10 Small Business Ideas for 2021

Now is the perfect time to finally start your own small business. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out 10 of the most popular online small business ideas in 2021.

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Have you always dreamed of owning your own small business? Aspiring entrepreneurs and CEOs may have put their list of business ideas on hold in 2020, but the truth is that now is the perfect time to begin plans to start your own company — particularly an online business.

Best of all, you can even start your online business without any of your own money if you begin it part-time or put in the effort to raise capital.

During the past year, many of us have reevaluated our day jobs, future plans, and financial goals. If you’re ready to kick off the new year with a plan to bring your company ownership dreams to life, these business tips can help you get started.


How to decide what type of small business to launch

Some aspiring business owners already know the type of small business they plan to manage. Others might have a few new business ideas or diversified interests across different niches. Many times all that’s stopping a potential business owner from becoming an entrepreneur is a solid starting point.

I recommend identifying the industries where you’re interested in starting your ideal company and then performing competitor research to understand who your competition is, what they’re offering, and what they might be overlooking.

From there, it’s possible to develop a solid business plan based on a product or service the marketplace is lacking.

If you’re still stuck for ideas or want to understand the hot industries to get into, here are 10 of the top small businesses worth exploring in 2021.


1. E-commerce dropshipping

Technology makes it easier than ever to buy and sell goods. Best of all, thanks to dropshipping services, you don’t even have to house the products listed on your e-commerce website.

If you have a large social following or an eye for finding great products, you’ll be able to list them on your e-commerce website without worrying about storing inventory. Instead, you’ll focus on expanding your audience, boosting your website, and selecting in-demand products.

To get started, you’ll want to partner with a dropshipping supplier such as Oberlo, Doba, Dropified, Worldwide Brands, or SaleHoo.


2. Website flipping

You’ve heard of flipping homes, but flipping websites is one of the new trends in 2021. Although this practice has been around for a while, website flipping has become even more popular as more individuals find themselves working remotely and from their homes.

The premise of website flipping is simple — you find a website that’s already running with a decent audience and buy it. Then you improve (or add) content, enhance the design, and use SEO best practices to attract an even larger audience. Once the website’s performance improves and revenue increases, you can sell it for a profit.

If you’ve ever wanted to own your own blog, webstore, or niche website, but you don’t want to spend the time building an audience base and creating content from the ground up, website flipping can save you a lot of time while earning you a profit sooner.


3. Career coaching

Do you have a knack for identifying a person’s talents, strong suits, and weaknesses? Do your friends and colleagues compliment you on your motivating attitude and positive outlook? If so, you might want to consider forming your own career coaching business.

The growing unemployment rate has left many questioning their next career move and looking for more fulfilling and secure careers. Many who are unemployed, in between gigs, freelancing, or simply unsatisfied at their day jobs are looking for career counseling to help guide them to their next job.

You might want to obtain a career coaching certification and then begin marketing your career coaching services. You can market yourself through social media, content marketing, and digital ads, or sign up for career coaching jobs through platforms such as Coach.me.


4. Online creator

If you can turn a phrase, create stunning visuals, animate compelling videos, or offer some other type of creative service, forming your business around your unique strong points can make good sense.

There’s always a demand for freelance and contract copywriters, creative directors, graphic designers, content creators, video animators, videographers, editors, web designers, and web developers. You can market your services on freelance sites, such as UpWork or Fiverr, and expand your team as you receive additional projects and partnerships.


5. Home catering or meal prep servicing

If you’ve always imagined owning your own restaurant or catering service, you might be hesitant to begin your business during a global pandemic. However, many individuals are still in need of food services and are willing to pay for them.

According to Restaurant.org, consumers increased their takeout spending during the pandemic in 2020, and the numbers are expected to continue increasing.

While it might not make sense to open a traditional restaurant right now, you could offer meal prepping or catering services. Many individuals are looking for healthy or restaurant-quality meals delivered to their doorstep. This means you could hire “servers” who deliver food or even create a food truck of sorts that hits all the major areas in your county or city.


6. App developing

Jobs in technology aren’t going away anytime soon, and, as new ideas emerge, there’s a need for talented app creators and developers to help bring these concepts to life. App developers can typically work from anywhere in the world and market their services on online job boards, freelance websites, or by promoting their own development company online and through social media.


7. Photography services

Families might not need photographers as much as they did before the pandemic, but if you want to open your own photography studio, there are still many ways to approach this business model in 2021.

Stock photography is always in great demand, especially as more people are building out their own websites and e-commerce shops. You could partner with stock image sites, such as Shutterstock or iStock, or market your services directly to marketing agencies and design companies.


8. Virtual instructing

This category is extremely broad since online teaching and instructing are in high demand across a variety of niches. If you have teaching or tutoring experience, creating your own online tutoring business is an excellent idea, particularly if the schools in your area are still teaching remotely.

You don’t have to have an interest in academics to become a virtual instructor. You can create your own YouTube or other media channel and create instructional videos on cooking methods, dance instruction, workout guides, and so much more. Whatever your passion, there’s a need for online teachers.


9. Social media consulting

If punchy captions and eye-catching images are second nature to you, a social media consultancy might be right up your alley. Many companies have a need to expand or improve their social media presence and target younger or different audiences. You can offer your services on freelancing sites or market yourself directly (using your social media chops) to work with clients of your choosing.


10. Handmade crafting

You might have envisioned yourself owning a small boutique store full of homemade items you’ve made and sourced locally. The good news is that many people want well-made items from local craftsmen.

You can create your own e-commerce store or post your products on Amazon or Etsy. You’ll have to handle shipping on your own, but as long as you plan ahead, this could be a great way to launch an online brand and get more eyes on your handmade products, furniture, or decor pieces.


Don’t pause on your small business dreams

You might be wary about embarking on your small business ownership journey right now, but 2021 is full of unique business ideas for hard-working and dedicated entrepreneurs.

If you’re ready to finally start your own business and become your own boss, start taking the steps to form your company, create a thorough business plan, and get moving on making your big idea a reality.

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The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned. Click here for more information.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Etsy, Fiverr International, and Shopify. The Motley Fool recommends Shutterstock and Upwork and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.