Are you interested in starting your own business? Here’s a list of the best small business ideas in America.
Deciding it’s time to make a career change is one thing; going through with it is something entirely different.
There’s a lot to think about before starting out, but don’t worry – it will all pay off in the end, and once you finally become your own boss, you’ll see it was worth the effort.
If you feel like you’re up to the challenge, here are some of the best small business ideas in America.
Off to a Good Start: Tips for Starting Your Business
Let’s face it: there’s no perfect, fail-proof formula for starting a small business. So, how can you be sure you’ll make it?
While no one can guarantee you success, there are things you could do to lessen your chances of failure significantly. If you talked to some people about this idea you have about starting your own small business, you’ve probably gotten a lot of advice from family, friends, other business owners; choosing which ones to follow might get a bit overwhelming.
There are, however, some tips that you could find useful; it certainly won’t hurt to give these a try:
• There’s no room for excuses – The fear of failing is your number one enemy when you’re thinking about starting your own business. You have the ambition, you have the ideas, but there’s that little voice in your head, repeating the same question over and over again: What if you don’t succeed? People tend to react to this fear of failing in a similar way – they start making excuses for not trying at all, and somewhere along the way they just give up on their dream of running a small business.
• Learn about your future business niche – Read, talk to people that have experience in that particular niche, such as other successful business owners, do some research; to put it shortly, be a sponge. Once you acquire a decent amount of knowledge on the topic, get back to your original idea – it’s time for a revision. You need to get a better understanding of how the business world actually works and how your plans fit into it. It would be best to get a notebook and write stuff down – valuable advice, random ideas, all the DOs and DON’Ts of running a business - everything that comes to mind that could help you make your dreams come true.
• Narrow your focus – All that excitement about starting a business could make you lose your focus, which is relatively common. New ideas will pop up in your head all the time – while you’re drinking your morning cup of coffee, taking a shower or when you’re about to fall asleep. If you don’t deal with this the right way, things might get out of hand, and before you even realize, something that was once a good idea will become an overly complicated plan – and excessively complicated is something you want to avoid when starting a small business. Starting small is your best bet; it’ll be a lot easier to add all those bells and whistles once your business begins to grow.
• Consider the costs of starting a business – You need to consider how much developing a business idea might cost you; there’s no way of knowing the exact amount of money you’ll need for a venture like that, but you can make some pretty good estimations. Once you have a number in your mind, multiply it by, let’s say, four. Yes, four. Why?
Because, as you’ll soon discover, starting a business brings all sorts of hidden costs. Don’t forget to count in your personal budget; you’ll still need money for your everyday life – food, rent and healthcare can’t be put on hold just because you’re trying to save up some money for your business budget.
• Don’t quit your day job (yet) – The transition you’re making from an employee to an entrepreneur should be as gradual as possible. That means leaving your job is not an option... yet. Wait until you have a steady income from your small business; it will take some time, so be patient. While you wait for your newly started business to stand on its own two feet, stick to your current job; it will be your primary (and probably only) source of income for the time being.
• Follow the legal requirements – Although there are many exciting things about starting a new business, this isn’t one of them, but it’s undoubtedly the most important one; there are many legal things to take care of – business registration, taxes, employer laws, etc. Following government regulations is an absolute must; you’ll face some serious consequences if you fail to obey the law. It would be best if you could talk to an expert about this, someone who knows and understands the law.
• Let people know about your business – Experience has showed that many entrepreneurs out there struggle with mastering the art of selling. If you’re not an outgoing person by nature, you’ll have a hard time with this, but it’s something that needs to be done if you want your new business to succeed.
There’s no room for being shy here – get out of your comfort zone and start talking to people about your business. You can’t expect to earn money if no one knows about your business, so put yourself out there and start selling; you’ll get more comfortable as time goes by, and eventually, you’ll be able to speak about your business with real, attention-grabbing confidence.
Statistics: Numbers You Need to Know Before Starting a Business
At a 99.7 percent rate, small businesses are the largest part of US businesses in general.
In 77 percent of cases, the initial funding comes from personal savings.
52 percent of small businesses in America are home-based.
A little over 50 percent of small businesses fail during the first year.
The cause for small businesses failing is money-related 82 percent of the time.
Starting with Less than $2,000: Top 10 Small Business Ideas Your Budget Can Handle
1. Pet Sitter
If you ask them, pet owners would like to bring their pets with them where ever they go. However, that’s not always a possibility; maybe their pet can’t be boarded, they have a chronic health condition that doesn’t allow them to be moved a lot or they have an exotic pet (they might be challenging to take care of).
In a scenario like that, owners are forced to leave their pet at home and have someone else take care of them while they’re away. While friends and family members are an option, many people are willing to pay someone with a bit more experience to do the job in their own home, as it will be a lot less stressful for the animal than being taken to an unfamiliar surrounding; that’s where you come into play.
Use other local pet-related businesses – pet shops, dog grooming services, veterinarians – to market your services through them. Talk to other business owners and ask them to help you by recommending you as a pet sitter to their customers, and promise to do the same for them once you get your own; they’ll be a lot more inclined to help you that way.
2. Personal Shopper
Do you enjoy shopping a bit too much? Use that in your favor and turn it into a real business by becoming a personal shopper. You’ll have three types of clients: those that are too busy to shop, those that aren’t capable of doing it on their own, and those that just don’t like shopping. These people all have one thing in common – they need you to do their shopping for them.
You can expect to be hired to buy presents for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and a variety of other occasions; seniors will need you to buy groceries for them because they can’t get around as they used to anymore. And if you decide to expand your customer base, so that includes corporations as well, you’ll get hired to buy gifts for their clients, investors, employees; you get the idea.
What do you need to get started?
That’s the best thing – nothing, except a love for shopping, good taste and a little creativity; this is one of those jobs that doesn’t require any real experience to get started.
3. Music Lessons
Giving music lessons is a business that will allow you to capitalize on your talent; just pick out something you’re good at – singing, playing the piano, guitar, violin or any other instrument out there – and you’re good to go. Music lessons are a great way to turn your love for music into a part- or full-time business.
If you’re wondering where exactly to conduct these classes, here are some of the most popular solutions: you could do it at your home or go to your student’s place. You could also rent a space for your lessons, but keep in mind this option will require a more substantial investment on your part than the first two.
Another thing to consider is whether you want to give individual (one-on-one) or group classes; this will determine how much you’ll charge per hour – one-on-one lessons tend to cost more in general (sometimes up to three to four times more than the group ones).
Market your new business, and soon you’ll have more students than you can handle on your own. You should take this as a sign it’s time to expand and look for other skilled musicians willing to teach.
4. Children’s Party Planner
Remember how birthday parties used to look when you were a child? Well, the situation is considerably different nowadays; parents are spending way more than our parents used to.
So, it’s time to ask yourself: Do I have what it takes to become a children’s party planner?
Let’s see what the essential requirements are; first off, you need to love children and being around them. That’s simple, though. The other is that you enjoy (and are good at) planning parties. If you ticked both of these prerequisites, you might have found your dream job.
There are two ways to do this – by going to your client’s chosen location or by making them come to you. Either way, you’ll have pretty much the same duties; it’ll be up to you to plan the whole thing, to make sure there’s entertainment (because no one wants a bunch of bored kids at one place) and games, and to decorate the venue. Food and beverages are also part of your job. All in all, you’re there to make sure those kids have the best time ever; parents won’t care how much it costs them as long as they see their child having fun.
5. Cake and Cupcake Bakery
Are you known among your friends as the one that bakes the most delicious cupcakes in the world? If yes, there’s a way to turn your hobby into a potentially profitable business.
Think about it: baby showers, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries – these are all events that require beautifully decorated, one-of-a-kind cakes (or cupcakes), which is why you should be the one people turn to when they need some baked goods for their party.
The best thing about starting a cupcake business is the investment needed – or the lack of it; seriously, if you have a kitchen and you know your way around it, congratulations, you have what it takes to open your own home-based bakery. Of course, once you start making a serious profit out of it, you should consider moving your business from your home into a rented space.
But how do you get to that point?
Well, first of all, you’ll have to advertise your business; offer your services to event coordinators, children’s party planners, bridal shops, photographers and even restaurants. Better yet, send them samples of your cakes; that way, they’ll have the chance to see for themselves how skilled you are. Another thing you could do is make a website dedicated to your bakery. Going online will give you a much broader customer reach, which will inevitably result in a growing business and, finally, a higher income.
6. Soap and Essential Oils Maker
Attention, all lovers of handcrafted goods!
Here’s a home-based business idea perfect for you: making essential oils and soaps. It’s fun, creative, as well as profitable business that you can truly enjoy. There will be some initial investments, but those are almost always a part of starting your own business; they will be minimal, though. Once you have your setup ready, you can start working in your kitchen.
You can play around with different shapes, scents, and colors; if you decide it’s time to make your offer more extensive, you can start making bath bombs (there’s a massive demand for these right now) and salts. Your focus can be on aromatherapy or on making every product using only organic ingredients. To make things more fun, you could even make soaps that have a toy hidden inside, that will be revealed once the soap is all used up; the possibilities are endless, you just have to let your creativity run wild.
7. Floral Designer
There are two major requirements for starting a business as a floral designer; you probably know what they are, but let’s state the obvious anyway – you need to love flowers and have good taste (this will help you tremendously when it comes to creating floral arrangements). If you’re confident you have what it takes, maybe this could be a business idea you should seriously consider. Of course, it would be best if you could do some formal training first (there are probably floral design classes available in your community) because you’ll learn all about different techniques and materials you could use.
Your job as a floral designer will consist of making floral arrangements (bouquets, table centerpieces, wreaths) for different occasions; people will hire you to design something for their weddings, social events, as well as funerals. If you’re lucky, a local restaurant will notice your work and ask you to become their regular floral designer. As far as marketing goes, you have the best chances of success if you team up with wedding planners, event planners, and funeral homes.
8. Fashion Accessories Designer
Have you ever bought a piece of jewelry (for yourself or as a gift to someone) and thought to yourself: Well, I could have made this?
Chances are you could – with the right tools and supplies, you could start making (and selling) jewelry, as soon as you get the hang of how it all works. Of course, you have to have that special something – let’s call it a flair for design – for this to work.
Once you start making jewelry, give the first few pieces to friends and family and ask them for their honest opinion; that could be one of the simplest ways to get a clearer picture of your future customer base. Don’t get discouraged if their reactions aren’t entirely positive at first; you’ll get better, just give yourself some time and room for improvement.
One great thing about this particular business is that you can sell handmade jewelry almost everywhere nowadays. First off, there’s Etsy, which is one of the most popular websites for selling all sorts of handcrafted items; then there’s eBay, and if you want a more hands-on approach to selling, you could try local craft fairs.
9. Vintage Clothing Dealer
Do you have a love for all things vintage? Then here’s a small business idea that would be perfect for you – become a vintage clothes dealer.
Your average day „at work“ will look a little bit like this: visiting flea markets, auctions, and garage sales in search of some amazing vintage pieces of either clothing or accessories (shoes, hats, scarves, and jewelry). And if you happen to find a vintage Channel (or any other high-fashion piece that’s been sitting in someone’s closet for the past few decades) you’ve hit the jackpot.
Getting into this particular business will require a bit more effort, though. First of all, you’ll have to gather some knowledge on the topic of vintage clothing; you don’t want to spend too much thinking it’ll be money well spent, just to find out a few days later that the piece isn’t worth nearly as much as you paid. So, get to work; for example, learn how to tell apart a vintage dress from a vintage style dress – it will be more than useful once you hit the flea market.
Several other skills will make things a lot easier (and less expensive in the long run); remember, these aren’t mandatory, but they sure do help a lot: sewing and minor alterations, as well as removing stains and discolorations without destroying the sensitive fabrics. You could, of course, pay someone else to do this for you, but if you’re looking to save money during the start-up phase, then it’s best if you learn to do it yourself.
10. Dog Walker
If you're looking for a low-cost, straightforward and fast way to become a part of the pet industry, starting a dog walking business is one of the best ways to do it.
There was already mention of a job closely related to this one (you read about the pet sitting services at the beginning of this list) and while it may seem like those two are pretty much the same, there's an essential difference to keep in mind. As opposed to pet sitting, dog walking means you have fewer responsibilities while the pet is under your supervision.
Dog walking is a business that gained a lot of popularity over the years since there are many dog lovers out there that have a dog but can't afford to be there for their mandatory walks because they have a job to go to. That's where you come into play.
Before starting your business, talk to someone about insurance specifically tailored to fit dog walkers; it will protect you from any legal actions in case a dog that was under your supervision causes some damage during one of your walks.
Small Businesses in America: The Ultimate List of Business Ideas
11. Food Truck Business
It doesn’t matter where you live, you’ve probably seen one of these at least once before. So, how does it seem to you - the idea of owning a large truck equipped for preparing and selling foods?
You’re probably thinking: I don’t want to sell hamburgers and French fries for the rest of my life.
That’s the catch – you don’t have to. Thinking of food trucks as a place that only sells fast food and ice cream is a thing of the past; nowadays you can find everything from Mexican food to sushi rolls, freshly prepared right there on the truck. It isn’t about fast food anymore, so if your dream is more of a gourmet cuisine food truck, by all means, make it happen. As long as there’s a market for that particular food type, you can be sure your business will continue to grow.
The best locations for your food truck are the ones where a traditional restaurant just isn’t a possibility; for example, college campuses, construction sites, carnival sites, and even beaches – these are all excellent locations that will get you lots and lots of customers. There’s also a growing trend of hiring food trucks for events such as birthday parties, picnics, community events, and weddings (it’s not typical, but it’s entirely possible). You’ll need to get in touch with your local event planner if you want to expand your business in such a way, though.
12. Grocery Store Owner
What is one of the main things that people can’t do without? Groceries.
That’s one of the main reasons for you to consider opening a grocery store. Since you’re already here looking for small business ideas, keep this one in mind; it’s relatively easy to get started, and it won’t cost you a fortune. On top of that, it’s one of those investments that pay off in no time.
There are several things you can do as a new grocery store owner to make sure your business avoids facing the same financial difficulties that forced some grocery stores to close over the years.
The first thing you need to do is to look at your competition; is there any and, if yes, how many?
Opening another store in the neighborhood that already has several other is pointless in most cases. Also, remember to do a detailed market research; if you include the right products in your offer, you’ve already made a step in the right direction.
If you’re a member of a rural community that doesn’t have a well-stocked grocery store, seize the opportunity and open one that will; people will notice and appreciate your effort, which is the first step towards building a loyal customer base.
13. Makeup Artist
First off, don’t think it’s a business idea suitable only for women; there are plenty of male makeup artists out there that are amazing at their job. Now that we got that out of the way let’s see what it’s like to become a part of the makeup industry.
One of the main advantages of this business is its flexibility. If you’re not ready to leave your current job yet, you can work as a part-time makeup artist until you build your confidence and improve your skills; it would be best to set up your makeup station in your home for the time being. Once your business grows, and you can see yourself doing this as a full-time job, consider opening a salon.
You can expect to be hired to do bridal makeup, professional photo shoots, and all sorts of special occasions (reunions, birthday parties, anniversaries); some people will come to you wanting a makeover or even lessons in applying makeup. All in all, you can’t expect to get bored of your job anytime soon.
14. Non-medical Home Care
You can choose to call it elder care, adult care or non-medical home care; either way, this is not only an exploding industry (which automatically translates to profit) but a generous way to help those in need, too. People tend to lose their ability to get around as they age, which means they need personal attention. If you like the idea of being a caregiver, this could be the ideal job for you.
A typical list of services you’ll provide to your clients is, as the title already says, a non-medical one. Your duties will consist of running errands, reminding them to take their medications, preparing meals, and doing some light work around the house. However, the most important thing is that you’ll provide some companionship for them.
Of course, non-medical home care doesn’t include only helping the elderly; you can also provide those (or similar) services to people with disabilities or those that are recovering from an illness or an injury.
As always, it’s best to start out small; once you gain a significant amount of experience and feel ready to take the next step, consider opening an agency to hire additional caregivers.
15. Personal Fitness Trainer
People are getting more and more focused on finding ways to improve not only their looks but their quality of life, too, which gives health and fitness enthusiasts the option of starting a business in this niche by becoming personal fitness trainers.
Even though there are no real certification requirements for this type of job, you should consider getting certified anyway. After all, your clients will be people with different goals and backgrounds, so you need to be educated on how to achieve those goals without compromising their health in any way.
There are two ways to lead this business – either by doing one-on-one sessions or group training programs. If you’re wondering what your client base might look like, there’s no way to tell for sure, since basically anyone who wants a personal fitness trainer is a potential client of yours. You could, however, focus on a particular group, such as moms-to-be, seniors, kids or disabled people. Start out by training in your home (or your customer’s home, if they prefer it that way); once your business grows, you’ll be able to afford to open your fitness studio.
16. Commercial Cleaning
The only real difference between commercial and residential cleaning services are the working hours and the scale on which the job is done; there are some additional services as well, such as replenishing soap and paper products, floor stripping and waxing, but more on that later.
When it comes to working hours, they can be considered both an advantage and a disadvantage – depends on how you look at it. Since you’ll be hired to clean offices and other business spaces, you’ll have to work outside the usual working hours, which means nights and weekends. If you’re just looking to make some money on the side, while still keeping your day job, this is a business to consider.
The payment rates are also higher when compared to residential cleaning. One of the factors that decide how high they go are the unusual working hours; the other one is related to the work itself. The equipment costs more, and you’ll do specialized jobs, such as stripping and waxing floors; when combined with the first factor, you’ve given an absolute right to charge a premium.
How do you get customers, though?
Well, you’ll have to knock on some doors, and once you acquire a decent amount of clients, people will come to you by word of mouth.
17. Event/Party Planner
One question always seems to arise when it comes to event planning: What kind of events are we talking about here?
"Special events" seems to be too broad of an answer, but in general, you'll be hired to handle the planning of all kinds of celebrations (weddings, birthdays, reunions), commemorations, promotions, conferences, as well as parades and fairs. You could specialize in planning a specific type of events (weddings, for example), but more on that later. While a degree or certificate in management or event planning isn't mandatory, it will help you a lot in landing clients.
Your job will consist of many different tasks, from finding a site to supervising everything that goes on during the preparations; you'll even be present on the day of the event to make sure everything runs smoothly.
18. Wedding Planner
Nowadays, people are ready to spend a substantial amount of money to make sure their special day turns out to be a dream come true for both the bride and the groom. With all the expenses of planning a wedding, spending a little extra to hire a wedding planner seems like money well spent to most couples.
Your duties will cover everything - from picking out the venue, the right catering, music, and table centerpieces, to handling all the little details (for example, who's going to sit where). To put it shortly: your job will be to take someones vision and make it a reality, with their budget in mind.
Becoming a wedding planner doesn't require much money-wise, but you'll have to do a good job at marketing your business; how can you expect people to hire you if they don't know your business exists in the first place?
19. Childcare Center
You love everything about kids, especially taking care of them?
Maybe you should consider starting a daycare center. The need for childcare keeps growing due to the costs of living being so high that both parents require full-time jobs. At the same time, most parents prefer to leave their child in a home environment than an institutional one.
There are two ways to go about this – you could either open a home-based daycare center or rent out space and turn it into a childcare facility. As always, it would be best if you start small; opening a home-based business will cut down on your investment costs drastically. You will, however, be limited regarding how many kids you’re allowed to care for in your house.
When it comes to finding clients, you’ll realize soon enough that it will never be a problem; you’ll probably have to turn people down because you already reached your limit. It’s astounding how well the word-of-mouth advertising works; parents are always looking for a reliable person to take care of their kids, so make sure you become the one that others will recommend.
As camera gear became more affordable in the last decade or so, a lot of people turned to photography as a hobby, and some of them even decided to make it their profession. It's gotten to a point where it seems like almost everyone can become (and is) a photographer. Of course, that's not entirely the case; there's a significant difference between someone who casually takes photos (as a hobby) and those that make a living from it - it's all in the skill level. Don't get discouraged, though; this only means you'll have to put in a bit more effort to get your work to stand out in a pile of amateur shots.
There are many paths you could go down as a photographer: you could specialize in wedding photography, stock photography, portraits, landscapes, and even pet photography. Try everything out to see which of these niches suits you best and become an expert in that particular field, but try not to limit yourself to only one type of photography. That way, you'll be able to offer a variety of services to your clients.
21. Freelance Writing
If you’re a talented writer, it would be a shame if you didn’t get to use your talent, especially if there’s a way to turn it into a real, full-time job. Freelance writing might be the best solution for you if you want to make writing your career, without belonging to an actual company.
You could turn it into a full-time job, but there’s the option of making a part-time thing, using it only as a way to add some money to your already existing income; that’s entirely up to you. There’s one thing to keep in mind, though: if writing becomes your career, it’s going to be something you’ll do pretty much every single day, so think carefully about whether or not you enjoy writing that much.
While getting a degree in English or journalism is considered an asset in this business, it’s not mandatory; all you need are talent and passion for writing. If you have both, you’re good to go.
22. Translation Services
There was a time when the local market was all we had, but that’s not the case anymore; nowadays, we can talk about the continually growing global marketplace. Why do you need to know this? Because „global“ essentially means cross-cultural. For businesses that are operating on such a large scale, language barriers are an issue more often than not. So, how do they deal with this? The answer is simple: they hire translators.
If you speak a foreign language fluently, now’s the time to capitalize on your skill; it doesn’t matter which languages you speak since there’s certainly a corporation out there that could use your services in particular.
Translators and interpreters have unimaginable chances for success in this day and age and, according to some estimations, the situation will only continue to get better: by 2022, the need for these occupations will increase by an astounding 46 percent. If the numbers don’t mean that much to you, let’s just say it’s a growth rate way faster than any other out there.
Here’s a scenario that’s a tad bit different than most on our list: let’s assume you worked as a contractor for quite some time now and you’re finally feeling confident enough to make the transition from an employee to a business owner.
At the same time, you begin to wonder if that’s such a good idea. It’s normal to have those doubts but don’t let them stop you from taking that step. You’re already a skilled worker; all you need to do know is learn a bit more on how to run a successful business.
Do a little research, and you’ll soon realize that the market offers plenty of job opportunities for contractors; as the economy improves, people can afford to build new houses or renovate the one they live in currently. It’s evident that there’s a growing need for skilled labor of this sort, so if you’re thinking about becoming your own boss, this is the time to make your dream come true.
24. Software School
Is highly specialized software your thing?
If the answer is yes, here’s a business idea for you – start giving lessons to those that want to improve their skills; you can work with amateurs, as well as those who are just looking to expand their knowledge.
You might be thinking: There are already tech manuals that deal with programs such as Final Cut, QuickBooks and the like, so why would someone need me to teach them? Here’s a little secret for you – an average user would probably have a hard time getting through it; it may seem simple to you, but remember you’re the expert on the topic, while most of us are not.
The best way to start is by picking a software you want to teach and giving private lessons, just to get the hang of teaching before moving onto larger group classes. You can charge by the hour or by a complete tutorial, that’s entirely up to you. If you’d like to grow and expand your business, you could get in touch with some other specialists; that way, you’ll offer a broader range of software tutorials to your students. Oh, and one more thing: remember to move your business online. That way, you can reach a much broader customer base, as well as add things like online classes, consulting, and even ebooks to your offer.
25. Smartphone Repair
Life without smartphones is becoming unimaginable these days; everything from your personal life to your career depends on your smartphone in one way or another. While pretty much everyone knows how to use a smartphone, not everyone knows how to fix it, which is why people need someone who does.
So, are you qualified for the job?
There are national-wide smartphone repair businesses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start one in your city (or even state, if you’re feeling ambitious). Since repairing a phone can sometimes cost almost as much as buying a new one (depending on who you hire to do it), so your goal is to make your services a bit more affordable than the average repair costs.
That way, you’ll build a loyal customer base – people will keep hiring you because they can afford your services and, on top of that, you do your job well. The best thing is you can start a business like this with close to nothing; renting a place isn’t mandatory – this is one of those businesses that can be run from home.
Smartphone repair could turn out to be a profitable business, especially if you live in the rural parts of America, as these communities often face a lot of difficulties when it comes to tech support. You could start with this type of repairs, but if you have a broad knowledge of technology in general, you could consider expanding your services to tech support, resolving connectivity issues, internet setup and the like.
26. Social Media Consultant
You’re already all over social media, and you know how to attract new followers, as well as how to keep the old ones coming for more? Then there’s no reason for you not to make a business out of it. Of course, you have to have a topnotch online presence yourself, that’s the first step to starting a successful business as a social media consultant.
To be honest, your client base will probably consist out of boring companies and business owners that don’t have the time (or the creativity) to run social media accounts and connect with followers.
It would be best if you could become an expert on certain platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat; leave these companies to do their not-so-interesting jobs, while you do yours (which will be a lot more fun, as you can imagine).
27. Auto-Repair Shop
It’s safe to say that car repair is one of those businesses that doesn’t have an expiration date; the reasons behind this are simple: as long as there are cars, people will need to repair them. When they drive their cars regularly, some wear and tear are mandatory; that’s why you’ll never be out of business.
Another reason why people need mechanics is to make sure their vehicles are in good shape – this is one of the leading factors in driving safety. It means that, even though your job will be repairing cars, you can expect regular customers that will require nothing more than a checkup just to be sure everything’s working as it should.
While it’s true that all you need to start your own car repair business is a garage and a skilled pair of hands, some states do require you to get a license before you can open up a shop. Talk to someone about this and see if there are similar regulations in your state.
In case you do have to acquire an operating license to become a mechanic, don’t worry, it won’t be that complicated, especially since you already know your way around cars. Once you’re done with training and have all the needed documentation ready, you can move on to starting your business. If, however, this doesn’t apply to your state, all you have to do is to prepare your tools, and you’re good to go.
28. Hot Dog Cart Business
There was already mention of food trucks on this list of business ideas; if that’s not entirely what you’re looking for, but you still want to get into the food service, you should consider setting up a hot dog stand, either as a part- or full-time job. Alternatively, you could make it a seasonal job. Choose the option that suits your lifestyle the best.
You might think there’s no way a hot dog stand could turn out to be a profitable business, but you’re wrong; as it turns out, a lot of people make the same mistake assuming that. In reality, a hot dog stand could easily be one of the most profitable businesses to establish.
But why, what’s the deal with hot dogs?
First off, everyone likes them; if you set up your cart on a busy street, hungry passersby will, in most cases, stop by and buy a hot dog from you. It’s simple, quick, tasty, and it’s not as time-consuming as going to an actual restaurant – what’s not to like there?
If you decide on a mobile stand, you’ll have a tremendous advantage over the standard fast food retailers, since you’ll be able to move your business where ever your customers are – even at their doorstep.
Is woodworking a hobby of yours?
Did you ever think about turning your weekend hobby into a small business that would generate a steady income?
You probably have some (if not all) tools and raw material you’ll need already sitting in your garage, and you have a significant amount of experience, so why wait?
Don’t be one of those people that had a hobby for over 20 years and always dreamed of it becoming a full-time business, but they never got around to doing it, especially when it’s relatively easy to start. There’s no need to hire staff (you can do that once your business expands) or need to rent a space – it can all be done in your garage, by yourself.
And don’t assume you’ll be making furniture for the rest of your life just because you got into woodworking; for example, you could teach woodworking to others for a fee.
30. Dog Groomer
As you can see, the pet industry has a lot of options for those thinking about starting a small business; one of them is a dog grooming service.
Why is it so popular?
Well, many pet owners don’t have the time (or skill) to groom their pets, but they still want their furry friends to get the best care possible; that’s the main reason why this service exists and continues to grow. It’s one of those pet-related services that are equal to spending the day at a spa – it’s luxurious, but it needs to be done regardless. Your startup costs will be minimal, and you don’t need a lot in general; you could start working from your home, so there’s no need to pay any additional rents.
One thing you should keep in mind is that not all animals will like what you’re doing to them, even if it’s for their well-being, and you’ll be dealing with some temperamental ones, as well. It would be best if you could get some training and experience on how to calm animals down when none of the usual methods work; it will make your workplace a lot safer for both you and your little, four-legged customers.
So, there you have it – thirty of the best small business ideas that you can start in America. They all require a certain amount of work and they can all end up being successful if you invest your time and effort in them.
Even though you’re here to decide what’s the best business for you to start, you shouldn’t choose one based solely on how profitable it is. Remember, this will be your chosen career, so make it something you’ll enjoy doing day in, day out.
Thinking about becoming an affiliate marketer? Here’s a list of the best affiliate programs you could join today.
You’ve heard there’s a way for you to earn some money online via affiliate marketing, but you’re not sure how it works? You’ve come to the right place; this article will deal with the best affiliate programs, as well as provide you with a detailed guide on how to get started.
Consider this an introduction to affiliate businesses, one that will help you become a successful affiliate marketer in no time.
Affiliate Marketing 101: How to Get Started
The first and most important thing is to understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works entirely; once you get that down, you can move on to the actual steps that will allow you to start making money online.
Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing that allows you, the affiliate, to earn money every time a customer visits a site you referred them to and buys a product online based on the recommendations you gave them.
That’s the source of your income; you guide the customers to the merchant’s website where they can make a purchase, and in turn, the merchant pays you a commission.
Luckily for you, this is one of the easiest ways to make money online; here are the four crucial steps to becoming an affiliate marketer:
• Choose a Niche – It’s best to stick to what you know; there’s no need to be an expert in a particular field to be an affiliate. However, it would be a good idea to start out by selling products (or services) you’re familiar with or eager to learn about; this is called “choosing a niche.” You’ll get a chance to learn more about some of the most profitable niches in affiliate marketing later on in the article.
• Start a Website – Once you’ve decided on a niche, it’s time for you to create a website or a blog; most companies will ask you to give them the URL of your website so that they could make sure the content won’t hurt their reputation in any way. With platforms such as WordPress available, starting a site will be easy.
• Research Affiliate Products and Services – The next step is a detailed market research – you need to find the products that fit in your niche and an adequate affiliate program that offers those products or services. Be careful not to choose one based only on profit potential; there are far more important things to consider - reputation and quality, and how they treat customers, as well as affiliates.
• Promote the Affiliate Products – Your profit will depend solely on how efficient you are at promoting the chosen products and services – you need to get people to buy stuff through the affiliate links included in your content. Be careful not to sound too salesy, though. Another great way to promote affiliate products is to add banners in your sidebar; they should be relevant to your niche.
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Most Profitable Niches to Get Involved In
It’s perfectly normal to wonder which niches are considered to be the most profitable ones; after all, you’re here to start a business. While this is somewhat a tricky question, there are some niches that simply never go out of style. On top of that, you’ll learn about the popular affiliate programs relevant to each of these niches.
These so-called evergreen markets are the ones that will always provide a stable income for the affiliate marketers, and the biggest one out there is the Health and Wellness niche.
#Health and Wellness
People take care of themselves by taking care of their health and wellbeing; on top of that, they tend to focus on their appearance, which directly relates to fitness and weight loss. Choosing this niche is a no-brainer – it’s evident that this is a market that won’t die out. Out of the three evergreen markets mentioned above, this one is probably the best to capitalize on.
Some of the most popular Health and Wellness sub-niches are:
Dieting and weight loss
How to quit smoking
Of course, that’s just to name a few; there is much more for you to discover if you decide this is the niche for you.
Remember: people love discovering new ways to feel and look good, and most of them won’t put a price on that; the potential for profit is almost limitless here.
Reasons To Get Involved In Health Niches
Health requires maintenance – it’s as simple as that; people who are determined to take care of their wellbeing are going to spend large amounts of money on different products and services, just to make sure they’re informed about the latest tips to leading a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some great affiliate programs to consider:
The idea behind Bodybuilding.com is to help their customers reach their desired health and fitness levels by providing motivation, valuable information, and supplementation. They are the world’s most visited fitness-related website and the top seller when it comes to sports-nutrition supplements.
If your audience consists mostly of people interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, then you should seriously consider becoming a part of their affiliate program.
2. Vitamine Shoppe
If overall health is what you’re passionate about, then joining the Vitamine Shoppe affiliate program might be the best solution – you can earn money by sharing your passion with your readers and followers.
They offer more than 25,000 products and over 400 brands - all you need to do is pick the ones to include in your content and refer people to their site; Vitamine Shoppe pays out a 9 percent commission for each sale “to most affiliates.”
3. Devotion Nutrition
Devotion Nutrition is another popular name in the health and fitness industry – and another easy way for you to make money as an affiliate marketer in this niche.
They offer you a commission rate of up to 10 percent for each sale made through your site; their 30-day cookie duration policy is also a significant advantage. If the same customer you referred returns and makes a purchase, even by visiting the site directly, you still get your commission.
Decide to partner up with eVitamins, and you’ll have a variety of products to offer to your audience – vitamins, supplements, whole foods, herbs, and more. Most products will pay you a 12-percent commission, but some of them come with the rate as high as 20 percent.
If you’re running a blog or website focused on weight loss and diet pills, you might want to check out the Thinco’s affiliate program. Help people become the best versions of themselves, and you’ll feel better yourself.
Pet owners are willing to spend lots of money just to make sure their pet stays healthy and happy. We’re not talking about food here - there are different toys, beds, healthy treats; even cat leashes and dog strollers seem to be a thing now.
Yes, people like to spend money on themselves; however, they will spare no expense when it comes to their pets. If you’re a pet owner, you probably know that your pet sometimes eats better than you do. That’s normal – every loving pet owner will do everything they can to make sure their pet lives a long and happy life – and that’s precisely why this niche is as profitable as it is.
Reasons to Get Involved in Pet Niches
The fact that over a half of the U.S. population owns a pet, be it a dog, a cat, or something more exotic as a pet snake, only goes to show how large this niche is. People tend to think of their pets as family members, so it’s no surprise that they’re willing to buy things for them – either to keep them healthy or to pamper them.
Here are some of the best affiliate programs in the pet industry:
Petco is one of the largest retailers in the U.S. when it comes to pet care, and their selection of pet-related products is one of the widest out there. The best thing is they have an affiliate program you could join, but before you do that, you have to become a member of Commission Junction. Once you do, you can apply for the Petco’s affiliate program.
PetSmart is a nationally recognized brand, which means that including links to their website in your content and promoting their products (there are over 10,000 to choose from) can be a turning point for your blog or website. You’ll start earning money in no time.
To be a PetSmart affiliate, first you need to become a Rakuten Affiliate Network publisher; only then you can join the PetSmart program.
Pet360 offers a wide selection of pet care products, but their focus remains on cats, dogs, birds, and other small animals. They hold only the best pet-related brands, which is something worth mentioning to your readers if you become an affiliate.
4. Budget Pet Care
Budget Pet Care offers a wide range of pet-related products, not only for small pets like dogs, cats, and birds but for those who own horses, as well. So, if you’re running a blog that’s focused on taking care of horses, their affiliate program might be the one for you.
They give their affiliates a commission rate of up to 13 percent and, as a bonus, there’s a 60-day tracking program; that’s what makes their affiliate program stand out in this niche.
5. Pet Mountain
An average pet owner will be able to find everything they need regarding pet care on the Pet Mountain’s website, whether they own a cat, a dog, or a reptile, so if you become their affiliate, there’ll be a lot of products to recommend on your blog.
The deal is you get a 5-percent commission and, on top of that, a 10-day tracking cookie for those returning customers.
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People are getting more and more interested in the idea of just going away, escaping from the routine of their daily life, and that’s what’s giving the travel industry the needed boost.
If you already have a blog or site dedicated to this topic, now’s the right time to monetize it by becoming an affiliate marketer.
There are those that think there’s no way you could succeed in this niche – there are too many travel-related blogs out there as it is, so how’s your going to make a difference? As long as you provide exciting, high-quality, information-filled content, people will keep coming back.
Reasons to Get Involved in Traveling Niches
Nomadic millennials, as many call them, are to thank for the success of this particular niche. They want to travel and see the world, but most importantly, they do it in a way that puts travel agents to the side, as they tend to get their info from websites and blogs that offer some quality travel content.
Booking.com is one of the biggest names in the travel industry; it’s safe to say that everyone visited their site at least once when they were planning a trip. There’s no surprise there; they offer more than a million places to stay around the world.
If you decide to become an affiliate, you’ll get a commission from each confirmed booking that came through your affiliate link; the rate can vary from 25 to 40 percent, depending on the number of confirmed reservations you referred per month.
TripAdvisor is another significant name in the industry; the main difference is that they have a variety of services that you can recommend as an affiliate – not only hotels all over the world, but tours, tickets to museums and the like, and much more.
But, before you can become a part of their affiliate program, you need to join Commission Junction first.
With nearly a million places to stay around the world included in their offer, Agoda gives you plenty to work with regarding recommendations.
If you choose to become their affiliate, you can expect a commission rate as high as 60 percent. However, since they have a tier-based commission structure, you’ll have to refer over a thousand confirmed booking to get to that point; the lowest tier will get you 35 percent, though.
4. Lonely Planet
Here’s something a bit different; instead of hotels and tickets, Lonely Planet offers high-quality guidebooks both in digital and print form, all written by experts who visit every destination they talk about.
If this is something you want to focus on, they have an affiliate program you can join – you can earn a 15-percent commission from every book sold via your affiliate link.
5. Sandals Resorts
When it comes to Caribbean resort travel, Sandals is a well-known name in the industry – and they have an affiliate program you could join. Of course, you have to make sure that your followers are interested in a sub-niche this specific.
They offer a 4-percent commission to their affiliates; before you move on thinking it’s too low, consider the fact that these are luxurious resorts, so 4 percent might not be as little as you believe.
The trick with this niche is to pick out your sub-niche carefully. While it’s true that pretty much everyone has a hobby, you have to keep in mind that not all of those hobbies require the same amount of money to be invested.
All you have to do to make the Hobby niche profitable is to find activities that are expensive as it is – they will naturally attract mid to high-income customers, able to spend a lot on their favorite hobbies.
There are endless sub-niches to explore here; some of the most popular ones are:
Arts and crafts
Reasons to Get Involved in Hobby Niches
If something makes someone happy, they will not hesitate to spend money on it; that’s where your affiliate marketing business comes to play.
1. Ted’s WoodworkinG
There are several reasons to choose Ted’s Woodworking affiliate program, one of them being huge commissions; if you’re looking to earn as much money as possible, their program is designed to help you – they offer a 75-percent (yes, you read that right) commission rate on all referred sales.
2. Survival Life
Survival Life highly values their affiliate marketers as members of their organization – they offer them high commissions, low refund rates, on-time payment, and support from the Affiliate Management Team.
All in all, they’ll take care of you and make sure you get everything you need to maximize your profit, so why not give it a try?
3. Gun Digest
The Gun Digest is a name with a 70-year long tradition; their affiliate program has proven to be the perfect fit for anyone willing to join. It doesn’t matter if you’re just looking to make some extra money as a blogger focused on firearms or a part of a large company that wants to include Gun Digest products in their lineup – you’ll be more than welcome to their affiliate program.
If you’re running a blog (or site) that focuses on crafting, you should pay attention to MisterArt and their affiliate program. MisterArt claims to have everything you need regarding arts and crafts supplies, so you’ll have a lot to recommend to your audience.
As an affiliate, you’ll get a commission that ranges between 6 and 10 percent, and a 30-day referral period.
Here’s another affiliate program that falls into the crafting niche; this one is offered by CreateForLess, an arts and crafts supplies retailer that holds more than 70,000 brand names.
They pay a 10-percent commission to their affiliates for each referred sale – even if the sale occurs at a later date (within a 45-day period).
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Video games have become a pastime of choice for people of all ages and genders, as well as social statuses – it’s not something that’s meant only for children anymore. Everyone loves this type of quickly available, instant entertainment.
The best way to make this your source of income is to write reliable video game and gaming equipment reviews; customers will rely on you to help them pick out a game from a vast selection available on the market.
As you might know, gaming offers a broad spectrum, which means there are many sub-niches to choose from:
Top mobile games
Game walkthroughs and strategy guides
Top free Steam games
Reasons to Get Involved In Gaming Niches
Players will always come back looking for new releases and constant updates of their favorite games, which means you’ll do just fine as an affiliate as long as you keep posting content with the latest info from the world of gaming.
Another thing to consider is the fact that gaming is not only a fun way to pass the time; it has become a legitimate sport – an e-sport, to be exact. There are people out there willing to spend insane amounts of money only to get the best gaming equipment and titles to ensure their success in the gaming world.
Some of the best gaming-related affiliate programs are:
While RazerZone isn’t focused on selling actual video games, they made it to the list of gaming-related affiliate programs because of their products – keyboards, computer mice, and every other type of equipment meant to enhance your gaming experience further.
Their affiliate program with a relatively high commission rate makes it one of the most attractive offers in the Gaming niche; when it comes to hardware, that is.
2. Killer Guides
Since game strategy guides are a significant sub-niche, it’s no wonder that there are affiliate programs made especially for this market; one of the best out there is the one offered by Killer Guides. With the commission rate as high as 40 percent, they make it easy for their affiliates to make a decent amount of money.
All you gaming bloggers out there, pay attention to GameFly – their affiliate program is a great way to monetize your blog or website. Seriously, don’t pass on this fantastic opportunity.
They base their service on subscription, which is where you come in as an affiliate. Not only does GameFly offer a commission for every game sold (though rates might vary depending on whether the game is used or not), they also pay you for every person you get to sign up.
If you and your audience prefer strategy and MMORPG, then the R2Games has the right affiliate program for you; of course, they offer a few casual game genres, too.
If you decide to become an affiliate, they’ll give you a 35-percent commission on each sale made through your affiliate link.
5. Origin PC
If you want to focus on PC gaming, it’s crucial to become an affiliate of one of the leading PC gaming manufacturers, for example, Origin PC.
However, there are two things to keep in mind before you apply to their affiliate program – it will take some time for your application to be processed (anywhere between 24 and 72 business days) and their commission rates are decided on a case-to-case basis.
That is one of the most popular niches out there; every second ad on TV is related to it - we’ve all heard about Amazon, eBay, and Myntra. These companies make their profit from online shopping and, luckily for you, they all offer excellent affiliate marketing programs.
Become a user, join their affiliate program, and start promoting their products on your blog or website – it’s as simple as that.
Reasons To Get Involved In Online Shopping Niche
Online shopping is unquestionably way more convenient than visiting a store and going through several aisles to find the product you need. That’s the main benefit of online stores – everything is just a click away.
With the hectic lifestyle that everyone seems to lead these days, it’s normal for people not to want to spend time on things like shopping; they’ll preferably do it online, which is precisely why this niche is one of the most profitable ones.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular online shopping-related affiliate programs:
Amazon Associates is probably one of the best known general affiliate programs out there; if your starting out as an affiliate marketer in the Online Shopping niche, then you should probably give Amazon a try.
Even if the commission rates aren’t as high as they used to be, once you get the customers on the actual site, they’ll probably end up buying something. That’s where your profit lies; not in the high commission rates, but in the proven fact that people enjoy shopping on Amazon.
The eBay Partner Network (or EPN) is another excellent affiliate program when it comes to online shopping. It offers a lot of the advantages that Amazon does; the main difference is that eBay is an auction-based market and not an actual online store.
That means that commissions behave differently; instead of paying you a percent from the final price, you’ll get a commission on auction fees.
The thing you need to know about Myntra is that they do have an affiliate program (as any growing e-commerce website should). However, they don’t handle it themselves - they use a third-party service provider.
Making money on Myntra is, nonetheless, as easy as spending it on their fashionable clothes and accessories; become an affiliate and see for yourself.
While Target might not have a selection of products as broad as Amazon, they still have a lot to offer, especially regarding general home and outdoor goods, as well as apparel.
If you become an affiliate, you can expect a commission rate of up to 8 percent (it depends on volume and category) and a 7-day cookie duration.
Even though you shouldn’t go as far as to think that Jet will replace Amazon entirely, they are, in fact, a business that’s a lot like Amazon; to cut it shortly – they sell everything. Because of that, they could be considered as an alternative to Amazon when it comes to affiliate marketing programs.
However, keep in mind their commission rates are somewhat low.
BONUS: CJ Affiliate: A Global Affiliate Marketplace
As you saw earlier, there were a few mentions of something called “Commission Junction.”
So, what exactly is CJ and how’s it relevant to our topic?
First off, we need to address the name of this affiliate network; while it was formerly known as Commission Junction, you can now find it under a different name – CJ Affiliate by Conversant. Commission Junction, Greystripe, Dotomi, ValueClick Media, and Mediaplex are now united and are all operating as Conversant. But don’t worry; the CJ we all know and love is still up and running.
To put it shortly, CJ remains one of the hugely popular, leading affiliate marketing networks, that’s been around for years.
It’s relatively easy to use, and it’s reliable when it comes to payments. However, those are not the only reasons people turn to CJ; the fact that it attracts a lot of well-known advertisers is essential for you as an affiliate. Your audiences will react better to names they’re familiar with, which means they’ll be more likely to make a purchase by following your referral link.
While there’s no way to say for sure which niche is the best and most lucrative one for affiliate marketing, there are some that will bring you a high and steady income.
As mentioned before, those are the three evergreen markets – Health and Wellness, and Wealth and Money. However, the list doesn’t end here – there are another three niches proven to be notably profitable; those are the Hobby, Gaming, and Online shopping niche.
Take some time to make this choice and never decide on a niche based solely on how profitable it seems to be, it’s always better to pick something that you’re passionate about – you’ll have a lot more fun that way.