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Over the past two years, we’ve seen a record number of people leave the corporate workforce in favor of gig work, freelancing, or starting a small business. And let’s be honest, everyone has at least thought of quitting their job working for The Man at least twice or thrice (a month?).
That’s why we dove in to find the best small business ideas for those of you who are looking to get out of your mundane 9-5 job, or just want something new to invest your time and brain power into. In this post you’ll learn:
Knowing that people have different motivations for starting their own business, we searched for the best small business ideas in four different areas: stability, profitability, ease of starting, and creativity. Before we get into each one, let’s cut to the chase and give you our prize-winners for each category:
Remote work is all the rage, for good reason. Why leave your house to make money when you don’t have to? No more commute, no more expensive lunches and inescapable coworkers. We have the best small business ideas that you can make happen right from the comfort of your home.
After entire families were stuck at home together for months on end, daycare providers are in high-demand for parents who transitioned to remote work. The best part? If you are a stay-at-home parent, you can offer daycare out of your home and take care of your kids at the same time.
Avg. yearly salary: $29,000
During and after the pandemic, gyms saw huge drops in membership numbers and influencers had a field day with DIY at-home videos. People figured out that they don’t need to go all the way into a gym to exercise. And the rise of video fitness trainers created an interest in a variety of exercise experiences. Which is a fancy way of saying that online fitness training, on YouTube, Instagram, via the MindBody app, and more, is a thriving business model.
Salaries for trainers range from $30,000 – $70,000 per year, but the money you make online would be dependent on your pricing model.
Fitness trainer or not, video is the way to go. Follow our tips on how to get more video views and rank higher on YouTube.
Learning to be a web developer does require training and upfront schooling costs. However, there are plenty of boot camps that will get you up to speed. And the best thing about web development is that you can choose a plethora of specialities, from focusing on marketing websites to e-commerce to blogs…basically anything you can browse on the internet.
If you’re not looking to actually be a web developer, consider starting a small business to manage them. Freelance web development is in high demand!
Web dev salaries are fairly high, starting around $60,000 per year and going up to $150,000 depending on your skillset and location.
As the economy experiences massive growth through tech, there are plenty of up-and-coming c-suite executives who somehow never learned to schedule meetings (shots fired). But really, being an executive assistant can take place from the comfort of your home at a remote company, and if your executive is looking for part-time help, you can take on more than one. And there you have it, a burgeoning small business from home!
Starting a small business is a lot easier when you know you’re contributing a net-good to your community. Starting a nonprofit isn’t easy, but it can be done remotely, particularly if you’re looking to run this business yourself. Pick a cause that you feel passionately about and dive right in.
What do we mean by “good” small businesses? We mean evergreen, stable businesses that provide a service people will always need. Anecdotally, my grandfather heard Hoover promise to put a chicken in everyone’s pot. People will always eat chicken. So he started a chicken business. Don’t worry, these small business ideas don’t require plucking feathers.
As the world becomes more global, the need for translation services continues to rise. Some of that involves translating emails, documents, and content, but others are more service-oriented, like accompanying groups or business leaders on international trips. It’s important to note that you’ll not only need conversational translation skills but also grammatical and structural understanding of a language.
If you’re an adult who has graduated from high school and/or college, you likely have something to teach kids. If you have an affinity for teaching, try out tutoring first. Not only can you tutor multiple students, you can dabble in different subject matter, like SATs or remedial Spanish. The time commitment stays according to what you want and small tutoring businesses are in high-demand, even remotely.
People just keep having babies! If you love playing with kids, using your imagination and packing snacks, a nanny business might be for you. Depending on your level of commitment to one family, sometimes nannying positions offer food, board, and benefits, or you could be a part time nanny!
This is a small business that is always needed by other small businesses. If you know your way around an IT stack and know how to fix it when it breaks, make a website and start collecting payments because you’re in high demand.
IT professionals are well-compensated by job or by the hour.
At this point, to say that digital marketing is an ever-growing industry is to say that the sky is blue. It’s a fact and businesses that want to survive must invest in online marketing strategies, but small business owners wearing many hats don’t have time to learn or keep up with the ever-changing platforms. Consider starting an advertising gig for small businesses. You might even end up starting your own agency.
If you want to learn about online advertising, you’re in the right place, my friend (both on this blog and in this post). Here are our best recommendations:
Why start a business if you’re not sure you’ll make money? We all work to live (hopefully), and these small business ideas will make you the most money to keep your bank account plump and your vacations fancy.
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. While I am in the process of renovating an old house, I have never appreciated handymen more. If you are handy around the house and like figuring out how to fix things, a handyman business could be for you.
Payment for handymen varies based on the type and length of a job.
Related: Home Services Advertising Benchmarks
This may fall into creative small businesses, but it is also a fairly steady job (despite the pandemic). People will always celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, and need help with planning the events. If you are hyper-organized, can herd cats with the best of them, and have attention to detail, consider planning events!
With video content becoming more popular by the year, transcription services become even more important. In fact, I was desperately searching for transcriptions just last week. Now, I’m referring to casual marketing video transcription but for a legal or court transcriptionist or medical, you’ll need certifications that are fairly affordable to get.
Transcriptionists make an average of $52,000 per year.
We’ve seen a rash of big moves the past few years with people exiting urban areas to purchase homes in the suburbs—and some migration back to big cities as well. Moving isn’t fun for anyone and small moving companies have made a fortune on this real estate boom. Get in on the action by starting a small moving business.
Movers typically get paid per hour or per job, if it’s a multi-day, out-of-state move.
Okay, it’s likely you’ve never heard of this one, and it likely mostly applies to people who live in historic areas. However, there is a niche market for people who are able to restore and reinstall original fixtures in old homes, from cabinet pulls to bricks and old window panes. In fact, I just bought 200 year old bricks specific to my town to place in the house I’m renovating. So if vintage charm is your style, this small business may also be.
Looking for a side hustle that doesn’t take too much effort? Same. We found the easiest small businesses to start that will also be (we hope) fun too!
Not to disregard the effort that goes into raising pets, taking care of pets can be the best job ever. You can be a dog walker, a cat sitter, check on chickens, feed horses, the list goes on and on. You can choose which jobs you want to take, what hours you want to work, and sometimes you’ll get to house sit as an added bonus.
Pet sitter businesses make between $10-$25 per hour, depending on the number of pets and your location.
I’m pretty stoked on this one. Yes, being a proofreader and QA specialist are different…but also very similar. If you are a good writer and have a knack for noticing tiny details, these jobs might be for you. They are always in high demand, because who has time to check their own work these days, and you can easily pick up work on UpWork or a number of other freelance sites until your portfolio is ready to launch your small business.
Proofreaders and QA specialists can get paid up to $80,000 per year.
Ever need something notarized and don’t know where to go? Luckily, I know some small business owners who have a notary on-call. Becoming a notary isn’t the easiest process, but it isn’t expensive. And once you’re done, you too can be an on-call notary or offer your services to courthouses and small businesses full-time.
Notary salaries have a broad range from $20,000-$52,000 per year. But being able to choose when to work (or not) while you have a high-demand certification will come in clutch.
Once upon a time, my parents rented out half of their house on AirBnb. They made a killing in their little hotel-less town with grandparents visiting family, families in between homes, and business people staying for a consulting project. Eventually they stopped Airbnb because it was too much work for my mom to clean and sanitize after every guest.
Point of the story: rental managers are largely successful and becoming even more so with the rise of home rentals. Reach out to local Airbnb and VRBO hosts to see how you can help manage their rentals acting as a sort-of superintendent for guests.
Rental manager salaries are dependent on where you are located, but most profitable in urban centers.
Being a personal shopper is the dream of so many fashion students. Imagine being able to shop for the perfect jewelry, clothing, furnishings, and not actually having to pay for any of it! With the expansion of online ecommerce stores, most of this job can be done remotely. And personal shoppers are well-compensated, earning about $60,000 per year.
Want to start a small business to lean into your creative juices? Maybe you work in a corporate environment and excel sheets have dried up your brain. I’m all for having a creative outlet, and if you can make money off of it, even better. Here are our creative small business ideas.
If I had leaned into the plant-mom craze, I might want to be a landscaper, but I hate gardening. However, if you’re the type of person who gets stress relief from gardening, landscaping might be for you.
This can be one of the most satisfying, creative jobs. You’ll have the ability to transform properties into magic gardens—or at least maintain green lawns, flower beds, ponds, and make people happy.
Landscaper pay can be between $10-25/hour, or you can price your services by project.
Ever receive a box in the mail full of customized snacks, wine, gadgets, and knick-knacks? I’ve been loving the gift boxes I receive now that I’m working fully remote. And you better believe I love working with gift kit creators, who search markets far and wide to curate the perfect batch for their audiences. Gift kit businesses don’t require too much upfront, as you can ask the buyer to pay before purchasing and drop shipping any items.
This is my dream job. Travel planners get perks galore, from discounted hotel rates to inside info about airlines and tour guides. It can be the most creative small business through planning trips in a niche–maybe your specialty is South America or Iceland trips for college kids or seniors! Even better, this business can be run from home…or anywhere in the world.
Travel agents typically get paid between $35,000-$67,000 per year.
While some people might not consider being an influencer a creative business, I certainly think the trendsetters of the world would differ. There are plenty of courses to take that will help train you to be an influencer in this brave new world of social media.
Being an influencer comes with a lot of scrutiny and variable pay; this is truly a pick-your-own-adventure type of gig.
Influencer or not, the fact that influencers exist speaks to the power of social media marketing, so make sure you’re using it for whatever business you start!
Thrifting, altering, and upselling vintage goods was the way NastyGal got their start—and has now become somewhat of an online business. If you have an affinity for spotting diamonds in the rough, hit your local goodwill, grab some clothes, make an eBay account, and get selling. You can be your own boss, designer, brand, or whatever you please with this creative small business.
The most successful businesses solve a problem for a specific group of people. When you’re looking to start a small business, not a big corporation with investor funding, look for a niche that you, and you alone, are the best person to step into.
It’s okay if you don’t know what your passion is yet! Don’t put pressure on yourself to figure it all out on day one. These ideas are meant to be just that, ideas. Iterate on them, make them your own, and we can’t wait to help you succeed.
Here’s the full list of the best small businesses to start that we covered above. But we’re not done yet! Keep scrolling to find out why.
At the end of the day, the best small business for you to start depends on your motivation for starting a business. Is it to work from home? Monetize a hobby? Start a nonprofit? Spice up your life? Here are some more great small business ideas to consider.
Here are some at-home small business ideas for the introverts, the homebodies, or the homebound!want to have to leave your home!
There are tons more evergreen needs out there to give you small business ideas. Here are just ten:
Aside from our five above, ten more of the best small profitable businesses to start are:
If you want to run a side gig, here are some easy small business ideas for you:
Art is everywhere! These creative small business ideas afford you endless outlets of expression!
Last but not least, here is an eclectic mix of interesting small business ideas to get you intrigued…