50 Small Businesses Entrepreneurs Can Start Alone

By Shannon
50 Small Businesses Entrepreneurs Can Start Alone

If you have been captivated by the entrpreneurial spirit, you probably already know that running a business by yourself is difficult, and sometimes impossible to do in certain industries. Not everyone has the money available to hire a full staff of people to help them right away. It’s possible to start a sole proprietorship where you are the one and only person running your business. Here are 50 ideas of businesses you can start all by yourself.

Event and wedding planners get to throw parties for a living. Credit: Pexels

50. Event and Wedding Planner

Most clients will want you to have some sort of past experience in the field. If you want to be a wedding planner, it may be best if you are already married, and can give photos of how you arranged everything at your own wedding.

According to The Wedding Planner Book, event planners make an average of $44,260.

Freelance writers can unleash their creativity and make their own schedule. Credit: Pexels

49. Freelance Writing

Have you always dreamed of becoming a writer? You’re not alone. It is a very competetive field, but it’s not impossible to get your foot in the door, especially since there are so many different writing genres to choose from. Most websites will want to see examples of your past work before they hire you. If you have never been published before, you will want to start your own blog and possibly begin submitting your work to writing contests in order to prove your skills.

The amount of money a freelance writer makes per year dramatically changes depending on the genre and number of clients, so it can range anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 a year.

Social Media Managers help people optimize their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles. Credit: Pexels

48. Social Media Management

Businesses and celebrities are often so busy, they do not have the time to manage their own social media profiles. While it sounds strange, there are actually college classes out there that teach you the “art” of social media, but most clients will judge you based on the quality of your personal social media. If you have tons of followers, and you have proven that you know how to run a great account, you just might get a job with an agency or as an independent manager.

A Social Media Manager can make anywhere from $34,432 to $56,571, according to PayScale.com.

If you love children, becoming a babysitter or a nanny can be a great option. Credit: Pexels

47. Babysitting and Nannying

Love kids? Then you may be a perfect babysitter or nanny. Some parents just need a few hours per week to help their kids get off the school bus and do their homework, or they may need long-term nanny care. Most parents want you to have some kind of background in child care, or have children yourself. You may also have to go through drug and background checks.

Babysitters make anywhere from $10 to $20 per hour, depending on the area where you live, age, and number of children.

Personal chefs get to cook three meals a day for wealthy clients. Credit: Pexels

46. Personal Chef

If you love to cook, becoming a personal chef may be right up your alley. They make three meals a day for wealthy clients who need a special diet. Just keep in mind that you will find more opportunities in affluent areas.

Personal Chefs make an average of $42,000 per year, according to PayScale.com

Pet owners want to hire someone they can trust to take care of their animals. Credit: Pexels

45. Pet Sitting

When people go on vacation, or if they have to work late, they often hire pet sitters to help them walk, feed, and play with their dogs and cats.

Pet sitters make $10 to $20 per hour, depending on where they live, and what they are expected to do.

Renting out a room or your entire apartment on AirBnB is a good source of extra income. Credit: Pexels

44. Rent a room on AirBnB

If you own your house, or if your landlord allows subletting, you may be able to rent a room or your entire apartment on AirBnB. Some people do this just to make a few extra hundred dollars a month, while others manage to use it to pay off their mortgage or rent.

The amount of money you make on AirBnB will change dramatically depending on where you live.

If you have a good taste for what’s popular, you may do well reselling on eBay. Credit: Pexels

43. Reselling Online

If you have a good eye for fashion or any other products that resell well online, you should consider flipping items on eBay, Poshmark, or even Amazon Marketplace. If you’re not sure where to get started, check out YouTube, where there are tons of people who are willing to share their tips and tricks on retail arbitrage.

The amount of money you make on eBay will vary dramatically depending on a number of factors.

If you have a strong academic background, you may be able to teach an online course. Credit: Pexels

42. Create Online Courses

Do you have a valuable skill? Some people may be willing to pay for an online course to learn what you have to teach them. Websites like Udemy allow you to upload your courses for students to purchase, while others gather their own following and sell a product on their own websites. Depending on how successful your product is, you can make just a few thousand dollars a year up to six figures.

Professional photographers usually have a studio setup that looks like this. Credit: Pexels

41. Photographer

If you own a DSLR camera, and you love to take photos, you can try your luck at becoming a professional photographer. Many people need help photographing their weddings, products, and special events.

The amount of money you make will change drastically depending on how many gigs you are able to land with clients, but according to PayScale.com, photographers typically make $15.93 per hour.

Many dog owners pay someone to bring their pet on walks. Credit: Pexels

40. Dog Walking

If you love spending time with “man’s best friend”, then maybe you would consider walking other people’s dogs for some extra cash. Dog walkers usually make $10 to $20 per dog, and if you can pull off walking multiple dogs at once, it can turn into a full-time living.

If you love children, you may be qualified to open an at-home day care. Credit: Pexels

39. Home Daycare

If you are a stay-at-home mom, opening a daycare in your house may be a great business opportunity for you to make some money while you’re at home with your child. Depending on where you live, your home may have to be inspected by the state before you are allowed to have an at-home daycare, and you may have to get a license. Most parents also feel more comfortable if you know CPR and basic first aid.

The amount of money you charge for child care is entirely up to you. Just to give an example, if you charge $45 per day for one child, that’s $225 per week. If you have five children in your daycare five days a week, that’s $1,125 or $58,500 per year.

Many people hire people to clean their homes and businesses. Credit: Pexels

38. Cleaning Services

Families and businesses often need to hire a cleaning person to help keep their spaces in tip-top shape. Check your local area for existing cleaning services, and decide if you can create your own business at a competetive price. According to Care.com, the average cost of housekeeping services in the United States is $9 per hour. For more complex cleaning issues, it is possible to make more money.

If you are great at cleaning cars, you may be able to charge for detailing services. Credit: Pexels

37. Car Detailing

Unlike a standard car wash, car detailing businesses will spend a few hours going over every little detail of a vehicle to make it look nearly brand new and shiny both inside and out. You don’t really need experience to become a car detailer, but there are actually training videos on YouTube. Taking before and after photos of your own car may help. It also helps if you have a garage or a professional setting where someone will trust handing their car over to you. Typically, car detailing costs $100 for a car and $130 for a truck.

If you have a fashion background, you may be able to sell patterns on Etsy. Credit: Pexels

36. Making or Selling Sewing Patterns

Sewing patterns are pieces of paper and a set of instructions that teach someone how to make a garment. Fashion designers have to make patterns for their original designs, and they sometimes sell their work on Etsy. If you just so happen to have a background in fashion, this business may be a great option for you. There is also a great market for vintage sewing patterns made by companies like McCall’s and Butterick.

The amount of money you make from a sewing pattern businesses changes drastically depending on the size of your inventory. If you have a large store with a lot of options, it’s possible to make an extra $100 a week.

Great at baking? You may be able to sell your tasty treats. Credit: Pexels

35. Gourmet Baking

If you love baking, your friends and family may have told you that you could open a bakery. Running an entire bakery by yourself is very difficult to do without employees, but some people have made some extra money on the side by selling their baked goods at craft shows, and even on Etsy. This becomes even more popular during the holiday season, where you could make a few hundred dollars profit.

If you have the equipment and a great taste in music, you may be able to become a DJ. Credit: Pexels

34. Event DJing

If you love music, becoming a DJ may be a great business idea for you. Just keep in mind that you will have to buy the speakers and some of the expensive equipment necessary to bring to parties and events, as well as have a fully stocked music library.

DJ’s will charge different amounts for their services depending on their experience. They start at $300 per party, and can go up to $2,000 for a large event like a wedding.

Web design is a much-needed skill. Credit: Pexels

33. Design Websites

If you have a background in computer science and graphic design, it only makes sense to try making money from website design.

Freelance web developers make anywhere from $50,000 up to $150,000 depending on their experience and specialization.


32. App Development

Just about everyone uses apps on their smartphones every single day, and people are always looking for a new one that will improve their lives. If you have experience in computer science, and you can develop an app to upload to the iTunes store, you just may make a fortune. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but if you have the knowledge, you might as well try.

If you have a pickup truck, you may be able to get into snow plowing. Credit: KC Lawn Care

31. Snowplowing

Apartment complexes will always pay for a contract for a snow plowing company to clear their parking lot whenever it snows. Sometimes, people with long driveways will also pay a professional to come out with a plow to help them get out of their homes, as well. These companies work best when there are multiple people working on the job, but if you want to start small, all it really takes is one pickup truck and a snow plow on the front.

If you have a lot of skills fixing things, you could be a handyman (or woman). Credit: Pexels

30. Handyman

If you have a lot of experience fixing, hanging, and making things, it’s possible to get hired as a “handyman” (or woman) in your local area. Advertise your services on Craigslist, and sign up for apps like Taskrabbit to find handyman gigs.

If you are bilingual, you may be able to work as a translator. Credit: Pexels

29. Translator

If you can speak more than one language fluently, you just might be able to work as a translator in several different fields. They are needed in media, hospitals, government offices, and major corporations. The pay changes dramatically depending on the language, your location, and job availability, but the average pay ranges from $40,000 to $70,000 per year. If this sounds like something you may qualify for, check out TranslationRules.com for more details.

Jewelry making is an intricate process. Credit: Pexels

28. Jewelry Making

When you think of jewelry makers, your mind might go to the people who have degrees in gemology. However, it’s totally possible to start out as a hobby and get better and better at making your own jewelry and selling your wares at craft shows and Etsy.

If you know how to sew, you may be able to earn money from your skills. Credit: Pexels

27. Sewing and Tailoring Services

Years ago, there was a tailor in every town, but nowadays, it seems to be a dying art. But that doesn’t mean people have lost a need for it. If you know how to tailor, sew, and alter clothing, start advertising your services online. They can make anywhere from $16,000 to $25,000, depending on your level of experience and location.

Students who are serious about learning music usually hire a private teacher. Credit: Pexels

26. Private Music Lessons

If you have a degree in classical music, there is a good chance that you can make some extra money teaching private lessons to kids. The amount of money you earn per lesson will depend on the rarity of the instrument you play, and your experience. Teachers charge anywhere from $20 per hour to $75 per hour.

Parents may hire a tutor to help their child get better grades. Credit: Pexels

25. Tutoring

If you got good grades in school, you can put your brains to work by becoming a private tutor. Keep in mind that tutors who know more difficult subjects will get paid more. For example, a High School English tutor might only make $10 an hour, but if you are teaching the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) you can make $100 per hour.

Many businesses pay transcribers. Credit: Pexels

24. Transcribing

If you are unaware, transcribing is listening to audio and writing or typing out the words that were said during a speech, YouTube video, or podcast. Some business owners want a transcription done of their content, because only written words will show up in search engine results. The one and only downside is that there are a lot of major companies out there that only charge 10 cents per minute, up to $1 per minute. This means you would only make $10 for transcribing a 10-minute video.

Busy people need help from personal assistants. Credit: Pexels

23. Personal Assistant

Busy people sometimes need to hire a personal assistant to help with every-day tasks like getting coffee, answering e-mails, buying lunch, making appointments, and doing the laundry. These jobs are typically only available in cities where high-powered people tend to congregate, and the pay ranges from part-time minimum wage to $30,000 a year.

Unique stickers are popular. Credit: Pexels

22. Sticker Making

Believe it or not, there is a lot of money to be made in stickers. Check out some of the sticker shops on Etsy. In order to do this, you will have to either come up with original artwork, or pay for the right to use someone else’s work. Then, you need a high-quality printer and cutting machine. There are loads of tutorials on YouTube that will help you get started. The pay all depends on how good your stickers designs are, and how clever you are with marketing.

Certified personal trainers help people get in shape. Credit: Pexels

21. Personal Trainer

If you have a great body and you’re eager to give people advice on how to improve your workout, you may want to become a personal trainer. Some trainers are employed by a gym, while others travel to their client’s houses. In most states, you need to have a certification before you become a personal trainer. It should also be no surprise that there are more job opportunities in cities like Los Angeles where people are more conscious of their fitness. On average, personal trainers make $36,000 per year.

A lot of people need help proofreading their work. Credit: Pexels

20. Proofreading and Editing

Did you get A’s in English class? Then you just might be perfect at proofreading and editing. You can sell your services on websites like Upwork and Fiverr.

If you have a nice voice, becoming an audiobook narrator may be a great option. Credit: Pexels

19. Audiobook Narration

Has anyone ever told you that you have a lovely voice? You just might be good enough to make money as an audiobook narrator. Typically, you will have to audition for parts online, and there is no guarantee that you will get the gig. It is a competetive field to get into, but if you succeed, you can make anywhere from $50 per hour to $350 per hour. Keep in mind that this is pay per hour of recording time, which means that it might take you much longer if you stop or re-read parts where you made a mistake. Some clients will also expect you to have your own equipment and editing software and hand in a complete product, which takes time, as well.

Anyone can upload their self-published books to Amazon or the Google Play Store. Credit: Pexels

18. Self-Publish E-Books

If you are a good writer, it’s possible to publish your stories on Amazon and the Google Play store. If your work becomes popular, you can watch the money start to roll in every month. The pay changes dramatically depending on your skills as a writer and the popularity of your books. You may only make a few dollars a month, or you could be a self-made millionaire author like Hugh Howey.

If you want to learn more about the world of self-publishing, you should read the book Write, Publish, Repeat, which goes over the ins and outs of the business.

Tech-savvy people can make money repairing computers. Credit: Pexels

17. Computer Repair

If you know how to fix computers, your skills in tech support are very valuable. People pay a fortune to services like the “Geek Squad” at Best Buy. Most independent tech repair workers charge flat fees for their work. Search for competing prices in your area, and see if you can match or give a better deal.

If you have a farm or greenhouse, you may be able to sell vegetables. Credit: Pexels

16. Growing and Selling Vegetables

If you have a farm or at least a large plot of land in your back yard, it may be possible for you to grow and sell vegetables. This can be done with a roadside stand, or you could take your produce to local farmer’s markets, co-ops, and flea markets. The amount of money you make will depending on your location and the quality of your vegetables, but it’s possible to make an extra $100 on a weekend.

If you are an expert in a particular field, you may be able to become a public speaker. Credit: Pexels

15. Public Speaking

You may have seen TED Talks or gone to a conference where an expert in a field is giving an inspiring speech. These people don’t speak for free food and applause. Public speakers can make tens of thousands of dollars for every event. Keep in mind that these gigs are few and far between, and they typically go to high-level experts in a field. But if public speaking is something you genuinely enjoy, it’s worth doing some further research.

Virtual assistants help with e-mails and so much more. Credit: Pexels

14. Virtual Assistant

Unlike a regular personal assistant, virtual assistants can usually get their job done from the comfort of their own homes. Duties of a virtual assistant usually include answering e-mails, making appointments, booking flights, proofreading, and more. Even though all of this sounds like easy work, these jobs usually go to recent college graduates. Usually, clients pay virtual assistants $15 to $20 per hour, and some skilled freelancers are able to pull off multiple clients at once.

Graphic designers create images on the computer. Credit: Pexels

13. Graphic Design

A lot of students go to art school for graphic design, and it’s for a good reason. They want to make their artwork and get paid for it, of course. With the world of digital marketing, there is always a need for graphic designers, and they make an average of $22 per hour after earning a Bachelor’s Degree. The more popular and artists’ work is, the more money they can make. Some freelance designers make upwards of $45,000 a year.

It’s possible for artists to make a living as freelance illustrators. Credit: Pexels

12. Freelance Illustration

Are you an artist? It’s possible that you could turn your hobby into a career. Businesses need freelance illustrators, and will sometimes pay commission for your work. If you are interested to know more, check out the YouTube channel of an artist named Fran Meneses, where she explains the ins and outs of making a career in freelance illustration.

Young people looking to get a job sometimes need help with their resume. Credit: Pexels

11. Write Resumes

After the Great Recession in 2008, having an impressive resume became a very crucial part of landing a good job. You can offer resume writing services on websites like Upwork and Fiverr, and the pay will depend on your experience and the competition.

SEO and Affiliate Marketing are valuable tools for online businesses. Credit: Pexels

10. SEO and Affiliate Marketing

Nowadays, websites make their bread and butter from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Affiliate Marketing, which is why many companies hire experts to help their business succeed on the internet. Some colleges teach classes in SEO, but you can also buy a few books on Amazon and do some research to learn everything you need to know. Experts in SEO usually make around $40,000 to $50,000 per year, if they play their cards right.

Clocks are just one example of antiques that can be repaired. Credit: Pexels

9. Sell or Refurbish Antiques

Refurbishing antiques is a dying art, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new skill if you really wanted to. Certain valuable antiques, like clocks and furniture, are worth paying to get repaired. The pay changes drastically depending on the work of art and your skill level, but you may get hundreds of dollars per gig if it means restoring and object that is worth thousands.

Gyms often hire experts to teach fitness classes. Credit: Pexels

8. Teach an Exercise Class

If you are a master of yoga, tai chi, kickboxing, or any other exercise, you might be qualified to work as an instructor. The amount you make per class usually depends on the number of students who show up, and if you use an established gym’s studio space, you will likely be splitting the profits with them. The average pay for a yoga instructor is $28 per hour.

Love to garden? You may be able to become a professional landscaper. Credit: Pexels

7. Landscaping Services

If you have a green thumb and love spending time outdoors, you may be able to offer landscaping services. This could be as simple as making an extra $20 to mow someone’s lawn, or hundreds of dollars to design and elaborate garden. Keep in mind that these gigs are more commonly found in affluent areas.

You may be able to go into business for yourself as a hairdresser. Credit: Pexels

6. Home Hair Salon

If you went to beauty school and got a cosmetology license, it’s possible for you to start giving haircuts and dying hair out of your own home. It helps to have all of the standard equipment set up in your house. Create a Facebook page with before-and-after photos of your work. If you do a good job, you may gain clientele that way.

The amount of money you make will depend on the cost of the competition in your local area, minus the cost of whatever you pay for your supplies.

Special events like weddings usually hire a caterer to help prepare the food. Credit: Pexels

5. Catering

If you are a great cook who dabbles in gourmet recipes from time to time, you just might be able to start your own catering business. A lot of the bigger companies have staff that has gone to culinary school, but depending on where you live, you may be able to break out and offer a competetive rate for weddings and parties that will give you a set budget to put together all the food they need. According to Salary.com, caterers make anywhere from $8.72 per hour up to $25 per hour.

Interior designers transform living spaces for wealthy clients. Credit: Pexels

4. Interior Decorator

Usually, interior designers get a degree in the subject before they move on to make it a career. But if you live far enough away from some of the major cities, you may be able to sell your services simply based on before-and-after photo examples of your style. Or, you could start a YouTube channel to show off your work, like Rebecca Robeson.

An interior designer’s pay will change dramatically depending on your location and number of clients, but a busy designer can expect to make $50,000 a year.

A lot of people appreciate high-quality knitted products. Credit: Pexels

3. Quilting, Knitting, and Crocheting

Every year, it seems like there is a new trend in knitted items. Whether it’s ugly Christmas sweater, slouchy beanies, or huge knitted blankets, there are always opportunities for people who quilt, knit, and crochet to make some extra money. If this sounds like you, try selling your wares at local craft stows and open a store on Etsy.com.

Some craftspeople are skilled at carving furniture and other things out of wood. Credit: Pexels

2. Woodworking

If you just so happen to have woodworking equipment in your garage, you can turn that into a business. People need custom-made furniture made, or they may just request a repair. For the right person, this could be turning a hobby or a passion project into a new career. Your pay will depend on how many clients you can find in your local area, but the average pay is $29,000 per year.

Drivers can make their own hours and work whenever they have the time. Credit: Pexels

1. Uber or Lyft Driver

If you have a nice car, a clean driving record, and insurance, you can start your own business becoming a Lyft or Uber driver. Keep in mind that you will get the most clients in major cities, and many of them will need rides home from the bar or airport.

Pay changes dramatically depending on the location, tips, etc. According to a study conducted by Buzzfeed, Uber drivers who work full-time can expect to make anywhere from $15 to $30 an hour.