Starting a small business can be an extremely rewarding endeavor. As a small business owner, you have the opportunity to turn your passion and experience into a profitable venture.
However, the first step to becoming your own boss is deciding what kind of business you want to start. While it seems like this would be the easy part, it is actually one of the most difficult decisions to make. There are so many small business ideas, and choosing one to focus on can pose a major mental barrier.
So, we have put together a list of 40 small business ideas that you can start in 2024. Let's get started!
Low-Cost Small Business Ideas💰
Here are a few small business ideas that you can start without having to spend a whole lot of money.
#1- Personal Trainer
If staying fit is a passion of yours, then why not monetize on this by starting your own personal training business? You would need to start by gaining a relevant qualification, but once that is done you can start your business straight away!
As a personal trainer, you can design your business to suit your needs. If you want to work with clients in a gym, you can either offer your services within a gym on a profit-split basis or instead pay a set amount of rent to use the space. Alternatively, you could set up a gym in your home, or even offer outdoor workout sessions.
You don't have to stop there either. Although the aim is to work face-to-face with clients, you could also offer personalized training plans for a fee to attract an online customer base.
#2- Pet Sitter
They say dogs are man's best friend - so people pay good money to ensure that their pet is getting the treatment they deserve. Pet owners hate leaving their loved ones alone when they are at work or on vacation. So why not start a pet sitting business?
Again, this is a low-cost small business idea that can be tailored to your lifestyle. You could offer pet sitting from your home, or care for the pet in their own home. Not only this, but you can choose to offer short stays (like a doggy daycare service), long stays (vacation bookings), or even just a one-hour dog walking service. With a whole range of booking options, you can attract a wide range of clients.
#3- Personal Assistant
If there is one thing that business owners struggle with, it's time (specifically the lack of it). One idea is to create your business around helping others. From everyday tasks like ensuring bills are paid or filing paperwork, to helping out with grocery shopping, booking medical appointments, and even fetching coffee, personal assistants are there to relieve busy people of the small tasks that they don't have time for.
These small tasks take time, and time is money, so overstretched individuals will pay to have someone relieve some of their stress. A good personal assistant is certainly worth the investment.
Cleaning is an arduous task, and one that is commonly outsourced, so consider setting up a small cleaning business to tap into the market. You could choose to clean residential homes, with either regular weekly cleaning or specialized deep cleaning service. To advertise, simply up a website or social media page for your services, and make sure to join community groups where locals advertise for cleaners in their area.
As soon as you have one contract, it will be easier to get others as your reputation grows.
#5- Community Maintenence
If you have a set of practical skills like painting fences, attaching fittings, and assembling furniture, then you could start a business as a maintenence worker/handyman. Many of these small skills have been forgotten, so you can capitalize on that and provide your services for a fee.
You could begin by advertising your services on community social media pages and physical noticeboards. You can also advertise your services for homeowner associations, schools, government departments, retirement villages, etc. When you have the know-how and resources to do this kind of work and advertise well, your side hustle could quickly become a lucrative business.
#6- Professional Organizer
Clutter can become overwhelming, and sometimes you need to outsource the organization to someone else. As a professional organizer, you would go into homes or workplaces to order the disordered. While the business seems simple, there are actually several avenues that you could take as a professional organizer. One idea is to offer your services to new parents, getting their homes set up before the baby arrives. Another way to attract clients is to offer pantry organization services, removing messy jars and packages and replacing them with aesthetically pleasing and space-saving glass jars and containers. You could even offer home organization training, teaching others how to streamline the excess in their homes.
#7- Car Wash
It's an age-old profession and one that you could begin as a small business today. With a bucket, cleaning cloths, and some cleaning products, you can start a car washing business today. The tricky part is finding clients. Advertise on local community boards, ask other small businesses to put up your flyer, and post your business offering all over social media. Why not offer interior detailing services too?
#8- Personal Shopper
Personal shoppers choose a niche- be it clothing, furniture, jewelry, or homewares, and then help their clients find these items. People may turn to personal shoppers for inspiration on how to style themselves or their homes, while others work with personal shoppers to help source and secure rare or valuable items. To get started as a personal shopper set up an aesthetically pleasing website to show off your style and expertise.
Physical Small-Business Ideas🏢
The following small business ideas require more physical inventory to get started in the form of a property or vehicle of sorts.
#9- Food Truck
Food trucks are an exciting business to run, as they are essentially a restaurant on wheels - but without the costs associated with running a restaurant. Once you have a vehicle and equipment, you're pretty much set! No need to source tableware, quality silverware, fittings, or the like. Plus, if you don't want to invest in a truck outright, you can always lease one.
If you want to become a food truck owner then carefully consider your niche. The most successful food trucks have a whole brand identity that they become known for, whether that be Thai food, lobster rolls, wings, or anything else you can cook in a truck!
#10- House Flipping
House flipping is no easy feat, but it is something that you can do alongside other employment (if you wish). If you have the cash to invest in a property in need of overhaul, then use your skills and style to turn a rundown residence into a beautiful home. This can be exhausting and labor intensive, but if you have the passion for it, it can be a great way to earn an income. Plus, you can capitalize on your hustle by documenting your flipping journey online and growing a loyal audience of fans who could one day become paid subscribers to your tips and tricks.
#11- Air BnB Host
Do you have a second home? Or even a spare room? If you do, then why not become an Air BnB host? You don't need hotel-style property in order to make money as an Air BnB host. All you need is a property that is clean and safe. Of course, styling does go a long way, and customers will pay a lot more for a private property with luxe furniture and plush fittings, but there are also many travelers simply seeking a low-cost place to lay their head.
Invest in some attractive room furniture, decor and bedding (this doesn't have to be costly, it just has to look aesthetically pleasing), take some good photos, and decide on an appropriate rate for your property. This is an easy way to gain some extra cash on an unused room or second home.
#12- Coffee Shop
This small business idea does demand a significant investment of time, money, and effort - but coffee is a multi-billion dollar industry. As such, there is a large market and plenty of opportunities. There are a few different ways in which you could start a coffee business, like opening a coffee cart that operates only on weekends, establishing a hole-in-the-wall coffee stop in the city, or opening a full-service cafe with coffee, food, and events.
The route you choose is up to you, but starting small and scaling up is always a good idea.
#13- Moving Company
Moving is one of the most stressful parts of a person's life. The need to pack up all of your worldly belongings and then transport them to a new residence is exhausting and overwhelming.
With the right equipment, manpower, permits, and insurance, you can start your own moving company. You don't need a whole fleet to get started - just start with yourself and a small van and scale as your business grows.
#14- Vending Machines
Vending machines cost around $3,000 to $5,000; you can make between $300 and $400 monthly. Although this business won't make you rich anytime soon, the profits are regular and steady. Plus, this business is not intensive except for regularly checking machines to replenish stocks.
Depending on your cash flow, you can build your business quickly or over time. Either way, the experience will teach you whether to continue with this business or use the cash flow to start something else.
#15 Yoga Studio
Opening your own yoga studio can be a daunting idea, but it comes with the benefit of being a recurring revenue business model. As a studio owner, you can choose to make your income in one of two ways. The first is that yoga students will pay you on a membership basis for access to your services, and you give a percentage of this income to the instructor. The second is that the students pay the instructor and the instructor pays you a flat fee for use of the space.
Whichever option you choose, opening a yoga studio is a small business idea with the potential to thrive. Yoga classes require minimal equipment, can be offered in many styles, and are a great way to earn recurring revenue.
Home Small-Business Ideas🏡
These small business ideas are opportunities that you can explore from your own home.
Learn how to flip everything from electronics, to jewelry, to sneakers. There are a few different avenues here - you could source older items (like broken electronics or thrift-store finds) and turn a profit by fixing these up and selling them on local marketplaces. Or, you could focus on securing highly sought-after items, like sneakers and concert tickets, then sell these on for a profit.
The reselling business requires skill but can be extremely profitable when you have the right knowledge and tools behind you.
#17- Meal Prep Service
Many people are realizing the poor quality of food from prominent stores. To counter the preservatives, sugar, and other toxins in store-bought foods, people are searching for healthy alternatives. This market gap is an opportunity to provide locals in your community or workplace the chance to eat healthy food.
You can start your entrepreneurial pursuit by making healthy meals from home. Whether the customer wants to focus on hitting their macros or simply save time, this can be a lucrative market to serve. Get started by sharing your personal weekly meal prep on social media accounts, offering up inspiration to those looking for meal prep ideas. Then, open up a service to take care of meal prep for paying clients.
#18- Fashion Ecommerce Store Owner
Lover of fashion? Create your own online fashion store! This small business is more straightforward than it sounds. You do not need to design or create your own clothing, you just need to curate items from other vendors. Whether you want to sell accessories, shoes, swimwear, or anything else, you can do so from home by setting up your own online store.
As an ecommerce store owner, you could choose to dropship your products (more on this later) or keep inventory in your own home.
#19- Home Tutor
This small business can be organized around your ordinary working hours. If you have a skill, you can help others to improve their own understanding of it. Be it math, a musical instrument, another language, or a more specialized skill set, you can earn money by teaching others.
Create a designated space in your home for your tutoring services - that way you can book clients to come to you rather than spending time traveling to their homes. Start by advertising in community groups and local schools to build up a client list.
#20 - Sewing and Alterations
If you're handing with a sewing machine or needle and thread then you can run an alterations business from your own home. You can offer small alterations services, like sewing on a button or fixing a hemline, and more intricate options such as wedding dress alterations. To get started all you need is your own skillset and a good sewing machine. Then, advertise in local online groups and place flyers in supermarkets around your neighborhood.
Creative Small-Business Ideas🎨
These small business ideas require an aspect of creativity!
#21- Personal Chef
Are your friends always raving about your cooking? Make money from this talent by becoming a personal chef! The food services industry is booming, with so many of us turning to services like Uber Eats and DoorDash due to lack of time, energy, or simply interest in cooking.
Start small and scale up your business. You could begin by offering home-cooked meals in your local community and then move into in-home catering as a personal chef for special occasions.
If you have an eye for outdoor design then landscaping could be a great option. The scope of your landscaping business is up to you to decide - perhaps you offer lawn care and mowing services, or maybe you could create beautiful feature gardens brimming with flowers, trees, and shrubbery.
Advertise in your community and share photos of your work on social media to showcase the value of your service.
#23- Handmade Goods
There is a growing market for handmade goods. With so many mass-manufactured products hitting the physical and digital shelves, consumers are seeing the value in one-off products. Whether that is making luxe candles, hand-built crockery, or hand-knitted sweaters, customers are always looking for thoughtful products to either gift to loved ones or keep for themselves.
As a business owner selling handmade goods the production process is in your hands - literally. No third-party product creation or item procurement. You will have to consider shipping, inventory management, payment processing, and other details, but in terms of the product you create - that's all on you!
#24- Travel Planner
The market for physical travel agency boutiques is dying out, but there is still a demand for travel planning. If you have a knack for planning the perfect vacation with the most beautiful hotels, best restaurant recommendations, and incredible experiences, then consider becoming a travel planner.
You could begin by sharing your own travel plans and itineraries on a social media site. It doesn't matter if you have actually been on this trip yourself - simply share your dream destinations, complete with travel tips for anyone looking to visit there, and excited holidaymakers will be drawn to your content. Once you have a big enough following you can start offering up services to sell customized travel itineraries, or even travel booking services.
#25- Restoring and Flipping Furniture
Restoring furniture is a creative and rewarding small business idea. The idea is to buy second-hand items, restore them, and sell them at higher prices. Besides the initial outlay and some restoration materials, this business idea will mostly cost you your time. But if you love breathing new life into old furniture, this can be a meaningful hobby, or you can turn it into a larger business venture. You could even offer up a service restoring other people's furniture for them!
#26- Interior Design Assistant
Most people can't afford to hire a professional interior designer. So, if you have a creative flair and aspirations of one day becoming a designer, step into this niche market.
Guide homeowners on how to make a difference to their home interiors with small changes. Offer someone a room makeover at a reasonable price and document the before and after images online. As with many other small business ideas, you should advertise your creative services on social media.
If your business grows, you can turn it into a full-time pursuit, sidestep the college pathway, or refine your skills with a college background to boost your talent even more.
Online Small-Business Ideas💻
The following small business ideas can be run completely online.
#27- Resume Writer
When searching for a new job resumes are incredibly important. They form the first impression of any prospective hire, and many people feel overwhelmed when tasked with crafting a compelling resume that makes them stand out in the crowd.
If you have had good success with your resume in the past, then offer up a resume writing service to job seekers. You could offer a variety of services like resume auditing, resume creation, cover letter creation, and even interview preparation.
#28- Social Media Manager
Social media is a necessary beast that many entrepreneurs, small business owners, and even larger enterprises struggle to understand. If you have had success in curating and growing social media accounts then why not offer up social media managment services?
Start by thinking about the services that you want to offer. Social media management can include anything from simply uploading content to writing captions, creating images, making reels, working with influencers, developing UGC campaigns, and more.
#29- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a business that you can run purely online and one that requires little outlay. If you have a healthy social media following then you can monetize on this by taking part in affiliate marketing programs.
As an affiliate marketer, you will place a link to a product or service on your social media page. The link usually has a discount code for your followers. Each time a follower of yours makes a purchase then you make money from the business!
#30- Content Creator
It's a creator's economy and YouTubers, podcasters, bloggers, Instagrammers and TikTokers are turning their online followings into successful businesses.
You can earn an income as a content creator or influencer through sponsored partnerships, but the real money comes from paid community groups and online memberships. Monetize your online community and earn an income from the valuable content you put out to your following.
#31- Small Business Ad Manager
This small business idea is similar to running social media accounts but focuses purely on managing a business' online advertisements. Social media ads can be incredibly powerful but understanding and using the algorithm is difficult and takes a lot of time. Take this burden off of business owners by running their ad campaigns for them.
#32- Remote Freelance Work
Jump on freelance platforms online to offer research, bookkeeping, virtual assistant, and other services. If you can do the work remotely, you can help anyone across the world perform jobs that they avoid. Remote work like this can also include web design, web development, marketing, and anything else the customer needs. Start by listing your services on freelance platforms like Upwork.
Becoming a professional trader is a volatile small business idea that has the potential to become a profitable endeavor. You will need to understand how the markets work, the best trading practices, and it is helpful to have access to trading tools and algorithms. As a professional trader, you could be your own small business, but this avenue does come with a lot of risks, so make sure that you understand these risks before getting started.
Dropshipping allows you to run your own online store without having any physical inventory. This ecommerce small business model works by you partnering with a wholesaler or manufacturer who takse care of storage, picking and packing. You take care of creating your online store so that customers can view and purchase your product, marketing efforts, sales, and customer support. When done well, dropshipping can be an extremely lucrative business.
#35- Print on Demand
Print-on-demand is similar to dropshipping in that you don't have to physically handle the product yourself. Instead, you work with a POD service that host your storefront on their website. Then, you upload your artwork. When a customer chooses one of your designs it is printed onto the product, which could be a mug, t-shirt, bag, or something else.
Know more than one language? Use your knowledge to start an online translator service! You can use your expertise to earn money by translating digital documents for a fee. Or, you can offer live translation service for meetings and phonecalls online through video conferencing systems. This avenue can be made even more lucrative if you are a specialist translator working in the medical or government fields.
#37- Online Courses & Communities
Many people turn to online courses and groups as a way to upskill from the comfort of their own home. If you have a special interest a skill then you can make a small business out of this by creating an online course, community, or both. Typically, a course is self-led, whereas a community is an engaging group with ongoing education and conversation.
Begin by choosing your niche - be aware that there are a lot of online courses on the market, so make sure that yours has a point of difference. Think about how you want to deliver information to your audience and pay close attention to how you brand your course and/or community.
#38- Sell eBooks
Writing and selling a book was once a pipe dream for many as it involved pitching to publishers and signing with agencies. Now anyone can publish their own book thanks to the internet. If you have a compelling fictional story, a gripping memoir, or even useful advice that you want to share, then consider writing and selling an eBook.
Keep in mind that this is a small business so the work doesn't end when the writing has finished. You will need to pay careful attention to your publishing platform, marketing efforts, customer engagement, and much more.
#39- Virtual Assistant
Like personal assistants, virtual assistants work with busy entrepreneurs to manage the tasks that they don't have time for. However, whereas personal assistants are, by nature, in person, virtual assistants work online. As a virtual assistant you do not have to be in the same city (or even continent) as your clients.
You could be taking care of anything from social media posts to appointment setting, administration, newsletter writing - whatever you can do virtually. As this is your small business you can decide what services you want to offer.
#40- Sell Digital Downloadables
The market for digital downloadables is huge and shows no signs of slowing down. We have already covered eBooks, but there is a whole world of digital downloadables like Notion templates, Chat GPT plugins, artwork, and so much more.
Digital downloadables is a promising small business idea for anyone with creativity and entrepreneurship.
How to Start a Small Business in 2024
To start a small business in 2024 you will need to work through a series of steps to take your idea from dream to reality. Here are the steps that you can take to start your small business:
- Determine your business idea
Before you begin you need to solidify your business idea. Read through the above list of 40+ small business ideas and find one that you love and is viable. For example, you may love the idea of opening a coffee shop, but if you don't have the funds or experience needed to succeed in this industry then it is best to consider other options. Think about what you love and are good at when choosing the type of small business you want to start.
- Research the market
Once you have chosen a business, the next step is to look at the market. It may seem like a great idea to start a pet-sitting business, but if there are already multiple pet-sitters in your area, how likely is it that you will bring in business? Undertake some research to uncover how much need there is for your business idea, and, if you do decide to go ahead with that idea, create a profile of your ideal customer base. If at this point you realize that your idea is not viable, go back to step one and choose a new business concept.
- Create a business plan
A business plan serves as the roadmap for setting up your business. A plan helps you to understand what you need to achieve and by when, whilst also outlining any potential roadblocks that may hinder the journey to launching your business. The document also is essential for requesting any outside funding.
- Choose a business structure
There are different business structures, including Sole Trader, Partnerships, Company, and Trust. Carefully research the pros and cons of each to decide what you want to use as your business structure.
- File for relevant licenses and permits
The next steps is to gain your licenses and permits. These will depend on the type of business you are launching, so carefully research what you need to have in place to legally run your business.
- Set up your business finances
One big mistake that small business owners make is not getting their finances in order from the start. If you begin by using your personal bank account you are simply setting yourself up for a difficult period of trying to manage and keep track of the business expenses. So, set up a business bank account before you launch.
- Get your business tools
Make a list of what you need to run your business. Do you need accounting software? Does your business need any physical items? Do you need a payment processing system? Prepare yourself now so that you are not scrambling after launch.
- Market your business
Start marketing your business before you launch! Prepare your website, content, and make your advertisements. Make sure that people know about what you offer before you even open.
- Launch your small business!
That's it - you're ready to launch! After this, it's all about scaling through hiring, marketing, and product development.
Launch Your Business Today with Whop
It is now easier than ever to launch your small business - thanks to Whop. With Whop you can sell all kinds of digital products, from eBooks, to software, to private community access. With digital products, you can easily build a successful business without having to source and manage inventory, rent a physical space, or even have to leave your own home!
👉The demand for digital products is growing every day, so why not choose eBooks, software, education, or any other digital offering as your small business idea? Your online store could be live in just 10 minutes with Whop. Launch your business today with Whop!