35 Best Business Ideas for 2023

Are you one of many entrepreneurs just starting out? Get inspired with these 35 business ideas and start your business journey on the right foot.
Brainstorming Business Ideas | Swyft Filings

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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated December 28, 2023
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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The success of all entrepreneurs comes down to one thing — the quality of their business ideas. If you don’t have any ideas, you don’t have the seed from which your startup can flourish. Here, you’ll discover 35 of the best small business ideas to inspire the new entrepreneur.

Best Small Business Ideas: Key Takeaways

  • Start by considering your skills and credentials before forming a business idea.

  • Decide whether you want a full-time business or a side hustle that will earn you extra money on top of your current job.

  • The most profitable business ideas are those driven by passion and long-term viability.

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What Makes Good Business Ideas Good?

You could come up with a million business ideas, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean that any of them are good. Remember, the goal here isn’t simply to form your own business. It’s to create a business model that’s repeatable and, ultimately, capable of generating a profit.

With that in mind, three elements need to be present for your idea to be “good.”

1. Matches Your Skills and Credentials

There’s an old saying that the best authors always “write what they know.” The same applies to your new business. Your skills or qualifications should be the backbone for your new business idea.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do what you’ve always done. However, you can turn what you know into something new. For instance, an accountant with some sales experience can go a long way as a financial coach. 

Think about what you know and how it applies to your idea. If you don’t see alignment, move on to something else.

2. Maintains Affordability

Starting an Etsy store doesn’t cost as much as founding a restaurant. In other words, entrepreneurs must recognize that no two business ideas cost the same — some require more investment than others.

In the Etsy versus restaurant comparison, your Etsy startup costs would be whatever materials you need to make your products and the time required to set up a store. With a restaurant, you have a building, furniture, staff, food, and many other overheads to consider.

The point is simple — consider your finances, mainly how much money you’re willing to put into your business, before rushing ahead.

3. Has Long-Term Viability

The typical goal when somebody forms their own business is to go full-time with that company. There’s only one thing that ensures this will happen — profitability.

Research is your best friend when it comes to determining the viability of a business idea. Look beyond the idea itself and define what market it serves and, crucially, how big that market is. What are the costs involved in making your products? What profit margins can you expect, and how much do you need to sell to become profitable?

Ask yourself: Is the idea taking advantage of a “flash in the pan” trend, or does it have the legs to last for years? A good business idea is one through which you can make money for a long time. 

A female business owner running a dropshipping business | Swyft Filings

The Ultimate List of Small Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

If you want your own business and want to work in it full-time, here’s a list of 35 great business ideas for entrepreneurs who want to build up a company.

1. Dropshipping

The idea behind dropshipping is simple. You create an online store that looks like any other eCommerce store. But behind the scenes, you’re not manufacturing the products yourself. Instead, you’re working with a third party that processes all of the orders and, in some cases, applies your branding to them.

Think of it as eCommerce without the logistical concerns. You handle the marketing while your partner receives the orders and ships the product. Your profit comes from the difference between what the customer pays and your manufacturer’s combined shipping, storage, and production costs.

It’s one of the best business ideas for entrepreneurs who want a home business with minimal upfront or ongoing costs. It’s also cheap to set up because you don’t need to rent office space or a warehouse — your partner handles that for you. A lack of any required qualifications adds to the low startup costs to make dropshipping a cheap and easy way to get into running your own company.

2. Green Business

A green business is any business that focuses on sustainability above all else. The demand for green products makes this a viable option, with the National Retail Federation pointing out that between 50% and 66% of customers say they’ll pay more for sustainable services.[1]

That number is even higher among the 18-34 crowd, with up to 80% saying that good green credentials mean they’ll spend more.[1]

So, what is a green business? It’s any company that sells products that are either good for the environment or made sustainably. Examples of relevant business ideas in this area include:

  • Package-free retail products

  • Second-hand stores

  • Bicycle stores

  • Eco-friendly landscaping

You can learn more about these small business ideas in our deep dive into green businesses.

As for startup costs and qualifications, they’ll vary depending on the type of green business you create. A landscaping company, for instance, will likely need at least some experience with gardening and has to absorb equipment and storage costs. Still, for entrepreneurs who want to make a difference while they make money, going green is a massive business opportunity.

3. Pet Sitting

Simple, cheap, and an excellent idea for a home business, pet sitting is one of the best business ideas for people who want a side hustle that doesn’t cost them a lot to set up.

Plus, it’s a service that’s in demand. The number of American households with pets is constantly on the rise, hitting around 70% between 2021 and 2022. That’s up from 56% of pet owners in 1988, resulting in a little over 90 million families occasionally needing people to look after their pets.[2]

You don’t need any certifications to take care of pets; the only requirements are that you love animals and know how to care for them. If you’re willing to build up your new company a little more, you can incorporate a dog-walking business into your pet-sitting one, giving customers two ways for you to take care of their furry friends.

4. Real Estate

Real estate is one of the largest markets in the United States, with a constant high demand for housing making it essentially bulletproof. The industry is expected to reach $88.91 trillion in 2023. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%, it will be worth $142.9 trillion in 2028.[3]

But real estate is one of those business ideas that comes with high startup costs and the need for many qualifications. For instance, an independent realtor needs a license to sell properties, with those licenses typically being available on the state level.

Attaining those licenses, as well as studying to develop the expertise they demonstrate, leads to a high upfront cost. Furthermore, real estate is a business that relies on word of mouth more than many others. Many of your clients will come from referrals, so you need to be savvy in the service and sales departments to make this idea work.

5. Consulting

The idea behind consulting is simple — you have an area of expertise that can benefit a person or business owner, so they hire you to share that expertise. While it’s a simple business model, it's consistently in high demand, as demonstrated by the fact that there are now 810,000 consultants in the United States alone.[4]

It’s a competitive industry, but it also raises your potential to turn your business into a full-time gig because you can take on multiple clients who’ll pay a lot of money for your experience. Still, “experience” is the keyword — you can’t be an effective consultant if you haven’t worked in the industry for which you consult.

For instance, let’s assume you want to create an accounting consulting business. Your clients will at least expect you to be a certified public accountant (CPA), meaning you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a CPA license under your belt. You may also have to invest in further education to enhance your credentials, as well as extensive marketing to put yourself on potential clients’ radars.

A male entrepreneur running a food truck and catering business | Swyft Filings

6. Catering

If you’re a master in the kitchen or have a little skill when it comes to making coffee, you have the potential to set up a catering business. The best thing about this industry is that so many small business ideas can sprout from it.

For instance, somebody who wants a home business can set up a home-based catering company producing buffet foods for events. The more adventurous entrepreneurs among you could branch out into having your own “venue” for eating, such as a coffee shop or food truck. The possibilities are enormous.

However, so are the costs. Or they can be if you need to rent a space. Add to that the cost of equipment, ingredients, and, potentially, hiring staff, and you have a business that could require thousands of dollars of investment to get it off the ground.

Then, there are the permits, which vary from state to state. For instance, a caterer in New York may need some or all of the following:

  • Home Occupation Permit

  • Food Handler Permit

  • Catering License

  • Building Health Permit

Each state has its own requirements, so you must do your research before jumping into this type of business.

7. Editorial Services

Talented writers can set up a home business by offering editorial services to various companies. For instance, search engine optimization (SEO) companies always need copywriting. The same goes for many businesses, which may need a writer to handle copy or cast an eye over what they already have.

Best of all, you can start freelance writing with a computer and word processing software. You just need an appropriate skill set, ideally backed up by a relevant degree or certification from online courses, and a portfolio of your work to show to clients.

The only issue with this idea is that the traditionally high demand for copywriting has waned recently. More companies are turning to generative AI to help with copy, meaning you’ll need to offer something more than an AI can do to make a true business.

8. Bookkeeping

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are 33,185,550 small businesses currently operating in the United States.[5] Every single one has books that they need to maintain, both for tax purposes and to ensure their companies are running as efficiently as they can.

As a bookkeeper, you’ll help clients track the important numbers inside their companies, making this the type of business that builds on your know-how to become your own boss. That also means this isn’t a job for beginners. You will enter data, gather transactions, and monitor financial records, all of which require a specific skill set.

The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a bookkeeper qualification, unlike you would for other accounting services. Your clients will expect you to be good with numbers but won’t demand that you have a degree.

Bookkeeping is another low-cost business idea, with only the money you spend on a computer and any software you use as your overheads.

9. Graphic Design

In graphic design, you’re responsible for creating a brand's visual identity. Typically, that means you’ll have skills in software like Adobe Photoshop, an eye for detail, and the ability to follow brand guidelines. Assuming that’s the case, you have the seed for a home-based business that relies on your talents as much as your business acumen.

Graphic design is also a growing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook in the industry is expected to grow by 3% per year between 2022 and 2032.[6] These figures showcase demand, which would be ideal for you as a home business owner operating as a freelancer.

Having said that, this is one of those business ideas that requires an investment, particularly in building your skill set. You may have to take courses not only in graphic design but also in how to design imagery for specific platforms, such as social media and websites. Plus, you’ll likely pay monthly subscriptions for the various software you use.

10. Cleaning Services

A business offering cleaning services is simple — you’re hired by a client, travel to the location, and clean. Startup costs are minimal, with the only real costs being the cleaning equipment you use and transport. Plus, it’s a business that almost anybody can get into. 

As such, setting up a cleaning service is a great business opportunity for somebody willing to travel to meet clients in person rather than work from home.

Cleaning businesses often thrive on word of mouth, so you may have to endure a few slow months as a side hustle before you’ve built up enough of a reputation to get hired more consistently.

A man working for a landscaping company | Swyft Filings

11. Landscaping Services

A landscaping business can start as a side hustle before blooming into something more long-lasting, thanks to word of mouth. You’ll spend most of your time working outdoors, helping people to create beautiful gardens or to maintain what they already have.

It’s not always the most inexpensive of business ideas, though, with extensive startup costs potentially being an issue if you go beyond simply mowing and trimming. Equipment and vehicles combined can set you back by around $25,000, and you may have to pay for licensing. For instance, you’ll spend $294 to get a license as a landscape architect in New York.[7]

Thankfully, you don’t have to go too big too quickly. Starting with just the basics allows you to earn some money, which you can pour back into your landscaping business to grow your equipment inventory and offer more services to your clients.

12. Childcare Services

Childcare has many advantages as a small business idea. You set up your own daycare from home, and you’ll have a consistent client base as you develop more positive word of mouth.

Still, there are qualifications you’ll need to obtain for this home-based business. Again, these qualifications vary by state. For example, New York requires potential business owners to get a license if they intend to offer childcare services to at least three children for more than three hours per day.

You’ll invest in these licenses and any steps you must take to childproof your home. 

13. Event Planning

Though it seems to be one of the great business ideas for people who like putting events together, an event planner is much more than somebody who arranges tables and decorations. They need a skill set covering accounting, marketing, public relations, and hospitality, with a bachelor’s degree often required to showcase their know-how.

Assuming you have the appropriate skills, it’s still a business you can run from your home, for the most part. You can even hire a virtual assistant (VA) to help you keep up with the numbers and your meetings. Still, you’ll occasionally leave home to attend client meetings, pick out venues, and procure whatever’s needed for an event.

Though you’ll build the cost of hiring equipment and personnel into your quotes, you’ll still cover many of these costs upfront until you receive payment. Having capital reserves is necessary to get started, though event planning can be lucrative once you’ve built a strong reputation.

14. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is different from other types of businesses. Rather than selling your own product or service directly, you’re selling somebody else’s via referrals. 

Bloggers and influencers do it all of the time. For instance, if you’ve ever read a blog review where the host links you to the product they’re reviewing, you’ve probably seen affiliate marketing in action.

As for how you make money, you earn a cut of the profit from every sale made via your affiliate company's link. So, you’re essentially making sales by word of mouth. Only it’s your word that’s leading people to buy.

The simplicity of affiliate marketing makes it an excellent choice for a home business. You don’t need any qualifications, and the startup costs are low. Multiple avenues are available to explore as an affiliate, from content and email marketing to advertising products using your social media accounts.

15. Independent Entertainment

Speaking of being an influencer, branching out into independent entertainment is often a good way to start a business. YouTube, podcasts, and live streaming services, such as Twitch, offer inexpensive ways to set up a business from your home as long as you have the equipment to do it.

Specific qualifications aren’t required, though expenses can mount as your content becomes more complex. What starts as something you can do with a camera, microphone, and something to talk about could become an enterprise involving lots of people and costly ideas.

Being an entertainer is fun, though it’s also a competitive industry. With Twitch, for instance, the top streamers can make up to $200,000 per month.[8] But to do that, they need to amass thousands of subscribers. The same applies to podcasting and setting up a YouTube channel — there’s unlimited growth potential, but you have to work hard and consistently to build an audience.

A woman operating an eCommerce company from home | Swyft Filings

16. eCommerce

The eCommerce industry is huge. According to Statista, combined sales on eCommerce platforms reached $6.31 billion in 2023 and will grow to $8.148 billion in 2026.[9] Ideally, selling online is a business model that allows you to set up a home business, too.

There are so many avenues to eCommerce available. Etsy is an option for the creative types who make homespun products, especially thanks to its audience of around 95 million people.[10] Amazon is also an option, with Fulfilled by Amazon available to help with logistics, while eBay is for those who want to treat eCommerce as a side hustle.

The downside is the extensive competition. Your cool t-shirt design, for instance, joins thousands of others. But if you can hit upon a product, design, or brand that catches fire, you have access to a constantly growing pool of customers.

17. Photographer

You can set up a photography business if you have a camera and an eye for a good shot. Qualification requirements are minimal, with most clients being more concerned with the outcome than the history of the person behind the lens.

You also have options to complement your skill set. Your business plan might focus on the traditional side of things, such as wedding photography or setting up a studio. Or, you can focus on providing photography for services like Shutterstock, which allows people to buy licenses for your photos.

The latter can be a good passive income stream while you focus on the former. As for your potential investment, it splits between equipment costs, traveling to venues, and running marketing campaigns, such as SEO for a website. However, you’ll find that word of mouth starts building as you develop a reputation.

18. Print-on-Demand Business

A print-on-demand business can be successful if you have cool design ideas you can turn into attractive brands. The idea is simple. You create a design and pay a third party to print that design onto an item you sell.

Many successful businesses on Etsy use this model, with the key being that you need access to an online store to sell. You can also control scaling, with the costs involved in printing onto your items generally being covered by the sales you make.

Some printers even offer something akin to a dropshipping service by handling orders on your behalf. Expect to pay a set fee of around 30 cents per order plus a percentage of the order’s value.

However, the success of this business opportunity hinges on your ability to create designs that people find attractive. That’s the only skill needed, but it’ll make or break your print-on-demand business.

19. Freelance Developer

Freelance developers create software and mobile applications for businesses. The latter is an especially lucrative field, with Grand View Research estimating that app development will enjoy a 13.8% CAGR between 2023 and 2030.[11] If you’re a talented programmer, your skill set is in high demand.

If you’re not, you don’t necessarily need to attend a university to learn how to develop applications. Plenty of online courses exist to learn the ins and outs of different languages, making this a potential business idea for which you can build the know-how as you go along.

Setup costs are low, too. Beyond your knowledge, you’ll just need a computer and relevant software to build and test your applications.

20. Information Security

Just as programming skills are in high demand in business, so is the ability to safeguard information and sensitive data. In 2022 alone, 1,802 major data breaches occurred — a rate of almost five per day — affecting over 422 million people.[12]

As an information security specialist, you’d serve as a consultant who helps businesses to shore up their digital defenses. Investment into this type of business is fairly low as you’ll usually be working with a client’s equipment, making your knowledge what’s really in high demand. Still, it never hurts to take online courses to obtain certifications that highlight your credibility.

A student attending a virtual tutoring session | Swyft Filings

21. Virtual Tutoring

If you’re determined to work from home, virtual tutoring puts a spin on traditional in-person sessions by allowing you to conduct sessions via video conferencing. The demand for these services is clearly there, too. The Hechinger Report estimates that about a tenth of students receive “high-dosage tutoring” beyond their schooling.[13]

Of course, you’ll need certain skills to be a tutor. However, this is a business type built in your own knowledge, combined with word of mouth and referrals, instead of equipment.

That means setup costs are low; you just need a computer and what’s in your brain to start tutoring as a home business. Ambitious entrepreneurs can expand their tutoring from the potentially limiting one-on-one setup to group classes or even online courses they sell via a service such as Skillshare.

22. Data Entry

Data entry is the ideal starter business for people who want something that’s low-cost and requires very little know-how. You’ll typically receive information in the form of data sheets from a client, with your job being to enter that information into their systems.

It’s a manual business type that can start to feel repetitive after a while. But it also doesn’t require you to have a skill set beyond typing and the ability to figure out the systems to which your clients provide access.

Start this type of business by using freelancing websites such as Upwork to find jobs. They’ll be low-paid, but they’ll help you to develop a record of consistent work that could lead to more jobs from a client or positive word of mouth about your services.

23. Home Repair

Entrepreneurs who are especially handy can become their own boss by leveraging their know-how into a home repair business. The demand is certainly there, with American homeowners spending nearly half a trillion dollars on home improvements annually.[14]

Granted, this isn’t a work-from-home business. You’ll need equipment, which could cost several thousand dollars depending on your specialty, and you may need to obtain licenses depending on your state.

It’s also a good idea to build a website and run SEO so you appear in local searches. However, these pricey endeavors could cost you a couple of thousand dollars per year.

If you can cover these startup costs, then your skills with your hands are all you need. Good jobs lead to positive word of mouth from clients and a consistent business flow.

24. Social Media Management

More companies are starting to see the power of their social media accounts as marketing tools, and the demand for socially savvy entrepreneurs who can manage those accounts is on the rise. A CAGR of 22.8% between 2022 and 2031 for the social media management industry proves there’s high demand.[15]

Typically, a social media manager oversees a company’s social accounts. Post creation and dealing with comments are key tasks, as are sticking to the client’s brand guidelines.

Granted, this means you won’t be your own boss in the same way as other business ideas allow you to be. You’re following a client’s script while bringing your own skills to the table. But it’s a low-cost option for entrepreneurs as all you need is some marketing sense and a computer to manage a social account.

25. Interior Design

An interior design business is ideal for the more creative types, especially those who relish finding new ways to make their own homes look spectacular. And, much like many of the business ideas on this list, it’s a growth industry — the market is expected to reach a total value of $79.6 billion by 2030.[16]

Interior design is a good choice for anybody wanting to start their business in a thriving industry. Plus, the business model is solid when it comes to your investment. While you’ll need to spend money on furniture and decorative items for your clients, that’s typically reimbursed (with a markup) in your invoice.

Beyond that, it’s a home business that’s as reliant on your eye for trends as it is on the money you put into building it.

An interior designer working on a project | Swyft Filings

26. Notary Public

As a notary public, your job is to serve as an impartial witness, often at the behest of the Secretary of State, for the signing of important documents. Think of yourself as an overseer, ensuring no bias or fraud enters a deal. Wills, powers of estate, and property deeds are all examples of the documents you’ll oversee.

You can build a home business as a notary public with very little investment. For instance, New York only charges $60 for its application, which, along with your formation documents, means you can get this business model up and running for around $1,000.[17] Of course, those costs increase dramatically if you want to expand into multiple states.

The downside is that becoming your own boss with this idea means dedicating yourself to the craft. Many notary publics travel extensively to meet clients, with word of mouth often playing a crucial role in their success. While you may not need an initial capital investment, the extensive time and energy put into the business makes up for it.

27. Personal Trainer or Wellness Specialist

As a personal trainer, you guide clients on their fitness journeys by providing workout routines and nutritional advice. Given that you’re dealing with people’s health, most who take this route need a relevant degree in the field and certification from an organization like The National Academy of Sports Medicine.

That means most of your monetary investment comes from earning the qualifications to start a personal training business. From there, it’s about building your skill set and developing a client base through word of mouth. The more people you help, the more people will want you to help them.

As for how you deliver your service, this is one of the more flexible business ideas. Though many still prefer an in-person service, requiring you to rent gym space or build your own home gym, many personal trainers tie their training into online courses.

28. Massage Therapist

Minimal formal qualifications and the sheer number of online courses available make becoming a massage therapist a great business idea for somebody who wants to be their own boss. Granted, there are often licenses to consider. For instance, New York charges a $108 fee for getting a license, though rules in other states may vary.[18]

Once you have your license, you can run a massage therapy company as a home business. Clients travel to you, or you go mobile with a table to them, and your investment is fairly small. Outside of a table and the various oils and lotions you may use, this is a business for which you primarily just need your own hands.

The in-person nature of massage therapy also means that word of mouth and referrals are your main source of clientele. Attracting your first clients may be difficult. But once you have them, you can rely on their recommendations to get more.

29. Resume Writer

Anybody who has a background in freelance writing or marketing copywriting can turn their hand to becoming a resume writer. You draft resumes for clients based on their skills and the specific requirements of the companies they want to work for. As for your target audience, it’s almost everybody. Most people have to write resumes at some point in their lives.

There’s high demand, and resume writing is another example of a home business with low setup costs. You also don’t need specific qualifications, though experience in the recruiting industry helps as you’ll have a stronger idea of what employers want to see.

As for building your skill set, online courses are available on platforms like Coursera, which could give you more insight into what your clients would need from this service.

30. Videographer

Videography doesn’t require a formal qualification, though many in this industry have at least some experience in film school. What’s more important is that your skillset covers the ability to shoot small productions.

The sheer number of avenues you can explore makes videography such a strong business opportunity. Live events, weddings, birthdays, commercials, legal depositions, and even shooting for YouTubers can help you build this type of business from a side hustle into something substantial.

As for your investment, it’s mostly related to equipment. You will do most of your editing work via a computer with appropriate software, but the cameras and lighting you use can set you back thousands of dollars unless you choose to rent.

A female videographer on a job | Swyft Filings

31. Translator

Anybody who’s fluent in two languages and has used Google Translate knows that AI-powered translation tools don’t always produce the most accurate results. Businesses know that, too, which is why multinationals are always on the hunt for good translators.

If you have a linguistic skill set, you can set up a home business. Typically, you’ll spend your time translating marketing literature and in-house documents for businesses. However, opportunities also exist for translating courses and articles, with the latter being especially lucrative if you have SEO skills you can pair with your translations.

As business ideas go, being a translator relies heavily on a niche skill, with formal qualifications not being necessary but often desired by clients. It’s also inexpensive to set up as you primarily use your know-how while working from your home.

32. Online Reselling

Online reselling has a lot of parallels with dropshipping. You’ll source products from a supplier that you resell to customers via an online store. As with dropshipping, you may also work with your suppliers to apply branding to the products you sell.

Startup costs depend on what products you resell and how much stock you purchase. Beyond that, you may also pay ongoing fees for using an eCommerce marketplace, such as eBay or Amazon, which charges ongoing fees to sellers. The alternative is to set up your own online store, though you’ll likely pay $10,000 or more to do so.

The upshot is that you don’t need any formal qualifications for this business idea. Your success depends on your ability to find products that other people want to buy.

33. Home Inspection

Valued at $5.3 billion per year in 2022, the home inspection industry is one of those business ideas that focuses on something everybody needs — somewhere to live.[19] As an inspector, your job is to check out the properties that people are considering buying so you can generate reports highlighting issues the layperson may miss.

You will need a fairly extensive skill set to start this business, with a passing grade in the National Home Inspector Examination being a bare minimum. Many states have their own exams and licensing, some of which are essential, whereas others are additional qualifications that enhance your credibility.

Still, you can be your own boss as an inspector because you decide on your clients. Plus, it’s a home business idea with minimal investment required. Most of your work revolves around visiting properties and writing reports.

34. Transcription Service

As a transcriber, you’ll spend your days listening to audio recordings and watching videos while meticulously converting them into text format. It’s somewhat similar to translation in that you convert information from one format into another. Of course, you’ll be working in your own language, with your skill set boiling down to listening and typing accurately.

It’s one of the more low-cost business ideas on this list, as transcribers can get started with a computer and a copy of Microsoft Word. However, those who want to make a career out of this work will typically invest in hardware, such as a foot pedal that allows you to control when the audio plays so you can keep your hands on your keyboard.

Still, you can set up this type of business for a couple of thousand dollars, including formation. No formal qualifications are needed, though you may find that taking a few online courses can help you learn some of the tricks of the trade to make your transcription work faster.

35. Personal Assistant

The busier somebody’s life gets, the more help they’ll need to run it. A personal assistant does everything from arranging their schedule and taking bookings to arranging transport and controlling people's access to the person.

Typically, this is an in-person role, with you serving as an extension of the client. However, you can also work as a virtual assistant (VA), though what you can do is more limited in this capacity. For instance, an influencer may use a VA to handle their scheduling and admin work while relying on an in-person assistant for their day-to-day.

Though no formal qualifications are necessary for this type of business, you will need strong interpersonal skills. You’ll deal with people all day, from your clients to those with whom they do business. You also won’t have to spend a lot of money, at least to form the business. The fees you pay for your licenses and a means of communicating are all you need.

A personal assistant taking calls for a client | Swyft Filings

Follow Your Passion

With that, you have 35 great business ideas to consider pursuing as you work toward becoming your own boss. However, there’s an entire world of business opportunities out there waiting for you, with the most successful business model always being the one about which you are most passionate. For example, here are a few more ideas that aren’t on the list but are just as viable as any other:

  • Tailoring or dressmaking

  • Life coach

  • Car detailing or cleaning

  • Travel planner

  • Personal chef

  • Moving company

  • Audio and video editing

  • Video voice overs

  • Online course creation

There are so many more. What’s key in all this is that your new business is your own. In other words, don’t just settle for something you think you can do or that will make you a little money. You need to love what you do because that passion will drive you to do all of the little things behind the scenes to keep your business running. 

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What small businesses are most successful?

A small business that allows the owner to combine their passion or knowledge with a product of long-term viability is typically the most successful. Of course, there needs to be a market for that product, meaning the business has to sell products or services that others find valuable.

How do I start a small business from home?

After coming up with an idea and creating a business plan around it, you’ll need to create an appropriate business entity. The process for doing so varies depending on your state. However, it usually involves submitting formation documents, such as Articles of Organization, to the Secretary of State.

What makes for a good work-from-home small business idea?

Any business you can primarily run from a phone or laptop is a strong contender for a work-from-home business. The more you need to meet people in person, the more likely you need an office.

What business entities are small businesses?

The most common entity types for small businesses are sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLCs). Few small business owners choose to incorporate as a corporation because that requires them to build a board and make shares available.

What entity type is best for small businesses?

Sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLCs) are all suitable, with a sole proprietorship being the simplest to set up. However, we recommend forming an LLC, even a single-member one, because of the liability protection this structure grants your personal assets.

Do I need a business plan before starting a small business?

While there’s no legal requirement to create a business plan, it’s always recommended. Not only does your plan serve as a roadmap for your business, but it will prove useful if you need to open a business bank account or want to attract outside investment.


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Originally published on December 28, 2023, and last edited on December 28, 2023.
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