30 Best Small Business Ideas for 2024 Use Your Skills to Be Your Own Boss

30+ Best Small Business Ideas for 2024 – Use Your Skills to Be Your Own Boss

Maybe you’re still unsure what career to pursue.

Maybe you want to start a business but don’t know what kind to start.

While looking at booming industries can be tempting, it’s also a good idea to look to your strengths. What is your skill set? What are you great at? This can be an excellent starting point for coming up with the best business ideas. By focusing on where your skills are, and what you enjoy doing, you can come up with great small business ideas that play to your strengths.

These suggestions should give you somewhere to start.

What makes a good small business idea?

When it comes to ideating for a small business, there are certain characteristics that can make an idea more effective and profitable. Here are some key elements to consider:

Minimal training required

The best business ideas don’t require you to be an expert from the start. Ideally, you should be able to pick it up quickly without needing to spend a ton of time learning new skills. If you already know how to do it because it’s a hobby or something you’re passionate about, even better!

Low start-up costs

A top-notch idea won’t cost a lot to get off the ground. Maybe it’s a business you can run online, so you don’t have to worry about renting a shop. Or perhaps it’s a service where you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. The less it costs to start, the quicker you can get going.

Manageable by few people

A solid business idea should be something you can handle on your own or with just a few people. This way, you can keep things simple, save money, and stay in control.

Scalability

The best ideas have plenty of room to grow. Your business could take on more customers, sell more products, or offer more services without everything falling apart. That’s the beauty of a business that can scale!

Meets a market need

A good business idea should solve a real problem or fill a need. It could be something big or small, but there should be people out there who need what you’re offering. The more people who need your product or service, the more potential customers you have!

A great business idea should be easy to learn, affordable to start, manageable with a small team, have the potential to grow, and meet a real need. Your idea might not hit all these points perfectly, but they’re a good starting point to figure out if your idea has what it takes to be a success. Now let’s get into some specific small business ideas that might be right for you.

Hands-on business ideas

Does your ideal career involve getting your hands dirty—or, at the very least, working with your hands, as opposed to sitting in an office?

There are, of course, a million possibilities here; however, I’ve researched a few to get you started.

1. Plumbing, electric, or handyman business

If you’re a fan of tinkering and solving problems, starting a plumbing, electrician, or general handyman-type business might be a good fit for you.

While it’s not as simple as just starting plumbing, if you’re looking for a hands-on career, you might want to consider seeking out a vocational degree in one of these fields and building a business around it.

For more information:

– Your local community college is a great place to start when it comes to vocational training

– For further reading, check out this article: How a Self-Employed Handyman Earns $3,000 a Week

– If you’re ready to get started, check out our construction and engineering sample business plans or our plumbing sample business plan

– Look into your state’s requirements for certification for plumbers, electricians, and handypersons or general contractors.

2. Construction business

Similarly, a construction business could be a great fit for someone who enjoys hands-on work.

If you’ve been doing this sort of work for someone else, it can be gratifying to start your own business and be the one calling the shots. If you’re still more of an amateur, you’ll probably need to complete either an apprenticeship or a trade program to get started. However, if you already have some of the skills or have worked in construction in the past (or simply have an interest in seeking the education), this might be a great fit.

For more information:

– Check your local community college and trade schools in your area for vocational training options

– Read our article on starting a construction company: How to Start a Construction Company

– Check out our complete startup guide: Construction Business Startup Guide

– If you’re ready to dive in, check out our free construction and engineering sample business plans

3. Mechanic business

Do you love working on cars? Would you like to do it for a living?

Maybe you’ve been working on cars in your garage for a few years. Don’t write off your interest as merely a hobby; it could make a great small business idea.

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For more information:

– Check your local community college and trade schools in your area for vocational training options

– If you’re ready to get started, check out our business plan for an auto repair service business, as well as our auto repair shop business plan

4. Sewing and alterations business

If you enjoy sewing, you might like a business specializing in altering or repairing garments.

While you don’t need a specific degree or training, you’ll need a certain level of skill to get started with this one. However, if you’re already great at sewing, an alteration business could be a great fit. It’s a perfect home-based business opportunity, and you’ll have limited overhead—if you have a sewing machine and a good iron, you’re halfway there.

For more information:

– Check out your local community college for sewing classes; your local community center may offer classes as well

– Read our article on how to start a sewing business

– Check out our complete sewing business startup guide

– Head over to the Penny Hoarder for this guide on starting an alterations business

– Check out our clothing business sample plans

Numbers-focused business ideas

5. Accounting business

Do you enjoy bookkeeping, preparing taxes, and generally managing money? Consider starting an accounting business. The field of Strategic Advising is growing, and there is more demand than ever for accountants to provide services beyond just routine tax prep.

Unlike many suggestions on this list, becoming an accountant and opening your own firm will require the right education—generally, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, and you’ll also likely need to be licensed as a CPA.

For more information:

– The LivePlan Strategic Advisors blog contains great insight and resources for Strategic Advisors and is well worth reading if you’re interested in breaking into the field

– Make sure to read this article from Accounting Web on pitfalls to avoid when starting your own accounting business, so you can make sure you don’t make any easily avoidable mistakes

– If you have questions, the Accounting Coach blog is a great place to go for answers

– Check out our accounting business plans if you’re ready to get started

6. Financial planning business

Like starting an accounting business, you’ll want to look into the requirements for starting a financial planning business. However, if you have a background in finance, or would like to pursue schooling, starting a financial planning business might be the right small business idea for you.

For more information:

– If you’re interested in becoming a certified financial planner, read this guide

– Check out our financial planning business plan

– And, before you get started, make sure you’re ready to go it alone: Going Solo—The True Costs of Starting Your Own Financial Planning Firm

Motivational business ideas

7. Personal training or gym business

If you’re into fitness, opening a gym or starting a personal training business could be a great small business idea. From general fitness coaching to becoming an instructor (think Zumba or Pilates), to personal training, to opening your own gym, there are plenty of options in the fitness sphere, depending on where your interests lie. After all, the best business ideas for you will be the ones that play to your strengths.

Bear in mind that like many options on this list, you’ll need certification. NASM, ACE, and ACSM are a few of the most common and well-respected certifications, but the path you choose will depend on your specific focus.

For more information:

– Check out our article on how to start a gym or fitness center

– We also have a complete startup guide for starting a personal training, gym, or fitness business

– If you’re ready to get started, check out our gym and fitness center business plans

– Check out this article from American Fitness Professionals and Associates: 17 Tips for a Successful Personal Trainer Business

– If you’re interested specifically in becoming a fitness instructor, check out this series of articles: Become a Fitness Instructor

8. Life coaching business

Did you successfully navigate a difficult situation against all odds and come out stronger on the other side? Do you see the best in people and want to help them reach their full potential? If so, you could consider building a small business around life coaching.

For more information:

– Check out this article: How to Write a Business Plan for a Life Coaching Business + Free One-Page Life Coaching Business Plan

– This article by Coach Pony is also worth a read

– Download and read our psychological health center business plan for planning inspiration

Business ideas for strong writers

9. Freelance writing business

Sites like Elance and Upwork are great places to get started freelance writing, and you can easily build a small business around your skills as a freelance writer, or potentially expand to include other writers (or graphic designers, web designers, and so on) down the road.

Another great thing about starting a freelance writing small business? You can tailor it to your strengths. Whether you’re interested in copywriting, technical writing, or writing for trade publications, writers are always in demand.

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For more information:

– Our article on launching a writing business will help you determine if it’s the right path for you

– Check out this article: How to Start a Freelance Writing Business

– Our free sample business plans are a great source of inspiration if you’re ready to get started with the planning process

10. Editing and proofreading business

Similarly, editing and proofreading services are always needed and would make a great small business idea. You can begin by taking on freelance work and go from there (and surprise—you’re already a sole proprietor!).

For more information:

– Check out this article by professional proofreader Louise Harnby: Setting Up a Proofreading Business: 10 Things You Need to Know and 10 More You Need to Do

– If you’re ready to get started, check out our free sample business plans

11. Resume writing and help business

If you have an eye for detail, your skills might be put to good use helping job-seekers perfect their resumes.

For more information:

– Check out this article on starting a freelance resume-writing business

– Consider taking the advice of the pros and learn how professional resume writers think you should get started

– Our sample business plans gallery is a good source of inspiration when you’re ready to write a business plan

Nature-focused business ideas

12. Garden center business

If you love gardening, but would rather share your expertise than physically help others with their personal gardens, starting a garden center might be the right small business idea for you. You can advise and educate other enthusiasts on what it takes to make their gardens beautiful.

For more information:

– Start by reading our guide to starting a garden center

– Check out our garden nursery business plan

13. Landscaping business

If you do love the idea of working hands-on, you might consider a landscaping or lawn care business. While you’ll certainly need the skill set to get started, some lawn care services are ultra-basic to start (think mowing) and you can learn and add on more services over time.

For more information:

– Check out this article from The Garden Continuum on starting a landscaping business

– Download and read our landscaping sample business plans

Creative business ideas

14. Photography business

If you’ve got a great eye and are always the one who documents special moments, you might want to consider making a career out of your photography passion.

While the competition is pretty stiff, specializing in a specific area, such as pet photography, weddings, or portraits can help set you apart.

For more information:

– Read our article on how to start a successful photography business

– Check out our complete photography business startup guide

– If you’re ready for business plan inspiration, download and read our photography studio business plan

Detail-oriented business ideas

15. Car-detailing business

Taking the idea of “detail-oriented” in the most literal sense, a car detailing business could be a small business idea that is not only lucrative but that plays to your strengths.

For more information:

– Start by reading this article: Five Tips for Starting a Mobile Auto Detailing Business

– If you’re ready to start planning, check out our car wash business plan

16. House cleaning business

If you’re naturally tidy and enjoy keeping places clean, consider starting a house cleaning business. It’s fairly easy to start, requires no training or certification, and if you’re detail-oriented, it could really play to your strengths.

For more information:

Start with our article on how to start a cleaning business

– Be sure to check out this article from Page’s Cleaning as well

– Check out our cleaning sample business plans

Beauty and spa business ideas

17. Massage therapy business

While it does take licensing to become a massage therapist, starting a massage therapy business can be a great career for someone who enjoys working with people, making them feel relaxed and peaceful, or helping them manage pain or injury.

For more information:

– Most cities will have a massage therapy school where you can become an LMT—find one here!

– Our massage business plans will give you inspiration and show you how to get started on your business plan

– If you’re interested in starting a day spa, check out our beauty salon and day spa sample business plans

18. Beauty salon or spa

Like a massage therapist, you will need a license to be a hairstylist, esthetician, or nail technician. However, if the training sounds enjoyable, consider looking into starting a salon or spa business.

For more information:

– Find your local cosmetology school to get started on the path to becoming a licensed hairstylist, esthetician, or nail technician

– Second, read our article on how to open a successful hair salon

– Check out our salon business startup guide

– If you’re ready to get started, download and read our hair and beauty salon business plan

Purposeful business ideas

19. Nonprofit business

There are endless ways that you can help others by starting a nonprofit business. What problem are you passionate about fixing? Starting a nonprofit business can be a rewarding life path, as it can enable you to both make money and make a difference.

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For more information:

– First, read our step-by-step guide on how to start a nonprofit

– For more specifics on writing your business plan, check out: How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan

– If you’re ready to plan your nonprofit, download and read our free nonprofit sample business plans

Business ideas for teachers

20. Tutoring business

If you know multiple languages, excelled at a certain subject in school, or are good at explaining concepts in a way that is easy to understand, consider starting a tutoring business. You can specialize in a particular area, depending on your skill set, such as paper writing, languages, math, or test preparation—the list goes on.

For more information:

– Start with this article from Side Hustle Nation: How to Start a Tutoring Business

– Check out our education and training sample business plans, specifically our tutoring business plan

21. Start a business teaching your skill set

So, you love to teach—but the idea of rehashing high school chemistry doesn’t really do it for you? Consider starting a business based on teaching what you love.

Maybe you’re a skilled potter or a trained dancer? Love to practice yoga and are interested in becoming an instructor? Whatever your skill, there are likely people who’d love a teacher.

For more information:

– To get started, try listing your skills on sites like Craigslist or Thumbtack

– If you’re especially interested in teaching online, this article is a good starting point

– Check out our education and training sample business plans for inspiration, or if you’re ready to get started

Business ideas for strategic problem-solvers

22. Build an app

Do you have a solution to a common problem or pain point that you feel is experienced by many? Consider building an app—it’s easier than you’d think.

For more information:

– Start with our article on how to write a mobile app business

If you’re good with children, you’re in luck—childcare is always in demand. You have several options: you could become a full-time nanny, start a childcare service from your home, or rent commercial space, depending on your goals.

For more information, start with our article on how to start a daycare business. Then, read our tips for writing a successful business plan for a daycare center. When you’re ready to get started, check out our sample business plans for daycare centers.

Do you love animals? Did you enjoy dog walking when you were in high school? You can turn this passion into a career by starting a pet boarding service, a daytime doggy daycare, or a pet grooming service.

For more information, read about the success story of Trots Dogs, a dog walking and daycare business. Get an honest look at being a dog walker on Rover Time. And don’t forget to check out our dog and cat kennel business plan.

Do you have a passion for helping the elderly improve their quality of life? If so, consider starting a small business focused on assisting senior citizens. There are plenty of options, such as running errands, accompanying them to social functions, or providing help around the house. Starting a business to help others can be deeply rewarding.

For more information, start with our article on starting a home healthcare business. Make sure you’re aware of the critical risks of starting an assisted living home. Download and read our home health care services business plan, and check out our daycare services and children’s products business plans.

If you like being on the cutting edge, consider starting a business in a new and trending industry. It may be a challenging route to take, as there is less precedent and the roads to success are unpaved. However, there are benefits to this approach.

Consider starting a business in one of these emerging industries: Airbnb, Amazon FBA, or Etsy. You can also explore the top 5 fastest growing industries for 2023.

If you have an idea for a business, it’s time to consider your next steps. Explore ‘ gallery of sample business plans for inspiration. If you need to write a formal business plan, follow our guide. For a quicker and easier start, consider creating a One Page Plan as a validation of your idea.

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