Sometimes a new venture begins with a small business idea. Other times, the entrepreneurial itch comes first. If you know you want to start your own business—or even think you might—we’re here to help you find your great business idea.
What makes a business one of the best in 2021? Projected market growth and low investment costs. Choosing a business model based on a digital product can also help you cast a wider net when building a customer base and build a business model that’s easier to scale.
So let’s get to it. Here are the best businesses to start in 2021.
The Best Way to Start a New Business
Validating your idea before you pour resources into can save you time and money, in addition to giving you the confidence of knowing you have a tested and proven idea on its way to becoming a successful business. What’s the best way to do that? Start your business as a side hustle. That way you can get a sense of what your potential customers want and build a client base before you quit your job and commit full-time.
1. Ecommerce Store
Ecommerce experienced a massive boom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, ecommerce experienced 10 years of growth in just 90 days. While this spike in demand has also brought more competition to the market. According to Shopify’s Future of Commerce Report, 150 million people made purchases online for the first time during the pandemic, and ecommerce as a percentage of global retail sales is expected to grow over the next 5 years.
All of this, combined with the minimal startup cost, makes an ecommerce business one of the strongest bets you can make when starting a new business in 2021. Ready to take the leap? Read the guide to learn How to Start an Ecommerce Business.
As we move towards economic recovery, now might be the right time for you to finally start your consulting business. Consulting services are expected to experience a jump in demand as many businesses resume normal—or increased—business operations post-pandemic.
If you’re looking for low-cost business ideas, it can’t get much more appealing than a consulting business. Given that you and your expertise are the product, you can start your business with relatively low overhead. All you need is a solid consulting proposal, knowledge of how to set your fees/where to find clients, and you’re ready to go.
Consulting services experienced a downturn in demand due to the pandemic—with many businesses opting out of regular consulting services in an effort to save costs.
3. Online Course
Online courses can be one of the most profitable small businesses to start. Once you complete the work of creating and marketing your course, the course can become a source of passive income. What’s more, the online education market is expanding at a record pace, and it’s expected to be a $350 billion market by 2025.
The minimal legwork required in maintaining an online course makes it ideal for the aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start their business as a side hustle, either to validate your idea before you dive in or just for extra money while you keep your full-time job.
Sound like a dream? Learn how to make a 7 figure course from scratch.
4. Graphic Design
Graphic design will forever be one of the best businesses to start because there are so many businesses out there in need of graphic design services but they either can’t or won’t hire a graphic designer on staff. If you’ve got the design chops and have always dreamed of going out on your own, go for it.
Graphic design consistently ranks among the best businesses to start. There’s no time like the present to start making your dreams a reality.
5. Digital Marketing
The demand for digital marketing has continued to grow along with the increases in ecommerce, content marketing, and social media. The industry is expected to experience double-digit compound growth rates through 2020, and you can hit the ground running without incurring a bunch of startup costs.
If you’re starting a digital marketing business, you may want to consider specializing. As the market expands, it’s also becoming more crowded. You’ll be better served by choosing one thing to do really well—Facebook ads, social media campaigns, SEO-based content marketing—rather than trying to tackle it all to mixed results. This is especially true if you’re starting your business as a side hustle or one-person shop.
6. Cleaning Service
Cleaning services experienced a massive spike in demand as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and it’s expected to continue for a while. That’s in addition to the attributes that consistently make cleaning services a good business idea. Cleaning services tend to generate repeat customers, reducing customer acquisition costs. There is steady demand—the windows will always need to be cleaned. And on top of all that, they’re profitable.
7. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based approach where clients will pay rewards, commissions, and/or fees in exchange for referrals or purchases. Affiliate marketing has proliferated in the digital age. It’s how Instagram influencers make their money, and even news organizations are getting in on the action (it’s the reason you see statements like “We may receive a commission if you purchase something from one of our links.”)
There’s no sign that affiliate marketing is going away or slowing down anytime soon, and the opportunities in the market continue to grow. There are a few ways to carve out a niche in affiliate marketing, but they all share one common denominator: you’ll need to build an audience first. Whether you choose YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or your own website as your primary medium, you’ll need to build an audience to really break the bank with affiliate marketing.
Not sure how to do that? Take the free course to learn how to go from 0 to 500k+ followers in 6 months or less.
Dropshipping is a subset of ecommerce where a business owner sells goods online without actually keeping goods in stock. As soon as a consumer places an order through your retailer, it’s automatically sent to the dropshipping supplier. They process the order and manage the shipment to the customer, and your business keeps a fee from the purchase.
The lack of inventory makes dropshipping one of the easiest ecommerce businesses to start. Plus, the dropshipping market is estimated to experience a 28.8% compound annual growth rate through 2025, making it an ideal time to make your move into this online business.
9. Online Bookkeeping
Online bookkeeping, the practice of managing finance for individuals and businesses, will forever be one of the best businesses to start. Why? It’s a truth universally acknowledged that most people don’t want to manage their own financials or taxes. Online bookkeeping generates steady business with repeat clients without limiting you to a geographic area—you can from anywhere and service clients in a broader area.
10. Transcription Service
Transcription can be done anywhere, giving you ultimate control of where and when you work. There aren’t really startup costs associated with it, and there is consistent demand from journalists and corporate clients. If you can type quickly and have great attention to detail, you might want to consider starting a transcription business. Bonus: transcription is an introvert-friendly business idea.
11. Lawn Care Service
Lawn care is another industry segment that benefitted from the home-industry boom during the pandemic. A lawn business is ideal to start because it’s customizable, stable, and reliable. There will always be demand for lawn care services, and if you approach it now, you can capitalize on the first-time homebuyers who purchased during the pandemic and now find themselves in possession of a yard they either don’t want to care for themselves or don’t know how to.
12. Real Estate Business
The housing market experienced a boom in 2020 during the pandemic, but does that mean a crash is imminent? Not according to expert forecasts. Many expect a dip as business returns to pre-pandemic normal, but most predict that there will be continued demand for real estate. You might consider starting a business as a real estate agent, helping homebuyers and commercial clients navigate the real estate purchase (and sales) process.
13. App Development
Smartphones have created an entirely new market for apps. If you know how to code—or if you’re good with tech and a quick study—you might want to consider working in app development. There are 2 ways to approach this. First, you can develop your own app. Second, you can work with an agency model, providing app development services for other companies.
If you speak more than one language, you might want to consider entering the translation business. While translation services saw a contraction in 2020, they’re expected to rebound this year. There are a variety of ways to offer translation services like translating websites, marketing collateral, and even working with an individual to translate business dealings through email and in meetings.
15. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant specializes in providing administrative tasks from a remote location, including scheduling meetings, making phone calls, arranging travel, and managing email. Virtual assistant work can be a flexible home business that’s accessible to a wide range of skills and experience. It’s ideal for anyone who is looking for full-time or part-time work. You can find virtual assistant work through an agency, you can start your own sole proprietorship, or you can work as a consultant. It’s up to you!
Have a great business idea that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!
And if you’re ready to finally start your own business, join us for our free side hustle training. You could be up and running by this time next month.