Starting a business is an investment, sometimes small, sometimes large. Either way, you should make sure that you’re making a good investment. There are literally thousands upon thousands of business ideas you could invest in, but some stand out.

There’s no guarantee that any business will be successful, but this article is designed to spark some ideas.

You can also check out Step By Step Business’s list of business ideas.

E-Commerce Business

Person browsing eCommerce store

When it comes to e-commerce, the sky’s the limit! Americans spend more than $750 billion at online retailers each year. From books to clothes to jewelry, from vacations to shoes to music and much more, everything sells online. You just need to come up with an appealing product or an innovative concept, and it could even be something you make at home if you have the skills.

Depending on what you sell, you can launch your e-commerce website for a relatively small investment and ship globally from the comfort of your own home. You can expand your business over time, and eventually become the next Amazon.

Consulting

If you have a particular skill or area of expertise, a consulting business could be an excellent entrepreneurial opportunity. Whether it’s a business management consulting, Information Technology (IT), marketing, or something else, you can start a consulting business for very little money.

The US consulting industry is worth more than $250 billion, so this is clearly an in-demand service. You can charge $50 to $150 an hour depending on your level of expertise, so if you turn it into a full-time gig, you’ll soon be making bank.

ATM Business

ATM business

We’ve all paid those annoying ATM fees, so why not be the one to collect them instead? Even one automated teller machine, or ATM, provides a small but steady stream of passive income. A dozen or more ATMs placed in heavily trafficked areas, on the other hand, can provide a small business owner with a tidy profit.

It’s a surprisingly cheap business to get into, with ATMs costing about $3,000 to $10,000. Maintaining the machines is relatively simple, so it’s one of the better passive income business concepts. Just secure good locations and start watching the cash roll in!

Landscaping Business

Landscaping is a booming industry, thanks in part to a strong real estate market. People love their outdoor spaces as much as indoor spaces, and many are willing to spend to make them look gorgeous. The work may be somewhat seasonal depending on where you live, but you could offer alternative services, such as leaf blowing and snow removal, during the colder months.

You’ll need to lay out some cash on a truck, trailer, tools and equipment, but once you get rolling you can make some real money. You get to work outdoors, and you can run your business from home. Start by yourself, or with a small crew, and eventually expand to have crews turning your whole town green!

Real Estate Business

Person holding house

Real estate is a lucrative market, with agents making up to 7% of the purchase price of each home they sell. Think about it, if you sell just one million-dollar home you’d make…. a lot of money!

Starting a real estate brokerage is relatively simple. You’ll need to take some courses and get your broker’s license, but you can do so in just a few weeks and the cost is minimal. Once you’re a broker, you can hire other agents to work for you and split their commissions while earning your own. You don’t even need an office and can run the business from home, although an office can make you appear more professional. The real estate industry is booming, so now might be the perfect time to jump in.

Digital Marketing Agency

The future of marketing is digital, so a digital marketing business is a major opportunity. It’s a business you can run from home and make good money. Of course, you need to know the tricks of the trade, but if you don’t, there are plenty of online marketing courses that can get you up to speed in no time.

You can charge up to $60 an hour for your services, so once you build up a client base, you’ll be putting plenty of cash in your pocket. Your first order of business will be to digitally market yourself! A digital marketing business offers much flexibility and it’s simple to get started with little investment.

Construction Business

Construction cranes

This idea may sound daunting, but it’s not as expensive to get into as you might think — and it makes real money. The U.S. construction industry is worth over a trillion – yes, a trillion – dollars, and even a small residential construction company can bring in seven figures. You’ll provide an invaluable service, building dream homes for customers and their families.

You’ll need some experience in construction, but once you’ve got the business up and running you’ll hire laborers to do a lot of the heavy lifting. There’s a lot of regulatory red tape to wade through, which is where industry experience will come in handy.

Catering

After all the pandemic-driven shutdowns and event cancellations, people are ready to party. Weddings and other big gatherings are returning, and caterers are in great demand. If you have strong culinary skills, catering offers an opportunity to create a brilliant menu for far less than the cost of opening a restaurant. You’ll need some equipment and a transport vehicle, but once you’re up and running you’ll be able to share your culinary talents with the world, bring smiles to people’s faces and make good money while doing so.

People are willing to fork out good money for good food, which is why the US catering industry is worth $15 billion. Start out small, working out of your home, then establish a reputation and build your catering empire.

Painting Business

Person painting a wall

If you like to work with your hands, a painting business offers a wealth of opportunity and can add some color to your life! Most people don’t like to paint their own homes, so you could take the burden off them and get paid some decent money. It’s a cheap business to get into, and you can make up to $2,000 for small jobs that take one day. Painting is fairly easy to work too, so you’re not going to break your back — unless you fall off a ladder!

You’ll face some competition, of course, but if you do good work you’ll soon start to build a reputation. You can also connect with realtors to get referrals to their clients. All you need is some basic equipment, and you can be up and running right away.

Home Health Care Agency

As Baby Boomers age into retirement and beyond, the number of elderly Americans is growing fast, increasing demand for home health care services. If you’re a nurse, why not stop working for someone else and have your own home health agency instead? You’ll still get the rewards of caring for people, but you’ll make more money.

The global home health care services market is worth over $300 billion, so even a small piece of that is a nice chunk of change. You can start as a solopreneur and later use your profits to expand and hire more workers, solidifying your home healthcare empire.

Publishing Company

Publishing office

Interestingly, publishing is not an expensive business to get into, particularly if you focus on digital publishing. If you’re a writer or an avid reader, publishing offers a plethora of opportunities. The US industry is worth nearly $30 billion and growing, and it’s possible to break in and make a tidy profit.

You just need to find a few talented writers and help launch their writing careers. Initially, you can run your publishing business from home to keep your low, and your time commitment can be fairly flexible. It’s a rewarding, fascinating, lucrative business that you can start quickly, though you might need a few good literary contacts.

Brewery

Calling all beer lovers! Why not brew it yourself and then toast to all the money that you bring in? Small craft breweries are popping up everywhere, with many doing huge business right away. It’s an expensive business to get into, with a low-end cost of around $150,000, but with a strong concept you might be able to find financing. The profit you earn will likely make it well worth the investment.

The US beer industry is huge, worth $120 billion and growing, so if you’re able to deliver an appealing brew it might soon become a household name. You’ll need some equipment and a location to get started, which is where those hefty startup costs come in. As far as potential, though, the sky’s the limit!

Box Truck Business

Box trucks

Box trucks offer a variety of business options. You could make deliveries, haul junk, or help people move. You can buy a box truck with a down payment of as little as $5,000 to $10,000, and the revenue potential is enormous.

If you do deliveries with your truck, you can earn about $200 a load, and most of that cash stays in your pocket as profit. You could do a combination of deliveries, junk hauling, and moving, and stay busy all the time making real money. You’d have a flexible schedule and run your business from home.

Eventually, you could add more trucks, hire drivers, and build a box truck empire.