Many people want to start their first business but struggle with deciding what type of business to start. Easy businesses to start usually have fewer licensing requirements, training certifications, flexibility, and a lower overall cost. Marketplace websites like Care.com make it easy for businesses in certain industries, like childcare, to connect with paying customers.
Here are 32 easy startup businesses you can try, depending on your expertise.
1. eBay Reselling Business
One of the easiest businesses to start involves finding items at garage sales and reselling them at a higher price on eBay. Taking items from a local neighborhood customer base and offering them to a worldwide market increases their demand and, therefore, their price. Uploading quality photos and a description helps items sell. You can earn anywhere from 30% to more than 1,000% by selling an item on eBay vs a garage sale.
“On weekends, we would go to flea markets, yard sales, thrift and charity shops and browse what they had to offer. In the beginning, we would always have our phones in our hands ready to search eBay and Gumtree to see how much the items were currently selling for.
“It was basically an arbitrage operation. You find products at stores and yards that are selling for a lot less than they are online. Get the best possible deal and list the products online. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are willing to pay 10 times or more of the price at which we had bought it.”
—Amy Finlay, Co-founder, Edinburgh IFA
2. Landscaping & Gardening
If you have strong knowledge of flowers, plants, and shrubs, starting a landscaping business will be easy. Landscaping relies on your knowledge and doesn’t require many startup costs. Additionally, you generally don’t need a license to begin. Once you have two or three projects finished, your work will speak for itself. Word will spread in a neighborhood about your landscaping skills and marketing the business will be easier. You can take photos of your beautiful work and share them online to attract more customers.
When you’re ready to take your landscaping business to the next level, you need to write a business plan. Even if it’s a side business, a plan helps you understand how you want your business to grow. Many people believe a business plan is a boring and useless report, but it doesn’t have to be. Use an affordable and visual business plan software like LivePlan to walk you step-by-step through the creation process. Sign up for LivePlan today.
3. Room Rental
Airbnb has software that connects property owners with short term renters. Make money by renting out a single room or an entire house. Airbnb accepts several different types of renting situations, including bathroom sharing. As the host, you can determine the days you’d like your home to be available for rent. Additionally, you can decline a renter if you don’t feel comfortable; for example, if they have negative renter reviews, you may want to think twice about allowing them onto your property. Airbnb’s fee is 3% of the rental price.
4. Pet Sitting
If you’re a pet lover, consider starting a business as an overnight pet sitter. Many pet owners prefer the personalized care within a home more than a pet boarding facility. Companies like Rover.com specialize in connecting pet sitters with animal owners to make finding clients easy. Set your price, location, and description, and pet owners near you will find your pet sitting profile. Depending on your services and expertise, you can make $50 to $80 a night as a pet sitter.
5. Fitness Training or Coaching Business
You can use your fitness knowledge to help others achieve their fitness goals. Often, this is an easy business with which to get clients because your body can be your marketing. Regardless, if you can motivate others to work hard, they will become repeat clients. You may be able to use a public setting like a park or beach to operate your fitness training classes; this is a great way to minimize initial overhead. You should expect to earn anywhere from $15 to $100 an hour as a fitness trainer.
Operating a business like personal training brings an inherent liability risk. If someone you’re training injures themselves and tries to sue your business, you’ll need to protect your personal finances. To protect yourself from a business liability lawsuit, you need to register your business with the state. IncFile is a fast and easy online business registration website. Register your business today for $49 plus state fees.
6. Babysitting Services
Websites like Care.com and Urbansitter make it easy for babysitters and caregivers to connect with families. Often, you only need to connect with one family who wants ongoing services to have consistent work. Separate yourself from the other babysitters by uploading a video about yourself and writing a quality description with high-quality photos. Depending on your location and how many children you’re babysitting, you can earn between $15 to $25 an hour.
7. Residential Home Cleaning Business
The customer market for home cleaning is large, which makes it an easy industry to get into. Use an app like Tidy to connect with homeowners needing their homes cleaned. Residential home cleaning is an industry where word of mouth can help you grow your business. One well-networked client can help you get additional clients. Make a great first impression by leaving a thank you note or the kids a piece of candy. Home cleaning services usually earn from $25 to $45 per hour.
8. Etsy Shop
Etsy is an online platform that sells homemade items. Creators open a store, display their homemade goods, and sell them. In many cases, the Etsy store replaces the need for an ecommerce website. The first few reviews are difficult to get for an Etsy store, but once you earn them, customers are more likely to purchase from a store. Typically, the fee to sell on Etsy is less than 10% of the item’s purchase price.
9. Traditional Photography Services
With the popularity of ecommerce and social media, professional-quality photography is in demand. Get your first clients by providing more photos per shoot. Many professionals only offer around five photos for $300. You can start by offering more. Separate yourself from the competition by understanding lifestyle photos for ecommerce products. Know the best outside backgrounds in your city to host unique shoots with great lighting. You can earn $25 to $100 per hour, plus $25 per photo edited.
10. Graphic Design Business
Use your artistic side to design logos, brochures, flyers, and posters. Graphic design is an easy business to get more clients because you can show off your work. Consider doing a few jobs for friends and family with a discounted price to build your portfolio. Once, the portfolio is built, it’s easy to show clients the work you have done and convince them you can create something similar. Make $20 to $50 an hour as a graphic designer.
To get graphic design clients, look to an online marketplace. You can open your client base from your city to the entire world. Fiverr is an online platform that connects freelancers with those needing their services. Charge a basic fee for entry-level services and more for a premium package. Fiverr charges freelancers 20% of the final project price. Start getting clients today with Fiverr.
11. DJ Music Services
Use your love of music to mix songs and play music for events in your city. Get started for less than $1,000 with entry-level DJ equipment like speakers, turntable, mixer, and headphones. For larger events like corporate events and weddings, consider renting equipment. When first starting out, make sure to take photos and videos of people dancing and having fun to your music. Upload these photos to social media and your website. You can make $50 to $100 an hour DJing for events and parties.
12. Local Moving Company
A local moving company is an in-demand business with low overhead. It’s a simple business that requires two to three movers and a truck. One of the most challenging parts of this business is finding customers. There is a lot of competition. An easy way to separate yourself from the competition is to create a Google My Business listing. Add authentic photos showing you and the other movers working. With two movers you can make from $100 to $150 per hour.
“One of the easiest businesses to start is a local moving company. There are very low barriers to entry. All you need to get started is a moving truck and one or two removalists and a website. You can rent a truck when you’re first starting out too. You can market your moving business for free on sites like Craigslist and by creating a Facebook page. You would be amazed at just how profitable a local moving company can be as you can take advantage of not having the overheads and fixed costs of a larger moving company.”
—Matt Woodley, Founder, MoverFocus
13. SAT & School Tutoring
A low cost and easy business to start is to tutor students in subjects they are learning in school. It may be a challenge to find your first students to tutor. You don’t have a physical product to advertise. One way to get in front of people looking for tutors is to use Wyzant. It is a website that connects tutors with those looking to learn. The website Wyzant.com deducts 40% commission as a fee. Depending on your educational background, you can earn $30 to $75 an hour tutoring students.
14. Grocery Delivery
Apps like Instacart and Shipt have made it easy to connect with people who want groceries and other goods delivered to their home. Requirements to perform this service are minimal and require a driver’s license, reliable car (1997 or newer), insulated cooler bags, a smartphone, and the ability to lift 40 pounds. Make around $10 to $20 an hour delivering groceries and goods.
15. Tax Preparation Services
If you have been preparing your own taxes for several years and have special attention for details, consider being a tax preparer. You don’t technically need a license or certification to work on someone’s taxes, but it does establish your credibility. Finding clients can be a challenge. Outside of your local network, use a website like Thervo to connect with people who need assistance preparing their taxes. Make $99 to $300 for every tax return you prepare.
“A very easy business to start before the tax season is a tax preparing company. Here are a few quick reasons why: Minimal startup costs. No accounting background or degree required. Start before the next tax season comes so you can begin marketing to build your clientele. Your work hours are flexible, and when tax season is over, you can offer other services like bookkeeping, payroll services, and other financial services.”
—Rakeyia Collins, Founder, Commit to Present
16. Personal Car Rental Services
If you own multiple cars, an easy business to start is renting them out to people in your community. Turo.com helps connect people looking to rent a car with those who have a car. The average earnings of someone with a Jeep Wrangler is $850 per month, Ford Fiesta is $497 per month, and Dodge Caravan is $537 per month. Turo.com provides up to $1 million in liability insurance, and your car is protected against theft and physical damage.
17. Sell Paintings Online
If you’re an artist creating paintings, you don’t have to rely on sales from frugal buyers at farmers’ markets. You can sell your paintings online, which is easy because it makes your art available to customers worldwide. One of the most lucrative paths to selling paintings online is to build an audience on Instagram and sell to your audience. Thousands of artists make a full-time income from selling their art on Instagram. One tip for Instagram is to create a theme or artistic style and stick to it, like a certain type of landscape or portrait painting.
18. Music Instructor
If you know how to play an instrument, and enjoy teaching others, consider being a music instructor. You could go to your customer’s home, or they come to yours. You can also sign up for a website like TakeLessons. This platform connects music instructors with students. The lessons are live, not recorded. TakeLessons handles all the booking and payments so you can focus on teaching. Plus, if you help your student reach a new music milestone, the company pays you a bonus.
19. Google or Facebook Ad Management
Consider creating and managing online ads for local businesses. This is an easy business to start because the demand is high. Most small business owners lack Google and Facebook tech skills.
Google and Facebook ads drive traffic to a business’s website. If those website visitors become customers for less than the cost of advertising, it is profitable for the business owner. Start with client’s who have small budgets. Once you get results, start finding clients with larger advertising budgets. Typically, freelance online ad specialists charge 10% of the business’s monthly ad spend.
A blog is essentially writing online. If you believe you can provide information that people want to read, then you can create a blog. A blog is typically a long term business strategy. It may take several years to build a devoted audience. You can grow the audience more quickly by adding a marketing skill, like search engine optimization (SEO) or social media marketing. There are many ways to make money from a blog, like advertising, selling a product, or coaching services.
“I founded Healthy Recipes in 2011. Over the past eight years, it’s grown into a very lucrative business that supports my family. Starting it was easy. All you need to start a blog is to go to a cheap host such as Bluehost. You can do it all there: Buy a domain and a cheap hosting plan and start your self-hosted WordPress blog. For full transparency, I should add that while ‘starting’ a blog is easy, ‘growing‘ it is not. It takes a lot of work. As long as it’s a side hustle, you can slowly grow it at your own pace and learn as you go.”
—Vered DeLeeuw, Owner, Health Recipes Blog
21. Vlogging Business
A vlog stands for video blog. Generally, a vlog is considered a daily, or weekly video. This is an easy business to start because it is low cost. You can start with your smartphone. Plus, YouTube is a free platform where you can build your vlogging business. There are several different types of vlogs. If you are living a life you believe other people would find interesting, documenting your life with a vlog is a great idea. YouTube advertising pays $2 to $5 for every 1,000 video views.
22. Online Writing Services
Use your writing skills to write content for websites, e-books, sales pages, and product descriptions. Freelancing websites like Upwork makes it easy to connect with people around the world looking to hire someone for writing services. Stand out from the competition by uploading a professional photo, writing a memorable about description, and creating a video. Once your profile is set up, people may reach out to you to bid on their project, or you can start bidding on projects.
To become a hairdresser, you most likely will need a cosmetology license. However, once you have the license, it has never been easier to start your own business. Instead of opening your own location, lease a 100-square-foot space at a location like nationwide Sola Salon Studios, where there are more than 12,000 independent salon studio owners. Additionally, Instagram is an ideal platform to show off your great work visually and get a steady stream of customers. Typically leases at Sola Salon cost $220 a week.
24. Professional Consulting
Professional consulting is a business in which you charge others for your expertise. The challenge with consulting comes with finding clients. Often, consultants rely on your network within the industry you’re trying to consult with to get clients. They position themselves as an expert by creating videos, writing blogs, and books. Sustainability, finance, and taxation are all trending consultancy businesses. As a professional consultant make anywhere from $40 to $500 per hour.
“One of the easiest and cheapest businesses to start is a consultancy. Are you an expert in mechanical engineering, software design, circus acrobatics? If so, throw your services on a freelance website; you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the amount of people looking for someone just like you. As a Ph.D. student in bioengineering, I began advertising my chemical formulations services online in March and have already grown a profitable, cash flow-positive company in just a few months.”
—Kyle Issacson, Founder, Ike Scientific
25. Sports Personal Training
If you have ever played a sport and enjoy teaching others, you can become a personal sports trainer. Use a website like CoachUp to connect with parents and young players wanting to get better in a sport. The cost to get started to minimal. You can use local outdoor parks to train. You may need to buy low-cost training equipment like cones and training aids. You can earn anywhere from $15 to $50 an hour as a personal sports trainer.
26. Virtual Bookkeeping Business
A trending business is a virtual bookkeeper, which is also called an at-home bookkeeper. You can connect with multiple small businesses that need assistance with their finances. This business is easy to start because an online-based software, like QuickBooks accounting, allow business owners to see the work you’re doing without having to meet with you.
Additionally, if clients would like to meet to discuss their finances, use the free video conference software Zoom for unlimited one-on-one meetings. It’s possible to earn up to $60 an hour as a virtual bookkeeper.
27. Delivery Service
If you own a car and have a driver’s license, you can deliver packages and become a courier. If you live in a larger city, you may be able to open this business from a bicycle. Websites like Amazon Flex and Caviar supply packages to deliver. With Amazon Flex, you are your own boss because all the delivery instructions are done through an app. You can set your own hours with opportunities to work every day of the week and earn $18 to $25 an hour.
28. Vending Machine Business
To start a vending machine business, you need the machine, product, and a location. The machine will cost $2,000 to $8,000, and the products range in cost. If you start a cannabidiol (CBD)-related vending business, you can purchase products less than $10 and sell them for more than $50. Regarding a location for a CBD vending machine, you’ll have to work a deal with a business owner to get the machine in their location. High-traffic health clubs, health stores, and grocery stores are potential locations.
“Vending machines for CBD products are an easy business to start because CBD products are now legal in most states and the demand is skyrocketing. Most states also don’t require age verification, except for vape products.”
—Trig Bundgaard, Digital & Marketing Director, Discount Vending
29. Dog Walking
In addition to overnight set sitting, you can dog walk during the day. Many dog owners are gone for long hours of the day and don’t want to pay the fee for a dog day care. They will pay a one-time fee for a dog walk. Often, you can set up a recurring dog walk throughout the week. Use the Rover website or app to connect with local dog owners. You can earn from $13 to $40 for a 30-minute dog walk.
30. Existing Low-cost Online Business for Sale
There are thousands of low-cost online businesses that can be purchased, improved, and have its revenue increased. If you have a background with web design or SEO―or would like to learn―online business marketplaces like Flippa can connect you with affordable websites that make less than $1,000 a year. You buy the website, make improvements, get more website visitors, and earn more revenue. The revenue can come from several sources, including more ad clicks on the website or affiliate products sales.
31. Caregiver or Companion Services
With the increased amount of retiring baby boomers, there has never been more of a need for senior caregivers or companions. Neither of these services require a medical license—only a business license. A caregiver provides services like assistance with transportation, meals, medicine, housekeeping, and personal hygiene. Use a website like Care.com to get connected with families who need a caregiver. Earnings are usually between $8 to $20 an hour.
32. Online Photography
There is a huge online demand for businesses and marketers to purchase quality photography. Websites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and Alamy are all great websites to list and sell your photography. Although it helps, you don’t have to have a professional-level camera. If you have a smartphone, the quality of the photos is typically good enough. Your business’s goal is to take the type of photos other people want to purchase. As a contributor, you can make anywhere from 20% to 50% of a photograph’s sales price.
“With today’s technology, there’s an opportunity for people to make money anywhere with very little overhead, just your camera-phone. Shutterstock has mobile apps for both iOS and Android that make it easy to monetize your workflow on the go by uploading your pictures from your camera roll directly to the site. Anytime a customer licenses one of your images, you make money. Shutterstock has paid out more than $650 million to contributors, and more than six images a second are sold, which means there is a ton of opportunity to make money.”
—Kristen Sanger, Senior Director, Contributor Marketing, Shutterstock
With the help of new technology, it has never been easier to start a business. Before the internet, to start the businesses above, you’d typically be limited to your local area. Now, you can use a website like Airbnb to advertise a rental home to world travelers, or you can be a virtual bookkeeper and accept clients from all over the United States. You can also use a marketplace like Rover to connect with hundreds of pet owners in your city.
Whichever of the easy startup businesses you choose above, make sure to create a business plan. Writing and planning about the business you’d like to create makes it more likely to be a success. Plus, if you would like to get a bank loan or investor, you need a business plan. LivePlan is an online business plan software that walks you step-by-step on how to create your business plan. Start your business plan today with one of LivePlan’s month-to-month contracts.