Whether you're considering starting your own company or just curious about profitable small business ideas, we researched 40 profitable small business ideas that people have turned into a side hustle and full-time jobs.
The trick to starting any business is matching your own personal strengths with a competitive advantage only you can provide. These can be the connections in the community you've made, the design skills you've developed, or marketing skills.
As you go through this list, consider if any of these business ideas would work for you. Consider what it would take for you to succeed personally? Could you start them tomorrow? Would you enjoy it, and would it make you happy?
40 Profitable Small Business Ideas
If you're looking for a business idea that involves travel, consider house sitting. This involves taking up temporary residence in people's homes while they're away. Most house-sitting gigs are unpaid, but additional income involves watering plants and pet sitting.
In most cases, the house sitting lasts from a week to a couple of months. Several websites offer house sitting opportunities. These are a great start to building your house sitting portfolio and eventually start your own house sitting business.
People typically rather pay money than clean themselves. This provides great opportunities for anyone willing to start a cleaning business to meet demand. It doesn't take much to start, your own supplies, a few great references, and a vehicle.
A cleaning service can mean many different things. This can be regular housekeeping at a residence or commercial building or even one-off jobs such as an apartment moving out deep cleaning. Typically cleaning services charge $50 – $90 per hour, so this can be a great regular side hustle!
Most people know how to vacuum their house or even set up a robot vacuum. However, when it comes to deep carpet cleaning, most people hire professional carpet cleaners. This side hustle usually involves some knowledge of carpet cleaning and renting/owning a carpet cleaning machine.
Since this is a specialized field, there is less competition for carpet cleaners, so they can usually charge around $50 per room. This comes out to be a profitable small business idea if you schedule all your carpet cleaning appointments around your schedule.
This may seem like seasonal work, but it could be a year around business if your community has many heated pools. This is another profitable small business idea that comes from necessity and homeowners wanting to avoid this chore. People love pools but hate cleaning them. So a pool cleaning service can fill in a unique niche.
Considering people typically pay $150 – $300 for a one-time pool cleaning, it can be a lucrative business even more so if you create a subscription service to do regular touch-up cleaning. You just need to have some knowledge of pools or YouTube to learn the business.
People always need help moving. Whether they're asking friends for help or bribing with free pizza, moving is a hassle. It's often a hassle people are willing to pay for help. This includes helping to box up items, move items, or transporting; moving is a big service with big pay.
Moving companies typically charge for room, square feet, or time. These all add up to big money if you want to start a moving side-gig. Websites like Task Rabbit are popular to connect with people needing moving services. You can use these services to find customers and set your own schedule.
After a while and building up a reputation, you can even start your own moving business and cut out the middle man. This is a great side-hustle to work around your schedule.
Local Business Storefront Clean Up Services
Local business associations are willing to allocate monthly budgets to companies that will maintain clean and litter-free storefronts in their community. Often times, this involves picking up trash, litter, and other items from the main street or storefronts to give a clean, welcoming appearance.
Usually, this requires coordination with local business associations, but afterward, you will generate a great reputation in the community and some extra cash!
Graffiti Removal Service
Either by local kids, taggers, or aggressive graffiti artists, graffiti happens. It is difficult to deter, but local governments and businesses often have an actionable plan for when it happens. This can include washing away the graffiti themselves or hiring out third party help.
Special companies specialize in graffiti removal due to preserving historic buildings or chemical composition of paint on certain building materials. These services often get paid well for their quick services to get back to normal operations with a clean storefront.
When you were a teenager, one of the best ways to make money was by babysitting. It was often easy for neighbors to connect with nearby parents for job opportunities.
Nowadays, babysitters often need certifications, references, and background checks to start a conversation with parents. Websites like Care.com are a great place to get started. They provide upfront verification and connect you with opportunities in your city.
While babysitting is often one-night gigs, there are opportunities for weekend nannies or longer contracts.
Sometimes a messy home is just too much, and people can feel overwhelmed. Professional home organizers can be a lifeline and worth every cent to help homeowners get organized and create an actionable process to maintain an organized household.
While traditionally, no certifications or degrees are required to be a professional home organizer, you should have a list of great references and some nice photos to show potential clients. People want to see the possibilities that will get them excited to hire you.
Once you get started, you can expect to charge clients around $80 – $140 an hour. Plus, additional opportunities to sell your own organization products!
While everyone thinks they can be interior designers, it takes a lot of work to be a great designer. Most professional interior designers require college degrees, and some states won't let you call yourself an interior designer without a degree. That's why some people refer to themselves as a professional decorator.
Most Interior Designers/Interior Decorators charge per project (residential/commercial), so it depends on the project, but you can expect anywhere from $100 – $300 an hour. This involves creating sample boards, potential drawings, and furniture recommendations.
Marketing & PR
In today's day and age, marketing and public relations can mean a lot of different things. Most companies consider this external brand promotion. This can be through social media, but also traditional advertising (news, tv, etc.).
Many business owners go into business because they're good at their individual product or service but don't know how to market successfully. This is a great opportunity to work with small businesses to help promote their brand in the community.
Social Media Manager
Along with marketing and public relations, most business owners recognize they need social media but don't know what it involves to be successful. Many business owners don't know how to put together a social media campaign and build engagement. In fact, many business owners don't know what they don't know.
This is where Social Media Managers can make a big impact and help grow businesses. You can work with multiple clients, setting up campaigns on your own time, and be your own boss. Most social media managers can make around $50 an hour.
Influencer (Social Media / YouTube)
You see influencers mostly on Instagram and YouTube. They usually start with around 10,000 followers and make money through advertising & promoting products/services. Influencers help companies connect with audiences in a certain niche through a person/influencer they trust.
We've seen more influencers now than ever due to the combination of both fame and money. Influencers can be niched down to fitness, travel, money, or more. The rule of thumb is influencers make around $5 for every 1,000 followers they have whenever promoting a product/service.
Brand Ambassadors are usually temporary workers that help promote products/services at events. For example, Red Bull doesn't have a full staff of people to free Red Bull at concerts. Instead, they hire Brand Ambassadors to promote their product for the limited time of that certain campaign.
Most cities have a dedicated Facebook group for Brand Ambassadors. Companies will post to the group when they have an event and typically need between 4-8 people to help work a booth or festival.
You'll submit your resume of promoting experience, usually along with a headshot, and do an interview. Being a Brand Ambassador is a great side gig for extra money while you get to attend events for free! They usually pay around $100/day.
Like Brand Ambassadors, you can get connected with a local, legit modeling agency to work as a model for events. Usually, companies will reach out to the modeling agency when they need attractive people to work at an event to promote a brand or a magazine needing to promote an advertiser.
The modeling agency will reach out to all its agents with the details, and those available can RSVP back. Models can earn around $100-150 an hour for their time.
In the age of Amazon eBooks, you don't need a large publisher to act as a middle man taking a cut of your book profits. It's easier than ever to write and publish your own book. Whether it's an eBook or hard copy, you can self-publish to share knowledge and earn a profit.
These can either be fiction, fact-based, or creative storytelling to share your own story. Once you write your book, you can focus your time on marketing and earn a commission for every book sold!
Podcasts are exploding in popularity, so what about joining the rising trend with your own podcast? All that's needed to start your own podcast is a nice microphone, some recording equipment, and a place to host your audio online. That's it!
Podcasters can choose topics that interest them like a favorite tv show, interesting authors, or specific topics like inspirational quotes. The goal is to produce podcasts people enjoy and connect with advertisers who will pay you to promote products during the show.
Considering Joe Rogan made $100 million with his Spotify deal, there are great opportunities to make money with podcasts!
Everyone is a photographer to some degree, and there are many ways to create a profitable small business through photography. You can take portraits, family photography, travel photography, commercial photography, stock photography, and more!
What's great about photography is that each photography you take can be sold an unlimited amount to generate passive income constantly because, as the photographer, you own exclusive rights.
Whether you have formal training in website design or a beginning knowledge, the chances are that you know way more about website design than most people. Those skills can be capitalized to refresh local business websites or create new ones.
Most websites don't need a complicated eCommerce functionality, but rather a simple homepage, about page, and contact page. If this seems simple to you, you may consider starting a side business of website design.
Graphic Designers create a wide range of graphics for clients, including logos, infographics, illustrations, website design, and more. Graphic Design is great for people who have those skills, but it's often a time-consuming service.
Creativity is never finalized, and every design can always have more tweaks. Although if you're good, you can charge between $65 – $150 per hour!
Like graphic design, logo creating services is a niche of graphic design but deserves its own category. Logos are far more difficult to create than people realize and often find themselves in need of graphic help.
Graphic design services for logo creation usually range anywhere from $150-$300 for a logo. All you need is graphic design skills in sketching and/or Adobe Illustrator to create a professional-looking logo. This is a great side business but often involves a lot of communication with the client to learn exactly what they're looking for.
Selling Custom T-shirts (Teespring & Society6)
Along the line of graphic design, t-shirt design is great because once the design is complete, it can be sold unlimited times. T-shirt services such as Teespring and Society6 allow you to design a t-shirt and place it on their marketplace to be sold.
For every shirt sold, you receive a portion of the profit. This is a great side hustle if you have a lot of creative ideas for t-shirt designs!
Perhaps you're great at creative writing; you can generate a side income from helping other people write articles for magazines, blogs, and other publications. Here are 20 publications that pay for writing.
Writing is something you can do at any time that works with your schedule. Articles go for around $100 for 1,500-word articles. If you're great at grammar, consider this as a side business.
Write Greeting Cards
There should be a greeting card for every occasion. If you're good at coming up with creative and funny expressions that would look great on a greeting card, consider being a writer/designer for greeting cards!
The writers at Hallmark make around $51,000 a year from creative card greetings. You could do even better and remove the Hallmark middle man.
Food trucks have soared to popularity and become even more important during the 2020 pandemic. As most restaurants have shifted their entire business model to take out, food trucks were already ready with low overhead.
They can go to any location for carryout and even arrive on-site for catering events. If food is your passion, consider the steps to own your own food truck. Some top food trucks bring in between $250,000 – $500,000 annually, with the best food trucks topping out around $1 million.
A luxury for the wealthy is having a private chef to avoid traveling during the pandemic. Private chefs can come to your client in one-off opportunities or regular weekly visits. It all depends on how you want to set up your business.
This provides several options from cooking and preparing meals in advance or cooking on location. A private chef's average cost is $100 – $400 for a meal or around $40 per hour. This is a great option for people who love to cook and socialize!
Most people can barely change a tire. However, if you're good with cars, auto repair is something that many people are willing to shell out money.
Simple services such as tire rotation, oil changes, and brake replacement are always in need, and customers often go back to the same mechanic again and again. Auto repair salaries range from $12 – $35 per hour.
Ridesharing / Food Delivery
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have definitely take a hit during the pandemic, but food delivery has skyrocketed! It's incredibly easy to get registered as an Uber driver or other ride-sharing/food delivery network to start!
People have been making incredible amounts of money from delivering food due to the higher cost of meals leads to higher tips. Food delivery drivers are making around $50 an hour during surge times.
Knowing a second language is not only a great skill to have but also profitable. There are always services such as books, magazines, textbooks, academic papers, company instructions, and more that need specialized, translating more complex than Google translate.
Translators are making around $49,000 annually from companies translating the text into different languages.
If you have a passion for education or any specialized training, you could offer tutor services. Many websites specialize in connecting tutors with students.
You could build up several references and always branch off with your own tutoring services. Tutors make around $25 per hour and rack up the hours while working with students.
Private Coach (Golf, Baseball, Soccer, Ice Skating, etc.)
Many parents are willing to pay extra money for a private coach for this kid's sport. For example, if you're well-known for your golf game, you can consider providing private golf lessons for your community. To be a private coach, you don't need to have any certifications typically, just showing that you are a leader in your field.
As a private coach, you can set your own schedule, create your own plans, and charge your own rates. Coaching rates vary heavily depending on what you're teaching and geographic location. However, $50 per hour is a good base rate to start.
Coaching Sports Teams
Parents and teachers often make extra money from volunteering to coach their local school's sports team. This is typically more work than any small income made, but it's rewarding the experience. If you're interested in a coaching position, reach out to local schools to see if they're any openings. The average pay for a high school football coach is $45,000 annually.
This is often popular for local city sports and intermural sports as they always need to fill referee positions. You will need tough skin to deal with players and a solid understanding of the rules. If this appeals to you, sports referees can make around $20,000 annually as a side job.
Music Lessons Instructor
This is another coaching position but with a musical focus. This can be anywhere from supplementing someone's musical education in addition to the choir to learning a new instrument like the guitar. There are no specialized certifications for music lesson instructors.
You simply need to demonstrate that you're qualified to teach. This can be a demonstration of your own abilities, references, or standing in the field.
This is another coaching opportunity where you set your own hours and rates. The average music lesson instructor makes around $50 – $75 per hour.
Health is one of the biggest priorities for people every year. While working out and going to the gym seem like a simple concept, many people struggle with what workouts they should do and food to eat. These people rely on the knowledge and experience of personal trainers.
To become a personal trainer, many institutions require some degree or certifications. Most personal trainers start at a gym to gain a client base. Afterward, however, you can go on your own and set your own hours and rates. Most personal trainers cost between $25 – $50 an hour.
Becoming a Yoga Instructor is a great opportunity to combine something you love with getting paid. As a Yoga instructor, you are usually joining the class in workouts as you go through the movements but provide additional support for people.
There are certification classes for Yoga Instructors with different tiers for different levels. Once you receive these certifications, you can teach at gyms looking for Yoga Instructors or create your own classes. This is another great side business as you work classes rather than full days. It's easy to set your own schedule and rates, with most Yoga Instructors making around $30 an hour.
During the pandemic right now, many people are avoiding the hair salon. This has been terrible for hairdressers but presented a unique opportunity for hairdressers willing to travel. Mobile Hairdressers have surged in popularity and may be here to stay.
Instead of renting out a seat in a salon, a hairdresser can make more money by visiting a client at their house for a haircut. These mobile hairdressers are making around $90 an hour and more in tips for the extra convenience of saving the client from traveling.
Rent Out Your Car (Turo/Fluid)
People are renting out their house on Airbnb for big money, but there are also opportunities to rent out your car for extra cash. Websites like Turo and Fluid allow you to rent out your car (with a great insurance policy) in exchange for cash. This can be for people new in town needing a car or trying out a different car style.
Either way, it’s easy to get started and start earning extra money from renting out your car when you're not using it. People are making around $700/mo from renting out their cars.
Delivery Services (Amazon)
Amazon has spent the last 3 years boasting about people starting their own delivery companies who focus on delivering Amazon products. While there is a lot of pressure to deliver items on time, there are also great pay opportunities.
Some people who have built delivery companies from Amazon goods have built multi-million dollar businesses. There are some up-front costs of the delivery van and courses from Amazon, but you do not have to answer to anyone and become your own boss!
Pet Care Service
The pet industry is a 99 billion industry; everything from dog-walking to pet sitting is in this category. While people try balancing living life, traveling, and owning pets, pet owners need help. Pets are as precious as having children (sometimes more), and people are willing to pay a lot of money to keep them happy.
Websites like Care.com connect pet owners with pet sitters and dog-walkers for extra cash. This requires great references, experience, and general love for pets. If you have these, pet sitters can make between $45 – $75 a night to watch these four-legged friends.
Love this list? Please share!
We love hearing all your additional ideas and continue to add to our list of profitable small business ideas. Here are some additional ideas to build inspiration for your own business!
- Landscaping / Tree Service
- Real Estate Agent
- Vacation Rentals (Airbnb)
- Property Manager
- Warehouse and Storage Business
- Event Planning
- Boat Cleaning
- Electronics Repair
- Flea Market Sales
- Make Money from Patents
- Buy and Sell Domain Names
- Brew Beer To Sell
- Online Survey Business
- Tour Guide (Segway, walking, etc.)
- Become A DJ
- Create Your Own Jewelry
- Create Your Own Furniture
- Junk Removal Service
- Public Notary
- Window Cleaning Service