Small businesses are the backbone of America’s economy, no question about it. The numbers speak for themselves:
29 million = Number of small businesses in the US.
500 million = Number of patents filed annually in the US.
50% = Half of the private sector is employed by small businesses.
All it takes is one unique business idea and you could be there too. But coming up with an idea is the very thing that keeps a lot of people from moving forward at all.
The best business ideas are the simple ones that aim to solve a problem or fill a need. Good entrepreneurs are always asking ‘how can this be better’ or ‘what would fix this problem?’
These questions will get you thinking outside of the box and might be the fuel you need to think up a great business idea. But for those who just need a little inspiration, you can look to the business ideas listed in this article.
Turning Your Business Idea into a Business
We can talk about business ideas all day, but you won’t get anywhere unless you get up and do something about it. PT has a bunch of resources to help you get started with your business, so use them as a guide.
- 5 Things to Do Before Starting a Business
- Turning a Hobby into a Business
- My Steps to Starting a New Business or Company
20 Unique Business Ideas That Don’t Suck
Private Lesson Instructor – Music, sports, and dance are the most common types of lessons out there, but the possibilities are endless. What is something that you enjoy doing that others might like as well? You just have to be willing to teach and you can start your own studio one lesson at a time.
Event Planning – If you’re an organized person, you’ll probably do well with an event planning business. If you enjoy coordinating elements of weddings, parties, and other occasions, this could be a great side business for you. Plus, there’s little overhead involved, which means more money in your pocket.
Personal Trainer – If you spend a lot of time in the gym, why not capitalize on it? People make promises at the beginning of each year to get in shape, so be ready to heavily promote your services in November and December. You’ll also need to be ready to get people in shape for the summer, so make sure to get the word out around March each year. If you really want to make money with economies of scale, create a ‘boot camp’ class and charge admission.
Mobile Detailing – This was one of the first businesses I started as a teenager and actually lasted through college. The start up costs were less than $100 and you could easily make that with one or two jobs. Don’t limit yourself to cars and trucks – think bigger and target people with boats, planes, and RVs.
DJ for Events – How many weddings have you been to with a terrible DJ? If you have an ear for music and throwing parties, you might consider starting a business as a DJ.
Videographer – The door to technology is wide open today giving video production aficionados the ability to use their creativity for profit. A good quality HD video camera, sound equipment, and video editing software can put you on your way to creating online videos and even TV commercials for local businesses. You can even stay small scale and target small events like weddings and graduations.
Massage Therapy – Opening a spa could be a great business if done right. Obtaining your massage therapy certification can take a few months, but it may be the ticket to a great side business.
Lawn Care Business – One of my first businesses after college was a lawn care business. It’s surprisingly easy to get started as long as you’re willing to do the work. The biggest hurdle was battling the changes in weather, but it was a good business overall.
Freelance Designer – If you have an eye for designing ads and other graphics, you can turn it into a profitable business. This is the perfect business idea for creative college students or for a stay at home parent who wants to make extra money. Really gain traction with your business by joining Odesk or Elance.com for even more exposure.
Tutor Students – My wife makes extra money by tutoring other medical school students in anatomy. The possibilities are endless when it comes to types of students and subjects so don’t be afraid to let others know of your willingness to tutor. If you have too many people coming to you for help, you might consider hiring out others to cover the lessons.
Freelance Writer – You don’t need to be a blogger to make money online almost immediately. If you’re willing to research topics and write articles, you can start up a freelance business and make anywhere from $15 to $50 or more an article. If you have a favorite blog that you read, ask the editor if they hire staff writers and you might just land your first writing gig.
Photographer – A quality photographer can charge upwards of $2,000 – $4,000 or more for weddings and other events. A few gigs each year could result in a healthy little business for someone who is good with a camera.
Pet Hotel – Taking care of pets while people are on vacation can be a nice way to earn extra money. It can even turn into a full-fledged business if you’re willing to turn an outside shed into a temperature controlled pet hotel. I thought the idea was crazy too, until I needed to board my dog for a week and found a small business in our town called the Hound Hotel. With over twenty rooms at $15 a night, they were making a nice stream of income with their doggy hotel.
Web Designer – When PT dove into blogging full time, he supplemented his business income by making websites with wordpress. Spend some time researching custom wordpress thems and you’ll be able to develop sites for businesses, churches, and other bloggers too.
Tech Support – Small businesses don’t always have the money to hire a full time IT department and that’s where you come in. Contract with small businesses to be their 24-hour tech support or provide online support to websites owners who are clueless when it comes to fixing a crashed site.
Interior Designer –Some states require that you pass a certification test to become an interior designer. If you’re serious about this business idea, that should be good news to you – a lot of people might give up on pursuing it as a business with this barrier to entry. Don’t let that keep you from starting a business as an interior designer if you’re really passionate about it!
Create an Online Store – A while back, PT interviewed Steve Chou of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com and discussed how his wife earned a six-figure income by creating an online store. They didn’t even know how to spell HTML, but ended up figuring out how to make a profitable store online within a year. Listen to the podcast if you’re curious how they did it.
Health Consultant – This is another area that might require certification depending on your state. If you want to become a registered dietitian or nutritionist, you may need to pass an exam and take continuing education courses. But the overall job outlook for this field is expected to rise, so now might be a good time to get started with business as a health consultant.
Blogger – There’s no question that a blog can eventually develop into a business. Revenue from advertising, affiliate sales, products, and eBooks can turn a website into business in itself – but it takes time. For nearly every full time blogger out there, it started as a hobby and grew into a business. If you’re curious to read more of what PT has to say about it, read his article on how to make money blogging.
Solve Problems – The last idea is a little vague, but it’s really all about creating something that people need and going after it 100%. One of my favorite new businesses (or ‘why didn’t I think of that’ idea) is Dollar Shave Club. For $1 a month, they’ll send you a razor every month – genius! Their video has gone viral and the idea is catching on. They identified a problem and started a business to fix it – and that’s what it’s all about.
Let’s keep the conversation going below. Leave a comment, with a good business idea that you’ve been thinking about lately.