Get All Access for $5/mo

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024 We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

By Eve Gumpel Edited by Brittany Robins

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many people dream of starting their own business. Running an enterprise in your home, garage or on the go means you can take more control over your professional goals, set more ambitious financial targets and achieve a more desirable work-life balance.

But what if you're ready to start a business but don't know what type of services to provide? You've come to the right place if you need profitable business ideas. Below, find a detailed breakdown of 63 small business ideas — from financial services to physical labor and creative contracting — to help you chart a path forward.

Related: Want to Start a Simple Business That Helps the Planet? After 'One Night's Worth of Research,' He Started an Eco-Friendly Gig And Now Makes $200K a Year

Some of these opportunities require more experience or credentials than others. Some can be started from home for cheap, while others require dedicated office space and capital investment. To ensure you choose the right business venture for yourself, it's crucial to consider a few factors before you pursue a sole proprietorship.

How do you determine the best small business idea?

Consider your current skill set and credentials.

For instance, if you already have a CPA license, venturing out as a freelance accountant (as detailed below) would be a natural avenue to explore. If you have experience as a writer, you might consider editorial services, or if you've spent years working in the food and beverage industry, you could explore catering or becoming a personal chef.

As you explore your options, consider if you'll need to secure special licenses (for example, hairstylists and electricians) or if the work requires additional education and credentialing.

Determine the goals of your small business.

For some people, starting a small business means leaving their full-time gig and committing to the new endeavor. For others, a part-time business provides meaningful supplemental income and can be managed in addition to other work. Consider how much money you're hoping to earn from the business, how many clients or customers you'll need to be profitable and how many hours you'll need to work each week to make it feasible.

Think about capital costs, as well as growth: Will launching the business require the purchase of equipment or other serious financial investment? Do you plan to hire employees? Will you expand to multiple locations? At the outset, it's a good idea to create a formal business plan.

Study your location and identify what's most feasible there.

Finding customers and clients is essential to any small business, so conduct a market analysis before you open shop. For instance, your boat cleaning business will be significantly more successful if you live near a coast, and your side hustle as an interpreter will likely be more profitable if you live in a diverse community.

You should also research what businesses already exist. Is there a dearth of dependable landscapers in your market? Is there a glut of professional photographers in your town? Answering these questions will help you determine the viability of your idea.

Decide if you want to run a business online or in person.

The digital age has created many opportunities for entrepreneurs to run a business from behind a laptop, meaning their enterprise can go wherever they choose. That's not for everyone, though. If you want to run a brick-and-mortar shop at the heart of your community or are more comfortable interacting with customers and clients in person, launch a business that will allow you to achieve those goals.

Related: TV Shows All Entrepreneurs Should Be Watching

Financial and Business Service Ideas

1. Accounting and Tax Services

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

At some point, most people seek the advice of a good bookkeeper or accountant, whether to prepare for tax season, get advice for starting a business or simply plan for the future. If you're already a Certified Public Accountant, you can earn good money by going out on your own.

If you're not already trained as an accountant or licensed by the state you live in, you'll want to explore the recommended educational prerequisites and plan to obtain the appropriate credentials. Most tax preparation franchises offer courses, seminars and training to get you ready to work for them.

You'll also want to think about the types of services you'll provide:

  • Do you want to simply do bookkeeping for small businesses?
  • Or do you also want to prepare balance sheets, income statements and other financial reports?

Other specializations can include tax accounting — a huge area of potential work.

2. Business Consulting

Has expansion possibilities

With a consulting business, you can work with a wide range of businesses on a variety of business problems. You could help new entities get off the ground by creating business plans, conducting market research and organizing a management structure.

Depending on your level of experience, you could also help large organizations through difficult transitions and periods of restructuring or outline a successful exit strategy by providing executive-level advice and guidance on an array of matters core to the business' mission.

A good calendar app will likely come in handy as time-tracking is crucial to accurate billing.

3. Financial Planning and Advising

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Financial advisors help millions of Americans save for things like retirement and college funds while also helping them grow their wealth through various investments. If your goal is to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), you'll have to complete coursework and ultimately pass an exam. This will earn you a certificate that shows potential clients you have expertise and credibility. Once you're certified, working as an independent financial advisor can provide a steady income.

4. Buying a Franchise

Some business experience needed

The benefits of buying a franchise are many: You'll have a proven business model, the market research is already done and the brand typically provides support to franchisees as part of the purchase. Plus, many franchises can be launched for less than $10,000, including:

To learn more about how to buy and launch a franchise, read Entrepreneur's basics of buying a franchise business.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

5. Notary Public Services

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

In most states, a notary public is a state officer who is authorized to witness and attest to the legalities of certain documents by stamping a seal and signing. Most states require that you pass an exam and a background check, but it costs very little to become a notary. You can generate significant income from notary work by charging fees for services such as loan-signing notarizations.

Manual Labor Business Ideas

6. General Construction

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you have experience working in construction, you may be ready to start your own handyman business and take on projects of your own. From building a fence to hanging drywall or framing an addition, many people need skilled laborers who can do quality work on time.

If you have a network of skilled people whose work you trust, you could also subcontract some of the construction and spend more time finding clients and growing your business. Check with your state to determine what permits and licenses you need to get started.

7. Landscaping

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Put your green thumb to work. Most people want their yards tidied up in the spring, their lawns mowed in the summer, their leaves removed in the fall, their shrubs trimmed and their trees cared for. Your landscaping business could also offer irrigation services, including the installation and repair of sprinkler lines, as well as blowing them out before winter.

Garden work, such as planting annuals and perennials and vegetable garden preparation, can also be a lucrative business. There is plenty to do in the yard that has nothing to do with plants: stone wall restoration, fencing, artificial turf installation and more.

Read This: Start Your Own Lawn Care or Landscaping Business by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media and Cheryl Kimball | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

8. House Painting

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Regardless of the season, you can make good money with a residential painting business — inside and out. Before you begin offering services, you'll want to work with professional painters and learn the basics:

  • Masking a house
  • Laying a drop cloth
  • Choosing the appropriate paints and brushes for various indoor and outdoor climates

You'll also need to invest in some basic equipment — ladders, brushes, trays and more. Once you're set up, you can begin marketing your services to customers through a variety of online platforms with relatively low upfront costs.

9. Carpentry

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Woodworking is in high demand these days, and if you're a talented carpenter, there are a variety of ways you can make money. Residential projects like cabinets, tables and shelves are often high on homeowners' lists and typically pay well. You can also make good money with boutique projects like gallery frames, hand-carved figurines and other work. In some cases, you can work for general contractors to frame doorways and support larger construction projects.

10. Electrical Work

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Becoming an electrician is not easy — you must take classes, work as an apprentice and pass licensing exams before you can start your own business — but there's no shortage of work for electricians. Master electricians are always in demand for small and large projects, and you'll have the ability to hire apprentices, build a team and scale your business offerings.

11. Moving Services

Has expansion possibilities

When people move, they often want to hire someone to do the heavy lifting for them — literally. You can focus your work on local moves across town or to the town next door. As your business ramps up, you may also offer large-scale, long-distance moving services if you have the personnel and equipment to accommodate it. Advertise around town to convince the locals to let you take care of their move, provide excellent customer service and watch your business grow.

Read This: Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business and More by Entrepreneur Press and George Sheldon | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

Creative Work Business Ideas

12. Content and Editorial Contracting

Has expansion possibilities

Almost every business or organization needs good writers and editors, and if you have the skills to go out on your own, you'll likely find a bevy of work. From copyediting to developmental editing, ghostwriting and digital content production, freelance writers and editors can find clients in a host of industries, including marketing, communications, journalism and book publishing. To get started, you'll need to create a portfolio of work that exemplifies your skills for writing, content creation and/or editing–this will help you build relationships with potential clients.

13. Graphic Design

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Have an eye for design? Logos, fliers, newsletters, information sheets and advertisements are just a few of the types of design materials that businesses hire independent designers to create for them. Websites and online advertising need graphic design services as well. You can offer clients a suite of services to take their project from beginning to end, including coordinating with content creators and print shops and getting products ready to mail and present.

Read This: Start Your Own Graphic Design Business by Entrepreneur Press and George Sheldon | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

14. Web Development

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Many in-person and online courses exist to teach you the language of coding and website creation. With some specialized training, you can master the basics of building a website from scratch — a service you can offer to many small businesses, whether they're looking for an ecommerce platform or just a landing page to describe their services. You may also find clients who will hire you to not only design their website but manage their online presence on a day-to-day basis.

15. Marketing or Public Relations Agency

Has expansion possibilities

Every business has a story to tell, but not everyone has the know-how to get their message into the world. With your marketing or public relations agency, you can help businesses identify new audiences, craft messages that resonate with new customers and produce newsletters and other products — potentially winning the media's interest along the way. You'll want experience working in this field before you set out on your own, as potential clients will want to hire someone who understands the world of marketing and public relations.

Read This: Start Your Own Consulting Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen F. Sandlin | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

16. Photography

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Independent photographers can run successful businesses with one or more specialties. You can offer:

  • Portraits or senior pictures
  • Wedding photography
  • Editorial shots for newspapers or magazines

To get your photography business off the ground, you'll want to create an online portfolio of your work so potential clients can see your style and inquire with you. Being active on social media platforms is also a great strategy for growing your brand.

Read This: Start Your Own Photography Business by Entrepreneur Press and Charlene Davis | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

17. Videography

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you can do quality work behind a camera and edit footage well, there are plenty of opportunities for videography work, from creating brand videos for organizations to filming events, weddings and interviews. Your clients could include outdoor brands, small nonprofits and big corporations, but you'll want to have some filming and editing training and experience creating quality content before you launch your business.

18. Audio Editing

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Audio storytelling is a growing industry, with countless podcasts being streamed daily by listeners all over the world. If you have experience recording and editing audio, you could shop your services to media brands, businesses or individuals who might want to launch their own podcasts. And who knows? Maybe you can use your skills to launch and monetize a podcast of your own.

19. Social Media Management

Some experience needed

Although many businesses want to enhance their social media presence, they often don't have the skills or internal bandwidth to grow their following and post engaging content.

If you're skilled at brainstorming content plans and writing snappy copy — and you already spend many hours on social media — it might be worth launching your own social media marketing enterprise. Clients might have you create a content marketing plan, monitor and reply to comments and report growth statistics monthly.

20. Art

Has expansion possibilities

If making art is already your hobby, you might be able to turn it into a profitable business. You can sell your work on sites like Etsy, enter your work in shows or ink contracts with clients who need illustrators or custom art as part of their brand assets. Other potential art business offerings include creating portraits, painting murals and teaching art classes.

21. Music Lessons

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Turn down the volume and listen up: Your music skills could be in high demand. There are a few ways to approach running your own music business. You can be mobile and teach in your clients' homes or run it out of your own space (a separate building or designated area of your home).

Some people teach music lessons online by recording lessons on YouTube and offering subscriptions. To get started, try connecting with local music schools for part-time gigs. This will allow you to see if you like it and help you build a reputation with potential clients.

Related: 10 Essential Tips For a Long and Lucrative Music Career

Repair and Maintenance Business Ideas

22. Mechanic Shop

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you've spent years working on your vehicles and know your way around an engine, it could be time to offer your services to customers. Depending on where you live, you may not need to obtain a mechanics license, but taking some formal classes and earning a certification will help build trust with customers.

Many shops require licensing before hiring mechanics, so if you're looking to get some experience before launching your own business, you'll likely want to take some classes.

23. Appliance Repair

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Every household has several appliances — from refrigerators to dishwashers to dryers — and appliances tend to break down, so appliance repair is one of the best business ideas for any area. You can work on your own or contract with appliance stores to cover their warranty service calls — or some of each.

Start slow and build your customer base on recommendations and referrals from work well done. You could also develop relationships with contractors to be the go-to person to install appliances in newly constructed houses.

24. Bicycle Repair

Some experience needed

Almost every bike needs a good tune-up. This business tends to be seasonal in many parts of the country, but you can find ways around that. If you have the space, you could offer to store people's bicycles during the winter after you do a tune-up and any needed repairs on them.

And if you keep Saturday shop hours, you could make your shop a meeting place for cycling enthusiasts. If you live in a bike-oriented place, you may be able to purchase and sell used bikes, making some money as a retailer on top of your repair business.

25. Boat Cleaning

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Boats hauled out of the water for the winter or even just for mid-season repairs will need their hulls cleaned. Depending on the type of boat, it might also be time for a major cleaning of everything else—the decks, the sleeping quarters, the head and the holds.

Start by advertising on Nextdoor, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, reaching out to homes with boats sitting in their yard, or marketing your services to a local marina.

26. Car Cleaning & Detailing

Has expansion possibilities

Making a car shine inside and out isn't easy work, which is why many people don't want to do it themselves. Plus, because drive-thru car washes don't clean every corner, there's a market for car cleaning and detailing across the country. With a little investment in materials (soaps, scrubs, hoses, vacuums, etc.), you could make house calls or rent a garage space where customers can drop off their vehicles.

27. Electronics Repair

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Whether it's a laptop, a television, a tablet or a specialized radio, if you're handy with circuit boards, you could run a profitable business for customers whose electronics are on the fritz. You'll want to run the business out of your home or a storefront so people can bring equipment directly to you. Not unlike other repair shops, your business may evolve to the point where you're buying used electronics and selling them to your customers.

28. Furniture Restoration

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you have a knack for sewing and woodwork, upholstery and restoration might be a natural business idea. Many books and online videos can be helpful as you learn the trade, but nothing will be as helpful as finding some discarded furniture and tearing it apart before restuffing and constructing it.

Often, furniture in need of upholstering will also require repairs—sanding, staining, or reinforcing damaged areas. Much of this work is relatively minor (you don't have to be a carpenter) and can add significant upsell value to your services.

Read This: Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design by Amanda Brown |Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

29. Rug Cleaning

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Most people don't have the time or space to do more for their rugs than a basic vacuum. As a rug cleaner, you will need to learn how to work with all kinds of carpet fabrics, from synthetic to wool. You should also decide whether you will take on valuable antique rugs and family heirlooms. If you do, you should consider getting specialized training in handling and properly cleaning these carpets.

Learn how to get tough stains and odors out of carpets — such as dog and cat odors — and customers will seek your services out. You'll need a dedicated space for people to drop off their rugs, so plan for that as you set up your business.

30. Jewelry Making and Repair

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

There are many different ways of getting into the jewelry business and different types of materials you can work with. Manipulating metal will require specific tools since you need to heat the metal and use tools to cut and engrave, but you'll likely also work with glass, gemstones, and maybe even wood. The wider the variety of materials you can work with, , the broader the range of repair services you can provide to your customers, including stone polishing and setting.

Read This: Start Your Own Fashion Accessories Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen F. Sandlin | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

Property and Real Estate Business Ideas

31. Real Estate

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Every community needs trusted real estate agents. Whether your clients are buying or selling property — or just seeking real estate advice — there are many opportunities to launch your own business. But, first, you'll need to become a licensed agent, and the requirements vary by state. Typically, you'll have to complete coursework and pass an exam. Once you've done that, you can start offering services and building your business from scratch.

32. Property Management

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Many people manage properties as a side hustle. Maybe you have a vacation home that you use for short-term rentals or perhaps you have an additional property with a long-term lease. If you want to dive in full-time, you can acquire multiple properties and be a full-time landlord. In the case of rental units, your job will be to make sure the property is running smoothly, ensure tenants are paying rent and honoring their lease terms, and be available in case of any issues. You can also contract with individual property owners to serve as their property manager, lightening their load by taking care of the landlord duties for them.

33. Cleaning Service

No experience needed

There are many directions you can take this small business idea. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus your cleaning business on office clients. You can provide cleaning services to retail businesses and keep your customers within one or two blocks. Restaurants need daily thorough cleaning and can also be a great source of steady clients. But, if you're more interested in house cleaning, you can start with a small number of clients, and new customers will likely emerge via word of mouth.

Read This: Start Your Own Cleaning Service by Entrepreneur Press and Jacquelyn Lynn |Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

34. Professional Organizing

Has expansion possibilities

Spatial planning is not everyone's strength. If it's yours, you can make good money as a professional organizer for individuals and businesses. For individuals, you can choose either to do the organizing work — maybe a kids' playroom or a cluttered garage — or consult with the homeowner to help them better organize themselves.

Businesses, too, don't always know how to organize their office and maximize the efficiency of their spaces. You can consult on ways to better arrange furniture, desks, conference areas, stockrooms and more.

35. Home Inspection

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

To be a successful inspector, first establish contacts with real estate agents who can recommend your services to customers. Home inspection can be an incredibly competitive market so you will need to constantly update your education and knowledge. For instance, Builders are constantly introducing new materials. If you only know about wood decks, you will not know how to inspect and assess the new materials on the market, such as composites that look like real wood. Also, stay apprised of all safety updates regarding materials and problems with things like off-gassing, carbon monoxide production and other chemical hazards.

Read This: Start Your Own Home Inspection Service by Entrepreneur Press | Amazon |eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

36. Home Energy Auditing

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Homeowners are always looking for ways to save on their utility bills. With some specialized training, you can help by conducting an audit of their homes and calculating how much they might save on heating, cooling and electrical use by implementing new technology or upgraded appliances.

To grow your business, you can work directly with vendors to refer upgrades or gain a certification and learn how to do electrical work like installing solar panels and heat pumps yourself.

Read This: Toward a Zero Energy Home: A Complete Guide to Energy Self-Sufficiency at Home by David Johnston and Scott Gibson | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

37. Interior Decorating and Design

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you have an eye for design, market your interior decorating talents to building contractors. People purchasing new homes can often be overwhelmed with choices and possibilities. Create questionnaires for each major element and room in the house:

  • How will the homeowner use the home?
  • Are there children?
  • Pets?

Depending on how involved your client wants to be, you can also help them purchase furniture, art, plants and more. You can also work with businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, to design their spaces.

Planning, Training and Coaching Business Ideas

38. Event Planning

Has expansion possibilities

There are a variety of ways to launch an event-planning business, particularly if you have a professional background in planning large gatherings. First, you'll want to hone in on your niche, some of which include:

  • Private parties at people's homes
  • Kids birthday parties
  • Corporate events

If you work with businesses, you must visit every potential event location you plan to work with. Tour each site and learn what's available, including capacity, AV equipment, chairs and tables and more. If you can nail a big party as an event planner, new clients will seek you out.

Read This: Start Your Own Event Planning Business by The Staff at Entrepreneur Media and Cheryl Kimball | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

39. Wedding Planning

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

You will need to be up-to-date on wedding trends, dress styles, popular colors — and almost every other facet of the wedding industry. Offer your customers an à la carte menu of services, from helping them choose flowers, a wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses to picking the venue and hiring the caterer.

Before you open your business, visit area wedding shops and see what kinds of services they provide. Wedding planners need to know every business detail to assure couples that they are in the right hands.

40. Vacation Planning

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Some people take great joy in planning their vacations. However, if you're an experienced traveler and know how to save people money, you can still be very much in demand as a vacation planner for individuals or large groups. You can coordinate hotel and flight bookings, arrange transportation, provide daily itineraries and help your clients re-book in case of unforeseen travel crises. There's typically no required certification for this work, but there are courses you can take that will put you and your clients at ease.

41. Private Coaching

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Active children and adults alike often seek athletic instruction beyond what they've learned in group formats. If you're highly skilled in an athletic discipline, you can help take athletes to the next level.

Common business options include:

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Running
  • Baseball pitching
  • Soccer

In terms of qualifications, you should already have some coaching experience and be able to offer high-level instruction. Depending on the community where you're coaching, you may need to have a license to run your business or a certification to use public amenities, like tennis courts, for profit.

42. Personal Training

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Many people are looking to improve their overall fitness, and working with a personal trainer is one way to achieve their goals. To get started, you'll need to obtain a certification — especially if you're working with a gym — which will help your clients trust that you know what you're doing and can help them avoid injury. You can advertise your business at gyms and other public places, and having a strong social media and web presence is always helpful.

43. Nutritional Advising

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

With so many different dieting trends and supplements in the world, a nutritionist can help people better understand the landscape of healthy eating and living. Although nutritionists don't offer medical nutritional counseling or treat illnesses (as a dietitian does), there is still a wide market for the work.

First, determine what kind of nutrition service you want to provide — pediatric, sports, holistic or something else — and then work toward credentialing. At a minimum, you'll need to research the laws for becoming certified in your state and begin taking prerequisite courses to help you become licensed.

44. Life Coaching

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Life coaching has exploded in popularity over the past decade, as many people are looking to recreate or realign their personal goals. Life coaches do not provide clinical mental healthcare (a therapist does), but they help people create and use tools to move closer to their ultimate goals. To become a life coach, you'll first want to determine what kind of client you're looking for:

  • People with professional hurdles to clear
  • Folks struggling with romantic endeavors
  • Busy entrepreneurs looking to reclaim work/life balance

You don't technically need certification, though many practitioners take courses and have credentials.

45. Career Coaching

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Career coaches help people navigate professional transitions, establish business goals and make the most of their skills. As a career coach, you might help people write cover letters and resumes, find new opportunities, establish business plans and success strategies or hone their niche in a crowded market.

Your background and specialty will determine what clientele you should work with:

  • Recent graduates
  • People looking to start second careers
  • Someone who has been out of the workforce for years

Although there is no standard license or certification, many career coaches have earned credentials or successful careers of their own.

46. Tutoring

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you have a background in education, you can make significant supplemental income — or launch a full-fledged business — by offering tutoring services. Start by choosing the subject area that best fits your strengths. For instance, if you're a professional writer or English teacher, you could offer essay writing help. If you're skilled in math and sciences, you could help high schoolers with algebra or precalculus.

You don't have to be a licensed teacher to offer tutoring services, but being a subject matter expert will make it easier to sell your services to potential customers.

Hospitality Business Ideas

47. Private Chef Service

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you have experience working in restaurants or other areas of the food and beverage industry, you could tap into the growing private chef market. Whether potential customers are looking to accommodate specific dietary needs or an intimate event with friends, a positive experience should lead to client testimonials and referrals to help you grow your business.

You'll want to make sure you have proper training — either via work experience or formal courses — because your reputation is on the line with every dish you create.

48. Bed and Breakfast / Airbnb

No experience needed

Do you have a room that has its own bathroom and is private from the rest of the living space? Or do you own a property that could function as a small lodging establishment near a tourist area, sports stadium or large venue? Maybe you own a charming home in the country. If so, turn your property into a bed and breakfast or Airbnb rental and welcome guests into a home away from home.

Read This: Start Your Own Bed and Breakfast by Entrepreneur Press and Cheryl Kimball | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

49. Catering

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Are you experienced with managing large-scale food operations? Consider branching out into catering to serve large events like weddings and corporate banquets. You'll need to make sure you have strong project- and personnel-management skills, because catering requires you to lead a team and deliver exceptional service for clients. You'll also need to obtain the proper licensing from the state in which you operate, similar to the requirements for opening a restaurant.

50. Food Truck

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Do you want to deliver a specific type of cuisine to the masses without running an entire restaurant? Build (or purchase) a food truck and take your product on the go. You'll have to obtain appropriate operating licenses, but once you've checked those boxes, you can start working at festivals, breweries and other community events. As your reputation grows, you'll likely book business by word-of-mouth.

51. Brewery

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Have you always wanted to run your own brewery? Maybe you've already been experimenting with brewing at home.? If so, opening a brewery could be an option. But first, you'll want to pursue training in brewing sciences and work as an apprentice to someone who knows the craft well. From there, you'll need to conduct a competitive market analysis to make sure there's room for another brewery in your area.

Other Small Business Ideas

52. Dog Walking

Has expansion possibilities

If you have a flexible schedule and can make multiple house calls, you can generate significant revenue as a dog walker. Dog walkers take pooches out for their daily constitutional one or more times a day, individually or in small groups.

In some cities, like New York, dog walking alone can be a booming business. But, it's more common for dog walkers to offer additional services, including playing with and feeding pets, bringing in newspapers and mail and turning lights on and off.

Read This: Start Your Own Pet Business and More by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen F. Sandlin | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

53. Pet Sitting or Boarding

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Most people leave behind their pets when they travel. Although big daycare shelters exist, you can make decent money by offering a more personal pet-sitting service — either by staying at someone's house while they're out of town or by hosting their animal at your place.

Starting a pet-sitting service requires almost nothing in startup costs. Your list of credentials should probably include personal pet ownership — if not currently, at least in the past — and other pet-related experience, including referrals from pet owners whose pets you have taken care of before.

Read This: Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business and More by Entrepreneur Press and Cheryl Kimball | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

54. Pet Grooming

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Most animals need a bath or fresh cut from time to time. Most pet owners aren't equipped to do a full grooming themselves. This means there's a target market for professional groomers who do house calls or have a space where people can drop their pets for a few hours.

There are no required certifications, but most groomers begin by taking courses, which are widely available in most states.

55. At-Home Daycare

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Childcare needs continue to soar in the United States, and many people prefer for their child to be cared for in a home environment as opposed to a more institutional setting. These factors make the market ripe for a home-based childcare business. The regulations for a home-based child care vary by state, so you'll need to pursue appropriate certifications and training depending on where you live.

Read This: Start Your Own Child-Care Service by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media and Jacquelyn Lynn | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble

56. Making Gift Baskets

Has expansion possibilities

Finding a niche is the best way to start out in the gift basket business. Are you a dog-lover, horse enthusiast or exercise guru who could put together baskets that hold the things that people with this interest would like?

Do you already create a product that a gift basket could be built around?

You could create custom, place-based gift baskets that could be shipped across the country or sold in a local store, or you can collaborate with local makers to get your business idea off the ground.

57. Hair Styling / Barber Shop

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Styling hair or working as a barber is a popular business idea that can be lucrative if you have the right skills and online presence. Typically, a home-based hairstylist business or barber shop would be started by someone with a cosmetology career who wants to go out on their own. If you don't have experience, you can take courses and sharpen your skills by working in someone else's shop. You'll need to obtain the appropriate licenses before you can launch your own business.

58. Nail Technician

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you'd like to offer professional nail styling to clients, most states require that you complete cosmetology school — the number of hours varies depending on where you live. It can be smart to work with someone else before opening your own shop so you learn the skills and techniques you need to be successful.

Once you've completed these steps, you can run your own small business from home or a dedicated storefront.

59. Massage Therapist

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Massage therapy can be a successful business, but you must have the proper education and training to not cause injury to your clients. At a minimum, you will want to become certified, which will help you practice safely and ultimately market your qualifications.

Certification courses cover not only human anatomy and physiology and the ways massage affects both, but also how to establish your own successful massage business.

60. Storage Facility

Has expansion possibilities

People tend to acquire more things than they can reasonably store in their homes. If you have land, you could make meaningful income by storing large items like recreational vehicles, boats, trailers and campers. Or, if you want to dive deeper into the self-storage business, you could consider opening a storage facility, which would require an increase in overhead costs, appropriate licensing and market analysis.

61. Independent Car Service / Ride-Sharing Driver

Driving experience needed

If you drive for companies like Uber and Lyft, you lose a percentage of your wage to the company. However, there are still market demands for private drivers. If you have a reliable vehicle — or can afford to manage a fleet and other drivers — you can cater to high-end clients not interested in using ride-share apps for their transportation needs.

Newer peer-to-peer car rental services like Turo (think Airbnb for cars) also allow potential business owners to rent out their vehicles to generate incremental income when not in use.

62. Online Reselling Business

No experience needed

Do you have items lurking around your household that you could sell? Or are you scouring Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores for deals on items you could flip?Here's a relatively straightforward online business idea: Auction or sell the items you find on one of online marketplaces.

Reselling products online can provide a major source of supplemental income, especially if you're willing to refurbish items and sell them at a higher rate. Anyone can get into this type of business as long as they're willing to hustle.

63. Interpreting or Translating Services

Experience, training or licensing may be needed

In communities with international populations, dependable interpreters and translators are extremely valuable. If you already speak multiple languages, you could earn extra income as an interpreter if you pursue a certification, which typically involves about 40 hours of training.

From there, you can determine what type of translation service clients you're seeking: business professionals, government officials, folks who need documents translated and more.

How to Get Started

Addressing these foundational "business checklist" elements early on can set a strong course for growth and operational efficiency for your entrepreneurial endeavor.

1. Create a Business Plan

Create a detailed business plan outlining your business goals, strategies for achieving them, market analysis, operational structure and financial projections. This document is crucial for guiding your strategy and securing business loans.

2. Decide on Legal Structure

Choose the appropriate legal structure for your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, corporation), and register your business according to local laws.

Your chosen business structure affects your taxes, liability and business operations, so consult an attorney and a certified accountant before finalizing your decision.

3. Keep Finances Separate

Set up a robust system for managing your finances, including budgeting, bookkeeping and financial forecasting. Consider your startup costs, ongoing expenses and how you will fund your business idea.

Keeping personal and business finances separate is also highly advisable.

  • Open a business bank account and use it for all business-related transactions.
  • Obtain a business credit card for company expenses.
  • Pay yourself a salary from your business account, which then goes into your personal account, rather than directly using business funds for personal expenses.
  • Keep all receipts and document all financial transactions meticulously.

4. Plan Operational Needs

Outline your business' operational needs, including staffing, location, equipment, technology and software needs. Consider how you will efficiently manage the production of goods or delivery of services.

5. Develop a Brand and Marketing Strategy

If through social media platforms, affiliate marketing or search engine optimization, consider how you will establish a strong brand identity and develop a marketing plan to reach your target audience.

This should include your branding elements (logo, color scheme) and your strategies for content creation, promotion and advertising.

6. Operate Within the Law

Ensure you know and comply with all relevant city and state laws, regulations and industry standards. This includes obtaining necessary licenses and permits, understanding labor laws if hiring employees and ensuring data protection and privacy.

7. Build a Support Network

Support networks can provide invaluable advice, feedback and connections. Build a network of mentors, advisors and fellow entrepreneurs.

This network might be close friends, former colleagues or paid mastermind groups.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

How to Be a Billionaire By 25, According to a College Dropout Turned CEO Worth $1.6 Billion

Austin Russell became the world's youngest self-made billionaire in 2020 at age 25.

Living

Taylor Swift Has a Lucky Number. And She's Not the Only High Performer Who Leans Into Superstitions to Boost Confidence.

Even megastars like Swift need a little extra something to get them in the right mindset when it is game time.

Career

These 3 Big Tech Companies Offer 6-Figure Salaries and Easy Interviews — Especially If You Follow This Expert's Advice

There are far more candidates than positions, so being strategic on the job hunt is key.

Marketing

SEO Trends You Need to Be Aware of Right Now, According to a Seasoned Pro

Navigate the future of search engine optimization to elevate your online presence and drive meaningful engagement.

Health & Wellness

4 Habits I Cultivated to Become a Healthier, More Effective Entrepreneur

By the time I hit mid-life, some of my bad habits were becoming a risk to my long-term business goals — and my health. Here's how I was able to change them.