Main Street Blog

Top 12 Startup Ideas You Can Begin Today


So you want to start a new business? Starting a new business is an exciting time, and it’s something just about anyone can do. With industries opening markets for small business owners, more people are putting their fear to the side and making the leap into business ownership. But the process can be intimidating when you have no idea where to begin.

Although many people think you need extensive professional experience to run a business, there are several low-cost startup ideas that require little industry knowledge.  Read on to discover 12 business startup schemes that you can launch, no matter your background, location, or skill set. 


1. Podcasting 

The podcast industry is booming, with a predicted revenue of $1 billion in 2021. Podcasts are a great startup idea because they offer an abundance of opportunities to discuss different topics and present your content to a new audience. Podcasters generally make money from ad sponsors or affiliate marketing programs, but they may also raise cash from followers or sell products, services, or event tickets. It may be hard to make money in the beginning. Still, by consistently providing content that your audience finds valuable, you will gain a following of loyal listeners that will grow over time. 

Startup costs for podcasting are low, as you can use apps to record episodes and free hosting sites until you have the revenue to upgrade your in-home recording studio. 


2. Blogging 

Blogging has evolved over the years from people simply sharing their life experiences to individuals who operate as personal brands, providing real value for readers. New business owners may shy away from blogging at the fear of market saturation. However, blogs are still one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site using SEO while making passive income. Sites like WordPress make it easy to get started and place your blog in front of new readers. Similar to podcasting, a blogger who generates significant web traffic can make money by selling ad space, joining affiliate marketing programs, and selling exclusive content directly to their audience. 

By repurposing content to sites like LinkedIn or Medium and into vlog posts for a YouTube channel, bloggers will discover new audiences and grow their business with the power of social media. 


3. Amazon Delivery Service Partner 

Amazon now offers the Delivery Service Partner Program (DSP) to small business owners. With this program, participants build a package delivery business in partnership with Amazon. 

The exciting thing about the DSP program is the benefits. Business owners gain access to Amazon's technology, logistics, and expertise and join the program with low startup costs (less than $10,000). There are many steps to the application review process, so interested applicants should expect a bit of a wait after submitting their application. Military veterans may also be eligible to receive money to cover startup costs.


4. E-Commerce Store 
There is no set method for building a successful e-commerce store because there are so many ways to enter the industry. When launching a store, you can create a website and drive traffic to your store using Google and paid social ads or use platforms like Amazon or Etsy as they already have built-in promotional and advertising tools. 

Business owners who don't want the hassle of managing inventory and shipping may choose the dropshipping option over creating a new product. Though sales and margins to tend to be great at the launch of the business, e-commerce business owners must watch trends and changes in the market to prepare for potential drops in sales.


5. Freelance Writing Services 

While technology has replaced many industries, writing remains in high demand. Whether it's ghostwriting, blogging, or resume writing, those who have a unique writing skill set should explore the idea of starting a freelance writing business. 

From online businesses that need copywriting assets to local businesses that need content marketing services, a freelance writer can make money remotely or while working in an office space. Freelance writers can specialize in a range of topic areas. Still, those who focus on a niche can often earn more since they can provide expertise in specific knowledge that may not be widely available.


6. Consulting 

Packaging your experience into a consulting service is the perfect business startup idea for professionals with extensive expertise or skill. 

It may be easy to secure your first clients if you have a reputation in your community for doing great work. Another way to market your service is to contact previous employers and coworkers who can vouch for your performance. Keep in mind that consulting can be demanding as clients often want step-by-step guidance and guaranteed results. Consultants should develop templates, systems, and self-learning materials that offer clients hands-on support and set them up for success long-term. 


7. Home Service Business 

New business owners who have skills in painting, landscaping, or home repair should consider starting a home service business. Business owners can start making money fast. Still, equipment expenses and maintenance can be costly. Networking and quality of work will determine the success of your business. Partnering with other companies will also allow you to cut costs, tap into a new pool of clients, and learn new business managing skills. 

In addition to marketing locally, business owners should use online marketing tools like Google My Business, Facebook Business pages, and local hashtags on social media posts. 


8. Virtual Assistant

If you're passionate about helping people, being organized, and keeping things in order, then you should consider starting a virtual assistant business. Professionals and business owners alike need virtual assistants to keep track of their calendars, manage emails, and support various projects. You can break into the market with sites like Upwork and Fiverr, where small business owners solicit long- and short-term virtual assistant support. 

Outside of a reliable Wi-Fi connection, laptop, and resume or portfolio, there isn't any special equipment or skills necessary. However, new virtual assistants should be careful not to undervalue themselves in this competitive field as they work to reach their target income. 


9. Online Tutoring

Online tutoring is a low-cost business idea for people of all ages. By taking the online route, tutors have the advantage of tapping into a global market at various times throughout the day. It may be a challenge for new online tutors to gain business growth, though, so tutors must identify their marketing edge to stand out. Tutors who specialize in English or math will be able to market their brand better and eventually increase their prices with demand. Business owners may choose the traditional 1-on-1 teaching model or package their knowledge into an online course.

Whether in-person or online, tutoring income can be unsteady. Online tutors who create checkpoints and rewards systems will not only help to develop the student but provide proof that your service is working. This approach will help to further the relationship with current clients and attract new clients who will want the same results.


10. Social Media Management 

Everyone has a social media account these days and businesses greatly depend on social media to push their mission forward. In the day-to-day hustle and bustle of running a business, it can feel overwhelming trying to manage a social media account. Companies and brands rely on social media managers who can build and grow a following. Social media management companies can also collaborate with other digital marketing agencies like web developers or freelance writers to provide complementary services. 

It's important to note that operating a social media management company requires some level of skill. Clients want more than a few likes and views. Social media managers need to be prepared to show results and demonstrate expertise in a variety of social tools, often understanding the basics of graphic design, analytics, and writing.


11. Fitness Instructor 

Being healthy is all the craze. Fast food restaurants have been switching it up to follow the trend of healthy eating, and even workplaces have added fitness rooms. In turn, the need for fitness instruction is rising as well. Fitness instructors of all kinds, whether it be CrossFit, yoga, or Zumba, are helping people get in shape. 

Since fitness instruction is a service-based business and there are limited hours in a day to make money, instructors should consider creating programs, meal plans, and other health-related products to continue maximizing their revenue. Fitness instructors will also need to reach out to local gyms to have a place to train and may later consider renting a space as their business grows to accommodate larger groups.


12. Dog Walking Service

People love their dogs and are willing to pay for the peace of mind in knowing that their beloved pup is in good hands. Dog walking is a great business for those who are looking to start making side money to later transition into a full-time business. It doesn't require any technical skills but can be very physically demanding depending on the size of the dogs. Don't underestimate how powerful your four-legged clients can be when excited. 

Dog walkers should ensure they are doing their best to care for each client and their fur baby. While your price and years of experience will influence business growth potential, the quality of service that you provide will ultimately help you gain referrals and reach your revenue goals. 


Ready to Build Your Own Startup? We Can Help
Whether you're tired of your job or simply want to explore a new industry, starting a business isn't easy, but it’s possible with the right support and marketing. While the ideas above are ones almost anyone can do, if you want to launch a profitable business — think million-dollar-plus revenue — you’ll have to think outside the box. Main Street helps you build your own business with a proven path to revenue and growth.

But no matter the type of business or location, new business owners should thoroughly research all their options. Do you see yourself running a dog walking or copywriting company of one, building your company slowly over time? Or do you envision yourself taking on larger projects that earn more money and require more team members or subcontractors? Ultimately, it’s up to you. For more inspiration, read our article on 7 franchises you can start for less than $15,000.
More Resources