Universities and colleges across the U.S.
Small Business Ideas
Our massive list of the best, new small business ideas is designed to inspire you to come up with your own ideas and start a side-hustle that is sustainable and profitable.
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Please provide a short title and summary (plus your twitter handle) that explains how and why the idea would work. We'll post it to the list and share it with the world (along with a bit of twitter love for you).
Browse our list of ideas
Comprehensive "Act of dog" family pet consultant
Ok, so Act of Dog is just a cool name for this type of business - a comprehensive consultant and service provider for families with dogs, or wanting to buy dogs.
Get in on the ground floor by advising people on the right breed for their properties and family life. Then sell them all the products they need to care for their pet (i.e. dog food, dog bed, bowls, supplements, etc).
Provide a lodging service so that they can go away on holiday happy in the knowledge that their pet is well looked after - so this doesn't happen:
Help people enjoy a beloved family pet from start to finish!
Run local errands
Many people find it difficult to get their daily chores done around demanding work schedules.
Offer an errand running service for locals, that allows them to pass on tasks via a website so that your team can do them on behalf of the customer.
Simple concept, and easy to set up, but you will need one or more vehicles.
Business cards niche blog
Business cards are a huge industry, generating hundreds of thousands of monthly searches on Google. Many of the top players in the industry are not dedicated to this niche. Most are general printing services that also happen to do business cards.
With lots of really great content, focusing purely on this niche, you should be able to attract high page rankings in this niche and drive plenty of valuable organic search traffic.
You can even design your own in Photoshop to share with your readers:
Monetize content with ads, design services, printing and other related affiliates.
Niche product dropshipper
If you think you've got what it takes to market and sell products online, but don't have a product to sell, then an online store that uses drop-shipping is perfect.
There are a number of drop-shipping services that allow you to pick out products from their inventory list.
It's easy to build an online store using hosted shopping cart software, and the drop shipper handles fulfillment of your online orders. Simple!
Learn more about drop shipping at how to start a drop-shipping eCommerce store.
Professional webinar host
Many companies, as a strategy to increase competitiveness, invest in seminars and training to help their employees learn new skills or work more efficiently.
If you have a profession, or a skill, offer online webinars and events to help train people online.
Thanks to technology, setting up online webinars no longer requires much, if any, technical skills, so you are free to concentrate on promoting and running webinars using a blog, traditional and social media marketing.
Sell eLearning products online
eLearning is a growing industry. More and more people are looking for online training and courses, and more and more established education organizations are offering their courses online.
Now is the time to get on board and capture some of the eLearning market share as trust and demand in this industry is growing. Already there are startups like codecademy that are doing great things:
In particular, if you can create high quality eLearning content in an industry or niche that does not yet have a lot of competition, you stand a good chance of getting established quickly.
"Jump the queue" local grocery shopping delivery service
How many people do you know love fighting for parking, paying for parking, trudging round the mall, waiting in queues, and generally wasting time doing their shopping (in between hectic work schedules)?
So why do we all do it?
Offer a local service that allows people to give you their grocery shopping list in the morning and specify a time for it to be ready. They can then pick it up from outside the mall as they drive past.
All you need is an online store to take payments in advance each month to act as credit against their grocery bills. But beware, there will soon be significant robotic competition:
Local pickup and dump service
Many people, especially in big cities, have to pay a lot of money to have their old furniture hauled away and disposed of in the assigned municipal dumps.
But, instead of having this "junk" thrown away, much of it can be sold off as second hand furniture.
The sneaky part is that you haul it away for free or a price lower than they would pay (so the owners are happy because they are saving money), decide what you can sell, and dispose of the rest.
You might not get much for second hand furniture sales, but 100% of it is profit because you were paid to pick it up. Obviously, you will need at least one vehicle to start with.
If you are a teacher or trainer in real life, why not take your business online? It's easy to offer real-time online classes using something like Google+ hangouts.
In addition to getting paid for private classes and lessons, you could record and sell the best ones from your website or blog - and of course, YouTube offers a fantastic channel to reach new people.
Here are a bunch of tips from established online learning pros to get you started:
Sell "rescue packages" for new parents
New parents often feel overwhelmed by the addition of a baby to the family, and as the baby grows, so the requirements placed on the household changes.
Offer a service that simplifies the job of parents, by offering great products, delivered each week, to coincide with the changing requirements of the newborn, as it grows.
This is somewhere between an eCommerce and subscriptions based business because parents would sign up for a period (say, 6 months), and have products delivered each week.
Put together a weekly delivery package based on your "growing baby" research, and sell subscriptions online.
Sell men's socks online
Men hate being dragged around shopping malls by their wife or girlfriend. In fact, buying clothing is often a grudge purchase for guys.
In particular, things like socks, which no-one really gets to see anyway, are particularly annoying to make a trip to the store for. So, make it super easy for guys to get the socks (and possibly other undergarments) they need without having to make a special trip.
Having a hyper-niche online store selling only one type of product is also an advantage when it comes to SEO and driving valuable organic search traffic because you can focus your content nicely.
Hyper local food delivery service
Lots of people who work in the city, or in large office blocks, might feel like getting their meal delivered to their place of work - or possibly, right to their desk.
Set up an online store that allows people to order their lunch online in the morning and specific a delivery time.
Keep your service focused on a small area so that your delivery team can get all the orders out on time.
It might be a good idea to specify certain "pick up" points that people can take a short walk from their office to pick up their lunch.
Cloud technology review site
Businesses, big and small, or moving over to the cloud. Many top software solutions providers now offer their software as an online cloud based service.
There is a growing demand for high quality information and advice on cloud technology, and a growing industry that is marketing aggressively.
Capitalize on the rising demand for information about the cloud by blogging about applications for business, and use affiliate relationships to monetize your content.
Sell homemade food stuffs
Did your grandmother pass down a family recipe for jam? Did your dinner experiments at university result in one fantastic food concoction that everyone loves?
If you can make a preserve or other food stuff with a reasonable shelf-life, start selling it online using an eCommerce store. Here's a great recipe for making hot sauce to get you started:
Start off local, and promote yourself by attending local markets and fairs. Online orders will start as a trickle and grow to a flood.
Sell personalized gifts online
The market for personalized gifts is growing strongly. More and more people are looking for gifts that are meaningful in the context of their relationship.
Corporate gifts are an excellent segment to try and capture in this niche, because companies that give gifts may want them personalized and branded.
Offering personalized gifts is also a good way to distinguish your online store from the large, established eCommerce sites like Amazon.
Advice columnist for a niche audience
One of the best ways to build up a loyal community of readers, fans, and followers, is to give them the advice and information they need to solve problems.
If you have expertise and training in virtually any given field (it could be anything from psychiatry to plumbing), you can start an online community focused around solving problems in that niche.
Build up plenty of great content to start attracting new readers and community members with organic search traffic, and then monetize with professional consulting or premium memberships.
Current affairs satirist or commentator
Current affairs are always on everybody's minds. Whether it is a new political blunder, a celebrity meltdown, an environmental disaster, or something else noteworthy, you can share a humorous or insightful opinion.
If you have a unique perspective on the world, or can write with humor, you will be able to grow a loyal following of readers, like John Oliver:
While there is a lot of competition with news, blogs and other media, there is also a really large audience, and provided you are able to be unique in some way, you will eventually capture enough traffic to make money selling ads.
Online talkshow host
Becoming the star of your very own talkshow is really easy - from a technical point of view. You don't need any technical skills to record and post clips to your blog and YouTube channel.
The hard part is finding something that is entertaining, and presenting it in a way that attracts and engages people.
If you have a knack for verbal and visual communications, then there is a lot of money to be made with a blog + YouTube channel. PewDiePie has racked up more than 10 billion views:
Web hosting services affiliate marketer
A lot of individuals, startups, and other organizations need a good Web hosting service that meets their requirements in a cost effective way.
The problem is that there are so many services out there all claiming to be the best, that is can be difficult to make a choice.
There are other considerations too - cloud hosting, green hosting, hosted website builders, and so on.
Offer very simple (for dummies) advice that helps people choose the right service, and make money with affiliate relationships. There is a lot of competition in this niche, but SME Pals manages to dominate search results with the article entitled the best Web hosting services.
Local restaurant review blog
If you love eating out and trying new places, then why not turn it into a small business while you're at it? Becoming a well known review blog of local restaurants puts you in a strong position to generate revenue from restaurants in your area.
Make sure you take plenty of great pics of your food and the establishments you visit so that your blog gives a good sense of what people can expect.
Be patient too. It will take a bit of time before you are an established authority in this niche. A good example is Atlanta Eats. Here's a review of one of their local pizza places (looks delicious):
"Avoid traffic jams" lifestyle services
Offer a range of after-work classes, courses and entertainment for people working in the city. This gives them the opportunity to do something fun, or learn something useful instead of sitting in a traffic jam, trying to get home.
Once class is over, so is the worst of the evening traffic, and customers can get home quickly - saving on petrol, and saving the environment.
Your local municipality will probably love to get on board with this idea as it would alleviate congestion on the roads during peak traffic hours.
Celebrity gossip blogger for rising stars
Find out juicy secrets by hanging around at bars and clubs where celebs often go. Make friends with rising stars, and take clips and recordings to post to your blog and YouTube channel.