If you dream of clocking out of your nine-to-five job for the last time and becoming your own boss, you’ve probably considered a variety of small business ideas. But, while you have plenty of passion, direction can be hard to find.
Are you always fixing things around the house? Often on call when friends need small projects completed? Put together a website, figure out what your time and expertise is worth, and start asking those thankful friends for referrals.
Similarly, if you have a passion for crafting beautiful furniture or other home goods out of wood — there’s demand for that. List a few of your pieces on sites like Etsy, eBay, or Craigslist. Once you build a following, consider starting a website, accepting custom orders, or expanding to refinishing work and upholstery.
3. Online dating consultant
Dating consultants usually charge for their time. They help people create successful online dating profiles, source possible matches from outside normal online channels, and offer a level of personalization Tinder just can’t. Think you’ve got a knack for the match? This might be the business for you.
4. Sewing and alteration specialist
People will always need clothing hemmed and buttons mended — and you could be the person to do it. If you love sewing, start by offering simple services like those mentioned above, and expand your repertoire to dressmaking and design as you build a customer base and demand.
5. Freelance developer
From building websites for other small businesses to providing technical support for certain projects, quality web development is in high demand right now. With such a technical skillset, make sure you can describe what you do and how you will do it in easy-to-understand language. Test your messaging on friends and family who don’t have a firm understanding of the work you do.
6. Personal trainer
Offer in-home consultations, personalized nutrition and exercise regimens, and community boot camps to get the word out. Don’t forget to populate an Instagram feed with inspirational quotes, free exercise videos, and yummy snack ideas as well — it’s a common way for fitness gurus to build their brands.
7. Freelance graphic designer
Set your own hours, choose your projects, and build a portfolio and business you’re proud of. From website design to blog graphics and more, many companies seek out experienced graphic designers for all manner of projects.
8. Life/career coach
If you have some experience under your belt, put it to good use as a life or career coach. Many of us are looking for guidance in our careers — and finding someone with the time to mentor us can be tough. Life/career coaches don’t come cheap, but they are able to offer clients the intense and hands-on training and advice they need to make serious moves in their personal and professional lives. After all, sometimes everyone just needs some uplifting advice.
9. Resume writer
Submitting a resume, cover letter, and — when necessary — portfolio for a new job can be tough and time consuming. That’s why many people hire help. Assist clients with tailored resumes, beautifully edited cover letters, and carefully crafted portfolios that make it impossible for employers to ignore.
10. Freelance writer
If you have writing skills, there’s someone out there willing to pay you for them. Write blog posts, magazine articles, and website copy galore — just make sure you have a body of work built up to share with potential clients. Even if you create a few sample pieces to have on hand, they’ll help exhibit your work and attract new business.
Speak a foreign language? Start a translation service. Consider specializing in a specific genre of translation, like medical or financial translation, as you might be able to fill a niche need in your community.
12. Garden designer
Many people have the willingness to do the dirty work in their backyards, but few have the know-how to design a backyard space to begin with. Draw up the designs for your clients’ outdoor spaces and let them do the actual digging.
13. Ecommerce store owner
Do you create, collect, or curate anything special? Consider starting an ecommerce store and turning your hobby into a full-time job. Whether you need somewhere to sell all that pottery you’ve been making, or an excuse to search for the sports memorabilia you love tracking down — an ecommerce store can make it financially viable for you to pursue your passion.
Mowing, tree-trimming, and seasonal decor are all neighborhood needs. If you have or can acquire the equipment, a landscaping business can be a lucrative affair.
Video production requires you to have invested in the equipment up front which can be quite expensive. But that’s also what makes your services so valuable. Make sure you have a reel of your work to share or create a website with several selections of your work available for interested viewers.
Start by conducting photo shoots for your family and friends. As you build a body of work, ask for referrals. Photography businesses often grow by word of mouth, so create a Facebook page where you can tag recent clients, which will show up in their friends’ newsfeeds as well.
17. Travel planner
The time of the travel agent might be passing, but people are still looking for those with a knack for more nontraditional travel coordination. If you always plan the perfect vacations complete with beautiful hotels, the ideal location, and a bevy of delicious restaurants lined up for every evening, consider advertising your services as a more modern approach to travel planning.
18. Car-detailing specialist
The devil is in the details and you can be too. Car detailing services that travel to the client are in high demand. Just make sure you have the flexibility, transportation, and equipment to take your business on the road.
19. Home inspector
This will require a great deal of expertise and certification, but it’s a job that can give you the flexibility and pay you’ve always dreamed of. Confirm the licensing requirements in your state and consider taking a few courses to build out your knowledge, authority, and expertise.
20. House cleaner
With a low barrier to entry, house cleaning can be a great way to start doing what you love — soon. Consider advertising to homes in your neighborhood and get more bang for your buck by earning a few small businesses as clients as well. They’ll usually bring in a higher paycheck for a similar amount of work.
21. Personal chef
We all love to eat, but few of us have the time or energy to cook healthy, delicious meals. Advertise your services to local families and businesses alike. And consider “chunking” certain groups of clients — say, vegetarians — so you can cook larger quantities of the same dish to feed them all.
22. Property manager
Many people maintain properties they don’t live in — often based in different cities or states. It’s helpful to have someone to ensure the property is being well taken care of, handle small fixes as they arise, and serve as a liaison to renters.
23. Packing services facilitator
Moving is always a pain, and many people hire the entire packing process out. Want to have a steady stream of clients? Partner with a local moving service who will refer new clients to you.
24. Massage therapist
Soothe aching muscles and promote peace for your clients as a massage therapist. Look into training and certification courses in your city and state and invest in a portable bed to take on client visits.
25. Hairdressing or makeup artist
Sure, you could go to cosmetology school and pay for an expensive chair at a salon, or you could offer specialized styling and makeup services right to your client’s door.