Small businesses are the backbone of America’s economy, no question about it. The numbers speak for themselves: 29 million = Number of small businesses in the US; 500 million = Number of patents filed annually in the US; 50% = Half of the private sector is employed by small businesses.
All it takes is one unique business idea (and sometimes a little money in a savings account to get started) and you could be there too. But coming up with an idea is the very thing that keeps a lot of people from moving forward at all.
The best business ideas are the simple ones that aim to solve a problem or fill a need. Good entrepreneurs are always asking ‘how can this be better’ or ‘what would fix this problem?’
Turning Your Business Idea into a Business
We can talk about business ideas all day, but you won’t get anywhere unless you get up and do something about it. PT has a bunch of resources to help you get started with your business, so use them as a guide.
1. Private Lesson Instructor
Music, sports, and dance are the most common types of lessons out there, but the possibilities are endless. What is something that you enjoy doing that others might like as well? You just have to be willing to teach and you can start your own studio one lesson at a time.
Get started teaching what you love with takelessons.com.
2. Event Planning
If you’re an organized person, you’ll probably do well with an event planning business. If you enjoy coordinating elements of weddings, parties, and other occasions, this could be a great side business for you.
Plus, there’s little overhead involved, which means more money in your pocket. Read how PT started his conference business.
3. Personal Trainer
If you spend a lot of time in the gym, why not capitalize on it? People make promises at the beginning of each year to get in shape, so be ready to heavily promote your services in November and December.
You’ll also need to be ready to get people in shape for the summer, so make sure to get the word out around March each year. If you really want to make money with economies of scale, create a ‘boot camp’ class and charge admission.
4. Mobile Detailer
This was one of the first businesses I started as a teenager and actually lasted through college.
The start-up costs were less than $100 and you could easily make that with one or two jobs. Don’t limit yourself to cars and trucks – think bigger and target people with boats, planes, and RVs.
Buy a detailing starter kit and get going.
5. DJ for Events
How many weddings have you been to with a terrible DJ? If you have an ear for music and throwing parties, you might consider starting a business as a DJ. Read more about becoming a DJ.
The door to technology is wide open today giving video production aficionados the ability to use their creativity for profit.
A good quality HD video camera, sound equipment, and video editing software can put you on your way to creating online videos and even TV commercials for local businesses. You can even stay small scale and target small events like weddings and graduations.
7. Massage Therapist
8. Lawn Care Business Owner
One of my first businesses after college was a lawn care business. It’s surprisingly easy to get started as long as you’re willing to do the work. The biggest hurdle was battling the changes in weather, but it was a good business overall.
9. Freelance Designer
If you have an eye for designing ads and other graphics, you can turn it into a profitable business. This is the perfect business idea for creative college students or for a stay at home parent who wants to make extra money.
10. Tutor Students
My wife makes extra money by tutoring other medical school students in anatomy. The possibilities are endless when it comes to types of students and subjects so don’t be afraid to let others know of your willingness to tutor.
If you have too many people coming to you for help, you might consider hiring out others to cover the lessons. Listen to this podcast about making money as a tutor.
11. Freelance Writer
You don’t need to be a blogger to make money online almost immediately. If you’re willing to research topics and write articles, you can start up a freelance business and make anywhere from $15 to $50 or more an article.
A quality photographer can charge upwards of $2,000 – $4,000 or more for weddings and other events.
A few gigs each year could result in a healthy little business for someone who is good with a camera. Check out Udemy for courses on photography.
Additionally, you can sell your photos to stock photo websites like Dreamstime or Shutterstock to make extra cash between events.
13. Dog Walker and Pet Sitter
People love their pets. And many are more than willing to pay someone to take their dog on a walk while they’re at work or watch their pets while they’re away on vacation. If you love animals, this could be a perfect unique business idea for you to explore.
Not sure how to find your first dog walking or sitting gigs? Thankfully, there’s a site that’s dedicated completely to connecting dog sitters and walkers with pet parents — Rover.