running your own eCommerce business.
Sounds nice and dandy, but what is dropshipping exactly?
As a dropshipper, you are the bridge between the customer and the supplier. When a customer makes an order, you relay it to the supplier and they ship the product over to the customer.
Although dropshipping is a fast and low-cost business idea, you need to be prepared to not only curate your shop. You might also have to deal with customer complaints or shipping delays, all while being the face of your business in the first place.
So pick your niche and start building your first product collection.
It’s a great business idea for those:
- Looking for low start-up costs
- Who love dealing directly with customers
- Unafraid to rely on a third-party product supplier
51. Print on-demand t-shirts
Functioning similar to dropshipping, print-on-demand clothing businesses are another easy and quick way to start an online business.
You supply the designs for the clothes, partner up with a print-on-demand company and launch your t-shirt empire.
Anytime someone makes an order for a product, you notify the print-on-demand company, which in turn prepares and ships the product to the customer.
With print-on-demand, you usually only pay for the cost of the product and the shipping. It’s up to you how you create the designs of your products.
You could hire a graphic designer to create different patterns for you or, if you’re artsy, you could do it yourself.
One can never have too many t-shirts, right?
It’s a great business if you:
- Want to get started right away
- Have an eye for good design
- Don’t want to incur large start-up costs
52. Get self-publishing
Could you be the next New York Times bestselling author?
If you have an idea for a novel or have been working on one already, you could make money by becoming a self-publishing author. It’s easier than you think.
With many self-publishing platforms across the web (Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing being a big one), you’re in charge.
We admit that writing a book might take you some time, but the process of getting it published isn’t as complicated as you think.
Rather than sending your manuscript to publishing houses and waiting to hear the good or bad news, you could hire your own editor.
While your text is being edited and revised, you can either design or hire someone else to create the cover of your book.
And once you have your cover and your text ready and formatted correctly, it’s publishing time.
A self-publishing business is great for people:
- Who write extremely well
- Have an interesting and dramatic story they can tell
- Who can teach or motivate others by way of a book
53. Sell digital products and courses
Many people choose to buy the digital versions of products and services over physical ones.
Whether it’s because of their commitment to a zero-waste lifestyle or because of a well set-up iCloud sync, it’s the right time to be selling all things digital.
For courses, you could set up a written or a visual guide on almost any topic in the universe.
If you’re quite the dressmaker, why not set up a digital course on the basics of sewing?
What about a series of different yoga courses? Auto mechanics? You choose.
Combine video materials and a course book, and you’re on the right track.
As for digital products, you could create various kinds of templates (think CVs or invoices), unique music samples, and licence your photos for stock use.
This is a great business for those who:
- Have a well-developed skill or skills in something
- Can instruct others in a step-by-step way
- Want to share their passion with the world
54. Sell prints and posters
Fun fact: you can also print posters, postcards, and other types of products on demand, similarly to clothing items.
You can either design them yourself, buy a licence to use someone else’s designs, or hire a designer to work with you.
You will then manage an online shopfront and showcase the designs you have to offer.
When a customer makes a purchase, the order is sent to the on-demand printers who print and prepare the order. And you make an easy dollar.
Selling prints and posters is great if you:
- Want to start a business on the side
- Want little to no initial investment, or want to minimize business risks
- Are great with creating websites and coming up with marketing ideas
55. Start an online fashion boutique
Dreaming of sporting the runway look, but unable to find all your favourite pieces on the high street?
Take matters into your own hands and set up your own online fashion boutique.
Sell anything and everything from shirts and dresses, to accessories and swimwear in your own eCommerce store.
Use the dropshipping model and you won’t even have to worry about inventory management.
Simply pick your favourite pieces, create collections and have a good social media marketing strategy in place － you want to share the love, don’t you?
An online fashion boutique is for you, if you:
- Live and breathe fashion
- Like to curate collections
- Don’t mind dealing with suppliers and ironing out deals
56. Launch a handmade product line
A handmade gift, be it a body scrub or a comfy blanket, really shows that you care.
The time and effort that goes into anything handmade makes each item individual and unique.
And since a considerable amount of talent is required in any given craft, people are willing to pay much more for handmade items than those sitting around on shelves in department stores.
You can frequent farmers markets and craft fairs locally, and talk to privately run gift shops to take in some of your stock.
Or, you can set up your eCommerce store online and get to work, since selling your products online makes it easier to reach a wider audience. You’re open 24/7!
A handmade product business is great because:
- It’s easy and quick to launch online
- It’s already your passion – monetize it
- You want to make gift giving more special
57. Become a social media influencer
If you have a big following on any social media platform, chances are that you could monetize your audience and earn almost passive income.
How, I hear you ask.
You could think of your social media account as a small community. Your posts reach a certain number of people.
And the more you know about those people, what they like, dislike and are interested in, the more valuable your mini community is to potential advertisers.
While it’s a fine line to walk, when done right, social media influencing can be a great avenue for extra cash without angering your followers.
Social media marketing is where the money is. Top accounts can charge a whooping $100,000 for a single post.
This is an ideal business for those:
- With a passion and flair for social media
- Who have a considerable organic following
- Who want to make money on the side (that’s not to say it couldn’t be a full-time job)
What makes a successful business?
As you can see, you can turn virtually anything into a money-making business.
But you want to make sure that your business doesn’t end up failing, like so many other start-ups.
All that hard work for nothing would be heartbreaking, to say the least.
In order to make a name for yourself and your business, you need to know what those entrepreneurs who make it to the top have in common.
Here are some of the key traits that successful businesses share:
- The business is profitable. Your business needs to cover the costs and preferably have some leftover cash at the end of the month. Running a business that is constantly costing you more than what it brings in is, unfortunately, doomed to fail.
- Clients are at the heart of what you do. The best businesses aim to solve a problem that their clients have. You could have the best product in the world, but if it doesn’t help anyone, it’s useless.
- You’re willing to put in the work. You shouldn’t set up your own business if you’re not willing to work the hours. Especially in the beginning, there will be a lot to do － you’ll thank yourself later.
How to start your business
You’ve got your mind set on taking your career into your own hands? There’s never a bad time to become a small business owner.
Make sure you have the basics covered and you’ll set yourself up for success.
1. Have a business idea
The same way you’d prepare for everything else in life, you should take some time to think about your business idea. Listing your hobbies and interests is a great way to get started.
A good business idea ticks these boxes:
- Interest. Having a deep interest or a passion for your idea will help to stay motivated while you’re getting started, and later too.
- Demand. No matter how great your pet grooming business is, it won’t work if you live in an area where nobody has a pet. Basic rules of supply and demand are at work everywhere.
- Scalability. You want to be able to pick a business idea that can be grown to something big in the future.
2. Get started as a side hustle or hobby
Ideally, you should try a few of your best business ideas out on a smaller scale.
If you want to make a living running your own hair salon, you could start by offering to do your friends’ hairdos for special occasions.
Similarly, if you want to become a full-time freelancer in a creative field, start by doing small projects in your free time.
3. Have a business plan
Well planned is half done, they say.
And for a good reason－running a business means having an idea of where you’re going in the future.
There are many business plan templates available online that you can choose from.
In principle, you want to consider the following:
- What your business does – for example, a car washing service
- How your business does it – will you travel to the customer’s home to wash their car or will they come to you
- Who will be the main target for your business – car owners in general, or families with multiple cars
- How you will be profitable and cover your costs – how many cars do you need to wash every week, every month, and so on
- Who are you competing against – which are the top 5 car washing services nearby
4. LLC or sole proprietorship?
Great, so you have a solid business idea and a plan how you want to go forward.
Now, you need to decide on the legal makeup of your business.
There are a few main differences between a limited liability company (an LLC) and a sole proprietorship:
- Cost. An LLC usually costs more to set up.
- Liability. For a sole proprietor, there is no legal distinction between personal wealth (like the house you own, or personal savings) and business assets (the money you have saved up towards a new laptop for your blogging business).
- Taxes. An LLC has usually many tax obligations when compared to a sole proprietor.
Depending on where you live in the world, the registration process might differ, so make sure you do some reading.
5. Basic day-to-day setup
Now that you’re officially a small business owner, you can focus on the more fun things:
- Set up a business bank account. You want to get paid, right?
- Get all necessary software and hardware. Have the right kit from the very start.
- What about a work space? Can you work from home, or do you need space for meetings or manufacturing?
Checklist for your ultimate business idea
You’re ready to say goodbye to your day job, and welcome the endless possibilities that come with embarking on the entrepreneurial journey.
It certainly takes more than just courage to set up your own business.
It all boils down to deciding on a business idea that works best for you. And to figure that out, you can start off by listing all your interests and skills. Choose your favorite, and consider how much each would cost to get off the ground.
It’s also good to keep in mind that you only have so many hours in the day. How much time can you commit to your business today, next month, and in a year’s time?
Are you thinking of expanding your business in the future? Is it possible with your chosen business idea?
And last, but not least, are you solving a problem with your product or service? Who needs your help? And how will you reach them?
If your idea can answer all these questions, you’re ready to take on the world.