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Starting a business

73 Small Business Ideas for Anyone Who Wants to Start Their Small Business

This article will cover 73 new business ideas to help your entrepreneurship dreams become a reality. From pet sitting to graphic design, you’ll find something ideal for you in our small business idea guide. 

73 Good ideas to help you decide where to start 

If you’ve always wanted to start your own business, but you’ve run out of feasible ideas, you’re not alone. While many of us have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, few actually go out and make it happen. You may envision yourself as the head of a large enterprise, or perhaps you just want to generate a passive income on the side. Whatever your goals, our 65 business ideas will provide a great starting point. 

We’ll end with three questions to help guide your decision and ensure your chosen idea will work for you. 

Let’s begin! 

Table of contents:

Best businesses to start with limited funds 

It’s a common misconception that you need a large fund to start a business. In fact, you can start your own enterprise with little to no money if you choose an idea with very little overhead costs. Taking advantage of free online tools and templates can also help you lower your starting costs. 

Here are six ideas you can start today.

1. Pet sitting

Not everyone travels with their pets, and when they hit the road, they need someone to take care of their furry friends for them. While it can be sporadic, pet sitting is a viable business option that lets you serve others and fulfill your love for animals.

2. Dog walking

Similarly, a dog walking business gets you outdoors and lets you bond with some adorable four-legged friends. And as a bonus, both options lend themselves easily to channeling your caretaking into fun business cards, social media posts, and even custom, professional invoicing to help customers spread the word about your business.

3. Product tester

Do you love testing out the latest and greatest products on the market and providing a thorough review? You can work with businesses to try out their latest products and give feedback, or even get your own site up and running that offers insights into whether or not certain products are worth their price tag.

4. Personal shopper

Errands take up a lot of time, and personal shoppers can ease the burden by covering those errands for other people—for a fee, of course. While it’s not the most traditional business idea, word-of-mouth marketing should help you establish a client base.

5. Travel planner

Are you a master at coordinating itineraries or finding those hidden gems that aren’t crawling with tourists? Now more than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can put your skills to work (and fuel your wanderlust!) by helping other people plan their own holidays.

6. Tailoring and clothing repairs

Are you skilled with a needle and thread? Tailoring is frequently cited as a dying art. So, if you’re someone who can hem pants or patch up holes in clothing, you’ll likely be able to find plenty of eager customers who are ready and willing to support your tailoring business.

Small business ideas you can start from home

Starting a business from home can help you keep your costs low as you start out on your entrepreneurial journey. There are plenty of business ideas that you can successfully operate from the comfort of your own space. Let’s take a look at five of these ideas.

7. Freelance writing services

If you have a way with words, starting a freelance writing business can be lucrative. Many businesses need content for websites, blogs, and marketing materials. With the demand for online content continuously growing, there's a vast market to tap into.

8. Virtual assistance 

Many entrepreneurs and small businesses are in need of virtual assistants to help with tasks like email management and scheduling. You’ll act as their administrative support, ensuring everything is running smoothly.  This business allows you to leverage your organisational skills to assist others from the comfort of your home.

9. Online tutoring services

With the rise of online education, there's a growing demand for online tutors. If you excel in a particular subject, you can offer your services to students around the world. This business can be especially rewarding if you enjoy helping others learn and reach their academic dreams.

10. Social media management.

Many businesses recognise the importance of having a strong online presence. If you're well-versed in using social media, you can offer your services to manage and grow the social media accounts of businesses. This can be a valuable service as companies look to engage with their audience and increase their brand visibility.

11. E-commerce stores

It’s easy to set up an online store, and selling products from home is more accessible than ever, thanks to the internet. If you have a product or niche you're passionate about, starting an e-commerce store allows you to reach a global audience. This business idea also provides opportunities for dropshipping or creating handmade goods.

Online business ideas creating, editing, or marketing

If you see yourself as a creative person, you may be interested in starting a business that utilises your expertise.

12. Blogger

Plenty of writers make money off of their personal blogs or by authoring blog posts for brands that are eager to leverage content marketing. It costs little to nothing to launch a site (and you can easily work from home or get set up in your favourite coffee shops).

13. Vlogger

If you had told someone just a few decades ago that they could run a thriving business just by recording and uploading their daily activities, they likely would have laughed. But vlogging has become a bonafide career.

14. Translator

If you’re bilingual or multilingual, use those skills to start your own translation business. There are a variety of ways you could take this business—whether it’s doing transcripts online or serving as an in-person translator to facilitate conversations.

15. Proofreader or copy editor

Do you have an eye for typos? Do you grit your teeth every time you see a misplaced apostrophe or a grammatical error? Start a business as a copy editor or proofreader—so you can catch those mistakes for your clients.

16. Freelance copywriter

Writing is everywhere. Whether you want to write website copy and social media captions or professional bios and mission statements, there’s an ever-growing need for qualified copywriters.

17. Resume or CV writer

Everybody struggles to write about themselves and their accomplishments. If you consider that one of your skills, start a resume writing business to work with clients on pulling together solid career documents that help them land jobs.

18. Social media marketing

You know that any modern business needs to have a presence on social media, but this is still an area where many people struggle (24% of small businesses don’t use social media at all). Lend your expertise to help them engage their audiences and market their own businesses online. Rather than social media management, you’ll work to curate engaging posts for your clients to post. 

19. Website developer

Almost every small business needs a website, which means there’s plenty of opportunities for website developers to build booming one-person operations or agencies.

This idea is particularly well-suited as a side-hustle that can balloon into full-time self-employment. As you expand your business, remember to treat your developer business with the same level of technical savvy you would with websites themselves. That means tracking financial performance through easy-to-use and smart reporting.

20. Marketing affiliate

If you already have an established audience online, affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn some extra income. You’ll share links on your website, newsletter, or social outlets and then receive a commission every time someone clicks that link or makes a purchase. It’s very little work for you that can lead to a big payoff.

21. Sell domain names

Are you future-focused? Do you think you could spot domain names that are available now—but might be popular in the future? You can purchase those and then sell them for a profit when somebody else wants to use that domain.

22. Website flipper

Much like a house flipper, a website flipper purchases existing websites, improves them, and then sells them for a higher price. If you have some basic web development and design chops, this sort of business can be a lucrative creative challenge.

Business ideas for students

As a student, you might be looking for a business idea that you can work on alongside your studies. Let’s take a look at some viable ideas that won’t take up too much of your time. 

23. Online reselling

Students can start an online reselling business by sourcing and selling products through platforms like eBay or Etsy. This is a low-cost way to enter the entrepreneurial world, and students can focus on items they are passionate about, such as vintage clothing, handmade crafts, or collectibles.

24. Freelance web development

For students with coding skills, freelance web development is a lucrative option. Many businesses and individuals seek help with building or maintaining websites. This business allows students to gain practical experience while earning an income.

25. Online courses or E-books

Students can create and sell online courses or e-books on platforms like Udemy or Amazon Kindle. This business leverages its knowledge in a particular subject and provides a passive income stream as the content continues to be accessible to a global audience.

Business opportunities if you already have a product 

If you already have a product idea - then great! You’re clearly on the way to making your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Let’s take a look at some business opportunities perfect for you. 

26. Farmer’s market supplier

Is your garden overflowing with more veggies than you could use on your own? Are you ready to take your soap-making hobby up a notch? Do some research to find out what it takes to get a booth at your local farmer’s market so you can start selling your wares to your community.

27. Etsy or eBay seller

It’s no secret that a lot of shopping these days happens online, and there are tons of existing marketplaces that make it easy for people like you to sell their goods. Whether you create custom wedding invitations or refurbish vintage clothing, these platforms will help you get your finds and creations out into the world.

28. Amazon seller

If you have a product that isn’t quite a fit for one of the above marketplaces, consider looking into selling on Amazon. Even though Amazon is a retail giant, selling on Amazon is pretty straightforward—especially if you do Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and let them take care of storing and shipping your items. Read more about starting a business on Amazon 

29. E-commerce merchant

Are you a whiz at crocheting mittens or creating customised jewelry? Have you been sitting on a new product idea for years? With so many resources out there, creating your own e-commerce store is straightforward and cost-effective.

Top tip: No matter what platform you choose, you pay special attention to things like inventory management, online sales tax, and credit card payment processing. They’re not the most exciting parts of online retail, but they can derail you fast if you’re not prepared.

30. Drop shipper

If you want to run an e-commerce business—but don’t understand the ins and outs or have any room for inventory—dropshipping is a viable option. As a drop shipper, you choose a product you want to sell from a supplier and list it on your own website at a price you determine.

When a customer places an order, you then order that item (at a discounted price) from the supplier, who ships it directly to the customer. Essentially, you act as a middleman who’s earning a profit.

Creative services for creatives and tech geniuses

Are you looking for creative business ideas? From photography to app development, you can turn your skills into a viable business path. 

31. Photographer

Photography is more than just a hobby—it’s a highly sought-after skill in numerous different industries. From wedding photographers to product photographers, there’s no shortage of methods to start and expand a business in this field.

32. Photo editor

Do you have a creative eye and consider yourself an expert in Photoshop and other editing programs? Especially in this current age of Instagram, you could build a business as someone who professionally edits photos for other businesses and individuals.

Grow Your Business with QuickBooks

33. Videographer

From weddings to corporate commercials, there’s a huge demand for video content today—whether it’s for content that promotes a brand or captures a special memory. If you have an eye for film, a videographer business is a great option for you.

34. Video producer

Those who are both highly creative and organised might want to look into a business as a video producer. You’ll oversee and manage all aspects of video production—including pre-production, production, and post-production.

35. Music teacher

Your childhood dreams of becoming a rockstar may have gone by the wayside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a living with music. Share your knowledge with others by becoming a music teacher.

36. Graphic designer

Have an eye for graphic design? Whether you want to design promotional brochures, invitations, infographics, or something else entirely, there’s no shortage of design work out there that’s ripe for the taking.

37. App developer

If you have a background in programming, you can consider starting your own business as an app developer. You might just create the next must-have app.

38. Website developer

Almost every small business needs a website, which means there are plenty of opportunities for website developers to build booming one-person operations or agencies.

This idea is particularly well-suited as a side hustle that can balloon into full-time self-employment. As you expand your business, remember to treat your developer business with the same level of technical savvy you would with websites themselves. 

39. Electronics repairing

Are you the first person your friends call when their internet is out, or their TV won’t turn on? We all rely on devices today, which means a business in electronics repair can be both helpful and lucrative.

40. Internet security

Over the years, you’ve developed a lot of knowledge of what it takes to stay safe and secure online, and you know that your knowledge can benefit plenty of people. Start your business as an internet security consultant so you can help everybody else avoid disaster.

Business services ideas that don’t require a license

41. House sitting

For people who travel frequently, it’s reassuring to have someone back at home who can take in their mail, water their plants, and generally keep an eye on their homes. If that appeals to you, consider starting a house-sitting business where you can offer your services and provide those travelers with some extra peace of mind.

42. Cleaning

If you’re skilled at digging into every nook and cranny and making a space shine, a cleaning business (whether residential or commercial) could be a lucrative fit for you.

43. Car detailing

Don’t we all want to recapture how great our vehicles looked when we drove them off the dealership lot? If you have patience and great attention to detail, start a business where you can get people’s cars in tip-top shape once again.

44. Landscaping

Any homeowner will tell you that maintaining the exterior of their home—from mowing the lawn to weeding the garden beds to watering the flowers to removing the snow—is a lot of work. That’s exactly why landscaping can be an in-demand business venture year-round.

45. Handyman

If you’re someone who can roll up your sleeves and fix that leaky sink or patch those broken gutters, homeowners everywhere are frequently paying for these types of repair services.

46. Home staging

Did you know that homes that are staged before being listed sell about 73% faster? There’s a real demand for people who have an eye for design who can stage a home and showcase its full potential.

47. Interior designer

Similarly, you can also leverage your design skills for homes that aren’t on the market by becoming an interior designer for a variety of clients and projects—whether it’s making an office lobby homier or helping an individual spruce up their living room.

48. Refurbisher

You believe they don’t make things like they used to. You love digging for antique treasures and vintage finds and restoring them to their former glory. Those types of items can draw a lot of interest, and a refurbishing business can help you share your passion with others—while also putting some extra dollars in your pocket.

Best businesses for people who love fun, food, and other people

If you’re looking for a business that centres around providing fun and food to other people, you’re likely an outgoing person that thrives on human interaction. These business ideas will help you use your people skills to turn a profit.

49. Tour guide

If you live in an area that’s popular with visitors, you can start a business dedicated to showing them the sights in your town. Or, you can take your business on the road and serve as a tour guide at a variety of destinations.

50. Tutor to children or adults

Not all students excel in a classroom environment, so your tutoring business can give them the individualised attention they need to thrive at school.

51. Event planning

Are you constantly being complimented on the parties you put together? From corporate events to children’s birthday parties, there are plenty of directions you can take an event planning business.

52. Dating coach

Dating doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you’re someone who has a knack for forming connections and acing first dates, start a business to offer your insights and expertise to other daters.

53. Matchmaker

In a similar vein, if you think you have a discerning eye for compatibility, a matchmaking business can be highly rewarding.

54. Meal planner

We all know those busy families who end up repeatedly running through drive-thrus because they don’t have the time to figure out dinner. Your meal-planning business could help them enjoy more home-cooked meals.

55. Meal delivering

If you’re someone who has a knack for cooking, start a business where you deliver home-cooked meals. You likely won’t be hard-pressed to find some busy families who are willing to pay for this helpful service.

56. Personal chef

You can start a bookkeeping business if you have a knack for numbers and organisation, you should be able to find clients who are willing to pay you for keeping their own financial records updated.

57. Baker

Yes, you can build a business off of your sweet tooth. Especially with customised cupcakes and cookies becoming popular treats for a variety of events (like bridal and baby showers), your baking business could really take off.

58. Food truck

Starting your own food truck will require a little more overhead (and some licenses and permits). But, a food truck is also a great way to get out in the community—while also sharing some delicious eats.

59. Catering service

Again, if you’re always complimented on your delicious cooking, individuals and even other businesses are willing to pay to have high-quality dishes at their own events.

60. Companion 

As a senior companion, you can offer company and conversation to a senior who lives alone or far away from their own family. This is not only a profitable business idea but is rewarding, too.

Professional services that require training or certifications 

Some career paths require training and certification, and the same applies when starting a business in this field. Let’s take a look at which business ideas require some form of professional certification.

61. Personal trainer

If you’re constantly trying out new workouts or researching the newest trends in nutrition, start a personal training business where you can help other people pursue the healthiest versions of themselves.

62. Business consultant

Consultants are in high demand for businesses that need certain expertise on hand but not enough to warrant a full-time hire. That provides an excellent opportunity to charge for your own services—whatever they may be.

63. Life coaching

Sometimes, it’s tough to make decisions on our own—we just need a little guidance. That’s where your life coaching business comes into play. You’ll counsel your clients on a variety of personal choices and challenges and help them build healthy, happy lives.

64. Bookkeeping

Start your bookkeeping business if you have a knack for numbers and organisation, you should be able to find clients who are willing to pay you to keep their own financial records updated.

65. Accountant (CPA)

You can take your bookkeeping business a step further by becoming a CPA and starting your own full-fledged accounting business.

66. Home inspector

You’ll need to check the licensing requirements in your state to become a home inspector. Once you get your business up and running, connect with some realtors in your area to see about becoming their inspector of choice.

67. Property manager

Whether you have your own rental properties or want to work with an existing landlord, as a property manager, you’ll keep your eye on the day-to-day operations of that real estate.

68. Home contractor

Get your license as a general contractor, and you’ll coordinate and oversee all of the aspects of home construction and remodeling projects.

69. Mechanic

If you have a passion for all things motors, pursue any necessary training and open up your own mechanic shop working on all sorts of motorised vehicles and even small engines.

70. Hairdresser

While anybody can cut hair, not necessarily anybody can do it well. A cosmetologist license will get you the training you need to excel in the field, as well as the confidence to open up your own hairstyling business.

71. Makeup artist

A cosmetologist license also works for makeup artistry. So, whether you want to pursue bridal makeup or special effects and prosthetics, a business as a makeup artist is a great way to flex your creative muscles.

72. Massage therapist

Life is busier than ever, which means people are carrying a lot of stress—causing a lot of tension in their business. If you’ve always had an interest in helping people feel better, look into getting your massage therapy license and opening your own practice.

73. Real estate agent

Want to help people find the homes of their dreams? Become a licensed real estate agent and start your own business, helping people buy and sell their homes.

Finding the right small business idea: three questions to ask yourself 

Identifying your own small business idea isn’t a game of spin the bottle—it’s not something that should happen at random, and it deserves some careful thought and consideration.

So, how do you get started?

The following three questions will help you reflect on which business ideas are actually viable for your skills and interests. 

1. What am I passionate about?

While wanting to be your own boss, you may also want to strike out on your own to fulfil your passion. Doing something you love can be powerful fuel that will help you start your own business. You can find more meaning and purpose out of your professional life. 

That’s why reflecting on your own passions and interests is the best place to start your own business brainstorming session. During this exercise, jot down anything and everything that you feel passionate about.

92% of self-employed people say passion is one of their most prominent strengths

Data from QuickBooks Online 

Maybe you’ve always been invested in helping students thrive in their studies, or perhaps you love motivating people to be the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves. Whatever sets your heart on fire—big and small—should be added to your list during this stage.

2. What am I already skilled at?

What a world it would be if you could start a business based on passion alone. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things work—you also need some expertise to make a name for yourself and support your business.

It’s now time to think about the skills you possess. What are you really good at? What topics do you have existing knowledge of? Whether you’ve had a formal career path or not, what are some areas you really excel in?

This could be anything from yoga to algebra. Whatever it is, gather all your ideas into a single list. No, this isn’t just for an ego boost — this will help you begin to identify some areas where you actually have the necessary know-how to get a business up and running.

3. Which problems of mine overlap?

After answering the two questions above, you’ll be armed with two different lists:

  • Things you really care about
  • Things you’re really good at

Now, it’s time to start connecting the dots to figure out what, if any, overlap exists between these two categories. Are there any that seem to complement each other?

Using our previous examples, you might figure out that you’re passionate about helping students or that you’re skilled at algebra. These passions would seem like a natural fit for a tutoring business. Perhaps you’re passionate about healthy lifestyles and want to become a yoga expert. 

This overlap might be blatantly obvious—or it might require a little ingenuity. Either way, challenge yourself to pair up items from both of those lists. It’ll force you to start to think creatively about what type of small business you could potentially run.

Tips for starting a business 

So, you’ve identified a business idea that will work with your passion and current skills. It’s now time to think about starting your business and the costs of starting a small business. You may be overwhelmed with the amount of tasks ahead of you - fear not. These six tips will help you find your footing. 

1. Identify passion-driven niches

Once you've pinpointed things you genuinely care about, look for niches within those areas that spark your passion. For example, if you're passionate about helping students, consider niches like tutoring, educational content creation, or developing tools to help people learn. By aligning your business with your passions, you're more likely to stay motivated and engaged in the long run.

2. Leverage your skill set

Explore the things you excel at and consider how those skills can be turned into a viable business. If you're skilled at algebra, for instance, tutoring or creating educational resources in mathematics could be a natural fit. The key is to capitalise on your strengths, ensuring that your business aligns with what you're already good at. You can also explore our training courses for small business owners

3. Seek synergies

Look for areas where your passions and skills intersect. These points of overlap are fertile ground for innovative business ideas.

4. Embrace creativity

Challenge yourself to think outside the box when pairing items from your passion and skill lists. Sometimes, the most successful business ideas emerge from unexpected combinations. 

Perhaps your passion for helping others aligns with your knack for technology, leading you to develop an app that encourages charitable contributions or connects volunteers with opportunities near them.

5. Validate your ideas

Before committing fully to a business idea, take the time to validate it. Seek feedback from potential customers or peers and conduct market research. That way, you can properly assess the feasibility of your concept. This step is crucial in ensuring that there's a demand for your product or service and that it aligns with both your passions and skills.

6. Stay adaptable

As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, remain open to adjustments. Your business may evolve, and your initial ideas might transform over time. Flexibility is key, allowing you to adapt to market changes and new opportunities that may arise along the way.

By combining your passions and skills, you not only create a business that resonates with you on a personal level but also increase the likelihood of long-term success. The process of connecting the dots between what you care about and what you excel at is a powerful strategy for developing a business that is both fulfilling and sustainable.

How to turn your business idea into reality

So, you've conceptualised a business idea that aligns with both your passions and skills. Now comes the crucial step of turning those dreams into a tangible, thriving business. In this journey from ideation to realisation, leveraging QuickBooks Online can help you streamline your operations as you begin your journey. 

Plan your finances

One of the initial challenges for any new business is financial planning. QuickBooks Online offers features that will help you create budgets, track expenses, and monitor cash flow, all from one easy-to-use platform. With a clear financial roadmap, you can make informed decisions and ensure your finances are healthy from the start.

Invoicing made easy

Getting paid for your products or services is crucial, especially during the early stages of your business. QuickBooks Online simplifies the invoicing process, allowing you to create and send professional invoices effortlessly. With customisable templates and automated reminders, you can maintain a steady cash flow while looking polished and organised to your clients.

Track your business performance

Monitoring the performance of your business is essential for growth. QuickBooks Online provides insightful reports and analytics that offer a comprehensive view of your financial health. From profit and loss statements to balance sheets, these tools empower you to assess the success of your strategies and make data-driven decisions for the future.

Simplify your tax compliance

Navigating the complexities of taxes can be a daunting task for small businesses. QuickBooks Online simplifies tax compliance by automating expense categorisation and mileage tracking. Come tax season, you'll be well-prepared with organised financial records, potentially saving you a lot of time and worry. 

Manage your business anywhere

Flexibility is key for entrepreneurs, especially in the early stages of their business. QuickBooks Online's cloud-based platform allows you to manage your finances from anywhere in the world - all you need is an internet connection. 

You can access your financial data in real-time, ensuring you stay in control, no matter where your business takes you.

Embrace growth with scalability

As your business expands, QuickBooks Online grows with you. The platform is scalable, accommodating the changing needs of your business. Whether you're hiring employees or adding new products or services to your offering, QuickBooks Online adapts to support the requirements of your growing business. 

You’re on your way to your great small business idea

The above questions and potential business ideas should be more than enough to get your creative juices flowing about what type of small-scale and profitable business idea you might be able to start for yourself.

Remember, you’re only at the beginning of your journey — regardless of what type of business you start, it’s bound to evolve from here!

Colgate didn’t make its first toothpaste until decades after it began and instead sold soap, candles, and starch. Amazon didn’t break onto the scene as the retail giant it is today—in the beginning, it was simply an online bookstore. All this to say that it might take you some time to find your perfect fit. Above all, remember to use the information in this article as a source of inspiration.

You’re now at least one step closer to settling on a business idea that you feel passionate about pursuing! And when you are on your path to becoming an amazing business owner, remember that QuickBooks Small Business Accounting Software can provide you with all the tools to make your accounting a breeze and help you stay on top of your business so you can focus on what really matters, working on your passions and developing your business.

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