250 Ideas For Self Employment

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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, and the demand for your products or services.

Starting Your Own Business

Below are articles, online guides, training materials, books, software, websites, and other useful resources that offer ideas and proven methods for launching and succeeding in your own business:

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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. It took me a few years before I began to grasp its immense potential as a communication tool, a marketing vehicle, and a business opportunity.

Twenty-four 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 realm of business opportunities — many of which can be launched and operated from your own home.

The good news is that there are many legitimate, practical ways to make money online.
The obstacle for many entrepreneurs is that it’s difficult to sort through the choices
and determine what opportunity is viable, realistic, and potentially profitable.

To make money online, all you need is a viable business plan, a moderate amount of initiative, and the ability to persist until you succeed… and then keep going!

This is encouraging for entrepreneurs looking for ways to generate income online, expand the marketing reach of an existing business, and/or make money online as an e-commerce merchant (more details on that, below.)

However… The idea of starting an Internet business (or any other business, for that matter) can also be very daunting.

Not knowing where to begin or how to create an Internet presence are among the obstacles preventing many people from taking that all-important first step. The good news is that you do not have to waste time, energy, and money “reinventing the wheel.” It’s already been invented, refined, and successfully implemented.

For example: 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. [Try it for free!*]

In addition to helping you create your own e-commerce website, Shopify enables you to sell your products on Amazon and  social media sales channels, like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

FAQ: What is Shopify? It’s an integrated e-commerce platform for managing products, orders, customers, sales channels, and analytics. It can help you streamline, centralize, and effectively manage everything (in an online business) from product marketing and customer payments to secure online checkout and shipping.

Find out how you can accept credit card payments online, fulfill orders in a single step, monitor sales (and sales growth), keep track of your inventory, and create your own customized business website and blog. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’re off and running! Start your 14-day free trial today! *

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“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 a marketing strategy, but something much more fundamental: deciding what business to start.

Hundreds of Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

The following list (below) of 250 business ideas is intended to help you come up with viable concepts for starting your own part-time or full-time business. (The list consists mostly of service-oriented business ideas, but also includes product-based self employment ideas.)

Your decision of what business to start (or whether to start a business at all) depends on a lot of variables, such as your professional skills, your level of motivation, experience, talents, personal contacts, existing reputation, market conditions, competitive factors, your financial resources, tolerance for risk, salesmanship abilities, people skills, willingness to persist and continually improve, and work ethic.

Luck” can also be a factor in business and personal success, but you’ve probably heard the often-repeated quote about the relationship between work and luck. The quote has been attributed to everyone from movie producer Samuel Goldwyn to former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson: “The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

 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: List of specialties.
  5. Landscaping business
  6. Lawn care business
  7. Dog walking business
  8. Online business (Get the tools to create your own online store with Shopify*)
  9. Real estate business (Visit my blog on writing real estate marketing letters)
  10. Academic tutoring services or music lessons
  11. Foreign language translation services
  12. Construction business
  13. Jewelry sales/jewelry making:
  14. Vending machine business
  15. Cupcake business
  16. Painting business (interior and exterior house painting)
  17. Retail sales
  18. Food businesses: restaurants, food trucks, Italian ice cart*, hot dog carts
  19. Recycling business
  20. Clothing business: [How to start your own clothing line*]
  21. Transportation
  22. Carpet cleaning
  23. Trucking
  24. Party planning business
  25. Pet sitting business
  26. Home health care business
  27. Courier business
  28. Bookkeeping services
  29. Daycare/childcare services
  30. Wedding planning
  31. Computer repair
  32. IT consulting
  33. Web design and/or graphic design business
  34. Handyman business
  35. Greeting card business
  36. Craft business:
  37. Pressure washing
  38. Baking, bakery or cake business
  39. Repo business
  40. Credit repair business
  41. Fashion business [How to get your business up and running]*
  42. Limo business (limousine service)
  43. Marketing/advertising agency
  44. Social media marketing services
  45. Pizza shop
  46. Gym/fitness business
  47. Shoe business
  48. Bar business
  49. Pool hall business
  50. Wholesale business
  51. eBay business
  52. Pest control business
  53. Bail bonds business
  54. Medical transportation
  55. Tax preparation
  56. Cell phone business
  57. Gift basket business
  58. Cookie business
  59. Manufacturing
  60. Laundry business
  61. Delivery service
  62. Car rental business
  63. Car detailing
  64. DJ business
  65. Scrap metal business
  66. Junk removal business
  67. Concierge services
  68. Boutique business
  69. Party rental
  70. Dog boarding/kennel
  71. Swimming pool cleaning and maintenance
  72. Plumbing services
  73. Magazine publishing
  74. Medical supply business
  75. Medical billing business
  76. Lingerie business
  77. Life coaching
  78. Career counseling
  79. Background check business
  80. Agriculture: farming, ranching, raising livestock, aquaculture, growing crops
  81. Greenhouse business
  82. Coffee shop and/or coffee roasting business
  83. Check cashing service
  84. Hotel business
  85. Hot dog cart business
  86. Printing business
  87. Candle sales/candle making
  88. Travel agency
  89. Storage business (storage unit rental/self storage)
  90. Event planning
  91. Mail order business
  92. Dropship business [Tools and tips for getting started cheaply]*
  93. Security services or consulting (residential, commercial, personal security, etc)
  94. Dog training
  95. Dog grooming
  96. Laundromat business (coin laundry business)
  97. Senior care business
  98. Real estate investment business
  99. Property management business
  100. Fast food business
  101. Furniture business
  102. Massage business/massage therapy
  103. Fundraising business
  104. Resale business [Tips on selling thrift store items]*
  105. Sewing business
  106. Consignment business
  107. Spa business
  108. Web hosting business
  109. Home staging business
  110. Home party business
  111. Locksmith business
  112. Website design
  113. Import export business
  114. Bottled water business
  115. Hair salon
  116. Call center
  117. Dump truck business
  118. House flipping
  119. Grocery delivery
  120. Ice cream business
  121. HVAC business
  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
  131. Chocolate business
  132. Popcorn business
  133. Smoothie business
  134. Matchmaking business
  135. Flea market business
  136. BBQ business (barbecue food catering)
  137. eCommerce business [Create an online store with Shopify*]
  138. Franchise business
  139. Moving business
  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 food business
  154. Financial planning business
  155. Horse boarding
  156. Telemarketing
  157. Laser tag business
  158. Floral business (flower shop)
  159. Clothing business online
  160. Multi level marketing/network marketing business
  161. Referral business
  162. Decorating business
  163. Nursery business
  164. Concrete business
  165. Car wash and/or hand card wash business
  166. Staffing/recruiting business
  167. Perfume business and/or cosmetic business
  168. Powder coating business
  169. Go kart business
  170. Sign business
  171. Interior design business
  172. Bowling alley
  173. Rain gutter cleaning business
  174. PC repair business
  175. Computer consulting
  176. Beverage business
  177. Car audio business
  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
  190. Export business
  191. Senior home care business
  192. Mobile oil change business
  193. Fashion design business [Helpful ideas for getting started]*
  194. Home healthcare business
  195. Liquor store
  196. Balloon business
  197. Horse business
  198. Voip business
  199. Direct sales
  200. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
  201. T-shirt business [Free Course: How to Build an Online T-Shirt Store*]
  202. Wedding chapel business
  203. Retail clothing business
  204. Silk screen business
  205. Sporting goods business
  206. Security consulting
  207. Day spa business
  208. Feed store business
  209. Fishing business
  210. Home inventory business
  211. Honey business
  212. Hunting business
  213. Coffee cart business
  214. Boat charter business
  215. Bookstore business
  216. Beauty salon business
  217. Taxi cab business
  218. Cabinet making business
  219. Car transport business
  220. Chair massage business
  221. Knife sharpening business
  222. Psychic business
  223. Pet cremation business
  224. Pottery business [Sell your artwork]*
  225. Pet boarding business
  226. Pet photography business
  227. Motorcycle business
  228. Mobile dog grooming business
  229. Personal fitness training
  230. Dog bakery — [Check out this step-by-step business system*]
  231. Recruitment business
  232. Animal rescue business
  233. Answering service
  234. Barber shop
  235. BPO business
  236. Business card printing
  237. Pet shop
  238. Mailing service
  239. Loan broker
  240. Skateboard business
  241. Gift shop
  242. Newspaper publishing
  243. Stained glass business
  244. Woodworking
  245. Electronic dog fence installation
  246. Shoe repair
  247. Appliance repair
  248. Window tinting
  249. Foreclosure cleanups
  250. Dumpster rentals
  251. Concert promoter
  252. Talent agent
  253. Freelance writer [Online training available]*
  254. Roofing:

While this list of self employment ideas is far from all inclusive, I think 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 at prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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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:

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.

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, an 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?

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!”

Stay tuned to this blog 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.”

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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. [BTW… Did I mention that I worked in the public relations field for nine years and have been a journalist and news reporter — mostly on a freelance basis — for 34 years?]

Software for Creating Winning Business Proposals*

This is the proposal-writing kit I mentioned, earlier: “Accurately quote your projects, create winning proposals, negotiate your contracts, multiply your profitability, brand yourself as a top professional and close the sale. Proposal Kit helps you demonstrate to prospects and clients that you are the right professional for the job. It’s the mission-critical tool for writing effective business proposals on a moments notice. Proven for two decades to be fast, easy, and accurate.” [adv]

Order and download Proposal Kit software here.*

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

Best of luck in all your entrepreneurial pursuits!

–Joel

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Business blogger, freelance writer, *compensated affiliate marketer

Question: Are you interested in starting your own affiliate marketing business? It’s no get-rich-quick scheme, but it’s an opportunity to start your own potentially profitable Internet business. To learn more, read the inspiring success story of Rosalind Gardner.* It’s a great business model most people are unfamiliar with. (I’ve been doing it for 16 years.)

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!

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.

*Note: I am a compensated affiliate of the e-books, courses on starting your own business, e-commerce software, membership websites, small business marketing tools, and other products and services featured on this blog.

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Top Small Business Ideas For Entrepreneurs

One of my favorite methods of discovering popular small business ideas and trends is to use a keyword research tool. Within seconds of entering a couple keywords, you can generate a recent list of what Internet users are searching for on virtually any topic.

If you’re looking for top small business ideas, for example, this technique can provide some interesting insights into emerging trends and potential opportunities for starting a business. I’ve already done a lot of the leg work for you, though, in compiling a lengthy list of great business ideas. Some are better than others, of course, but your potential for success in any given business depends on your skills, knowledge, experience, startup budget, level of commitment, customer demand, competitive factors, service orientation, and other variables.

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Whether you’re in the process of trying to generate business ideas for extra income on weekends or a full-time, lucrative enterprise that you hope to build up over time, this list should be helpful in identifying and refining your ideas and small business goals.

  1. Cleaning business (house cleaning, janitorial services, office cleaning)
  2. Photography business
  3. Consulting business
  4. Landscaping
  5. Lawn care, lawn maintenance, lawn mowing
  6. Home health care business
  7. Personal training
  8. Real estate
  9. eBay business
  10. Event planning
  11. Clothing business
  12. Painting business
  13. Retail store
  14. Tutoring business
  15. Vending machine business
  16. Carpet cleaning
  17. Computer repair
  18. Daycare
  19. Dog walking business
  20. Food business
  21. Jewelry business
  22. Web design business
  23. Bookkeeping business
  24. T-shirt business
  25. Greeting card business
  26. Handyman business
  27. Pet sitting business
  28. Pressure washing
  29. Restaurant
  30. Trucking business
  31. Car wash business
  32. Bakery
  33. Craft business
  34. Graphic design business
  35. Recycling business
  36. Wedding planning
  37. Ecommerce
  38. Catering business
  39. Greenhouse business
  40. Party planning business
  41. Rental business
  42. Taxi service
  43. Welding business
  44. Import/export business
  45. Internet cafe business
  46. Cupcake, cookie, and/or cake (decorating) business
  47. Contracting business
  48. Courier business
  49. Farming
  50. Fitness business
  51. Gift baskets
  52. Pest control
  53. Pizza shop
  54. Tax business
  55. Tow truck service
  56. Consulting
  57. Property management
  58. Dog day care
  59. PC repair
  60. Recruitment business
  61. Bar business
  62. Blogging
  63. Car detailing business
  64. Coffee business (coffee  shop, coffee retailing, cafe, coffee bean roasting)
  65. Construction business
  66. Cookie business
  67. Credit repair services
  68. DJ business (mobile disc jockey service for parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.)
  69. Dog boarding
  70. Fashion business
  71. Home inspection services
  72. Limo business for weddings, proms, etc.
  73. Plumbing services
  74. Printing services
  75. Publishing business
  76. Real estate investing
  77. Roofing
  78. Tax preparation
  79. Transportation
  80. Virtual assistant business
  81. Wholesale business
  82. Window cleaning
  83. Woodworking business
  84. Embroidery business
  85. Ice cream business
  86. Home health care business
  87. Interior design business
  88. Hotel business
  89. Scrapbooking business
  90. Gardening business
  91. BBQ business/BBQ catering
  92. Bounce house business
  93. Candle making business
  94. Car rental business
  95. Consignment business
  96. Delivery business
  97. Financial planning services
  98. Franchise business
  99. Furniture business
  100. Horse boarding business
  101. Laundromat business
  102. Laundry business
  103. Medical billing business
  104. Mobile detailing business
  105. Swimming pool cleaning business
  106. Self storage business (storage unit business)
  107. Spa business
  108. Ebay business
  109. Personal training
  110. Computer consulting
  111. Invitation business
  112. Retail business
  113. Photo business
  114. Nightclub business
  115. Nursery business
  116. Gym business
  117. Massage business
  118. Design business
  119. Solar business
  120. Insurance business
  121. Repo business
  122. Scrap metal business
  123. Sewing business
  124. Baking business
  125. Tattoo studio
  126. Lingerie business
  127. Jewelry business
  128. Handbag business
  129. Video rental business
  130. Staffing business
  131. Manufacturing
  132. Cell phone business
  133. Pet business ideas: dog grooming, dog kennel business, dog training, doggie daycare
  134. Hair salon
  135. Junk removal business
  136. Remodeling business
  137. Security business
  138. Shoe business
  139. Sign business
  140. Small engine repair
  141. Smoothie business
  142. Used car business
  143. Wedding photography business
  144. Wine business
  145. Art business
  146. Estate sale business
  147. HVAC business
  148. Coaching business
  149. Catalog business
  150. Distribution business
  151. Electrical business
  152. Tea business
  153. Moving business
  154. Floral business
  155. Candy business
  156. Marketing business
  157. Bail bonds business
  158. Bed and breakfast
  159. Call center business
  160. Dog breeding
  161. Dry cleaning
  162. Dump truck business
  163. Flea market business
  164. Hot dog business (hot dog cart/stand)
  165. Locksmith business
  166. Magazine publishing
  167. Mail order business
  168. Paintball business
  169. Pharmacy
  170. Food business
  171. Software business
  172. Tanning salon

Although this list is not all inclusive, it does cover quite a few small business ideas and self employment options. Some categories, such as “food business,” are overly general and need to be refined, but they are the actual search terms that people are using. This list of top small business ideas is presented roughly in order of popularity and search volume, but in a few cases, I attempted to consolidate similar business ideas. My apologies for any redundant items that may have slipped past my editorial scrutiny.

If you’re interested in books on starting a business or step by step guides for starting a business, then visit my website: Marketing Survival Kit.*

Thanks for checking out my latest blog post on starting a business and top small business ideas. Stay tuned for updates in the near future.

Best of luck in all your business ventures!

–Joel
Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategistEmail: prowriter30years@yahoo.com

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BTW…This list of old and new business ideas was current as of September 2016, but may become slightly less relevant, over time.

Note: Since all businesses entail a degree of risk and that it’s advisable to work with a CPA, attorney, and or business insurance advisor to make sure your business is set up properly, protected by the necessary insurance coverage, and in compliance with all applicable laws. Special permits, licenses, and certifications may be required of certain professional practices, services, and businesses. The above list of top small business ideas includes low-cost business ideas as well as those that require substantial startup capital.

*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of many of the digital products, templates, software, and business startup books mentioned in this blog and on my website, Marketing Survival Kit.