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The Ultimate List of Small Business Ideas

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Whether you've always dreamed of starting a business of your own, or you've become frustrated after a long and unsuccessful job hunt and decided to go independent, deciding what kind of small business to start is the first and one of the most important decisions you must make.

When deciding what small business is right for you, a few questions to consider include:

  • What are my marketable skills and interests?
  • What marketable skills could I learn or improve?
  • Is there a market for my product or service?
  • How much money will my small business cost to start?
  • How long before I can expect to see profit?
  • Does this business idea suit my preferred lifestyle?
  • Will this business idea help me achieve my goals?

This list of small business ideas was created to offer inspiration to would-be small entrepreneurs. It focuses primarily on business opportunities with low start up costs that can be started easily from home by anyone with the skill and motivation to succeed.

List of Small Business Ideas for Crafters

One of the best home based business ideas is a craft business. Talented crafters with a good head for marketing can develop extremely successful craft businesses with few start up expenses, thanks to popular websites such as

Cool craft business ideas include:

  • upcycled jewelry
  • handmade wooden toys
  • personalized dog sweaters
  • beeswax candles
  • vintage furniture restoration

For a more complete list of craft business ideas, check out:

  • List of Small Business Ideas For Crafters
    Many crafters dream of turning their hobby into a business. Craft businesses generally have low start up costs and are easy to run from home. They are a perfect choice for work at home moms and dads. If you...

List of Small Business Ideas For Cooks and Food Lovers

Depending on local regulations in your area, starting a home-based food business can be easy or complicated, but if you love food and cooking, the red tape may be worth it!

There are hundreds of niches for a small business selling specialty foods. Here is a sampling:

  • artisan breads
  • dried fruit
  • gluten-free baked goods
  • vegan cupcakes
  • barbecue sauce
  • meal delivery service
  • ethnic foods

For a more complete list of small business ideas for food lovers, check out:

  • List of Small Business Ideas For Cooks and Foodies
    If you love good food and cooking, consider starting a small home-based food business to earn extra money. From specialty pasta sauce to baked goods to catering - the possibilities are almost endless! This...

List of Small Business Ideas For People Who Love Children

For many people, one of the first jobs they ever get paid for is babysitting a neighbor or family friend's children. If you remember your babysitting days fondly, there are dozens of great small business ideas that will allow you to work with children while making money doing something you love!

Here is a sample of some unique small business ideas for people who love working with children and teens:

  • baby footprint bronzing
  • child proofing service
  • doula
  • game arcade
  • home day care
  • music lessons
  • organic baby food
  • storyteller
  • teen dance club

For a more complete list of small business ideas for people who love working with children, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas for Pet Lovers

Many animal lovers dream of starting a small business working with animals in some way, and with the pet industry surpassing $45 billion dollars per year in the United States alone, it is certainly a lucrative market!

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There are many fun small business ideas that will allow you to make money and indulge your love of animals at the same time. Here is a sampling:

  • homemade pet toys
  • designer dog houses
  • breeding exotic fish
  • pet photography
  • raw food for dogs
  • therapy animals

For a more complete list, check out:

  • List of Small Business Ideas for Pet Lovers
    Americans love pets, and there are more than 150 million owned dogs and cats alone in this country. In 2009, Americans spent about $45.5 billion dollars on pets, food, supplies, boarding, training, grooming,...

List of Small Business Ideas For Farmers and Gardeners

Many people ignore agricultural enterprises when considering possible small business ideas because they believe you need a lot of land to successfully make money growing crops or raising livestock. While it's true that you can't keep a dairy cow in a suburban backyard, some entrepreneurs have had amazing success even in tiny areas. For example, the Dervaes family runs a successful produce business on 1/10th of an acre in urban Pasadena, California! SPIN farming is another system suitable both for urban areas and more traditional farms.

Here is a selection of small-scale agricultural enterprises suitable for anyone with a backyard:

  • gourmet salad greens
  • heirloom tomatoes
  • worm farming
  • organic eggs
  • aquaponics
  • homemade potpourri
  • herbal teas

For a more complete list of agricultural enterprises, including everything from bison ranching to breeding rabbits, bamboo to broccoli, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas for Romantics

A business in the wedding or romance industry may be a profitable and highly enjoyable choice for anyone who loves to celebrate love and romance in all their forms:

  • carriage rentals
  • wedding planning
  • ballroom dancing instruction
  • romance novelist
  • bridal consignment shop

For a more complete list of small business ideas for romantics, check out:

List of Small Business Ideas For Car and Transportation Lovers

If you have a gift with engines and gears, there are many small business opportunities available in the automotive and transportation industries. Here are just a few:

  • antique car rentals
  • valet service
  • custom car art
  • car sharing service
  • bicycle repair
  • guided kayaking tours
  • hayrack rides

For a more complete list of small business ideas with cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, bikes, draft animals, and more, check out:

List of Small Green Business Ideas

For many years, the concepts of "sustainable" and "profitable" were considered to be contradictory, not complementary, but as energy costs rise and concerns over environmental degradation grow around the world, green businesses have exploded in both popularity and profitability.

Here is a selection of cool green business ideas:

  • car sharing service
  • architectural salvage yard
  • home energy audit service
  • solar panel installation
  • green wedding planner
  • eco hair salon
  • organic pest control service

For a more complete list of small green business ideas, check out:

List of Seasonal Small Business Ideas

Seasonal businesses are a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who need flexibility, as they can be combined with other seasonal enterprises to create year round income or taken up only part of the year, to leave the rest open to pursue other opportunities.

Some sample seasonal business ideas include:

  • lawn mowing
  • leaf raking
  • haunted house
  • holiday decorating service
  • gift wrapping
  • Easter lambs

For a more complete list of seasonal business ideas, check out:

More Great Small Business Ideas

  • accounting
  • event planning
  • virtual assistant
  • giving lessons
  • web design
  • book indexer
  • house sitting
  • local tour guide
  • home day care
  • carpet cleaning
  • delivery service
  • pool cleaner
  • house painter
  • gift baskets
  • personal shopper
  • home organizing
  • proofreader
  • flea market
  • graphic design
  • makeup artist
  • office plant care and rental
  • piano tuner
  • tarot reader
  • interior decorator
  • tool rental
  • used bookstore

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Coralldot on August 30, 2018:

Nice ideas.Good article.

ramdev vyakaranam on March 31, 2018:

Reasons You Are Failing In Your Online Business

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And I have to tell you...

If you need a "checklist" for your sales funnel (to make sure you are getting the highest conversions possible) you NEED to read that letter.

Here is the link

I'm not even joking right now.

Get out a pen and piece of paper, go to the sales page, and go through all 32 of those points.

If your sales funnel isn't taking advantage of EVERY SINGLE ONE of those conversion boosting tactics... then your funnel isn't performing like it should.

Michael Andy on September 19, 2017:

Thank you for sharing this wonderful and easy startup business ideas. Nowadays, these business ideas are really in trend and having lots of scope in the market. To get some more amazing startup business opportunities that bring profits and reputation to your business, you can browse to BusinessPartners an online business community.

Steve on September 18, 2017:

Great!! wonderful collection of business ideas

Dr Megha on December 10, 2016:

wow..this list of ideas to start a small business really helped me..thank you

National Homebuyers on June 06, 2016:

Some great ideas here. One idea is property management like us - we buy any house for cash

Ella@listyourbusiness on September 15, 2015:

Loved your article.Thank you for the useful information but I want to add one point is that once you have set up your buisness well after that to make your business more visible to users you can register on Australian business directory that gives more pace :)

Tamara14 on October 28, 2014:

Very good info, thank you.

kkemper1 from az on April 27, 2014:

I did n0t see the word PASSION.

Why not?

The rest looked ok!

Anita Clark from Warner Robins GA on January 04, 2014:

What a valuable hub with plenty of great small business ideas. Thanks for the share, Rego.

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on November 08, 2013:

Great hub! The possibilities are endless. It's only a matter of passion and the right market target. Useful, shared.

Quotes Lover on July 25, 2013:

This is a great list indeed!

Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on May 11, 2012:

You've put a lot of work into this hub and it's really interesting. Pet sitting is another small business. It's very popular in many states. People will pay $15 to $25 to have their dog stay at the sitter's house, happy and safe.

Max Zvyagintsev from New Zealand on March 24, 2012:

The idea of a haunted house as a small business caught my eye.

Might scare some loyal customers away ;)

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on March 24, 2012:

Your article is very inspirational. It starts with a dream and passion :)

Godwin on February 23, 2012:

My God bless you for the good idea i have from you after school am going to start my own b'ness this year in june

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on February 10, 2012:

Thanks for the link to SPIN farming. I found this to be invigorating and full of useful info. Thanks much. Voted up!

r44my_k from London on December 11, 2011:

Great stuff. People are always looking for ideas. Even if an idea isn't "perfect" I think people should try some out anyway just to gain experience and learn something.

ChanellChilds on December 09, 2011:

Thanks for all of the great ideas. This is a very thoughtful hub. With great gratitude.

CoachCatherine from Altamonte Springs, FL on December 07, 2011:

Great hub!

gzbraniac from San Clemente, CA on November 09, 2011:

This is an excellent list. I'm working through the possibilities right now!

Fierce Manson from Atlanta on November 07, 2011:

Whooaaa talk about a list of creative ideas for a small business. Some of these ideas I would have never dreamed of making a small business ouf of them. You have really showed that there is a way to make a living (and a decent one) even in an economy such we have today. Great job!

Kenneth Brown from United States on November 07, 2011:

None of these business ideas are in my areas of interest, but it is still an interesting look at the thought process that can go into building your own enterprise.

wiseoldaccountant from Buffalo and Orchard Park NY on November 04, 2011:

Good Hub,

I set up up a link to this hub from my hub:

Kerryg, I wonder if you would get more traffic from my hub if I put your picture next to the link. Do I have your permission to do that? This is good branding. The picture of the wolf is your brand.

Miechin Graham from Blarney Stone,Chicago on November 01, 2011:

Thanks for those points..such a great help because I'm planning to have small business.

KaisaJordan from Atlanta, Georgia on October 07, 2011:

A very good job the economy needs this type of information now.

Sarah Kolb-Williams from Twin Cities on October 06, 2011:

Great list, very comprehensive -- thanks for the valuable information!

sirsarac from Italy on September 27, 2011:

Great Hub!

nowickchilly on September 02, 2011:

This is a great hub, thanks for sharing and for the detailed information!

Venture Boyz from Floating in the clouds on September 01, 2011:

You have listed some very practical ideas. With all the different channels on the internet now such as ebay, amazon, etc..., there is tons of potential for creative people to make crafts and novelty items and sell them online. on August 21, 2011:

great ideas in this hub. you've helped me...i won't tell you how, yet, but i will thank you...believe me :)

EMMANUEL UDOM on August 18, 2011:

This is a good article

GreatSiteBabbler from WorldWideWeb on March 22, 2011:

But are these business ideas applicable for the people under 18 too?

thedutchman on March 21, 2011:

This article is really informative. Thanks!

AllSuretyBonds on March 21, 2011:

Great Hub. These are some very creative ideas for people who are interested in starting their own business.

MichelleShaeffer from Alaska on March 20, 2011:

Great list of creative ideas!

pleohub from Cebu City on March 20, 2011:

This make me think. Nice read.

PixelCounterFilms on March 20, 2011:

Lots of information, definitely a great read.

Joshua Heller on March 19, 2011:

Great Article! Funny you mention My wife was just telling me about that site the other night. I guess she might be on to something.

musername from Franklin, TN on March 16, 2011:

Good insights in the opening of the article. A little self-introspection before jumping into an endeavor is mighty powerful.

SUSANJK from Florida on March 07, 2011:

Some good suggestions, thanks

Riley Clark on March 05, 2011:

Great Ideas! This is the best list of business ideas I've seen on the web so far! Keep updating this is great!

Emma from Houston TX on February 24, 2011:

This article will help me in my cafe business. Thank you

loveingyou from Canada on February 09, 2011:

This is a good list, but you may be missing the writing aspect of small businesses such as ghost writers, article writers...

Vaiebhav from Auckland, New Zealand on February 08, 2011:

Very comprehensive list Kerryg. I especially love the green ideas.

Multiman on February 08, 2011:

Very good and detailed!

growmon from FLimby, Maryport Cumbria on February 08, 2011:

This article is sound full of good information and will help people brain storm and gather their ideas. However, no matter how good the research is without the commitment and hard word no business will be successful.

Best Regards

smartnet on February 08, 2011:

Good business hub, I am impressed....

Dr. John Anderson from Australia on Planet Water on February 08, 2011:

Great hub! Full of useful information

Becky from Oklahoma on February 08, 2011:

This is full of excellent ideas and information. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice. Awesome Hub!

TurtleDog on February 08, 2011:

Thanks for the info. Lots of ideas I didn't think of. I'll have to check out 'book indexer' :) Thanks again!

fullboz on February 08, 2011:

welcome to my hub

kevrock529 on February 07, 2011:

Great information. Thanks for the great detail. It is very useful and put together perfectly.

bugslady8949 from The Bahamas on February 07, 2011:

You did a great job on this hub, keep up the good work.

cashmere from India on February 07, 2011:

WOW this hub is an amazing resource!Thanks for sharing

elitefatburner on February 07, 2011:

Very informative hub, keep up the good work.

hitdev on February 06, 2011:

Great going.

tykk6una on February 06, 2011:

great list, i have some new ideas.

Vickie Bovender from Southeastern US on February 06, 2011:

You've worked hard on this hub and it shows. I enjoyed every word. Thank you for the good info.

Emmanuel Udom from Lagos, Nigeria on February 06, 2011:

This write-up is educating and insightful

Angie Nelson from Nebraska on February 05, 2011:

This is a fabulous list. Thanks!

suejanet on February 04, 2011:

Thanks for the great ideas. Now all I need is the money.

Kaur rajwinder on February 04, 2011:

Thanx for new ideas for self-employed people.

globalsky on January 25, 2011:

The costs to start the business idea are the hardest to forecast.

Jean Donlan on January 23, 2011:

I am totally new to Hubpages and this is one of the first hubs I have checked out- very well written, informative and the layout was easy to follow. Thank you for the information.

joinseo on January 15, 2011:

Thank you for great ideas.An idea can bring the change and that change can bring a revolution.This has always been the myth of revolution in history.So ideas are most important thing in this world.

fucsia on January 15, 2011:

Thanks for these great ideas... ideas that can generate other ideas!

susannah42 from Florida on January 14, 2011:

Some really good ideas here. Well written.

Zurich11 on January 14, 2011:

Great list. I think all the entrepreneurs I know would find this useful.

Jack Salathe from Seattle, WA on January 14, 2011:

Great hub, very informative! Thank you for all the tips and ideas!

malonge from Western New York On Hubpages on January 14, 2011:

I have a hub listing hobbies which can often turn into small businesses. See

networkandy from Connecticut on January 13, 2011:

WOW that is a lot of ideas bro

most of these I never even heard of. This is a great hub A lot of information but more importantly easy to read the way eveything is layout

deblipp on January 12, 2011:

Nowadays many people plan for small business to earn more. I know few people who are working in a company plus planning for any business.

It is good to think bigger.

samironwebtrack on January 12, 2011:

wow thats a great idea u offer....its a really nice and usefull hub. thanks

razorblades from Holland on January 12, 2011:

WOW, what a comprehensive list. Makes for very interesting reading not to mention a very valuable resource.

mviadam on January 12, 2011:

With social media gaining so much steam it adds to the ease of testing a market without investing everything in brick and mortar.

Maven in the hat! from Rockville Centre, NY on January 12, 2011:

Great article. Being a small business developer and marketer myself, I especially appreciate this contribution to the cause for entrepreneurship. Thank you for such a comprehensive list of ideas. So many people are 'out of work', need to reinvent themselves and never even thought of going in this direction. This is a great road map for them.

Tony Flanigan from East London, South Africa on January 11, 2011:

Great source you have compiled here. We appreciate the effort and time put into compiling a small biz list such as this.

forkhyun from Korea, Canada on January 11, 2011:

good stuff! thanks for sharing it. If you want, I'd love to share some information about marketing online as well. Please feel free to visit my profile and comment on it. Thanks

Holushurlah from NG on January 11, 2011:

thanks for the ideas man, they are really worth trying

dpatullo741 from UK on January 10, 2011:

Many thanks for giving numbers of ideas regarding own business. I am thinking of to start my own business.

Thanks for sharing.

Pablo_Gonzalez from Raleigh, NC on January 10, 2011:

Some incredible resources Kerry! Thanks for sharing. I voted it up! :-)

Aviago1115 on January 10, 2011:

Good business hub thanks!

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on January 10, 2011:

Some different ideas here, I like the idea of giving others ideas! Good hub, thanks. Voted up and useful.

Article Magick from Dublin on January 10, 2011:

Great list! Voted up and bookmarked ;-)

Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on January 10, 2011:

I enjoyed your information and your format.

wayne sr from home-East Moline,Il. on January 09, 2011:

You have a good lost of small businesses.I have started my own,But you don't have it listed.My business would be better if I only had the money to advertise

DLPreacher on January 08, 2011:

Good information! Thanks for sharing!

trimar7 from New York on January 07, 2011:

These types of hubs are the ones that help to keep the spirt up and people believing they can make a go of it with perseverence. Keep up the good work.

Rajnil from Ahmedabad, India on January 07, 2011:

really useful hub for all the starter entrepreneurs. Keep writing such hubs.

sunnymarie on January 06, 2011:

Very nice and useful hub! Thanks for sharing

david stillwagon on January 06, 2011:

terrific hub with a lot of great info

tal g mel on January 06, 2011:

Thanks for ideas!

lender3212000 from Beverly Hills, CA on January 06, 2011:

Some great suggestions there! I'm always looking for new ideas.

jenniryan from Australia on January 05, 2011:

Wow, this list should inspire more people to take action and start their own business. Great job.

Sarah from Melbourne, Australia on January 03, 2011:

Awesome list of ideas, thanks.

burning bush on December 18, 2010:

Very helpful information. Quite encouraging for those seeking to go out on their own. Thank you.

jasperneo from Singapore on December 18, 2010:

This is just fantastic! It definitely sets a lot of people into thinking about what they can venture into.

Thanks for sharing!

krantcents from Los Angeles, CA on December 17, 2010:

Good ideas to start you thinking! My advice is find something you like to do and you will be successful because you will get the skills to do it well.

WebDESGR from Los Angeles, CA on December 16, 2010:

Thank you for the hub, except I disagree that web designer or a graphic designer a great small business if you're not very good at it.

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