Over the past two years, we’ve seen a record number of people leave the corporate workforce in favor of gig work, freelancing, or starting a small business. And let’s be honest, everyone has at least thought of quitting their job working for The Man at least twice or thrice (a month?).
That’s why we dove in to find the best small business ideas for those of you who are looking to get out of your mundane 9-5 job, or just want something new to invest your time and brain power into. In this post you’ll learn:
- The 32 best businesses to start in 2022
- Details and salary information
- 60 more great small business ideas to inspire you
The best small businesses to start in 2022: our verdict
Knowing that people have different motivations for starting their own business, we searched for the best small business ideas in four different areas: stability, profitability, ease of starting, and creativity. Before we get into each one, let’s cut to the chase and give you our prize-winners for each category:
- Best small business to start from home: web developer
- Best stable small business: childcare owner
- Best profitable small business: event planner
- Easiest small business: notary
- Most creative small business: travel planner
Small business ideas from home
Remote work is all the rage, for good reason. Why leave your house to make money when you don’t have to? No more commute, no more expensive lunches and inescapable coworkers. We have the best small business ideas that you can make happen right from the comfort of your home.
1. Make a Blog
Blogs are an excellent way to generate a steady passive income. If there is any topic that interests you or any niche you have knowledge of, you can turn it into a source of revenue.
You would need a functional development platform like WordPress, a domain and website hosting, and evergreen engaging content for your blog to be a hit.
Once your blog starts attracting a substantial number of users, you can promote affiliate links or make money from advertising.
Best Tool to Create a Blog: GoDaddy
GoDaddy is easily the best web hosting service. It’s a popular American domain registrar and web hosting company best known for its affordable plans, wide variety of domains, and a user-friendly Si panel to manage your domain.
Here is what we love about GoDaddy:
- Domains of Every Extension: GoDaddy has an extensive database of domain names; it has you covered irrespective of whether you’re looking for a .com, .net, or .org website.
- SSL Certificate: GoDaddy also extends its services to providing SSL certificates to keep your website secure and healthy.
- Diverse Hosting Solutions: Different business sizes have different server needs; GoDaddy caters to all of them with its diverse hosting solutions.
- Flawless Customer Service: One of the best features of GoDaddy is its flawless customer service available 24×7 to customers worldwide.
- Domains start from $0.01/year for the first year.
- Affordable plans
- Trusted by 20 million users worldwide
- Flawless customer service
- Services include SSL certificate and marketing
2. Join an Affiliate Program
An active internet user would know that affiliate marketing is currently rising. More and more people are switching to this easier version of eCommerce, where you can act as an associate to sell a company’s products and earn commissions on each sale.
Our Top Pick for Affiliate Programs: Affiliaxe
What makes Affiliaxe one of the most sought-after affiliate programs is its variety in terms of product verticals. You will find products from various industries, giving you the flexibility to choose items you are best capable of selling to your target audience.
Here is what we love about Affiliaxe:
- Flexible Monetizing Options: In addition to using your affiliate link to make money, you can also make money from deep linking, XML product feeds, product redirection, etc.
- Affiliate Manager: Once accepted into the program, you get your very own affiliate manager to help you maximize your earning potential.
- Multiple Traffic Channels: Affiliaxe does not care where you get your traffic from; it can be social media, emails, videos, or websites.
- Globally Available: Affiliaxe is a globally renowned affiliate program available in 24 countries, including the USA, UK, Romania, Portugal, France, etc.
- Unlike most affiliate programs, Affiliaxe does not charge any fee in the name of training or onboarding.
- Easy to get started with
- Globally available
- Dedicated affiliate manager
- Multiple monetization options
- Highly competitive and difficult to get in
3. Make an Ecommerce Site
Consider owning a store and taking your online business game to a whole new level with your personal eCommerce site. Do not rely on eCommerce giants like Amazon or eBay to control your business. Instead, create your own space online and sell items your customers will love.
Our Top Pick for Ecommerce Tool: Shopify
Shopify is the #1 choice of all aspiring eCommerce businesses, and for good reason. Available in more than 175 countries, Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce development platforms on the market right now.
It’s known for its extremely effective integrations that make managing your store a cakewalk and brilliant, and engaging themes that make creating your own eCommerce site easier than ever.
Here is what we love about Shopify:
- Shopify App Store: The Shopify App Store consists of more than 6000 applications that you can seamlessly integrate with your Shopify account.
- Shopify Expert: If you find creating your own eCommerce site from scratch a challenge, visit the Shopify Marketplace to hire an expert to scale your business.
- No-code Themes: Not everyone aspiring to build an eCommerce store is a coding expert. That’s why Shopify allows you to drag and drop pre-design elements to build the perfect storefront.
- Multiple Selling Points: Shopify allows you to sell on multiple platforms, including websites, applications, Instagram stores, etc., and that too, from the same account.
- Available in 175 countries
- Easy integrations
- Affordable plans
- No-code website builder
4. Become a Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is a rather lucrative profession with a lot of opportunities and scope for growth. This is because businesses these days are content-driven. After all, creating content is one of the easiest ways to reach out to customers.
However, not every company has the time or resources to have an in-house writing team. That’s why they hire freelance writers from all over the world, and you could be one of them!
Our Top Pick for Best Freelance Writing Tool: Grammarly
Before reaching out to potential clients for freelancing gigs, you have to ensure that your writing is flawless. That’s why we recommend Grammarly, a powerful AI writing assistant. It identifies grammatical errors in your writing and offers additional tips to improve the tone and engagement of the piece.
Here is what we love about Grammarly:
- User-friendly: Tips and suggestions offered by Grammarly are extremely easy to follow. All you have to do is click on a given suggestion, go through the problem, and solve it in a jiffy.
- Generous Free Plan: Grammarly’s free plan is a god-sent for those who do not have the financial capacity for the premium plan. It offers insightful reports on grammatical as well as clarity-related issues.
- Goal-focused: Grammarly takes into account your target audience and your content’s goals to serve you better suggestions.
- In-depth Analysis: Grammarly not just corrects English grammar-related issues but also offers insights on the tone, clarity, and engagement quotient of your content.
- Paid plans start at $12/month
- Goal and audience-focused suggestions
- In-depth analysis of each content
- Works for US, UK, Australian and Canadian English
- Only works for English content
5. Become a Project Manager
Large multinational organizations like Amazon rely on outsourcing to manage their work better. In fact, project management is one of the most commonly outsourced positions by such companies.
It entails hiring individuals to manage the daily tasks of a given project remotely and maintain steady progress on the same. It’s also an excellent way for individuals like you to make a steady income, not to mention you can even turn it into a small business.
Best Tool for Project Management Tools: ClickUp
ClickUp is a popular project management tool known for its advanced features and diverse services that extends to every aspect of managing projects remotely and enhancing team collaboration.
Here is what we love about ClickUp:
- Easy Imports: Migrating to ClickUp is a simple 1-minute process irrespective of the project management tool you are currently using.
- Multiple Project Management Tools: Whether you need a kanban board or roadmap to manage different projects or Gantt charts to work around deadlines, ClickUp has a native tool for every need.
- Team Collaboration: Chat with your team in an instant or use the Zoom integration to schedule a meeting; communicating with your team on ClickUp is a breeze.
- ClickUp App: Want to make the most of your remote job? Work on the go with ClickUp’s responsive mobile application.
- Extensive integrations
- Responsive mobile application
- Seamless migration from other project management tools
- Diverse project management features like roadmaps and Gantt charts
6. Become a Social Media Manager
Social media management, like project management, is often outsourced by influencers and businesses.
The hired individual is required to maintain the social media content calendar, post timings, engagement, and advertising campaigns on behalf of the company or the individual, as the case may be.
They are also responsible for the growth and establishment of a brand on the chosen social platforms.
Our Top Pick for Best Social Media Management Tool: HootSuite
Managing multiple social media platforms manually is not feasible, even for a social media manager. That’s why we recommend tools like HootSuite that act as a unified dashboard for all your social media channels.
From maintaining your social calendar to getting insightful analytics on each post, HootSuite is the only tool you will need to level up as a social media manager.
Here is what we love about HootSuite:
- Automate Scheduling: HootSuite allows you to schedule social media posts in advance so you don’t have to do them manually.
- One-stop Dashboard: Track all your posts and social media messages from a single HootSuite dashboard.
- Post Recommendations: Get real-time recommendations on your post and find the best time to create content to receive maximum engagement.
- Custom Reports: Gain powerful insights into every social media platform and create custom reports to show the brand’s progress.
- Advance scheduling to automate posts
- Suggestions to improve performance
- Works for multiple social media platforms
- Custom reports to track one’s progress
- HootSuite plans are pretty expensive
7. Become a Freelance Developer
Thousands of new startups enter the business scene every year, but not every founder is as technically adept as their business acumen might be.
That’s why they require professional freelance developers to create their dream website that is functional, responsive, SEO-friendly and engaging. Web development is a highly lucrative career, and reaching your clients without any middlemen would result in you enjoying higher profits.
Our Top Pick for Web Development Tool: WordPress
Before reaching out to potential clients for web development gigs, make sure you’re proficient in CMS softwares like WordPress. It’s a popular open-source content management system known for its extensive database of plugins and cutting-edge features that makes creating and running a website extremely easy.
Here is what we love about WordPress:
- Plugins: WordPress has a compatible plugin for almost every website need, reducing the workload on the developer’s part.
- Editable Themes: Whether you want to create a new theme from scratch or edit an existing template, WordPress’s editable themes make customising websites a breeze.
- Multiple Integrations: Your client will naturally want a fully functional website, which is why WordPress offers extensive integrations with tools that look after pop-ups, contact forms, email marketing, etc.
- Easy Team Management: Create different access levels for different team members, allowing them to work together to create the perfect website for your client.
- Extensive and editable themes
- Generous free plans
- Enhances team collaboration
- Works for eCommerce sites as well
- Additional features require lots of plugins
8. Get into childcare business
After entire families were stuck at home together for months on end, daycare providers are in high demand for parents who transitioned to remote work. The best part? If you are a stay-at-home parent, you can offer daycare out of your home and take care of your kids at the same time.
Avg. yearly salary: $29,000
9. Become a virtual fitness trainer
During and after the pandemic, gyms saw huge drops in membership numbers and influencers had a field day with DIY at-home videos. People figured out that they don’t need to go all the way into a gym to exercise. And the rise of video fitness trainers created an interest in a variety of exercise experiences. Which is a fancy way of saying that online fitness training, on YouTube, Instagram, via the MindBody app, and more, is a thriving business model.
Salaries for trainers range from $30,000 – $70,000 per year, but the money you make online would be dependent on your pricing model.
10. Become a web developer
Learning to be a web developer does require training and upfront schooling costs. However, there are plenty of boot camps that will get you up to speed. And the best thing about web development is that you can choose a plethora of specialities, from focusing on marketing websites to e-commerce to blogs…basically anything you can browse on the internet.
If you’re not looking to actually be a web developer, consider starting a small business to manage them. Freelance web development is in high demand!
Web dev salaries are fairly high, starting around $60,000 per year and going up to $150,000 depending on your skillset and location.
11. Become an executive assistant
As the economy experiences massive growth through tech, there are plenty of up-and-coming c-suite executives who somehow never learned to schedule meetings (shots fired). But really, being an executive assistant can take place from the comfort of your home at a remote company, and if your executive is looking for part-time help, you can take on more than one. And there you have it, a burgeoning small business from home!
12. Get into nonprofit Work
Starting a small business is a lot easier when you know you’re contributing a net-good to your community. Starting a nonprofit isn’t easy, but it can be done remotely, particularly if you’re looking to run this business yourself. Pick a cause that you feel passionately about and dive right in.
Always-good small business ideas
What do we mean by “good” small businesses? We mean evergreen, stable businesses that provide a service people will always need. Anecdotally, my grandfather heard Hoover promise to put a chicken in everyone’s pot. People will always eat chicken. So he started a chicken business. Don’t worry, these small business ideas don’t require plucking feathers.
As the world becomes more global, the need for translation services continues to rise. Some of that involves translating emails, documents, and content, but others are more service-oriented, like accompanying groups or business leaders on international trips. It’s important to note that you’ll not only need conversational translation skills but also grammatical and structural understanding of a language.
If you’re an adult who has graduated from high school and/or college, you likely have something to teach kids. If you have an affinity for teaching, try out tutoring first. Not only can you tutor multiple students, you can dabble in different subject matter, like SATs or remedial Spanish. The time commitment stays according to what you want and small tutoring businesses are in high-demand, even remotely.
People just keep having babies! If you love playing with kids, using your imagination and packing snacks, a nanny business might be for you. Depending on your level of commitment to one family, sometimes nannying positions offer food, board, and benefits, or you could be a part time nanny!
16. IT consulting
This is a small business that is always needed by other small businesses. If you know your way around an IT stack and know how to fix it when it breaks, make a website and start collecting payments because you’re in high demand.
IT professionals are well-compensated by job or by the hour.
17. Online advertiser
At this point, to say that digital marketing is an ever-growing industry is to say that the sky is blue. It’s a fact and businesses that want to survive must invest in online marketing strategies, but small business owners wearing many hats don’t have time to learn or keep up with the ever-changing platforms. Consider starting an advertising gig for small businesses. You might even end up starting your own agency.
If you want to learn about online advertising, you’re in the right place, my friend (both on this blog and in this post). Here are our best recommendations:
Small profitable business ideas
Why start a business if you’re not sure you’ll make money? We all work to live (hopefully), and these small business ideas will make you the most money to keep your bank account plump and your vacations fancy.
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. While I am in the process of renovating an old house, I have never appreciated handymen more. If you are handy around the house and like figuring out how to fix things, a handyman business could be for you.
Payment for handymen varies based on the type and length of a job.
Related: Home Services Advertising Benchmarks
19. Event planner
This may fall into creative small businesses, but it is also a fairly steady job (despite the pandemic). People will always celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, and need help with planning the events. If you are hyper-organized, can herd cats with the best of them, and have attention to detail, consider planning events!
With video content becoming more popular by the year, transcription services become even more important. In fact, I was desperately searching for transcriptions just last week. Now, I’m referring to casual marketing video transcription but for a legal or court transcriptionist or medical, you’ll need certifications that are fairly affordable to get.
Transcriptionists make an average of $52,000 per year.
We’ve seen a rash of big moves the past few years with people exiting urban areas to purchase homes in the suburbs—and some migration back to big cities as well. Moving isn’t fun for anyone and small moving companies have made a fortune on this real estate boom. Get in on the action by starting a small moving business.
Movers typically get paid per hour or per job, if it’s a multi-day, out-of-state move.
22. Antiquities renovation
Okay, it’s likely you’ve never heard of this one, and it likely mostly applies to people who live in historic areas. However, there is a niche market for people who are able to restore and reinstall original fixtures in old homes, from cabinet pulls to bricks and old window panes. In fact, I just bought 200 year old bricks specific to my town to place in the house I’m renovating. So if vintage charm is your style, this small business may also be.
Easy small business ideas
Looking for a side hustle that doesn’t take too much effort? Same. We found the easiest small businesses to start that will also be (we hope) fun too!
23. Pet care
Not to disregard the effort that goes into raising pets, taking care of pets can be the best job ever. You can be a dog walker, a cat sitter, check on chickens, feed horses, the list goes on and on. You can choose which jobs you want to take, what hours you want to work, and sometimes you’ll get to house sit as an added bonus.
Pet sitter businesses make between $10-$25 per hour, depending on the number of pets and your location.
24. Proofreading/quality assurance
I’m pretty stoked on this one. Yes, being a proofreader and QA specialist are different…but also very similar. If you are a good writer and have a knack for noticing tiny details, these jobs might be for you. They are always in high demand, because who has time to check their own work these days, and you can easily pick up work on UpWork or a number of other freelance sites until your portfolio is ready to launch your small business.
Proofreaders and QA specialists can get paid up to $80,000 per year.
Ever need something notarized and don’t know where to go? Luckily, I know some small business owners who have a notary on-call. Becoming a notary isn’t the easiest process, but it isn’t expensive. And once you’re done, you too can be an on-call notary or offer your services to courthouses and small businesses full-time.
Notary salaries have a broad range from $20,000-$52,000 per year. But being able to choose when to work (or not) while you have a high-demand certification will come in clutch.
26. Short-term rental manager
Once upon a time, my parents rented out half of their house on AirBnb. They made a killing in their little hotel-less town with grandparents visiting family, families in between homes, and business people staying for a consulting project. Eventually they stopped Airbnb because it was too much work for my mom to clean and sanitize after every guest.
Point of the story: rental managers are largely successful and becoming even more so with the rise of home rentals. Reach out to local Airbnb and VRBO hosts to see how you can help manage their rentals acting as a sort-of superintendent for guests.
Rental manager salaries are dependent on where you are located, but most profitable in urban centers.
27. Personal shopper
Being a personal shopper is the dream of so many fashion students. Imagine being able to shop for the perfect jewelry, clothing, furnishings, and not actually having to pay for any of it! With the expansion of online ecommerce stores, most of this job can be done remotely. And personal shoppers are well-compensated, earning about $60,000 per year.
Creative small business ideas
Want to start a small business to lean into your creative juices? Maybe you work in a corporate environment and excel sheets have dried up your brain. I’m all for having a creative outlet, and if you can make money off of it, even better. Here are our creative small business ideas.
If I had leaned into the plant-mom craze, I might want to be a landscaper, but I hate gardening. However, if you’re the type of person who gets stress relief from gardening, landscaping might be for you.
This can be one of the most satisfying, creative jobs. You’ll have the ability to transform properties into magic gardens—or at least maintain green lawns, flower beds, ponds, and make people happy.
Landscaper pay can be between $10-25/hour, or you can price your services by project.
29. Gift kit creator
Ever receive a box in the mail full of customized snacks, wine, gadgets, and knick-knacks? I’ve been loving the gift boxes I receive now that I’m working fully remote. And you better believe I love working with gift kit creators, who search markets far and wide to curate the perfect batch for their audiences. Gift kit businesses don’t require too much upfront, as you can ask the buyer to pay before purchasing and drop shipping any items.
30. Travel planner
This is my dream job. Travel planners get perks galore, from discounted hotel rates to inside info about airlines and tour guides. It can be the most creative small business through planning trips in a niche–maybe your specialty is South America or Iceland trips for college kids or seniors! Even better, this business can be run from home…or anywhere in the world.
Travel agents typically get paid between $35,000-$67,000 per year.
While some people might not consider being an influencer a creative business, I certainly think the trendsetters of the world would differ. There are plenty of courses to take that will help train you to be an influencer in this brave new world of social media.
Being an influencer comes with a lot of scrutiny and variable pay; this is truly a pick-your-own-adventure type of gig.
Influencer or not, the fact that influencers exist speaks to the power of social media marketing, so make sure you’re using it for whatever business you start!
32. Thrifting reseller
Thrifting, altering, and upselling vintage goods was the way NastyGal got their start—and has now become somewhat of an online business. If you have an affinity for spotting diamonds in the rough, hit your local goodwill, grab some clothes, make an eBay account, and get selling. You can be your own boss, designer, brand, or whatever you please with this creative small business.
How do you find the best business to start?
The most successful businesses solve a problem for a specific group of people. When you’re looking to start a small business, not a big corporation with investor funding, look for a niche that you, and you alone, are the best person to step into.
It’s okay if you don’t know what your passion is yet! Don’t put pressure on yourself to figure it all out on day one. These ideas are meant to be just that, ideas. Iterate on them, make them your own, and we can’t wait to help you succeed.
The best small businesses to start [recap]
Here’s the full list of the best small businesses to start that we covered above. But we’re not done yet! Keep scrolling to find out why.
- Childcare business
- Fitness trainer
- Web developer
- Executive assistant
- Nonprofit Work
- IT consulting
- Hospital janitorial agency
- Pet care
- Proofreading/Quality Assurance
- Gift kit creator
- Travel planner
- Thrifting reseller
- Short-term rental manager
- Personal Shopper
- Event planner
- Antiquities Renovation
Even more great small business ideas
At the end of the day, the best small business for you to start depends on your motivation for starting a business. Is it to work from home? Monetize a hobby? Start a nonprofit? Spice up your life? Here are some more great small business ideas to consider.
At-home small business ideas
Here are some at-home small business ideas for the introverts, the homebodies, or the homebound!want to have to leave your home!
- Grant writing
- Dropshipping store
- On-demand printing
- Social media manager
- Online advertiser
- Freelancer (write, code, design, video)
Always-good small business ideas
There are tons more evergreen needs out there to give you small business ideas. Here are just ten:
- Home inspector
- Snow clearing
- Online therapy
- Elder care
- Senior move manager
- Junk removal
- Bicycle repair
- Credit repair specialist
- Career coach
- Ecommerce store for sustainable products
Small profitable business ideas
Aside from our five above, ten more of the best small profitable businesses to start are:
- Auto repair
- Food truck
- Electronics repair
- Interior designer
- Virtual assistant
- Real estate brokerage
Easy small business ideas
If you want to run a side gig, here are some easy small business ideas for you:
- Resume writer
- Pet care
- Proofreading/quality assurance
- Short-term rental manager
- Personal shopper
- Affiliate marketing
- Jam seller
- Data entry
- Menu planning
Creative small business ideas
Art is everywhere! These creative small business ideas afford you endless outlets of expression!
- Gift kit creator
- Travel planner
- Thrifting reseller
- Professional organizer
- Jewelry designer
- Homemade natural beauty & cleaning products
Cool small business ideas
Last but not least, here is an eclectic mix of interesting small business ideas to get you intrigued…
- Hot air balloon operator
- Home staging
- Drone trainer
- Christmas tree farmer
- Online dating consultant
- Tour guide
- Herb farming
- Mobile anything (pet grooming, hairstylist, bike repair)
- Freelance bartender
Conclusion: which small business should I start?
A straightforward answer to this question is not easy. There are a plethora of ways to earn money online with a small business, but, according to us, one of the easiest ways to get started is through Ecommerce. Starting your own Ecommerce shop, you can create a niche product and charge big bucks, providing it presents a solution to a gap in the market.
You can get started easily with Shopify, our #1 pick for Ecommerce businesses. With affordable pricing starting at $29 per month and a no-code platform, you can get your Ecommerce website up and running in no time without the need for a website developer.