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Small Business Ideas for Every Skill Set

Last updated: June 25, 2019
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Some of us will always have the itch to go off and start something on our own.

Having a paying career is great and all, but doesn’t owning your own business have such a nice ring to it?

For those of you who are entrepreneurs at heart, we’ve compiled a list of the 17 best small business ideas for every skill set. Read on to figure out which business will let you be your own boss, set your own hours, and make money on your own.

Ideas for DIYers

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These ideas are perfect for small business owners who want to get out and get their hands dirty rather than sitting behind a computer all day.

Cleaning Service

Starting your own house cleaning service has extremely low overhead. The only things you need to get this idea off the ground are basic household cleaning items, like a broom, mop, rags, and cleaning supplies. Then it’s just a matter of finding clients. You can do this a number of ways, but posting your services on social media groups and reaching out to your personal network is a great place to start.

Handyman

Many of us know the perils of home ownership. A leaky faucet here, a broken cabinet there — something always seems to need fixing. If you consider yourself quite handy, then you can help others and make money at the same time by handling their household projects.

This will obviously require tools and the technical know-how to fix things, but other than that not much more is needed to launch a handyman service. You can get your first customers through online services like Care, Takl, or Handy. Getting the word out in your neighborhood also isn’t a bad idea.

Car Detailing

Everyone loves a sparkly clean car. But not everyone wants to vacuum and wash their vehicle, not to mention waxing, polishing, and deep cleaning the interior. If you’re willing to invest in the cleaning supplies and tools to detail cars, then this small business could fetch you a few hundred dollars for every cleaning.

Landscaping

Yard maintenance and landscaping is a chore many are happy to pass the buck on. Whether it’s maintaining someone’s yard because they’re elderly or simply because they don’t have enough time, landscaping companies are one of the most popular small businesses in the United States.

The overhead for this idea is a little higher if you want to invest in top-notch lawn care equipment, but you can be sure that this investment will pay off if you’re willing to put in the work.

Ideas for Foodies

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Many of us are foodies to the core — living from one delectable meal to the next. Why not turn this passion into your own business?

Food Truck

Instead of opening your own restaurant, how about launching your own food truck business instead? Restaurants are incredibly difficult to get off the ground because of hefty overhead costs. Food trucks, on the other hand, have much lower startup costs. If you think you have the next great idea — shawarma wraps, lobster rolls, or fusion tacos to name a few — then start tinkering in the kitchen and shopping around for available trucks in your area.

Personal Chef

Everyone loves a great meal, but few are able to pull it off on a regular basis. Families and businesses alike often don’t have enough time to prepare their own meals or would rather have an expert cook for them. If you fancy yourself a skilled craftsman in the kitchen, providing your chef services to families and businesses can be a lucrative enterprise to consider.

Tour Guide

A foodie tour guide to take you around the city? Count us in. With the rise of experiential travel and activities, people are willing to pay for tours that give them the best food recommendations in town. If you know the best spots around for tasty meals and scrumptious treats, then you can parlay that into your own business. A great place to start is by creating a custom experience on a platform like Airbnb.

Caterer

Similar to being a personal chef, starting your own catering business is a great way to show off your cooking skills and get paid at the same time. As a caterer, you can land large accounts and events that will pay you handsomely for meals of all sizes. Whether it’s feeding graduation parties, cooking for an entire wedding reception, or handling corporate meals for businesses in your area, the income opportunities are aplenty.

Ideas for Specialty Services

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There are certain business opportunities that require some level of expertise and certification. If you’re interested in seeking out some training, you can start your own business within one of these niches.

Massage Therapist

Are you good with your hands? If so, starting your own massage therapy business could be just what the doctor ordered. With some certification, you can start curing achy backs and working out the kinks for paying customers. Once you build up your clientele through word of mouth, this part-time side business could turn into something quite profitable since there’s nearly zero overhead.

Real Estate

If you always have an eye on your local housing market, then starting your own real estate practice might be right up your alley. Becoming a certified real estate agent will require some training that will cost you, but once you hit the ground running, this small business has huge potential. If you’re a people person who’s great at networking, you could take this small business to the next level by effectively selling your services.

Personal Trainer

For all the fitness and health freaks out there, a personal trainer business could be your calling. If you’re always at the gym and you’re knowledgeable about proper workout form and technique, why not get paid to teach others the same? You can start by seeking out additional training and certification to set yourself apart from competitors. Once you have that out of the way, you can find customers through the gym or local social media groups.

Ideas for Creative Types

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Passionate about great design? Good with your hands? If this sounds like you, then consider taking your creative acumen and turning it into cash.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers can make money by applying their skills across a wide range of situations. There are plenty of ways to make money — from designing websites and wedding invitations to online graphics and logos, the list goes on. Graphic design requires the ability to use a variety of digital design tools and a thorough understanding of design principles, but there’s not much overhead. You can find your first gigs on freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr. After you build up your portfolio, you can branch out on your own and turn it into a full-time job.

Makeup Artist

When special life events happen, women often seek out experts to handle their makeup. If you’re the go-to makeup artist within your friend group and know the latest beauty techniques, then starting your own side business might work out. To ensure you have a steady stream of clients, you can network with hairdressers, photographers, and event planners.

Videographer or Photographer

For the moments in life that people want to remember, a photographer and videographer are a must. Videography and photography businesses also lend themselves nicely to major events like weddings and graduations. You’ll need to be an expert in your craft since the competition may be fierce, but if you do high-quality work, clients will continue to come back and also offer referrals.

Ideas for Extroverts and Pet Lovers

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Calling all animal and people lovers. If you need interaction with furry friends or human friends on a daily basis, these business ideas might do the trick.

Dog Walker, Pet Sitter, or Groomer

There are many paying customers who need dog walking, pet sitting, or pet grooming services. By being the go-to business for all things pet-related, you can turn a love of animals into your own source of income. To get started, post your services on platforms like Care or Rover. Once it takes off, you can continue to grow your clientele.

Caretaker

With an ever-increasing aging population, the need for caretakers will continue to be in high demand. You could start a business to fill this void. You can also add babysitting services for an additional income stream. Similar to launching a pet care business, caretaking and babysitting gigs can be found on a platform like Care.

Tutor

Some people just have a way of teaching others. It’s a skill that not everyone can master but comes naturally to some. If you’re book smart and are capable of teaching educational content to others, starting your own tutoring business may be a good idea. Tutoring businesses are excellent for college students and people who have some level of higher education. Plus, you can tutor students both online and in person, so you don’t ever have to leave your home if you don’t want to.

Chasing the American Dream

There’s good money to be made with all of these great business ideas, but success isn’t something that just falls into your lap. It’s going to take hard work and serious planning to get your idea off the ground.

A great place to start is by creating a business plan to make sure you’ve thought of everything. You can then look into forming an LLC and seeking out small business grants.

Then it’s just a matter of investing in yourself and taking a leap of faith. The American dream is within grasp — what will your new business venture be?

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