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33 best small business ideas to make money in 2024

Reading Time: 16 minutes

Do you want to start a business but don’t know where to start? 

Well, you’ve arrived at the right spot. This article highlights the best small business ideas you can use to start your new venture. 

As a business owner, you get to enjoy many benefits such as doing what you love, having more control over your time, and earning a higher income when you sell your products or services to your target audience. 

However, to enjoy all these benefits you need to come up with a solid business idea that aligns with your skills and has sufficient market demand for you to make a profit when you start operations. 

In this article, we’ll share the best small business ideas you can use to kick-start your entrepreneurial journey and achieve your personal goals. 

We have a variety of good small business ideas for people with different skills and interests to help you find an idea that works best for you. 

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

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How to choose a good small business idea?

The Small Business Association defines small businesses as entities with less than 500 employees. Based on this definition, there are close to 33.2 million small businesses in the US, accounting for 99.9% of all businesses in the country. 

Despite being labeled as small, the impact of these businesses on the economy isn’t that small. More than 6 million or 18.3% of small businesses identify as employer firms, meaning that they provide employment to members of the community. 

The rest of the businesses – referred to as non-employer firms – don’t have employees but still play an active role in the development of the country through the payment of taxes and provision of essential goods and services. 

What’s unique about all these businesses is that they started with an idea. The business owner examined the market, identified a gap, and created a solution that resonated with their ideal customers.

So, if you plan to start your business, you also need to find a business idea worth pursuing.

There are many businesses you can start but you will only succeed when you choose an idea that aligns with your skills and interests and is profitable — meaning there’s enough interest in whatever your business is offering. 

That said, let’s take a detailed look at what makes a good business idea. 

Solves a problem

A good small business idea addresses a problem or pain point faced by consumers. To start, check if there’s a particular problem that affects you or your friends. 

You can also take the convenience route when looking for an idea for your small business. Find a common inconvenience that people face and create a product that solves that challenge. 

If your product can make the lives of your target customers better, then it will be easy to convince them to pay for it. 

Unique value proposition

Besides addressing a problem that consumers face, a good idea for a small business must also have a unique way to deal with this problem.

By providing a unique solution to customers’ problems, your small business will stand out from the competition and attract more customers. 

Profitable

If you cannot make enough money to sustain your operations from the sale of your products or services, then you’ll soon be out of business. 

Before you execute your business or side hustle idea, conduct market research to ensure there are enough people willing to pay for your products or services. You should also be in a position to generate a healthy profit after you sell your products. 

Scalable

The business idea you choose should not only be profitable but also have the potential to grow and expand over time. 

This could involve expanding your product line, growing your customer base, or opening more retail locations for your business. 

To determine the scalability of a small business idea, check if you can duplicate the product or service several times. Also, determine if you can innovate your offering as consumer needs change. 

Passion and expertise

Are you passionate about the business you’re about to start? Your business will take up most of your time, so your business idea should be something you care about.

You also need to ensure you have enough expertise in the business you’re about to start.

By combining passion and expertise, it becomes easy to build a successful business since you will have the skills to deliver top-quality products for your target audience and the resilience to overcome the challenges that emerge. 

Realistic

As you work on your business plan, ensure you set realistic goals for your new venture, Otherwise, you will be frustrated when things don’t go your way and this could signal the end of your entrepreneurial journey. 

Timely

It’s important to follow the trends and adapt your business model to what customers want at a particular time. 

In short, your business idea should solve a problem, have a unique value proposition, be profitable and scalable, align with your passion and expertise, be realistic and achievable, and timely and relevant.

Let’s now take a look at successful small business ideas for people with specific skills. 

Small business ideas for people with ecommerce skills

Do you have experience with online selling and want to use those skills to start a business? 

Here are a few businesses you can start with ecommerce skills:

1. Buying items in bulk and reselling them for a profit

Online shopping has become an integral part of global retail with many users choosing to buy products from ecommerce stores. Retail online sales amounted to $5.7 trillion in 2022, with the figure expected to exceed $8 trillion by 2026. 

The huge preference for online shopping presents the opportunity to start an online business where you buy items in bulk and resell them for a profit. 

Identify fast-moving products that are in demand with your target audience and sell them in your shop. 

2. Start a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is a retail business that allows you to sell products to customers without keeping stock. All you have to do is accept product orders from customers and forward them to your supplier for fulfillment.

Because dropshipping doesn’t require you to keep stock, you can start this business without a warehouse, meaning the investment won’t be high. This makes starting a dropshipping business a great small business idea.

3. Design and sell print-on-demand t-shirts

Print-on-demand is another business model that doesn’t require you to hold inventory. If you’re good at graphic design, you can create special designs and prints for t-shirts and use ecommerce tools to sell them on your online store. 

When someone buys a t-shirt, you push the order to your t-shirt supplier who prints and delivers the t-shirt to the client.

4. Create digital products or online courses

Another brilliant small business idea for those with ecommerce skills is to sell digital products online. Some of the digital products you can sell online include ebooks, images, music, and other downloadable items. 

You can also create a course and sell it on an online learning platform. This business model is fantastic because your profit margin is usually high. You don’t have to keep stock or worry about logistics and shipping since everything happens online. 

5. Beauty business

The thriving beauty industry also presents you with an opportunity to start an online business. At $571 billion, the beauty industry is booming. You can have a slice of this industry by selling beauty products online. 

And how can you go about it?

Conduct market research and identify the beauty needs of a particular consumer segment. Stock the products they need and advertise your business on social media to reach clients. You can also offer beauty consultancy services to grow your income. 

Increase your ecommerce sales with Omnisend’s easy-to-use platform for email and SMS marketing.

Small business ideas for people with technical skills

If you have technical expertise, you can use your skills and knowledge to start a small business where you offer technical services or build specialized products for individuals and businesses. 

6. Website developer

You can make a lot of money by building websites for individuals and other small businesses. Every business needs an online presence at the moment, and you can start a business that offers website development services. 

Small businesses need simple sites that you can build with templates from platforms such as Wix and WordPress. However, large corporations have more complex website development needs and you will have to improve your HTML, CSS, and Javascript skills further to land such clients. 

7. App developer

Another business idea you can leverage if you’ve got technical skills is app development. Businesses need apps to make it easy for their customers to access their services — whether it’s web apps or smartphone ones. 

You can start a development studio to build custom applications for clients. 

For you to start a business as an app developer, you need to be well-versed in different programming languages that can help you create highly-functional apps. You also need to actively follow trends in the tech world to stay up-to-date with the latest innovations. 

8. Graphic designer

Are you a creative individual with graphic design skills? Why not start a business as a graphic designer where you sell design services to clients? 

Businesses need a clear brand identity to stay competitive and you can help them design their brand elements.

Some of the services you can offer as a graphic designer include logo design, creating brochures, outdoor marketing visuals, and other brand elements.

9. Video editor

An overwhelming 96% of marketers consider videos to be important parts of their marketing strategy.

So, if you know how to edit video content professionally, you’re in luck.

Starting a video editing business would be a fantastic way to monetize your skill. Brands need video content to appeal to customers and you can create beautiful videos for their marketing needs. 

To get started as a professional video editor, ensure you have access to premium software you can use to edit videos such as Adobe Premiere Pro. 

Small business ideas for people with marketing skills

If you’re a marketing pro who knows how to generate leads and drive traffic to marketing assets, there are numerous small business ideas you can choose from. They allow you to use your marketing skills to make money online.

10. Freelance content writer

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2C brands and 73% of B2B brands have a content marketing strategy. All these businesses need a consistent supply of fresh content that you can provide as a content writer. 

The work you will be doing as a content writer includes writing articles, blog posts, landing pages, emails, and other marketing content. You can create a website to advertise your content writing services or use freelancing platforms to connect with clients.

11. Social media management

Another small business idea worth considering if you have superior marketing skills and want to work from home is selling social media management services. Brands need an active social media presence to connect with their customers and you can offer to manage their accounts for a fee. 

As a social media manager, you will be responsible for creating content and publishing it on the brand’s social profiles. You could even be involved in creating sales funnels for Instagram or other social platforms

You will also have to engage with the brand’s followers and respond to their queries. Make sure you stay on top of the latest social trends to deliver follower growth to your clients. 

12. SEO specialist

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a great source of traffic, leads, and conversions for businesses. But they need the assistance of specialists to help them outrank their competitors in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

So, if you’ve got some knowledge related to SEO, you can put it to good use by starting a small business. From keyword research to on-page and off-page SEO, there’s a whole lot of things you can offer in your services.

13. Email marketing specialist

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels for brands. As an email marketing specialist, you can help companies tap into the power of email to grow their brands.

Your focus should be to help your clients build email lists and optimize their email campaigns for conversions and sales. You might also be involved with creating and tweaking email copy to help brands craft the best messages for their recipients.

Make sure you are well-acquainted with various email marketing tools and strategies to drive results for your clients.

14. Event planner

Starting an event planning business is one of the best small business ideas if you have marketing and management skills. Event planners plan and coordinate different types of events such as weddings, parties, corporate meetings, and conferences. 

As an event planner, you will work with your clients to understand their needs and preferences before designing their events. To succeed as an event planner, you’ll also need excellent interpersonal skills and a network of suppliers and vendors. 

You must also have exceptional managerial skills if you intend to manage large-scale events. 

15. Start blogging and use affiliate marketing

If you can write well, you can choose to become a blogger too. With a laptop and stable internet connection, you can start a blog and publish content that will help you drive traffic to your site.

Once you’ve got sizable traffic, you can start monetizing your blog through numerous tactics. These include affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and ads, among other things.

Small business ideas for people with administrative and support skills

There’s a huge demand for admin jobs online as companies seek cheaper ways to take care of important but repetitive tasks. If you have strong administrative and support skills, here are a few small business ideas that would be ideal for you. 

16. Virtual assistant

Busy entrepreneurs don’t have the time to deal with simple yet repetitive tasks that are crucial for the success of their businesses. As a virtual assistant, you can take this burden off their hands and free them up to concentrate on the things that matter. 

Some of the tasks you can perform include booking appointments, replying to client emails, and responding to customer queries.

17. Bookkeeper

Do you know how to use business accounting software and would love to earn some extra money working from home? Then you should consider starting a business as a bookkeeper. 

As a bookkeeper, you can help entrepreneurs keep their finances in order by processing payments and managing their payroll. You might also be required to compile expense reports to help businesses understand how they spend their money. 

18. Courier or food delivery service

With the growth of the digital economy, the demand for courier services has increased. In fact, the food delivery app industry is expected to grow to $320 billion by 2029. 

To get in on this trend, you can start a delivery business and deliver products or food to shoppers’ doorsteps. For this, you will need a reliable means of transport such as a bike or a car. 

19. Translator

Can you speak another language fluently? If that’s the case, then one of the profitable small business ideas you can pursue is a translation business. From multilingual websites to customer support, there’s a lot of demand for translation services by brands. You might also get assignments such as translating manuals and advertising materials.

Small business ideas for people with socializing skills

People with socializing skills can use their skills to start a variety of businesses such as:

20. Coaching

If you’re skilled at or passionate about something, you can turn that into a profitable business by providing online coaching on that particular skill. For example, if you’re good at baking, you can offer online classes to help others learn how to bake. 

The investment in this type of business is not that much. All you need is a laptop, stable internet connection, and a webcam.

21. Tutoring

Another small business idea worth considering if you have excellent social skills is tutoring. Many people need tutoring services and you can start a tutoring business to help them understand particular subjects better.

As a tutor, you can provide home tutoring services where you visit your clients at specific times for tutoring. You can also offer your services online and use platforms such as Tutorme to find clients for your services. 

22. Consulting services

Starting a consulting business is a good small business idea for people with extensive knowledge on a particular topic. For example, if you’re an expert on Facebook marketing, you can start a consulting business on that subject and get paid for it. 

Other profitable niches for consulting businesses include finance, IT, human resources, and sales.

23. Personal sports trainer

People who are looking to venture into professional sports need someone to guide them along the journey. If you are passionate about a particular sport and know what it takes to excel in it, then you can work as a personal trainer. 

You can create custom workouts for your clients and provide one-on-one training sessions to help them build their skills in a particular sport. You can also provide guidance on nutrition to help your clients stay fit and healthy. 

24. Travel planner

Since people enjoy traveling and discovering new places, travel planning can be a great small business idea for individuals with great social skills. As a travel planner, your work will be to curate custom travel experiences for individuals and groups. 

25. Tour guide

Do you love spending time outdoors and want to create a business around that? Then, you should consider starting a tour guide business. People enjoy traveling and you can be the tour guide who takes them to the cool spots in your city. 

As a tour guide, you can make money by charging tourists a fee to take them around. You can also earn tips from your clients for exceptional services.

Small business ideas for people with limited time or resources

Our last category is for people with limited time or resources. Here are the best small business ideas that you can turn into successful ventures with commitment and hard work. 

26. Selling used items

Do you have items lying around in your garage that you’re no longer using? Then you can make money selling these items online or through consignment shops.

Online platforms like Facebook Marketplace and eBay make it easy to dispose of the items you no longer need such as clothing, electronics, and furniture. You can also take them to a consignment shop and split the profits with the shop owner.

27. Testing, answering questionnaires, and getting paid for it

Taking online surveys is one of the easiest small business ideas. All you need is a laptop and stable internet to access the sites that run these surveys. 

However, bear in mind that the pay for such tasks is very low and you’ll have to answer many surveys to earn a decent income. 

28. Housesitting and pet sitting

66% of households in the US have a pet. When these people travel for an extended period, they will need someone to watch over their house and pets.

You can start a housesitting and pet-sitting business and offer your services to people in your neighborhood. This business requires no initial investment and you can use referrals to grow your business. 

29. Dog walking

Dog walking is an exciting way to start a business and earn some money. If you love pets and know how to take care of them, you can start a dog walking business and offer your services in your neighborhood. 

30. Create content that you can monetize

For many people, the key to making money online is to create content and monetize it. For example, you can start a vlogging channel on YouTube and monetize it by allowing Google to run ads on your videos.

Similarly, you can become an influencer on other social platforms and promote brands on your profile for a fixed sum or a commission on sales. You will earn more as an influencer when you have a large following and a strong connection with your followers. 

31. House cleaning

Everyday remedial tasks such as house cleaning can turn into a small business if you market yourself well.

People need their homes cleaned and you can offer this service to individuals who don’t have the time to thoroughly clean their establishments. 

32. Become a handyman

Start a handyman business and get paid to fix broken stuff in people’s homes. As a handyman, you should be able to perform basic household repairs such as fixing furniture, shelves, and cabinets.

You can easily learn these skills on YouTube and practice them by offering these services to your family and friends.

33. Interior decorator

Interior decorating can be a good small business idea for you if you have an eye for design. As an interior decorator, you can seek clients who want you to decorate their residential and commercial spaces. 

Offer your services to friends and family first to build your portfolio. You can then advertise your services on social media with before and after visuals to attract potential clients. 

How to start a small business?

When you settle on a particular small business idea, you need to take the necessary steps to bring it to life. Below are the steps you should follow to start a small business. 

1. Choose a business idea

Choose a small business idea that aligns with your passions and expertise from the ones mentioned above. Also, ensure the idea is financially viable and has the potential to be profitable. 

2. Write a business plan or conduct market research

Depending on your small business idea, you may need to create a business plan or conduct market research to determine if there’s enough demand for your products. 

A business plan defines your current and future goals and outlines what you need to do to achieve them. You will need this document when seeking funding from lenders or investors to grow your business.

In market research, you need to identify your competitors and determine your unique selling proposition (USP) that will help attract and retain customers and set you apart from the competitors. 

3. Determine your business structure

Before starting operations, you need to choose your business structure. Your options in this case are:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation

Seek legal guidance when choosing your business structure to ensure you pick one that’s suitable for the small business you’re about to start. 

4. Register your business

After choosing your business structure, the next step you have to take is to register your small business with the relevant state and federal authorities. Find agencies that regulate businesses in your state and pay for the necessary licenses and permits. 

Also, ensure you register for taxes and obtain your Employer Identification Number (EIN). 

5. Set up your business location

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a physical location from where you will run your operations. If that’s the case, ensure to secure a lease for your store and renovate it to match your taste.

If you don’t need a physical store to operate your business, establish your virtual presence through a website. Use your website to showcase your product or services and to share any other useful information with visitors. 

6. Establish a brand

Come up with a memorable brand name for your business. Also, work with a graphic designer to design a logo and build a brand identity that resonates with what you stand for.

7. Create a business budget

Create a budget for all the important business expenses such as raw materials, rent, and labor for the first few months to discover how much it will cost to run your business. 

Also, determine how much you’ll charge for your products to find out how long it will take to attain profitability.

8. Develop a marketing strategy

Outline a strategy that spells out how you will connect with your target audience and inform them about your products.

To improve your online presence, build a website and post regularly on social media to connect with your target audience. 

You can also leverage email marketing to drive sales and engage your customers. Using a powerful email marketing tool like Omnisend, you can send out marketing emails in bulk to boost your growth. Omnisend can help you build a subscriber list using pop-up forms and sign-up forms on your website too. 

You can even send newsletters to your subscribers to keep them updated with your latest products and services.

Omnisend also helps you improve the conversion rate of your ecommerce store by sending automated cart browse and cart abandonment emails to your visitors. 

9. Build your client base

If your business involves providing services, you need to advertise your services online to attract clients. Use job boards and freelancing websites to find clients. 

And when you find them, provide exceptional service and build fruitful relationships to encourage repeat business.

10. Hire employees or contractors

If you need to hire employees, find competent workers to help with your operations. If you don’t have the funds to bring in employees at the moment, start solo and bring them on board when your business starts making money. You could also hire freelancers in the initial stages.

11. Provide excellent customer support

Communicate with your clients regularly and answer their questions when they raise an issue. Go out of your way to deliver exceptional service to build a loyal following. 

12. Launch your business

After completing all the necessary steps, you can now launch your business. Remember to stick to your brand values and always give the best to your customers. 

FAQ

1. What are the best small businesses to start?

The best small business to start depends on your skills and passions. For example, if you’re passionate about social media and know how to create catchy posts, you can start a small business that offers social media management services. 

Other viable small business ideas include providing consulting services, working as a virtual assistant, and starting a dropshipping business. 

2. What are the easy small business ideas?

Easy business ideas include selling unwanted items online or through consignment shops, dog walking, house sitting, and social media management. 

3. What are the types of small businesses?

There are four types of small businesses, which include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company
  • Corporation

Start your small business

Starting a business comes with many benefits. You do what you love and make money in the process.

Use the above ideas for inspiration and start working on your small business. When you start your business, you will need a platform that will help you maximize sales and improve your relationship with customers. 

Omnisend comes with superior email and SMS marketing features to help you sell more and build better relationships with customers. This will help you achieve your goals faster and accelerate your growth.

Sell more and build better customer relationships with Omnisend.
Bernard Meyer
Article by
Bernard Meyer

Bernard is the Sr. Director of Communications & Creative at Omnisend, with a passion for good research, helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing automation needs, and beating absolutely everyone in Mario Kart 64.