small business ideas

Are you looking for small business ideas from home? This guide contains a list of business ideas with low start-up costs that are perfect for complete beginners. As you look through this list for inspiration, keep in mind that the best business idea for you will be the one that perfectly balances what you enjoy, what you are good at, and what can make you money.

Before you begin: What small business idea is right for you?

The right business idea for you should draw upon your unique situation and experiences. What are you good at? What are you passionate about? It should also solve your potential customers’ problems. This is your niche market.

Here is a list of some of the most succesful small business models today;

  • B2B (Busines to Business) Services like marketing, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and consulting
  • Mobile businesses and businesses that can be run remotely
  • Real estate businesses, although this is dependent on where you live or where you intend to set up your business
  • Child oriented businesses in tech, healthcare, and entertainment
  • Virtual Reality businesses in gaming, team building, and remote training
  • “Sharing” business models like ride-sharing and home rental sharing. Sharing businesses in fashion, home improvement, and personal wellness niches are also doing really well
  • Personal services in pet care, health and fitness, and general wellness

Generally speaking, internet-based businesses have some of the lowest start-up costs. You can start many of them from scratch at almost zero cost, and even do them part-time while also working a 9-5 job or run them remotely from anywhere in the world.

This list of the best small business ideas with little to no startup costs contains businesses that are easy to set up and easy to run. This makes it easy for anyone to get started with them and make money. For more information on how to start your own small business, check out our detailed post on that here.

Ultimate List of the Best Small Business Ideas and Side Hustles for Beginners

small business ideas

Without further ado, here is our ultimate list of the best small business ideas and side hustles for beginners:

1. Start a Blog

I talk about blogging a lot on my site. It is a gospel I preach because I know first hand how profitable it can be. This is hands down one of the best small business ideas you can start today, which is why it makes the top of this list.

The best part is that starting a blog today is easier than ever. All you have to do is first decide what your blog will be about. This is your niche. Need help choosing a profitable niche? No problem!

The Basics Of Building A Successful Blog

Here is everything you need to know about niches as well as how to pick a niche in 6 easy steps.

Next, you are going to have to choose a great domain name. We show you how to pick a great domain name here.

The next step is to grab yourself some quality hosting. I have a detailed guide on how to do this here, but if you want the short and sweet version of it, I highly recommend getting your hosting from DreamHost, BlueHost, or SiteGround. These are the three official WordPress recommended hosts, so you can be sure that you’ll be getting a high-quality service.

Once you have a domain name and a host, you have an active blog! The next step is to make it pretty with a WordPress theme (check out Divi. It’s what I use on this site!) and finally start publishing your content.

You can then start monetizing your blog immediately through affiliate marketing, ads, sponsorships, and so on. Check out my ultimate guide on how to monetize your blog!

If done right, blogging can be one of the best small business ideas from home. If you have no idea where to start, I have written a detailed step by step guide that complete beginners can use to get started with blogging.

It goes into a lot of detail on everything you need to know to help you set up your blog from scratch and start making money from it.

So if you are ready to take the leap of faith and get your blog up and running today, check out my free guide on how to start a blog and make money in 7 simple steps.

2. Become an Instacart Shopper

instacart shopper business idea

This is a business idea that you can do either part-time when you just want to make a little quick cash or full-time. Instacart is a wonderful platform that a lot of people use to shop for groceries and everyday essentials and have them delivered to their front doors.

As an Instacart shopper, your job will be making these deliveries. You’ll shop for other people and deliver the shopping to their front doors.

It is a great hassle-free way of starting your own small business especially if you have limited initial capital to invest.

Plus, if you already enjoy shopping, this is a great way to get paid to do what you love!

Sounds like something you’d love to try out? You can sign up to be an Instacart Shopper here to get started.

3. Start a T-shirt selling business

T-shirts are some of the most popular products online. If you have an eye for good design, this might be just the business for you.

Sites like Teespring allow you to sell t-shirts with your own unique designs. All you have to do is come up with the designs and they’ll take care of the rest: no printing, shipping, or delivery and returns headaches for you!

If you are not design-inclined but still want to start a t-shirt selling business, you can outsource the hard work to professional designers on 99designs and DesignCrowd.

It is a great way to get high-quality designs for cheap, which you can then use to print your own t-shirts for your business or market them online on Teespring.

4. Affiliate marketing

affiliate marketing melsmommychronicles

Affiliate marketing is a business model that allows you to promote someone else’s products or services and earn a commission whenever you make a sale.

You do not need a website to become an affiliate marketer (although it helps if you have one).

In most cases, affiliate marketing is a business that you can start with zero initial investment. All you need is an affiliate link and voila! You’re good to go.

The way it works is simple: your job is to get your unique affiliate link in front of as many eyeballs as possible. When someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, the sale is credited to you and you earn your commission.

Many people use their social media accounts or Youtube channels for this.

Need pointers on what some of the best affiliate programs for beginners are? No problem! Here are 136 beginner-friendly affiliate programs that you can sign up for and get started with today!

5. Start a Fiverr freelancing business

Another potentially highly profitable small business that you can do today is starting a Fiverr freelancing business.

Fiverr is the world’s largest freelancer marketplace. You can monetize almost any skill or talent on the site.

In fact, if you can think about anything you are willing to do, chances are there is someone out there who will pay you good money to do it.

There are people who get paid to write brand names on their bodies, people who get paid to dance, people who get paid to put on costumes and say things, people who get paid to take pictures with babies, and people who get paid to review weird products.

The sky is the limit, really.

Read about my experience as a Fiverr buyer here. I also offer exclusive tips on how to get more sales as a Fiverr seller in this post. Check out Fiverr here.

6. Freelance writing

freelance writing small business idea

I have been a freelance writer for several years now, so this is a business that I know quite a bit about if I do say so myself.

Freelance writing is one of the best small business ideas because there is a never-ending demand for quality content online. If you are passionate about writing, and if you can see yourself creating website copy for individuals and businesses, this might be the perfect fit for you.

Neon Writer is a good starting point if you want to start your journey as a freelance writer. All you have to do is sign up, select a project, write and submit, then get paid for your work.

If you have your own blog, it is also a great place to get high-quality content for cheap. Be sure to also get Grammarly to make your content clear, easy to read, and grammatically correct.

Be sure to also check out my ultimate guide to freelance writing for a step by step guide on how to do freelance writing the right way.

It includes little-known tips and tricks that have worked well for me, as well as the best practices when it comes to finding high-paying freelance writing jobs online. And the best part? It’s absolutely free!

7. Start a proofreading business

If you enjoy reading, and if you have a good eye for grammar, this is a great small business opportunity for you. Proofreading pays a decent hourly wage, ranging from $10-25 for beginners and $35-95 for professionals. It is also in high demand, so you can be sure to get a steady stream of work once you get good at it.

If you are a complete beginner, I highly recommend getting an assistant tool like Grammarly. It’ll make spotting those grammar mistakes a lot easier, improving your quality of work, and netting you higher-paying clients in the process.

If you want to get a head start in your proofreading business, or if you simply don’t know where to start, I highly recommend taking the Proofread Anywhere course by Caitlyn Pyle. It’s a bit pricey, but it is totally worth it.

8. Become a graphic designer

graphic designer small business idea

If you are a creative person with an eye for good design, 99designs and DesignCrowd might be the perfect platforms for you.

They are a lot like Fiverr, except they specialize in graphic design.

You can build an entire design business out of these platforms either by outsourcing your design work to other designers on these two platforms for cheap or working on clients’ jobs on the platform and getting paid.

If you choose to outsource, you can look for clients who want design work done then pay someone from 99designs or DesignCrowd to do the work for you. You pay the person who does the design work and keep the remaining amount.

For example, you get a client who wants a website created. You then get someone from 99designs or DesignCrowd to create the website for you. You then present the website to your client and get paid.

No skills required on your part.

The best part about these sites is that they are completely free to sign up.

9. Create an online course

For a lot of people, online courses are some of the best business ideas to make money with.

This is because they can become a great source of passive income: all you have to do is put in the work once creating the course and marketing it, then it will take over and start minting you cash while you sleep.

If you are an expert on a particular field/subject, you can create a course on that subject, sell your course and make money.

The online course you create can be about almost anything. You can turn a skill you have, your profession, your hobby, or something you researched online into a course.

You can create your course on a platform like Thinkific or MemberVault. These are the best platforms to create, host, share, sell, and interact with your students.

10. Become a social media manager

social media manager small business idea

People spend a lot of time on social media these days.

Companies have noticed this and are now advertising on social media platforms more than ever before.

Digital marketing ad spending beat TV ad spending back in 2017, and by the end of this year, spending on TV ads will have dropped below 33%.

What does this mean for you? Well, for one thing, if you want to become a social media manager, you are going to have an ever-increasing portfolio of clients.

If you already spend a lot of your time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it is also a great way to get paid for doing what you already do for free.

You can get your social media management jobs from Fiverr, Flexjobs, Indeed, and ProBlogger.

You may also want to invest in tools like:

Tailwind for post scheduling (You can use my link to get $15 credit for yourself)

Grammarly for your content creation

AweberLeadPages, or GetResponse for email marketing.

11. Be a Pinterest manager

If you are Pinterest savvy, then you know that it is one of the best tools for driving traffic to websites.

This is why a lot of business owners are willing to invest a lot of money in a good Pinterest manager. This is where you come in.

Your job will be to drive traffic to your clients’ sites by creating quality Pinterest pins and promoting their content on the platform.

There are two great tools that I have found that will help make your job really easy: Use Canva to create beautiful Pinterest pins in a few clicks, then automate the scheduling and promotion process with Tailwind.

These two products will streamline your working process, allowing you to have lots of room for more clients (and more money!).

12. Become a virtual assistant

virtual assistant small business idea

Virtual assistants have become highly sought after in recent years. They help companies and businesses run more efficiently by taking over simple tasks like that take up too much precious time.

Things like email management and filtering, database building, answering customer service emails, scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, and calendar management can all be outsourced to virtual assistants.

You can find these jobs on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.

13. Sell your stuff online

If you enjoy making stuff with your hands, for example, if you are an illustrating artist or if you make handmade goods and products, there are lots of eCommerce sites that you can use to showcase your wares and sell them.

Etsy and Sellfy are some of the best ones for this.

If you are the creative type, this is one of the best small business ideas for you. Plus, since you’ll be doing what you already love, it won’t feel like work at all. Ikigai, remember?

14. Do online surveys

online surveys small business idea

No best small business ideas list is complete without mentioning taking online surveys as a way of making some extra cash. Surveys are great because they offer a quick and easy way of making money online.

All you have to do is spend a few minutes of your day answering simple questions and you get paid.

That said, online surveys pay very little. The best workaround for this is to sign up for multiple survey sites at the same time.

You can start with Swagbucks and Survey Junkie, both of which are very beginner-friendly. If you have to choose just one, though, I highly recommend Survey Junkie because it pays in cash.

SURVEY SITEPAYMENT METHODMINIMUM AMNT TO CASH OUTBONUS FOR SIGNING UP
MyPointsGift cards$3Claim your $10 Amazon Gift Card or $10 Visa Gift Card
Survey JunkiePayPal or eGift cards$10Sign Up to claim 100 points from Survey Junkie
SwagbucksPayPal or Gift Cards$5 for PayPal and $1 for gift cards;Claim your 300 free SBs

15. Start a YouTube channel

Everyone uses YouTube. You can start a YouTube channel focusing on practically anything you can think of.

As long as you make high-quality content, there’ll always be someone interested in watching what you put up. If your channel blows up, you can make millions in ad revenue, affiliate income, merch sales, and sponsorships.

You can even ask your fans to support you if you end up with a loyal fanbase. You’d be surprised how much people can support you if they love your content.

16. Run a Facebook ads business

facebook ads small business idea

Facebook is a great platform for advertising. That’s why millions of businesses use Facebook to advertise their services.You can tap into this as well by setting up campaigns to help small businesses.

To start, go to your Facebook account, then go to Facebook Ads Manager and try to learn the platform through their free five-minute lessons.

After you are familiar with it,you can start by advertising your services on Fiverr.

17. Start a podcast

If you like to talk about a certain subject, then you should consider starting a podcast. To excel in this as your small business idea, you’ll first have to create episodes then start building an audience.

Once your podcast gains tracion, you can start monetizing it. You can do this through sponsorships, affiliate marketing, crowdfunding or you can sell your products or services through your podcast.

To start a podcast, you’ll need a good microphone, headphones, recording & editing software, a podcast recording platform, and a podcast hosting account

18. Become a Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is necessary for every business, but it quite tedious. That’s why businesses outsource this service to people who actually enjoy doing it.

If you know how to reconcile bank accounts, create balance sheets, create income statements, and so on, you should offer this service to businesses and making money doing it.

You’ll need bookkeeping software and ofcourse you should be knowledgable on this subject.

19. Become a movie extra

movie extra

You see those people that are usually on the background doing things like having conversations, or sitting in a restaurant? Those are called movie extras. And they get paid for it.

If you want to be an actor/actress at some point in your future, you can start by being a movie extra and gain experience. You also get the chance to build connections. And you’ll be making money while doing it.

20. Become a personal trainer

People are always willing to pay to lose weight or build muscles. That’s why teaching fitness classes is a very lucrative business.

You can offer these classes in your home. You can also design individual workout plans, or teach a fitness class.

This is one of the best small business ideas at home.

21. Babysitting

babysitting

If you love kids, and have some extra time on your hands, you could become a babysitter. Most parents often need someone to watch their kids when they run errands, work, or are out on dates.

You can watch the kids and get paid for it. Start by telling your family and friends that you can babysit. They’ll then tell their friends and other people.

You can also advertise your services on Facebook groups and create your profile on Care.com.

22. Offer cleaning services

Another great small business idea from home or office cleaning services. This involves going to peoples’ homes or offices and cleaning them. You may also have to do house chores like laundry, dishes, and cleaning floors.

If you specialize in office cleaning, you’ll mostly get paid to vacuum office carpets, dust desks, and polish the floors, among other office cleaning duties.

23. Become a personal shopper

If you love shopping and are always giving people fashion advice, then you should consider being a personal shopper.

A personal shopper is a person who helps others shop by making suggestions and advising them on what to pick.

Other clients will require you to do the shopping for them or to help them come up with a polished or classy look for parties or events.

24. Write eBooks

ebook writing

You can write an ebook on any topic. An ebook is a book that can be downloaded electronically. If you are knowledgeable on any topic or can write a really good fictional story, then you should write an ebook.

You can sell your ebook on your website (learn to create your website here) and install a shopping cart or put your PayPal on your website.

Another great alternative is to sell your ebook via Amazon Kindle. You pay them a commission whenever you make a sale.

25. Video editing

If you know how to edit videos or podcasts, then you should utilise this skill to make money.

If you are totally new to this, you can watch YouTube tutorials and learn how to edit. Nowadays you can learn literally anything on the internet.

You can start looking for clients on platforms like Fiverr, and on social media platforms like Facebook.

26. Pet sitting

pet sitting business

Pet sitters are people who look after pets when their owners are out of town ar are busy doing something.

If you love animals, then you should try this out. You can pet sit in your home or at the owner’s home.

If you have extra time and love animals, give this a try. You can try sites like Rover and Wag.

27. Become a home organizer

A home organizer helps people sort their clutter and organize spaces. You visit their homes, evaluate the situation, and come up with a method to organize their home.

You’ll need a portfolio, a website, and transportation.

You can first start by letting your friends and family know that you are offering organization services. They’ll then refer you to other people.

28. Rent your home on Airbnb

You can rent out your entire home or part of it to make some extra cash. It is even better if you have a spare room with a separate entrance so you don’t actually have to leave your home whenever you are hosting.

To know how much you can make as an Airbnb host, visit their income estimator page.

It is one of the simplest small business ideas at home.

29. Start a dropshipping business

drop shipping small business idea

Dropshipping is selling items without having or owning any inventory. You create a store online on a platform like Sellfy, Shopify, or Etsy.

A customer will visit your store and buy an item. You’ll then send their order to your supplier who will ship the order to the customer.

You’ll pay the supplier a wholesale price but sell the item at retail price. You then keep the profit.

30. Rent Your Car

Apart from renting their homes, people also rent their cars to make some extra money. There are very many people who need a car for a few hours or days. Instead of letting your car just sit in your garage, rent it out to get some extra money.

This is another amazing small business idea from home.

31. Pet grooming

Some pet owners don’t have the time and patience to groom their own pets. They’d rather hire someone to do it for them.

That’s where you come in. You can offer to groom pets and get paid.

All you’ll need is some space to do the grooming. If you have a garage, you can use it. You also need supplies like sprays, soap, and tubs.

You can also offer mobile grooming services to increase your number of clients.

32. Become an event planner

event planning small business

An event planner plans events like birthdays, weddings, anniversary parties, and other important events. You can specialize in one or you can do all types of events.

You’ll need a website, a portfolio, and transportation means.

33. Make money flipping stuff

This small business idea involves finding amazing deals on things like electronics, clothing, furniture, and so on, then selling them to other people to make a profit.

You can find these things at garage sales, clerarance sales, and discount stores then sell them either to your friends oronline through platforms like Craigslist and eBay.

34. Become a website builder

Did you know that you do not require any technical knowledge to actually build a website? Today, you don’t need to know how to code to build a website.

As a small business idea, you’ll just need to familiarize yourself with website builders like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Elementor. You’ll then be able to build sites for people who do not have the time or the skills to do it by themselves.

I have a detailed guide on how to create a website here. If you opt to use WordPress, here is a list of the best WordPress themes for websites.

35. Become an ordained minister

ordained minister

People get paid to officiate weddings. But before you do that, you have to be an ordained minister. The good thing is, you can get ordained online. But be sure to check with your state first.

36. Become a photographer

If you love photography and can take really good photos, you can offer photography services. Starting a photography business is one of those small business ideas with a lot of growth potential. It will also allow you to focus on whatever you are passionate about. You can take family photos, newborn photos, pet photos, wedding photos, and so on.

You’ll need a quality camera, lighting, props, editing software, a website, and a basic portfolio of your past work.

37. Become a tour guide

As a tour guide, you’ll show people around your city. You’ll take tourists to all the unique places around your city. You just need to know everything about your city.

38. Become a tutor

become a tutor small business idea

As a tutor, you’ll be helping students better understand certain subjects. If you are an expert on a certain subject, you can use your expertise to tutor students. It can be a third grader, a high school student, or even a college student.

This can be done face to face or online. It depends on the location of your students.

39. House sitting

Just like pets, houses also have to be looked after when the owners are not around. You can turn this need into a small business. The idea here is to take care of other people’s homes by watering plants, taking care of pets, collecting mail, and doing any other tasks around the house.

If you are looking for simple small business ideas at home then you should try house sitting.

40. Freelance makeup artist

If you love makeup and are great at making people look glamorous, then you should consider being a makeup artist.

As a makeup artist, you’ll help people look glammed up for events like weddings, fashion shows, and other important events.

You’ll go to their homes or places of work and bring your makeup with you.

41. Outdoor maintenance

outdoor maintenance

This is another awesome small business idea that can potentially turn into something big. You can make extra money by doing outdoor maintenance tasks for people, like mowing the loan, trimming hedges, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, home repairs, pool maintenance, and so on. If you do this right, there is a lot of room for growth and expansion in this niche.

Final Thoughts: Ready to start your small business?

Most of these business ideas are relatively easy to get started with. If you are ready to take the leap, be sure to read our guide on how to start a small business for the ins and outs of starting and running your own business.

Got more small business ideas that you think should make it on this list? This list is actively being edited and improved upon. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or comments, please share them with me in the comment section below. And if you’re planning to start your own business based on any of these ideas, I’d love to hear all about that, too!

I hope you found this guide helpful and inspirational. Good luck!

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