More women are starting their own small businesses every day. Working women continue to face unique challenges, especially as small business owners, so what are the absolute best business ideas for women? Starting with the most profitable businesses, best online business ideas, low investment business ideas, and best side hustles, we’ve curated a list of industries where women entrepreneurs are set up for success.
These business ideas either offer flexibility for when you work, flexibility for where you work or are in women-dominated industries. Some of the business ideas are a combination of all 3. We’ll walk you through some of the top business ideas for women, pointing you to helpful resources to help turn your idea into reality.
Let’s look at the 21 best business ideas for women. With creative ideas, home business ideas, and service business ideas, there’s something for every entrepreneur.
Creative Business Ideas for Women
You may already have experience working in one of these creative fields, which will give you a leg up when starting your own business. Many of these small business ideas can be done as freelance work, which involves the shortest launch time. You can also incorporate your business and work as a consultant or form your own agency, which gives you the opportunity to scale and hire employees in the future.
Start an Etsy Shop
Etsy provides a space for creative female entrepreneurs to market their products to an existing customer base. In 2020, there were 39.4 million active buyers on the platform worldwide. If you make something that fits into a particular niche, if you’re known for a scalable craft,or if people are always complimenting you on your embroidery or bridal denim jackets, then you might want to start an Etsy shop.
Opening an Etsy shop isn’t a guaranteed win. While there are millions of active buyers on the platform, there are also millions of active sellers (4.3 million in 2020). To stand out and grow a successful business on the platform, you’ll want to:
- Learn how to optimize your product titles and descriptions for Etsy’s search. You can use a keyword tool like this one to research the best terms to use so your listings show up in search results.
- Grow your own social media presence so you can drive customers to your shop directly from your social media profiles.
Interior design and decorating can help you monetize your impeccable taste. While many interior designers go through professional training and licensing, they are generally not required to work as an interior designer in the US (In some states, you need to be licensed to work in commercial spaces).
Interior design can be a great career for women entrepreneurs looking for flexibility. If you run your own design business, you can decide how many clients and projects to take on. Because it’s client-based work, you can adjust your workload to make it heavier or lighter depending on your personal, family, and financial circumstances.
If you want to start your own interior design business, you can begin by creating an Instagram account to showcase your work. Because Instagram is a visual medium, it’s well-suited towards boosting your interior design profile within the industry and to prospective clients. Many of the most popular interior designers, like Studio McGhee, have found their success in large part due to the platform.
But how do you grow your Instagram followers? Learn the top growth tips to help your Instagram reach 10k+ followers.
With the emergence of digital marketing as a driving force for most brands, there is a greater need for graphic design than ever before. A graphic designer might begin their career at an agency or in-house at a brand and then later go out on their own. Graphic design is one of the professions best suited towards a consulting model. When you start your own graphic design business, you can control what you charge and who you work with.
Freelance writing is another business that has boomed thanks to the advent of digital marketing. To turn your words into a profitable business, you’ll want to ensure that you develop a solid understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) or social media engagement. You don’t have to know both, but you will want to specialize in at least one of these areas.
Here are some resources to help you get started:
- The Art and Science of Writing Good Instagram Captions
- A Proven 10-Step Framework for Writing Copy That Converts
- 5 Important Steps to Becoming a Highly Paid Freelance Writer
- A Beginners Guide To Write SEO Friendly Content in 2021
Social Media Marketing
Social media is driving sales for everything from clothing to education. According to research from The Content Factory, the average organization spends $250-$300/day on social media. That’s an average of $6,000 to $10,500 every month. Given the demand, there’s a wealth of opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs to carve out a niche for themselves in social media marketing.
One of the reasons social media marketing has become such a hot business for female entrepreneurs is because it can be done fully remote. Because posts are usually scheduled (there’s always the odd exception), you can also organize your work around your lifestyle, making this an ideal creative career for working moms.
Home Business Ideas for Women
Over the past couple of years, more and more people have discovered the joys of working from home. These business ideas are mostly online, so you can run your small business from your home. We’ve collected some of the most profitable, low-investment home business ideas for women.
Affiliate marketing is a type of advertising where a company pays an affiliate based on the performance of their referrals. Think of it like working a commission sales position, only instead of earning commission from in-person sales, you use affiliate links and referral codes.
You’ve likely come across affiliate marketing on your favorite influencer’s posts. While it might seem like the kind of profession that only the already-internet-famous can do, it’s actually a lot more accessible than that—and it can be profitable.
Want to start your own affiliate marketing business? Check out these resources to hit the ground running:
- 8 Ways to Make Money on Instagram Without a Following
- How to Make Money on YouTube in 2022: 7 Sure-Fire Strategies
- How to Make Passive Income Work for You
Dropshipping is a business model that allows an entrepreneur to sell products without having to keep those products in stock. The store (often an ecommerce store) sells the product, and then the order is fulfilled by a third-party supplier and sent to the customer.
So what makes dropshipping a fantastic business for a female entrepreneur? Think of it like the anti-Lula Roe. Instead of being required to purchase stock before you can sell anything, dropshipping allows you to start selling without having any products on hand. It’s a really accessible business to start because it requires low investment, outsources many of the logistics of order fulfillment, and it’s incredibly flexible.
In recent years, Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) has become a popular hybrid dropshipping option. Amazon FBA isn’t a true dropshipping business because you’re only outsourcing the shipping to Amazon. They’re not responsible for inventory. Small business owners have found this to be a profitable dropshipping model because it allows you to leverage Amazon’s substantial logistical and shipping resources to sell products, along with making products available on one of the internet’s most popular marketplaces.
Ecommerce refers to any business selling goods or services online. Ecommerce consistently ranks as one of the most profitable businesses you can start. It doesn’t require significant investment to get your ecommerce business up and running, and you can start making money relatively quickly.
Considering whether you should start your own online store? You won’t want to miss these resources.
A life coach counsels their clients on personal and professional challenges. Many life coaches work with the intention of helping their clients find greater fulfillment and success. If you’re someone who really enjoys helping others find their path, this might be the business for you. There aren’t any state or federal agencies that regulate life coaching, so pretty much anyone can be a life coach. That’s both good and bad. It makes it a really easy career to enter or test as a side hustle, but it can also be harder to make yourself seem credible to prospective clients without a certification. While it’s not required, some formal training will likely help you make more money as a life coach.
You can also make your life coaching business more marketable by getting more specific. There’s tons of competition out there for general “life coaches,” but by getting more specific about the strengths of what you can offer and who would be served by it, you can carve out a highly profitable niche for yourself. Think “life coaching for working moms,” “body-positive life coach,” etc.
Career coaches help professionals navigate job searches, career development, career transitions, and meet their professional goals. If you have developed certain expertise through your years in the workplace and you enjoy working with people, career coaching might be the business for you. Thanks to Zoom, there are no longer strict geographical limitations to career coaching, meaning you can offer your services as an online business without ever leaving your home.
Online tutoring platforms are booming, and many are in search of new tutors. If you were an ace in a certain subject or if you have teaching credentials but don’t want to commit to working in person, you might want to consider becoming an online tutor.
An online course, where students can sign up to learn on-demand, requires time and effort upfront with the potential to turn the course into passive income. The beauty of an online course is that you only have to build it once, and then students can continue to enroll over time. This business model can be equalling appealing to a woman entrepreneur who is working a high-stress job full-time and would like to make some side money or for a woman business owner who is trying to minimize the hours she spends bringing in revenue so she can maximize the time she can spend with her family.
To start building your online course, you first need to determine your niche. Then you need to do market research, decide which platform you want to use, build your course, and market it. Want to learn more about building an online course? We’ll help you learn absolutely everything you need to know to start making money from your personal expertise.
Real estate is another business that has the potential to turn into a passive revenue stream. There are different ways to make a business out of real estate. If you want to create a real estate business from home, you’ll probably need some capital to start. Let’s start with the downside, real estate requires substantial investment to start and it does carry some risk. But the upside is huge in that you can potentially generate a passive income that’s relatively low risk compared to other investments (assuming you’re investing in a rental property and not trying to flip houses with no experience).
Web design includes many disciplines related to website maintenance, including interface design, web development, user experience (UX) design, search engine optimization (SEO), and interface design.
You can approach your web design business in a couple of ways. You can go direct-to-consumer and help end-users design websites, or you can sell your services to other businesses to help design their customer-facing websites.
Digital marketing encompasses many disciplines, including social media marketing, freelance writing, graphic design, and email marketing. Digital marketing is a booming industry, and you can do the work from anywhere. All you need is a computer and an internet connection, making this an ideal home business idea. If you’re just starting out, you might want to begin working in digital marketing as a freelancer. It’s often easier for a company to hire a freelancer than an agency (there’s typically less vetting required), so you can drum up business and start making money faster that way.
Once your digital marketing business is well established, you can always incorporate it, giving you the opportunity to hire employees and grow your business(if that’s something you want to do).
A virtual assistant provides administrative, technical, or creative support to clients in a remote capacity. Most virtual assistants are self-employed and work from their homes. If you’re looking for a way to make some extra cash, this can be a great option.
Service Business Ideas for Women
The service industry, the business sector that provides customers with services or intangible goods, is ripe with business ideas for women. Many sectors of the service industry have been dominated by working women historically, so why not leverage your power within the industry to start your own small business?
Weddings are one of the most important days in life for many, and they’re usually one of the most complicated. A wedding has many moving parts—from navigating the catering to the ceremony and reception decor, coordinating with vendors, and managing the families—there’s a lot that couples need help with when planning a wedding. If you’re a really organized person who loves details, solving problems, and helping couples realize their dream weddings, then wedding planning might be the business idea for you. You can begin by leveraging your network to find clients. Ask for referrals and testimonials when you work with a client, so you can continue to build your business by word of mouth.
No matter what’s happening in the world, people keep getting married. Even during the height of the pandemic, optimistic couples found innovative ways to tie the knot and celebrate their nuptials. For this reason, wedding planning can be an incredibly stable business to start. It also has a seasonal cadence, allowing you portions of the years to relax and regroup while gearing up for the next wedding season.
Not sure you want to work all the time? That’s easy to control. Once you get your business started, you’ll have a sense of how much time and energy each wedding takes. Then you can determine how many clients you want to take on based on how many hours you want to dedicate to the business.
Personal chefs work in private settings to cook for an individual or family. There are a few different ways to approach a personal chef business. Many chefs work in a family’s home to prep the meals for the day. Then they leave the family with heating/cooking instructions so they can finish the meal themselves and enjoy a private family meal. Other chefs cook the meal from start to finish with the client present. There’s also a hybrid model, where a chef might cook for several clients at once at an offsite kitchen and then deliver packaged meals with reheating instructions to their clients. As you can see, there’s a lot of flexibility for what kind of business model and what kind of workday you have as a personal chef, making it one of the best business ideas for women.
An event planner manages the process of planning a ceremony, party, meeting, convention, tradeshow, or other events. While the industry took a hit during the pandemic, it’s returning to continued growth now. You might make a great event planner if you enjoy being around and working with people, you’re organized, you’re a quick thinker who knows how to problem solve, and you love to process of bringing a vision to life.
Tech-savvy? Know how to run a Zoom event like a pro? The pandemic has ushered in a new market for hybrid and virtual events. These events come with their own set of challenges, which means that you can tailor your services to meet these new needs directly.
If you’re a pro with makeup, you might want to consider starting your own makeup artists business. Instagram, YouTube, and Tiktok have provided novel ways for makeup artists to showcase their work and create a portfolio. If you’re just starting out, you can start by posting your work on social media. Eventually, you can build a bustling business helping people look their best for work events, holidays, special events, and anything else that calls for a professional beauty touch.
People are messy. This universal truth has long made a cleaning business a solid, reliable business idea. But the pandemic (and our subsequent need to disinfect literally everything) made a cleaning business one of the most opportunistic small business ideas out there. Everyone needs cleaning, especially spaces where people gather. You can offer commercial cleaning for office spaces, restaurants, or other businesses. Or you could carve out a niche for yourself by offering “pre-event” cleaning to help clients feel safe as they gather with friends and family. Now, more than ever, there’s an enormous opportunity in the cleaning sector to carve out a niche for yourself. All you need is an idea and the wherewithal to test it.
How to Start a Small Business
Now that you’ve combed through all our small business ideas and nailed down the business that works for you, how do you go from idea to revenue-generating machine? We’ll review the major points in every entrepreneurship journey. For a step-by-step walkthrough, check out our guides 15 Steps to Starting a Successful Small Business and Learn How to Start a Small Business at Home.
Test Your Idea as a Side Hustle
Before you put all your resources into your new small business idea, you want to test it to ensure that there’s demand in the market and that your idea has the potential to make money. One of the best ways to do that is to start your small business as a side hustle. This requires a smaller investment, will help you make some extra cash, and will give you valuable information about your business—allowing you to see what’s working and what needs adjustment.
Our Start Your Side Hustle course can help you create a roadmap for how to start an online side hustle in 30 days or less, including how to “fail-proof” your ideas, how to come up with your unique value proposition, and how to identify your money-making skills.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan states what your business is, what you’ll do, and how you’ll do it. It will act as a road map to help you determine how your business will achieve its goals. A business plan will help you avoid losing money. And it will also help you secure outside capital if you need it.
Here are some helpful resources to help you craft the perfect business plan:
- How to Write a Business Plan (Tips, Templates, Examples)
- The Guide to Defining Your Target Market
- The Complete Guide to Market Research: What It Is, Why You Need It, and How to Do It
Determine How Much Capital You Need
Money. You can’t start a business without it. To set yourself up for success, you need to first determine how much money you need to start your business. Your business plan should give you a sense of how much capital you’ll need upfront.
Find Funding if You Need It
Once you have that estimate, you can figure out how to get it. Many small business owners raise money first by bootstrapping (the process of self-financing) and asking friends and family to invest. A business loan is another popular, common way to finance a new small business. Venture capital, on the other hand, is a less likely form of financing. Venture capitalists tend to prefer investing in established, scalable businesses.
For a full rundown of everything you need to know about getting funding for your new small business, read our guides:
Are There Other Business Ideas for Women?
What if you have an idea that wasn’t on this list? Are there other business ideas for women? Yes, the world is full of opportunities for entrepreneurs. When starting a small business, the 2 most important things to consider are whether you’re passionate about the work and whether there’s an opportunity to make money. Without the first, you won’t have the energy or the fortitude to put in the work required to start a small business. Without the second, it’s going to be a money pit.
Questions to Ask Before You Start Your Small Business
These questions will help you determine whether your idea has what it takes to become a successful small business.
- What products or services will you offer? (It’s best to begin by getting as specific as possible. It’s better to do one thing well than 10 things poorly, especially for a new business)
- Who needs your product or service?
- Do you already have the skills, experience, certifications, or licenses required to start this business? If not, what would be the financial and time investment needed to acquire them?
- How much money would be required to cover startup costs? Will you need further financing down the road? If so, how much?
- Are there people in your network who can help you—either financially or by lending their expertise?
- What are your goals for this business? Do you want it to become your main source of income? Are you hoping it will become the primary income source for your family? Do you want it to be a side hustle? (Get specific. It will help you reach your goals.)
Real Stories of Successful Women Entrepreneurs
There’s nothing that matches the inspiration or information you can get from stories of real women entrepreneurs who’ve turned their ideas into highly successful businesses. Here are some of our favorite resources and stories from women business owners who have been there.
- 12 Women Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Reveal How They Transformed A Simple Business Idea Into Massive Success
- How Heidi Zak of ThirdLove Faced Off With Victoria’s Secret
- Building Community as the Foundation for a Successful Content Business, With Carly Zakin & Danielle Weisberg of theSkimm
- Building a Fertile Future For All Women With Piraye Beim of Celmantix