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 sometimes a little money in a savings account to get started) 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.
Unique Business Ideas
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?’
Table of Contents
1. 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.
Get started teaching what you love with takelessons.com.
2. 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. Read how PT started his conference business.
3. Personal Trainer or Coach
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 with an app like Square.
A very similar gig is to become an accountability coach. With this role, you don’t need to meet in person with your client. You just need to be their for them regularly to hold them accountable to a health goal.
4. Mobile Detailer
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.
Buy a detailing starter kit and get going.
5. 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. Read more about becoming a DJ.
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.
7. Massage Therapist
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.
8. Lawn Care Business Owner
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.
Related: 8 Service Business Examples
9. 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 Upwork.com for even more exposure.
10. 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. Listen to this podcast about making money as a tutor.
11. 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.
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. Check out Udemy for courses on photography.
Additionally, you can sell your photos to stock photo websites like Dreamstime or Shutterstock to make extra cash between events.
13. Dog Walker and Pet Sitter
People love their pets. And many are more than willing to pay someone to take their dog on a walk while they’re at work or watch their pets while they’re away on vacation. If you love animals, this could be a perfect unique business idea for you to explore.
Not sure how to find your first dog walking or sitting gigs? Thankfully, there’s a site that’s dedicated completely to connecting dog sitters and walkers with pet parents — Rover.
Rover can help you promote your business to dog owners that are looking for your services. Rover says that dog walkers who use their site can make up to $1,000 a month. And their Rover Guarantee will protect your services up to $1,000,000.
14. Web Designer
When PT dove into blogging full time, he supplemented his business income by making websites with wordpress. He was able to make an extra $100 to $500 with minimal effort. With a little training, you can teach yourself the skills that you need to develop sites for businesses, churches, and other bloggers too.
Spend some time researching custom WordPress themes. And you’ll also want to learn how to sign up for hosting services, register domains and point them at host servers.
15. Tech Support Professional
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.
16. 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!
17. Online Store Creator
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. Here’s another episode about a guy who started his own shoe company.
18. 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.
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.
20. Problem Solver
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 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! They identified a problem and started a business to fix it – and that’s what it’s all about.&
21. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants tend to work as freelancers from home and set their own schedules. If that kind of work style sounds appealing to you, you may be a great fit to start a virtual assistant business. Virtual assistants can make anywhere from $10 an hour to upwards of $100+ an hour depending on their skill level and expertise.
And while you don’t need any certification to get started as a virtual assistant, you can sign up for Kayla Sloan’s $10k VA course. In her course, she shares the strategies that have helped her make over $10,000 a month as a virtual assistant.
Keeping accurate books is important for any business. But many small business owners don’t have the time or know-how to handle their own bookkeeping. That’s why if you’re an organized and detail-oriented person, you may be able to make good money as a freelance bookkeeper.
You don’t have to be a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) to work as a bookkeeper. But unless you have a background in accounting, you’ll probably need some training. Ben Robinson’s Bookkeeper Business Launch could help you gain the skills that you’ll need to build a lucrative bookkeeping business.
Ben is a CPA who has started two accounting firms. And he’s helped over 7,000 entrepreneurs start their bookkeeping businesses. If you’re interested in taking his course, he has a free intro series. Sign up here and have the first module delivered to your inbox.
23. Voiceover Actor
If you’ve listened to a radio commercial, an audiobook, or even a work training course today, you’ve probably heard a professional voiceover actor. Professional voice actors who work hard at perfecting their craft can make great money. Check out the going rates here.
Carrie Olsen quit her day job to pursue a career in voice acting. Now, she works from home recording voiceovers for major companies like Walt Disney, Taco Bell, AT&T, and more. In Carrie’s free professional voiceover actor guide, she explains how she was able to do it.
In addition to reading Carrie’s guide, you may also want to sign up as a narrator for ACX. As an ACX narrator, you can audition for acting gigs and audiobooks that will be published on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.
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.
- Read: 5 Things to Do Before Starting a Business
- Read: Turning a Hobby into a Business
- Learn: My Steps to Starting a New Business or Company
- Learn: How to Form an LLC in 10 Easy Steps
Next Steps to Start Your Unique Business Idea
No matter what you’re passionate about, there’s a good chance that you could turn it into a unique business.
But no matter which unique business idea you choose, getting some training from others who have already succeeded at that business is probably a good idea. And you’ll want to surround yourself with a supportive community of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
You may also consider a service like Thumbtack. You can create your business profile for free. Then people in your geographic area can find you. You only pay when a customer reaches out.
Have a unique business that we don’t cover in this guide? Leave a comment below to let us know about it!