25 Best Small Business Ideas To Make Money in 2021

Father and son working on laptop.
Ольга Simankova / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Americans are starting businesses in record numbers. Some are replacing income from jobs they lost in the pandemic, and others, flush with cash from stimulus payments, are seizing the opportunity to work for themselves. Whatever your reason for wanting to go into business, the first challenge you’re likely to face is finding the right idea. It might seem like others have already plunged into every fantastic business concept, but you can put your spin on even the most common idea to make it look new. And in many cases, you don’t need much money to do it.

Small Business Ideas To Turn Into Dollars

Every small business startup business idea can yield great success if it fills a need. Check out these business ideas that can make you money in 2021.

1. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is one of the simplest businesses to start today. A third-party provider stores and sends products on your behalf. All you need is a little capital to get started since it’s hands-off and scalable. You can generate sales on a platform like Shopify that automatically transfers orders to your suppliers, or you can submit orders yourself using any merchant site you want.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

2. Sell Phone Accessories

This field may look saturated, but the number of phone users is increasing every day. You only need to be super creative and come up with phone accessories, such as adapters, cables, earphones, protectors and covers. You might also offer phone repair services along with products. If you’re not that tech-savvy right now, consider taking an online repair course from a platform like Udemy.

3. Write E-Books

All you need to start writing e-books is to select a niche you want to write about — and that people want to read. Amazon Best Sellers shows you what people are reading and buying. If you plan to self-publish, you’ll find plenty of platforms where you can sell your work. Good examples include Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Apple iBooks, Kobo Writing Life and Smashwords.

4. Design and Sell Print-on-Demand T-Shirts and Other Products

This is a dropshipping model with a twist. Make your innovative designs and upload them to your preferred print-on-demand platforms. When a customer purchases one of your items, the platform prints it to order and ships it out on your behalf. Popular platforms include Fine Art America, Zazzle, Society6 and Printful, all of which offer a huge variety of products to customize with your designs.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

5. Rent Coworking Office Space

With the rising popularity of remote work, you can create a contemporary coworking space that solves people’s pain points like the cost of renting office space, reduced productivity and even loneliness. Choose an accessible site in a central location, and outfit it with highly desired features, such as high-speed internet, meeting rooms and team-building facilities.

6. Create Digital Products or Online Courses

If you are a professional in a specific field, you can start teaching online classes. Create educational content in videos or other available formats. Then choose a platform like Udemy or Skillshare to post and sell the content.

7. Become a Virtual Assistant

Many entrepreneurs need help with day-to-day tasks. You can work remotely for a company or an individual to provide administrative support. Common tasks include maintaining social media accounts, managing calendars and schedules, making travel arrangements and processing documents and records, according to FlexJobs. Although some companies, such as VaVa Virtual Assistants, provide a platform to match VAs with opportunities, building a direct client list can be more lucrative in the long run.

8. Create Eco-Friendly and Healthy Beauty Products

Satisfy people’s desire for eco-friendly and healthier products by creating safe and environmentally friendly items. Research the ingredients and processes for making the products — suppliers like MakingCosmetics and MakeYourOwn.Buzz have tutorials and formularies to get you started — then come up with eco-friendly products to sell online and in-person at vendor fairs, farmers markets and through local shops.

9. Chatbot Development

Chatbots are used on many company websites to communicate whenever you need assistance. Develop a chatbot and approach companies in need of such a product. You don’t have to know how to code to develop a chatbot 一 with basic IT knowledge, you’re good to go using a chatbot-building platform like ManyChat.

10. Become a Web Developer

You can start making cash by developing websites for small businesses or individuals. Depending on your skill level, you can build sites using templates and widgets on platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace — or up your game by learning how to code sites from scratch. 

11. Become an Online Coach

Create a YouTube channel to help you push your content. You can educate people about any topic in which you have expertise. If you have proven managerial and leadership skills, you can also become a life coach and charge clients to attend your sessions once you have an audience.

12. Become a Resume Writer

Many people need a resume, but not everyone has the skill to do it well or is familiar with resume formats. This does not require any startup capital. As long as you can craft a unique resume that can help people land jobs, you can offer your services.

13. Sell Handcrafted Goods

You can make your own products to earn money. Research ideas that suit your skills and interests, then start making soap, candles, pottery or jewelry. Once the products are ready, market them online via social media and in person through local venues.

14. Start an Event Planning Company

Create an event planning service company in your area and specialize in specific types of events, like weddings or company meetings. A network of reliable vendor contacts will make you more successful.

15. Content Editing and Proofreading

If you have impeccable skills at spotting grammatical errors, typos or poor sentence structure in written content, you can provide editing and proofreading services to businesses and individuals.

16. Become a Graphic Designer

If you can design logos, website, and blog images, you can sell your graphic design skills. You can set your own hours and start choosing projects to build your portfolio. Many companies need graphic design support on a variety of projects. To start, offer your services on freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.

17. Start a Custom Clothing Business

The custom clothing business is gaining momentum, which means it could be a good source of regular income. You can start with hemming and mending, then get a sewing machine to revamp customers’ existing clothes or create new ones.

18. Blogging

Running a blog can make you money, provided you’re sharing unique and useful content. Choose a niche that you’re really good at. Once you gain an audience, you can earn money through affiliate marketing or advertising.

19. Reinvent Exercising

People get bored using the same type of exercises every day to stay fit. You can come up with new exercise skills and routines and demonstrate them on YouTube and Facebook Live. This could attract customers who will pay you to access your new exercise techniques.

20. Start Flipping Websites

This is where you buy a website and make improvements to the design and content. Then, you sell it at a higher price than you paid for it.

21. Become a Marketing Consultant

If you have solid marketing skills and experience using digital marketing and advertising platforms, you can help small businesses reach their target audience by offering services like search-engine optimization, copywriting and professional social media interactions.

22. Virtual Reality Experiences

VR is the future, with a projection of $44.7 billion by 2024. As long as you have the content-creation skills or can partner with someone who does, and you have the means to purchase necessary equipment, the possibilities are endless. Real estate, entertainment, games, fitness, dating and healthcare are just a few industries where virtual reality is or could be useful. 

23. Interior Design for Young Professionals

Many professionals want to have their houses look elegant. However, the high cost can be limiting. You can start a business offering interior design services for less and target young homeowners. Note that in some states, you’ll need a license or registration that might require passing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam.

24. Start a Food Truck

If you have a background in cooking, a food truck is a great startup idea — and a cheaper and lower-risk one than a restaurant. Lease or buy a food truck, obtain the required licenses and permits, then start cooking delicious meals and selling them.

25. Join an Affiliate Marketing Program

Many online stores allow affiliates to market their products. If you are an influencer, this can earn you some good money. You only need to get the product affiliate link from the company whose products you’d like to sell, and place the link in the content you use to reach your audience. If an individual purchases the product, you earn a commission.

Takeaway

Choosing a business idea that can make you money is a personal decision, but the above small business ideas will help you get started. You can pick any of them and modify them to suit your audience. The goal is not just to have an idea but to earn money from it. However, before venturing into one, you need to first ensure there’s a demand for your idea.

Lydia Kibet contributed to the reporting for this article.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Daria Uhlig is a personal finance, real estate and travel writer and editor with over 25 years of editorial experience. Her work has been featured on The Motley Fool, MSN, AOL, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and USA Today. Daria studied journalism at the County College of Morris and earned a degree in communications at Centenary University, both in New Jersey.

Untitled design (1)
Close popup The GBR Closer icon

Sending you timely financial stories that you can bank on.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for the latest financial news and trending topics.

Loading...
Please enter an email.
Please enter a valid email address.
There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

For our full Privacy Policy, click here.