A good business idea may appear difficult to come by, but with a little planning and preparation, you can easily launch a small business to supplement your income — or become your own full-time boss.
Perhaps you already have an idea for a business you want to start. But, while you may be eager to start a new business and enthusiastic about your concept, you may be looking for some guidance.
Finding a business idea that works for you is the first step toward becoming a successful entrepreneur. This article contains a plethora of small business ideas that you can start from home and scale up as your clientele grows. Let’s get this party started.
Best Small Business C|oncepts
Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, stated, “We wouldn’t have been able to come up with a good idea if we had tried. All you have to do is solve a problem in your own life.”
If you’re like Brian and have already considered a solution to a problem in your life — or are on the verge of doing so — then starting a small business could be in your future. It could also be for you if you fantasize about quitting your 9-to-5 job and becoming your own boss.
We’ve compiled the best small business ideas for you, along with resources and examples to help you get started.
Are you constantly mending things around the house? Are you frequently on call for friends who need small projects completed? Create a website, conduct a competitive analysis to determine the value of your time and expertise, and seek referrals from previous clients.
If you already have a solid set of skills to help others fix up their homes, starting a handyman business is a good idea. Consider specializing in what you feel well-prepared to do — for example, if you know your way around a sink and water system, you could start by providing sink repair services and then expand your offerings as you gain more skills.
There are no certifications or special education requirements to become a handyman. If you plan to do work worth more than a certain amount of money, you may need to obtain a license. This license may not be required in all states.
We recommend the following resources to help you get started with your handyman business:
State Requirements for a Handyman License
The Most In-Demand Handyman Services Association of Certified Handymen
Similarly, if you enjoy making beautiful wood furniture or other home goods, that could be a small business niche for you. Begin by selling a few of your pieces on sites like Etsy. Consider starting a website, accepting custom orders, or expanding into refinishing and upholstery once you’ve established a following.
A small business for woodworkers is ideal if you already have a passion for woodworking and the tools to begin fulfilling orders as they come in. You don’t want to be “training” as you create a custom shelf or a custom storage box because delivering a well-made product is critical to keeping your customers happy. At least one year of experience as a woodworking apprentice is recommended.
There are no special education requirements to start a woodworking business, but there are a variety of woodworking training certifications available online, so we recommend beginning with a certification. Potential starting points include the Woodwork Institute, YesTomorrow, and The School of Fine Woodworking.
3. Online Dating Expert
Dating consultants typically charge a fee for their services. They assist people in creating successful online dating profiles, locating potential matches outside of traditional online channels, and providing a level of personalization that a site like Tinder cannot. Do you believe you have a talent for the game? This could be the right business for you.
Online dating consultants must have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as empathy. There are no special education or licensure requirements, but we recommend obtaining a certification, such as IAP College’s relationship coach certification or Hart Academy’s online dating coach certificate.
To launch an online dating consultant business, you’ll need a website that includes information about you as well as free dating resources that your customers might find useful. You can contact them for a free consultation after they have downloaded a resource.
4. Sewing and Alteration Expert
Clothing will always need to be hemmed and buttons repaired, and you could be the person to do it. If you enjoy sewing and have a sewing machine at home, begin by providing simple services such as those listed above and gradually expand your repertoire to include dressmaking and design as you build a customer base and demand.
You don’t need a special license or degree to start a sewing and alterations business, but you should practice so you can take on more difficult projects. High-value clients will want to personalize complex clothing items such as suits, pants, gowns, and dresses. That is where you will find the greatest profit potential.
However, modifying these items necessitates the use of specialized skills. You might want to look into the following courses:
- Tailoring for Beginners at International Open Academy
- Basic Alterations at Jackson Sewing Academy
- Programs at American Bespoke Tailoring Academy
- You’ll also need to buy sewing supplies in a variety of colors to accommodate your clients.
5. Independent Developer
Quality web development is in high demand right now, from building websites for other small businesses to providing technical support for specific projects. As a web developer, you will undoubtedly have technical skills. Distil your knowledge and expertise so that customers who don’t have your experience can understand what you’ll be assisting them with.
To assist with this, run your messaging by friends and family who are unfamiliar with your line of work. If they can summarize what you do, your messaging is probably effective among people who aren’t in your industry. You can begin looking for your first freelance contracts by visiting various freelance websites.
Unlike some of the other options on this list, a freelance developer does require some training to launch a successful business and begin accepting projects, but don’t worry if you’re a beginner. There are numerous boot camps available to teach you full-stack or front-end web development. Some of these boot camps are even provided by accredited technical schools.
You might want to look into the following boot camps:
6. Personal Trainer
To spread the word, provide in-home consultations, personalized nutrition and exercise regimens, and community boot camps. Don’t forget to fill your Instagram feed with inspirational quotes, free exercise videos, and delicious snack ideas — it’s a common way for fitness gurus to build their brands in our digital age.
If you go this route, it’s fine to start small and then scale up. MOURfit, for example, is an Indianapolis-based personal training business that began in a shared gym before expanding to a private gym that provides group fitness, personal training, and nutrition services.
A certification is required to start a personal training business. If you already have a degree in a completely unrelated field, we recommend beginning with the NASM-CPT certification, which is nationally recognized and only requires a high school diploma or GED. A Bachelor’s degree in physical and exercise science is also available; Emory & Henry College is one example.
7. Graphic Designer on the Side
Set your own hours, pick your own projects, and create a portfolio and business you’re proud of. Many businesses seek the assistance of experienced graphic designers for a variety of projects ranging from website design to blog graphics and beyond.
What’s the good news? There are no special education requirements to become a freelance graphic designer; however, we recommend obtaining a credential (such as SAIC’s graphic design certificate or RISD’s graphic design certificate) or an Associate’s degree in design so you can confidently present your portfolio and complete your first few projects.
If you’re just getting started in graphic design, try these beginner-friendly tips and tricks. If you’re more experienced but need to build your portfolio to attract clients, these prompts will get your creative juices flowing quickly. We also recommend looking at other people’s work on portfolio websites to get a sense of what’s “trendy” and to get feedback as you grow your small business.
8. Life and Career Coach
Use your experience successfully navigating career, personal, and social transitions as a life or career coach. Many of us are looking for career guidance, but finding someone who has the time to mentor us can be difficult.
Life/career coaches are not cheap, but they can provide clients with the intensive and hands-on training and advice they require to make significant changes in their personal and professional lives. After all, everyone requires some encouraging words from time to time.
To confidently launch your life/career coaching business, look for a certification program (such as the Life Coach School’s or Diane Hudson’s), then apply your skills as you acquire new clients.
Are you looking for ideas? As a career and leadership coach, Nariah Broadus has spent more than 20 years assisting people in creating better work environments and successfully navigating change. Check out her story for more motivation to start your own small business.
9. Writer of Resumes
Putting together a resume, cover letter, and — if necessary — portfolio for a new job can be difficult and time-consuming. That is why many people hire assistance. Assist clients with tailored resumes, beautifully edited cover letters, and carefully crafted portfolios that employers will find difficult to overlook. If you’re nervous about writing resumes from scratch, you can start with the templates below:
A resume writing business is low-cost, with few overhead expenses and few educational requirements. We still recommend having an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree on hand, as well as a few resume samples. If you still feel you need to improve your resume writing skills, you can enroll in a course through Coursera or LinkedIn Learning.
Once you’ve mastered resume writing, you can expand your business to include cover letter writing and even career coaching in addition to these services.
10. Freelancing writer
Someone out there is willing to pay you for your writing abilities. Write as many blog posts, magazine articles, and website copy as you can — just make sure you have a body of work to show potential clients. Even if you only make a few sample pieces to keep on hand, they will help you showcase your work and attract new clients.
To become a freelance writer, you must first identify a niche. For example, you could choose to only write for publications in the healthcare industry (perhaps because you previously worked in the field) or focus on lifestyle publications. Specializing, in any case, will help you find your niche market and gain confidence as a new freelance writer.
There are no academic requirements for freelance writing, but you must have excellent writing skills. It is also beneficial to enjoy writing. While obtaining a certification may be advantageous, getting practice and writing every day is more important. To get started, try these writing prompts.
All neighborhoods require mowing, tree trimming, and seasonal decorations. A landscaping business can be profitable if you have or can acquire the necessary equipment. It’s also a good option if you enjoy doing it for yourself and have a good eye for landscape design.
The good news is that you can begin slowly. For example, you could offer seasonal planting services to your neighbors and begin with a few perennial plants, or you could simply offer mulching services.
Consider formal training to help you grow your landscaping business. Courses are available from the following organizations:
After completing a course and gaining sufficient experience, you can apply for a landscaping organization’s certificate. While a certificate isn’t required to work in the field, it can help you build your credentials and make industry connections to advance your landscaping business. One possible certificate you could pursue is from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
Some states require licensure, particularly if you plan to use pesticides or fertilizers. Make sure to check your state’s requirements.
Learn the fundamentals of landscape design with this Lowe’s video:
Video production necessitates an initial investment in equipment, which can be quite costly. That is, however, what makes your services so valuable. Make sure you have a reel of your work to share, or set up a website with several selections of your work for interested viewers to view.
Starting a video production business requires no formal education or licensing. However, as with writing and other creative arts, it pays to specialize. Real estate videos are very different from wedding videos, and wedding videos are very different from in-studio interviews and testimonials. You can target a highly specific customer who will benefit the most from your services by specializing, and you can also skill-up more effectively in one shooting style.
While general videography classes are available, you should consider taking a class in the type of videography you want to do. If you want to go down that path, you could take The Complete Wedding Videography Course.
If you want to specialize in video marketing, read The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing and download our starter pack below.
Begin by taking photos of your family and friends. As you develop your portfolio, solicit referrals and reviews. Create a Facebook page where you can tag recent clients to help your photography business grow by word of mouth. Photos tagged with those clients will appear in their friends’ newsfeeds, allowing them to see your work. You can also request that they leave feedback on your Facebook business page.
You should specialize, just as you would with a video production small business. Will you shoot product or portraits? What about weddings or fashion shoots? You’ll be able to create a body of work that most accurately represents your strengths once you’ve specialized.
There are no educational or licensing requirements for starting a small photography business, but we recommend taking a few photography classes, especially if you haven’t used your camera in a long time. You could begin with the following courses:
Then, look for courses that will help you develop skills in your chosen specialty.
If you’re not sure where to begin with freelance photography, check out Erica Clayton’s journey below. Her words of wisdom? Set a firm deadline for turning a profit.
If you’re not sure where to begin with freelance photography, check out Erica Clayton’s journey below. Her words of wisdom? Set a firm deadline for turning a profit.
14. Owner of a Bed and Breakfast
This is another business venture that will necessitate researching the appropriate state licensure, but it will be well worth it to see your dreams come true. Consider who will be visiting your area and create special packages and themed stays that correspond to their interests in your area.
A physical business location and a small staff for maintenance, customer service, and upkeep are required to start a bed and breakfast business. As a result, if you have startup funds to start your business, we recommend it. (Do you not have any? Here’s how to get started with crowdfunding for your new business.)
A successful bed and breakfast establishment will also require an SEO-friendly website with a hotel booking system. If you build your website on the WordPress platform, you can easily create a B&B website by utilizing a hotel booking plugin, eliminating the need to code the booking form from scratch.
With Airbnb and hotels taking market share, competition in the bed and breakfast space is fierce, so we recommend offering a unique angle to the stay. As previously stated, the stays can be themed — for example, your B&B could be a vintage home with all original furniture, or you could serve traditional fare from your homeland.
15. Owner of a Clothing Boutique
Why not start with a local boutique if you want to build your own fashion empire? Create buzz with eye-catching clothing, motivating social media accounts, and active community involvement. While you can open a physical store, you can easily begin online — and if that proves profitable, you can open a physical store.
There are several ways to start a clothing boutique. First, if you already have experience in fashion design or know how to sew, knit, and curate colors and patterns, you can make the clothes yourself.
Alternatively, you can design specific aspects of the clothing, such as a graphic or a logo, and then send it to a local print shop to be printed on-demand as orders come in.
Finally, you can dropship the items from a warehouse with which you have a partnership. This method is less dependable because each item has less quality assurance, especially if you never visit the warehouses yourself. Starting a clothing boutique, regardless of method, is very doable, and you do not need a fashion degree (though it certainly helps).
Take a cue from Sleep Ova, a luxury loungewear boutique in Los Angeles, CA.
16. Owner of a Specialty Food Store
Gourmet foods, cheeses, sake, wine — you name it, a specialty food store sells it. Use your passion for exotic olive oils to open a store like American Provisions, where you can provide the kind of expertise and selection that your audience can’t get from their local grocer.
To begin your specialty food store, you should curate and source items from makers you admire and trust. Ask around your neighborhood for local makers of the food you want to sell, and the makers will most likely be open to a collaboration, especially if they get a cut of the profits.
When the time comes to sell, you’ll want to find a physical location, but if that’s too expensive, you can start by setting up stalls at food festivals and local markets. You can also go the ecommerce route and sell the products through your website, taking care to pack perishable items carefully.
17. Owner of a Food Truck
Always wanted to own a restaurant but weren’t quite ready to make the leap? With a food truck, you can put your ideas to the test. It’s a great way to learn about food and restaurant licensing in your state, see what people like and dislike, and build a devoted following before opening or investing in a physical location.
Food trucks will require a larger investment, but you can rent the truck itself — the Food Truck Group and Roaming Hunger are two potential leasers to consider. Because the cost will be high, we recommend renting one in advance of an event such as a food festival or concert. There, you’ll be able to gauge the popularity of your cuisine and determine whether the food truck business is right for you.
Taco Nganas, a taco truck in Memphis, Tennessee, began with one food truck and has since expanded to three, gaining a loyal customer base along the way.
18. Car Detailing Expert
The devil, like you, is in the details. Car-detailing services that come to the client are convenient for people who are too busy to go to the car wash. With this business, your customers only have to pay once, and the service will be completed before they know it. Simply ensure that you have the necessary flexibility, transportation, and equipment to take your business on the road.
Although there are no educational requirements for car detailing, you should take a course like Auto Finesse’s detailing training to learn core concepts and sharpen your skills.
You’ll need an SEO-optimized website and a way for customers to book online with you to get your car detailing business off the ground. However, before you do so, consider listing your services on websites like Angi, Thumbtack, and even Nextdoor.com to get your first local clients.