20 Unique Business Ideas (That You Can Start Today!)

Man Discovering Unique Business Ideas

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.

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.

20 Unique Business Ideas That Don’t Suck

Here’s the quick list (the detailed list is below):

  1. Private Lessons Instructor
  2. Event Planner
  3. Personal Trainer
  4. Mobile Detailer
  5. DJ for Events
  6. Videographer
  7. Message Therapist
  8. Lawn Care Business Owner
  9. Freelance Designer
  10. Tutor (for Students)
  11. Freelance Writer
  12. Photographer
  13. Pet Hotel Owner
  14. Web Designer
  15. Tech Support Professional
  16. Interior Designer
  17. Online Store Creator
  18. Health Consultant
  19. Blogger
  20. Problem Solver

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

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.

Related: 9 of the Most Successful Small Businesses

4. 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. 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.

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6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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.

12. 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. Click here to visit Digital Photography School and step up your quality.

Related: How to Start A Video Production Company

13. Pet Hotel Owner

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.

Related: How to Make Extra Money as a Dog Walker and Sitter

14. 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.

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 Owner

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. PT lost 80lbs using the health program MyBodyTutor.com. Check out their program and apply to become a “body tutor”.

19. 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.

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. 

Let’s keep the conversation going below. Leave a comment, with a good business idea that you’ve been thinking about lately.

About Tim Fraticelli

Tim Fraticelli is a personal financial blogger turned Physical Therapist and entrepreneur. He founded PTProgress as a resource to help others improve their financial health and wellness.


  1. nba 2k16 mt coins free says:

    So useful, looking forwards to coming back again.|

  2. John C @ Action Economics says:

    I’ve thought about starting a very small tutoring business to help people pass the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) exam, it would be an interesting side hustle to add to my income streams. Odds are I wouldn’t make a ton of money from it, but every bit helps.

  3. Really great ideas. I’ve done tutoring years ago (when in high-school) and now I’m a web designer, working from home. There’s a lot of money to be made, you just need to find a service to provide and then be as good as possible providing it.

  4. I have made quite a bit of money with tutoring. It’s pretty simple to make $30-$40 an hour if you are good with math, physics, geometry, etc. It isn’t really building residual income, but it’s hard to beat if you can get students to meet you some place close.

  5. Philip Taylor says:

    RFIndependence Awesome. If she could learn how to scale that operation she’d do very well for herself. Or it could just be a great way to bring in some extra cash.

  6. Philip Taylor says:

    Calistra Great response. I agree. You have to make it unique by providing something someone else can’t. Find your niche within the niche.

  7. I like these suggestions! Some of them really spark some ideas for me.  I especially enjoyed seeing the “Solve Problems” part mentioned, and I agree with the statement “…that’s what it’s all about.”   A problem-solving business that I started 25 years ago is even more unique than the ones in this list — In 1988 I started a dog waste removal  (a.k.a., a “professional pooper-scooper”) service.  It’s not a complicated thing, and doesn’t require much in the way of startup money or credentials or experience, and it can be quite profitable (It certainly was for me!).  But, as with any of the other businesses mentioned in this article,  you do have to be serious about doing what you say you’ll do and satisfying the customer.   I sold my service business after ten years. That business is still thriving, but now I sell a book about it and I run a free online forum where people in the business and those interested in it share information and have a good time. Come on by the Scoopers & Friends Discussion Board at Pooper-Scooper.com if you have any questions about starting this kind of business.

  8. RFIndependence says:

    A friend makes custom birthday cakes for kids. She is very good at it and at every birthday, 20 kids go back home wanting a custom cake. She started with very little and grew quickly.

  9. Very good ideas you presented here

  10. niteshahir says:

    this is such a creative ideas for business… i am really honestly speaking that while reading i just click on mind for my website related business… where actually i am working as a owner…
    this is really a amaze.. i have never ever feel like this…..
    thanks for sharing… 🙂

  11. Calistra says:

    Great article! I can only add that all of these professions are pretty common and competition is severe. So it would be reasonable to choose one of these professions and find own unique business niche. For example, if we talk about becoming a tutor, then it could be not just teaching students maths or physics, but giving them some special, knowledge. Like, for instance, consulting them about leadership and other skills that they might need to be successful in their lives after the graduation. Actually, this is an example from real life.

  12. Nimrod Vogel says:

    The amount of money that could potentially be gained if you are able to launch an innovative idea should also be assessed in measurable terms.

  13. Very noble of you, Romeo.

  14. House sitting is another great way to make money.  Plus, you can pretend your on vacation / staying in a hotel.

  15. Romeo Clayton says:

    Not really a business idea, but I’m looking forward to starting a scholarship fund for underpriviledged highschool children.