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23 Small Business Ideas for 2021

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Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Updated May 26, 2021
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23 Small Business Ideas for 2021; Looking to start a small business in 2021? Here are some ideas to get you started.
When you’re thinking of starting a new business, there are plenty of possibilities to consider. But they may be especially appealing if they take little to no money to get started. Whether you’re trying to launch a side hustle to supplement your day job or you just want to be your own boss, there are many businesses you can start that don’t require huge sums of money.Explore this list of 23 of our best small business ideas. The sooner you get started, the sooner you might be the next great success story.When you’re thinking of starting a new business, there are plenty of possibilities to consider. But they may be especially appealing if they take little to no money to get started. Whether you’re trying to launch a side hustle to supplement your day job or you just want to be your own boss, there are many businesses you can start that don’t require huge sums of money.Explore this list of 23 of our best small business ideas. The sooner you get started, the sooner you might be the next great success story. 

1. Online Fitness Trainer

At-home workouts are more popular than ever, especially given the recent social distancing restrictions that limited (or eliminated) people’s ability to go to the gym. If you’re a fitness lover, you may be able to launch an online training business in one of a number of different ways. An easy way to get started and build an audience is by making videos to post on YouTube or sell as a course. According to a survey by Personal Trainer Development Center, online-only trainers made $54,000 yearly on average prior to to the pandemic.  

2. Web Developer

Developing websites—building and maintaining their core structure—is a technical skill that’s in high demand. Yet, it’s also a skill that you can teach yourself through videos, website lessons, and books. Once you’ve mastered and practiced the skill, you can build a portfolio and start pitching clients. All of that takes time and effort but not really money.

3. Freelance Web Designer

Web design is a skill set you can market as a freelancer, providing your services to multiple companies that need help with the usability and aesthetics of their sites. You can focus on helping design websites from scratch or on troubleshooting and/or redesigning existing websites, or even on a combination of both. Pay for web design may run at around $60 per hour and a full website design might pay between $5,000 and $10,000.

4. Consultant

If you’re wondering what kind of business to start, you might think about consulting in an area you’ve already worked in, like human resources, management, IT, or operations. You can set your own hours, potentially charge more than you earned as a full-time employee, and pick and choose the projects you’ll enjoy the most. 

5. Graphic Designer

Starting your own graphic design business is another easy option for people who have the talent and experience. If that’s you, you can launch a website with some portfolio pieces and start pitching potential clients. If you’ve already been a graphic designer for a company, you likely already have everything you need to get started. As of May 15, 2021, the average hourly pay for a graphic designer in the U.S. was $17.99.

6. Life Coach

Life coaching can be an extremely satisfying business. You can pick a niche you’re passionate about, like career changes, productivity, health and fitness, or some other idea you find compelling. Getting certified as a professional coach may increase your clout and marketability. While that training probably won’t be free, you might consider it an investment and take out a small business loan to cover your tuition. 

7. Tailor and/or Designer

Whether you’ve been a hobby sewer throughout your life or just picked up the new skill during the pandemic, you may be able to turn that interest into a business. You can specialize your services in any number of ways, like making alterations, designing custom home decor like curtains and pillows, or creating hand sewn-crafts to sell.

8. Resume Writer

Resume writing is in demand, thanks to how many people are job hunting. If this is something you have a knack for, you can either find clients on your own or freelance for a resume agency. The average yearly income for a full time resume writer is $42,745, but pay varies. Bear in mind you may be able to earn more if you have expertise in a specific industry. 

9. Online Used-Bookseller

Selling used books online can be fun as well as lucrative for bibliophiles. It does involve some startup costs since you’ll need to stock up on inventory, but sourcing inexpensive books from places like thrift stores or yard sales can be fun, too. Once you make your first few sales on a site like Amazon or eBay, you can reinvest some or all of the profits to keep your inventory growing.

10. Interpreter or Translator

If you’re fluent in multiple languages, you can utilize those skills as an interpreter or translator. This is work that can often be performed from the comfort of your own home. Global businesses may not have a full-time need for translation services, so you may be able to step in and help them as a contractor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earning for an interpreter/translator as of May 2020 was $52,330. 

11. Pet Walker and/or Pet Care Provider

Pet owners spare few expenses when it comes to pet care. And since many people adopted new pets during the pandemic, a pet walking or pet care business could provide a big market in many locations. Once you land your first few clients, you can then focus on getting referrals from those successes. Nationally, dog walkers make an average of $29,921 from dog-walking, though it’s important to remember that it varies by region and that not all dog-walkers view it as a full-time job. 

12. Online Course Creator

Creating an online course is a fun way to share your knowledge about topics or skills you’re passionate about. There are many course platforms to choose from. All you need to do is create one or more videos and upload them to the teaching platform. Set a price and, ideally, you’ll soon make some sales. 

13. Digital Download Provider

Designing and selling digital products (like videos or ebooks) is an easy business to set up, plus it becomes increasingly passive as you build up your library of products. From artwork to educational products, you simply upload your creations to your preferred platform so future customers can find your work. 

14. Landscaper/Garden Care Professional

People have spent an above-average amount of time at home over the last year, and garden and landscaping became a popular new pastime for many. If you’ve discovered that you have a green thumb, consider launching a landscaping or garden-care business to help your clients maintain beautiful yards all year long. Explore startup funding options to help finance new equipment if you need it.

15. House Cleaner

Cleaning houses is a service that’s in demand in just about every city and town across the country. Decide what particular types of services you’ll offer and collect the necessary supplies. Also consider getting a general liability insurance policy to protect yourself and your new business since you’ll be in other peoples’ homes. House cleaning can pay from about $13.75 an hour to $19.75 an hour, but that may vary based on your location and what services exactly you’re providing, among other factors.

16. Handcrafted Goods Seller

If you have an artistic knack, consider opening an online shop to sell your own handcrafted goods. You can launch your own website or list your items for sale on an existing platform. You can either build up a stock of inventory first or opt for a made-to-order business model, which can help you save on startup costs.  

17. Dropshipper

Starting a dropshipping business can be ideal for people who enjoy online marketing. As a dropshipper, you curate goods from a wholesale supplier and market them for sale online. However, you don’t hold any inventory. Instead, the supplier handles shipping for you.

18. Interior Designer

It’s easier than ever to launch your own interior design business, especially if you have some relevant design experience (your kitchen makeover!) to include in an online portfolio. There are a number of different services you might offer, like home staging, product curation, or online design plans. Consider picking a particular niche or style when you first get started so you can attract your ideal client.

19. Tutor

You can start a tutoring business in person, but online tutors are also popular. Pick a subject you’re knowledgeable about, like math, language arts, or English as a second language. There are plenty of online platforms through which you can market your services, or you can network to find students in need of a tutor. Online tutors can make around $30 an hour or, if they teach advanced subjects, as much as $60 an hour. 

20. Virtual Assistant

Starting your own virtual assistant business gives you a lot of flexibility in the type of work you do and the hours and location from which you work. You can offer a range of remote services as a virtual assistant, including managing schedules, sending emails, or even handling marketing activities. 

21. Provide Childcare

Opening a home daycare center is a more involved small business idea, but there’s definitely a need for this service. Be sure to check your area’s local rules and regulations about opening an in-home daycare center. It may be helpful to write a business plan to keep track of everything you need to do. Alternatively, you could start small by just babysitting or nannying for one family, or even working as a parents’ helper.

22. Voiceover Actor

Video and audio content is increasingly popular, so you could offer voiceover services as your own business. It’s easier than ever before to do this as a remote job, plus you can get started with some inexpensive equipment, much of which you may already have, like a microphone, mic stand, headphones, and some recording and editing software. Prices for this service vary, but you might expect to make around $100 for a local radio commercial, up to $10,000 for a national television commercial, and anywhere from $200 to $300 an hour for an audiobook.

23. Flipper/Goods Reseller

Flipping—finding and reselling or even fixing up and reselling—used items for a profit can be a great business idea if you love bargain-hunting at thrift stores, yard sales, or even clearance shelves. To get started with no budget, you can even flip your own unwanted items from your home on an online auction site, for instance. As you make a little money, you might want to start expanding your inventory.

The Takeaway

Starting any new business takes some work, but the rewards are often worth it. As you get more involved in a new business—and even as it gets more profitable—you may find you need to put more resources into it. Get help launching your next idea by exploring financing options from multiple lenders through Lantern Credit
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.SOLC21020

About the Author

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward is a personal finance expert with nearly a decade of experience writing online content. Her work has appeared on websites such as MSN, Time, and Bankrate. Lauren writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SoFi, including credit and banking.
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