10 profitable business ideas that anyone can start today
Get inspired by these 10 offline business ideas to launch the business of your dreams and make money on your own terms.
You’re in a pickle.
You don’t want to be in your 9-to-5 job anymore.
While you’ve been dreaming of starting a small business for a long time now, it just doesn’t seem doable.
All of those “easy” business ideas you see in business books for entrepreneurs require years of experience, a bunch of licenses and certifications, or more start-up money and time than you can give.
So my advice to you?
Forgot about those business ideas and all of the stress that they put you under because there are heaps of side-hustles out there you can start with just a little bit of money and no extra letters after your name. There are tons and tons of unique side-hustles for creatives out there, and you just need a few essential tools to run a small business around those ideas.
Today, we’re going to take you through ten of those ideas, focusing specifically on 10 creative side-hustles you can profit from offline as well as online. All of these jobs are lucrative, easy to start, and most importantly, don’t require a wealth of experience to capitalize on.
Sound like something up your alley? Then let’s dig in!
Offline business ideas that are totally doable
Side-hustle #1: Amateur photographer
It’s never been easier for regular people to take professional-grade photographs.
As long as you can use a nice digital camera or smartphone and photo-editing software, you can become a niche amateur photographer.
For example, a hospital lab technician worked as a wedding photographer while she was in graduate school and earned an average of $400 to $600 per week.
But don’t limit yourself to niches that are already quite popular, like weddings or newborns -- dive into whatever you’re interested in and which has proven itself to be profitable.
If you’re a creative itching to design one-of-a-kind shoots, then you could be like this photographer in San Antonio who shoots cosplay photos for his side-business in addition to his day job.
If you’re a foodie, why not shoot food photos for local restaurants that they can share on their social media and websites?
Social media-savvy? Take photos of aspiring local influencers in Instagram-worthy sections of the city.
If working solo is more your thing, you could sell photos to third-party websites, like this photographer who earns between $20 to $700 per photo.
To succeed as an amateur photographer, you don’t need to stick with a saturated specialty like weddings -- you could have just as much success taking photos for a niche audience, or even selling them to online platforms.
Side-hustle #2: Private instructor
No matter who you are or what your background is, you definitely have at least one skill people would pay to learn.
In fact, they may even pay you to teach them in a private group or one-on-one sessions, like this yoga teacher who boosted her earnings by offering five to six private sessions per week.
Looking to pivot to teaching after a career in another field?
Then you could be like this New York-based chef who now offers private cooking lessons after a lengthy corporate career.
But don’t sweat it if your skills don’t lend themselves to being neatly-packed into stand-alone classes -- there are tons of students out there who can use you as a tutor instead.
The global private tutoring market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1% between 2018 and 2026 as more and more students are looking for supplementary education.
In other words, there are more than enough students out there who could benefit from your knowledge and unique style of teaching.
Let’s say that you have a background in STEM.
Maybe a few local families would like to hire you to give their children after-school biology and chemistry courses because you have a knack for making dry topics fun and interactive.
But you don’t have to stop there -- you could offer science classes at a local homeschool co-op, or run a tutoring group for science students who are struggling with whatever your specialty is.
One of the nice things about working as a private tutor is that since most of your students will attend school or work during the day, your days are free for you to pursue a full-time job or another side-hustle.
The nicest perk of being a private tutor, however, is that you can take what you’ve learned from your students and put together a collection of digital downloads and online courses that you can sell in addition to your in-person services -- or grow into its own independent business.
Reuven Lerner started his educational platform offline and brought it online with online courses, so if he can do it, so can you.
To make it as a private instructor, you don’t necessarily need advanced teaching degrees or experience -- just a willingness to network and share your knowledge.
Side-hustle #3: Food delivery
But since only 42% of food stores offer home delivery, there’s a good chance for you to serve a slice of the food and grocery delivery markets.
For example, 27.5% of shoppers in 2017 purchased staple foods and, 20.9% purchased specialist ingredients.
With this in mind, you could focus on grocery delivery for busy families who have food allergies but don’t have the time to visit various shops to purchase staples.
If you’re a night owl, perhaps you could offer late-night grocery and food delivery for pregnant mothers with sudden cravings or for college students pulling all-nighters.
Though these may sound too specific to be profitable, it’s by focusing on a small group that many other food delivery companies have succeeded.
Going back to our allergen-friendly grocery delivery business, you could use exceptional customer service or fair wages for your employees as points of differentiation.
Of course, good old-fashioned philanthropy is always a win -- perhaps you could donate a free meal to a family in need for every 25 grocery orders you deliver.
Whatever niche you choose, don’t think that just because there are bigger competitors out there that you can’t succeed.
In fact, it’s by filling in the cracks that your competitors missed that you can launch -- and profit from -- a niche food and grocery delivery business.
Side-hustle #4: Laundry cleaning and clothing repair
People spend a lot of time on laundry.
According to research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend an average of 17 minutes per day doing laundry, and men spend five minutes on laundry on average.
That adds up to a lot of time that could be better spent elsewhere.
You can help people clear their schedules -- while growing your income -- by taking up the mantle and doing their laundry in their stead.
Maybe what makes your business unique among laundrettes is that you do in-home laundry for clients when they’re away, or that you’re a pro at cleaning stubborn stains and delicate fabrics.
If you’re someone with a philanthropic bent, you could donate a portion of your proceeds or even your services to a charitable cause.
2ULaundry, for example, has donated over 15,000 pounds of warm clothing to those in need and provided laundry services for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
As a complement to your laundry services -- or as a standalone offering -- you could offer mobile clothing repair and alterations, too.
Sew Cal Pros, for example, offers exclusively on-demand alterations and sewing for clients in Southern California, while Patagonia has traveled to various cities to repair customers’ clothing over the past few years.
However you choose to differentiate yourself, starting a laundry business is a win-win for you and your clients -- your clients get more free time, and you get a healthy stream of revenue from a relatively easy side-hustle.
Side-hustle #5: Home cleaning
If you’ve noticed a theme so far, it’s that people like services that make their lives easier.
And given how many people dislike cleaning, there’s a huge opportunity for you to make a profit while bolstering people’s most precious asset -- time.
One of the great things about these types of services is that they are accessible to people of virtually any background.
Take, for example, Student Maid, a cleaning company that was started when its then-college student founder needed some money for a pair of blue jeans.
But just because there’s a low barrier to entry doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll find instant success; to have that, you’ll have to find a way to make your business unique.
Consider Think Maids, which was also started by a college student.
Think Maids isn’t just another cleaning company -- they set themselves apart from the competition by offering higher-than-average pay, incentives, and a positive work environment that produces happier employees (and in turn, happier customers).
Like Think Maids, you should aim to make your cleaning business unique and memorable.
Maybe your cleaning company uses exclusively all-natural and eco-friendly products or specializes in cleaning antique furniture.
Regardless of your specialty, your cleaning business doesn’t have to start off on the same foot on the established cleaning companies in your area. Instead, you can launch your business with some essential cleaning products, the right kind of business insurance, and a can-do attitude.
Side-hustle #6: Ride-sharing
Despite Uber and Lyft’s popularity, many smaller ride-sharing services have appeared over the past few years.
Of course, your niche doesn’t have to be demographic -- it can be geographic, too.
If you live in a less-populated area of the country, you could be your region’s go-to ridesharing service.
After all, even though 36% of Americans have used a ride-sharing service since 2015, those in rural areas tend to use ride-sharing services less than those in urban areas, and your business could be one of the ones who can change that.
The gist is this:
Instead of being just another cab-for-hire on any given today, treat yourself like a specialized concierge helping select customers get from point A to point B in safety and style.
Side-hustle #7: Renting out your home
Airbnb got started when its founders rented out their apartment to attendees at a local conference.
Why not take a page out of their book and starting rent your home out when special events are coming to your neighborhood?
For example, if your home is near a concert hall or event center, you could rent out your driveway to attendees.
If you live near an airport, you could rent your home to people who had unexpected overnight layovers.
Or, taking into consideration that around 50% of survey respondents didn’t use Airbnb because of safety, privacy, and legal concerns, you could market your rental as being among the safest rental options available which comply with local laws.
Have a photogenic home?
Make it available to local photographers and influencers like this New York penthouse does.
(While you’re thinking through the various ways to earn an income from your home, keep in mind that you should consult with a lawyer to make sure that you comply with all local and state regulations about using your home as a rental or workspace.)
But what if you prefer to keep your business outside of the home while sticking to your local area? If so, then our eighth side-hustle may be a good fit for you.
Side-hustle #8: Private tour guide
You know the saying that variety is the spice of life?
Add some spice to your city’s tourism game and give visitors a tour they’ll never forget.
If you’re worried that your idea is too niche (it probably isn’t), you can try offering private solo tours at first.
52% of solo travelers are interested in escorted tours, and if you live in a tourist hot spot, that gives you the opportunity to offer a true one-of-a-kind experience while drawing attention to your city’s unique history.
For example, Port Angeles Underground & Heritage Tours offers tours of the original city beneath the existing city’s streets, as well as a haunted version in October.
Similarly, Francesca Papi of Fantastic Florence offers private tours of Florence, Italy with predesigned tours to see Florence off the beaten path or great artists from around the city.
If you’re still struggling to come up with a unique tour idea, consider some of the most common reasons why people travel, including celebrating a birthday or refreshing themselves.
If that doesn’t flex your creative muscle, ask around on different travel forums and discussion boards for more ideas.
When it comes to tours, you don’t want to give visitors the same vanilla experience that everyone else -- you want to give them something truly unforgettable and authentic at the same time.
Side-hustle #9: Musician-for-hire
Now we know what you’re thinking: Becoming a musician is one of the least profitable things I could do!
But we aren’t talking about signing record deals and selling out concerts. There are tons of ways to monetize your music offline and online.
And if the night and weekend schedules of a musician aren’t something you want to do in the long-term, you can create accompanying digital products that can boost your income without having to play more gigs.
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The sum of it is:
Private events are just one way musicians can build a successful side-business and can be even more profitable if you sell complementary digital products. The same is true for our last side-hustle today, too.
Side-hustle #10: Interior decorator
If you have an eye for aesthetics, you could earn a decent income helping people to revamp their homes and offices.
Consider this interior decorator who pursued interior design full-time after doing it for six years as a side-hustle or this woman who began transitioning her realty and interior decorating side-hustle into a full-time business after she was laid off.
Are you more of a decluttering and organization guru? There’s still a huge market for you.
People spend 2.5 days a year looking for lost items -- how much would you be willing to pay to get those 2.5 days back?
Instead of general decluttering, perhaps your niche is helping people to declutter before and after moves.
Nearly a quarter of Americans have said that they would consider moving just so that they could get rid of unneeded items, but only 44% actually decluttered during a move.
Basically, you can use your eye for design and organizational prowess to create gorgeous spaces for others and enrich their lives while bolstering your bottom line as an interior designer. It doesn’t get much better than that.
There are infinite easy and profitable ideas out there. Which will you choose?
There are thousands of businesses that creators like yourself can launch without much time or money.
If you’re someone who prefers working with people face to face instead of via a computer, then any of the side-hustles below may be a good fit for you:
Amateur photography, private event musician, and interior decorator if you’re a creative looking to profit from your sense of style and imagination
Private tutoring and tours if you’d love nothing more than to share your knowledge with others
Food delivery, laundry cleaning, home cleaning, and ride-sharing if you’re looking to use your talent for organization to help others save time and earn you money
Renting out your home if it’s particularly photogenic or near major hubs in your city
But your business ideas don’t have to stop there -- you could easily expand upon them by creating a series of complementary digital products.
Check out Podia’s digital product-hosting platform for free today to see how you can use it to not only enhance your existing side-business but create new ones, too.