If you’re out of work, not meeting your financial goals, or frustrated with your present job, self employment is an option that may be worth considering. Self employment can either serve as an income supplement or an income replacement — depending on your objectives, your skills, your motivation, and the demand for your products or services.

Starting Your Own Business

Below are articles, business guides, and websites that offer helpful ideas, tools, and proven methods for launching and/or succeeding in your own business:

Starting an Internet Business

I started making extra money as a freelance writer and entrepreneur back in 1993, when the Internet was in its infancy. My first freelance jobs involved writing articles for local business journals (the print versions).


It took me a few years before I began to grasp the Internet’s immense potential as a communication tool, a marketing vehicle, and a place to conduct business.

Twenty-five years later, the Internet has taken on a life of its own and is a driving force in the business world, the media, and people’s personal lives. The existence and growth of the Internet has also spawned a new generation of business opportunities — many of which can be launched and operated from your own home.

How to Start an ecommerce Business

If you’ve been looking for ways to start your own online store, Shopify* can provide you with the tools, the software, and the marketing strategies to make it happen. In addition to helping you create your own professional e-commerce website, Shopify can help you sell your products on social media sales channels, like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Shopify-SDK-250x250An e-commerce platform like Shopify can help you handle the details of accepting credit card payments, fulfilling orders in a single step, monitoring sales (and sales trends), keeping track of your inventory, and creating your own customized business website and blog. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’re off and running!

If starting an online store is not in your “comfort zone,” then there are literally hundreds of other business ideas from which to choose — many of which can be started with very little money. I’ve listed a long list of possibilities below, along with links to more information, training materials, and other useful resources.*

Hundreds of Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

The following list of 250 business ideas is intended to help you develop viable ideas for starting your own part-time or full-time business.

Your decision of what business to start will depend on a lot of variables, such as your professional skills, your level of motivation, available time and energy, relevant experience, talents, contacts (who you know), what you know, your existing reputation, market conditions (demand for your product or services), competitive factors, your financial resources, tolerance for risk, salesmanship abilities, people skills, problem-solving ability, willingness to improve, and — last, but not least — your work ethic.

List of 250+ Self Employment Ideas

Some of the more popular business ideas that people are now pursuing or researching include the following self employment options:

  1. Cleaning business: house cleaning, housekeeping, office cleaning, janitorial
  2. Photography
  3. Catering business
  4. Consulting business: (See blog post).
  5. Landscaping business
  6. Lawn care business
  7. Dog walking business
  8. Online business
  9. Real estate business (Visit my blog on writing real estate marketing letters)
  10. Academic tutoring services
  11. Offering music lessons (individual or group): guitar, piano, singing
  12. Foreign language translation services
  13. Construction business
  14. Jewelry sales/jewelry making
  15. Vending machine business
  16. Cupcake business
  17. Painting business (interior and exterior house painting)
  18. Retail sales [Make in-person sales with a Shopify credit card reader*]
  19. Food businesses: food trucks, Italian ice cart, hot dog carts,
  20. Recycling business
  21. Clothing business:
  22. Transportation
  23. Carpet cleaning
  24. Trucking
  25. Party planning business [Resource: Event planning toolkit*]
  26. Pet sitting business [How to organize, market, and manage a pet business*]
  27. Home health care business
  28. Courier business
  29. Bookkeeping services
  30. Daycare/childcare services
  31. Wedding planning
  32. Computer repair
  33. IT consulting
  34. Web design and/or graphic design business
  35. Handyman business [Book and video shares business management techniques*]
  36. Greeting card business
  37. Craft business
  38. Pressure washing
  39. Baking, bakery or cake business
  40. Repo business
  41. Credit repair business
  42. Fashion business
  43. Limo business (limousine service) for weddings, proms, and airport pickup
  44. Marketing/advertising agency and/or freelance copywriting*
  45. Social media marketing services
  46. Blogging [Affiliate marketing* is one way bloggers make money.]
  47. Pizza shop
  48. Gym/fitness business
  49. Shoe business
  50. Bar business
  51. Pool hall business
  52. Wholesale business
  53. eBay business
  54. Pest control business
  55. Bail bonds business
  56. Medical transportation
  57. Tax preparation
  58. Cell phone business
  59. Gift basket business
  60. Cookie business
  61. Manufacturing
  62. Laundry business
  63. Delivery service
  64. Car rental business
  65. Car detailing
  66. DJ business
  67. Scrap metal business
  68. Junk removal business
  69. Concierge services
  70. Boutique business  [Note: Shopify is trusted by more than 243,000 stores*]
  71. Party rental
  72. Dog boarding/kennel
  73. Swimming pool cleaning and maintenance
  74. Plumbing services
  75. Magazine publishing
  76. Medical supply business
  77. Medical billing services
  78. Lingerie business
  79. Life coaching
  80. Career counseling
  81. Background check service
  82. Agriculture [Hobby farm ideas available elsewhere on this blog]
  83. Greenhouse business
  84. Coffee shop and/or coffee roasting business
  85. Check cashing service
  86. Hotel business
  87. Printing business
  88. Candle sales/candle making
  89. Travel agency [Become a home-based travel agent*]
  90. Storage business (storage unit rental/self storage)
  91. Event planning [Find out if this business is right for you.*]
  92. Mail order business
  93. Dropship business [Tools and tips for getting started cheaply]*
  94. Security services or consulting (residential, commercial, personal security, etc)
  95. Dog training
  96. Dog grooming
  97. Laundromat business (coin laundry business)
  98. Senior care business
  99. Real estate investment business
  100. Property management business
  101. Fast food business
  102. Furniture business
  103. Massage business/massage therapy
  104. Fundraising business
  105. Resale business [Buying/selling thrift store items]*
  106. Sewing business
  107. Consignment business
  108. Spa business
  109. Web hosting business
  110. Home staging business
  111. Home party business
  112. Locksmith business
  113. Website design
  114. Import/export business [Exporting cars*| Importing from Third World Countries*]
  115. Bottled water business
  116. Hair salon
  117. Call center
  118. Dump truck business
  119. House flipping
  120. Grocery delivery
  121. HVAC business (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning services)
  122. Lead generation business
  123. Window washing
  124. Dog kennel
  125. Non medical home care business
  126. Stationery business
  127. Soap making business
  128. Paintball business
  129. Rental car business
  130. Coaching business [Life coaching certification course*]
  131. Chocolate business
  132. Popcorn business
  133. Smoothie business
  134. Matchmaking business
  135. Flea market business [Training videos and e-book available*]
  136. BBQ business (barbecue food catering)
  137. eCommerce business [Create an online store with Shopify*]
  138. Franchise businesses
  139. Moving services
  140. Freight brokerage business
  141. Logging business
  142. Remodeling business
  143. Personal chef business
  144. Bed and breakfast
  145. Beauty supply business
  146. Nursing home business
  147. Nail salon
  148. Hauling business
  149. Handbag business 
  150. Hair bow business
  151. Gas station
  152. Video game business
  153. Frozen foods
  154. Financial planning services
  155. Horse boarding
  156. Telemarketing
  157. Laser tag business
  158. Floral business (flower shop)
  159. Clothing business online [Create your online store at Shopify!*]
  160. Multi level marketing/network marketing
  161. Referral business
  162. Decorating business
  163. Nursery business
  164. Concrete business
  165. Car wash and/or hand car wash business
  166. Staffing/recruiting/”head hunting” services
  167. Perfume business and/or cosmetics business
  168. Powder coating business
  169. Go kart business
  170. Sign business
  171. Interior design business
  172. Bowling alley
  173. Rain gutter installation and/or cleaning business
  174. PC repair services
  175. Computer consulting
  176. Beverage sales
  177. Car audio installation and repair
  178. Insurance agency
  179. Tanning salon
  180. Professional organizing service
  181. Catalog business
  182. Pet store
  183. Group home business
  184. Paralegal business
  185. Dollar store
  186. Nanny business
  187. Dry cleaning
  188. Mystery shopping business
  189. Gardening business [Grow mushrooms |Vegetable gardening Grape growing]*
  190. Senior home care business
  191. Mobile oil change business
  192. Fashion design business
  193. Home healthcare business
  194. Liquor store
  195. Balloon business
  196. Horse business
  197. Voip business
  198. Direct sales
  199. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation [Download business guide*]
  200. T-shirt business [Free Course: How to Build an Online T-Shirt Store*]
  201. Wedding chapel business
  202. Retail clothing business
  203. Silk screen business
  204. Sporting goods business
  205. Security consulting
  206. Day spa business
  207. Feed store business
  208. Fishing or aquaculture business
  209. Home inventory business
  210. Honey business [Guide to Starting a Honey Farm*]
  211. Hunting business
  212. Coffee cart business
  213. Boat charter business
  214. Bookstore business
  215. Beauty salon business
  216. Taxi cab business
  217. Cabinet making business
  218. Car transport business
  219. Chair massage business
  220. Knife sharpening business
  221. Psychic business
  222. Pet cremation business
  223. Pottery business [Sell at craft markets*, sell online*, promote on social media*]
  224. Pet boarding business
  225. Pet photography business
  226. Motorcycle business
  227. Mobile dog grooming business
  228. Personal fitness training
  229. Dog bakery — [Step-by-step business system*]
  230. Animal rescue business
  231. Answering service
  232. Barber shop
  233. BPO business
  234. Business card printing
  235. Pet shop
  236. Mailing service
  237. Loan broker
  238. Skateboard business
  239. Gift shop
  240. Newspaper publishing
  241. Stained glass business
  242. Woodworking
  243. Electronic dog fence installation
  244. Shoe repair
  245. Appliance repair
  246. Window tinting
  247. Foreclosure cleanups
  248. Dumpster rentals
  249. Concert promoter
  250. Talent agent
  251. Freelance writer [Online training available]*
  252. Roofing

While this list of self employment ideas is far from all inclusive, it does cover a lot of possibilities. If you can think of any other unique ideas for starting a small business, feel free to post a comment on this blog or email me your thoughts

Browse the latest Amazon Books on Marketing, Management, and Small Business Ideas*

Pet Business Ideas:

If the idea of running a home-based pet sitting or dog walking business appeals to you, then check out the training materials, proven management techniques, and marketing strategies available in the Pet Sitting Business Startup Kit*.

If you’re trustworthy, well organized, and compassionate, then this business idea may be the perfect way to supplement your income or create a full-time business.

Other Home-Based Business Ideas to Consider

If the idea of a home-based business appeals to you, here are a few ideas, websites, and information kits* that can help you get started

  1. Starting a home-based affiliate marketing business*
  2. Home based candy bouquet business*
  3. Home based embroidery business*
  4. Knitting and crocheting business ideas*

If you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for an income supplement or even a profitable home business idea, you’re not alone. It’s a common challenge that countless parents face every day, throughout the world.

As a work-from-home dad, myself, I can speak from experience when it comes to being a home-based entrepreneur, freelance writer, blogger, website owner, and online marketing affiliate. In my opinion, one of the best businesses to start from home — whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a college student, or a retiree — is freelance writing.

There are also plenty of other work-at-home business ideas that are worth exploring — especially if you have marketable skills, experience in a particular field, knowledge that others might benefit from, an entrepreneurial mindset, a product or service for which there’s a demand, and/or a background in sales.

While you may find that searching for freelance gigs, self employment jobs, and work-at-home opportunities can be discouraging at times, your most important asset is your mindset: the ability to cultivate self confidence, determination, momentum, and the belief that you are surrounded by opportunities waiting to be discovered — opportunities that are often “hiding in plain sight.”

To quote Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

In the Internet Age, there are countless ways to get a job, make money online, or start your own business. While there are no guarantees of success in any endeavor, the path to starting a profitable home business begins with a good idea, a proactive plan, and the determination to persist until you succeed.

Whether you’re considering being a freelance writer, a tutor, a bookkeeper, a virtual assistant, a freelance photographer, a social media marketing consultant,  event planner, or an e-commerce business owner, there are a lot of opportunities out there waiting to be identified and acted on. Why not get started today?

The internet economy is continually expanding and diversifying, and there are literally THOUSANDS of opportunities available for work-at-home entrepreneurs who know where to look. If you’re searching for self employed jobs online, begin your search here!*

A couple of my favorite inspiration quotes, which are attributed to Liam Linisong, are the following:

“A year from now, what will you wish you had done today?”

“No one can stop you but yourself!”

Question: Does “luck” play a role in business and personal success? That’s a topic for a separate blog post, but there does appear to be an element of luck in many success stories. However, there’s more to luck than just serendipity. To quote movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn … or was it former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson:

“The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

FAQ: What Business Should I Start?

For many entrepreneurs, the first hurdle to being self employed and building their client list is not a lack of desire or a marketing strategy, but something much more fundamental: deciding what business to start.

When it comes to starting a new business, there are literally hundreds of options from which to choose. Based on my Internet research, the top-ten businesses to start are cleaning services, online businesses, photography services, a t-shirt business, consulting services, landscaping, lawn care, dog walking, construction, and real estate marketing.

Other small business ideas people are actively pursuing include event planning, tutoring, vending, operating a food truck, retail sales, jewelry, ebay businesses, trucking, interior and exterior house painting, and pet sitting . Enterprising people are doing everything from starting a gift basket business to being a home-based travel agent or starting a used car business. For those with a background in fitness, there’s always the option of setting up and running a fitness boot camp. A few other random ideas include being a professional organizer, freelance writer or freelance copywriter.

If none of those business ideas appeal to you, there are many more. I’ve created a long list of other possibilities (above) to help you identify good business startup ideas. I’ll be adding to it, periodically, so feel free to bookmark this Web page for future reference. To stay current with new ideas, you can also “follow” this blog to receive email notifications when new posts and topics are added.

Stay tuned for more small business ideas, resources, marketing strategies, and guides to starting and succeeding in your own business


Small Business Marketing Ideas

One of the biggest challenges that face many entrepreneurs is finding customers. You can be the most talented graphic designer, event planner, consultant, or handyman in town, but if you don’t have any customers, your skills and talents aren’t going to do you much good — at least not financially!

In addition to the freelancing and self employment ideas listed above, I ‘d also like to offer some basic business marketing ideas, which will hopefully help you attract and retain customers and clients (without having to spend a bundle of money).

Business Marketing Tools*

20 free online tools for marketing and managing your business, including logo generator, slogan generator, business name generator, business card maker, profit margin calculator, and website templates.

Advertising, direct sales, and marketing can be a bit of a rocky road if you’re not sure where to begin or how to go about it, but as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”


What is Marketing?

Marketing, which entails everything from advertising and public relations to blogging and SEO (search engine optimization), is one of the cornerstones of any successful business. The ability to generate leads, inquiries, referrals, and customers depends — to a large degree — on your willingness to create and implement a marketing plan for your business.

Marketing plans do not have to be lengthy or complicated to provide you with a practical and useful road map to customer acquisition, but should be well thought out, researched, flexible, and cost effective. A starting point to creating a small business marketing plan would be to think about and write a “SWOT” analysis, which stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.”

Two other components of a marketing plan would involve identifying your target market (demographics), listing as many feasible marketing tactics as you can think of, and pinpointing your business’s USP, which is often referred to as either a “Unique Selling Proposition,” “Unique Selling Points,” and/or “Unique Value Proposition (UVP).” Obviously, the operative word there is “unique.”

To a large degree, marketing is all about two things:

  • Offering your customers unique advantages and benefits that they can not get elsewhere
  • Being able to effectively communicate those unique advantages to as many targeted and “qualified” prospects as possible

In a nutshell, here is a handful of cost-effective and, in some cases, low-cost business marketing ideas that are worth considering.

  1. Handing out business cards, promotional flyers, brochures, inexpensive advertising specialties, door hangers, post card mailers, and coupons (if applicable and appropriate).
  2. Written business proposals: I’m a big proponent of using business proposals to solicit new clients, respond to RFPs, and to pursue corporate and government accounts. Here’s why: First of all, back in the 1990s, I worked as a proposal writer for a major IT company for five years, so I can appreciate the pivotal role that a well-written business proposal plays in the competitive bidding process. Secondly, I’m an affiliate of a company that sells proposal-writing software, templates, sample proposals, and frequently needed service contracts. They’ve been in business for 20 years and are obsessed with continually improving and fine-tuning their software products. For more information on how and why written business proposals are important (and can help you land more clients, customers, and lucrative accounts), check out their article “It’s All About Trust.”*
  3. Building up an Internet following, either through blogging, developing a social media presence, or inviting your website visitors to subscribe to your monthly newsletter, mailing list, or special announcements.
  4. Face-to-face networking can also be an extremely valuable way to connect with prospective clients and develop mutually beneficial relationships with other entrepreneurs, organizations, influencers, potential clients, and mentors. It’s old-fashioned, but it’s not going to go out of style anytime in the foreseeable future!
  5. Sending out newsworthy press releases to local media outlets, reporters, editors, bloggers, and websites. Press releases can often result in a free publicity in the form of a feature article, listing of an event, interview opportunity, or business profile in your local newspaper, regional magazine, miscellaneous websites, business blogs, podcasts, editorial pages, radio stations, and TV news and interview programs. Visibility in the media helps boost your credibility and recognition factor.

Thanks for checking out my latest small business marketing tips and self employment ideas.

Best of luck in all your entrepreneurial pursuits!

Business blogger, freelance writer, *compensated affiliate marketer

If you’re interested in starting a specific kind of small business, I’ve featured links to ecommerce services (Shopify*), business startup manuals, entrepreneurial membership sites, and online courses for entrepreneurs.

Important: Starting a businesses of any kind involves an element of financial risk, so it’s always wise to consult a CPA, business insurance advisor, and a business attorney when setting up, expanding, or anticipating future needs for a new or existing business.

Update: I’ve recently begun devoting more attention to the topics of personal development, human potential, and motivation in a new blog (about life) called Mastering Life Takes Time!

*Note: I am a compensated affiliate of the books, courses on starting your own business, Shopify e-commerce software, membership websites for self employed entrepreneurs, small business marketing tools, software, and other products and services featured on this blog. Unless otherwise noted, I do not personally endorse products featured in this blog.

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