Top 25 small business ideas

Top 25 Small Business Ideas You Can Start With Minimal Costs

If you’ve been looking for a way to grow your income, then these 25 small business ideas are your resources and are easy to get started. Before you get overwhelmed with dozens of possibilities, take a moment to think about your needs.

small business ideas

Choosing the right small business idea

It’s possible to earn a high income from many different small business ideas. However, the profit potential is only one of the factors to consider when starting a business. As you browse the list below, give thought to the following considerations.

1. Profit Potential

The potential income you can earn from working varies by business. For example, a software company generally has higher profit margins than running a labor-intensive service business like landscaping or cleaning. If you need a six figure income, you may wish to avoid lower margin small business ideas like catering and tutoring.

2. Skills Required

Each small business idea requires two broad types of skills: technical skills and general business skills. In terms of business skills, every small business owner is responsible for marketing and selling their business to customers. Therefore, you must develop sales and marketing skills to grow your small business. Second, you need some technical skills related to the business idea. For example, a personal trainer needs technical skills in fitness and working effectively with the human body.

3.  Assets Required

The amount of assets or cash required to start a business is another factor. Generally speaking, many service businesses require little or no assets or cash to start. In comparison, running a business like a bed & breakfast requires an asset (i.e., a property with bedrooms, a kitchen, and more where you can host guests). If you have little money to invest, it is best to focus your effort on a service business or freelancing.

4. Market Demand

Demand is a critical factor in choosing a business model. Some business models like wedding planning or landscaping tend to be seasonal. Further, some businesses are booming in popularity, like cybersecurity and software development. When there is high demand for a business, it is easier to charge high prices.

5. Personal Interest

It is wise to choose a small business idea that interests you. If you have always dreamed of focusing your business around food, you might start a catering business. It is essential to understand the reality of each business idea. For example, a catering business owner might be extremely busy around major holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even the best small business ideas take significant time and effort to develop, so pick an idea you’re interested in working on for months or even years.

6. Time Required

The time required to start a small business depends on your skills, connections, and other factors. For example, a person with five years of experience as a web developer in a company may find it easier to sign up clients quickly. In contrast, if you are starting a photography business with no experience, it will probably take you longer to get started.

7. Low Risk/Cost Entry Options

When you first start a small business idea, look for ways to reduce risk. For example, can you rent expensive equipment instead of buying it? Instead of investing in expensive online advertising campaigns, can you focus your sale effort on your network instead? Minimizing risk and expense upfront can make it easier to make your business successful.

25 Small Business Ideas

Many of the small business ideas outlined below are relatively easy to start. In many cases, you will see the cost to start as less than $100. This means the business is very inexpensive to start. If required in your area, you may have to register your business (if required in your area) and potentially start a simple website; you can reduce your business expenses by using CheckYa to send invoices and receive payments from your customers.

1. Online Marketing Consultant

Online Marketing Consultant

  • Cost To Start: Less than $100
  • Income Potential: Over $100,000 (depends on skill, specialization, and track record)

Starting a business as an online marketing consultant is a great way to start a business. Success with this small business idea requires expertise in at least one area of online marketing like search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media, or another area. In addition to that technical expertise, you also need the ability to sell your services to clients.

Once you have a client, use CheckYa to send invoices to clients. CheckYa makes it easy to receive payments directly into your bank account.

2. Freelance Web Developer

Freelance Web Developer

  • Cost To Start: Less than $100
  • Income Potential: Over $100,000

Almost every business needs a website today, and this reality creates significant demand for freelance web developers. Success with this small business idea requires significant technical expertise. Clients may ask for your advice on cybersecurity, graphic design, and apps. Further, there are many specialized areas of web development. You may focus your effort on a platform like WordPress or Squarespace.

John Morris, a freelance web developer, used to earn an hourly rate of $100. After reaching that level, he moved to project based pricing to grow his income further. 

3. Personal Trainer

personal trainer

  • Cost To Start: $200 to $2000 (depends on certifications and other expenses)
  • Income Potential: Over $90,000 according to

Did you know that over 30% of Americans are overweight? Further, losing weight is one of the people’s most popular annual goals. These are some reasons why there is substantial demand for personal trainers. With this small business idea, you typically work directly with clients to help them lose weight, increase strength, boost flexibility and achieve other fitness goals.

As an independent personal trainer, you will be competing against gyms and fitness clubs that offer in-house personal training services. In addition, you may have to spend time earning personal training certifications (e.g. International Sports Sciences Association) to be competent.

It is a relatively low risk to start a personal trainer business if you already have fitness qualifications. You can gradually take on clients in evenings and weekends and use CheckYa to send invoices for each personal training package. After you have enough revenue, you can look at hiring employees and setting up your fitness facility.

4. Freelance Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

  • Cost To Start: Under $100
  • Income Potential: Over $90,000 according to ZipRecruiter.

As a freelance graphic designer, your mission is to help clients make an impression with exciting visual elements. For example, you might create logos, design ebooks and other assets for clients. Success as a graphic designer requires a combination of artistic capabilities and the technical ability to complete projects. You can increase your income as a graphic designer by specialization – like graphic design for iOS apps or WordPress themes.

As with other service-based businesses, you can start a low-risk graphic design business. You can get started if you have a computer, standard industry applications like Adobe Photoshop, and design skills. As you gain case studies and increase your skills, you can increase your fees and grow your income.

5. Life Coach

Life Coach

  • Cost To Start: Over $1000 – depends on the certification program you take.
  • Income Potential: Over $100 per hour, according to the Financial Post.

Modern life is filled with difficulties and uncertainty. As a result, there is increasing demand for coaching. However, it is essential to distinguish coaching from related services like therapy and consulting. A consultant might directly provide a solution to their client, while a therapist may help a client thrive by talking through challenges. In contrast, a life coach can help you achieve greater clarity, make difficult decisions (e.g., should I quit my job or change careers?), and explore new directions.

The most successful life coaches tend to specialize in a particular type of problem or certain kind of client. For example, Kathy Caprino is a life coach specializing in working with female executives to achieve their goals. In addition, a life coach can also help clients address specific problems like productivity or weight loss issues.

6. Business Coach / Career Coach

Business Coach

  • Cost To Start: Under $100 if you have significant expertise
  • Income Potential: Over $1 million with an advanced business model (e.g., group coaching, ebooks, etc.)

A business coach may use similar methods to a life coach but with a business on business and career challenges. In contrast to life coaching, a business coach does not always have a certification or credential. Instead, a business or career coach may base their business on their track record of success.

Mikael Meir, a business coach in Toronto, has a strong background as the CEO of Portus Asset Management. Based on his experience, Meir offers coaching in leadership, sales, and ethics.

7. Freelance Writer

Freelance Writer

  • Cost To Start: Under $100
  • Income Potential: Over $100,000

Freelance writing is one of the most straightforward small business ideas to start. Most people develop some level of writing skills through school. In addition, you may have developed subject matter expertise in an area like technology, gardening, or home goods at work or elsewhere. This background can give you a foundation to start as a freelance writer. To make yourself more appealing to business clients, learn the basics of search engine optimization.

For most freelance writers, the biggest challenge is landing clients. To help you overcome this challenge, see our post: 8 Steps to Getting Clients as a Freelance Content Writer.

There are a few options to increase your income more as a writer. You can use your writing skills to create and sell ebooks. If ebooks interest you, get started in this area with our post: How To Sell Your Ebooks Online As A Beginner. In addition, you can specialize in direct response copywriting – the art of writing advertisements that generate immediate sales. Studying books like “Cashvertising” by Drew Whitman and “The Ultimate Sales Letter” by Dan Kennedy is a starting point to grow your copywriting skills.

8. Editor / Proofreader


  • Cost To Start: Under $100
  • Income Potential: Over $100,000

With an average hourly rate of up to $60 per hour, according to Reedsy, editing is another small business idea you can start with minimal risk. Success as an editor or proofreader requires exceptional attention to detail and outstanding knowledge of grammar and style. Clients will expect you to be familiar with standard style guides like the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style.

There are a few options to increase your income in an editing business. First, you can hire junior editors to work under your direction. If you do not want to bring other people into the business, focus your effort on developmental editing. In a development edit, you provide in-depth feedback to the author to help them improve the structure, flow, and overall quality. In contrast, a copy editor provides direction on spelling, grammar, punctuation, and related issues.

9. Tutor


  • Cost To Start: Under $100
  • Income Potential: Tutors typically start at $25 per hour

Many students do not receive the customized guidance they need to succeed in school. As a result, tutoring has become an $8 billion industry in the US. To succeed as a tutor, you need credibility in a specific area. For example, you might have successfully earned an MBA degree and a high score on the GMAT exam. In that case, you might focus your tutoring efforts on other students who want to pursue the GMAT.

In addition, there are tutoring opportunities for students in high school. The most in-demand areas for tutoring include math (i.e., algebra, calculus, and related topics), English, and exam preparation. If you have expertise in these areas, you can start as a tutor. The best way to get started as a tutor is to talk to parents you know with school-age children.

You probably already have a presence on social media. Did you know that you can use social media to grow your tutoring business? Find out more in our post: Social media tips for growing your tutoring business.

10. Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant

  • Cost To Start: Under $100
  • Income Potential: Tutors typically start at approximately $1,000 per month

A virtual assistant typically helps entrepreneurs and small business owners complete tasks over the Internet. For example, a virtual assistant might help a client plan a business trip or research a new computer to buy. As with other small business ideas, you can use platforms like Upwork to find clients. Ultimately, it is more profitable to directly connect with clients and send invoices to them using CheckYa.

11. Notary Public

Notary Public

  • Cost To Start: Training costs may be up to $200
  • Income Potential: The median salary for notaries public in the US is $55,000, but some earn over $100,000.

A notary public is a person who can act as an official witness to documents. Working with a notary public is required or expected in some cases to prevent fraud. The specific steps to become a notary public varies by location. In New York, you must meet various requirements, including having good moral character, being a citizen or permanent resident in the US, and passing a test.

Kristin Barker Stauffer reported earning approximately $900 per month as a part-time notary public, though some notaries earn up to $15,000 per month, according to Side Hustle Nation.

12. Bookkeeper


  • Cost To Start: Under $100
  • Income Potential: freelance bookkeepers typically earn around $55,000 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.

Many small business owners do not like keeping track of their finances. However, tracking expenses and revenues are crucial to understanding whether your business performs effectively. As a freelance bookkeeper, you will work with clients to organize their company’s finances. As a bookkeeper, you may also work closely with an accountant to prepare tax returns and other related documents.

Specialized knowledge and expertise can help you stand out as a bookkeeper. For example, you might focus your business on creative business owners like designers and photographers. In addition, you can also make yourself more valuable by learning how to use popular accounting platforms like QuickBooks.

13. Interpreter / Translator


  • Cost To Start: Under $100 (higher if you decide to earn a certification from the American Translators Association)
  • Income Potential: the best translators and interpreters earn over $72,000 per year, according to US News.

Are you fully fluent in multiple languages like English and Spanish? If so, providing interpretation and translation services might be an excellent small business idea for you. There are two main types of services you can offer: you can translate written documents and provide live interpretation when people are speaking. The most profitable clients for translation are typically businesses that operate in multiple countries and government departments that must provide documents in several languages.

Translators with specialized knowledge of technical fields like engineering and technology may be able to increase their income further.  

14. Photographer


  • Cost To Start: over $1,000 if you need to purchase high-end camera equipment and software
  • Income Potential: the median hourly rate for freelance photographers in the US is $36 per hour (Indeed), but many companies charge over $100 per hour

The ability to create unique images of people, buildings, and products means that there will constantly be demand for photographers. As a photographer, you need to know how to use light, advanced camera settings, and locations to make your client look good. In addition, it is vital to have strong people skills. For instance, you may need to advise a client on how to stand, arrange their hair, and more to create the best image.

15. Interior Designer

interior designer

  • Cost To Start: less than $100
  • Income Potential: $58,000 per year according to Indeed

Interior designers help individuals and organizations make the best use of their space. For example, you may advise a client on which carpet, furniture, and artwork to display in their home. It is also essential to work with a client’s budget and preferences. For example, a family with young children may be concerned about the child’s safety in their home.

Interior designers may find it helpful to network with mortgage and real estate professionals to find clients. When a person buys a new home, they often are interested in customizing the home to meet their tastes.

Tip: You can increase your credibility by joining a relevant professional organization like the American Society of Interior Designers. In addition, the society offers awards that can help you raise your profile in the industry.

16. Cybersecurity Consultant

Cybersecurity consultant

  • Cost To Start: depends on your skills – may be over thousands of dollars if you need training
  • Income Potential: an hourly rate over $200 is standard in larger consulting firms

Every year, more and more companies and organizations suffer attacks and threats like viruses, ransomware, and hacking. At the same time, companies are expected to keep their systems available and online to customers 24/7. As a result, there is significant demand for cybersecurity consultants.

This small business idea requires significant expertise. If you already have a background in cybersecurity, moving into consulting may be a good move. If you lack experience in the field, you may have to study the field intensively for months to develop the required technical skills. As with other service-based businesses, joining an association can help you deepen your expertise. You may wish to consider joining ISACA to earn certifications and learn about the latest issues in IT security.

17. Personal Assistant

personal assistant

  • Cost To Start: depends on your skills – may be over thousands of dollars if you need training
  • Income Potential: hourly rates range from $15 to $26 per hour, according to Payscale.

A personal assistant helps individuals achieve more tasks in their life, including managing a calendar, making appointments, and running errands. As a personal assistant becomes trusted to carry out more sensitive tasks, you may be able to charge higher rates. In contrast to a virtual assistant business, personal assistants are usually expected to perform their work in person.

18. Mortgage Broker

Mortgage Broker

  • Cost To Start: depends on your skills – may be over thousands of dollars if you need training
  • Income Potential: over $60,000 per year

Do you find the home buying process interesting? Starting a business as a mortgage broker may be interesting to you. As a mortgage broker, you help home buyers find the financing to buy a home. Success in this industry requires exceptional relationship and networking skills. You need to be able to work with banks, credit unions, home buyers, and real estate sales professionals. The more deals you perform, the more you can make.

To grow your business faster, sign up for a membership in an organization like the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. The organization offers multiple certification programs that can help you develop expertise in the industry.

19. Voice Talent

Voice Talent

  • Cost To Start: less than $100
  • Income Potential: varies widely depending on length, reputation, and specialization

Podcasts, audiobooks, and commercials are just a few reasons why there is increasing demand for voice actors. At the top end of the profession, voice actors earn millions of dollars per year, like Nancy Cartwright, who voices several characters on “The Simpsons.” When you first get started in this field, you will earn a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per project.

20. Podcast editor

podcast editor

  • Cost To Start: Less than $100 (may be higher if you need to purchase software like Adobe Audition).
  • Income Potential: top earners make over $100,000 per year according to ZipRecruiter.

Podcasts continue to boom in popularity with more than 500,000 shows available today.Some high profile podcasts like Planet Money and the Joe Rogan Experience have in-house audio experts. Many smaller podcasts may prefer to outsource this work to a freelancer on a part time basis. That means there is significant demand for podcast editors – professionals who can transform a long audio file into a crisp listening experience. This small business idea requires a passion for audio and robust technical skills to edit audio.

21. Online dating consultant

online dating coach

  • Cost To Start: less than $100
  • Income Potential: top earners make over $100,000 and the average income is $65,000 according to ZipRecruiter.

Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of US marriages in 2019 started through online dating according to the Knot? That’s a key reason why online dating is booming in popularity – it helps people find partners. Yet, there is also a significant number of people – 45% – who are frustrated with their online dating experience. 

As an online dating consultant, you can help clients present themselves effectively on major dating platforms like Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid. You’ll help clients to write their profile, write messages, and make better choices. To succeed with this small business idea, your communication skills need to be extraordinary and you need a deep understanding of romance.

If you become highly skilled at online dating consulting, you can earn great fees. Sameera Sullivan, a top matchmaker in New York, charges $6500 for three months of comprehensive coaching on online dating.

22. Wedding planner

Wedding planning - Small business ideas

  • Cost To Start: less than $100
  • Income Potential: depends on the complexity and number of weddings you manage per year

Large weddings with hundreds of guests are challenging to run. That reality creates demand for wedding planners who help couples plan, schedule, and manage the logistics of a wedding. It is also a relatively popular small business – there are approximately 25,000 wedding planners in the US. To succeed as a wedding planner, you need expert organizational skills and the ability to navigate the intense emotions that come with wedding ceremonies.

23. Yoga instructor

Yoga instructor - Small Business Ideas

  • Cost To Start: less than $100 – could be much higher if you pursue a certification
  • Income Potential: the average salary is $58,000 per year, according to

The modern practice of yoga is a significant industry in the US. According to an IBIS World report, Pilates and yoga studios as a small business earn an estimated $9 billion per year in America. In contrast to personal trainers, yoga instructors help their clients relax, improve flexibility and achieve more balance in life. To succeed with this small business idea, you will probably need to complete a yoga teacher certification like YogaWorks.

Traditionally, yoga instructors teach group classes in a studio. However, Find What Feels Good has 20,000 online students, far more people than any standard fitness space can hold. Delivering yoga as a digital product may be more profitable in the long term because you can record the class once and sell it many times.

24. Event planner

Small Business Ideas -Event planner

  • Cost To Start: less than $100
  • Income Potential: Over $80,000 or higher as you plan significant scale events

Intrigued by the wedding planning concept but don’t want to work with couples? Event planning might be a small business idea for you. Event planners play an important role in organizing conferences, annual general meetings, and other gatherings. You must have above average organization and project management skills as an event planner. In addition, you also need excellent negotiation and problem-solving skills to address issues that come up in events.

25. Doula and birth coaching

Small business ideas - Birth Coach

  • Cost To Start: Less than $100 (may require a certification or license in some areas)
  • Income Potential: doulas in large U cities often charge over $1000 per birth

Giving birth to a child can be very stressful and challenging. In addition to nurses and doctors, doulas play an essential role in supporting women. A doula is a trained professional that helps women and families with childbirth. Working as a doula might be a good small business opportunity if you enjoy working with babies and pregnant women.

The Single Service Every Small Business Needs To Thrive

Success as a small business owner takes many different skills and resources. You might need to earn a certification. Or you might have to learn sales and marketing skills. In every case, a simple and convenient way to accept payments from customers and clients is essential. Sign up for CheckYa today to send unlimited invoices and accept payments right into your bank account.

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Leverage agile frameworks to provide a robust synopsis for high level overviews
Over 35,000 freelancers & creatives use CheckYa to generate additional Income!
Leverage agile frameworks to provide a robust synopsis for high level overviews
Over 35,000 freelancers and creatives use CheckYa to generate additional Income!