This article has been excerpted from 40 Great New Business Ideas for 2021.
believe they can do better. Some might start out as employees or apprentices for other businesses and then gradually build up the skills and experience before they set out on their own.
With the right idea and determination, anyone can make their dreams of having their own small business come true. We show you how by walking you through:
01. Transcription service
If you have a good ear and can type quickly, a transcription service is a great business idea that allows you to work from home with a flexible schedule. Medical transcription services are especially needed as voice recognition technology proliferates for healthcare provider dictation.
If you’re not looking to start all at once, or if you have a day job you would like to keep for the time being, you can accept as few or many transcription jobs as you’d like. To boost your business prospects and justify charging more, consider becoming a certified transcriptionist and delving into a few specialties.
Medical transcriptionists typically charge 6 to 14 cents per line of transcription, which can quickly add up. The typical turnaround time for transcription work is 24 hours, so it’s important to stay on top of the jobs you accept.
However, the flexibility to accept only a few requests to get started means you can scale up as you are ready, making transcription an easy service to start up slowly. Best of all, there is very little overhead. You simply need a computer, the appropriate software and a secure messaging service.
Create a flier outlining your services. Before you do that, you need to know what those services will be. Do you want to simply do bookkeeping for a small business?
A more involved level of accounting would be to work up balance sheets, income statements, and other financial reports on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis, depending on the needs of the business.
Other specializations can include tax accounting, a huge area of potential work.
03. Professional organizer
Looking for a business idea that can really “spark joy”? Professional organizers, like Marie Kondo, help people declutter and minimize for a living. In an age of materialism, many people are desperate to downsize and take control over their possessions, rather than letting their things possess them.
Minimalism is becoming extremely popular, but people often find it hard to part with things they’ve owned for a long time. Part of being a professional organizer is helping clients develop a system for downsizing and keeping things that way.
If you’re a highly organized person who enjoys making spaces functional and comfortable, you might be good at coaching others to do the same. People will pay you to help them devise a method of minimizing their possessions and then maintaining an organized space.
To promote your business, ask if your clients will let you take before and after photos of the areas of their homes you’ve organized, and use those to create a portfolio that you can put on social media to attract more clients.
04. Home-based Catering
If you have a knack for cooking and see it as a creative outlet, you can make a decent income by opening a home-based catering business.
The initial investment depends much on how big you want the setup to be. For example, if you start with smaller events that you can manage on your own, you should be able to start your business for less.
Most home-based caterers start by creating a website, experimenting with local food markets, or joining platforms that allow cooking experts to squeeze some profits out of their culinary skills.
05. Bicycle Repair
In many parts of the country, this business tends to be seasonal, but you can find ways around that. Rent a storage unit and offer to store people’s bicycles over the winter after you do a tune-up and any needed repairs on them.
If you want to cater to the Lance Armstrong wannabes, you can have business all year round. These road race riders are training through snow, sleet and dark of night.
Some of them work on their own bicycles, but many of them don’t, so you can get their business all year. And if you keep Saturday shop hours, you can be sure you will have a group of enthusiasts coming by to talk all things cycling.
06. Cleaning service
If you like to clean, you can easily turn it into a business. With a few staff members, a host of cleaning supplies and transportation, you can offer cleaning services to homeowners, apartment complexes and commercial properties.
Most cleaning services charge up to $30 or $40 per hour. Cleaning services are straightforward businesses that require relatively little overhead; you simply need planning, dedication and marketing to get your business noticed.
If you’re looking to differentiate yourself from other cleaning services, consider adding premium options like floor waxing or exterior power washing for an additional fee.
These services could be the deciding factor between your new cleaning service and seasoned companies that maintain too large a client list to provide that level of cleaning.
07. Virtual Assistant
One of the most successful business ideas is to offer virtual assistant services. Everyone from large enterprises to solopreneurs require help with the day-to-day management of their business. You can use your excellent organizational skills to take some weight off their shoulders.
Of course, you’ll get paid for the time and effort you put into answering emails, scheduling meetings, and performing other administrative duties.
You can land your first few clients by responding to listings on platforms like FreeUp, PeoplePerHour, or Virtual Assistant Jobs. This is a proven business model as people are always looking for efficient virtual assistants.
08. Ride-Sharing Driver
Getting paid to drive during your free time is a great way to make extra money. It won’t likely replace a full-time paycheck but can be a lucrative extra revenue stream.
According to Nerd Wallet, here is a break down of the income you can expect: “To make an annual income of $50,000, the average Uber driver needs to provide 60.21 rides each week, while those working for Lyft need to give 83.76 rides a week, and Sidecar drivers would have had to provide 72.03 rides in a week.”
09. Website Flipping
Website flipping is among the new business ideas that have got everyone from work-at-home to recent graduates excited. It involves buying an already running website, improving its design and content, and then selling it for a profit.
There are quite a few places where you can buy and sell websites to earn a profit. Shopify’s marketplace Exchange, for example, allows you to buy ecommerce websites that you can further improve via content marketing, SEO, and other tactics.
Once your site begins to generate more revenue than when you acquired it, you can list it for sale on the marketplace.
10. Freelance Copywriter
If you’re a natural wordsmith with a bit of marketing knowledge, you can establish yourself as a freelance copywriter. Whether you write blogs, web content or press releases, plenty of companies will pay for your services.
You can increase your value by bringing https://www.businessnewsdaily.com to the table to help your clients craft a strategy to attack specific keywords that their target audience is already using in their online searches. Most freelance copywriters charge $40 to $50 per hour, but those with expertise in a given vertical could charge even more.
Freelance copywriting is a great business to run, because as long as you have an internet connection, you can work. It’s a business that you can operate from the comfort of your own home, or even from the road if you travel.
If you establish a large enough network and gain referrals from satisfied clients, you could even make freelance writing your full-time job.
11. Online Tutoring
If you’re an expert in art, maths, or another subject, you can start the business of online tutoring. An essential prerequisite is having a bachelor’s degree in the subject you intend to teach, so make sure to cover this area before you get started. You can find online tutoring clients on sites like Skooli and Tutor.com.
For the best results, always teach subjects that relate to your area of expertise because you’ll be able to share your skills and constructive knowledge to enhance the learning experience.
You can deliver lectures and interact with your students over Skype, making online tutoring one of the easiest online businesses to start.
12. Boat Cleaning
Boats that are hauled out of the water for the winter or even just for mid-season repairs will need the hull cleaned. And depending on the type of boat, it is a good time to give a major cleaning everything else too–the decks, the sleeping quarters, the head, and the holds.
Start by approaching homes that have a boat sitting in the yard.
Or you could market your services to the marina to contract you to do the boat cleaning it offers to customers.
13. Home Care Service
A background in care and hospitality can go a long way to support housebound seniors who require in-home care. It’s also a service for which demand is only going to grow.
According to the National Institute on Aging, between 2010 and 2050, the 85-and-over population is projected to increase 351% globally, and the global number of centenarians (those over age 100) is projected to increase tenfold. Many will need care and assistance, oftentimes in their own homes.
Luckily, you don’t need a background in healthcare to help seniors and grow a successful business at the same time, although those skills are certain to be in demand as well.
Many seniors need help with everything from errands to repairs around the house. With some experience, you could consider growing your business to help seniors transition from their homes to assisted living facilities, offering services such as packing, transporting, setting up, or storing their furniture and possessions.
14. Greeting Cards
Greeting cards are always in style, so if you have a good eye for design or just love showcasing your artwork on physical items, this is one of the best creative business ideas for you.
Before you can start looking for clients, you’ll need to have a handful of designs ready to go. Tools like Photoshop and Canva make it easy to create custom card designs. Additionally, you’ll need to stock up on supplies required to create greeting cards (ink, paper, etc.).
Here’s a pro tip: if you want to keep costs low, buy your supplies from a wholesaler. Once you have the inventory sorted, start generating revenue by marketing your business on Facebook, Etsy, and other similar platforms.
15. Children’s Party Planner
The book Start Your Own Kid-Focused Business tells you everything you need to know to get your own kid biz off the ground: from insurance costs to food and beverage selection to arranging unforgettable entertainment that gets lots of smiles and lots of referrals from happy customers.
16. Translation Service
According to research from IBISWorld, the translation services industry is growing more than 5% annually. That growth is showing no signs of slowing as the internet opens up entrepreneurs in other countries to English-speaking markets and vice versa.
This trend has created an opening for multilingual speakers to offer specific services, such as document translation and the translation of website information into languages for use in other markets. If you know multiple languages, carving out a niche in the translation services industry could be a successful endeavor.
17. Content Writing
Almost every company with an internet presence needs help with creating content for product pages, blogs, etc. As such, starting a content writing or copywriting company could be one of the most profitable business ideas for you.
Popular websites for finding those first few customers include Remote.co, Problogger Jobs, and BloggingPro. You can also join content writing groups on Facebook to promote your business to a wider audience.
There are lots of ways you can make a good impression on clients, such as by offering keyword optimization or custom graphics as part of your services.
To be a consultant, you need to have expertise in something so you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area.
Perhaps you managed several large warehouses in your career with a drugstore company, you did all the marketing for many years for a large shoe manufacturer or you set up a chain of beauty supply shops or take-out restaurants.
You can use this experience to help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way. A good calendar app will likely come in handy as time tracking is crucial to accurate billing.
19. Digital marketing
The importance of the internet grows with every passing day, making it harder all the time for businesses to cut through the clutter and properly market themselves. Digital marketing services are always in demand, and many small and midsize companies would rather outsource it than establish a costly in-house team.
If you’ve got chops in SEO, content marketing, pay-per-click, web development or social media management, you could have a business opportunity that allows you the freedom to work from home.
Digital marketing is an important part of a brand, so it’s critical that you respond to developments in your clients’ marketing strategies.
Social media management entails watching for comments and messages around the clock, not just scheduling posts in a “set-it-and-forget-it” mindset. If you enjoy strategizing and implementing plans meticulously, digital marketing could be the right business for you.
20. Email Marketing
Are you good at writing emails? Have you cracked the code for crafting subject lines that people can’t help but click? If so, you can step into entrepreneurship and make money by launching an email marketing business.
You can find companies that need help with their email strategy on platforms like PeoplePerHour and Upwork, as well as via cold outreach. Once you demonstrate that skill of enticing recipients, clients will rush to get your services and even agree to the price you quote them (major brownie points if you can help grow their email list). Startup costs include investing in email marketing tools, which will automate many of your tasks.
21. Dog Walking
Dog walkers take pooches out for their daily constitutional one or more times a day, either individually or in small groups. In some cities across the United States, like New York, dog walking alone can be a booming business.
But it’s actually more common for dog walkers to offer additional services, including playing with and feeding pets, bringing in newspapers and mail, and turning lights on and off.
Seriously, there’s no end to the line of people who struggle to find time to cook nutritious and healthy meals. This has led to a rise in meals-to-go-businesses offering all kinds of cuisine options.
You can capitalize on this trend by starting your own meals-to-go business right in your city, state, or neighborhood. Contrary to the popular belief, you don’t actually need to invest in designing a large commercial kitchen.
A meals-to-go business can also be managed from a shared rental kitchen. These places are usually equipped with all the essential supplies and can be rented by the month, day or hour. You can find shared-use, licensed commissary kitchens through websites like The Kitchen Door.
23. Food Truck
If you love food and traveling, a food truck business might be right for you. Food trucks come in all shapes and sizes, serving up a wide range of snacks and cuisines to hungry event attendees or festivalgoers.
Take your favorite style of food on the road, travel to events you’d already like to attend, and sell your culinary passions directly to hungry customers. Sure, you’ll be working, but you’ll be in a space you’re passionate about, with a chance to connect to people who have similar interests.
Food trucks might sound like a wild idea, but the industry is growing. The overhead and upkeep for a truck costs significantly less than owning a restaurant, and you have the added benefit of mobility.
If you’re interested in serving up smiles, check out our guide to getting your food truck business rolling full speed ahead.
24. eBay Assistant
Do you have items lurking around your household that you could sell on eBay? Figure out your asking price and decide whether to auction it or put it in your eBay store.
Then decide if you want a minimum bid and how long you want the auction to last. You will want to establish a PayPal account to use for transactions.
The eBay website provides all the information you need to know to get up and running with an eBay business. Chatbots are offering creative new ways to help businesses with these functions.
25. Lawn Care Service
If you grew up with a lawn, chances are your parents made you take care of it. For many of us, lawn care is bothersome, but for some, it offers a sense of peace and serenity.
Working outdoors with your hands to tame and beautify the natural landscape can be a rewarding experience, and since so many people find the work tedious, it can also be profitable.
Lawn care services require little more than some basic equipment, a trailer and perhaps some staff, depending on how many clients you have and how big the jobs are.
You can quickly grow a small lawn care service into a full landscaping company by offering premium services and establishing a reputation as a brand that does a thorough job with a smile. If you like working outdoors and creating elegant landscapes, this could be the business for you.
26. Editorial Service
Here are some of the editorial services you can provide from the quiet of your own home:
- Copyediting. This is where fact checking takes place, and where grammatical, stylistic and typographical errors are caught.
- Proofreading. This is the last stop for a “finished” piece. The proofreader makes sure the copyediting changes have been properly made and no new errors are created in the process.
- Indexing. There are indexing courses available and you can get indexing software.
- Developmental editing. A developmental editor works with a manuscript on big-picture things like organization and content issues.
- Book doctoring. This is an editorial service provided for manuscripts written by experts. They create a manuscript as best they can and then a book doctor puts it into publishable shape.
- Ghostwriting. As a ghost writer, you actually do the research and write the book and someone else’s name is attached as the author.
- Copywriting. Also known as business writing, this is writing that promotes a product or a service.
- Book writing. Do you have expertise in something professional, such as accounting or interior decorating? Or personally, like knitting? Why not write a book about it?
- Magazine article writing. Magazines and newspapers are a great way to get your writing published before tackling the daunting task of writing a whole book.
- Web page content provider. Providing content for a web site is a good way to make some money writing.
27. Real estate agent
For many people, navigating the housing market is overwhelming. As a real estate agent, you can help people find the home of their dreams at a price that fits their budget.
In many states, you simply need to complete a few months of classes and pass an exam to qualify as a real estate agent. Even with a certification, you’ll get nowhere without basic people skills, so if you’re not a people person, this might not be the route for you.
28. Electronics Repair
This business is similar to the computer repair business, but you will take on all sorts of electronic equipment besides just computers.
With smaller electronics, you will need to be prepared to have customers bring their repair projects to you, as you would have difficulty recovering the cost of driving around picking up broken equipment and returning it.
You may also want to encourage people to give you their old electronics so you can use them for parts.
29. Graphic Designer
Corporations, small businesses and sole proprietors all need eye-catching promotional materials, but not nearly everybody has an eye for what looks good.
If you’ve got an artistic streak and know how to organize content into a visually pleasing format, you can start a graphic design business to provide flyers, digital ads, posters and other engaging visual materials.
Graphic design also has the benefit of requiring few physical tools beyond a laptop and a desk.
Do you have experience in generating backlinks and improving the search engine visibility of a website? If yes, then there’s an opportunity for you to cash in on your skillset.
Site owners worldwide require the services of SEO experts, so opening a business in this field could turn out to be one of your best decisions.
When looking for clients, focus on a nice audience, learn from the experiences and build your portfolio – showcase your success stories and you are bound to see an influx of clients if your SEO techniques are on point. You can choose to target all sorts of companies or appeal to businesses in a particular niche, such as in the legal, health or financial sector.
31. Day Care
Perhaps you love children. Perhaps you have children of your own and the idea of taking care of a few more for part of the day appeals to you. Childcare needs continue to soar in the United States.
Many people prefer the option of their child being cared for in a home environment while they are at work, as opposed to a more institutional-like setting. These things mean that a home-based childcare business can get off and running immediately.
32. App Development
App development is one of the best small profitable business ideas because so many companies require an app. Not to mention, the cost of starting this venture has drastically gone down due to the growth of tools and affordable developers.
Today, you can use software like OmniGraffle, Sketch, and CoreAnimator to create the wireframes and mockups before you decide to publish the app. Alternatively, you can hire a freelance app developer via sites like AngelList and Upwork. There’s also the opportunity to earn passive income by creating apps for consumers.
Of course, that depends on coming up with a monetization strategy that generates recurring revenue. Good strategies include offering in-app purchases and charging for a premium version of your app.
33. T-shirt Printing Business
Just like with graphic design, you might enjoy launching a T-shirt printing business if you’ve got a sharp artistic sense – or maybe you just enjoy taking someone else’s visuals and screen-printing them onto a blank shirt.
Either way, if you have space for a T-shirt printing setup, you can easily get the necessary tools and start your small business.
34. Instagram Consulting
If you know the secrets to driving engagement on Instagram, consider becoming an Instagram consultant. Clients will pay you for creating engaging captions, responding to comments, creating attractive bios, and more. You can monetize these services by charging a specific rate per hour or by the project.
This is the perfect business idea for digital nomads as the whole thing can be managed from a smartphone. To become a sought-after Instagram consultant, master the skill of creating killer Instagram ads that get people to convert and buy from businesses.
You can get your first clients by marketing your business on Upwork and other social media platforms.
Making money as a photographer can be done in a number of different ways. You can specialize in one area, the most common being weddings.
There are niches you can explore for photography: portraits of people and their pets, families, and homes; photographs of holiday events, birthday parties or Christmas cards; the possibilities are endless.
36. Video Production
With increased consumption of online video content, there’s certainly a need for people who can record, edit, cut, and publish videos. Starting a video production company, therefore, might turn out to be a lucrative business idea for you.
The initial investment in this business is a basic lighting set, wireless microphones, one to two cameras (and lenses), and editing software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro. See if you can find second-hand varieties for some of this equipment in order to reduce startup costs.
You can offer to produce video content for companies’ YouTube channels, manage graduation and wedding videography, and more. While there’s no restriction to the types of projects you can do, specializing in a niche makes it easy to stand out in a busy marketplace.
Not all companies that sell goods store them onsite. In dropshipping, people who run e-commerce sites go to a third party to fulfill all orders.
The third party is likely a wholesale retailer or other entity that runs a warehouse and shipping operation. The minimal inventory and tools needed for dropshipping make it an especially great small business idea if you’re worried about overhead and physical space.
38. Expert Witness Service
One way to make money in this field is by being an expert witness yourself. If you have expertise that could be useful in legal cases, you can market yourself to attorneys to act as an expert witness.
Another way to be active in the expert witness field is to play a sort of matchmaker, matching attorneys up with expert witnesses for their cases–either for the defense or for the prosecution.
Expert witnesses for big money cases can be expected to fly anywhere to testify. There’s no reason your database of witnesses can’t be from all parts of the country.
39. Financial Planner
To start, you should go through the certification process so that you can label yourself a CFP (Certified Financial Planner). Your certificate shows that you have expertise and credibility, and this differentiation will help people choose you as their financial planner.
40. Flea Market
People love to spend weekends rummaging through tables full of other people’s unwanted items, looking for treasures. Make sure to change your layout and put new stuff out for sale often.
You want people to come back time and again to see what’s new. You don’t even have to have that much new stuff to make things look new. Just moving an item from a table to the top of a bookshelf might get it noticed, even though the item has been in your inventory since you first started having sales..
Small businesses that involve website design, a subset of digital marketing, tend to be among those that make the most sales and bring in the most profit. People now learn about businesses on the internet more often than via other avenues, so finding clients and a steady income stream isn’t usually difficult. Cleaning services and real estate businesses also have high success rates, which makes sense – all people need homes, and they prefer them clean.
If you’re concerned about maximizing your profit while minimizing your workload, a good small business to start might be any of the ones that most frequently prove successful. However, if you’re more interested in incorporating your passions into your work while earning enough money to live, a good small business to start is any that fulfills you, requires you to use your skills and offers you a good work-life balance. There are so many great business ideas that this question has no objectively correct answer – you know better than anyone what small business ideas will bring you happiness, success and stability.
There you have it, a list of 20+ small business ideas that’ll make you money in 2020. To give yourself the best chance of success, focus on one idea at a time until you find one that aligns with your abilities. Thousands of entrepreneurs have implemented these business ideas to make money, so you can be sure that you’re putting your time and effort into something viable and proven. Whether you’re a college student, a work-at-home parent, or anyone else looking to start a business, remember that there are plenty of opportunities to earn a sizable income.