Do you want to work from home but have no idea where to start? Here are ten small scale business ideas that you can get started on right now!
It’s possible to make money without much outlay, making the most of the talents and assets you have already. While these are primarily intended as small scale business ideas, there’s nothing to say that you can’t turn them into something much bigger with motivation and momentum.
Several of these ideas have already been covered in more detailed case studies on the site, and we’ve provided links where this is the case.
Knitting and Sewing
Everyone loves a hand knitted jumper or a bespoke “one of a kind” outfit.
If you have a talent for knitting and dress making there is always money to be made, and this is one of those small scale business ideas you can get started on straight away.
If you are really creative there is also a huge market out there for one-off fancy dress and dancing costumes. You can advertise on social media and local notice boards for very little cost and use photographs of your completed commissions to promote your business.
There are also plenty of online outlets where you can sell your creations. Etsy is a great platform for home-made items, and if you’re better at designing than manufacturing, you can leave that part to someone else – check out our Society6 case study for details on that.
Gardening is listed here among our small scale business ideas, but plenty of people turn it into a full-time business. Some people love gardening and others hate it. Others, for health reasons, are unable to do their own gardening. In most areas, especially in the summer months, there are numerous adverts on local notice boards and social media sites, posted by people looking for someone to cut the grass or do a bit of weeding.
Remember: jobs like this are weather dependent – so it’s important to plan around the weather and not let your customers down – something you can read a lot more more about here.
Painting and Decorating
Some people enjoy and have a talent for painting and decorating. Others (like myself!) are truly hopeless!
Of all our small scale business ideas, this one can prove slightly costly when you get started, as you will need insurance cover if you are working in other people’s homes. You may also need to do some health and safety training for things such as working at heights. Look out for free training courses locally which are often free to new and small businesses.
People often want someone to simply help with a small part of a decorating job, for example wallpapering a feature wall or painting a fence.
Many of the larger established decorating firms are unwilling to take on small tasks, so there is a huge market for people who will do small jobs that take just a couple of hours.
Again, some people have a real talent for cooking and baking while others struggle to boil an egg! Decorative cakes for special occasions have become big business as more and more intricate, artistic one-off creations become the norm.
So, harness your talent and make some money from it! You will need health and hygiene certificates and your premises will need inspecting but this is not expensive and you may find the course you need at a subsidised cost locally. Check out your local free newspapers and your local council websites for details of these.
As with many of these small scale business ideas, we’ve interviewed people who’ve made a success of a related business. Check out this case study discussing a thriving cupcake business.
Dog Sitting and Walking
If you love animals and enjoy the outdoors this may the perfect side gig for you.
Tasks can include regular walking or sometimes just visiting pets in their own home whilst their owners are at work. Unless you live in a rural area you will need transport to take the dogs to suitable places for walking. You will need to be physically fit as some animals need a lot of exercise. You must be amenable to walking in all weathers too! On the bright side this can help keep you healthy at the same time as earning you some money!
Cleaning and Ironing
Believe it or not there are some people who actually like doing these chores!
Check out local boards for adverts looking for someone to do these things. With a little good quality equipment (such as a decent iron) you could soon be making a nice little profit from doing the jobs that others hate.
Bear in mind if you are cleaning in other people’s homes you may need own transport. You’ll want to factor in the cost of this when deciding on the rate you want to charge.
You’ll find an ironing business case study here.
Rent a Room – or your Driveway!
This is one of those small scale business ideas that makes use of what you have, rather than what you can do. If you have space at home, you could consider taking in a lodger or a student, or you can offer accommodation using sites such as the popular Airbnb.
If you live in a busy area where parking is at a premium and / or you have a driveway that sits empty all day, you can make money from renting it out to someone who works in your town or city during the day. Check out JustPark as an example of how this works.
Review Things and get to Keep them!
This has been discussed in detail here. It is a fun way of not necessarily making money but saving it, as well as helping to improve your writing skills when you write the required reviews for the products you are testing. More details here.
Keep an Elderly or Housebound Person company – or do their Shopping
Many elderly people who do not need residential care or professional assistance still need occasional help around the house with everyday tasks and shopping. Some simply appreciate a little company for short periods, particularly if a family member who would normally take on the tasks is away on holiday or has other commitments elsewhere.
Jobs like these are often advertised locally. They may be regular or one-off opportunities. If you enjoy the company of elderly people, and are a good conversationalist and listener this could be an ideal side job for you.
The last of our small scale business ideas is not only a way make money but perhaps something you can treat as a bit of a holiday too! The home owner will want you to keep their property safe while they are away, possibly dealing with regular visitors such as a cleaners or gardeners. You may simply be required to keep a property safe, as an occupied house is less likely to become the target of thieves.
A house sitter may also be asked to look after family pets rather then send dogs to kennels, water plants and generally keep the property in good order until the owners return.
You will probably need to abide by rules, such as having no guests or not using certain items belonging to the owner. Ironing out the ground rules in advance can avoid misunderstandings later.
Will you get paid? This will depend on your individual arrangements. Usually a small fee is involved, especially if your time there involves taking on household chores. Sites like MindMyHouse will give you an idea of what’s typically involved.