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101 Best Small Business Ideas (You Won't Believe Number #1!)

Updated on June 23, 2017
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Katleigh is a college student who grew up broke and decided to change. They write about business, personal finance, and money management.

Why Start Your Own Small Business?

More and more people are taking up an entrepreneurial spirit and starting their own businesses. There are many benefits to owning your business, but the two main financial reasons people cite for having a side income, sometimes known as a "side hustle" are:

  1. Earning a secondary income in addition to their job or career OR
  2. Finding a reliable income to replace their current job.

Why do you want to start your own business?

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Pet owners love their animals like their children, which leads to a lucrative business opportunity for those willing to take a chance. There are many options for animal lovers, from pet grooming to doggie date planning.
Pet owners love their animals like their children, which leads to a lucrative business opportunity for those willing to take a chance. There are many options for animal lovers, from pet grooming to doggie date planning. | Source

10 Ideas for Animal Lovers

  1. Pet Sitting Business trips, family vacations, romantic getaways - there are always times where pet owners are forced to keep their furry friends behind. This job often includes feeding, walking, and small grooming chores. Pet sitting isn't the most creative of side businesses, but it's a classic for a reason. Alternatively, if you have upscale accommodations, you might consider opening your own at-home, luxury boarding facility. Private rooms or live streaming are hot sellers for those with ritzy tastes.
  2. Dog Doo Cleanup Service If you have a weak stomach, this isn't the job for you. However, if you're an animal lover yourself, it's likely that you're used to the less-than-savory habits. If you have a free weekday and live in a fairly well-to-do neighborhood (or one filled with busy fur moms and dads), you can make a healthy profit arranging to clean neighbors' yards of their pets' messes.
  3. Doggie Play Date Planner While it might sound a little silly to most of us, but our furry friends need friends too! This is especially important to puppies, who need to be socialized not only to interact with other puppies but to understand the social hierarchy that comes with older dogs too. Arranging dates for a nominal fee is a great way to earn some quick cash and help man's best friend at the same time! If you are able to host a few of these playdates at your own home.
  4. Livestock Raising Taking on livestock - or any animal for that matter - is no small task. However, for those with the initiative and time, it can be a profitable endeavor. Even those with little extra space can often raise small animals like rabbits. Goat milk has become profitable in recent years as a gourmet food or an alternative to highly processed cow's milk. Just be mindful of government regulations on raw foods if you plan to sell outside of your own circle.
  5. Animal Clothing and Bedding While this requires a little sewing skill, most pet clothing can be made on the machine or with a few simple stitches. Alternatively, you can frequent thrift stores and yard sales to find gently used items to resale. Bedding is also another popular choice and can be sold for a large profit. Gently used bedding is hard to find, however.
  6. Dog Walking If you have an athletic side, dog walking can be a fun and profitable business - especially if you can hold more than one leash at a time. There are many online services like SitterCity, but you could also post flyers and start with your own circle of friends.
  7. Pet Grooming Whether you want to open your own boutique or take on a few choice clients in the garage, pet grooming can be a great business for those with a creative side. It can be a little more stressful than some of the other jobs on this list, because not only do you have to keep frazzled pets calm and happy, but satisfy the owners' demands as well.
  8. Pet Toys Most pet toys are fairly easy to make but can be sold for a tidy sum. Catnip toys, especially if you use organic or homegrown catnip, are an excellent niche market. Sewn products are an easy sell, but stuffed yarn balls are easy. Of course, people have more than just cats and dogs, so research all kinds of toys for all kinds of species.
  9. Homemade Pet Treats Organic, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO: all are specialty human food product categories that consistently sell. As this trend continues, more pet owners are becoming concerned with their pets' diets. Baked treats that cater to a specific diet are easy to make and sell.
  10. Pet Photography If you have a creative side that needs to be itched, pet photography is a booming business in some communities. These pictures can be cutesy, silly pictures of Fido in a tiara and crown to a serious family portrait.

10 Old-Fashioned Business Ideas

  1. Vintage Clothing Dealer Popular sites like ModCloth show the growing need to provide vintage clothing for the modern age - why not join in on this trend? Vintage 701 Levi denim jeans, 1950's housewife dresses, and even tacky sweaters for the 90's are all up for grabs at yard sales and thrift stores nationwide. It's a bit of a gamble, but if you have an eye for design and the resources to sell these products online there is money to be made.
  2. Garage and Yard Sales A common way to get rid of your stuff, yard sales can actually turn into a year-long business. A bright, charming lady I knew while I lived in Georgia held yard sales every single weekend and seemed to have endless goods to sale. Other people brought her items, which she marked by name with a brightly colored dot, and sold the items taking 20% off the top. No one wanted to go through the hassle of setting up shop and she had a constant supply of stuff.
  3. Antique Dealer Much like the vintage clothing option, antique dealing can be a good option for a side business, but it takes a little more risk. From collectible plates to furniture to Victorian serving spoons, there are plenty of markets you could find to cater. Antique dealing can be done through popular sites like eBay or through local boutiques.
  4. Car Detailing Longer commutes and comfier cars result in more and more time spent in a car and less time available to take care of it. An especially lucrative idea is to bring your services to people's home or business. Car detailing may include odor removal, wax finish, and general cleaning. I wouldn't recommend starting your own car detailing business unless you have professional experience in the industry, however.
  5. Dry Cleaning Service Much like car detailing, dry cleaning can be a somewhat difficult job opportunity without experience.
  6. Concierge Service
  7. Housesitting
  8. Christmas Carolling
  9. Cooking for Families
  10. Real Estate Assistant

Interior design is always a hot topic of interest. With those for a penchant for eye-appealing decor, a lucrative business opportunity awaits.
Interior design is always a hot topic of interest. With those for a penchant for eye-appealing decor, a lucrative business opportunity awaits. | Source

10 Ideas for Interior Design Fanatics

  1. House Modeling Perfect isn't always the goal, especially if your market is ordinary. A clean, organized home is all you need to become a candidate for house modeling. While this is a bit of a long shot, your house could be the next big commercial or magazine star! A quick Google search can lead you to location scouts to start your journey.
  2. Feng Shui Consultation Asian culture and studies are very popular topics for a lot of Americans, which makes it a lucrative business opportunity. Feng shui literally means "wind and water" and is based on the idea that furniture arrangement and architectural design impacts wealth, luck, prosperity, health, and overall well-being. Remember, customer satisfaction is the most important part of any business, so make sure you are well-educated in the art of feng shui.
  3. Holiday Decorating If you're always in the Christmas spirit, this seasonal work could be perfect. Whether you're stringing Christmas lights or helping put up the tree, there are plenty of services you can provide. Of course, there are plenty of other holidays outside of the winter season. Summer barbecues, Halloween parties, and religious ceremonies can also sprinkle your calendar.
  4. Special Occasion Sign Rentals Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and even promotions can all be occasions worth making a high-profile. Teddy bears, grim reapers and skulls (for Halloween or tongue-in-cheek fortieth birthday parties) and of course your standard word signage are all popular options.
  5. Prop Rentals Much like the sign rentals, prop rentals can be a profitable side business if you find the right niche. Photographers always need props for their shoots, from creepy clown pieces to Victorian silverware. Chances are if you have a collection, you also have a customer.
  6. Holistic Housecleaning While it's not quite interior design, holistic housecleaning adds it's own special touch to a rather competitive market. Instead of your standard run-of-the-mill services, offer to clean their home with all-natural, homemade products. Holistic housecleaning may also include some more niche services This is a very niche market, so word-of-mouth and competitive prices are essential.
  7. Open House Boutique If you have a spare room, a couple extra hours left in your week, and a few creative friends or neighbors, then you have the perfect recipe for a year-round business. Craft shows, Christmas bazaars, and independent consultant tables are all popular finds at open house boutiques.
  8. Faux Furniture Finishing
  9. House Staging This is a fun and exciting choice for anyone who loves interior design, has a little extra furniture, and doesn't mind a seasonal job. When houses go on the market, the previous owners often take their furniture with them to the new house. This leaves the new house empty for their potential buyers.
  10. Personal Organizer If the thought of a tidy closet gives you a thrill, then becoming a personal organizer might just be the job for you! Garages, bedrooms, home offices and even particularly messy closets can all cause hassle to their owners.

The food industry can turn into a profitable business.
The food industry can turn into a profitable business. | Source

10 Ideas for Foodies

  1. Juice Bars
  2. Mobile Cookie Cart
  3. Coffee Bean Stand
  4. Travelling Barbecue Salesman
  5. Custom Candy Flavors
  6. Rock Candy
  7. Pet Food Delivery Service
  8. Herbal Tea
  9. Prepacked Lunches
  10. Coffee Delivery Service

10 Ideas for Outdoorsy Types

  1. Herb Farming
  2. Lawn Service
  3. Window Washing
  4. Flower Gardening & Arranging
  5. Personal Exercise Coach
  6. RV Cleaning and Detailing
  7. Crop Gardening
  8. Graffiti Removal Service
  9. Bike Rental Service
  10. Lifeguard

Big kids and kids at heart need not fret - there are plenty of opportunities to make money.
Big kids and kids at heart need not fret - there are plenty of opportunities to make money. | Source

10 Ideas for Big Kids and Teachers

  1. Face Painting
  2. Kid's Party Planner
  3. Tutoring
  4. Babysitting
  5. Puppeteering
  6. Magician
  7. Ballon Animal
  8. Kid's Pen Pal for Hire
  9. Elderly Crafts
  10. Special Interest Teacher

In today's technologically advanced world, there are plenty of options for those who are naturally tech-savvy.
In today's technologically advanced world, there are plenty of options for those who are naturally tech-savvy. | Source

10 Ideas for Tech-Savvy People

  1. In-Game Design
  2. Sports Videographer
  3. Family Photography
  4. In-Game Currency Sales
  5. Publicity for Local Businesses
  6. Vlogs
  7. Online Surveys
  8. Product Reviews
  9. Article Writing
  10. Website Design

Our economy is going green quickly, and smart business owners are keeping up with the trend.
Our economy is going green quickly, and smart business owners are keeping up with the trend. | Source

10 Eco-Friendly Ideas

  1. Candlemaking
  2. Soap Making
  3. Kids' Toys & Crafts
  4. Bird House and Feeders
  5. Beekeeping
  6. Custom Upcycling
  7. Mobile Art Gallery
  8. Custom Craft Supplies
  9. Seasonal Decor
  10. Worm Farming

10 Ideas for Crafty People

  1. Quilting
  2. Scrapbooking
  3. Calligraphy For Hire
  4. Gift Basket Making
  5. Custom Stationary
  6. Caricature Drawing
  7. Potpourri
  8. Flower Arrangement & Wreath Making
  9. Embroidery
  10. Clothing Accessories

10 Ideas for Writers and Readers

  1. Resume and Cover Letter Writing
  2. Social Media Marketing
  3. Blogging
  4. eBook Editing
  5. Book Scout
  6. Research Paper Editing
  7. Greeting Card Writing
  8. SEO
  9. Romance Novels
  10. Ghostwriting

1. Direct Sales

Most people disregard direct sales when thinking of business opportunities. There is a common myth that many companies are nothing but pyramid schemes. However, with the right company, you can reap a tidy profit and even replace an ordinary full-time income. Direct sales, known through single or multi-level marketing,

My personal favorite direct sales company is Avon. You have up to a 40% commission earning opportunity every sales campaign and the Kickstarter program for new Representatives is amazing. If you would like to learn more about becoming an Avon Representative, contact me by following the links on my homepage.

© 2017 Katleigh Merrier


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