From Hong Kong to Singapore: Incorporation Services with New Year Discounts!Explore Today!

content image

While the definition of a small business varies, what doesn’t change is the impact these companies have on the economy. According to the Small Business Association, nearly 44% of the United States GDP comes straight from small businesses, as does 46% of private employment. Doesn’t sound so small, does it?

Given those numbers, you’ve probably had a few small business ideas that you’ve dreamed up. Maybe you want to earn some extra money or dive into an industry that you’re passionate about. Or maybe you’re not sure of what you want to do apart from working for yourself. Becoming a successful entrepreneur starts with an idea.

Lucky for you, we vetted some of the most popular small business ideas for you to get you motivated to take those first steps: 

Creative Small Businesses

Ecommerce Small Businesses

Service-based Small Businesses

Technology Small Businesses

Food Small Businesses

Photograph of a person screenprinting as an example of a small business idea with text that says “Creative Small Businesses.”

Start a Content Writing Agency

Have you ever wanted to turn away from dull content? If so, you might be just the person to help businesses succeed with content marketing. An agency allows you to write content for companies that could use someone with a mind for marketing and the talent to clearly communicate what makes a business special. It’s also the kind of work you can do from anywhere at any time. 

What you need to start  A portfolio, a website, references, and a computer

Necessary qualifications A degree in communications, marketing, or writing can help but isn't required

Helpful experience A writing or editing background, agency experience

Open a Graphic Design Firm

 Photograph of a graphic designer with clipboard, certification, and briefcase icons and text covering what is needed to get started with this small business idea.

If you’ve always loved helping bring ideas to life visually, opening a firm that offers graphic design could be an excellent small business for you. Start by reaching out to businesses you know and then grow from there. Use social media platforms to expose your work to a larger audience.

What you need to start  A portfolio, website, references, computers, and design software

Necessary qualifications A degree in graphic design can help but isn’t necessary

Helpful experience Agency experience

💡 In Case You Didn't Know: The graphic design industry worldwide is worth approximately $45 billion.

Start a Multimedia Production Company 

Do you have experience shooting and editing films? Are you an audio engineer that wants to expand into other areas? A multimedia production company allows you to start small and grow as you increase your reputation. Editing footage from local sports teams or music performances can be a good place to start, as could shooting commercials for local TV or for social media. 

What you need to start  A portfolio, website, references, cameras, hard drives, editing software
Necessary qualifications Degrees or certificates in production can help but aren’t necessary
Helpful experience Production experience, agency experience

Start a Screenprinting Company

Screenprinting is artistic, fun, and can be a great small business. Local clubs, sports teams, musicians, and businesses need custom t-shirts and other branded items. You don’t need a ton of expensive equipment or a lot of extra room to start screenprinting, either. The nature of the equipment means scaling up is fairly easy.

What you need to start  A portfolio, website, screen printing equipment (screens, press, inks, dryer, printer)

Necessary qualifications A graphic design background 

Helpful experience Screenprinting experience, comfort with Photoshop and Illustrator

Become a Translator

In today’s connected world, businesses must be able to offer their products to customers around the globe. But, to reach potential customers, those businesses need to speak their language. That’s where you could come in. Whether you’re a native speaker or just gifted with the ability to pick up languages, being a translator means working in almost any sector you want. Translating marketing materials, technical information, and even books could be the best way for you to start your own business.

What you need to start  A portfolio, references, and a computer

Necessary qualifications A degree in the languages you translate or native speaking

Helpful experience Previous translation experience

💡 How to Get Started: Build an online portfolio in multiple languages to show off your skills. Creating videos on social media that explain how your process is unique can help, too.

Photograph of a person packing an ecommerce order as an example of a small business idea with text that says “Ecommerce Small Businesses.

Sell Handmade Clothing

Photograph of a person making clothing with a sewing machine with clipboard, certification, and briefcase icons and text covering what is needed to get started with this small business idea.

As more and more people become aware of the impacts of “fast fashion” on the environment, the desire for handmade clothing has skyrocketed. If you’ve always loved making clothes for yourself and others, offering handmade items for sale could be the start of a viable and sustainable business.

What you need to start  A portfolio, website, an online store, fabric, clothes-making tools (sewing machine, tape measures, forms)

Necessary qualifications A degree in fashion can help but isn’t necessary

Helpful experience Clothes-making experience, tailoring experience

Sell Jewelry

Creating and selling jewelry is a popular small business idea because it lets you be creative and part of an exciting industry. Whether you specialize in small runs of specific types of jewelry or you have a full product line ready to go, all you need to get started is an online store, a brick-and-mortar location, or companies willing to sell your line.

What you need to start  A portfolio, website, an online store, materials, jewelry tools (pliers, hammers, mandrels) 

Necessary qualifications A degree in fashion or design might help but isn’t necessary

Helpful experience Jewelry-making experience

Start a Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping is an excellent opportunity for you to open a small business that doesn’t require you to make things yourself or have a huge inventory of items at all times. Look for companies that sell items wholesale and ship them directly to your customers, you can sell things in a specific niche that interests you, or you can be a generalist that sells a little bit of everything. The process of becoming a reseller varies depending on where you live, so ensure you research all laws and requirements.

What you need to start  A website, an online store

Necessary qualifications An understanding of selling items online

Helpful experience Product-specific experience, marketing experience

💡 How to Get Started: Finding dropshipping suppliers can be tricky: Take your time and evaluate them thoroughly. 

Start an Online Pet Goods Store

People love their pets. That’s why the pet goods industry is worth $136.8 billion in the United States alone! If you love animals, a pet goods store might make an ideal small business for you. There are many ways to find items to sell: You could dropship, buy from local suppliers, or even make your own items. You also have the option of specializing in toys, food, and other products for one type of animal or providing merchandise for many species.

What you need to start  A website, an online store, and pet goods suppliers

Necessary qualifications An understanding of selling items online

Helpful experience Experience with animals, marketing experience

Sell Beauty Products Online 

Selling beauty products online is a small business opportunity perfect for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a love for helping people look and feel better. If you make your own beauty products or you want to sell items from brands you believe in, an online store and some hard work are all it takes to make it happen. You can sell directly from your home or use a dropshipping company, so you don’t have to have a warehouse and a shipping team.

What you need to start  A website, an online store, supplies to make beauty products, suppliers

Necessary qualifications A cosmetology license can help, an understanding of selling items online

Helpful experience Experience using the products you want to sell, marketing experience

Use Amazon To Sell Products

Growing an ecommerce business doesn’t mean you have to have your own site. No matter what you want to sell, using Amazon as your online store and shipping partner is one of the fastest and easiest ways to become a small business owner working in ecommerce. Start with great product photos and well-written descriptions, then let Amazon handle listing and shipping your products. You can also start selling on Amazon and then branch out to your own online store if and when you want more control over the entire customer experience.

What you need to start  Something to sell, product photos

Necessary qualifications An understanding of selling items online

Helpful experience Experience with the products you want to sell, marketing experience

💡 How to Get Started: Selling on Amazon can be difficult, so read guides to help you learn how to customize your store to attract more sales and take advantage of Amazon’s powerful search and ad tools.

Sell Antiques

Do you love finding treasures from many years ago? If antiquing is one of your passions, it could also be your ticket to becoming a small business owner. Thanks to online marketplaces like eBay and the wide availability of ecommerce platforms, you can start selling the antiques you have in your home. If you’d like to focus on a specific niche, period, or you want to open a virtual antiques mall, you’re only really limited by how much time you want to spend listing and shipping antiques.

What you need to start  Antiques, a website, an online store

Necessary qualifications A deep knowledge of the items you sell, an understanding of selling items online

Helpful experience Experience with the products you want to sell, marketing experience, shipping experience

Create and Sell Digital Products

Do you find yourself making your own calendars, planners, or spreadsheets because you can’t find templates that actually work for you? Are you a designer who built themes for popular website platforms or a composer with a hard drive full of music? You could start a business selling your digital products. Depending on what you make, you may only need to create a profile to list your themes, PowerPoint templates, or music on pre-existing marketplaces, or you may need to have your own online shop. 

What you need to start  Something to sell, an online store, a profile on product-specific marketplaces

Necessary qualifications A deep knowledge of the items you sell, an understanding of selling online

Helpful experience Working knowledge of the industry, marketing experience

Create a Subscription Service

Nearly all of the ecommerce ideas we mentioned above can also offer subscription services. Subscriptions provide goods and services on a regular schedule based on a specific theme. This might mean you offer a fresh assortment of specialty foods from local vendors, a new item of clothing, or a pet toy each month. People love getting something special, and the recurring revenue can help you plan and manage your expenses more effectively than other types of small businesses.

What you need to start  Something to sell, an online store, a way to ship packages, suppliers 

Necessary qualifications A deep knowledge of the items you sell, an understanding of selling online

Helpful experience Shipping experience, procurement experience, marketing experience

Photograph of a person feeding branches into a woodchipper as an example of a small business idea with text that says “Service-Based Small Businesses.”

Start a Landscaping Company 

If you want to spend more time outdoors and you love making the outside of your home look incredible, a landscaping company could be the ticket to small business ownership. You can start small by offering lawn mowing or flower planting services to your neighbors, then expand to landscape design and recurring services when you have a customer base. Landscaping is a great way to earn extra money seasonally. 

What you need to start  A love for landscaping, landscaping equipment, and a website
Necessary qualifications Local licenses/permits, background or degree in landscape design 
Helpful experience Experience with landscaping

Become a Home Inspector 

Home inspectors are a vital part of ensuring that people who buy homes know what they’re getting into. If you’ve got a background in construction or real estate, home inspection could be a way to start a small business where you get to set your own hours and do something you’re interested in. This business requires special training and certification, which varies from area to area — research to see what you need to get started.

What you need to start  Training, an interest in real estate, a website, inspection equipment
Necessary qualifications Training and certification
Helpful experience Experience with construction, knowledge of building materials

Become a Bookkeeper

If you work as a professional accountant or you’ve been a bookkeeper at another job, you can offer bookkeeping services to other businesses. This small business is great for people who have a head for numbers, and it allows you to work when you have free time. 

What you need to start  Bookkeeping knowledge, bookkeeping software
Necessary qualifications An associate’s degree
Helpful experience Bookkeeping experience, small business administration experience, payroll experience

💡 How to Get Started: Check local regulations then enroll at a community college. Many of them offer programs specifically to help people get certified as bookkeepers.

Offer Interior Design Services

Interior design is perfect for people with a keen eye and a love for keeping up with the most popular trends. Some areas require training and licenses to call yourself an interior designer (and you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree). However, there’s nothing stopping you from learning about it as you transform your home and the homes of people around you as you complete any required training and certifications.

What you need to start  A portfolio, a website
Necessary qualifications Bachelor’s degree, certifications
Helpful experience Previous design experience

Begin Event Planning

Photograph of an event planner preparing an event with clipboard, certification, and briefcase icons and text covering what is needed to get started with this small business idea.

Event planning is another great small business if you love combining design with practicality. It’s a marriage of logistics and aesthetics that requires great attention to detail and excellent people skills. It’s easy to start small by offering your services to local businesses, friends, and family. Use those jobs to build a portfolio and increase word-of-mouth recommendations. 

What you need to start  A portfolio, a website
Necessary qualifications CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) or CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) certifications may be needed for some positions 
Helpful experience A relevant degree in hospitality, communication, business administration, event planning, or vendor relations experience

Become a Professional Business or Life Coach 

If you have an interesting and inspiring life story — or you’ve beaten the odds to become a great success in business — people might be willing to pay you as a business or life coach. These professionals use their experience and insight to guide people who want to achieve their dreams. It’s a combination of psychology and specialized industry knowledge that you can parlay into an exciting and fulfilling small business. 

What you need to start  An inspiring story or career, a website
Necessary qualifications Certifications from the Coach Training Alliance, The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, and the Certified Life Coach Institute can help you improve your services and image
Helpful experience Experience in a specific industry, marketing experience, public speaking experience

💡 How to Get Started: Lean into the ideas and work that made you successful, then figure out how to use that knowledge to help others. Consider writing a framework or a list of principles to guide your coaching.

Offer Consulting Services

Consulting is similar to business coaching, but instead of helping one person at a time, you'll work for a company. All kinds of businesses utilize consultants for many different reasons: to improve productivity and morale, train sales and support staff,  bring new products to market, and solve nearly any other type of problem that can’t be resolved in-house.

What you need to start  Industry experience, a portfolio or resume
Necessary qualifications A deep knowledge of your industry
Helpful experience Consulting firm experience, degrees in relevant fields

Offer Personal Training

If fitness is an obsession, personal training could be the small business opportunity you’ve been searching for. Many gyms let personal trainers use their facilities for a cut of personal trainer fees, or you can train people at their homes. Personal training isn’t just a gym activity anymore. Personal trainers can now offer their services to clients around the globe with live and recorded workouts and guidance. 

What you need to start  A love for fitness, references, a website, a place to train clients
Necessary qualifications Local or national certifications may be required, a high school diploma, CPR training
Helpful experience A degree in kinesiology, sports medicine, exercise physiology, or fitness and health management

Provide Homecare Services

Homecare services let you help people who have a variety of needs that they can’t meet on their own. This can include cleaning, cooking, transportation, and even nursing care. Most areas have specific requirements for those looking to provide homecare — ensure you research before you start looking for clients. 

What you need to start  Experience in an appropriate industry, references, certifications
Necessary qualifications Some positions may require a degree or certifications, a clean background
Helpful experience Experience with cleaning, cooking, transportation, and other relevant jobs

Offer Professional Organizing Services

Professional organizers work with people and businesses to organize everything from individual rooms to entire warehouses. While there aren’t any formal requirements to becoming an organizer, having a portfolio of completed projects can show potential clients that you're equipped to help them reorganize and reduce clutter.

What you need to start  A portfolio, references, a website
Necessary qualifications Organizing skills 
Helpful experience Certifications are available

💡 In Case You Didn’t Know: The professional organization industry in the U.S. is worth approximately $11.4 billion.

Photograph of a person using a smartphone as an example of a small business idea with text that says “Technology Small Businesses.”

Develop Apps or Specialized Software

Specialized software and applications are best when they’re built by people who understand the industry they’re being built for. So, if you have a background in computer or software engineering, developing could be a lucrative part-time gig that could easily turn into a full-time business. Consider what your industry needs, research the options already available, and then build something better.

What you need to start  Software engineering knowledge, industry knowledge, computers
Necessary qualifications Knowledge of how to build software
Helpful experience Marketing experience, market research experience, product testing experience

Open a Social Media Management Agency 

While many people might think that social media is all about people posting selfies and pictures of their meals, these platforms can mean the difference between success and failure for many kinds of businesses. If you’ve built your own brand or helped other small businesses build brand success on social media, those skills could make up the foundation of a small business. 

What you need to start  A portfolio or references, a successful personal or business social media presence, and computers 
Necessary qualifications A proven track record of success
Helpful experience Agency experience, digital marketing experience

💡 How to Get Started: Start building connections on professional networks like LinkedIn that show off your successes. Cater your posts and connections to industries you’re familiar with.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Today’s technology makes it easier than ever for you to open a small business where you assist other business owners. Whether they need your help with reporting, sales, data entry, or many other tasks, there is a market for virtual assistants in almost every industry. 

What you need to start  Experience in a given industry, a computer, an internet connection, references
Necessary qualifications Whatever qualifications a job opening requires, some agencies require a degree or equivalent experience
Helpful experience Virtual assistant experience, data entry experience, common office software experience

Photograph of a person selling bread at their bakery as an example of a small business idea with text that says “Food Small Businesses.”

Start a Food Truck, Coffee Shop, or Restaurant

Opening a restaurant, food truck, or coffee shop is a dream many people have. But if you’re ready to make your dream a reality, start by figuring out what kind of location you’d need, how many people you would need to run it, and what your margins on foods and drinks would be. Admittedly, starting a restaurant can be complicated, but starting as a food truck or booth at area events could get your name out there and help you build a following (and potentially attract investors).

What you need to start  Recipes, a location, kitchen equipment, staff, a point-of-sale system
Necessary qualifications Restaurant and food service requirements and qualifications vary widely depending on where you live
Helpful experience Restaurant experience, hospitality management experience, cooking experience

Make and Sell Pet Food 

Healthy pet food is a popular product for pet owners. A new small business could be as simple as offering a unique blend of wholesome ingredients. If you already make food for your pets, scaling up and selling online could put extra money in your pocket and help other pet owners feed their animals a better diet.

What you need to start  A unique recipe, a website, an online store, a kitchen, and a packaging facility
Necessary qualifications Local regulations vary, but it’s important to make pet food in a clean environment, and package and ship it quickly
Helpful experience Experience with large-scale cooking, experience with shipping processes, marketing experience

💡 In Case You Didn’t Know: The organic pet food market was valued at $2 billion in 2022.

Sell Baked Goods or Other Foods Online

Do you have a treat that always gets people talking? Have people told you that you should sell one of your foods? If so, you might consider creating a small business where you sell them online. With shipping speeds being faster than ever, you have various ways to get fresh food to people quickly. Foods for people with specific dietary restrictions or snacks with widespread appeal are all fair game!

What you need to start  Good recipes, a clean kitchen and packaging facility, a way to ship food quickly and safely, a website, and an online store
Necessary qualifications There are many requirements for selling and shipping food and they vary depending on where you are
Helpful experience Experience with large-scale cooking, experience with shipping processes, marketing experience, kitchen management experience

Write and Sell Cookbooks 

If you’ve always loved experimenting in the kitchen, writing and selling cookbooks could be a small business that plays to all of your strengths. Start by gathering all of your favorite recipes or focus on recipes for a particular style of food. If you have a lot of experience cooking to satisfy a certain diet, writing a cookbook of unique recipes could mean a fairly large (and hungry) customer base. Whether you publish ecookbooks or paper versions, you can sell them directly on your website or through a site like Amazon.

What you need to start  Recipes, writing software, a website, an online store, an account on an online marketplace
Necessary qualifications The ability to create delicious recipes
Helpful experience Cooking experience, writing and editing experience, and digital publishing experience

What are some of your small business ideas? Whether you want to be the next online mega-mogul or you want to sell custom items through an ecommerce store you built or at a local boutique, now is a good time to start thinking about how you can make extra money doing something you care about. SMEs are major economic forces throughout the world, and there’s no reason you can’t be a part of that power.

An app showing how Statry's virtual payment cards work

FAQs

What are some of the most successful small businesses? 

arrow
Website and app development, financial consulting, and digital and social media marketing are some of the most successful small businesses, according to LegalZoom.

How can I start my own small business with no money?

arrow

What are the top growing small businesses?

arrow

What kind of business should I start? 

arrow

Looking for a business account?

CheckCircle
CheckCircle
CheckCircle