I recently Googled “business ideas for women” and to my great despair, the top search results all listed the same things: jewelry designer, dog walker, social media manager, etc.
Not that there’s anything wrong with these, they just lack a little… imagination.
If you consider yourself a fellow non-girly soul, you might be looking for business ideas that are more than just about the money. Or what’s trendy. Or that require you being chained to a computer all day long, when instead you could be mastering the art of French sauces while making new friends… and a little moolah.
These ideas are meant to be a starting point. Ultimately, my goal is to spark your imagination by showing how you can take virtually any business idea and make it your own. So, let’s get started with the mother of them all…
Oh boy, what a good one! Did your heart just drop to the pit of your stomach?
For many of us, money is the final frontier. We were never taught about it, it was never talked about, it was rude to ask about it, and… surprise! We’ve all pretty much got issues around money.
Here’s where you can turn your own money issues (lack, guilt, jaw-dropping credit card bills) into a compelling success story in the making.
We are naturally inspired by others who go through the same difficult thing we are facing. We’re looking for role models, mentors and above all, REAL people we can relate to.
Maybe that could be you?
By the way… if this seems helpful and you’re looking for more, check out my brand new email series, Define Your Goal & Find Your Flow. It’s designed to help you get laser-focused and happily productive around launching a new business or side gig. 🙂
Yes, it needs a little tidying up, but stay with me here…
Like most people, we’ve had mixed experiences with home repair services.
Some, like the HVAC guy who came a couple months ago, earned himself a 5-star review worth its weight in gold, while others, like the dishwasher repairman, did not. Why? Because we received a text message from our housesitter later that week asking about the expanding pool of greywater leaking juuust below the dishwasher.
Here’s the thing: local businesses want reviews, need reviews, can’t get enough of those 5-star reviews, baby! – but some need to clean up their act first.
Your consulting services could include things like soft skills training, systems & procedures documentation, and a customer happiness guarantee.
Peruse the Yelp reviews and you’ll find lots of potential clients.
I was surprised to see so few good options for math tutoring out there.
Here’s what families need:
If you’re a retired educator who misses working with students (hey, I heard that), or feel like you missed your calling to teach, this might be for you.
We just finished a fabulous math tutoring session on Outschool. If you look up Miss Jamie Jones, you’ll see a very ambitious, semi-retired teacher who’s absolutely KILLING it.
This one’s based on a prediction of mine: A return to graphic design that’s more traditional and analog in nature. Retro, if you will.
Many years ago, I came across New Bohemia Signs in San Francisco. It’s the kind of shop that hipsters in their skinny jeans and ironic eyewear swoon over.
While this particular shop is credited with hand-painting the “transoms & addresses” of a great many San Francisco Victorians and storefronts, you too could beautify the local scene with such services.
If you are artistic in nature, or want to be, sign making is just about the coolest art form I can think of that intersects nicely with business.
Check out the legendary Pierre Tardiff for some brush lettering nostalgia (with a cheery Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock playing in the background).
I think we can all agree “manners” was flushed down the toilet long ago. (Clearly, I turned curmudgeon long ago, too.)
What’s taken its place? Oh, I don’t know – text messaging, video games, social media, a whole lotta ‘tude.
Preparing young adults for success in the modern world is a worthy cause, and THAT makes it a worthwhile investment.
I was surprised and delighted to see there’s an etiquette trainer right here in my town! (I’m strongly considering signing up our tween for her “Good Manners and Dining Etiquette” 3 course lunch seminar!)
Did you know you can build a whole graphic design business by curating your very own talent pool from various online marketplaces?
Take any design deliverable (logos, videos, infographics), start up your own gig, and hire all the best designers to produce the work for you.
For this one, I would suggest creating your own signature “client journey” that makes the experience quick and easy – and worth talking about.
We all want to give meaningful gifts around the holidays. So what’s a meaningful gift? Locally-made anything: chocolates, glass-blown ornaments, homemade bitters, deliciously-scented candles, soaps, bath bombs, etc.
Is there a home goods item or wearable or small batch delectable you’ve been curious to craft, but maybe put on the back burner long ago?
That’s the gift gig, now here’s a service gig:
A friend of mine is always, without fail, the first to wish us Happy Holidays! by way of her Christmas card arriving in our mailbox no later than the FIRST week of December. Hers is the lone but lovely family photo card displayed on the mantle until days later, when the others start trickling in.
How does she do it, and so consistently??
This made me think of an “early-bird Christmas card photographer” who, by scheduling these once-a-year popup sessions, helps families get a head start on this must-have annual photo.
This idea is a riff off this photographer example I gave in a previous post, and I like the idea of honing it in even further for someone who just wants a little burst of income over the holidays.
In my early 20s, I spent many a Wednesday night with a group of Francophiles and native speakers at a casual and cozy Morroccan restaurant in Northampton, Massachusetts. (Check out Amanouz Cafe if you’re ever in the area – it’s still there!)
We dined on succulent, slow-cooked Tagine and Harira, and sipped sweet Moroccan mint tea while practicing our French conversation skills and making new friends. Looking back, it’s on my top 10 list of enriching experiences.
While a language club might not be a huge moneymaker (we organized it ourselves and just paid for dinner), you could start a language meetup, charge a nominal membership fee, and see where it goes from there.
While in grad school, I did a couple catering gigs which gave me a peek into the world of fancy home parties in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
My friend, who invited me along to help out, was a fellow student switching careers at the time, and kept her catering gig going along to pay the bills. She was an East Coast transplant like myself – except from New Jersey, with lunatic driving skills to prove it.
As you already know, a ton of planning goes into even the smallest of gatherings. Whether it’s a bridal party, holiday party, Jack & Jill or birthday, you could be the one to coordinate or take on a specific element like decor, RSVP handling, gifting, or cocktails.
If you love events and enjoy creating experiences with thoughtful details, there could be a market for your services.
Foodies and wine lovers unite!
Here’s another idea where we ditch the laptop for the liveliest room in the house: the kitchen!
Call it a monthly cooking club, Fine Dining 101, The Art of Sauces, Knife Skills, Cakes & Cupcakes, Veggie Prep for Picky Kids, or mini-workshops for all these.
This just sounds fun – and at once a month, it’s low commitment and high value, with skills to take home and new friends to make.
For this and the language club idea, you could manage the whole operation, insuring your expenses get paid (teaching fees, ingredients) and add a fee that feels right for your time and effort.
Is there something you’re already really good at that businesses or people could benefit from?
How could you package it up as a service or product offering?
Jot down all the specific, positive benefits your potential customers or clients might get by choosing you.
How much does money, time, or personal enrichment play into your choices when it comes to starting a new business or side gig? What other criteria or values are important to you?
Tags Small Business