15 business ideas you can get started with today

15 business ideas to get started with today header image by Vlada Karpovich

Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding. If you dream of gaining independence, solving a problem and challenging yourself in a new way, starting a small business may be the perfect endeavour. 

But with so many business ideas to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. 

In 2019, there were 5.9 million businesses in the UK and 96% were micro-businesses that employed 0-9 people. Furthermore, 15% of workers in the UK are self-employed. 

The opportunity is there. If done right, your small businesses can thrive. But it’s not as simple as ready, set, launch. 

The most successful business people thoroughly understand what their business will do, who they are selling to and how they will stand out from the competition. And they know this before they launch.

In this article, we’ll outline the benefits of running a small business, explain what makes a good business idea, run through fifteen different business ideas in detail and discuss how to successfully launch your small business. 

Table of contents: 

What are the benefits of running a small business?

Running your own business gives you a variety of freedoms. From how you structure your day to where you choose to work from, you are your own boss.

Let’s take a closer look at these benefits:

Remote work opportunities

Remote working is on the rise. Across the globe, remote work has risen by 159% since 2005. In the UK, approximately 1.54 million people work from home. And Founders/C-Level Execs make up the highest proportion of remote workers at 55%.

Of those who do work remotely, 65% say they feel more productive in a home-work environment, and they report having more free time. 

Here are some more detailed statistics on the most common reasons people choose to work remotely:

Remote working statistics

COVID-19 is also contributing to the growing number of remote work opportunities. With social distancing measures in place and the need to avoid large gatherings, remote work is a viable alternative. Due to the virus, about 64% of the UK’s adult population is currently working from home.

This crisis is also uncovering cost-savings opportunities, as stakeholders realize that they can save vast amounts of money by shedding physical offices. Plus, remote work limits traffic and thus pollution and reduces commuter expenses.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, the typical employer can save approximately £9,100/year for employees that work remotely just half the time. When considering your small business ideas, examine how much money you could save by making your business remote-work friendly. 

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Independence

When you work for yourself, you’re in complete control of your schedule. And when you dictate your own schedule, you dictate your time.

How you spend that time is entirely up to you. This newfound independence and freedom can be quite exhilarating. Many small business owners choose to spend their free time expanding their skill set so that they can further grow their business.

For example, you can attend workshops or seminars to dive into topics relevant to your career. Or, take a course to gain a new certification in your industry. 

When you don’t have to follow somebody else’s schedule, you become self-motivated to make the most out of each day. After all, the only person you can blame for not achieving your goals is yourself.

Quick Tip: If self-motivation doesn’t come easy, there are several tips and tricks to boost productivity when working for yourself. To learn more about how to stay productive and healthy, especially during the Coronavirus crisis, check out our posts on productivity and well-being

Financial gain

When you work for yourself, you save money. Why? 

Because you don’t have to commute to an office or spend money on food or coffee throughout the day. This ties in with the aforementioned remote work benefits. 

Additionally, if you work for yourself from your own home you can claim some of your bills on your taxes. These include running costs such as your mortgage, rent, light and heat, phone and broadband, water and even property repairs if it’s a repair in the section of your home you use for work. 

Because you are now using your home for business-related purposes, you get a tax break. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Make sure you speak with a trusted accountant or conduct thorough research to ensure you are filing your small business taxes correctly. 

Additionally, the income and revenue potential skyrockets when you work for yourself. As you’re in control of both factors, you can work hard to achieve steep targets. Once you’ve identified a product or service that works, you can create leverage in your business that helps you grow. This may involve employing someone for the first time and doubling down on brand awareness.

Quick Tip: If you’re unsure how much and specifically how to pay yourself, you’ve got plenty of options. It depends on your chosen business structure, market trends, tax efficiency and how much you want to put back into the business. To learn more, read this short guide on how much you should pay yourself as a business owner.

Opportunity for growth

Starting a business opens many avenues for professional and personal development.

Running a business isn’t easy. You need to overcome challenges, push through boundaries and troubleshoot problems all while knowing that failure is an option.

It takes strength, willpower and tremendous focus to successfully bring your vision to life. And once born, to work hard to sustain and grow your business. 

But if you succeed, you will be rewarded tenfold. Personally, you will have proven that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it. Professionally, proof of concept will help you promote your business at networking events and drive sales. 

Ultimately, you will meet new people, make friends and cultivate important partnerships. 

Control

Every decision falls in your hands.

You get to create your schedule, choose whether you want to hire employees, or not, determine what tasks those employees carry out, dictate a growth strategy, allocate resources and funds, and so much more.

If this excites you, you’re on the right track. 

Many people that start their own businesses or work for themselves feel they can do things better. They see straight through operational inefficiencies, bad ideas and poor management. 

If you’re someone who enjoys taking the lead, then being in control is where you belong. Making key decisions is both stimulating and motivating. 

But one of the best traits of an effective leader is to know how to listen. Being open to feedback from friends and colleagues is key as sometimes you’re too close to your ideas to take a step back and think objectively. Plus, if and when you do hire employees, a positive workplace culture is critical to long-term success.

You’ll get a thrill out of bringing your vision and ideas to life, and will have a say every step of the way. 

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What makes a good business idea?

Passion is a fantastic motivator but doesn’t always lead to a winning business idea

You must make sure that your business idea has a high chance of success before diving in head first. Failing to choose the right idea and business model can lead to wasted time and money and demotivate you from trying again.

In order to avoid that, it’s important that you pick an idea that customers will buy into. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to discover if the market is responsive to your idea before investing too much time or effort. 

Here’s a two-pronged approach to help you understand what makes a good business idea:

Step 1: Learn from other people’s successes (and failures)

Many people have started businesses before you. Study their successes and failures and use them as fuel to make better-informed decisions for your own business. 

Ideas transform into a successful business when you validate them without bias. They fail when you are too attached and can’t take a step back to see if there’s a real demand. 

No matter how passionate you are about your idea, you need to deliver something that people want and are willing to invest in. 

Here are three ways to further identify if your idea will work:

Your idea solves an everyday problem

Many businesses are formed as a direct response to a problem. These founders often experienced this problem in their own life and were driven to find a solution. When they couldn’t, they created one themselves.

This is a tried and true method for finding a winning business idea. There’s nothing more compelling than finding a common pain point and addressing it with a solution that works. 

Ryan Hudson, the co-founder of Honey, did just that. He went online to order pizza for his kids and was wondering if there was a coupon he could apply. At the time, he was cash strapped and looking for ways to reduce bills and utilise coupons in every possible way. 

When he couldn’t find a coupon, he went online and created a browser extension that automatically finds available coupons for your items while you’re online shopping.

Honey app landing page

Turns out, lots of people were having the same problem. Ryan’s browser extension wasn’t an immediate hit. He struggled to get investments at first, but people kept signing up organically and passing it on via word of mouth. 

Once he realised that he needed to appeal to retailers as well as consumers, everything changed.

Today, his extension has been downloaded over 5 million times, and he’s raised over $40 million in revenue. Honey reached a peak when it was recently acquired by Paypal for $4 billion cash. 

To start off, you need to identify things in your life that you are dissatisfied with. Then, think about how it could be improved. Are there other products out there that have tried and failed already? Are there any successful products that have gaps in their solution that you could fill?

Once you have your idea, see if others share your pain and frustration. If they do, you’re on the right track.

Your idea expands on your passion in a business-savvy way

It’s risky to pursue a business idea driven by a personal passion. That’s because, in this scenario, you’re least likely to take an unbiased approach. 

That said, if you can strategically work your passion into a business-savvy endeavour, there’s no reason why you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

In fact, leveraging your existing skills is one of the fastest ways to start a business. If you already have a robust skill set, why not capitalise on it? The key is narrowing your passion into a specific focus. 

For example, writing is a broad category. People who are passionate about writing a book are often quite different from those who are passionate about creating blog posts. 

You need to whittle your broad category down into smaller business ideas.

In this case, writing can be broken out into the following categories:

  • Novelist
  • Technical writer
  • Journalist
  • Screenwriter
  • Columnist
  • Book editor
  • Public relations 
  • Gant writer
  • Blog writer
  • Research article writer
  • Film critic
  • Social media specialist
  • Greeting card writer

From there, you can begin ideating business ideas. To dip your toe in the water, you can try freelancing to see what type of writing style suits you best. If you’re confident in your subcategory already, you can look into businesses in your area of expertise. 

For example, if you enjoy journalism, you can create a digital magazine or online newspaper business. If you prefer social media writing, you can create a social media agency to help other businesses boost reach. 

This is exactly what Chris Englert did when she decided to turn her passion for writing into publishing a book and creating travel hiking blogs. She started EatWalkLearn.com because she was curious where some local hiking trails in Denver went. She’d already been writing a travel blog as a hobby but decided to invest her time in creating a hiking blog to fulfil a need. 

Turns out, there wasn’t a reliable public resource that provided information about these trails. After launching, she realised just how many people were searching for information about hiking in Denver, and created a second blog called DenverByFoot.com

In this iteration, she optimised for SEO and keywords to appease the search engine and drive more traffic to her site.

Denver By Foot travel website

“When I first flirted with the idea that I could make money by walking and hiking, people simply didn’t think it was possible. But I kept digging.”

Think about what you’re passionate about and then break it down into narrow categories. From there, study how you can turn your passion into a successful business opportunity by researching those that have done the same. If there’s a demand, proceed. 

Research and analyse market trends

You don’t need to solve a problem or turn a passion project into a booming business. As long as you find a way to utilise your skill set effectively, you can start a business.

Start by checking out the market trends. Analyse the insights and data to see what ideas are flourishing and which are floundering. You can use these tools to help you:

Google Trends is a free platform that allows you to see what topics and stories are currently the most popular. It’s like taking a sneak peek into the consumer mindset to see what people are talking about. You can filter the trending stories by location, industry type, audience type, and more. 

Twitter lists current trends on their homepage. You can filter by country-specific trends or search on a global scale. 

Social Mention analyses content from over one hundred sites and collates it into an easy-to-navigate list. You can search for general trending topics or by a specific term. It also populates influencer data so that you can see a list of people who regularly post about a specific topic or trend.

If we search for the term “coffee cup”, we can see it was mentioned 1232 times today (206 times on the web and 1026 on social media). 

Coffee cup data on SocialMention

Based on the first several mentions, it seems “reusable coffee cup” and “sustainable coffee cup” are the most popular. 

Reddit is a great forum to analyse what is trending on any given day. Dig deeper into insights by searching for subreddits about a specific topic. 

These are only a few of the hundreds of resources available to help you conduct market research.

Once you have ideas locked down, study successful entrepreneurs and read their origin story. How did they come up with their winning idea? What steps did they take during their own research process? Take this knowledge and replicate the parts of their story that lead to success.

Don’t just stop at one idea. You should create a robust list of ideas so that you can whittle it down further in the validation process.

Step 2: Apply what you learned to your own life and skill set

Now that you’ve identified problems you want to solve, found a passion that will work as a business and performed market research, it’s time to validate your ideas.

Step one was all about curating ideas that could work. Step two is about how to split the best ideas from the rest and ensure that they’ll have a fighting chance. 

Identify gaps in the market where there’s an unsolved or emerging need

Look at the competition thoroughly to see if there’s a need for your business idea. 

Let’s say one of your ideas from step one is to create a posture-correcting tool. You may have decided that a hassle in your life is bad posture. You know it’s from sitting at a computer all day, but you need to be at the computer to work. 

Therefore, you want to solve this problem for both yourself and others who must be experiencing the same thing. 

In step one, you analysed the market trends and found that posture-correcting devices are a hot topic. Many companies already produce posture-correcting devices, ranging from portable posture correcting braces to back and neck cushions and electronic devices that buzz every time you slouch. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t proceed with your idea, but it does mean that the market is highly competitive and you would need to find a unique angle. 

Your job now is to identify gaps in the market where there’s still an unsolved need. How do you do that? By further analysing the market and then joining the conversation.

Join the conversation

Use the aforementioned online tools to scour the internet for conversations about your topic. 

If we search for “posture correction” in Google Trends, we can see the highest interest is in California, and “corrector”, “adhesive tape” and “pillow” are the highest trending related topics.

Screenshot of Google Trends showing product interest

Repeat this process on as many online tools as possible. This will help you chart a detailed analysis of:

  • Where there is a strong need for your idea;
  • What the specific audience pain points are; 
  • The related topics, and; 
  • How the available solutions perform 

But it’s not enough to simply read the trends. The best way to learn more is to dive into the conversation itself. 

First, join the communities and groups related to your topic. Whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, Subreddits or another platform, make sure to join and follow so that you get consistent updates. 

This will help you to stay apprised of the latest developments. It will also give you a chance to discover who your target audience is, which will help you build customer personas down the line. 

Next, start posting your own pain points and desires to start a conversation. Get involved with the back and forth to uncover even more insights and data about the products and your audience.

The more first-hand information you can obtain, the better positioned you’ll be when creating a unique value proposition (UVP). Nothing is more powerful than truly understanding your target market and their needs.

Create content

This is a good time to create content about your topic to see how it performs. 

Now that you’re familiar with your target audience, you can create content that you know will resonate with them. 

For example, you could write a blog post that compares the top posture-correcting devices on the market. At the bottom of the post, you could write a section that plainly identifies missed opportunities with these products to see how the audience responds.

If many people are in agreement, that’s a sign that there is a need you can fill. 

From there, you can begin building out your UVP based on this feedback. Then, continue to promote through blogging, lead magnets, landing pages, social media posts, video content and more. 

This content should be centred around UVP to gauge if there is a demand. The idea is to attract an initial audience that will help you iron out your idea and form a more relevant solution.

The best part? It’s free. Before you even spend a penny creating your product, you are validating it with content. By the time you’re ready to go to market, you’ll already have an audience ready to buy.

Interview experts

Who better to ask about your target market than the experts who share your industry space?

Interview them to find out more about their process for launching their own business. What pain points did they attempt to solve? What would they have done differently?

If you’ve built your blog up and have a decent following, ask them if they would consider giving you a quote. This way, they can be featured in front of your audience and you can boost your brand authority. It’s a win-win.

This is a great way to network with industry leaders in your target market and build initial brand awareness.

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Fifteen small business ideas

While you may have already curated your best business ideas, it’s always good to be aware of your alternative options. The best entrepreneurs understand that they may fail on their first try. 

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. This is an excellent mindset to follow. That’s why it’s key to familiarise yourself with several small business ideas so that you can keep trying until you eventually succeed. 

Here are fifteen business ideas that can be started online, in-person or both in-person and virtually:

Online small businesses

Online small businesses are usually the fastest to launch. That’s because you don’t need many resources or tools to get started online.

That doesn’t mean they are the easiest to launch. Online businesses are fiercely competitive and the market is saturated.

Here are five online small business ideas for your consideration:

1. Freelance copywriter

If you enjoy writing or editing, there are plenty of options for freelancers. 

Many companies hire freelance writers or contractors on a part-time basis. This is often a cheaper option for businesses as they don’t need to provide employee benefits to freelancers and can still get quality deliverables. 

Whether you’re experienced or just starting out, there’s a market for freelance writers of all varieties online. 

A great place to start is with a freelancing site like Upwork.

Upwork freelance profile

Create a profile that highlights your skills, expertise and experience (if applicable).

Then, you can scroll through a number of jobs in a newsfeed and apply to the ones you’re interested in. If you hear back, you negotiate on a price and begin work.

But sites like Upwork, Fiverr, ProBlogger, etc., often take a fee. If you aren’t interested in going down that path, you can try creating a website and displaying a portfolio. From there, promote yourself on platforms like LinkedIn to generate interest. 

Create your own content as proof of concept. Post it on your social media accounts and on your own blog, if you choose to start one. The best way to attract potential clients is by showing them what you can do.

2. Freelance developer

Developers are in high demand. But, many freelance developers have had experience programming in an office environment.

It’s a bit different in the freelance world. Your time is less important than your output. Clients don’t necessarily care how long something will take; they care that it will work. That means you truly have to understand how to monetise the value you create.

In an office environment, value is key, but you are being paid for your time regardless. In order to succeed as a freelance developer, you have to understand that your time is only as valuable as the product you create.

You can either choose a niche and launch your own business that serves clients in that market or go the route of third party sites like Toptal.

Screenshot of the Developers job board

Toptal connects companies with vetted freelance developers that have gone through a rigorous interview process. The developers that work for Toptal have a variety of skill sets, ranging from web development to web design to mobile app development.

No matter what route you choose, make sure it aligns with your interests. Consider scalability and ideally pick a service in which you can write and then reuse your code. 

3. Freelance graphic designer

There’s a never-ending need for graphic designers. As the world continues to move online, people need their business assets to be visually appealing, professional and on-brand. 

The most popular third party site for freelance graphic designers is Dribbble.

Screenshot of the Dribbble job board

Dribble is an online marketplace for designers to showcase their work, boost their portfolio and ultimately get hired. It’s essentially a social network for designers that also lists job postings. 

Like other freelance types, designers should create robust portfolios and share them widely across the internet to gain an audience and connect with clients. 

It’s also imperative that you use modern software. If you are still using outdated software, it may not be compatible with the platforms that clients are using today. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to learn several design programs to broaden your skill set.

For example, many designers are experienced with Adobe Photoshop. But, today’s clientele is often looking for graphics made in Lightroom. If you know how to use both, you’ll be able to remain competitive. 

Also, make sure you are staying up to date on the latest trends. There are always new innovations and emerging directions in the design world. The best-practices of 2019 may not apply in 2020. Always stay aware and engaged.

4. E-commerce store

E-commerce is skyrocketing. Global e-commerce sales reached over $3.5 trillion USD in 2019 and are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion by 2023. The UK’s e-commerce sales in 2019 grew by 10.9% from the previous year.

In short, online shopping is in.

Ecommerce sales statistics by country

But starting an e-commerce business isn’t easy. Unlike freelancing, there are many steps you must take before you can launch an online store. 

After you’ve ideated and validated a good business idea, you need to figure out where you’ll source your products. Are you making them yourself, manufacturing, wholesaling or dropshipping? 

Next, you’ll need to buy a domain name and create a logo. A freelance graphic designer comes in handy here. Finally, you can build your store. You’ll need captivating descriptions, an SEO optimised site structure and beautiful photographs.

This is an opportunity to enlist the help of various other freelancers if you don’t have these skills in your own wheelhouse. 

Next, you need to decide where you’ll promote your product. How will you drive traffic to your site? Will you sell on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Shopify or various other e-commerce sites? Or, will you promote your product on social channels and use paid advertising to drive traffic to your site? 

Make sure you follow the laws dictated by the country you’re operating in. In the UK, you must adhere to the legal rules laid out in the Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002

If you’re unsure of exactly what you need to do, consult with a lawyer to guarantee your business is above board and compliant with the latest rules and regulations. 

5. Virtual assistant

There’s a huge market for supporting business owners with their daily tasks. People who run a business are busy and juggling multiple tasks at once. A virtual assistant can ease the stress, help to streamline operations and free up valuable time. 

Virtual assistants help entrepreneurs or business owners with activities such as invoicing, data entry, copywriting and copy editing, proofreading, social media management, research, email management, customer service, basic graphic design and layout work, bookkeeping, lead generation, and more. 

VA’s are often more dynamic than executive assistants, as they are usually involved in the decision-making process and a key player in strategic optimisation.

Similar to the freelance positions mentioned above, virtual assistants can use a third party website to apply for jobs and/or build their own website and network. 

VANetworking.com is a comprehensive resource for virtual assistants, new and seasoned, looking for the latest tips and tricks. 

It’s important that you choose which services you’ll offer your clients as well as your business and fee structure. 

In-person small businesses

In-personal businesses can be more personalised as they require face to face meetings. 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has taken a toll on in-person small businesses. Many of these models have needed to adapt to the current climate and luckily, many have succeeded. 

Restaurants are offering curbside pickup and delivery, gyms and personal trainers have taken their classes online and retailers are building e-commerce sites to stay open. 

Yet while online businesses can certainly utilise tools like video conferencing to personalise the conversation, in-person encounters are difficult to replicate. Hopefully, when it’s safe to return to our new normal, in-person businesses will thrive once again.

6. Personal trainer

If you love helping people get healthier and feel great, then personal training is for you.

People often struggle to stick with a fitness routine. They may try the latest fad, like buying a Fitbit and tracking their steps, but these motivations are often short-lived.

Additionally, even highly motivated exercisers need help to develop effective, safe and powerful fitness programs. 

Personal trainers provide physical and psychological support for people looking to get healthy and stay fit. They get to know your health history and lifestyle factors and create a tailored plan that will help you reach your goals.

In order to start a personal training business in the UK, you need to register with REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) and CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity). 

You’ll also need public liability insurance as you may be working in client’s homes. Of course, you should also invest in any essential equipment. After that, you’ll have little ongoing expenses, minus travel costs to and from your clients’ homes. 

The best part is that you can have a very diverse clientele. You don’t necessarily need to niche yourself into one target market of another. If you do a good job, you will amass loyal clients that refer you to their friends. 

7. Landscaper

Maintaining a garden is a lot of work. Many people don’t have the time or energy to do it themselves.

That’s where landscapers come in. If you enjoy lawn work, getting your hands dirty in fresh soil and working outside, running your own landscaping business may be the perfect fit.

First, you need to decide if you want to be a landscaper for commercial businesses or residential homes. If you choose the latter, you can literally get started by buying or renting some equipment and knocking on doors. 

That’s exactly what Bryan Clayton, the owner of GreenPal, did. He grew his business from 1 to 125 by being more reliable and professional than his competitors.

Screenshot of the GreenPal website, a landscaping business

The first rule of thumb is that you need good equipment. You can certainly start with cheap equipment and upgrade, but you may end up spending more money on maintaining cheap equipment than it’s worth. 

A good compromise is to rent equipment until you amass a loyal customer base. Then, invest in upgrades.

Use social media and marketing tactics to promote your new business. Choose a fee structure comparable to what your competitors are charging. 

You’ll also need general liability insurance. Before you begin, make sure that you comply with all the rules and regulations pertaining to your country. 

8. Photographer

Are you always taking pictures? Do you have a semi-expensive camera that you carry with you everywhere you go in case the perfect shot emerges?

You can turn this hobby into a successful business. There are many types of photography jobs available. Do you want to shoot for businesses like magazines or real estate companies, or with non-business clientele at weddings or graduations?

If you already have expensive equipment, that’s great. If not, you will most likely need to buy a professional camera if you want to charge high prices.

You can get away with using less expensive equipment if you value your work at a lower price. But, the market is saturated and the competition is fierce. If you’re good and believe your pictures are valuable, it’s time to invest in decent equipment.

Photographers also need to be adept at editing their photos. Similar to graphic designers, there are tons of tools out there. Many photographers are skilled in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. It is worth learning as many as you can, in case a client has a preference. 

Many photographers book gigs on the weekend, so remain aware of how that will affect your personal life. If you prefer weekends for family time at home, then shooting a wedding on a Saturday may not align with your interests. 

9. Personal chef

Do you love food? Do people talk about your dinner parties year-round?

Perhaps it’s time to make some money from this gift. Personal chefs prepare meals for families, parties, corporate events, special events, and more. 

Often, personal chefs specialise in a food group. Whether it be a cuisine type or speciality diets, personal chefs most likely have a niche. 

Starting a business as a personal chef is a low-cost endeavour. All you need are kitchen supplies, which you most likely already have. Anything else that you buy for the client, like food or cutlery for events, is often reimbursed. 

You should, however, consider investing in public liability insurance. This will help protect you in the case of a compensation claim brought forth for a food safety mishap or equipment damage. Additionally, you, and anyone who works with you, must have a current food hygiene certificate and comply with the rules and guidelines under the Food Standards Agency

It’s best practice to build a website to advertise your services. However, most personal chefs get their clients from word of mouth recommendations.

10. Massage therapist

Massage therapists relieve tension, aches and stress. Some people see a massage therapist to relax, while others need help alleviating pain. In all cases, massage therapy is good for your health. 

You don’t need a certification to become a massage therapist in the UK. However, some employees prefer if you have one. If you want to level up, consider getting an International Massage Diploma or a Level 3 CPD.  

You can also register as an accredited therapist to build trust with your clients. As massage is a highly personal profession, it may be worth your while. Your options are the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT), or the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). 

There are many types of massage therapy. From aromatherapy massage to Swedish massage or sports massage, you should choose a niche. 

People can be quite specific with their massage therapy expectations. You want to guarantee that you deliver the highest quality massage, every time. 

It’s unprofessional to promise a deep tissue massage and only deliver a light, relaxing massage. As clients often rely on massage therapists to alleviate pain, it’s important that you can administer a high-calibre, effective massage.

Business ideas you can do in person and virtually

Businesses that you can do both in-person and virtually provide added opportunities. If your personal client list is dwindling, focus on your online sales. Alternatively, if your online sales aren’t performing see if you can pick up more in-person business. 

The more options that are available to you, the better your odds of success. 

11. Yoga instructor

People all over the world participate in group or solo yoga practices to centre their bodies and minds. 

In order to become a yoga instructor, you must get certified. In the UK, you can take a course that is either 200, 300, or 500 hours. The 200-hour level is the minimal requirement in order to become certified. 

You can do your training in your home country or internationally. This depends entirely on your preferences. You can also complete the course in one fell swoop, which usually takes about a month, or break it up over time. 

Generally, the training course costs between £1,000-£3,000, depending on the certification level you choose.  

Additionally, there are many types of yoga styles to choose from. Focus on the style that resonates the most with your interests and passions. 

Once you’re certified, decide where and how you want to teach. For example, do you want to become a yoga instructor for a company, or do you want to run private classes from your own rented space (or your home)?

Many yoga instructors choose a mix of both. Working with a company provides a more steady income, but working by yourself gives you the freedom to dictate your own schedule and terms.  

Alternatively, you can create an online presence by filming and posting yoga instructional videos. People follow along at home either for free or for a subscription fee. 

Adriene Mishler has capitalised on the online yoga market. She has created a successful business by branding herself. 

Yoga YouTube channel offering classes

Aptly titled Yoga with Adrienne, she has a YouTube channel with over 7 million subscribers.

Not everybody will reach that success, but the market is there. If you create your own brand and curate interesting and helpful content, you can formulate a successful in-person and online yoga business. 

12. Life coach

Life coaches help people achieve their dreams. It can be both a very fulfilling and profitable business venture.

You don’t need a degree to be a life coach in the UK as it’s not a regulated service. However, your clients will most likely feel more comfortable if you have accreditation to reflect your training. 

There are several accrediting bodies in the UK. One of the most popular is the Association for Coaching (AC)

As with most businesses, you need to pick a niche. What market do you want to serve? Do you want to work in stress management coaching for business executives, or specialise in grief coaching for somebody who lost a family member?

If you want to work with businesses, you may need to have a background in HR or business. This expectation will vary from client to client. 

Next, choose the outcome you want to deliver. What is it that you can help your clients achieve? Is it broad-based like finding happiness or overcoming a challenge? Or more tangible like losing 10lbs or surpassing a revenue goal.

Make sure that your offering is something you can expertly deliver. Then, define your package and promote yourself. 

You can run an in-person business, only via video conferencing or both. Likely, your game plan won’t need to change much to work in both scenarios. 

13. Translator

As brands expand their businesses globally, the need for translation services will continue to rise. While English is the most spoken language in the world, there are roughly 6,500 languages in the world today.

Technology, while growing smarter, can’t translate content or speech with the same accuracy as a human. It often misses the context, thus making the translation difficult to understand.

Translators are an essential part of the workforce. Naturally, there are many types of translator positions. You can freelance or perform contract work for a company, for personal clients, or both. 

In-person translators most often translate with their voice in real-time, such as at a meeting. Conversely, online translators often translate text, recordings or videos.  

In-person translators are more likely to be employed by a company, such as a law firm, and online translators can either work for a company, agency or for individuals, such as authors.

Brightline Translation Services is an example of a full-service translation agency located in the UK. They translate professional documents in approximately 50 different languages.

Landing page for translation services

Whether you want to start your own agency or begin as a freelancer, you need to be at the top of your game. The competition is fierce, so you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

14. Travel planner

If you love to travel, you may enjoy helping others have memorable experiences. 

The travel industry (pre-pandemic) is booming. According to the UNWTO, 1.5 billion people travelled in 2019

Setting up a travel planning business has relatively low startup costs. You don’t need too many tools, as you will be selling your skills and reliability above all. 

You can either set up an in-person travel planning business or run consultations online or over the phone. If you are working for yourself out of your home, you’ll most likely operate online. If you start an agency or are contracting for a company, you’ll probably be in a physical location.

Pick a niche and decide what kind of travel you’re interested in. Again, you can choose between corporate and personal. If you’re working for yourself, it may be worth teaming up with an agency that can provide you with clients for a kickback. 

If you want to start alone and build from the ground up, you’ll need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. This means conducting thorough market research to determine what your community needs. 

What gaps are in the market? Are there enough travel planning options for adventurous honeymooning Millennials?

What about a mix of adventure and luxury travel that benefits charities? Urbane Nomads didn’t think there was, so they created a luxury adventure travel company to cater to an untapped market. 

Landing page for luxury travel services

You don’t have to be this out of the box, but you should get creative. The more interesting, unique and useful your value proposition is, the more business you’ll attract.

15. Consultant

A consultant is an expert in their field and thus, advises others in their area of expertise. Because of this, they are often an invaluable asset to a business and make good money because of their unique proficiency.

Consultants are often hired to fix a problem, ensure everything is running smoothly and help businesses scale. They audit operations, review accounting practices, identify opportunities for growth and implement strategies to improve processes.

Because you need deep industry expertise, consulting isn’t for everyone. You also need to be highly skilled at communications and possess organisational skills to help businesses thrive.

If you tick these boxes, pick a niche. This should align with your industry expertise. 

Then, get business insurance just in case anything goes wrong, like accidentally advising your client to make a decision that results in a negative economic impact. Public liability insurance is also a good idea if you plan to have meetings at your clients’ offices or vice versa.

The best way to land a consulting client is through your existing professional network. Put the word out that you are looking and take all the meetings that come your way. 

How to successfully start a small business

The best way to start a small business is by taking one step at a time. Start small, test the market and see if there is a growing demand for your product or service.

If successful, create a detailed business plan that outlines who your target market is and how you will reach your targets. From there, curate a go-to-market strategy (GTM) to attract your ideal customers

Supplement your GTM with a comprehensive content marketing strategy to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your value proposition.

Go-to-market strategy infographic

This includes determining your target market, mapping your customer journey, defining your positioning, generating interest and using data. 

By creating a detailed business plan, GTM and content marketing strategy, you give yourself the best chance for a successful launch and ongoing growth. 

Then, register your business so that you can market yourself as a legitimate, professional venture. This step involves choosing your company formation type and deciding how you want to structure your business

Choosing your ideal business structure comes down to how much control you want to have within your business formation, your set up costs, business privacy and liability preferences, how you want to pay taxes and more. 

You’ll also want to get a business current account which will help you separate your personal and business finances and keep you organised. 

As you launch, also consider familiarising yourself with small business accounting tips. This will help to ensure you identify, record, measure and interpret the financial health of your business accurately. If you don’t feel confident in teaching this to yourself, talk with a small business accountant or bookkeeper to guarantee you don’t miss a beat. 

Finally, make sure you look after your mental health and your physical health. Working for yourself can lead to loneliness, especially as a freelancer or a business owner who works remotely. As this is quite common, there are plenty of tools you can turn to for support. 

It’s important to create a lifestyle where social connections are present and part of your routine. Social connections elicit positivity and contribute to your overall well-being. 

Also, make sure you take a break and go on a short walk several times a day. This is a healthy exercise for both your body and your mind.

Wrapping up

Starting a business can be a wonderful experience if done right. 

Avoid rushing to market with an idea that may not work. Instead, take your time to identify a need, ideate a solution to a common problem and/or transfer your passion into a profit.

Once you pick a worthwhile industry or trend, conduct thorough market research. Familiarise yourself with your target market, join the conversation and uncover common threads. Decide where you can gain a competitive edge and then create content to validate your UVP.

After you choose a valid idea in the profession of your choice, register your business, obtain the appropriate licences, create a business plan and go-to-market strategy and promote yourself creatively.

Don’t forget to look after your financial, mental and physical health. Stay social, active and engaged. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride.

register your company with tide

register your company with Tide

Photo by Vlada Karpovich, published on Pexels

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

Tide Team

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