Our economy is anchored by small businesses.
According to the Small Business Administration, they account for 99.7% U.S. employers. They also make up 97.7% U.S. exporters. Small business owners have the opportunity to create unique and meaningful work and support the economy. Inc.com reports that 81% feel happier than their small business counterparts and 60% say they are healthier than when working for them.
How can you maximize your potential in by starting a small business. Start your entrepreneurial journey by choosing a niche with profit potential that revolves around something you love.
What is considered a small-scale business?
Although there are many definitions, small-scale businesses are usually defined as having a limited number of employees and a low sales volume. They are typically privately owned, with the majority of the profits going to their owners. These businesses are often small and serve a small number of people with low turnover.
Although every business will have some startup requirements, most can be established quickly and without any upfront costs or expense.
The chart by the Small Business Administration describes the different classifications of small businesses. This allows you to see if your business qualifies.
Ideas for small-scale online businesses
If you are interested in starting your own small business, there are many options available online and locally. These are some online options to think about.
1. Virtual assistant
It’s easy to start a virtual assistant company. This small-scale business will allow you to assist other business owners with administrative tasks such as booking travel, data entry, writing blog posts, and scheduling social media content.
To accelerate your career as a VA, take Kayla Sloane’s 10K VA Course. Kayla began her career as a virtual assistant. She grew her business to six figures per year. This course will teach you how to establish your pricing and services and how to find your first clients.
Starting a proofreading company is a lucrative option if you are good at reading typos. You will be responsible for proofreading documents that are written by business owners and others.
Caitlyn Python is a professional proofreader. She offers a free course for future proofreaders that will help you decide if this is the right fit. Learn about proofreading and the differences between editing. Find out which industries require proofreaders. How to earn $20 an hour.
3. Freelance writer
You will be a freelance author and produce blog posts, research papers, white papers and other types written content. You can work in magazines, online journals and newspapers as well as other businesses. If you love writing and research, this business could be a good option. Holly Johnson, a writer, did just that and now offers a course to aspiring freelance writers.
Holly shares the strategies she used to make six figures per annum. She teaches where to find high-paying clients and how to work with editors. She also shares ideas for pitching and how to use social networking to grow your business.
4. Manager of social media
Social media managers assist companies in creating, scheduling, and monitoring their presence on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This role will include managing social media content calendars and responding to questions and comments, as well as creating images and other tasks.
For more information about this business, please read our guide How to become a Social Media Manager.
5. Manager Facebook ads
You can set up a small-scale company to manage ads for other companies.
You will create and manage Facebook ads. Additionally, you’ll analyze the data in the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard to monitor the performance of the ads. You might be interested in this small-scale idea for a business. Consider signing up for Bobby Hoyt’s Facebook Side Hustle course.
You’ll learn how create and navigate Facebook ads systems, set up campaigns, price your services, and find your first clients.
6. Blog writer
Creating your own blog could be the right choice for you if you are looking to take control of your writing and still share your thoughts with others. Similar tasks will be performed as freelance writers, but the articles will be published on your website.
A blog can be used to make money through advertising, creating courses or publishing eBooks.
See how we created a successful blog.
This 7-day email course will allow you to join more than 100,000 other users:
- Learn the exact steps that we used to earn our first $1,000 blogging income (and more).
- Start your blog and learn how to create epic, income-generating content.
7. Editor and resume writer
You can make a career out of reviewing resumes and working in human resource. This job will help clients create clear, effective resumes that are attractive to potential employers. You may also be responsible for formatting and proofreading their resumes.
8. SEO consultant
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing web content for search engines such as Google and Yahoo. To drive more people to your site, you want to rank higher in search results. You will be an SEO consultant and review the content of the company’s websites and make recommendations to improve search rankings and increase organic traffic.
Although it sounds difficult, there are many resources that will help you.
9. Email marketing specialist
As an email marketing specialist for a small business, you will work with other companies and businesses to create email marketing campaigns. You might be responsible for formatting newsletters, editing and proofreading to ensure clarity and grammar, and creating graphics. Other tasks include managing email lists, analyzing statistics, and writing press releases.
10. Low-content eBook creator
Instead of writing a large-scale book, you might consider making smaller books. These products are easy and quick to make and include coloring books, activity books, journals, planners, and blank notebooks. You can make your own low-content eBooks , and then sell them on Amazon, your website, Etsy, or your own website.
You can create low-content books by using a web-based program such as Canva. This program provides hundreds of layouts and tutorials that will help you design your first product. You can still create professional-quality books even if your skills are not in graphic design.
11. Trading card shop owner
It is a small detail that I do not understand, but Ben, our co-founder, makes thousands of dollars each selling Pokemon card online. You’ll find it easy to buy, hold, and sell your precious wax if you have an interest in Magic, Pokémon or other trading card games (TCG).
Related: I spent $100,000 flipping Pokemon cards during the Pandemic. Here’s what I learned
Ideas for In-Person Businesses
You can also start a traditional small-scale business if you aren’t interested in working online.
12. Pet sitter or pet walker
Working outside their homes or those with mobility problems often require someone to walk their dogs. This is a great opportunity to open a business as a dog walker in your community or apartment building.
It’s easy to get started by telling your friends or registering on Rover. This will allow you to connect with clients who are looking for reliable dog walkers. You can create a Rover profile to inform potential clients about your availability, rates and which dog breeds you are interested in working with. Rover allows you to board pets at your home and make money.
13. Vrbo host
You can rent out your apartment or home as a small-scale rental business, provided it is approved by your landlord. You’ll make money by hosting travelers who request a room to stay.
Answer a few questions about your property to get an idea of its value. Then, see how much revenue you can expect each month.
Parents often prefer to have a babysitter to look after their children while they are at work. Some parents prefer to have a reliable babysitter for their children’s safety and so that they can do errands, exercise, or just enjoy a date night without the kids.
You might consider starting a babysitting service if you love spending time with children and have a flexible work schedule. To find your first client, you can either register on a site such as Care.com. Or advertise on social media.
15. Computer repair
Computer repair is an option as personal computers are a common fixture in many homes. Repairs can include hardware repairs, software updates, installation of anti-virus programs, and setting up a new computer.
You can choose the services you offer. If you are a computer whiz and have a flexible work schedule, this could be a great small business idea. As an added service, you can also offer phone support.
16. Specialist in insurance billing
A specialist in insurance billing is someone who works with doctors and offices to process insurance claims. This is an opportunity to start a small business from your home if you are organized and can understand medical terminology. It is possible to work freelance for medical facilities such as hospitals and surgical centers.
You can start your own business as a transcriber if you are good at typing and listening. You will be able to listen to audio files and convert them into text documents as a transcriber. Clients will have different requirements for the format, style and content of their transcription documents. This job guide will help you learn about the work of a transcriber as well as where to find your first clients.
You might consider taking some Transcribe Anywhere courses before you start. Learn about general transcription or the basics of building a business transcription business.
18. Housecleaning service
House cleaners are able to go to homes of others to perform specific or general cleaning services. You may also be able to offer cleaning services for landlords, such as commercial cleaning or construction site clean up.
Small-scale businesses have low starting costs. However, you will need to check with your state or city to confirm if you require any licenses, background checks or special insurance.
19. Plan your vacation
As a vacation planner, you will help clients plan their next trip. You’ll assist clients in booking hotel reservations, train or airline tickets, special experience or excursion bookings, as well as dining reservations. It’s like working as a travel agent in the old days.
Most of this can be done on their own so it is helpful to have a specialty in certain types or vacations, such as Disney World or cruises. You’ll be able to offer your clients the best deals and save time by specializing in a particular area.
20. Mobile/in-home dog groomer
Instead of clients taking their dogs to the salon, bring the salon to them. The same services can be offered, including baths, nail trimmings, haircuts, and teeth brushing. However, you offer them the option to do this in their own homes. This is especially helpful for elderly pets or their owners, dogs with anxiety, and pet owners who are unable to travel to the salon during business hours.
This job requires you to have some training and certifications, as well as the tools such as clippers and a table.
The Best Small-Scale Ideas for Creatives
You can turn your creative skills into a small-scale business by turning your craft ideas into a product.
21. Etsy shop owner
You can make your hobby of crafting a small business by selling handmade crafts and products through Etsy. Etsy is an easy-to-use platform that allows you to sell everything, including knit products, hand-painted glasses, as well as digital products. Your Etsy account can be linked to your Facebook account. It makes it easy to promote and sell your products in a wider audience.
22. Creator of custom gifts
You don’t have to sell your crafts on Etsy. You can make custom gifts such as quilts, T-shirts and board games or picture frames, and then sell them at craft shows, dropshipping sites, or via Shopify. This small-scale business is affordable and only requires the materials to create the products.
23. Graphic designer
Graphic Designer Create visual images such as logos, social media graphics and magazine covers. Signs, brochures, infographics and more.
A graphic design business can be a great option if you are creative and have an eye for design. You can start by offering your services through Fiverr, or by reaching out and offering your services to small businesses owners.
You can focus on family and pet portraits, first birthday or graduation photos, as well as headshots for resumes and business websites. As your business grows, you can create a studio at home or rent a commercial space.
This small business will require professional lighting and equipment. If you don’t want to work on a schedule, you can earn money by taking pictures and then selling them on stock photography websites.
25. Audiobook narrator
You can become an audiobook narrator if you enjoy reading aloud and have the right equipment and space. Acting classes, public speaking and learning new accents are all ways to improve your abilities and reach more people.
You can offer your services to customers who are skilled with sewing machines. To start, you’ll only need to have the shirts of your customers. However, you will need to be able to ship them. You can also offer custom quilts to newborns, newlyweds and housewarming gifts.
27. Book designer
Many authors feel overwhelmed by the idea of designing cover art, layouts, and other graphics for books. You can become a book designer if you are skilled in graphic design. As an additional revenue stream, you can also offer related marketing services such as ad campaigns or social media graphics.
Ideas for Drivers
Delivering food and packages to customers is an easy way to get started in a small business.
28. Food delivery driver
It’s easy to deliver food by signing up with a company such as Postmates. Postmates allows you to become a courier and earn tips. You also get paid for the time you spend waiting in line to pick it up. Postmates doesn’t require you to have a vehicle; you can also deliver on foot, by scooter, or by bike.
Delivering food and pizza to local businesses is another option. If you prefer to deliver groceries, Instacart may be another option.
You will need valid driver’s license and insurance to work as a delivery driver. Although the initial expenses for delivery are minimal, you should consider fuel costs, vehicle maintenance, and other expenses to be able to deduct them from your taxes.
29. Event valet
Event valeting means you will be driving unfamiliar cars, parking them in tight spots, and keeping track where they are.
You will need to be organised, detail-oriented, and comfortable driving manual and automatic transmission vehicles. A valid driver’s licence and proper insurance are also required.
30. Bike messenger
Many businesses, including law firms and architecture firms, use bicycle messengers to transport documents and other products. If you enjoy riding your bike and know how to navigate the city’s traffic, this is a great business idea. If you are interested in starting this business, make sure your bike is in good condition and that you have the appropriate clothing and safety gear.
31. Running errands
You can also start your own business to run errands for others if you are willing to do small tasks every day. You can provide services such as dry cleaning or prescription pick-up, grocery shopping or going to the post office. Some people will pay you to wait in their home while they go to work.
To get started, you can create a TaskRabbit profile. You might consider working directly with clients if you feel it’s a service that is in high demand.
Ideas for Business by Health Enthusiasts
These small business ideas will help you if you are passionate about helping people to get well.
32. Personal trainer
You will be a fitness instructor and help clients achieve their fitness goals by creating exercise plans and choreographing routines.
Although you don’t require any formal education, certifications and training are required. These will depend on what type of instruction or training you want to offer. There are two options: you can either work for a gym on a contract or freelance basis, or you could set up a home gym that clients can use.
33. One-on-one coaching for wellness
One-on-one coaching with clients is a way for a wellness coach to help them improve their mental and physical health. It could be anything from weight loss to quitting smoking to better coping skills for stressful situations.
The goals of each client and your specializations and certifications will determine what you do. If you enjoy motivating, helping and empowering others, this is a great small-scale business idea.
34. Prepper & meal planner
Meal planning and prepping is a great way to save money for both individuals and families. Many people lack the knowledge or time to prepare meals or create meal plans.
It’s possible to start a company that provides meals for busy families. You will take orders, prepare the food and deliver it each week. You will need to check with your state to obtain any licenses or certifications that you may require in order for you sell food at your home. You can also sell meal plans that include recipes and grocery lists and let your clients cook.
Ideas for Coaches and Teachers: Small-Scale Businesses
To coach or teach others, you don’t necessarily need a degree in education.
35. Music teacher
You can teach children and adults how to play an instrument if you are able. Lessons can be held in your own home, in a music studio or at the homes of your clients. You can scale your music teaching business by hosting virtual group classes, or creating and selling online courses.
36. Sports skills coach
Specialized coaching is in high demand. Coaches for cheerleading, softball and baseball pitchers, and golfers who want to improve their game work with coaches. You can open a clinic or private lesson for athletes if you are an expert in these sports.
37. Online tutor
Students require help in math, history, and physics. A tutoring business is a great option if you are passionate about helping students. Your services can be offered in person. You can meet with clients at their homes or in public places. You can also work with an online tutoring agency if you are unable to tutor in person.
38. Interview preparation coach
For many, the interview process can be the hardest part of the hiring process. You can use your experience in interviewing to coach people who are getting ready for interviews if you have had success with the process.
You can teach them to answer questions clearly and concisely, calm their nerves and recover from bad answers. This service can be provided in the home or in public spaces such as libraries, coffee shops, and community centers.
39. Lesson plan creator
Teachers often find it difficult to write lesson plans. Writing lesson plans can be time-consuming for teachers. If you are an experienced writer and have been praised for their creativity and originality, you might consider selling them to other teachers. Your lesson plans can be sold via your website or through a third-party site such as TeachersPayTeachers.
Working as an interpreter or translator is a good option if you are fluent in another language but don’t wish to teach. You can find work through connecting with authors, courts, schools, and entertainment.
It is possible to teach English as a second language or work for a company such as Education First.
Education First is a great option for teachers who can speak Spanish or French and want to teach English to non-native speakers. Teachers can work as foreign language instructors or camp counselors, as well as being educational tour guides. There are many remote opportunities as well as the option to work in person in the U.S.
41. Genealogy researcher
Before websites like 23andMe made it easy to trace your family’s genetic heritage, people used genealogy research for their roots. Many still do. Working as a researcher in genealogy might be an option for you if you are a skilled researcher, have the ability to meet deadlines and know how to access relevant records.
The National Genealogy Society has more information about this field. For those who are interested, they offer books and courses.
42. Online course creator
You can still make money teaching students even if your are not a licensed teacher. Platforms like allow you to connect with students and create courses for them. Teachers can make courses on Outschool that cover everything, from basic guitar chords to sushi-making to how to calculate 16 square roots.
Your classes can be offered live or prerecorded so students can view at their leisure earning as high as $40 per student .
Handymen Need Small Business Ideas
These small businesses can be a great way to make an income if you are good at fixing things.
43. Install holiday lights
Although this is a seasonal business idea, it can be very lucrative. You can market your services for hanging outdoor holiday lights to homeowners and retail shops if you are a skilled craftsperson with a flair for lighting displays. Because your customers provide the lights, this business is one of the most affordable to start. You only need a ladder and some basic tools.
44. Appliance repair
You might consider opening an appliance repair shop if you are good at fixing things. Repairs can be done in people’s homes, such as stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators. A few services you might offer include vacuum and window-unit air conditioner repair. No matter what you do, verify with your state which licenses, insurance or certifications are required.
45. Snow removal or lawn care
Many people have to shovel snow or mow lawns, but they don’t have the equipment, time, or desire. These services can be offered to homeowners and businesses by starting a small business. You can offer additional services to your customers such as pool cleaning and landscaping if you have the right knowledge.
46. Tailoring and clothing alterations
Modifications are required for prom dresses, wedding dresses, pageant dresses and suits as well as jeans. You can start your own tailoring business if you are proficient with sewing machines and thread and needles. You can either work as a freelancer or offer your services in an independent setting.
47. Auditor for home energy
Many people seek ways to lower their electricity bills in order to reduce expenses. You will inspect homes room-by-room to determine how efficient they are as a home energy auditor. You will assess how efficient a home is at storing energy and where it’s losing it. Then you’ll make recommendations for improvements that can save homeowners money and make their homes more comfortable.
To work as a home-energy auditor, you will need to have the right equipment and training.
48. Window cleaners for residential use
While most homeowners are able to clean the windows from the inside, they may need assistance with the exterior panes. You can clean windows with a ladder and proper safety equipment. They could even be expanded to include power washing, gutter cleaning, and cleaning chandeliers.
You should check with the state to determine if you require any type of special insurance or license in order to run this type of business.
Tips to Start a Small Business
These steps will help you get your small business started.
- Develop your idea. Determine what services you will offer. Assessing your abilities is a way to do this. You can make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the time and resources you are willing to put into building and growing your business.
- Identify your goals and why you are starting a business. Is it to make money working from home ? Do you want to work less and spend more time with family? It might be a good idea to set goals for your quarterly income, the number of employees you want to hire, and the types of clients you would like.
- Set your prices. This will determine the price you charge your customers. You can choose to charge per-product or hourly for services such as consulting or babysitting. To help you determine your price, compare what similar businesses are charging for similar products.
- Create your business finances. A business bank account is required as well as an invoicing system. Although you can use a basic Excel spreadsheet and PayPal to start, your business may grow and you will need a system such as FreshBooks.
- Make a marketing plan. A strategy is necessary to promote your business both online and offline. A site such as Moo can help you create professional business cards to promote your business in person. Online Marketing Strategies may include setting up a Google Business Page, creating a website or using social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These are all inexpensive and easy ways to get the word out about your business.
Remember to take care of the legal stuff.
You may need insurance, permits, licenses and certifications depending on what type of business you are starting. Before you begin working with clients, make sure to research the laws and regulations of your city or state. You should also verify that your name is not trademarked and that you are properly registered with the state as a business.
Also, you will need to establish your business as a legal entity such as an LLC or Sole Proprietor. Many small business owners do not choose to set up legal structures, but they are common for tax purposes. They can track expenses separately and reduce personal liability. Talk to an attorney or accountant to find the best structure for your company.
You can also use Legal Rocket and LegalZoom to search for how to register an LLC in your state. You can also use their services to file the paperwork necessary for starting a business.
Start Your Small-Scale Enterprise
A small business can be a great way for you to make extra money and work for yourself. These businesses are relatively inexpensive to start, easy to market and can be quickly started finding clients.
This route is best if you choose a business that suits your talents and schedule as well as has high earning potential. Owning your own business should be something that you love and look forward too. You don’t have to feel like you are being a burden by running your own business. There are many options.