20 Small Business Opportunities to Seize

Looking for a new venture? Here are 20 small business opportunities to consider.
Meredith Wood
By Meredith Wood 
Edited by Robert Beaupre

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Perhaps you’re thinking of leaving the nine-to-five grind, or you’re simply ready to make a career change. Maybe you're fresh out of school and ready to change the world with your entrepreneurial spirit. Whatever the reason, these days there are more ways than ever to start a business of your own. The tricky part is landing on the small business opportunities that will lead you to success.

To help, we've gathered 20 of the best small business opportunities you should consider.

Smart money moves for your business
Grow your small business with tailored insights, recommendations, and expert content.

20 of the best small business opportunities right now

These small business opportunities are ideal for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to work from home, or who simply want to start a business in a promising, fast-growing industry.

1. Career coach

People with backgrounds in human resources, workforce development, and career services are especially well-suited for this business. If you want to specialize as a career coach for a specific field, you'll need industry experience. Above all, you need to be an excellent listener and understand how to help people achieve their goals and dreams.

Aside from professional certification, all you really need to become a career or life coach is a computer, a mobile phone, and a quiet place to work—but some name recognition or a loyal customer base wouldn't hurt, either.

2. Cost-cutting consultant

Businesses are always looking for ways to save money. As a cost-cutting consultant, your job is to help trim the fat from a business budget and offer efficient solutions to complex problems. You need a good head for numbers, an eye for details, and general understanding of the overall operational issues a business might have.

Because you’ll generally be going to the company’s location, you won’t need an office to yourself, so you'll have minimal overhead costs to contend with.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

3. Errand service

People are busy, so they're often willing to pay for convenience. Errand services take care of the little things that people don’t have time to do, like dropping off dry cleaning, grabbing groceries or office supplies, or even stopping by the bank. You'll definitely need a car—and make sure to visit your agent, as you'll want commercial auto insurance for your business vehicle.

4. Event/wedding planner

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the event planning industry should experience faster-than-average growth—11% over the next 10 years.

Event planners put together all kinds of events, from weddings to business conventions, birthday parties, and office holiday parties. Hospitality experience is a good start for aspiring event planners. Other than that, you need solid contacts, outstanding organization skills, an eye for detail, and the ability and drive to make things happen.

5. Food truck

According to Mobile Cuisine, the food truck industry has experienced a 12.4% growth trend over the past few years, skyrocketing to a $1.2 billion dollar industry as of 2015—and things have only gotten better since then.

This business is a bit trickier than the others we've looked at so far. You’ll need a unique idea for food items to offer, a truck to service customers, proper insurance, business licenses, operating permits (depending on the city you’re operating in), health code compliance documents, and an inventory of food items just to get started. But if cooking is your passion, then a food truck might be the way to go.

6. Freelance writer

Besides a computer and a bookmarked online dictionary, freelance writers need an impeccable handle on the English language and fairly thick skin to get started in this industry. It helps to have experience with a couple of niches, like finance or health writing, and areas of expertise, like copywriting or SaaS content writing. This job can be performed anywhere you have internet access, making this one of the best small business opportunities from home.

7. Golf coach

Getting paid to hang out at your favorite golf course all day, giving pointers to players interested in improving their games... What could beat that? Besides a thorough enjoyment of the game, you’ll need to cultivate relationships with golf courses in your community and let them know about your service, be a top-notch player, and have the communication skills to teach beginners.

8. Interior decorator

If you have an eye for design and a skill for making a room look magazine-cover ready, interior decoration might be a great business for you.

Besides creativity, you’ll need to have a knack for project management, a knowledge of design and architecture history, and CAD (computer-aided design) or drawing skills. You also need to be up-to-date on building regulations. You can market your business to building contractors or new home buyers looking for an expert opinion.

9. Professional organizer

The average American spends a total of two-and-a-half days each year looking for lost items like remote controls, books, socks, keys—and even cars. Sometimes people’s homes or offices are cluttered because they’re so busy, and other times they might just be messy.

Either way, there's no end of business for the professional organizer. If you have a gift for organization, storage solutions, and project management, you’ll do well in this business.

10. IT contractor

Small businesses often don’t have the resources for an in-house IT department, but still need help troubleshooting, repairing, and upgrading their equipment. Tech-savvy individuals who go into business for themselves need to keep their computer hardware and software skills current and should be on-call whenever a client has a technological emergency.

11. Mobile pet grooming

For this business, you'll need a truck that can handle the demands of a pet groomer: a table, water, crates, and so on. You might be required to perform special grooming needs on some animals, too. This can be a particularly rewarding business for people who love animals and offers the opportunity to expand as demand for your services grows.

12. Personal shopper

Some people struggle to shop for themselves, while others have a talent for always finding that perfect item. If you’re one of the latter, you were made to run a personal shopping business.

You'll probably find yourself extra busy around the holidays, but many people have difficulty or little interest in purchasing normal things throughout the year, like clothes, household goods, or birthday gifts for others. To become a personal shopper, you'll need a car and auto insurance, an excellent eye for detail, and a skill for self-promotion.

13. Personal trainer

Personal trainers are sometimes associated with one or more gyms in their community, while others make house calls. To get started in this industry, you'll need to become a certified personal trainer. Beyond that, you'll need a genuine desire to help others, infinite patience, and knowledge about the mechanics and limitations of the human body.

14. Hair stylist

Hairstyling will never go out of style. If you’ve been working at a salon but want to start your own business, you already have a cosmetology license and a list of customers who love you. Now all you need is a business permit, a dedicated room in your house with a sink, a comfortable chair, and a cart or counter for all your supplies, and the actual supplies, like scissors, curlers, pins, and styling products.

15. Social media specialist

Businesses rely on social media strategy more than ever. As a social media specialist, you'll help businesses create a strategic plan, develop the brand’s voice, and create social media posts that increase shares, comments, and sales. You can work from anywhere, but you’ll need a broad skill set that encompasses PR, marketing, and writing.

16. Massage therapist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapy is experiencing a 26% growth rate over the next decade—much faster than the average industry, making this one of the best small business opportunities on this list.

To start a massage therapy business, you’ll first need a massage therapy certification. Then, to work from home, you’ll need a business permit, massage table, massage oils, soft music, and a quiet room. In addition to your own business website, you can leave fliers or your card at physical therapy or fitness facilities.

17. Vending services

Vending machines today deliver more than just sodas and chips: you can buy everything from DVDs to makeup, umbrellas, and lottery tickets. (At one point, vending machines at American airports even sold life insurance policies.) Your options include starting a vending machine business or becoming a franchisee of a flourishing vending machine business.

18. Virtual assistant

Virtual assistants perform a wide range of administrative duties from their homes: transcription services, email communications, bookkeeping services, research and scheduling, and countless other important tasks. You can work for several clients at once, and all you need is reliable internet service, a computer, and impeccable organization and planning skills.

19. Website developer/designer

It's pretty clear these days that no company can be without a business website, so website development and design have become incredibly popular businesses. If you’re an expert in various programming languages like Java, Python, and C, plus know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you could start a business as a web designer and developer—a combination of skills that would definitely put you in high demand.

20. Uber or Lyft driver

If you enjoy driving and are looking to pick up some extra cash on the side, why not consider becoming an Uber driver or Lyft driver? If you meet all the requirements (you're at least 21, have a valid U.S. driver's license, a four-door vehicle that is 10 years old or less, among other things), make sure your car insurance and vehicle registration is up to date and be prepared to pass a background check. Once you've handled all those things, you'll be picking up passengers in no time.



Start Your Dream Business

Starting At 


The bottom line

The right business idea can mean the difference between success and failure—so choose among these small business opportunities wisely. But once you've narrowed things down to the best options, pursue your passion. That's what launching a small business is all about.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.
Smart money moves for your businessGet access to business insights and recommendations, plus expert content.
Sign up for free