Eager to start your own business but aren’t sure where to begin? The business landscape isn’t what it was back in 2019. One major difference is the increased number of home-based businesses. Call it the great resignation or the remote work revolution, but more people are working from home than ever before. And that means increased opportunities for you to start a winning business.
So which small business models are hot right now? And which are poised for future growth? The answers may surprise you.
Popular Small Business Startup Ideas
Dropshipping offers the autonomy of being a small business owner with almost no startup or overhead expenses. Here’s how it works. You locate a supplier of clothing or other products that you’d like to represent. (It’s recommended you become a customer first to ensure product quality.) Then you work with a supplier who will process, pack, and ship the orders directly to the customer.
As a dropshipper, you never store or even handle the product—and you’ll never end up with a garage packed to the ceiling with leggings. You simply promote the manufacturer’s products online, record the customer orders as they come in, verify each customer’s information, and pass the order on to the supplier, who does the rest. Once the customer info checks out, you get a commission on the sale. The low overhead and easy startup of this model make it the leader of the pack for 2022 small businesses to start.
Another growing home-based business model is print-on-demand products. From t-shirts and hats to business cards and promotional items, the print-on-demand model allows you to maintain a successful business without a major capital investment. If you can silk-screen or can partner with someone who does, you can generate a thriving business through customized items.
Companies, sports teams, and social groups all use print-on-demand services to outfit their members in branded or team attire. And with the print-on-demand model, you don’t need to maintain a large back-supply of raw materials, just what you’ll need to complete your current orders. Got artistic skills? This model also allows you to get creative with design. You can even create your own logo or brand.
Sell Digital Products
A model that’s been showing measurable success has been the sale of intangible products. Digital assets such as musical beats and backing tracks, quality non-copyright images, and compelling videos are in demand right now. If you’re a musician, graphic designer, photographer, or videographer, your digital files could be worth money. Are you an expert in a specific subject area? There are platforms that will let you teach online courses and get paid by your subscribers!
Words power the world and, more importantly, the internet. If you’re a talented wordsmith or have knowledge in a niche field, freelancing offers some exciting business opportunities. Quality writers, editors, and proofreaders are in need by businesses across the economic spectrum, and all you need to get started is a laptop.
Can you write an authoritative article on a subject you love? Blog writers are in high demand by businesses looking to boost engagement and keep their content fresh. Technical editors and proofreaders are also needed to ensure the quality of scholarly manuscripts, texts, white papers, advertising materials, and more. As a freelancer, you can select the type of work you do, the rates you charge, and the skills you bring to the table.
Freelance Graphic Design
Much like writing and editing, the demand for quality images and design work is currently high. In-house graphics departments are being replaced by teams working remotely, and talented designers are always in need. If you can work confidently in Photoshop, Canva, or CorelDraw to create web pages, ads, or virtual postcard decks, your skills are in demand. As a designer, you work with the client, concept the piece, and execute the design—ideal for you creatives. You can run your own graphic design business.
We all know about Etsy, but the truth is that home-based product creators are on the rise, so if you're a maker, this is your chance to shine. From paper products and carved wood to clothing, utensils, and decorative items—if you can make it, you can market it online! You control the pricing and create the inventory. Yes, you’ll have to do the shipping yourself and pay a fee to the platform, but the profits are yours to keep.
Pet adoptions increased dramatically during quarantine, which is great for animal shelters and potentially profitable for you. Dog-walking, pet grooming, and pet-sitting services are in high demand. Don’t have the skills or resources to be a pet groomer? No problem. Starting a pet-walking or house-sitting business is easy and costs very little to start. Once you’ve earned a few satisfied clients in your area, offer your services online.
They’ve invented tiny houses and self-sufficient houses, but so far, not a house that cleans itself. A cleaning business is inexpensive to start—you can do it with just a handful of supplies and the willingness to work hard. Pro tip: once you’ve acquired some steady clients, you may want to consider getting bonded to indemnify yourself against any damage or breakage that may occur during your work.
Remember dropshipping? The same model can be used to open your own boutique. You select the items you want to carry and work with a shipper to fulfill the orders. From hats to footwear, you stock your virtual shop as you like it. No massive backstock and no hassles required. Just be sure you sample the wares first, so you know what you’re selling. Alternatively, you can attend clothing market shows and order inventory yourself!
If you’ve been around online marketing at all, you’ve likely heard the term affiliate marketing. Basically, the idea is that you promote a brand or product on your site, and each time one of your affiliate links leads to a sale; you get a commission. Affiliate marketing is one way to generate a steady income stream with little or no overhead. Enjoy reviewing new products in tech, music, or basically anything? Blog about your favorite products, become an affiliate, and start earning!