30+ Best Small Business Ideas for 2024 – Use Your Skills to Be Your Own Boss

Author: Briana Morgaine

Briana Morgaine

Briana Morgaine

22 min. read

Updated May 11, 2024

Download Now: Free 1-Page Business Plan Template

Maybe you’re ready for a career change.

Maybe you’re still unsure what career to pursue in the first place.

Maybe you want to start a business but don’t know what kind of business to start.

While looking at the booming industries year by year can be tempting, it’s also a good idea to look to your strengths. What is your skill set? What are you great at? This can be an excellent jumping-off point for coming up with the best business ideas. By focusing on where your skills are, and what type of thing you enjoy doing, you can come up with great small business ideas that truly play to your strengths.

These suggestions should give you somewhere to start.

What makes a good small business idea?

When it comes to ideating for a small business, there are certain characteristics that can make an idea more effective and profitable in the long run. Here are some key elements to consider when looking for a good business idea.

Minimal training required

First, the best business ideas are the ones that don’t require you to be a genius or an expert from the start. Ideally, you should be able to pick it up pretty quickly without needing to spend a ton of time learning new skills. If you already know how to do it because it’s a hobby or something you’re passionate about, even better!

Low start-up costs

Next up is cost. Let’s be real, most of us don’t have a ton of money lying around to start a business. That’s why a top-notch idea is one that won’t cost an arm and a leg to get off the ground. Maybe it’s a business you can run online, so you don’t have to worry about renting a shop. Or perhaps it’s a service where you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. The less it costs to start, the quicker you can get going.

Manageable by few people

When you’re just starting out, you probably won’t have a big team to help you. That’s okay! A solid business idea should be something you can handle on your own or with just a few people. This way, you can keep things simple, save money, and stay in control.


Now, just because you start small doesn’t mean you have to stay small. The best business ideas have plenty of room to grow. This means, as time goes by, your business could take on more customers, sell more products, or offer more services without everything falling apart. That’s the beauty of a business that can scale!

Brought to you by

Create a professional business plan

Using AI and step-by-step instructions

Create Your Plan

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

Meets a market need

Last, but certainly not least, a good business idea should solve a real problem or fill a need. It could be something big or something small, but there should be people out there who need what you’re offering. The more people who need your product or service, the more potential customers you have!

A great business idea should be easy to learn, affordable to start, manageable with a small team, have the potential to grow, and meet a real need. Your idea might not hit all these points perfectly, but they’re a good starting point to figure out if your idea has what it takes to be a success. Now let’s get into some specific small business ideas that might be right for you.

Hands-on business ideas

Does your ideal career involve getting your hands dirty—or, at the very least, working with your hands, as opposed to sitting in an office?

There are, of course, a million possibilities here; however, I’ve researched a few to get you started.

1. Plumbing, electric, or “handyman” business

If you’re a fan of tinkering and solving a problem, starting a plumbing, electrician, or general handyperson-type business might be a good fit for you.

While it’s not as simple as, hey, go start plumbing, if you’re looking for a hands-on career, you might want to consider seeking out a vocational degree in one of these fields and building a business around it. I’ve also linked our free sample plans below, including one specific to starting a plumbing business.

For more information:

2. Construction business

Similarly, a construction business could be a great fit for someone who enjoys hands-on work.

If you’ve been doing this sort of work for someone else, it can be gratifying to start your own business and be the one calling the shots. If you’re still more of an amateur, you’ll probably need to complete either an apprenticeship or a trade program to get started; however, if you already have some of the skills or have worked in construction in the past (or simply have an interest in seeking the education), this might be a great fit.

For more information:

3. Mechanic business

Do you love working on cars? Would you like to do it for a living?

Maybe you’ve been working on cars in your garage for a few years. Don’t write off your interest as merely a hobby; it could make a great small business idea.

For more information:

4. Sewing and alterations business

If you enjoy sewing, you might like a business specializing in altering or repairing garments.

While you don’t need a specific degree or training, you’ll need a certain level of skill to get started with this one. However, if you’re already great at sewing, an alteration business could be a great fit. It’s a perfect home-based business opportunity, and you’ll have limited overhead—if you have a sewing machine and a good iron, you’re halfway there.

For more information:

Numbers-focused business ideas

5. Accounting business

Do you enjoy bookkeeping, preparing taxes, and generally managing money? Consider starting an accounting business. The field of Strategic Advising is growing, and there is more demand than ever for accountants to provide services beyond just routine tax prep.

Unlike many suggestions on this list, becoming an accountant and opening your own firm will require the right education—generally, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, and you’ll also likely need to be licensed as a CPA.

For more information:

6. Financial planning business

Like starting an accounting business, you’ll want to look into the requirements for starting a financial planning business. However, if you have a background in finance, or would like to pursue schooling, starting a financial planning business might be the right small business idea for you.

For more information:

Motivational business ideas

7. Personal training or gym business

If you’re into some aspect of fitness, opening a gym or starting a personal training business could be a great small business idea. From general fitness coaching to becoming an instructor (think Zumba or Pilates), to personal training, to opening your own gym, there are plenty of options in the fitness sphere, depending on where your interests lie. After all, the best business ideas for you will be the ones that play to your strengths.

Bear in mind that like many options on this list, you’ll need certification. NASM, ACE, and ACSM are a few of the most common and well-respected certifications, but the path you choose will depend on your specific focus.

For more information:

8. Life coaching business

Did you successfully navigate a difficult situation against all odds, and come out stronger on the other side? Do you see the best in people, and want to help them reach their full potential? If so, you could consider building a small business around life coaching.

For more information:

Business ideas for strong writers

9. Freelance writing business

Sites like Elance and Upwork are great places to get started freelance writing, and you can easily build a small business around your skills as a freelance writer, or potentially expand to include other writers (or graphic designers, web designers, and so on) down the road.

Another great thing about starting a freelance writing small business? You can tailor it to your strengths. Whether you’re interested in copywriting, technical writing, or writing for trade publications, writers are always in demand.

For more information:

10. Editing and proofreading business

Similarly, editing and proofreading services are always needed and would make a great small business idea. You can begin by taking on freelance work and go from there (and surprise—you’re already a sole proprietor!).

For more information:

11. Resume writing and help business

If you have an eye for detail (read: don’t let mistakes go unnoticed!) your skills might be put to good use helping job-seekers perfect their resumes.

For more information:

Nature-focused business ideas

12. Garden center business

If you love gardening, but would rather share your expertise than physically help others with their personal gardens, starting a garden center might be the right small business idea for you. You can advise and educate other enthusiasts on what it takes to make their gardens beautiful.

For more information:

13. Landscaping business

If, on the other hand, you do love the idea of working hands-on, you might consider a landscaping or lawn care business. While you’ll certainly need the skill set to get started, some lawn care services are ultra-basic to start (think mowing) and you can learn and add on more services over time.

For more information:

Creative business ideas

14. Photography business

If you’ve got a great eye and are always the one who documents special moments, you might want to consider making a career out of your photography passion.

While the competition is pretty stiff, specializing in a specific area, such as pet photography, weddings, or portraits can help set you apart.

For more information:

Detail-oriented business ideas

15. Car-detailing business

Taking the idea of “detail-oriented” in the most literal sense, a car detailing business could be a small business idea that is not only lucrative, but that plays to your strengths.

For more information:

  • Start by reading this article: Five Tips for Starting a Mobile Auto Detailing Business
  • If you’re ready to start planning, check out our car wash business plan

16. House cleaning business

If you’re naturally tidy and enjoy keeping places clean, consider starting a house cleaning business. It’s fairly easy to start, requires no training or certification, and if you’re detail-oriented, it could really play to your strengths.

For more information:

Beauty and spa business ideas

17. Massage therapy business

While it does take licensing to become a massage therapist, starting a massage therapy business can be a great career for someone who enjoys working with people, and making them feel relaxed and peaceful, or helping them manage pain or injury.

For more information:

18. Beauty salon or spa

Like a massage therapist, you will need a license to be a hairstylist, esthetician, or nail technician. However, if the training sounds enjoyable, consider looking into starting a salon or spa business.

For more information:

Purposeful business ideas

19. Nonprofit business

There are endless ways that you can help others by starting a nonprofit business. What problem are you passionate about fixing? Starting a nonprofit business can be a rewarding life path, as it can enable you to both make money and make a difference.

For more information:

Business ideas for teachers

20. Tutoring business

If you know multiple languages, excelled at a certain subject in school, or are good at explaining concepts in a way that is easy to understand, consider starting a tutoring business. You can specialize in a particular area, depending on your skill set, such as paper writing, languages, math, or test preparation—the list goes on.

For more information:

21. Start a business teaching your skill set

So, you love to teach—but the idea of rehashing high school chemistry doesn’t really do it for you? Consider starting a business based on teaching what you love.

Maybe you’re a skilled potter or a trained dancer? Love to practice yoga, and are interested in becoming an instructor? Whatever your skill, there are likely people who’d love a teacher.

For more information:

Business ideas for strategic problem-solvers

22. Build an app

Do you have a solution to a common problem or pain point that you feel is experienced by many? Consider building an app—it’s easier than you’d think.

For more information:

23. Consulting firm business

Similar to teaching a class based on your skills, you may want to evaluate what you currently excel at, and see if it would make a good consulting business.

Consulting firms exist covering a huge variety of topics, from business, to IT, to public relations, and more. Live and breathe social media? Start a social media consulting business, helping businesses leverage their social presence. You get the idea.

For more information:

Organizational business ideas

24. Event planning business

If you get excited over a well-planned itinerary (hey, no judgment—I’m right there with you), you might want to look into starting an event planning business.

From weddings to parties to corporate events, if you can rise above the competition (which is admittedly very present), event planning is an ideal small business idea for the über-organized.

For more information:

25. Personal assistant business

Similarly, if you are great at keeping on task and getting things done efficiently and in an organized manner, starting a personal assistant business might be a good fit for you.

For more information:

Business ideas with nontraditional working hours

26. Bar, brewery, or a nightclub business

If you’re the consummate night owl who enjoys interacting with people, starting a bar or a club might be a great fit for your personality.

No matter where you live, your area is likely full of bars, to begin with—so make sure you do your market research. What is your community missing? What kind of place would you personally want to hang out in?

For more information:

27. Cafe, bakery, or a coffee shop business

On the flip side, do you dream of a job that would leave your evenings free—and love a good cup of coffee and a pastry? Consider starting a coffee shop, a cafe, or a bakery. The food and beverage industry, in general, is a bit of a double-edged sword—perpetually popular, but hard to survive in—so make sure you’ve done your market research and validated your business idea.

For more information:

28. Restaurant business

There’s no doubt that the restaurant industry is a difficult one to be successful in. However, if you value a career that is exciting, holds non-standard hours, and lets you fill a need in your community, opening a restaurant might be right for you—just be prepared to work hard to stand out.

For more information:

Caretaking business ideas

29. Daycare center business

If you’re good with children, you’re in luck—childcare is always a needed service.

You also have plenty of options; you could go the full-time nanny route, establish a childcare service out of your home, or rent commercial space, depending on your goals.

For more information:

30. Doggy daycare, boarding, or pet grooming business

Do you love animals? Was dog walking your preferred job when you were in high school? Parlay this into a career by starting a pet boarding service, a daytime doggy daycare, or a pet grooming service.

For more information:

31. Senior citizen assistance business

Do you have a passion for helping the elderly have a better quality of life? If so, you could start a small business focused on assisting senior citizens.

Whether that be running errands, taking members to social functions, or helping them around the house, there are plenty of options, and starting a business helping others can be deeply rewarding.

For more information:

Trendy business ideas

32. Start a business in an emerging industry

If you like to be on the cutting edge, consider starting a business in a new, trending industry. It’s a potentially difficult route to take; there’s less precedent, after all, and the roads to success are somewhat unpaved, but in many ways that can be considered a pro.

Consider starting a business in one of these emerging industries:

How to start a small business

If you now have an idea for a business you’d like to start, it’s time to consider where to go next.

We recommend checking out Bplans gallery of sample business plans, which can be a great source of inspiration. Speaking of business planning, you may need to write a formal business planhere’s our guide on how to write one.

If you’re just looking to validate your idea to start, consider creating a One Page Plan— it’s faster and easier than a formal business plan and is a great place to start.

Brought to you by

Create a professional business plan

Using AI and step-by-step instructions

Create Your Plan

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

Content Author: Briana Morgaine

Bri Morgaine is a seasoned content marketing leader with a decade of experience in copy editing, social media operations, and content strategy— having honed her skills at industry giants like Palo Alto Software and Andreessen Horowitz.