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37 Small Scale Business Ideas for Beginner Entrepreneurs


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Don’t be fooled by their size – small scale business ideas have big potential.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), they make up 99.7% of U.S. employers and 97.7% of U.S. exporters. Those numbers are no joke.

In addition to supporting the economy, small business owners can work for themselves and create something unique and meaningful. Inc.com reports that 81% of small business owners feel happier – and 60% report being healthier – than when they worked for their previous employer.

So how can you leverage your potential into starting a small business?

By starting your entrepreneurial journey in a niche that has profit potential and revolves around something you enjoy.

What Is a Small-Scale Business?

While definitions vary, a small-scale business is typically described as an enterprise with a small number of employees, a relatively low sales volume, and is usually privately owned with most of the profits going to the owner. These businesses also typically serve a small community and see low turnover in staff.

The Small Business Association has a chart that describes different classifications of small businesses so you can see if the business you’re starting qualifies as a small-scale business.

Find the Right Small-Scale Business Idea for You

There are plenty of local and online options you can choose from if you’re interested in running your own small scale business.

Though every business has some type of startup requirements, many in this list are considered small-scale business ideas without much investment. That means that they can be started without significant upfront fees or expenses. That also means you can start them within a reasonably short time frame.

Online Small-Scale Business Ideas

There are a number of small-scale businesses you can start online, for little to no cost.

1. Virtual Assistant

Started a virtual assistant business is quick and easy. In this small-scale business, you’ll help other business owners with a variety of administrative tasks ranging from data entry and booking travel to writing blog posts and scheduling content on social media. You can read more about how to become a virtual assistant or take Kayla Sloan’s 10KVA course to get started.

2. Proofreader

If you have an eye for typos, then starting a proofreading business could be lucrative. As a proofreader, you’ll examine documents from writers, business owners, and other professionals. You’ll look for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

Professional proofreader Caitlyn Pyle offers a training course for future proofreaders, and you can read our guide to help you set up your proofreading business.

3. Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, you’ll produce blog posts, research documents, white papers, and other types of written content for websites, magazines, online journals, newspapers, and other businesses. Consider starting this small-scale business if you enjoy writing and researching. That’s what six-figure writer Holly Johnson did, and now she offers a course for aspiring freelance writers.

4. Social Media Manager

Social media managers help companies create, schedule, and monitor their presence on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You’ll be responsible for managing social media content calendars, responding to comments and questions, creating images, and other tasks. Read our guide on how to become a social media manager for more information on what this business entails.

5. Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook ads are an important part of any company’s marketing strategy, and you can start a small-scale business managing ads for those companies.

You’ll create the ads, manage the Facebook advertising budget, and monitor their performance by analyzing the data provided in the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard. If you’re interested in this small-scale business, you can take Bobby Hoyt’s Facebook Side Hustle Course.

6. Blog Writer

If you want to own your writing, but still share your thoughts with the world, then creating a blog is a good small-scale business for you. You’ll perform similar tasks as a freelance writer, but you’ll put the articles on your own website.

You can also figure out ways to make extra money through various types of advertising, creating courses, or even writing eBooks. Our guide to starting a blog will walk you through exactly what you need to have your own successful website.

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7. Resume Writer and Editor

If you have experience working in human resources or have spent time reviewing resumes, then you can turn that into a business writing and editing resumes for job hunters. In this job, you’ll help your clients write clear and effective resumes that stand out to prospective employers. This may include proofreading and formatting their resumes as well.

8. SEO Consultant

Search engine optimization describes the method that website owners employ to drive visitors to their sites. As an SEO consultant, you’ll go through the company’s website content and make suggestions for how they can improve their search engine ranking and generate more organic search traffic.

In other words, you’ll tell them how to tweak their content so more people click on what they’re providing. It sounds complicated, but there are plenty of resources available that can teach you how to do this.

9. Email Marketing Specialist

If you start a small-scale business as an email marketing specialist, you’ll work with other businesses and companies to create email marketing campaigns. Tasks may include formatting newsletters, proofreading and editing for clarity and grammar, creating graphics, or creating a strong call to action. You might also have to manage the email lists, analyze statistics, or write press releases.

In-Person Small-Scale Business Ideas

If you’re not interested in working online, you can start a more traditional small-scale business.

10. Pet Walker or Sitter

People working outside of their home or who have mobility issues often need someone to walk their dogs during the day. This provides an opportunity for you to start…

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