- Entrepreneurs can turn a good business idea into a thriving operation in very little time.
- When you’re brainstorming new business ideas, consider your unique skills, interests and resources.
- Be organized and vigilant about necessary business formation legalities, and remember that marketing is the key to attracting customers.
- This article is for budding entrepreneurs who are looking for business idea inspiration and tips.
Many would-be entrepreneurs crave the freedom and potential earnings of a successful self-owned business. While starting a business takes time and effort, an excellent turnkey business idea can help you get up and running quickly — with a few caveats.
We’ll highlight 13 easy-to-start business ideas to help you begin generating side income, and we’ll share legal and marketing considerations to ensure your new venture has the best chance of success.
Business ideas that are easy to start quickly
These easy-to-start business ideas are meant to inspire budding entrepreneurs and point them toward ventures in which they’ll excel. Many of them also have minimal startup costs. Consider your unique strengths, skills, interests and resources when you’re deciding on your new business.
1. Yard work
People with 9-to-5 jobs don’t always want to spend their weekends doing yard work. If you have a more flexible job, you may be the right person for this easy-to-start business.
Landscaping companies cut the grass but don’t necessarily do things such as weeding, planting, raking and fertilizing. In the winter, you could offer snow removal services.
2. Software training
With so many specialized software applications available, there’s a wealth of opportunities for experienced people with specific platforms. Not everyone is inclined to pay hefty fees for technical manuals for programs such as QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro. If you’re a master of these or other programs and have patience and enjoy teaching others, you could market yourself to software users who need assistance and training. Consider one-on-one or group sessions, depending on the interest and program.
3. Homemade soap making
Selling artisanal products is an excellent, creative business idea. People love products made with care and concern for the environment, nature and the body. If you love soap and feel adventurous, why not take on soap making?
If you make it big, you can sell your soaps at farmers markets, local craft fairs and even local stores. Or you may decide to start selling online via online marketplaces for handmade goods. Be sure you can keep up if your product takes off.
4. Errand service
Do you love food shopping and wish you could do it more? OK, maybe not, but you could get paid to run errands for other people. Joining a platform like TaskRabbit or Handy gives you access to opportunities to earn money by doing chores, tasks, pickups and drop-offs in your community. It’s a busy world, and people will hire you for services they don’t have the time, talent or equipment to handle themselves.
5. Social media management
Companies can’t always afford to have a full-time staff member to run their small business social media efforts. If you’re a social media buff, you could offer your freelance social media management services to those businesses.
You could handle photography, editing and post scheduling for a flat or package fee. Programs such as Hootsuite and Sendible make social media management extremely easy.
6. Freelance services
In this part-time economy, with so many companies looking for freelance or contract employees, it’s easy to imagine building a business around providing freelance services. Whatever your skills — writing, editing, graphic design or coding — there’s likely a freelance opportunity waiting for you.
Check out the listings on sites such as Upwork and Freelancer.com, and get started on a project today. Freelancing is also a great way to start a photography business or another creative endeavor.
7. Selling on eBay
While there are many excellent online business ideas, selling on eBay is a quick way to start an online resale business. Whether you’re selling handmade products or items you don’t use anymore, eBay is a great way to earn extra money.
List your items with set prices, or take bids to get the most value. You could easily start an eBay business consigning old clothes, vintage items, handmade products and more. You could even scour flea markets and rummage sales to add to your stock.
While eBay is one major platform in this space, you can also consider Facebook Marketplace and its competition, including Craigslist, Etsy and Amazon Marketplace.
8. Pet sitting
People are always looking for someone trustworthy to walk, feed and play with their pets while they’re away. If you love animals and have enough knowledge to care for them over a short period, consider starting a pet-sitting business.
Pet sitting is a popular type of student startup, but it’s suitable for any responsible animal lover. Pet owners are willing to pay a lot to ensure their pets are cared for with love and respect. You don’t need much equipment, so this is an easy business to start.
9. Cleaning service
There was a time when only the rich had cleaning services, but those days are long gone. People are getting busier and are always looking for ways to make their lives easier.
Often, cleaning falls by the wayside when people get really busy. You need basic cleaning supplies to get this job off the ground; these may vary with each household’s needs, so be sure to ask. You should also know basic cleaning techniques and generally be neat and organized. You also must be reliable and able to maintain a schedule.
10. Delivery service
Do you have a reliable car and enjoy driving around? Not so much that last part? Same for others! People are willing to pay for the convenience of having items delivered. Sure, there are many delivery-company options, but you still have a shot at competing. This kind of business may be a good fit for you if you can provide a less costly, more efficient or more personalized delivery service.
Did you know?: Before you start your search, it helps to have at least general knowledge about how credit card processing works.
Did you know? Interested in starting a food truck business? Costs can range from $28,000 to $114,000 to get the business off the ground.
Ever tried to shove a sofa or an old appliance in the trunk of your car? You’re not alone. Short of hiring an expensive commercial moving van and movers (and waiting for their schedules to open up), finding a way to move bulky items or piles of smaller items is challenging. People need options and are willing to pay well for them. You can quickly set up a hauling business if you have a roomy vehicle.
Tutoring is an excellent home-based business idea. Students of all ages and abilities sometimes need a tutor. Whatever you’re good at — or excelled at in school — you can offer your expertise to others and be paid well for it. Select the subject matter, age and skill level you’re most comfortable working with, and offer in-person or online sessions, individually or in groups.
Got a talent that people enjoy seeing you perform? Put it to work for you. There are always small, local arenas and events looking for talent: senior centers, weddings, birthday parties, farmers markets, community centers, schools and bars. Whether you can juggle, play an instrument, do magic tricks, sing or do anything else that entertains people, you could put together a brief act and market yourself with an online video.
Key takeaway: Remember to test your business idea by refining your target market and ensuring your business idea aligns with their real-world needs.
Launching any business takes time and effort
While we’ve highlighted business ideas that are easy to start, launching and successfully running a business take time and effort. Legalities and marketing are two areas that every business must address in order to succeed.
Legal considerations when starting a business
Legal considerations for startups include the following:
- Understand local and state regulations. Before you start a business, it’s essential to do your due diligence to ensure you abide by all local and state business regulations.
- Decide on a business legal structure. You’ll need to choose the best legal structure for your business. Most businesses we’ve highlighted will do fine as sole proprietorships. However, familiarize yourself with what sole proprietorships entail and the benefits and disadvantages of other business structures.
- Understand your tax situation. It’s essential to protect yourself and your assets and to become familiar with the tax and business forms you’ll need to start a business. Your legal structure will inform your tax situation. For example, you’ll need to learn to pay taxes as a freelancer or understand sole proprietor taxes and self-employment tax concerns.
- Obtain insurance. At the very least, you should get bonded and buy small business insurance that includes liability protection. This is particularly important if you’ll handle other people’s property.
Marketing considerations when starting a business
Common startup mistakes include not defining your market and target audience. Your customers must know you exist and how to find you. Fortunately, there are many ways to get the word out with little to no marketing budget.
- Word-of-mouth referrals: Word-of-mouth advertising is incredibly valuable. For example, if you start a hauling business, your satisfied customers likely will know other people with hauling needs. If you’re a pet sitter, your happy clients will share your contact information with their friends and families.
- Testimonials and reviews: Ask your customers to spread the word about your business and request testimonials and online reviews. Use their comments to market yourself on social media.
- Local marketing opportunities: Use local marketing strategies to gain a foothold in your area. For example, set up a Google Business profile, utilize localized email marketing, and consider direct-mail advertising to reach your customers.
One good idea and a little footwork
If your idea is sound and you use these practical guidelines to launch your new venture, you could be in business in a matter of hours. Share your idea with people you trust, start small, and ensure you comply with appropriate laws and ordinances.
People likely need your services and are happy to pay you to help them. Start getting the word out!
Adam Uzialko contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.
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