27 Best Business Ideas For Women 2024


July 13, 2023

27 Best Business Ideas For Women 2024

Did you know that 42% of small businesses are started by women? But wait—it gets better! Female business owners break the glass ceiling by earning more revenue and growing businesses faster than men. That’s why we created a list of the best business ideas for women.

These business ideas cover the full span of the U.S. economy, showing that the ladies can do anything men can do—and often, they do it better! 

3 Best Business Ideas For Women

women in business attire with piles of cash

#1. Real estate

Average Annual Revenue: $298,870
Average Profit Margins: 44.6%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.3%
Best for: strong saleswomen and negotiators, female entrepreneurs who want a passive income


If you want to pick up on strategies and methods to get into the real estate business, watch how Thach Real Estate Group became a successful business through the learnings and experience of the founder, Thach Nguyen.

Two of the largest real estate companies in the U.S., Howard Hanna and Perry Homes, are owned by women. If you have financial resources, investing in real estate is among the best business ideas for women who want to grow their company to 7 figures and beyond.

Multi-unit residential properties are among the most reliable recession-proof investments available. That’s where Emma Powell built her company, which today manages more than 300 units and earns revenue of over $25,000 a month. Listen to her podcast interview below to hear how she got started in investing: 

#2. Restaurants

Average Annual Revenue: $1,177,860
Average Profit Margins: 4%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time To Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.2%
Best for: foodies and cooks, people with strong customer service and time management skills, effective leaders, managers, and motivators


Opening a restaurant is a risk, but it’s one that can pay off big time. The female-owned Panda Express chain of restaurants had revenue over
$4.5 billion in 2022, for example. The industry as a whole was projected to reach $997 billion in 2023, so there’s plenty of revenue to go around in this industry. 

For those who don’t have the financial resources to open a brick-and-mortar business, food trucks are great business ideas for women. Jen Gustin started Boss Mama’s Kitchen to break free from her corporate job and become her own boss. Two years later, she was named Food Truck of the Year by South Sound Magazine. Hear how she grew her business in this video:

#3. Human resources

Average Annual Revenue: $216,855
Average Profit Margins: 10.2%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.4%
Best for: system-driven and organized entrepreneurs who are strong leaders and communicators


When Janice Bryant Howroyd started her human resource management company, she only had $1,500 to her name. Now, it’s a
$2.5 billion firm with more than 17,000 clients around the world. 

What makes HR one of the top business ideas for women is that it’s always in demand. Every company needs employees to function, and managing that team is a challenge for many entrepreneurs. If you excel at communication, leadership, and organization, you can make a good living helping them solve that challenge. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell started her HR firm, Workology, in 2005, and has gained national recognition, being honored by Forbes as one of the top recruitment resources. Hear her story and advice in this podcast:

3 Manufacturing Business for Ladies Ideas

#1. Build custom sheds

woman wearing red tshirt showing portable shed at her back

Average Annual Revenue: $696,950
Average Profit Margins: 3.4%
Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: -1.3%
Best for: designers, makers, and builders, people with strong visualization, problem-solving, and sales skills


If you’re looking for fun business ideas and love building things, a small business making custom sheds can be a great way to earn money. While you will need some construction knowledge and permits, the licensing requirements are less stringent than with full home construction, giving it a lower barrier to entry. 

Susan Frair drew on her expertise in sales when she started Shed Gal, and in a few short years, grew to the number one shed dealer in the state of Washington. You can learn more about her business model and how she finds business opportunities in this video:

#2. Make your own beauty products

Average Annual Revenue: $1,489,574.8
Average Profit Margins: 5.7%
Startup Costs: $500-$250K
Time To Revenue: 3+ months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
Best for: make-up artists, beauty influencers, cosmetic chemists, hair and skin care experts


The manufacturing segment of the beauty industry is massive, valued at
$49.7 billion in 2022. There are still plenty of underserved niches in this market, too, and if you have ideas for products to fill them, it can be a very lucrative business idea. 

Charmaine Nicole started her small business, Black Hair and Skincare, based on her own struggles to find beauty products designed for people with alopecia. She’s grown it not just into a successful business, but also a community for people of color around the world. Learn how she started and grew her business in this podcast interview:

#3. Start your own shoe or clothing line

Average Annual Revenue: $114,700
Average Profit Margins: 10.3%
Startup Costs: $500-$250K
Time To Revenue: 3+ months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 2.0%
Best for: fashionistas tuned into fashion trends, designers, and artists with strong sales and marketing skills


The fast pace of change in the fashion industry is both a challenge and an opportunity for female entrepreneurs. On the negative side, it can make sustaining your own business a challenge. That said, the fashion world is always looking for what’s next, and that makes a clothing or shoe line good business ideas for women able to anticipate these trends. 

Afshan Abbas was inspired to start a new business, Fuchsia Shoes, after buying a unique pair of artisan shoes in Pakistan. That proved to be a lucrative business venture, especially once she partnered with online influencers. Hear her full story in this video:

3 Online Business Ideas for Women

#1. Start an online store

Average Annual Revenue: $60K-$120K
Average Profit Margins: 5-15%
Startup Costs: $100-$10K
Time To Revenue: 30-90 days
Annual Market Growth Rate: -9.3%
Best for: artists and makers, graphic designers, women entrepreneurs with strong sales and marketing skills


Selling products through an online store is one of the easiest and most affordable online business ideas to start. It can be a very profitable business idea, too, especially if you have digital marketing skills or a large social media presence. 

As far as what you can sell, the options are just about endless. Jewelry, custom apparel, and home decor are popular niches, especially for those who enjoy productive crafts like knitting and woodworking. 

Jazmin Richards, for example, started making clean-burning candles for her own use. She turned that into an online store, Blk Sunflower, and made $300,000 in her first 18 months. Hear how she grew her business in this video:

If you’d rather not deal with inventory, a print-on-demand store can make an excellent small business for women. Kerry Egeler from The Shirt School shared his advice on starting a custom apparel business online in this podcast: 

#2. Make and sell online courses

Average Annual Revenue: $234,540
Average Profit Margins: 5.8%
Startup Costs: $100-$1K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.1%
Best for: people with in-demand or niche skills and knowledge, teachers and educators


One advantage to online courses is that they’re a mostly-passive source of income once you make and release them. Because of this, an online course is one of the best online business ideas for women who are parents, students, or otherwise can’t always devote full-time hours to a business. 

The biggest challenge with an online course is that you have to put in a lot of time to make it before you can start earning revenue. People who already create educational content have an advantage here since they can repurpose blog posts, lesson plans, or other materials into their courses. 

For more advice on how to make money online selling courses, check out this podcast interview with Jacques Hopkins. He turned his hobby playing piano into a very lucrative business idea:

#3. Social media management

Average Annual Revenue: $817K
Average Profit Margins: 6.9%
Startup Costs: $100-$10K
Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 19.4%
Best for: writers, marketing and digital media experts, women entrepreneurs with advertising and PR expertise


Social media marketing has become the go-to way for both online and brick-and-mortar business owners to connect with customers. Many small business owners don’t have the time or skills to effectively use social media for their small businesses, though, or the budget to hire an in-house social media manager. 

This makes opening your own digital marketing agency a good business idea for a business woman who has social media management skills and experience. With a 2022 market size of over $193 billion and an annual growth rate of 19.4%, there is ample profit to go around in this industry. 

The biggest challenge of opening your own business as a social media manager is often finding clients and building their trust. Jason of Socialistics shared how he started and grew his marketing agency in the video below:

3 Best Small Business Ideas from Home for Ladies

#1. Photography business

Average Annual Revenue: $50K
Average Profit Margins: 7.3%
Startup Costs: $1K-$10K
Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.3%
Best for: photographers and visual artists with strong customer service, communication, and organization skills


Have you ever wanted to turn a hobby into a lucrative business? Check out how Korbin and Whitney started out, turning their passion into a business they find enjoyment in doing.

There are a variety of ways to start your own photography business from home. You could convert a spare room into an in-home portrait studio, provide mobile photography services for events, or work with other small business owners to help them make marketing materials and promote your brand. 

If you’d rather set your own schedule, a photography business can also make money online by selling prints or print-on-demand products in an online store, taking on freelance clients, or selling stock images to websites like Shutterstock or Getty Images. 

The variety of potential revenue streams is one reason it’s among the best business ideas for women at home who have an artistic eye and photography skills. As you gain skills and grow your brand, you can even make money sharing those skills through a coaching business or online course. That’s how Katelyn James Photography makes a mostly-passive 7-figure revenue with her photography business. Hear how she did it in this podcast interview:

#2. In-home childcare business

Average Annual Revenue: $143,110
Average Profit Margins: 0.9%
Startup Costs: $0-$1K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 51.7%
Best for: stay-at-home moms, teachers, and babysitters who are detail-oriented, patient, and have strong interpersonal skills


Offering childcare services is an excellent way for moms and caregivers to become small business owners. As more companies call their workers back to the office, babysitting and childcare services are increasingly in demand, especially in urban areas with a high number of potential customers.  

The advantage of an in-home daycare, as opposed to a nanny or babysitting service, is that you can watch multiple kids at once, expanding your potential revenue. 

#3. Wedding planning business 

Average Annual Revenue: $93,796
Average Profit Margins: 13.8%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.9%
Best for: strong networkers with organization, planning, and customer service skills


If you excel at organizing parties, meetings, and other gatherings, event planning is a great business idea to pursue. Wedding planning specifically is one of the most profitable business ideas in the event planning niche, with a market value of
around $900 million in the U.S. in 2022.

While people of any gender can work in event planning, the majority of wedding planners are female entrepreneurs. Not only is this an easy small business idea to start from home, it also has low startup costs and ongoing expenses, with typical profit margins of up to 90%.

These low costs are one reason it’s among the top home business ideas for women who are skilled planners and communicators. Since most weddings take place on the weekend, it’s also among the best side business ideas for ladies looking to make extra money to supplement a full-time job.

3 Self-Employed Ideas for Females

#1. Freelance writing business

Average Annual Revenue: $712K per employee
Average Profit Margins: 14.6%
Startup Costs: $100-$200
Time To Revenue: 1 month to 3 years
Annual Market Growth Rate: -1.5%
Best for: language experts, bloggers, writers with search engine optimization and marketing skills


Freelance writers can make money in a lot of ways. The type of content you write can range from a blog post or news article to an entire book. The flexibility freelance writers enjoy makes it a great side business idea, as well as a potential full-time job. If you’re skilled with grammar and detail-oriented, you can expand your services with a freelance editing business.

It also doesn’t cost anything to become a freelance writer, and you can start your business online from home. This puts it among the most popular small business ideas for girl students, as well as an affordable online business for women with a strong command of the English language.

#2. Graphic design business

woman working on a desktop

Average Annual Revenue: $123,240
Average Profit Margins: 13.5%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time To Revenue: 3+ months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 2%
Best for: visual artists, creative entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs with web design, user interface, or similar tech skills


For visual artists, doing freelance graphic design work is a great way to make extra money, and is among the best home business ideas for ladies with artistic skills. People and businesses who need logos, website graphics, and other images often hire freelancers on platforms like
Fiverr and Upwork. Create an account, and you can start making money right away.

You don’t need to take on clients to start your own business in graphic design, either. Another option is to sell products featuring your designs. That’s what Vlad Kuksenko did when he started his 7-figure Etsy shop TagPup (see his story in the video below):

#3. Data entry

Average Annual Revenue: $35K-$50K
Average Profit Margins: 10.5%
Startup Costs: $100-$200
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.9%
Best for: detail-oriented and organized entrepreneurs, fast typers, coders, and automation experts


You don’t need much to offer data entry services—just some basic computer equipment, an eye for detail, and decent typing skills. The low barrier for entry and flexibility of the work are ideal for women seeking home-based small businesses they can easily fit into their life.

12 Unique Business Ideas for Ladies

#1. Interior design

Average Annual Revenue: $168,360
Average Profit Margins: 10.6%
Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
Best for: creative entrepreneurs with strong communication, collaboration, and organization skills


Interior design is among the best small business ideas for women who don’t just have an artistic eye but are also able to bring other people’s creative vision to life. Making connections with other local small businesses is often the best way to grow a business in this niche, so it’s a great small business idea for creative women who excel at networking.

#2. Virtual bookkeeping business

woman working on a desktop at the office

Average Annual Revenue: $206,910
Average Profit Margins: 13.9%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.6%
Best for: accountants, business and financial experts


Keeping track of financial transactions is critical for a small business, and virtual bookkeepers help business owners to do so. While you will need strong math and accounting skills, you don’t need to be licensed as a CPA to start. 

That lower barrier to entry, along with the flexibility and low startup costs it offers, is why a virtual bookkeeping business is among the top business ideas for women who are mathematically-minded.

#3. Resell shoes or vintage clothes

Average Annual Revenue: $60K-$120K
Average Profit Margins: 5-15%
Startup Costs: $100-$1K
Time To Revenue: 30-90 days
Annual Market Growth Rate: -9.3%
Best for: shoppers and collectors, fashionable entrepreneurs, women with strong sales skills


If you have a knack for finding the best items at thrift stores and garage sales, reselling is one of the small business ideas you should consider. 

All you need to get started is knowledge of fashion trends and brands and a minimal budget to get your first items. You can reinvest the profit from those sales to grow the business further. Sneak City started this way, with just $50 and working out of a garage. Now they’re a thriving brick-and-mortar business with multiple storefronts. They shared their story in this YouTube interview:

#4. Professional organizer

Average Annual Revenue: $168,360
Average Profit Margins: 10.6%
Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
Best for: highly organized entrepreneurs, strong planners, communicators, and collaborators, creative problem-solvers


Being a professional organizer is among the best business ideas for women who have both right-brain and left-brain intelligence. 

Organizers help others to declutter and order their homes, offices, or other spaces, improving their clients’ mental health along the way and giving them tools to maintain the system you help them establish. To do this, you need a lot of empathy and strong communication skills, along with analytical, problem-solving, and spatial reasoning skills.

Since you’ll work in the client’s space, this is among the top business ideas for women at home, and it also offers a low start-up cost and high flexibility. The biggest challenge is often establishing your reputation to build a client base. If you’re a strong marketer or networker, that can be an advantage for growing your new business faster.

#5. Start a farm

Average Annual Revenue: $263,500
Average Profit Margins: 27.9%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time To Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.5%
Best for: women entrepreneurs who love working outside with their hands; hard-working, patient, and organized problem solvers


People don’t think of farming as a lucrative profession, but the truth is the median household income of farmers was
$92,239 in 2021, higher than the American average. Roughly 89% of farms in the U.S. are small businesses, so there’s a lot of room in this space for future women entrepreneurs who want to work the land for a living. 

Marion Acres started from scratch in 2012 as a way for two families to grow their own food. It’s now a thriving chicken farm with its own market and processing plant. You can see how they got started in this video:

#6. Dropshipping business

Average Annual Revenue: $36K-$50K
Average Profit Margins: 5%
Startup Costs: $150-$500
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 25%
Best for: experts in social media and marketing, process-oriented and organized entrepreneurs, people seeking flexibility and passive income


Dropshipping is an ideal way for women entrepreneurs to make money online and set their own schedules. In a dropshipping business model, the things you sell are stored and shipped from elsewhere, giving it very low start-up and ongoing costs.

The flexible time commitment of dropshipping makes it a great way to start your own online business while still working a full-time job, and it can bring in enough revenue to serve as your sole income stream if you have the time to commit to it. 

Heather Johnson started her print-on-demand dropshipping business to make extra money when her hours were cut during the pandemic. In a few short years, she’s grown it to $15,000 a month in revenue. Hear her story in this interview:

#7. Open a bakery business

smiling woman with cupcakes on table

Average Annual Revenue: $1.52 million per year
Average Profit Margins: 5.4%
Startup Costs: $100-$3M
Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.1%
Best for: food-lovers, creative entrepreneurs with strong customer service skills


Like other businesses in the food industry, opening a bakery can be a big investment, but with an equally big potential payoff. It’s among the best small business ideas for women who love to bake and love interacting with people.

There are many niches you can choose as a bakery, too. Some focus on treats like cupcakes and pastries, while others make bread and other baked goods to sell to restaurants and stores.The right niche for you will depend on both your interests and your local market.

#8. Personal trainer

Average Annual Revenue: $16,867
Average Profit Margins: 10.9%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.6%
Best for: athletes and fitness experts, outgoing female entrepreneurs who excel at motivating and communicating with others


The fitness industry is large and growing, projected to reach a total market value of
$5.77 billion by 2027. This makes a fitness training business a great small business idea for female entrepreneurs who are passionate about exercise and health. It’s also a potentially profitable business, with the average independent personal trainer earning just over $54,000 a year in take-home income. 

A personal trainer business has very low upfront costs, in part because you don’t need your own brick-and-mortar storefront. You can open a home-based studio if you have the space, or offer mobile services, working with clients in their homes. You can even offer remote services with video conferencing, or in an online course that can serve as an extra passive income stream. 

In this interview with Bedros Keuilian, see how this self-made entrepreneur went from eating from bins to making $200 million a year with his franchise Fit Body Boot Camp and business coaching company Empire Systems.

#9. Home, office, or Airbnb cleaning business

Average Annual Revenue: $74,880
Average Profit Margins: 6.7%
Startup Costs: $1K-$30K
Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
Best for: housekeepers and homemakers, organized and tidy entrepreneurs


Cleaning is one of those things every home or business needs but most people don’t like to do. This makes it a perfect business idea for women business owners who enjoy bringing order to chaos and don’t mind getting their hands dirty now and then. 

Chris Mondragon started Queen Bee Cleaning with about $5,000 and now teaches other business owners how to do the same in his 7-Figure Cleaning Business Blueprint. You can see what a typical day in his life is like in this video if you’re curious about the day-to-day of starting your own business:

The variety of cleaning jobs available is another reason this is a great business idea. Chris gets a lot of his revenue from cleaning Airbnbs, in addition to his residential cleaning clients. If you’re not sure which niche to choose, do some market research on the services already offered in your area to see where there’s a gap you can fill. 

#10. Life coach

Average Annual Revenue: $63,400
Average Profit Margins: 10.5%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.5%
Best for: Strong motivators and communicators, problem-solvers, mental health professionals


A life coach helps their clients overcome challenges in their career, relationships, or other areas of their life. That makes it a very rewarding career and the best business for women who love helping others thrive. If you’re the person your friends always turn to for advice, becoming a life coach is a natural way to start your own business sharing that problem-solving talent with others. 

#11. Laundry business

Average Annual Revenue: $311,220
Average Profit Margins: 22.1%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time To Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.1%
Best for: customer service pros with high attention to detail


Laundry is a universal chore, but not everyone has the equipment at home (or the time) to do it themselves. A laundry business provides a useful service that’s consistently in-demand, making it a great choice as a woman-owned small business. 

Opening a laundromat does require more up-front investment than other options on the list. On the plus side, though, it has potential to be a mostly-passive income stream with the right team. Hear how Rosie Wash Express Laundry started and grew her laundromat business in this interview:

#12. Baby equipment rental business

Average Annual Revenue: $2,157,420
Average Profit Margins: 3.9%
Startup Costs: $500-$250K
Time To Revenue: 3+ months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 2.7%
Best for: moms, childcare professionals, organized and system-oriented entrepreneurs


Baby equipment is expensive—which makes it even more frustrating considering how quickly they grow out of it. A rental business lets you help parents get high-quality equipment for less. It’s among the best business ideas for parents because you can make money from items your kids have outgrown rather than letting them sit unused. 

FAQs About What is a Good Business to Start for a Woman

What is the best business for a woman to start?

Great new business ideas for women can come from any industry. According to the most recent data, the most popular entrepreneur ideas for women are in retail (26%), health, beauty and fitness (17%), and food and restaurants (14%). That said, though, the number of female-owned businesses is growing across sectors, and any of the business ideas for a woman on this list can be a great choice for the right entrepreneur.

What percent of women own businesses?

screenshot of womens in business statistics from incfile website

49% of startups are women-owned, but only 7.1% of the female population are business owners. (We calculated this figure using the number of female-owned businesses divided by the number of women in the population.)

Meanwhile, 10.8% of men are small business owners.

How to start a business as a woman

UpFlip’s ultimate guide on how to start a business is an excellent resource that answers this question step-by-step.

Where can I find women in business scholarships?

laptop mockup of business scholarships from collegeguidepost website

There are several organizations that offer scholarships for women in business. This College Guidepost list of 16 national business women scholarships is a great place to explore your options.

What is the best way to get a business loan for women?

The Small Business Administration has women-owned business loan resources that you can explore. You can also get advice on finding and obtaining start-up business loans for women in this podcast interview with National Business Capital founder Joseph Camberato, whose company has helped entrepreneurs secure more than $2 billion in funding:

Which Business Idea Will You Choose?

Ladies, y’all are doing phenomenal at raising the bar, creating a more compassionate business culture, and driving success in business. 

It doesn’t matter what business you choose to enter—you are more likely to find success than men.

Keep doing what y’all do well, and, hopefully, we’ll get the better world many of us are trying to build. I hope whatever industry you choose, you make it better for everyone. 

Which of the small business ideas for women will you choose for your next business venture?


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Author

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Related articles

Unique business ideas across sectors and industries are waiting to be discovered. These businesses might cater to niche markets, invent and sell new products, or offer a traditional service in a new way.

Finding the right unique business idea can be a balancing act. You want to be different enough to stand out from the crowd, but not so different that there’s no market for your product or service. We’ll discuss the unique small business ideas that hit that sweet spot.

[su_note note_color="#dbeafc"] Click on any of the links below to jump straight to the section you want to learn more about, or just continue reading.

Top 21 Unique Business Ideas 2024

  1. Dog walking business
  2. Fingerprinting business
  3. Personal chef
  4. Remote cleaning business
  5. Ewaste collection and recycling
  6. Window cleaning business
  7. Flower shop
  8. Mobile veterinary services
  9. Specialty food store
  10. Virtual interior designer
  11. Online bakery
  12. Voiceover business
  13. Transcription business
  14. Pet sitting services
  15. AI book business
  16. Axe throwing business
  17. Sensory deprivation tank business
  18. Cat cafe
  19. Drone photography
  20. Furniture restoration business
  21. Custom treehouse business

You’ll find more information on each of these small business ideas, along with more unusual business ideas, in the article below.

Unique Service Business Ideas

Smartly dressed young woman using a tablet to search for unique service business ideas

1. Dog Walking

Average Annual Revenue: $34K+
Average Profit Margins: 16%
• Startup Costs: $500-$5K
• Time to Revenue: 3+ months
• Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.7%
• Best For:
Animal lovers and experts, pet owners, people who like working outdoors

High demand puts a dog walking business among the best small business ideas for animal lovers to start in 2024. As of 2023, 65.1 million households in the U.S. own at least one dog, and many of those need help taking care of them. That’s a lot of potential customers for your new business venture.

Another plus of dog walking is the potentially low startup costs compared to other businesses. You can set up a profile on a site like Rover and start providing services locally right away with a very small budget.

2. Fingerprinting

Average Annual Revenue: $132K+
Average Profit Margins: 9.1%
Startup Costs: $500-$250K
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.6%
Best For: People with high professionalism, a commitment to security, and strong organization skills and attention to detail

Fingerprinting is another unique business idea with a potentially low initial investment.

These services have a broader customer base than many people realize, from criminal investigations to employment background checks and security clearances. If you’re able to attract customers and are skilled at providing customer service, fingerprinting can be a very lucrative business.

Dan Jurkowitsch is an expert in this unique niche market. He teaches people how to use this business model to start successful businesses. Hear his advice in this podcast interview:

3. Personal Chef Services

Average Annual Revenue: $129K
Average Profit Margins: 51.7%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time to Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.9%
Best For: Culinary experts like chefs, cooks, and bakers with strong customer service skills

Being a personal chef is a great business idea for chefs who want to avoid the stress and high startup costs of food trucks and restaurants.

Since you work one-on-one with customers, it’s much less hectic and demanding, and you won’t need a brick-and-mortar space.

Connecting with your target audience is often the trickiest part of starting a personal chef business. Having an online presence for your business, including a website and a strong social media following, can be the best way to grow small businesses in this niche.

You can even expand this online presence into another revenue stream by offering online courses in cooking techniques or connecting your chef services to an online store selling ingredients or cooking supplies.

Unique Cleaning Business Ideas

Cleaning business owner in a plaid button down holding a sponge up in one hand and a bucket of cleaning supplies in the other

4. Remote Cleaning

Average Annual Revenue: $74K+
Average Profit Margins: 6.7%
Startup Costs: $500-$30K
Time to Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
Best For:
System-driven and organized entrepreneurs who are tech-savvy with strong digital marketing skills

Offering cleaning services may not be a unique business idea on its own, but it is when you run that company completely remotely. You can set up an online booking system, hire remote team members, and run a cleaning business without ever setting foot in a customer’s home.

Neel Parekh launched his cleaning company, MaidThis, in 2013. Today, it brings in an average revenue of $166,000 per month using a 100% remote business model. Learn how Neel started and grew this unique business idea in the interview below:

https://youtu.be/kVyLriqFVdc

5. E-Waste Collection and Recycling

Average Annual Revenue: $5.7M+
Average Profit Margins: 2.9%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.9%
Best For:
People who like physical work, entrepreneurs passionate about sustainability and the environment

Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, has been a growing problem over the past decade. Roughly 6.9 million tons are generated in the United States alone each year, of which only about 17% is properly recycled. Part of the problem is that many people don’t know how to properly dispose of electronics or lack services in their area to do so.

This makes an e-waste recycling service both a unique business idea with potentially high demand and a much-needed service to safeguard our natural resources.

This is another unique small business idea that could be done remotely. Kyle Landwehr started a junk removal business and has turned those systems into six-figure remote trash hauling businesses through the Junk Academy. Find out more in this podcast interview:

6. Window Cleaning

Average Annual Revenue: $64K
Average Profit Margins: 8.8%
Startup Costs: $200-$5K
Time to Revenue: 3+ months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.9%
Best For:
Detail-oriented and hands-on entrepreneurs who excel at customer service

One way to stand out with a cleaning services business is to focus on a niche. Window cleaning can be an extremely profitable option because it’s a relatively untapped niche with a potentially wide customer base.

Both residential and commercial customers have a need for window cleaning services. This is also something many people can’t do themselves, particularly for multi-story buildings.

On The Spot Window Cleaning has grown to a $45,000-a-month business since its founding in 1998. Learn how owner Jeremiah Hickey started and grew this small business idea in his podcast interview:

Unique Business Ideas for Small Towns

Flower shop owner holding a bouquet next to a sign that reads "Flower shop"

7. Flower Shop

Average Annual Revenue: $262K+
Average Profit Margins: 5.4%
Startup Costs: $100,000-$3.5M
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 2.8%
Best For: Gardeners, florists, and other plant care professionals, creative entrepreneurs with a green thumb

A flower shop is among the best small-town business ideas. People everywhere love getting beautiful, sweet-smelling flower arrangements as a gift, but smaller towns often don’t have local businesses that provide the service.

Small business owners in the floral niche also have several options to add revenue streams. For example, you could sell herbs, potted plants, seeds, bulbs, and gardening supplies. You can also expand your customer base by selling edible flowers to local restaurants or partnering with other small businesses in the gift niche.

It doesn’t take much experience or business savvy to start a flower business. Dylan Capshaw started a flower business online when he was only 16. He’s since expanded it into a unique business, Stemistry, that combines a flower shop with a cafe. Hear his story in this podcast interview:

8. Mobile Veterinary Services

Average Annual Revenue: $72K
Average Profit Margins: 11.5%
Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.1%
Best For: Veterinarians, dog breeders and trainers, and other animal care experts

Being a veterinarian isn’t necessarily a unique business in its own right, but it is once you put it on wheels!

This is an innovative business idea for a small town or rural area. Pet owners in lower-population areas often have to travel a long distance to access vet care. Mobile services go to them, making transactions more lucrative because you’re giving customers much-needed convenience.

Granted, this unique business idea isn’t for everyone. You’ll need extensive training in animal healthcare. For those who already have this training, though, a mobile business model can be a great way to start a successful business venture.

9. Specialty Food Store

Average Annual Revenue: $9.3M+
Average Profit Margins: 1.8%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.8%
Best For:
Foodies, cooks, and food service professionals with strong organization and inventory management skills

People who live in small towns still enjoy unique food, but it can be hard to come by outside of large cities. This is why a specialty food store is an excellent small business idea for small-town entrepreneurs.

Successful business owners in the specialty food niche need to be responsive to customer demands. The key is to find out what items are missing from your local markets and fill that gap.

Communicating with locals, both in person and through social media, is a great way to predict which specialty foods will fly off the shelf in your town.

Unique Online Business Ideas

Woman using a smart phone while sitting at a desk with a laptop, boxes ready for shipping, stacks of cash, and a miniature shopping cart

10. Virtual Interior Design

Average Annual Revenue: $168K+
Average Profit Margins: 10.6%
Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
Time to Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
Best For: Designers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs, real estate industry and home staging professionals

The expansion of virtual tools has created lots of opportunities for unusual business ideas, one being virtual interior design. Designers in this niche use virtual design software to make furnishing and decoration recommendations completely remotely.

Having a website and a strong social media presence is crucial for success as a virtual designer. You can demonstrate your authority and aesthetic with an online portfolio, virtual design workshops, or online courses that teach interior design basics.

11. Online Bakery Business

Average Annual Revenue: $1.52M
Average Profit Margins: 5.4%
Startup Costs: $100-$3M
Time to Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.1%
Best For: Cooks, bakers, and food experts who are system-driven, organized, and tech-literate

Similar to a cupcake food truck business or bakery catering service, an online bakery business can be a great way to profit from your baking skills without the expense of a brick-and-mortar space.

Instead of buying products at a bakery, customers order their baked goods through an online interface and then get products delivered, either through the mail or local delivery.

Along with lower expenses, this mode allows the business owner to work at their own pace. It’s also easier to control inventory when you’re preparing baked goods to order rather than trying to anticipate the demands of hungry customers.

12. Voiceover Business

Average Annual Revenue: $73K+
Average Profit Margins: 3.7%
Startup Costs: $100-$500
Time to Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 9.12%
Best For: Actors, singers, and performers who are patient, detail-focused, and excel at time management

If you’ve ever been told that you have a great voice for radio, then a voiceover business should be on your list of top small business ideas.

Voiceover artists take on a range of assignments, from voicing characters in cartoons and video games to reading audiobooks or content for apps like GPS systems. The main skills you’ll need are a clear speaking voice and the ability to read from a script.

The easiest way to start an online business in voice acting is to sign up for a freelance platform focused on the craft. Snap Recordings, Filmless, and Voice123 are among the most popular sites for building a career in this industry.

Unique Business Ideas for Students

TranscribeMe! homepage on a laptop

13. Transcription Business

Average Annual Revenue: $25K+
Average Profit Margins: 9%
Startup Costs: $0-$5K
Time to Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.9%
Best For: Good listeners with fast typing skills

Students need a business with low startup costs—and it doesn’t get any lower than 0. While some new transcription business owners pay for advertising to attract customers, you can start for free by taking jobs through sites like TranscribeMe or Rev.

If you can type at a speed of at least 60 words per minute, transcription can be a good business idea. You can also find free and low-cost software to make the job easier. Typically, transcriptionists work at their own pace, so this is also an easy business to schedule around your classes and other activities.

14. Pet Sitting Services

Average Annual Revenue: $34K+
Average Profit Margins: 16%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time to Revenue: 3+ months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.7%
Best For: Animal lovers, pet owners, people who are patient, organized, and great communicators

Many students need to fit their small business ideas around studying and homework time. This is what can make pet sitting a perfect fit. While you’ll need to feed and care for the animals, a lot of your work is just keeping an eye on them—basically, you can get paid for hanging out with cats and dogs.

Building your client base can be the tricky part of getting started in this niche business. Many small business owners in the pet sitting niche build a client list through websites like Rover, Wag!, and PetSitter. You can also connect with clients through social media sites like Nextdoor.

15. AI Book Business

Average Annual Revenue: Unknown
Average Profit Margins: 23.3%
Startup Costs: $500-$5K
Time to Revenue: 1-3 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 7.80%
Best For: Strong editors with knowledge of generative AI and digital marketing skills

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has opened up a host of new business ideas. Using AI to generate books is one way to leverage this new technology into a lucrative business opportunity.

The key to success with an AI book business is knowing how to identify your target audience and market to them effectively. That’s how Joe Popelas made over $1M in his first year selling AI-generated books. Hear his story and advice in this podcast interview:

Unique Brick-and-Mortar Shop Ideas

Mature cat cafe cat wearing a scarf and sitting on a bookshelf next to a sign that reads "Cat Cafe"

16. Axe Throwing Business

Average Annual Revenue: $454K
Average Profit Margins: 9.91%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.9%
Best For:
Outgoing and fun-loving entrepreneurs with strong system-building and marketing skills

If you want to provide your area with a unique entertainment option, starting an axe-throwing establishment can be both a very fun and an extremely profitable business opportunity. Originating in Canada, this is a relatively new industry that’s skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade.

Along with charging customers for axe-throwing sessions, you can expand your revenue streams by hosting tournaments, selling memberships, or having an on-site shop that sells refreshments and merchandise.

17. Sensory Deprivation Tank Business

Average Annual Revenue: $1.1M+
Average Profit Margins: 12.07%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.1%
Best For:
Wellness-oriented entrepreneurs with strong customer service and marketing skills

First developed in the 1950s, sensory deprivation tanks (also known as flotation tanks or isolation tanks) have seen substantial growth in popularity in recent years. They can help people unplug from the distractions of modern life, so it’s no surprise that so many of them have popped up across the United States since 2020.

Ryan Duey’s transformative experience in a float tank led him to open his own flotation therapy spa, Capitol Floats. He’s since built on that business by making and selling his own cold plunge tanks and sensory deprivation tanks. Hear how he built his business in this podcast interview:

18. Cat Cafe

Average Annual Revenue: $865K+
Average Profit Margins: 5.8%
Startup Cost: $1K-$100K
Time to Revenue: 3+ months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
Best For: Animal lovers, baristas and food service professionals

Some of the top unique businesses are twists on old classics. Cat cafes are one example of this, putting a new spin on the classic coffee shop.

Connecting with other businesses is a critical first step to opening a cat cafe. Primarily, you’ll need an animal partner that can provide well-socialized cats for guests to interact with (and adopt, if they fall in love with a floof during their visit).

Cat cafes can set up multiple revenue streams to increase their odds of success. This can include selling merchandise and pet-friendly snacks in addition to the typical cafe offerings. They can also charge an entrance fee for the cat space.

Unique Business Ideas From Home

Woodworker staining a stool in his workshop

19. Drone Photography and Videography

Average Annual Revenue: $50K
Average Profit Margins: 7.3%
Startup Costs: $1K-$10K
Time to Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.3%
Best For: Photographers and visual artists, tech-literate and creative entrepreneurs

Drone photography is a relatively new industry, and that’s part of what makes it a good small business idea. While the market for photography services can be crowded, most photographers can’t take overhead shots. Offering that unique service can help a new small business owner stand out in their local market.

This niche business in the photography industry is often in high demand as a B2B business. For instance, real estate industry professionals use drone photography to sell their properties, while advertising professionals use it in commercials and other marketing materials.

Mile High Productions built a strong customer base of real estate agents, earning an average revenue of $35,000 a month. Learn how it grew in this YouTube interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUcv1HAAbns

20. Furniture Restoration and Flipping

Average Annual Revenue: $111K+
Average Profit Margins: 1.9%
Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: 6.55%
Best For: Woodworkers, interior designers, creative entrepreneurs who like working with their hands

Furniture restoration is among the best home business ideas for makers, tinkerers, and other hands-on entrepreneurs. It lets you make a living from breathing new life into old things, which makes it sustainable and eco-friendly, as well.

The best business plan for a furniture restoration business often includes multiple services. You can restore pieces for clients or buy, fix up, and flip old furniture you find at thrift stores, flea markets, and antique stores.

Jennifer Beck started in furniture retail sales, then built on her passion for restoration into her own business with Saved By Design. Learn how she got started in this podcast interview:

21. Custom Treehouse Business

Average Annual Revenue: $696K+
Average Profit Margins: 3.4%
Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
Time to Revenue: 1-6 months
Annual Market Growth Rate: -1.3%
Best For: Carpenters, designers, and construction professionals with strong customer service and communication skills

Treehouses aren’t just for kids anymore. From unique Airbnbs to fun home offices and entertainment spaces, there are a variety of reasons people add custom treehouses to their properties.

You don’t have to only build treehouses, either. Often, business owners in this niche market build other backyard spaces for customers, like decks and sheds.

Anthony and Jamie Taylor-Weber and started their innovative business, Outdoor Office, from their home garage. Now, it brings in a revenue of $1.2M a year. See how they did it in this YouTube interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1z9ulIh7QU

Unique Business Development Ideas

Having a unique business concept doesn’t need to mean you’re inventing a completely new thing from scratch. Here are some tips on ways to turn any concept into a unique business idea.

Take Your Business on the Road

Convenience is king in the modern world. Taking your product or service straight to customers can give you a definite leg up on your competition.

Mobile vet services are one example of this, and you can apply the concept to just about any niche. From food trucks to mobile clothing boutiques or hair salons, there’s a way to take just about any type of business on the road.

This approach has benefits for business owners as well as customers. It often costs less to start, for one thing, and has lower overhead expenses compared to brick-and-mortar shops. It also makes any type of business super-scalable—just buy another truck for the fleet, and you’ve effectively doubled your capacity.

Combine Compatible Ideas in New Ways

One of the businesses referenced above is Stemistry, a combination flower shop and coffee shop. By bringing these concepts together, Dylan Capshaw expanded his revenue streams and target audience.

A cat cafe is another example of this. People love cafes, and they love playing with pets—so why not put the two together into one place?

You can take the same approach with other business ideas. This can be a way to put a new spin on a familiar concept, or it can add profitability to a new idea that may take a while to gain traction otherwise.

Share Independent Research and Education Resources

You might think that teaching other people about your industry is counterproductive for growing business revenue. After all, if your customers know how to do things themselves, why would they pay you?

But think about it: most people know how to clean a home, but cleaning businesses are still very profitable.

Providing educational resources, like online courses, white papers, infographics, or how-to videos, establishes your authority in your industry. You can also use these as an additional revenue stream or as marketing materials to attract new customers.

Finding the Right Unique Small Business Idea

This list of unusual business ideas certainly isn’t comprehensive. There are unique business ideas not yet implemented in every industry. Now it’s time for you to go out and find the right one for you.

What is your favorite unique business idea? Let us know in the comments!

Are you struggling to figure out how to run a successful business? Many business owners don’t figure it out on their first try, but Afshan Abbas, the owner of Fuchsia Shoes, told us: [su_quote]Coming this far, [it] was having grit. We failed ten times, but the eleventh time it worked. So, it’s about repeating the process, trying out different things, and figuring out what works for you.[/su_quote] We’ll share insight from successful businesses to help you learn how to run a business that lasts over a decade.

Why Do Businesses Fail?

Businesses fail for many reasons, but the primary ones are:
  1. Poor financial decisions
  2. Failure to grow sales
  3. Inability to manage inventory and growth
  4. Lack of Experience
Experian explains these points in greater detail.

How to Run a Business Well

#1. Use a Business Plan

To run a successful business, you need to focus on what the company is trying to achieve. A new business should write a business plan to help manage the company. Make sure to include: [su_note note_color="#dbeafc"]
  1. Purpose of the company
  2. Business goals
  3. Mission statement and values
  4. Industry outlook including major and local competitors
  5. Market research 
    1. Identify the target audience
    2. Identify ways to reach your ideal customers
    3. Identify the customer acquisition costs
  6. Marketing plan 
  7. Financial projections for one year, three years, five years, and ten years
  8. Funding needed and how the company will get it
  9. A human resource management plan
    1. Necessary roles
    2. Employee benefits
    3. How to build company culture
[/su_note] Read our blog about writing a business plan or watch our interview with Mike Andes about writing a business plan below. [su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Seac5PbUZXk"] Let’s look at how many small business owners set profit goals to run a business.

#2. Use Profit Goals as Benchmarks for Success

Running a successful business means knowing your profit goals and measuring performance against them while running your business. These goals should be in a business plan, but you should frequently review them to measure your progress. The easiest way to establish profit goals is to start with the profit you’d like to make. Let’s assume your profit goal is $100K annually. Follow the steps below to find out how much revenue you’ll need:
  1. Look up the net income ratio for your industry on NYUs Margins by Sectors chart.
  2. Divide your profit target by the net income ratio.
  3. That’s how much revenue you’ll need unless you can figure out ways to get a higher profit margin.
Using the total market average of 8.19%, you would need to make $1.221 million to make a $100K profit. That's pretty much the worst-case scenario when running a small business. Successful businesses often keep the cost of goods sold under 33% and all other expenses under 25% of revenue. In that scenario, your total payments only need to be around $240K to make $100,000 net income.

#3. Mission Statement

Successful business owners also use their mission statement to help guide business decisions. Your mission is simply what you do and why you do it. It is usually only a sentence or two. For instance, the following is Tesla’s mission statement: [su_quote]Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.[/su_quote] It clearly states what the business leaders focus on accomplishing. Prominently displaying the company's mission where you and others will see it helps keep your team focused on your goals.

#4. Values

You should write down your core values and keep them where you can view them regularly because your values should guide everything you do as you operate. Business functions such as customer service, hiring employees, and negotiating with vendors should all be based on your values. When you start a business, the values and mission are new ideas fresh in your mind, but as you progress further into the company, you may lose sight of them because of stressors like not having enough money. Make sure you review them consistently to align your business with your values. Keep reading for more tips on running your own business.

#5. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

A man drawing on a white note pad To effectively run a business, KPIs are necessary to measure progress. KPIs are metrics that measure how well your company is achieving goals laid out in the business plan, following your core values, and achieving your mission.  It’s commonly known that employees focus on what is measured and emphasized as important. Ensure that key performance indicators help measure the things that will keep you focused on running it as a business. Keep reading for more business tips on how to run a business successfully.

#6. Show an Interest in Your Customers’ Problems (and a Desire to Solve Them)

A famous quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt says: [su_quote]Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.[/su_quote] Keep this in mind when you run a business because small businesses become successful through personal service. To truly understand how to run a company, you need to care about your customer base and help them solve their problems.  Sometimes showing compassion can be a real challenge, especially when a customer is frustrated, but we can build our levels of understanding through conscious effort. Greater Good in Action is a site run by UC-Berkeley to help people develop better practices around compassion, forgiveness, and other qualities that help us be our best selves. I strongly recommend it.  Keep reading for more business running tips.

#7. Providing a Reliable Service Is Crucial

Potential customers expect to get what they need when they need it. When starting a business, make sure you make informed decisions about operating and what you carry. You must be reliable, or your target market will go elsewhere. The owner of Wild Wheat Bakery told us: [su_quote]You have to treat everybody that walks in this door with great customer service. Make sure they are getting what they need. Make sure you’re giving them quality food. Over 50% of our customers daily are our regular customers.[/su_quote] Check out our interview with him below. [su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2_xwBgyFFU"] If you don’t provide your target market with the product or service they need, you’ll have difficulty maintaining your customer base and attracting new customers. Ensure you give the customer base the products and services they expect.

#8. Deliver More than Is Promised to Every Customer

Imagine your air conditioning or heater stops working on an inclement day. So you call an HVAC company at 10 a.m., and they tell you they’ll be there within the next four hours. Meanwhile, you are highly uncomfortable waiting for them to get there. They call at the last minute to say they’ll be there in a couple of days. That’s a stressful scenario, and it’s not how to run a business. Sure, things go wrong, but that’s why a lot of creative professionals use the saying: [su_quote]Under-promise and over-deliver.[/su_quote] New businesses can do this by: [su_note note_color="#dbeafc"]
  • Providing worst-case time and price estimates and delivering for less.
  • Throw in a small gift like a sticker, a coupon, or pieces of candy.
  • Provide free bread or chips & salsa at restaurants.
  • Fix something small that you can do quickly without charging.
[/su_note] When running a business, make your customer base feel like you’ve gone the extra mile for them. It will pay off.

#9. Reward Customer Loyalty

To effectively run a business, it is necessary to reward customer loyalty because two-thirds of new customers come from referrals, according to SignPost. If you don’t already have a loyalty program, set it up now and offer benefits that show you value your returning customers. To find a loyalty program that works for your business, check out Capterra’s shortlist. For best results, make sure it integrates with your customer relationship management software and accounting software so that you can effectively measure the results of your loyalty program. There’s more! Keep reading our tips on running a business. Keep reading to learn how to run a small business when a customer complains.

#10. Handle Customer Complaints Immediately

A man typing on a keyboard One of the hardest things new businesses deal with is customer complaints. If you handle them well, they can help create a loyal customer, but you might lose a customer if you don’t satisfy their needs.  When a customer has a complaint, try the following process:
  1. Hear them out.
  2. Apologize for the inconvenience.
  3. Ask what you can do to make it right.
  4. Do what they ask (within reason).
The majority of the time, it will solve the problem, and because you handled it well, there is a good chance they will return to your business.

#11. Operate Lean

Operating lean should be considered one of the basics of running a business. Lean focuses on several factors, including: [su_note note_color="#dbeafc"]
  • Limiting the amount of inventory and equipment you buy to what is currently needed
  • Finding ways to remove waste
  • Focusing on continuous improvement
  • Making everything easier for employees and the business owner
[/su_note] But how do you run a business with Lean concepts? Paul Akers is an expert in lean manufacturing and has turned FastCap into a multi-million dollar per year company. He told us: [su_quote]Make it about profit, and you lose. The real benefits an organization will see when they eliminate waste are happier customers and employees. You’ll also be putting out fewer fires because your organization runs more smoothly.[/su_quote] Check out our interview with him below. [su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oarLDeAFSj4"] If you enjoy reading, check out Paul’s book about how to run a business, 2 Second Lean.

#12. Avoid Unnecessary Loans 

Borrowing money makes it harder to grow a business unless you have a solid plan for it and follow through. Loan payments increase expenses, and interest rates quickly become higher than your profit margins, especially when using credit cards. In one of his interviews, Paul told us that he avoids loans and selling equity because someone else thinks they have a say in the business.

#13. Manage Your Margins

Wooden cubes with letters on a desk To run a business successfully, you have to manage your margins. For some companies, managing margins is easy. Sanford Booth, a Big Frog franchise owner, told us: [su_quote]Direct to garment is typically 60-70% (gross) margins or around 45-50% for screen printing, but it fluctuates from month to month based on how many non-profits I’m working with.[/su_quote] Restaurants will often run such slim margins that they have to actively manage them by the hour to make sure their labor costs don’t rise too much and ruin their profitability. That’s why servers often don’t work eight-hour shifts.

#14. Cut Underperforming Lines

If you are offering products or services that tie up resources without making a reasonable profit, eliminate them. There’s no reason to have money tied up in inventory that isn’t selling. If you are using net-30 payments, slashing the prices to pay it before the interest kicks in may be necessary.

#15. Outsource as Many Functions as Possible

As a business owner, focus on making the business money. You should outsource anything that doesn’t increase your business's revenue to the best provider for your budget. Areas you should consider outsourcing to another company or freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork include:
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing
  • IT 
  • Administrative work
Unless it costs substantially more to outsource than hire an employee, it will save you time and money. Outsourcing can let you focus on increasing cash flow and net income instead of supporting functions that don’t generate revenue. Hiring someone already trained for a specialized task can save you time and frustration.

#16. Offer Industry-Leading Pay and Benefits

If you decide you need to hire people, take care of them. A Harvard study showed that increased wages improved productivity more than the cost of labor, reduced turnover, and increased the ease of recruiting. The old saying, “Take care of people, and they take care of you,” definitely holds in business. Do some market research to find out what competitors in your industry are doing and then offer a little more. If you pay your people as much as you can and give them the benefits to take care of themselves, it will create loyalty that eludes many businesses today.

#17. Hire Passionate Employees 

Remember the mission statement and values we suggested you review frequently? Review them before every interview. Most jobs you can train people to do, but it’s much harder to teach people to have a positive attitude, passion for what you do, and share values they don’t already hold. So look for people who already embody your company culture. Just be easy on them in the interview. Some people are highly passionate but clam up in job interviews. If you can do a “working interview” and allow them to do the job with you for a few hours or a day, do it! If you can do a “working interview” and allow them to do the job with you for a few hours or a day, do it! You are far more likely to see a potential employee’s personality than if you just do a 30-minute interview. Most people have some anxiety in interviews. Based on my work in photography, it takes about 45 minutes for someone to shed their nervousness. Give them a chance to show their true self.

#18. Maintain a Marketing Budget

A man at his desk holding a pen and a notebook Even if it’s small, you need a marketing budget. On average, businesses spend around 8-10% of revenue on marketing, but some spend up to 30%. During the early stages of the company, spend 8-10%  of what you want to be making on marketing. It will pay off once you get there. Be careful when marketing. You don’t want to spend it blindly. Pay attention to your cash flow and if it gets too low, alter your business plan to adjust for the marketing lessons you’ve learned.

#19. Hire an Agency 

One of the benefits of hiring an agency is having multiple specialists to help you achieve your goals. A good agency should have: [su_note note_color="#dbeafc"]
  1. High-quality content marketing specialists.
  2. Social media management specialists.
  3. Graphic designers create content such as infographics, videos, and memes.
  4. People who specialize in optimizing search engines.
  5. Paid ads experts.
  6. Google My Business Experts.
[/su_note] The time it takes to create content marketing that works can easily be a full-time job, and if the only employee is you, you won’t have the time to manage everything. Before hiring them, make sure you have done your market research to communicate effectively with specialists.

#20. A Successful Business Tells a Story

Marketing is like Hollywood storytelling. In it, your customer is the main character, and you are the sidekick, the person who helps them overcome their antagonist (the problem they are trying to solve). Make sure your marketing keeps that in mind at all times. If you successfully tell a story that communicates how you can help them achieve their goals, you’ll be on your way to knowing how to run a business.

#21. Stop Wasting Time and Money on Marketing that Doesn’t Work

A man holding a black pen Many business owners allow marketing to go far too long without improving it. You have to monitor the results, mainly social media marketing and paid ads. If you just let it run without observing what channels are making a profit, you’ll lose too much money. When fine-tuning your marketing, make it a point to check its performance weekly. Once you’ve figured out which channels work, keep optimizing them and drop the rest. 

Closing Thoughts on How to Run a Business 

Business success relies on a variety of different skills. Regardless of what industry you are in, you should make it a point to be resilient, open to change, and learn when to cut your losses. Learning how to run a business is highly challenging but equally rewarding. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Check out our blog about business podcasts to find more great insights on running businesses. What are the most challenging parts of business operations for you?

Are you looking for small business ideas to start in 2024? Every business owner has different priorities, so we’ve structured this blog to help you consider the business ideas that are best suited to you.

One question many new entrepreneurs have is how to find business ideas that match their skills, lifestyle, and financial goals. This article will help you brainstorm business ideas by listing small businesses that have

  • A proven business model
  • A reasonable initial investment

And they don’t require too much effort for most business owners to get off the ground.

We’ll start by providing some resources that will help you narrow your business options then break our list of lucrative business ideas into sections based on different interests and business goals. That’s followed by a brief overview of how to choose the best business to start for you.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the resources you need to review relevant testimonials, home in on a great business idea, and take your first steps toward small business ownership.

[su_note note_color="#dbeafc"]

We’ve broken the business ideas into the following categories. Click any of the links below to jump straight to that section:

Get ready to find a successful business idea that fits your needs. Let’s start with some of the most profitable business ideas you can start in 2024.

The 23 Most Profitable Business Ideas (2024)

Business owners are trying to make good money, and the best way for new small business owners to succeed is by starting a company in a thriving sector. The industries with the highest profit margins are included in the table below:

Most profitable businesses graph
  • Investments and Asset Management
  • Software Applications
  • Healthcare Products
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare IT
  • Household Products
  • Brokerage and Investment Banking
  • Home Builders
  • Broadcasting
  • Diversified Companies
  • Electronics
  • Retail Building Supplies
  • Shoes
  • Real Estate

Keep in mind that these are just broad categories, and there are a variety of successful business ideas you can start within each of these segments.

Case Study: Hill Vending

Want to enter the restaurant or drink company niche? Starting a vending machine business can be a practical and lucrative business idea for those with limited resources. With minimal upfront costs and potential for passive income, it offers flexibility in hours worked and a way to dip your toes into entrepreneurship.

Check out the interview we’ve done with Adam Hill and how he generates almost $60K a month with his vending business:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s_Y-O1nosw"]

If you enjoyed the interview, make sure to check out our free vending machine course!

Case Study: The Restaurant Boss

There are also successful small business ideas that span multiple categories. A consulting business is one example of a niche that has high demand in multiple sectors. For someone who is a CPA or has other financial sector experience, financial advising or investment management consulting can be an easy business to start.

On the other hand, someone who is an experienced restaurant manager could find consulting in that niche is a good small business idea. That’s what Ryan Gromfin did when he wanted to become his own boss. Now The Restaurant Boss is a $35K-a-month company. You can hear how he started it in this interview:

Starting your own business often comes down to matching your expertise with the needs of the market. Consider the profitable niches listed above and whether you have any skills or interests that will let you start a small business that will thrive in that area.

6 Businesses That Never Fail (Well, Rarely)

What are some business ideas that are guaranteed to succeed? The truth is, even great business ideas aren’t going to be profitable 100% of the time. However, six businesses have such high success rates that they make great starter businesses. If you’re looking for the easiest business to start, consider the options below.

Laundromats

Statistics from Alliance Laundry Systems show a 94.8% success rate for their franchisees. Independent laundromat business owners confirm this high rate of success. Combine that with the success of laundromats we’ve interviewed, and they seem to be one of the top easy businesses to start and make a great profit.

Real Estate Investing

With good credit and a few thousand dollars in down payment, you can start real estate investing. The 50 largest cities have a median rent of $1,879 and average mortgages are $1,427, meaning you can make an extra $450 a month renting homes. Add Airbnb rentals to that and you can make even more.

Self-Storage

Self-storage can make a lot of money, too. The average space rental is $1 to $3 per square foot monthly. When you buy a space for less than $150 square foot, you can add automation and a coat of paint and increase the value.

After six to seven years, you’ll have made enough to pay it off if you want, and then it’s nearly 100% cash flow.

Last-Mile Delivery

Rideshare and delivery businesses have both low startup costs and high demand, making them excellent contenders for the best small business to start. You don’t have to set pricing, though you must manage expenses and ongoing costs.

These local business ideas give you easy wins when you start, but they aren’t the most profitable. They’ll show you why a business needs to be scalable.

Online Business Flipping

Buying successful online businesses, automating them, and increasing their revenue is a great way to get started. The best part is you don’t need to develop your own online business idea. Simply find an online business for sale at a low price, then improve it and sell it to make a profit.

Senior Care Centers

The over-65 population will double by 2060, and they’ll need care centers. All levels of government subsidize these centers and each resident space receives $2K to $5K per month for the service.

22 Home Business Ideas

Some of the best business ideas are home-based businesses. When working in your own home, startup costs are low. You can also save on recurring costs since you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage, internet connection, and power bill from your expenses.

A few low-cost business ideas to start from your own home include:

  1. Online Translator
  2. Virtual Call Center Operator
  3. Online Store
  4. Affiliate Marketing
  5. Virtual Assistant
  6. Digital Marketing Services
  7. Niche Website Owner
  8. SEO Expert
  9. Interior Decorator
  10. Make Jewelry
  11. Public Relations
  12. Real Estate Agent
  13. Remote Concierge (helps connect people with things they want)
  14. Personal Trainer
  15. 3D Printing Services
  16. Web Development
  17. Social Media Manager
  18. Graphic Design Business
  19. Event Planning Business
  20. Property Manager
  21. Landscaping Business
  22. Pet Business

Mobile businesses are great to start from home because potential clients won’t need to come to your storefront—instead, you go to them. Popular mobile business ideas include a car detailing business, a pressure washing business, or a personal training business.

A landscape business is another great option for starting a small business from home. That’s what Mike Andes did. His landscaping business is now one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world. Hear his story in this interview:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTnmagGo32Q"]

33 Low-Cost Business Ideas with High Profit Potential

The business world is full of entrepreneurs who have started small businesses with little or no money. When you think about low-cost, high-profit small companies, many require no formal qualifications or licensing. Here are 33 we suggest exploring:

  1. Dropshipping
  2. Tutoring Services
  3. Real Estate Agent
  4. Hauling Business
  5. Digital Marketing Consultant
  6. Tour Guides
  7. Green Business Consultant
  8. Personal Trainer
  9. Window Blind Cleaning Service
  10. Online Business Manager
  11. Fashion Designer
  12. Local Delivery Services
  13. YouTube Content Creator
  14. Search Engine Optimization
  15. Freelance Writer
  16. Equipment Rental Service
  17. Food Truck
  18. Ice Cream Truck
  19. Meal Prep Company
  20. Mobile Food Carts
  21. Catering
  22. Mobile Locksmith Services
  23. Telephone Answering Service
  24. Mobile Pet Grooming Business
  25. Candle Maker
  26. Security Company
  27. Mobile Car Wash
  28. Research Services
  29. Decorating Services
  30. Dent Removal Service
  31. Bookkeeper
  32. Dog Walking Business
  33. Pet Sitting Service

Most small businesses have the potential for low startup costs—as long as you focus on keeping your overhead costs down, start from home, and document your business finances. If you haven’t watched our interviews with Paul Akers, check out the one below:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdxKZWfD4fA"]

For more information on most of these lucrative business ideas, check out our blog about 30 businesses to start for less than $10K. It’s full of experiences from existing business owners who have already succeeded.

59 Online Business Ideas

The best part about many online business ideas is that they have a low barrier to entry. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can start a small business fast and with low upfront costs.

What are some good business ideas to start online? Some of the top start-up business options for online entrepreneurs include:

  • Virtual Call Center Operator
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Virtual Assistant Services
  • Digital Marketing Campaign Manager
  • Niche Website Owner
  • SEO Expert
  • Interior Decorator
  • Career Coaching Business
  • Sell Beard Care Products Online
  • Start an Online Clothing Boutique
  • Any Consulting Business
  • WordPress Themes
  • Online Course Creator
  • Mobile App Development
  • Custom Drone Builder
  • VR/AR App Developer
  • 3D Printing Services
  • Web Developer
  • SaaS Business Owner
  • Electronic Repair Business
  • Indexing
  • Freelance Writing
  • Self-Publishing
  • Blogging
  • Audio or Video Transcription
  • Medical Transcription
  • Meeting Transcription
  • Business Plan Writer
  • Sell Handmade Goods Online
  • Podcasting
  • Image Consultant
  • YouTube Stardom
  • Data Analyst Consulting
  • E-Magazine
  • Social Media Management
  • Graphic Design Artist
  • Career Coaching
  • Sell Print-on-Demand T-shirt Designs
  • Sell Poster Designs
  • Sell Greeting Cards
  • Sell Handmade Jewelry
  • Public Relations
  • Music Lessons
  • Freelance Musician
  • Nutritionist
  • Design and Sell Gift Baskets
  • Clothing Boutique
  • Language Teacher
  • Online Teaching
  • Tutor
  • Financial Planner
  • Online Bookkeeping
  • Business Incubator
  • Accountant
  • Notary
  • Property Management Company
  • Tax Prep

You can check out this interview with Kevin Espiritu to learn how he turned his gardening side hustle and blog into a $7.3M-a-year online business:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SGWmk4AZD0"]

Or check out this podcast to find out how Workello grew into a $70K-a-month SaaS company:

You can also learn more about the best online business ideas on our blog.

What Are Good Business Ideas for Women?

Women play a very different role in business now than a few decades ago. The U.S. Census Bureau conducted a study and found that women business owners are starting businesses faster than the sector growth rate in most major industries.

According to the same U.S. Census Bureau report, many businesses tend to attract an initial investment from women. The industries with the most women are:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Food Services
  3. Professional Services
  4. Scientific Advancements
  5. Tech Services
  6. Administration
  7. Waste and Remediation
  8. Hospitality
  9. Construction

Good news! Many of these are extremely profitable business ideas with high demand. Here’s a list of 114 new business ideas for women.

Best Business to Start for Women

  • Virtual Call Center Operator
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Digital Marketing Campaign Manager
  • Niche Website Owner
  • SEO Expert
  • Concierge
  • Personal Trainer
  • Makeup Artist
  • Personal Shopper
  • Hair Stylist
  • Interior Decorator
  • Make Jewelry
  • Clothing Boutique
  • Create WordPress Themes
  • Online Course Creator
  • Mobile App Developer
  • VR/AR App Developer
  • Energy Auditor
  • Web Developer
  • SaaS Business Owner
  • Indexing
  • Solar Energy Consultant
  • Content Writer
  • Handmade Goods
  • Self-Publishing
  • Blogging
  • E-Magazine
  • Audio and Video Transcription
  • Graphic Design Artist

Check out our podcast with Charmaine Nicole, founder of Sydney Nicole Hair and Black Hair and Skincare, to learn how to start your own business in the beauty niche:

  • Medical Transcription
  • T-Shirt Design
  • Meeting Transcription
  • Poster Design
  • Greeting Cards
  • Music Lessons
  • Freelance Musician
  • Design and Sell Gift Baskets
  • Podcasting
  • Image Consultant
  • YouTube Stardom
  • Data Analyst Consulting
  • Drone Videographer
  • Social Media Consultant
  • Career Coaching
  • Expert Witness
  • Financial Planner
  • Mobile Laundry
  • Decluttering Services
  • Green Cleaning Services
  • Organizer
  • Airbnb Cleaner
  • Vrbo Cleaner
  • New Home Construction Cleaner

We also had the chance to talk to Afshan Abbas, founder of Fuchsia Shoes. Find out what she told us about her $60K-a-month shoe business.

You might also check out our video with Shed Gal Susan Frair to see how she has become the number one shed dealer in the country:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOOyIem0RCY"]
  • Language Teacher
  • Online Teaching
  • Tutor
  • Teach Computer Skills
  • Event Planner
  • Party Planner
  • Wedding Planner
  • Wedding Officiant
  • Wedding Photographer
  • Wedding Videographer
  • Holiday Decorator
  • Open an Event Space
  • Food Truck
  • Catering Business
  • Craft Beer Brewing
  • Espresso Cart
  • Gluten-Free Bakery
  • Organic Vending Machines
  • Organic Food Catering
  • Organic Café
  • Coffee Shop
  • Farmers Market
  • Restaurant

Check out our blog about Pam Christenson of Synergy Massage Therapy to learn how to start your own massage business.

  • Personal Chef
  • Nutritionist
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Anti-Aging Spa
  • CrossFit Gym
  • Medical Courier Service
  • Mobile Medical App Developer
  • Acupuncture Business
  • Mobile Hearing Aid Specialist
  • Respite Care 
  • Medical Marijuana
  • Massage Therapist
  • Caretaker
  • Interpreter
  • Notary
  • Public Relations
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Paralegal Services

12 Truly Unique Business Ideas

Every small business idea should be somewhat unique, but what are some truly quirky business ideas?

Living in Vegas, I’ve had the opportunity to see some of the most distinctive business ideas in the world. From Cirque du Soleil to fire dancers, we have some crazy businesses here. Here’s a list of unusual business ventures you can consider:

  1. Tours of haunted locations
  2. Prop design for parties
  3. Throw concerts.
  4. Creatively themed haunted houses
  5. Video game-themed restaurants and bars
  6. Comic-themed businesses
  7. Star Wars-themed businesses (Get Disney’s permission.)
  8. Swingers clubs (Yes, they exist.)
  9. Become a meme lord—create funny memes, share them, then sell them on designs.
  10. Create your own cryptocurrency.
  11. Professional huggers are also a thing. If you want to make depressed people feel better, hugs increase the chemicals responsible for happiness.
  12. Sell Non-Fungible Tokens—they can be artwork, titles to homes, and concert tickets. There are a ton of use cases you can read about in FinTech Magazine. The Merge by Pak below sold for $91.8 million.

If you start a business venture in these fields, be careful—some of them may put you at risk depending on laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.

56 Small Business Ideas for Teens

Teens historically have a higher unemployment rate because they have no experience. If you are a young adult who wants to earn money, consider some of these teen entrepreneur ideas:

  • Transcription
  • Blogging
  • Web Design
  • Proofreader
  • Tech Consulting
  • Graphic Design
  • Cleaning Service
  • Photography
  • Greeting Card Writer
  • Handmade Jewelry
  • Tutoring
  • Babysitting
  • Social Media Influencer
  • Pet Sitting
  • DJ
  • Clown
  • Fire Spinner
  • Pet Photographer
  • Pet Grooming
  • Dog Walking
  • Errand-Running Service
  • Delivery Service
  • Packing Business
  • Holiday Decorating Business
  • App Development
  • Recycling Business
  • Provide Art Lessons
  • Wash Cars
  • Livestream Your Gaming
  • Music Lessons
  • Sports Promotion
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Videographer
  • Gift Wrapping Service
  • Landscaping
  • Laundry Service
  • Cake Making
  • Resell Stuff Online
  • House Sitting
  • College Prep Courses
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Leaf Removal
  • Sell Lemonade or Other Drinks
  • Sell Ice Cream
  • Sell Your Art
  • Data Entry
  • Power Washing
  • Sell Print-on-Demand Products
  • Invent Cool Stuff
  • Teach Tech to the Elderly
  • Tech Support
  • Set Up Computers for People
  • Caricature Artist
  • Window Washing
  • Sign Spinning

Read more about each of these in our Best Business Ideas for Teens blog post.

Watch our interview with an 18-year-old who started a $144K-a-month pressure washing business:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNzuP6V0UhA"]

19 Categories of Business Ideas You Can Also Consider

If you’re still not sure how to get ideas for a business, it might help to start with a topic that interests you so you can answer “What are business ideas in my niche?” Peruse these groups to see if any of them catch your eye.

Fashion Business Ideas

If you’re into fashion, consider these ideas:

  • Barbershop Owner
  • Makeup Artist
  • Personal Shopper
  • Beard Care Products
  • Tattoo Studio
  • Hair Stylist
  • Interior Decorator
  • Make Jewelry
  • Holiday Decorator
  • Clothing Boutique
  • Concierge

Technology Business Ideas

If you’re into technology, consider these ideas:

  • WordPress Themes
  • Online Course Creator
  • Importing Electronic OEM Gadgets
  • Mobile App Developer
  • Custom Drone Builder
  • VR/AR App Developer
  • IoT Service Provider
  • Energy Auditor
  • 3D Printing Services
  • Web Developer
  • SaaS Business Owner
  • Smart Home Contractor
  • Electronic Repair Business
  • Indexing
  • Teach Computer Skills
  • Solar Energy Consultant

Want to Start a Writing Business?

Try these ideas if you want to start a business that leverages your passion for writing:

  • Content Writer
  • Self-Publishing
  • Blogging
  • Audio or Video Transcription
  • Medical Transcription
  • Meeting Transcription
  • Business Plan Writer

Choose an Artistic Business Idea

These are some great business ideas if you love artistic endeavors:

  • Handmade Goods
  • Makeup Artist
  • E-Magazine
  • Graphic Design Artist
  • T-Shirt Design
  • Poster Design
  • Greeting Cards
  • Make Jewelry
  • Music Lessons
  • Freelance Musician
  • Design and Sell Gift Baskets
  • Graffiti Art
  • Holiday Decorator
  • Clothing Boutique

Businesses to Start in Photography or Videography

If you love working with a camera, you should consider some of these ideas for a business:

Screenshot of photography business article
  • Family Photography
  • Business Headshots Photographer
  • School Photography Business
  • Event Photography
  • Product Photography
  • Boudoir Photography
  • Real Estate Photography
  • Create Your Own Movies
  • Music Video Production
  • Wedding Photography
  • Wedding Videography
  • Virtual Tour Production
  • YouTube Stardom
  • Drone Videographer

Check out our blog about becoming a photographer.

Want to Be a Consultant? Check Out These Ideas!

If you know a ton about a specific subject matter, consulting could be your perfect business idea. Here are some of the best options:

  • Image Consultant
  • Data Analyst Consulting
  • Social Media Consultant
  • Career Coaching
  • Expert Witness
  • Financial Planner
  • Golf Coach
  • Public Relations
  • Personal Chef
  • Nutritionist
  • Solar Energy Consultant

Find out how Cliff Ravenscraft has helped more than 40,000 people launch podcasts in this podcast interview:

List of Cleaning Business Ideas

We’ve created tons of educational content related to starting a cleaning business. These are some of the ideas you can apply it to:

  • Mobile Laundry
  • Decluttering Services
  • Green Cleaning Services
  • Organizer
  • Airbnb Cleaner
  • Vrbo Cleaner
  • New Home Construction Cleaner
  • New Commercial Construction Cleaning
  • Move-In and Move-Out Cleaning
  • Home Cleaning
  • Apartment Cleaning
  • Office Cleaning
  • Specialty Cleaning
  • Duct Cleaning
  • Carpet Cleaning Business
  • Window Cleaning Business
  • IT Cleaning Business
  • Property Cleaning Services
  • Dry Cleaning Business
  • Rug Cleaning
  • Hazardous Waste Removal
  • Mold Remediation
  • Power Washer Business
  • Laundromat or Clothes Washing Business
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Boat Cleaning

Check out our interview about how to start a cleaning business with Chris Mondragon below.

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcYIYdqegGA"]

Need a Business Idea that Involves Teaching?

Whether you’re a certified educator or just love teaching, consider these business ideas:

  • Language Teacher
  • Online Teaching
  • Tutor
  • Golf Coach
  • Teach Computer Skills

Start a Business that Helps People Plan

Some people are great at execution, while others are good at planning. These business ideas are for planners:

  • Event Planner
  • Party Planner
  • Business Plan Writer
  • Financial Planner
  • Open an Event Space

Ideas that Involve Weddings

Some people just love weddings. If you’re one of them, any of these could be the right business for you:

  • Wedding Planner
  • Wedding Officiant
  • Wedding Photographer
  • Wedding Videographer
  • Holiday Decorator
  • Open an Event Space
  • Catering
  • DJ
  • Start a Wedding Band

Love Food? Look at this Business Idea List!

Here are 14 ideas that involve delights for foodies:

  • Food Truck Business
  • Catering Business
  • Craft Beer Brewing
  • Espresso Cart
  • Create Recipe Books
  • Gluten-Free Bakery
  • Organic Vending Machines
  • Organic Food Catering
  • Organic Café
  • Coffee Shop
  • Farmers Market
  • Restaurant
  • Personal Chef
  • Nutritionist

Here’s a great interview we’ve done with a food trucking business.

Learn about running a restaurant straight from one of the oldest restaurants in the country:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8e3OKlQEcg"]

I’m a Financial Wizard…What Business Idea Is Good for Me?

For those of you who are great at math, consider these opportunities:

  • Online Bookkeeping
  • Business Incubator
  • Accountant
  • Financial Planner
  • Notary
  • Property Management Company
  • Tax Prep
  • Data Analytics

Businesses That Involve Tangible Work

If you like doing physical work that keeps your hands busy, consider a business idea in one of these fields:

  • Antique Refurbishment
  • E-Bike Repair Services
  • Solar Contractor
  • Sustainable Landscaping
  • Caddie
  • Make Jewelry
  • Music Lessons
  • Freelance Musician
  • Furniture Repair
  • Upholstery Cleaning
  • Upholstery Repair
  • Custom Furniture Maker
  • Welding
  • Appliance Repair
  • Fence Installer
  • Graffiti Removal
  • Massage Therapist
  • Moving Company
  • Holiday Decorator
  • Christmas Tree Sales
  • Mobile Car Repair
  • Tow Truck Company
  • Handyman
  • Tree Trimming

Construction is another great hands-on niche. For advice on how to start a small business in construction, watch this interview with Vitaly, whose company, VP Homes, brings in very impressive profit margins:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuqVb9B58CE"]

Consider These Real Estate Ideas

If you want to own land or buildings, consider these businesses:

  • Business Broker
  • Office Space Rental
  • Hostel Owner
  • VR Arcade Owner
  • Indoor Drone Racing
  • Flea Market
  • Home Inspector
  • Interior Decorator
  • Notary
  • Property Management Company
  • Farmers Market
  • Moving Company
  • Holiday Decorator
  • Christmas Tree Sales
  • Open an Event Space
  • Clothing Boutique
  • Tree Trimming
  • Real Estate Agent

Learn how JayMarc Homes grew into an $80M-a-year real estate business in this interview:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCSP8nNbdq8"]

I Want to Start a Healthy Living Business

If you love health, here are some business ideas for you:

  • Fitness Instructor
  • Anti-Aging Spa
  • CrossFit Gym
  • Medical Courier Service
  • Mobile Medical App Developer
  • Acupuncture Business
  • Mobile Hearing Aid Specialist
  • Respite Care 
  • Growing Medical Marijuana
  • Caretaker
  • Massage Therapist
  • Personal Chef
  • Nutritionist
  • Caretaker
  • Personal Trainer
  • Life Coach

Business Ideas in the Legal Field

You could become a lawyer, but there are a handful of other businesses that keep the legal field running. Consider one of these to get you started:

  • Interpreter
  • Notary
  • Public Relations
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Paralegal Services

Love Animals? Start a Pet Business

If you love animals, there are a variety of businesses you can get into, from providing in-demand services to pet owners to raising animals of your own.

Here are some of them:

  • Dog Groomer
  • Dog Walker
  • Pet Sitting or House Sitting
  • Veterinarian
  • Pet Trainer
  • Start a Ranch
  • Start a Farm

Businesses that Require Driving or Traveling

Expect to be on the go with these ideas for a business:

  • Security Services
  • Guided Tours
  • Electric Charging Station Provider
  • Dog Walker
  • Uber or Lyft Driver
  • Delivery Driver
  • Mobile Pet Grooming
  • Exotic Rental Car Company
  • Mobile Bar
  • Interior Decorator
  • Notary
  • Mobile Massage Therapist
  • Moving Company
  • Holiday Decorator
  • Mobile Car Repair
  • Tow Truck Company
  • Caretaker
  • Tree Trimming
  • Real Estate Agent

Miscellaneous Business Ideas

  • Importing Electronic Gadgets
  • Subscription Service Owner
  • Professional Juggler

Research Methodology

To compile this list of profitable business ideas, we took the following steps:

  • Download the NYU Stern’s Industry Sector database of publicly held companies.
  • Adjust the Net Margin by adding the Stock-Payments-to-Sales Ratio because most small businesses will not be paying employees with stock. This step gives a more accurate estimation of privately owned companies’ profits.
  • Compare each segment to the total market (including and excluding financials). Financial companies have a completely different set of rules they live by, and the way they make money is not comparable to other small business ideas.
  • Include segments with a higher net income than the overall market (excluding financials).
  • Compare the industries based on barriers to entry (green is best, red is worst).
  • Compare the industries based on the percentage of the industry representation in the database.

If you’d like to play with the complete data, you can find it here.

How to Choose Small Business Ideas

Every business owner is different, as is every successful business. If you want ideas on how to start a business, you need to consider small business ideas that fit your personality, skillset, and lifestyle.

Before you go full steam ahead, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is there a problem I want to solve?
  2. What do I want to spend the rest of my life doing?
  3. Do I have experience in the industry?
  4. Do I have the education to implement my business idea?
  5. How much will my small business idea cost?

Let’s look at how these questions will impact choosing your best small business ideas.

Is There a Problem I Want to Solve?

Screenshot of how to write a business plan article

Many small business owners start their own businesses because they see a problem in an industry and believe they can solve it. If you have a problem that needs to be solved, do market research, create a business plan, and start your own business.

If you don’t already have a small business idea, keep reading. I have some strategies I have developed to help people achieve their goals.

What Do I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Doing?

Over the years, a lot of people have told me, “I want to start a business but have no ideas.”

Diagram of best business ideas

A business is simply the intersection of what you are good at, what you enjoy, and what you can make money doing. There are so many business opportunities that people sometimes find these three questions overwhelming. That’s why I recommend a simple two-step strategy:

  • Take an aptitude and interest test.
  • Research your results.

I’ll explain the benefits of each step and how they’ll help you find good small business ideas for you.

Take an Aptitude and Interest Test

An aptitude and interest test is a two-part test used by high schools, colleges, the military, and state unemployment offices to help people find careers.

The aptitude portion of the test is skills-based and helps you figure out what you do well compared to other test takers. There are various questions involving abstract thought, math, English, and problem-solving. Job Test Prep has some examples of the questions you’ll be answering.

The interest portion asks questions like:

  • How much do you enjoy working outside on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • How much do you enjoy driving on a scale from 1 to 10?

The interest portion is focused on narrowing down the fields you are good at to ones that you will enjoy based on job descriptions. If you don’t like driving and don’t like working outside, then you probably won’t want to start a landscaping company.

I recommend reaching out to your local college or unemployment office and asking if they offer free or low-cost tests. They tend to have the most effective tests. O*NET ONLINE has resources for you to find the nearest career services centers.

Onet also provides online tests through My Next Move. You can find reviews of other tests on Monster.com. When you finish the test, it will give you a list of potential jobs that look similar to the one below:

It will also ask you to limit jobs by the education required. I chose “high education” for this one, and it suggested the following positions:

  • Advertising & Promotions Managers
  • Advertising Sales Agents
  • Art Directors
  • Commercial & Industrial Designers
  • Editors
  • Fundraisers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Interior Designers
  • Media Programming Directors
  • Media Technical Directors and Managers
  • Music Directors & Composers
  • Producers & Directors
  • Talent Directors
  • Video Game Designers
  • Writers & Authors
  • Choreographers
  • Marketing Managers
  • Public Relations Specialists

Now, you have a list of good business ideas, but how do we limit it to one great idea? You’re about to find out.

Research Your Results

We just limited the choices dramatically, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make a great living doing all these. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is extraordinary at collecting and analyzing data. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) shows the data on each industry, including:

  • Median Pay
  • Expected Growth
  • Education Level
  • Job Functions
Screenshot of bls.gov website

The picture below shows an example of the OOH. Your goal here is to verify that your business idea is in a growing field and will make you a reasonable living. Without those two characteristics, a small business idea will be competing with existing businesses for a smaller pie.

The best small business ideas will be in quickly growing industries because it’s easier to make a great living. Future Business Tech has a quick read about the fastest-growing sectors, and except for renewable energy and e-learning, all of them are in tech.

The Future Business Tech blog coincides with historical trends from the stock market, where IT, healthcare, and consumer discretionary offerings beat the market average between 2007 and 2021.

S&P 500 sector performance

Do I Have Experience in the Industry?

Paul Akers, the owner of FastCap, has brought hundreds of products to market in the woodworking industry, and he told us:

[su_quote]You have to be an expert in your field, or you almost don’t have a chance these days.[/su_quote]

If you don’t have experience, there are plenty of ways to gain it. You can:

  • Work with a small business in the field to gain experience.
  • Take online courses.
  • Find a business partner.
  • Freelance on Fiverr.

Once you’ve built up some experience, it will be easier to implement a business idea successfully.

Do I Have the Education to Implement My Business Idea?

Some fields have educational requirements that may lengthen the time to launch a business idea. For instance, states require engineers to have a bachelor’s degree, references, and five or more years in the field to become a Principal Engineer (the person who signs construction documents certifying they are up to code).

If you don’t have the education and experience, you have a few options:

  • Consider small business ideas with less stringent requirements and get the education you need while working on another business idea or in a related field.
  • Fast-track your education. I completed a bachelor’s and an MBA between 2013 and 2017. You can move fast if you are determined.
  • Find a business partner.

How Much Will My Small Business Idea Cost?

Small business ideas can cost several thousand to millions of dollars, depending on the industry. According to Zen Business, some with the highest barriers to entry include:

  • Telecommunications
  • Casinos
  • National and international shipping providers
  • Drug manufacturing (the legal kind)
  • Air transportation

Those niches are likely to be more expensive business ideas to start. The flip side of this is that they often have equally high revenue potential...if you have the financial resources for them.

On the other hand, some small business ideas require only a few hundred dollars. You can still make excellent money with a low-investment business, too.

For example, Mignon Francois had about $5 to her name when she started her cupcake business. Today, the Cupcake Collection is a $10 million company. Hear her story in this interview:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmviDvmh5js"]

Now that you know how to come up with business ideas, get ready to implement your idea.

Implement Your Own Business Idea!

After reviewing the list of business ideas, you’ll need to narrow it down to a few that might work for you. Then, begin working through these actions:

  • Perform market research.
  • Write a business plan.
  • Identify the total addressable market.
  • Get funding.
  • Name the business.
  • Structure the business.
  • Prepare to start running your business.

Let’s look at how each of these helps you turn a good business idea into a profitable business.

Perform Market Research

Understanding the industry you are going into is critical. You’ll need to understand who the major players are, what role they play in the market, and how they attract customers.

You’ll also need to understand who your customers are. That’s the point of market research. You are working to become an expert in the field. We have a whole blog dedicated to conducting market research.

While doing market research, make sure to save information about your competitors. I also suggest following their social media accounts to keep up to date on what businesses owned by other people are doing.

Make sure to sign up for early access to our mentor group.

Write a Business Plan

After researching the market, you’ll want to write a business plan. A business plan is simply a document that communicates what you are trying to achieve.

You can write a one-page plan or a highly detailed one. Regardless of whether you are going into event planning, becoming a life coach, or teaching a foreign language, complete business plans all include:

  1. Company Description
  2. Description of Products and Services
  3. Marketing Plan
    • SWOT Analysis
    • Competitor Data
    • Competitive Analysis
    • Marketing Expenses Strategy
    • Pricing Strategy
    • Distribution Channel Assessment
  4. Operational Plan
  5. Management and Organizational Strategy
  6. Financial Statements and/or Financial Projections
  7. Funding

For more information on each of these subjects, check out our blog about how to write a business plan or watch our interview with Mike Andes. He started mowing lawns to pay for college and has turned Augusta Lawn Care into one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world:

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Seac5PbUZXk"]

Go here to download our free template to help you create your own business plan. Or, if you don’t want to create your own, try Wise Business Plans. Their team of MBA writers, market researchers, and graphic designers has written more than 15,000 business plans.

Financial projections are an important part of this planning. We’ll explain the easiest way to estimate the market opportunity next.

Identify the Total Addressable Market

The total addressable market (TAM) is how much a small business idea is worth if the small business captures 100% of the addressable market. You’ll be able to establish this through market research.

For instance, if you’re selling custom-made tags for dogs, you would find the TAM by establishing:

  1. The number of dogs: We might encounter 76,811,305 in the U.S., according to the American Veterinarian Association.
  2. Percent of people who prefer custom products: Approximately 3.5% prefer vanity products based on U.S. vanity license plates.
  3. Value of tag: The average is about $20.

So the TAM would be 76,811,305 x 3.5% x $20 = $53,767,913.50. Of course, you aren’t likely to get 100% of that, but the #1 Etsy pet product seller makes approximately 2% of it per year. Find out how.

You’ll also need to fund your business. We’ll show you how.

Get Funding

Realistically, to succeed, you’ll need at least $1,000 to start some of the best small business ideas, plus enough to cover any personal and business expenses. Consider eCommerce shop ideas if you want low-cost side business ideas.

Whether you take a low-cost approach as you start a business or want to build a company you’ll eventually franchise, the most common options are:

  1. Self-funding: This might be what you earn from work or pull from retirement funds.
  2. Personal loan and mortgage refinance: Talk to your bank about these options.
  3. Loans from friends and family: Make sure to treat them like you would any other business partner.
  4. SBA Loans: These are harder to get but often have some of the best terms on the market.

Make sure you have a well-documented business plan if you are seeking loans. Lenders want to know that you have truly thought out your small business idea before they will consider lending you money for it.

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make in their attempts to get funding is assuming they can make as much as major corporations do.

Most businesses make less than $100K in revenue, and businesses without employees average less than that. In fact, most earn less than $50K per year in revenue. But as employees increase, so does revenue. Consider this breakdown of average revenue by number of employees:

  • 1-4 Employees: $387,000 average revenue
  • 5-9 Employees: $1,080,000 average revenue
  • 10-19 Employees: $2,164,000 average revenue
  • 20-99 Employees: $7,124,000 average revenue
  • 100-499 Employees: $40,775,000 average revenue

Even if you’re borrowing money from friends and family, presenting them with your plans for the business can prove that you’re serious about your new small business, making them feel more comfortable investing in it.

If you're looking for financing, go apply with our lending partners.

Name the Business

You’ll need to choose a business name. You’ll want to make sure:

  1. The .com domain is available. Use GoDaddy to check and reserve your domain.
  2. The name is available in the state(s) where you want to register. Just search ”my state’s SOS website” to find where to check for your state.
  3. The trademark is available. Use the Trademark Electronic Search System.

As long as all three show the name is available, you are ready to go to the next step, creating the business structure.

Structure the Business

A business structure simply identifies the type of business you are operating. This means you will:

  1. Choose whether you want to be an LLC, Sole Proprietor, S-Corp, C-Corp, or other structures. Read about the 11 types of business structures to see which is best for you.
  2. Register with the Secretary of State.
  3. Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS.
  4. Get a state seller’s permit/tax ID.
  5. Get any city or county licenses required.
  6. Fulfill any special requirements for your industry.

Make sure to consider your personal liability when choosing a structure. People typically go with an LLC, but recent research shows many businesses should opt to become an S-Corp for tax purposes.

Once you’ve taken these steps, you’ll be legally able to open a business. For low-cost businesses like blogging or social media management, you can get started almost immediately. For others, you’ll have other work you need to do. We’ll look at that next.

Prepare to Start Running Your Business

If you completed the last step, you are now a business owner. You’ll need to do a little more before you are ready to serve customers, though. Depending on your business type, you might need to:

Conclusion

There’s no one perfect business for everyone. Knowing how to get business ideas is the first step to evaluating all the options out there. Ultimately, you’ll have to identify which small profitable business ideas are best for your skills, personality, and location.

While it’s great being your own boss and setting your own hours, not everyone wants to start a business from scratch. We have resources for you if you’d prefer to buy a business, too. Check out our blog about how to buy a business for another way to become a small business owner!

What are some small business ideas you are considering, and what’s the most important factor in your decision-making process?


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