41 Business Ideas That Use Skills You Already Have
Coming up with a business idea doesn’t have to be difficult — neither does it need an insane amount of startup capital. As successful entrepreneurs have proven, all you need to use are the skills you already have.
If you don’t know where to start, here are 41 ideas that only need your existing skills.
Want to Run a Business? Here are 41 Creative Small Business Ideas
1. Online coaching
1. Online coaching
Have years of experience in a specific field? Coach people. Share your insights in a blog, podcast, or video tutorial. Then monetize your content through ads, paid reports, and affiliate marketing.
Real life career coach – Carol Ross
Carol Ross started blogging when she was laid off her engineering job. Writing about her struggles and realizations helped her find a supportive audience. From there, Ross launched a career integration service.
“I’ve seen people tolerate work that’s drudgery and lives that are filled with meaningless busy-ness, without clear intention or purpose, not just for months, but for years. It’s heartbreaking, especially when I can see what is possible,” Ross shared on her blog.
Today, Ross offers career coaching services through free content on her website, as well as paid content like webinars and interactive workshops.
2. Graphic design
2. Graphic design
Large companies and entrepreneurs need help with creating graphics – for emails, presentations, banner ads, and more.
If you have the knack for graphic design, start looking for clients from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a computer, graphic design software (Adobe Creative Suite or even open source alternatives), and client management skills.
3. Youtube content creation
Passionate about a topic? Have above average video editing skills? Consider becoming a creator — or “influencer” — on Youtube.
Once your channel reaches 4,000 watch hours in 12 months, you can start making money through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Similarly, you can earn affiliate commissions or sponsorships by promoting relevant products.
Just make sure that your video content is useful, entertaining, and posted on a consistent schedule. You’ll also have to upload consistently to keep your audience engaged.
Comedy Youtube channel – Wah! Banana
Singaporean comedy channel Wah! Banana boasts around 1 million subscribers to date. They started with gaming-related content for Garena before focusing on comedic videos aimed at Singaporean youth.
Initially, Wah Banana made money through Google AdSense. But due to the low cost per click in Southeast Asia, they turned to other methods to monetise their content.
First, the group collaborated with fellow Singaporean and Malaysian YouTubers. Then, in the course of 10 months, Wah Banana managed to reach 100, 000 subscribers, score an endorsement deal with IKEA, and collab with international YouTubers: WongFu Productions.
4. Video production
If you prefer to work behind the camera, start a video production business. Offer videography, video editing, production, or digitization services. Event videography services remain popular, but consider emerging segments like mobile and drone videography.
5. Small business consultancy
Business consultants work with clients on strategy, planning, and problem-solving. If you have expertise in business or a specific industry, you can set up a small business consultancy.
Start by showcasing your experience and skill set, as it’s rare for clients to trust consultants with no proven experience. Then, consider getting certified to assure clients of your expertise.
6. Travel planning and curation
Love travelling? Help people plan trips and travel itineraries. The availability of online flight, accommodation, and tour booking websites makes it easier for you. Use flight and hotel aggregator sites to compare prices and help your clients meet their budget.
Travel Planning — Adios Adventure Travel
During a visit to Peru in 2007, Jacquie Whitt fell in love with the country’s natural surroundings. There, she met local tour guide Vidal Jaquehua. After repeated visits to Peru with Jaqueha as tour guide every time, a business idea came to mind.
Together, they formed Adios Adventure Travel, a travel company that offers unique travel experiences not only in Peru but also Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia.
7. Wedding planning
The wedding industry is a profitable one — especially in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, 74.6% of couples hired a wedding planner or coordinator (in 2017). Though Indonesia may have produced a lesser figure at 44.3%, the numbers are still impressive.
Couples hire wedding planners to negotiate with vendors, manage their budget, and run the event altogether. So it goes without saying that your budgeting, networking, and organising skills will come in handy. If you’re not confident in event planning, consider taking basic courses on it.
8. Makeup artist services
Are you a makeup aficionado? Turn your hobby into a profitable sideline by giving clients makeovers for parties and events. Get certified as a makeup artist to build your reputation or showcase your skills through an online portfolio or social media.
9. Social media management
Businesses need to be active on social media. But most lack the manpower to plan and manage their social accounts. This is where you come in – as a social media consultant and manager.
All you need is social media expertise, a laptop, and stable internet connection. If you need to sharpen your skills, sign up for free social media courses on Buffer, Hootsuite, and Udemy.
10. Pop-up shop
Have an idea you’d like to test? Need to create buzz around your online store? Set up a weekend or seasonal pop-up shop. Sell food, clothes, antiques, and other items. Observe how people respond, then adjust your strategy. You might just make your hobby into a full-time hustle.
Mixing Fashion with Technology — Unspun
To test the market before scaling up their business, robotics and apparel startup Unspun set up a pop-up store last November 2017 in Hong Kong. The company produces customised denim using 3D imaging technology. Their official pop-up store lets customers experience a 3D body scan, and then browse through the denim selection with the brand’s co-founders.
11. Food catering
Great at cooking or baking? Launch a small catering service from your own home. Decide if you’d like to focus on corporate events or private parties, then check with your local authorities about food and sanitation permits.
12. Meal delivery
Think food catering is too much? Start a meals-to-go service then. Scout your area for nearby offices which you can deliver to. Ask family members for help in preparing and marketing your services through word of mouth.
You can even focus on delivering meals to a specific target segment. For example, prepare meals for health-conscious individuals. Plan a seven-day menu and post it on your social media page or website. Go further by offering a subscription service for customers who wish to receive meals regularly.
13. Writing and editing
Are you a skilled wordsmith or editor? Offer your writing services to businesses and independent authors. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com allow you to showcase your portfolio and bid for projects that interest you.
14. Fitness coaching
The fitness segment in Asia is expected to grow to $9,236 million by 2023. If you’re a personal trainer (or bodybuilder), offer custom training plans and coaching. Just make sure you have the necessary certification and an insurance plan.
15. Event organizing
Social butterflies who enjoy collaborating with others may consider organizing events for companies or private get-togethers. This involves skills like budgeting, venue selection, and logistics planning.
16. Curated box services
Subscription box services are taking off with a 100% annual growth over the past five years. Simply curate a set of products around a theme — including food, beauty, or novelty items.
Then. create a prototype box and pre-launch your service. Since a majority of your ideal customers are online, you’d want to set up a website and be active on social media.
Bespoke Luxury Gift Boxes — Little Luxe
The need to for unique gifts that won’t break the bank led Rebecca Smith to come up with gift box service – Little Luxe. The boutique gift box brand lets customers select items to put in a personalized gift box. They can also opt for ready-to-go gift boxes and then add individually selected items.
“I was trying to find a special and personalised gift for my best friend that I could have delivered as she lived interstate. However, the catch was I also didn’t want to spend lots of money and send a standard gift box that I couldn’t personalise,” Smith said. “Then and there was my a-ha moment that inspired me — my love for gifting mixed with the need to fix this problem. With that, Little Luxe was born.”
17. Accounting and bookkeeping
If you’re a certified public accountant, you can start a bookkeeping and accounting service. Consider the costs of certifications, professional liability insurance, and bookkeeping/accounting software. Make sure that your business structure - whether sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation - is fit for your situation and financial capability.
18. App development
Over four hours a day was spent on mobile phones last 2017, with an estimated 2 hr 30 min a day spent on apps. In 2014 alone, Apple’s App store reached $10 billion in revenue for developers. So there is a huge demand for app developers. Just make sure you’re ready to tackle the hurdles in app development, including demanding clients.
19. Web design
If you have an eye for design and know how to code in HTML, CSS, and the like, consider starting your own web design business. Think about serving a specific industry (e.g. medical, restaurant, consultancy, etc.). Narrowing down on a niche helps your business grow and lets you to stand out from the competition.
20. Website development
Web development needs low start-up costs and yet can reap high profits. Go ahead if you’re qualified in various programming languages, have excellent problem-solving skills, as well as patience in testing for bugs and going through revisions. Clients range from small businesses to large corporations that need extensive coding for their website.
21. Professional photography
Turn your photography hobby into a business by offering photography services. Dive in solo, or work as an assistant or apprentice to a professional before venturing out on your own. Post your best photos on Instagram, Pinterest, or your personal website to attract potential clients.
While wedding photography is popular, there is a demand for other niches such as real estate, food, and travel. So decide your niche, and market your business around it.
22. House cleaning
The cleaning services sector is expected to grow to $46.3 billion by 2020. This growing industry has low barriers to entry so you can start a cleaning service business with minimal capital.
Because the market for janitorial services for commercial clients is competitive, focus on residential clients. Also consider what add-on services you can provide and how you can customize the service to the client’s needs, such as window or carpet cleaning or after-party cleanups.
23. Dog walking
For those who love taking care of our four-legged friends, dog walking is a fairly easy business to set up.
Talk to your local pet store, pet grooming services, or even dog rescue organizations to know the demand for dog walking services in your area. Do competitor research and then decide from there how much you will charge.
24. Laundry services
People are busy (and often lazy) to do their own laundry. And the busy pace of city life has made laundry shops popular. So offer laundry services from your home – all you need is a washing machine and enough space for a washing area.
If you’re offering your service online, think about pickup and delivery of laundry. But if you plan to open a brick-and-mortar shop, pick a strategic location.
25. Vacation rental service
Have an extra room in your house? Do you own a vacation home? Run it like a guest house and list it on vacation rental sites like Airbnb, Booking.com, or TripAdvisor.
Consider the costs of furnishing your space. Above all, make customers come back by showing them excellent hospitality during their stay.
26. Event styling
Love putting together mood boards and arts-and-crafts project? Start an event styling business. Different from an event planner, an event stylist is in charge of setting the atmosphere and look of the event.
Start by styling a few events for friends and family, then take quality photos of them to put into your portfolio. Decide on the services you want to offer, set your prices, then market to your ideal customer.
27. Personal shopping/styling services
If you have good PR skills and retail experience, become a personal shopper for clients. Your target market often consists of high-income individuals with little time to shop for themselves. As this is a service-oriented business, be prepared to deal with demanding clients.
Melbourne-based stylist — Style with Cindy
Backed by a lengthy industry experience, former Australian fashion week stylist Cindy Newstead built Style with Cindy Personal Stylist. Her personal styling services cover personal shopping services, wardrobe makeovers, and image consulting services. Each service is tailored to meet a clients’ budget, lifestyle, and personality.
28. Handmade goods
Make your own products and sell them on Etsy. You can even sell them on your own online store.
People appreciate one-of-a-kind items that won’t easily find elsewhere. Whether you make soap, greeting cards, or necklaces, focus on what makes your product unique and find creative ways to market it.
29. Interior decorating
29. Interior decorating
Unlike an interior designer, you don’t need a degree to be an interior decorator. Find inspiration and hone your signature interior style by taking short classes.
Further, you need to maintain relationships with suppliers for fabrics, flooring, carpets, and the like to give clients various options for the look they want.
If you’re passionate about teaching, consider becoming a home tutor. If you have a webcam and a stable internet connection, consider being an online tutor.
Services can vary, from teaching students certain subjects, languages, or techniques for mastering standardized exams.
31. Food cart
Passionate about street food? Set up food carts, a business with low start-up costs and strong earning potential for first-time entrepreneurs.
If you need help with starting capital, get online and start a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding has helped creative culinary types who don’t have access to loans or investors. Start by calculating your overall costs — including taxes, thank-you gifts to donors, and material costs. Keep your followers updated by sharing photos of your campaign’s progress.
When it comes to actually launching the food cart, it’s important to choose a location with lots of foot traffic. And, as a bonus, a well-designed cart helps you attract customers.
32. Music lessons
Know how to play an instrument? Go ahead and offer music lessons to individuals or groups.
Conduct your lessons at home, online, at a dedicated studio, or even drive to students’ homes. Tailor your lessons to the student’s skill level, so you gain repeat customers and even attract new ones.
33. Art lessons
If you’re a professional artist who enjoys teaching others, a great business would be conducting art lessons.
Start by teaching a small batch of students in your studio or your home, then gradually expand your offerings. Decide on the skill level you will gear your classes to, as well as the age group of your students.
Also, choose what field to focus so you can attract clients who are interested in them — like painting, sculpting, sketching, and others. Consider specific art styles and techniques you will impart to them.
34. Flipping websites
Website flipping refers to buying (or making) niche websites and then selling them for profit. An investor of websites is interested in the income potential of a website. That’s why the value of a website rises when its visitor traffic and/or revenue increases.
So upgrade any existing websites you have or acquire.
- Add valuable content
- Add useful tools
- Make them search-engine friendly
- Do some social media marketing
- Monetise the site with ads, affiliate marketing, and paid downloadables
Then sell them on the numerous website flipping platforms out there:
- Website Broker
35. Electronics repair
People are increasingly dependent on their gadgets, If you have technical skills in repairing cell phones, laptops, or tablets, this business is for you.
Your starting costs can be as little as US$50. Simply do repairs in a nice and quiet area at home or in a rented space. You’d also need a handy set of tools, and a good network of small electronics part suppliers.
36. Grocery delivery
For 2018, the online food and beverage retail market was over $20 billion. A rising middle class and urbanization have also led modern grocery retail to outperform traditional grocery retail by 1.3% in the ASEAN markets. From 2017 to 2022, IGD predicts that annual e-commerce in the food category will grow by 34.5% in Asia.
This increasing popularity, which brings a potential for high revenue, makes grocery delivery a viable business opportunity for any entrepreneur.
Either set up your own independent grocery business or work in tandem with grocery stores. Set up a robust delivery model and a strong relationship with wholesale suppliers.
37. Car wash
If you live in an urban area with a large number of cars, you can start a car wash business.
Decide whether you’ll have a fixed location or do business door-to-door. Also determine if you offer full or self-service washing, and whether or not you’re building a brand or buying a franchise.
38. Acting lessons
If you have experience in acting or directing in the entertainment industry, then set up acting workshops or lessons.
Cater to kids or teens, or adults who’d like to break into the acting industry. You could even focus on a specific form of acting, such as TV, movie, theatre, or musicals.
39. IT consultancy
If you’re an IT professional looking into making a mark on your own, then build an IT consultancy business.
Offer advice on a suite of IT services — software development, web design and development, mobile development, ecommerce, and many more — or focus only on the ones you have expertise in.
Note that the IT consultancy industry is competitive. To stand out from the rest, focus on a specific area of expertise.
40. Lawn care and gardening services
One type of business that is easy to scale is a lawn care and gardening business. Since mowing lawns is seasonal, complement your services with gardening and other services you can offer the whole year round. There may be tough competition in the market, so aim to stand out by offering excellent customer service and looking for ways to drive customer loyalty.
41. Babysitting services
In the past, busy parents would rely on family members or neighbours to watch their kids. But these days people opt for professional sitters for a variety of reasons. One, they won’t have to trouble their loved ones. Two, childcare centres are usually bonded and insured. And more importantly, parents need a reliable, experienced professional to watch their children.
To launch a successful babysitting service, it’s important to have extensive experience in childcare. If you don’t have any, then partner up with someone who does.
The Bottom Line
Starting a business is not as difficult as you think. There are plenty of business ideas. Just be on the lookout for any gaps in the market that your skills and expertise can fill, and you just might find your next big business idea.