People turn to side hustles for an infinite number of reasons. Maybe you’re looking for some extra cash. Maybe you want to join the gig economy and say goodbye to your nine to five. Or perhaps you have this entrepreneurial spirit you just can’t squash. No matter what your reason for wanting to start a small business, it’s a good idea to think about companies with a low start-up cost you can begin from the comfort of your home. Here are 11 business ideas to get you started!
Business Ideas for Small Businesses You Can Start
1. Dog Walker & Pet Sitter
Are you a dog lover at heart? Do you enjoy keeping pets happy and healthy? Looking for business ideas that keeps you healthy while being around adorable 4-legged friends? You might be the perfect fit as a dog walker and pet sitter!
This is a job where you can be as busy or as free as you’d like, since you can take on as many or as few clients as your schedule allows.
This job requires more than just a love for puppies. In addition to loving dogs, you must be:
- A good communicator: Scheduling appointments takes a strong ability to communicate over text and phone. Giving quality updates during the visit is very important to the pet owners! They want to know that their dog is happy and in good hands, so send detailed messages and plenty of pics.
- Organized: You need to have a careful record of your scheduled appointments and know your conflicts before you book a session. If you’re in charge of feeding a pet at a certain time, that’s not something you can forget. They’re relying on you to keep them safe and alive!
- Patient: Not all dogs are in love with strangers. It can take time for a pooch to come out of their shell and learn to trust you! Be gentle, calm, and reassuring, and they’ll warm up to you at their pace. If you’re nervous, they’ll know immediately and will feed off of that energy. When in doubt, treats are the best way to make friends!
- Friendly: Before any pet sitting job, most pet parents will want to set up a meet and greet. This is where you meet the dog, see the house, and they can both give you care instructions and get to know you better. They’ll ask you about your qualifications and experience, and the better you answer their questions and the friendlier you seem, the more they’ll trust you in their home.
- Trustworthy: In this job, you’ll be given access to and responsibility for people’s homes and pets: two of the most important things people have. Follow the rules they lay out for you and don’t break their trust!
If you’re getting started, try out an app like Rover. You set up your profile with information like your bio and prices, and people in your area can find your profile and hire you! They take 15% of your payment, but their site sends clients your way, and if anything happened to the pet you were sitting, their insurance would pay their vet bill so you won’t be held liable for the bill in case of an accident.
2. Freelance Graphic Designer
Do you have a passion for graphic design? Are you good at making promotional posters and graphics for social media?
You could make money as a freelance graphic designer!
Companies sometimes need to outsource creative work to artists when they need a particular project done and don’t have an internal creative team to work on it. That’s where you come in! You can apply for freelance jobs on places like Upwork, or you could contact businesses in your area and let them know that if they ever need any graphic design help, you’d love to offer your services.
Before you get started, you need to put together your portfolio. This piece will showcase the best examples of your work so clients will know that you’re worth hiring. On the best, most detailed pieces, you could dedicate a page to talking about the project’s specifications and how you used your design to bring the client’s vision to life.
3. Affiliate Marketer
Do you have a passion for writing? Are you a natural salesperson?
You might have a knack for content marketing!
Here’s a basic overview of the job; you sign up for an affiliate program with some site like Amazon or Etsy, and you get specialized links. If someone uses your link to make a purchase, you get a commission!
This job has a lot of flexibility in how you carry it out, as all you have to do is find a way to get your link out there.
You can do this in a variety of ways.
- A blog: If you’re a skilled writer and know a thing or two about web development, you could make a blog! When you write about something and mention a product, you just hyperlink the text with your affiliate link, and if your reader buys the product, you get paid. This method takes a lot of work, as not only do you need to build the site and write the posts, you also need to be skilled enough to market your pieces to get them in front of potential readers and potential shoppers. A popular method to sharing blogs is Pinterest and email marketing.
- An Instagram page: If you’re making content that people enjoy, you might have success with affiliate posts. If you’re a beauty blogger, you could make affiliate posts about your favorite foundation and put the link in your bio. If you run a really popular meme page, you could put a product in a photo after the main content and direct your followers to your link to purchase.
4. Virtual Assistant
Are you organized? A self-starter? Good at following directions while making executive decisions on your own? Looking for business ideas that use these skill sets? You might be a great virtual assistant!
While many people use an in-person assistant to help them with daily work or home-related tasks, it’s becoming more and more common to find an assistant online. As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s easy for someone to carry out all the tasks the employer would need virtually.
This job takes many forms as well. You could work for a company as a boss’s assistant, you could be an assistant to a writer or famous personality to organize their in-person speaking opportunities and social posts, or you could be an assistant that helps a business-oriented parent manage their household. You can look for these types of jobs on sites such as Upwork or use the local cold-call method.
5. Career Coach
Have experience in the job application process? Are you good at helping someone make major life decisions? You might be an excellent career or life coach!
A career coach is responsible for helping someone narrow down their choices for their dream job and giving them actionable steps to get there. You get to talk with them about their passions and skills and help them determine what field they would best thrive in. Once they figure out what they want to do, you help them locate job openings and help them craft their application using best practices and techniques for resume writing.
6. Cleaning Person
Are you detail-oriented? Do you take pride in making sure a space is spotless? Looking for business ideas around being clean and organized? You might be an excellent candidate for offering your cleaning services!
This job also can take a lot of different forms. You could be a weekly cleaner in an office space, someone who cleans inside homes, or someone who does chores such as laundry. This job is a great service to parents who need a helping hand or for busy professionals who don’t always have the time to take great care of their living space.
If you do an excellent job, there’s a significant opportunity for gaining clients via word of mouth. If clients love what you’ve done with their place, they’ll be sure to recommend you to their busy friends!
7. Freelance Writer
Do you have a talent for writing? Are you good at bringing a client’s vision to life?
Then you might make a great freelance writer!
There are so many business ideas for what you could do in this space – this job has a wide range of flexibility! You could write articles for a company’s blog, ghostwrite someone’s idea for a book, pen social posts for someone’s social media, or write the copy for a TV ad spot. It all depends on your particular skill set.
This is another job where you could scour freelancing sites for opportunities. Before you start applying, pull together a portfolio of your best work so you can prove your abilities to potential employers.
8. Etsy Shop Owner
Are you a talented artist? Do you love making jewelry? Have you always had a knack for knitting?
You might be able to make it as an Etsy shop owner!
Before you get excited and decide to open shop, you need to know that there are a lot more skills required for a successful shop than just making good products. You need to wear many hats while running this type of business, completing many tasks including:
- Product Photography
- Customer Service
- Budgeting and Pricing
- Inventory Management
- Shipping and Packaging
- Product Development
These are just a few of the elements required to run a successful shop. You can’t just make a pretty scarf; you need to take amazing photos, put together an awesome listing, and understand SEO and marketing so you can get eyes on your product. As of 2020, there are 4.1 million sellers on Etsy. So you need to do a lot of legwork to stand out! But if you put the work in and love what you do, it’s an extremely rewarding experience.
9. Freelance Proofreader
Do you have an extreme eye for detail? Are you the one that picks out typos on restaurant menus?
You might be an excellent proofreader!
Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of writing, proofreaders are an extremely important part of the writing process. Getting a fresh pair of eyes on a piece of writing is vital to help writers notice their mistakes and reword places of potential confusion. What makes perfect sense to the original writer might come off as confusing when a different person reads it, which makes the proofreader’s perspective extremely important!
There are two different types of editors; you could be a more detailed editor, who makes suggestions on comprehension, style, and structure, or you could be strictly a proofreader who only catches typos. Figure out which type you’d like to market yourself as and start applying!
Are you a fast typer? Do you thrive in a repetitive environment?
You might be an excellent transcriber!
Sometimes companies need a written transcription of a video, and your job is just typing out exactly what is said during the video.
There’s no creative element to this job, but if you enjoy simple, straightforward tasks, this would be perfect for you.
Companies that produce video content generally have a continuous need for this position, so if you find one reliable client, you should have no shortage of work.
Another type of transcribing is caption-writing. It’s the same principle, but you have to match up the words on the screen with the timing of the on-screen personalities saying them. Though this might require minimal video editing skills.
11. Personal Trainer
Do you love working on your own personal fitness? Are you always spending time in the gym?
You might be a great personal trainer!
Being a personal trainer requires more than just a passion for working out. You need to know proper safety techniques, human physiology, and how to construct work-out routines that are safe and productive for your client’s personal body-type and fitness goals.
You need to get the proper certification, which requires taking a course and passing an exam. If you have a particular gym in mind that you’d like to work with, ask them about their recommended or required certifications before you get started.
Business Ideas: Invest in Your Business and Invest in Yourself
We hope these business ideas help you! If you’re serious about starting a business, whether you want to keep it as a side business or make it your full-time job, you can always use a helping hand. Join a community of boss babes who have made it their business to be the best in the business. Learn more in our member-only forums and with our resources on how you can continue to grow to become a leader in your industry.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.