Whether you’re looking for a weekend side hustle or you want to start a business that can eventually replace your day job, starting your own business has the power to change your life. In this article, we’re sharing 51 of the best small-scale business ideas that you can start today.
Some of these can be done from home, while others may require you to get out and about in your local area.
However, they can all be done with relatively minimal start-up costs, and little or no experience.
Running your own business has many benefits; you can scale it at your own pace, and manage your own time. Read on to find the perfect business idea for you!
Small Scale Business Ideas
1 – Start a Blog
Starting a blog is one of the best small-scale business ideas out there. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, the payoff can be huge!
Check out these blog income reports to see how much bloggers in different niches are earning (spoiler alert: it’s a LOT).
The best thing about blogging is that it can be done alongside your 9-5 job. As your blog grows and starts to out-earn your 9-5 income, you can go all-in and become a full-time blogger.
Want to know more? Read our in-depth guide on how to start a blog to hit the ground running:
How to start a blog
2 – Start an eCommerce Business
eCommerce businesses are the backbone of the internet, and there are lots of ways to get involved. You could create and sell your own products, or source other products to sell under your own brand.
You then have the option of selling through Amazon (more on that in a second), creating a Shopify website, or selling on an online marketplace like Etsy.
3 – Amazon FBA
FBA stands for ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone wanting to get started in eCommerce. Here’s how it works:
- You source a product to sell
- Ship your products in bulk to an Amazon FBA warehouse
- When a product sells, it will be packed and shipped directly to the customer by Amazon
- You pay a fee for storage and handling, but the rest is profit!
The great thing about Amazon FBA is that you can scale your business quickly without having to worry about storage space or logistics.
4 – Start a Dropshipping Business
Dropshipping is one of the best small-scale business ideas for anyone looking to get into eCommerce with very little investment upfront. With dropshipping, you are selling other people’s products, so there’s no upfront investment and very little risk.
Here’s how it works:
- You find a dropshipping supplier with products you want to sell
- List the products on your website at a marked-up price
- When a product sells, you order it from the supplier and have it shipped directly to the customer
5 – Freelance Writing
If you enjoy writing, freelance writing is one of the quickest ways to get started making an income online with no investment.
It can be very rewarding, too! Simply choose a topic that you’re excited about and start pitching your services to local businesses in your niche.
6 – Become a YouTuber
Being a YouTuber is a great way to make money online and it’s accessible to anyone. All you need is a camera (you can start off with your phone camera) and some way of editing your videos.
YouTubers make money from:
- Affiliate marketing
- Brand partnerships
Once you have uploaded a video, it can continue to earn you money for years to come, making this a great potential source of passive income.
7 – Start a Podcast
Podcasts are continuing to grow in popularity year after year. As they are usually launched in seasons, you can batch-record content when you have time and then post it on a schedule.
Podcasts can make money in a few different ways, including:
- Brand sponsorships
- Affiliate marketing
- Promoting your own products and services
Starting a podcast is a fairly hands-on business, often with no income at the start. However, over time it can grow into a potential passive income source.
9 – Create an Online Course
Creating an online course is a lot of work upfront, but has the potential to be an amazing passive income stream.
You can create a video, audio, or text-based course, and you can either list it on your own website or submit it to a platform like Skillshare.
Choose a topic that you feel passionate and knowledgeable about and think about the questions that people would have.
How to Build an Online Course
10 – Become a Social Media Influencer
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need millions of followers to make money as an influencer.
A lot of brands work with micro-influencers, and you can use affiliate links on your posts to earn a commission.
Being an influencer is a lot of work but it’s also very fun!
11 – Start a Pet-Sitting Business
If you love pets, then why not try pet-sitting? This is a great option to fit around your other commitments and can be lucrative.
You can reach out to local pet owners using flyers or leaflets to advertise your services.
You could even look on websites like Workaway to apply for pet-sitting jobs in other countries and use your business as an opportunity to travel.
12 – Babysitting and Childcare
Childcare is another great option for anyone who only has a few spare evenings per week and wants some extra income.
If you like being around children then this could be a really rewarding business.
13 – Gardening and Landscaping
Most people want their garden to look great but it’s hard to find time for upkeep or improvements. If you have a passion for the great outdoors and a talent for landscaping, then why not offer your services in your spare time?
It’s a lucrative business and a great way to keep fit.
14 – Wedding and Event Planning
Are you the one in your group who loves organizing things? Then why not make a business out of it?
Taking charge of someone’s special day is a huge responsibility, but it’s also very rewarding-financially and personally.
Start by volunteering to plan events for family, friends, or charity, then use the experience to promote your services.
15 – Start An Interior Decorating Business
A lot of people find decorating a new space very daunting, so they end up sticking with plain white walls and have a home with no personality. If you have an eye for design then why not put your talents to good use and start an interior design business?
16 – Dog Walking
Another one for pet lovers! Many people aren’t able to give their pets the exercise they need, which is why there’s always a demand for dog walkers.
Dog walking is a very rewarding business. You get to spend time with dogs, help someone out, and make money from it. Wins all around!
17- Sell Art Online
The generation of the “starving artist” is behind us, thanks to the internet. There are so many ways to make money selling your art online.
You can sell your originals or prints, upload the designs to printable stores, or even sell your own printable artwork on Etsy.
18 – Start a Sticker Business
Another way to sell art online is to sell stickers. Even if you’re not an artist, you can create text stickers or pay a designer.
There are 2 routes to go with this. Either buy the equipment yourself and launch a shop on Etsy or your own site or upload your designs to a print-on-demand service.
19 – Sell on eBay
Selling on eBay is one of the easiest online business ideas. Anyone can do it, and you can start by selling items you already own.
You can also source vintage items to sell, find wholesale products, or dropship items that you’ve found on other websites with markup for profit.
Start small by listing a few items, then grow from there and potentially turn it into a full-time business that employs other people.
You will need to learn how to take great photos of items, as well as how to optimize your listings for search engines, but otherwise, there aren’t any start-up costs.
Check Out eBay
20 – Start a Carpet Cleaning Business
If you have a few hours per week to spare, a carpet cleaning business is a great way to make money.
Typically, you can earn around $50-$100 per hour if you’re a quick worker.
You will need to invest in a carpet cleaning machine upfront, so there is a small investment required for this business. However, it offers good profit margins.
21 – Become a Personal Trainer
If you have a passion for fitness and nutrition then becoming a personal trainer would be the perfect business for you. You can run personal training sessions online, in person, or partner with your local gym.
22 – Publish Books
Writing and publishing your own book is a great way to make money as a writer. Choose a topic that you’re passionate about and think about the questions that people would ask you.
Once your book is written, upload it to Amazon Kindle Publishing and start promoting your work.
23 – Start a Transcription Business
Transcription is a service that most businesses need at some point. It simply involves transcribing audio or video files to text.
There are lots of transcription jobs on sites like Upwork and you don’t need any experience to get started.
24 – Create and Sell NFTs
NFTs are growing in popularity, and they can be lucrative. You will need to do lots of research into the kind of art that sells as well as how to sell them.
It’s a case of trial and error, but if you’re an artist, NFTs are worth looking into.
25 – Start an Etsy Shop
Etsy is an online marketplace where you can have your own shop (profile), selling digital or handmade products.
The marketplace has a built-in customer base and is a great way to sell your products without having to build an audience from scratch.
Check Out Etsy
26 – Become a Book Reviewer
If you love books then why not review them? You could do this on a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast.
You can monetize this by collaborating with authors or by placing affiliate links and ads on your platform.
This is one of the most flexible small-scale business ideas around, plus, you get paid to do something you love!
27 – Airbnb
If you have a spare room in your home then renting it out on Airbnb could be a great side hustle. All you need to do is make sure that the room is kept clean and tidy, take great photos, and list it on the platform.
28 – Online Tutoring
Online tutoring is a popular remote business idea, as it can be done from anywhere in the world. You can tutor younger students and help with their homework, or teach adults a new skill or language.
29 – Health Coaching
Everyone wants to feel healthy, but when you’re busy it’s difficult to find time to work on it.
With that in mind, a lot of people hire health coaches to give them simple ways to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you’re willing to study then you could be the person to help them.
30 – Become a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistant jobs are very popular at the moment. You don’t need any qualifications or special equipment – just great organization skills and possibly some skills in social media.
You can set your own hours and the pay is around $15-$50 per hour depending on experience.
31 – Housesitting
Housesitting is a great way to earn a living, and it can be a way to travel the world on a budget.
Some housesitting jobs will ask you to check on the property, while others will want you to stay there.
By applying for housesitting jobs across the world, you could have an income and free accommodation when you travel!
32 – Start a Pressure-Washing Business
If you’re active and don’t mind getting your hands dirty then consider a pressure-washing business. There is some equipment to buy upfront, but after that, you’ll get to enjoy being outside while earning a great hourly rate.
33 – Become a Social Media Manager
Social media is vital for businesses today but it’s very time-consuming. A lot of companies look to hire a social media manager to create content, grow the brand, and reply to messages.
If you’re willing to learn the basics of social media then you can become a freelance social media manager.
34 – Start a Proofreading and Editing Business
If you enjoy reading, then doing it for a living will sound like a dream come true. There are lots of authors that will pay to have their books checked for errors. All you need is a sharp eye for spelling and grammar, plus some time to read.
35 – Become a Voiceover Artist
Voiceover artists are always in demand, and all you need is a high-quality mic and a great voice. Start by making some samples then apply for jobs on sites such as Fiverr.
Find Voiceover Jobs on Fiverr
36 – Become a Podcast Editor
Podcasts are incredibly popular at the moment but creators don’t always have time to edit them.
If you’re willing to spend some time learning audio editing software, then editing podcasts is a great side hustle.
Pitch your services on Upwork or email creators to introduce yourself.
37 – Photography Business
Starting a photography business shouldn’t be underestimated. Photography equipment can be expensive and you’ll need a lot of practice to get good.
However, if you’re willing to put the time and money in, then it’s a very lucrative business that’s completely flexible.
38 – Start a Local Food Delivery Service
The popularity of take-out food has spiked in the last few years, so why not offer a delivery service? Get in touch with local restaurants or your local grocery store to offer your services.
Alternatively, sign up for apps like DoorDash to get delivery jobs right away. All you need is transportation.
Look Into DoorDash
39 – Teach Music Lessons
If you’re good with an instrument then why not teach music? This could be to children or adults, online or in person.
You don’t need any special skills other than being able to play the instrument you want to teach, and it’s a great side hustle.
40 – Start a Handyman Business
A handyman business is one of the best small-scale business ideas around. There is always a high demand for handyman services!
If you’re great at DIY and know your way around household items then this could be a great business opportunity for you.
41 – Start a Resume Writing Business
One of the more unknown jobs out there is helping other people to get jobs. To get interviews you need a great resume, so if you know what to say to get the job then you can easily make a business out of it!
42 – Start a Cleaning Business
Busy people are always going to want to delegate tasks, so cleaners are in demand. You don’t need any qualifications or experience, just advertise your services and start speaking to people.
You could contact local businesses to offer your services to them, too.
Starting a cleaning business is one of the best small-scale business ideas. It can be done alongside another job when you start and is easy to scale up when you are ready.
43 – Start a Mobile Car Washing Business
Starting a mobile car washing business is one of the best small-scale business ideas for teens or anyone with no experience.
If you want to get reviews you could clean your family’s cars and take before and after photos to use for promotion. This is a great side hustle that fits easily around other work.
44 – Become a Yoga Teacher
If you have a passion for yoga then turn this into a business by offering yoga lessons. If you want to teach in-person classes you can hire a local studio or community hall.
Alternatively, you can teach online classes over a video call.
45 – Become a Facebook Ads Manager
Becoming a Facebook ads manager is one of the best small-scale business ideas for anyone who is already very social media savvy.
Social media advertising is a mystery to a lot of people, so if you can create ads that convert to sales then you can pretty much name your price. This makes it a very profitable business idea!
The difficult thing with this is gaining experience – you need to prove your worth. Volunteering your time for charities or community groups would be a great place to build your skills before charging clients.
46 – Start a Window Cleaning Business
Starting a window cleaning business is perfect if you enjoy being outside and doing manual labor. If you do a good job you’ll likely get repeat customers and it fits around other work.
There are some start-up costs for equipment, but after that, you’ll make a great hourly rate.
Most of your jobs will be in the summer months you’ll be able to enjoy being outside. During the winter you can look to take on other work.
47 – Data Entry
Data entry is a good business idea for those with no experience who want to work from home. There will always be companies that are short on time and need admin assistance.
You could start as a freelancer by applying to jobs on Upwork and growing from there.
48 – Start a Mobile Pet Grooming Business
Pet grooming is a great choice for animal lovers, but there are lots of things to consider.
The start-up costs are quite high because of buying the equipment, and you need to learn more about the business to ensure you’re giving pets the best treatment and not doing damage to the animal’s coat.
If you’re willing to commit to studying and buying the equipment then it’s a business that will have you love going to work every day!
49 – Start a SaaS Business
Software as a service (SaaS) is one of the ultimate business models. And the great news is, you don’t need any prior technical knowledge, you just need to hire the right people.
All you need is a great idea, and you can get started.
Spencer Haws, founder of Niche Pursuits, is the person to tell you about this. So, read this step-by-step guide on how to start a successful software business (even with no experience).
How to start a successful software business
50 – Become a Personal Shopper
One of the biggest struggles that everyone faces is defining a personal style. It might be that they hate shopping or that they simply don’t have time.
You could be the person to choose outfits for them so they feel great on every occasion.
Start by styling family and friends, create social media platforms to promote your styling services, and go from there!
51 – Become a Wedding and Events DJ
If you’re looking for a job that you can have fun in, then becoming a wedding and events DJ is the perfect business for you.
There are a lot of late nights involved, you’ll have to deal with drunken clients, and the start-up costs for buying the equipment can be quite high.
However, after that, it can be a very profitable business earning you around $500 per night.
The Best Small-Scale Business Ideas: Final Thoughts
As you can see, there is a wide range of low-investment, small-scale business ideas for everyone here, many of which can be done from home.
Whichever small business idea you choose, it’s important to put in the time and effort. You won’t become an overnight success story with any business, but with time and dedication, your business will grow.
If you want to scale, eventually you can start to employ people to work with you. This will enable you as the business owner to focus on growing the business while your employees carry out the day-to-day tasks.