How to Come Up With a Business Idea


One of my favorite inspirational quotes is by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu:

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

That saying applies to everything from goal attainment and small business success to academic achievement and career advancement.

Taking challenges one step at a time and being motivated to persist until you succeed  are among the qualities of a success-bound entrepreneur.

If you’re thinking of starting a business of any size, it helps to adopt this type of  entrepreneurial mindset. Without the right attitude, your journey into self employment  is sure to be a short one.

To put it bluntly: “An untrained mind can accomplish nothing!” (Source: A Course in Miracles)

However, if you train your mind to be both goal oriented and action oriented, then your chances of entrepreneurial success are greatly increased.

Another invaluable source of inspiration for entrepreneurs is the classic success book by Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich.” I believe that if every aspiring business owner, college student,  and entrepreneur read that book — and took it seriously — then a lot more people would be reaching their potential and having a positive impact on the economy.

For many self employed people and small business owners, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a good business idea — one that they’re passionate about and that inspires continuous action, innovation, and mental focus.

Coming Up With a Good Business Idea

So how does one come up with a good business idea? Well, in many cases, good startup business ideas are the result of being able to identify an unmet need or an unsolved problem in the marketplace — either locally or globally.

All things being equal, it’s generally best to avoid going into a business in which there’s a lot of stiff competition — especially if you’re just starting out. Although some people have done it successfully, it can be an uphill battle to try and penetrate a highly competitive or saturated market.

An exception: In some cases, however, competition may not be a stumbling block and may actually represent an opportunity. For example, if your potential customers are dissatisfied with the existing service, quality, selection, turnaround time, or responsiveness of the company they’re now doing business with, they (the prospect) would be receptive to your proposal to switch providers or suppliers. If you can provide more value, better service, and superior customer satisfaction than the competition, then you may be in a position to successfully enter a competitive market and gain a growing market share.

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Elements of a good business idea

Coming up with a good business idea usually includes the following ingredients:

  1. Identifying an unmet or inadequately served need among the general population or (better still) a specialized market segment.
  2. Coming up with innovative, compelling, and cost-effect ways to reach your target demographic and market your business. (The best business idea in the world is destined to fail if you don’t know how to effectively communicate the advantages and unique features of your product or service to your target audience.)
  3. The starting point of many successful startup businesses is the ability and willingness to leverage one’s own skills, knowledge, areas of expertise, passions, training, education, resources, personal contacts, and natural talents to acquire customers (AKA “marketing“) and provide them with superior quality, service, and satisfaction. (Satisfied customers relead to repeat business, customer referrals, and favorable online reviews and positive word-of-mouth advertising.)

If it’s your goal to come up with a viable business idea and nurture it to fruition, it’s also vitally important to associate with positive-minded people — specifically, other entrepreneurs, family members, mentors, and friends who will encourage, support, and inspire you, rather than bombard you with reasons why your business ideas might not work.

Granted, all business ideas should be carefully considered, researched, and evaluated before investing time or money in them, but business success can only be achieved when you go into it with an attitude of positive expectation.

Small Business Ideas List

One method of coming up with business ideas is to peruse lists of possible choices, based on what other entrepreneurs are engaged in, researching, or thinking about. I hope the following list of 115 business ideas will help you narrow down the possibilities and zero in on the right business idea for you.

  1. Photography
  2. Photo booth rental
  3. Consulting
  4. Cleaning [Start your own PT office-cleaning business*]
  5. Lawn care, mowing, yard cleanup [Free audio: Lawn business tips and tricks*]
  6. Landscaping
  7. Non-emergency medical transportation
  8. Construction
  9. Handyman business [Getting started*]
  10. Interior/exterior painting
  11. Graphic design
  12. Transportation
  13. Taxi service, limo service, party bus rental
  14. Moving services, trucking business
  15. T-shirt design and sales (online or offline)
  16. Real estate sales, investing, house flipping, rental property
  17. Tutoring
  18. Musical instrument lessons
  19. ESL instruction
  20. Catering
  21. Event planning
  22. Wedding planning, party planning
  23. Princess parties
  24. Floral business
  25. Candy bouquet business [Details here*]
  26. Retail
  27. Computer Repair
  28. eCommerce
  29. Buying and selling on eBay, Craiglist, garage sales, etc.
  30. Jewelry design and sales
  31. Pet sitting, dog walking, dog training, dog grooming, dog breeding
  32. Franchise businesses
  33. Clothing business
  34. Lingerie sales
  35. Food business, such as food truck, ice cream, hot dog cart, Italian ices, bakery, pizza
  36. Home health care
  37. Personal trainer or starting a gym business or fitness bootcamp
  38. Life coach
  39. Carpentry, woodworking*, furniture refinishing
  40. Flooring installation
  41. Plumbing
  42. HVAC
  43. Roofing
  44. Electrical services
  45. Pressure washing
  46. Pool cleaning, maintenance, seasonal openings and closings
  47. home staging
  48. Interior design
  49. Payroll services
  50. Bookkeeping
  51. Medical billing
  52. Accounting/tax preparation
  53. Personal assistant
  54. Virtual assistant
  55. Answering service
  56. Transcription services
  57. Vending machines
  58. Marketing/advertising services, including social media marketing
  59. Blogging
  60. Carpet cleaning
  61. Daycare
  62. Crafts
  63. Sewing
  64. Candle making, soap making, sales
  65. Etsy business
  66. Flea market business
  67. Art business
  68. Consignment sales
  69. Recycling
  70. Wholesaling
  71. Web hosting
  72. Mobile oil change service
  73. Roadside assistance
  74. Window tinting
  75. Property preservation
  76. Snow plowing
  77. Tree trimming
  78. Junk removal
  79. Import/export
  80. Buying and selling used cars
  81. Security guard services
  82. Home security system installation
  83. Home automation
  84. Home inspection services
  85. Home remodeling
  86. Window cleaning
  87. Rental business
  88. Antique dealer
  89. Locksmith
  90. Welding
  91. Printing Business
  92. Background checking services
  93. Safety consulting
  94. Management consulting
  95. Security consulting
  96. Career counseling
  97. Resume writing service
  98. Corporate recruiting
  99. Karate studio (dojo)
  100. Music recording studio
  101. Yoga studio
  102. Gymnastics
  103. Offering classes, continuing adult education
  104. Hair styling, makeup artist
  105. Financial planning
  106. Freelance writing
  107. Personal chef
  108. Boat charter business
  109. Guided tours
  110. Gift basket business
  111. Pest control
  112. Rental property business (apartments, condos, houses, vacation rentals, etc.)
  113. Hotel, B&B
  114. Restaurant, cafe, diner, coffee shop, coffee service,
  115. Delivery service, courier
  116. Linen rental
  117. Dry cleaning business

Thanks for checking out my latest blog post on all things entrepreneurial! Stay tuned for more business ideas, marketing strategy, and motivational resources.

Best of luck in coming up with a winning business idea, this year!

Business blogger, freelance writer, marketing strategist, coffee drinker


*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of the products, services, courses, and software featured on this blog.

Cautionary note: A startup business is like a marriage: It should not be entered into lightly! Carefully evaluate all business opportunities and ventures before taking the plunge, seek out trusted and qualified business advisors, and bear in mind that all businesses entail a degree of risk.

But… with that caveat in mind, remember the following quote:

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. (John A. Shedd)



What Type of Business Should I Start?


One of the first steps to starting your own business involves developing a plan. That initial plan does not have to spell out every single thing you need to do to launch a new business, but it should reflect some careful thought and a little bit of research into whether your business idea is feasible. The feasibility of your business strategy will depend on several key factors:

  1. Competitive factors: You need to ask yourself whether the marketplace is already saturated with other companies or entrepreneurs offering the same product or service on which you want to base your business.
  2. Your skills, experience, and talents: There are very few businesses that do not require the owner to have some sort of knowledge, expertise, or natural ability. As an entrepreneur, it’s your mission to identify your strengths and passions, and to apply those capabilities to the right business venture or enterprise.
  3. Available resources: While some businesses can be run on a shoestring budget by one energetic entrepreneur, others require thousands of dollars of investment capital and/or the involvement of partners, vendors, employees, freelancers, and others. Choosing the type of business that is the best match to your resources, capabilities, and target market is one of the cornerstones to business longevity, business survival, and growth potential.


Types of Businesses Other People Are Starting

If you’re at a loss for a specific business idea, here’s my latest list of 50 self employment ideas worth considering. Many of these business ideas are inexpensive to start and can be run by one person.

  1. Cleaning services [Download startup kit*]
  2. Photography
  3. Consulting
  4. Lawn care, mowing, yard cleanup  [Order lawn business success course*]
  5. Non-emergency medical transportation [Buy 322-page business manual*]
  6. Landscaping
  7. Construction
  8. Graphic design and/or website design
  9. Real estate [Helpful tools: marketing templates and real estate training*]
  10. Catering
  11. Retail
  12. Event planning
  13. eCommerce
  14. Making/selling jewelry
  15. Pet sitting/ dog walking/ dog grooming/ dog training/ pet boarding
  16. eBay business or Amazon business
  17. Web hosting
  18. Franchise business
  19. Computer repair
  20. Clothing business
  21. Trucking
  22. Personal training
  23. Home health care
  24. Moving services, including small scale moves and senior citizen help
  25. Carpentry
  26. Woodworking as a business [Order how-to book and audio tips]*
  27. Wedding planning
  28. Interior design
  29. Payroll services
  30. Tax preparation
  31. Medical Billing
  32. Bookkeeping
  33. Transcription services
  34. Handyman services [Get tips on how to successfully run this business*]
  35. Vending machine service
  36. Marketing services
  37. Transportation: Limo services, party bus rental, taxi services
  38. Carpet cleaning
  39. Daycare services
  40. Virtual assistant services
  41. Interior or exterior painting
  42. Creating and selling crafts
  43. Recycling business
  44. Wholesaling
  45. Mobile oil change service
  46. Property preservation
  47. Junk removal
  48. Import/export
  49. Make and sell candy bouquets [259-page illustrated guide tells how*]
  50. Start a gourmet kettle corn business [Get startup materials*: business plan, training videos, wholesale order form template, label templates]
  51. Blogging [Learn how to monetize your blog*]
  52. Baking: cupcakes, cookies, cakes, bread, dog treats

Other than the main ingredients of a successful business startup, which may include a good business idea, the resources to get it off the ground, low-to-moderate competition, and relevant knowledge, business success also hinges on good people skills, organizational abilities, and problem-solving skills.

Stay tuned to this blog for more tips, strategies, and ideas for starting and succeeding as a self employed entrepreneur!


Freelance writer, blogger, affiliate marketer

*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of the products, services, and software featured on this blog.

How to Make Money Without a Job

Although it’s entirely possible to make money without a job, not everyone has what it takes to make it happen on a consistent basis. It’s not enough to have a great idea for starting your own business. You also need to have the psychological resources to be able to  identify a good business idea, create a plan to launch it, and then pursue that plan with motivation, (realistic) optimism, and mental focus.

When you start out with a good idea and then fuel it with positive intention and determination, your chances of succeeding are greatly enhanced. Although success is never guaranteed in any venture, one of the best ways to motivate yourself to try and put yourself out there is to remember the words of John Augustus Shedd, an early twentieth century American author and professor: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”


So if you’re ready, willing, and able to take some calculated risks in order to the be the master of your fate and the captain of your soul (to borrow a quote from 19th-centery British poet William Ernest Henley), then here are some realistic ideas for starting your own business or simply making extra money on the side:

  1. Start an online business. Shopify* can get you started for free!
  2. A cleaning service is relatively simple and inexpensive to start.
  3. Photography is a creative field that offers a lot of potential opportunity
  4. A t-shirt business can be a fun, profitable way to make money. Here’s how*
  5. Lawn care and/or landscaping
  6. Catering, starting a food truck business, or selling produce
  7. Consulting
  8. Dog walking/pet-sitting business
  9. Real estate
  10. Event planning or party planning
  11. Tutoring
  12. Starting an ebay business
  13. Making and selling jewelry, crafts, or pottery
  14. House painting
  15. Bookkeeping
  16. Property preservation or property management
  17. Handyman services
  18. Becoming a personal trainer
  19. Pressure washing business
  20. Graphic designer and/or website designer
  21. Courier service
  22. Daycare business
  23. Pest control services
  24. Interior design and/or home staging
  25. Being a freelance writer, editor, or blogger

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business or supplementing your income with a part-time gig on the side, there is no time like the present! As a matter of fact, the present moment is the only time you can take action.

Why not make 2019 the year you decided to take charge of your financial destiny?

Thanks for checking out my latest blog post.

Best of luck in all your business and personal endeavors!

–Joel S.
Freelance writer, blogger, marketing consultant


BTW… I invite you to peruse other posts on this blog for additional business startup ideas, inspiration for entrepreneurs, and marketing strategies.

*Disclaimer: I am a compensated affiliate of the ecommerce platforms, website memberships, ebooks, online courses, and other products featured in this blog.

Business Startup Ideas and Resources


Based on my personal experience as a business writer, entrepreneur, and inquisitive human being, I believe that there are several key qualities people need to possess or cultivate in order to start their own business and have a strong chance of succeeding.

Let’s face it: Anyone can start a business, and many (unqualified) people do. The question is: “How many people have what it takes to succeed in business?”

Although countless books have been written on the topic of succeeding in business, I’m going to attempt to boil down those volumes of wisdom to the following two concepts [drumroll, please!]:

  1. A good business idea: This first category opens up a rather large “can of worms” (yuck) because it raises more questions than it answers. For example, pinpointing a good business idea is like trying to hit a moving target. It depends dozens of variables, some of which change over time. Regardless, I’m going to take a stab at answering that question. In a nutshell, a good business idea would be one that you’re not only passionate about, but one for which you possess relevant experience. Being strongly motivated to acquire expertise can sometimes substitute for actual experience. When you’re committed to becoming an expert, then you’re providing yourself with a competitive advantage and an inside track to achieving your goals. In assessing a potentially good business idea, it’s also necessary to examine whether there’s an actual demand for your product or service, and whether you  have the organizational skills, marketing abilities, and financial resources to get your business up and running. While there are businesses that require little or no money to get started, it almost always takes weeks or months before you’re able to build up a customer base and generate a steady cash flow. Some people either give up before they get to that point or are forced to abandon their business because of financial or other reasons.
  2. “Knowledge is Power!” The first time I heard that expression was from my father when I was in grade school back in the 1960s — yeah I know, I’m old! The second time was when I went on a class trip to the town library. Those words were affixed to the front cover of a book I picked up. Once I got over the shock that my father did not originate that saying, I developed a deep appreciation for the acquisition of knowledge — especially practical knowledge that you can use to improve your life. When it comes to starting and succeeding in a business, knowledge is one of the cornerstones of success.

How to Choose and Start Your Own Business

In addition to helping you come up with good ideas for starting your own business, another purpose of this blog is direct you to useful information, start up manuals, and other practical resources. Here’s a list of some of the most popular business startup ideas and where to get more information* on effectively starting, managing, and marketing your own business.

  1. How to start an online business on Shopify
  2. Starting a dog-walking and/or pet-sitting service
  3. Lawn care and/or lawn mowing business
  4. Event planning business startup kit
  5. How to start a tutoring business
  6. Start a craft business
  7. How to run a profitable handyman business
  8. Starting a fitness training business
  9. Detailed guide on running a non emergency medical transportation service

Other possibilities for starting your own business include a Web design business, a property preservation business, party planning, bookkeeping, a recycling business, selling cupcakes, landscaping, construction, trucking, transportation, house painting, interior decorating, clothing business, retail, import/export, ebay business, business marketing services, cell phone business, courier services, personal assistant service, delivery service, florist, HVAC services, home remodeling, plumbing, electrical services, roofing, floor installation, hardwood floor refinishing, gardening, home staging, food truck, daycare, wholesale business, freight broker, bakery(cakes, bread, cookies, pastries, donuts, cupcakes), window cleaning, starting an Etsy shop online, taxi service, tax preparation business, restaurant, coffee shop, pest control services, a franchise business, interior design, greeting cards, pool hall, gym business, photo  booth business, corporate recruiting, life coaching, career coaching, manufacturing, gift basket business, welding, swimming pool cleaning and maintenance, virtual assistant, dog breeding, dog training, doggie daycare, furniture, clothing, shoes, renovation, marketing services, and much more.

Thanks for checking out my latest blog post. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, ideas, or suggestions.

Best of luck with all your business ideas!

*Compensated marketing affiliate